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Thursday, November 20 2008
A lot of Americans don't cook well. In part it's because of packed schedules. Sometimes fast food is their only alternative in the midst of a busy day. The issue isn't always cooking but rather planning nutritious menus. It's not that hard, folks. A seven day menu isn't all that hard to plan for people who know where to look. The entire family will like these dinner ideas.
An American favorite is the corn dog. While not a healthy food, it is a tasty one that is easy to prepare. The batter is flour, corn meal, salt, sugar and baking powder mixed with milk. Then coat the dogs and fry until golden brown. Put the dog on a stick for an authentic feel.
In colonial times, dinner was an afternoon meal, followed by a later light meal called supper. As time went by this changed based on social class and schedule. Afternoon dinner helped those with physical jobs make it through the later part of the day. But now dinner has become the sole evening meal, the anchor to the family and transition from the work of the day to winding down at night. But supper and dinner have become intertwined, often interchanged in meaning this big meal. The evening meal doesn't have to be huge, though. Go the traditional dinner route with a light soup or roast chicken salad.
Try crock pot cooking. Set it, forget it, then return home to a well cooked meal. The whole meal can cook without supervision. Try pot roast and potatoes. Serve it with a fresh baked loaf of bread picked up on the way home from the local supermarket. Or you can ditch the bread to keep down the pounds.
Excellent home cooking isn't hard -- try pork chops, or steaks on the grill. Search for the term dinner ideas on a search engine like Google. The Internet has more than you can handle.
Tuesday, November 18 2008
Soup is great during any season, but it is most popular on cold autumn and winter days to warm up the body against the chill. Let's face the facts, most people love chicken soup, some may like pea soup (though maybe our children like to shy away from its green color), but cream soups are the best. I know cream soups may not be the healthiest, but this is the holiday season, and what is a better excuse for forgetting the diet and healing those stressed spirits with the company of family around a great dinner of cream soup.
All cream soups are not created equal, of course. I have gathered two of my favorite cream soup recipes, and hopefully you can find one that fits you and your family's pallet:
· Cream of Turnip Soup
Cream of Turnip Soup
Turnips are not in our usual ingredients for most of our meals in America, which is a real shame. The turnip is a great vegetable in soups, especially in this cream of turnip soup. You need real butter, 4 cups of leeks, a cup of shallots, four diced turnips, water, chicken broth, a cup of whole milk, black pepper, and chives. Melt the butter in a Dutch oven, adding the leeks and shallots, for about four minutes. Add water and the broth, cooking the turnips until they are cooked all the way through. Next, blend the contents of the Dutch oven adding the milk and pepper. Mix everything together into the pot and heat until hot. Add chives as a finishing touch and serve to the delight of your family.
Cream of Potato Soup
The cream of potato soup, while more tradition, is an amazing dish. You need potatoes in hash brown form, about six cups. Also, carrots, bacon, celery, an onion, cheddar cheese, salt, pepper, milk, half-and-half, and parsley. For this soup the carrots and potatoes need to be fully cooked before added into the soup. Crisp the bacon while sautéing the onions and celery. Add everything together in a medium size sauce pan and cook for about 20-40 minutes, making sure not to let it burn or boil.
These are two great recipes to add to your cookbook, because the season for soups is fast arriving!
For more information on cream soups, cooking tips, or other recipes, visit www.cdkitchen.com today!
Monday, November 17 2008
Thanksgiving is a time of food. It's a celebration of the Pilgrim's early successes in America, won through hard work to tame the land in what was for them a new world. The menu is usually the same. Turkey, sometimes ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls or bread, pumpkin pie and apple pie, and a variety of other trimmings adorn the holiday table. Families gather not only to celebrate the historic event, but just to catch up with everyone's lives. The food may be similar, but Thanksgiving dinner recipes have as much variety as the colors of the leaves on the November trees.
How about this recipe for a delicious appetizer? Move the pumpkin from dessert to the start of the meal as a savory Pumpkin soup. Heat a tablespoon each of oil and butter over medium heat. Add three sliced leeks (only the white) and saute until the leeks are soft. Add 15 ounces of pumpkin puree, a pinch of cloves, one tablespoon of ground cinnamon, one teaspoon of ground ginger, and a pinch of salt. Stir that until well mixed, then pour in 32 ounces of vegetable broth. Stir in one quarter cup of brown sugar. Bring it to a low boil then let it simmer for 10 minutes. If desired pour a tsp or so of cream or half and half into the bowl before adding soup and a dash of cinnamon. That sounds good.
For the main course try frying the turkey instead of broiling it. Don't worry, fried turkey isn't greasy. The oil is so hot it sears the skin, thus the oil can't penetrate it. For this task a big oil pot and propane burner are used. Turkey fryers can be found in stores like Walmart. A meat thermometer is also needed, along with a deep fry thermometer to check the oil for the correct temperature. Make sure to fry outside in a clear area. Heat the oil to between 325 degrees and 350 degrees F. The turkey takes about three minutes per pound to fry to about 170 degrees F in the breast. It's common to inject spices into the turkey during frying, but the dressing is usually not fried along with the turkey.
For some other soup ideas try curried pumpkin apple soup, butternut squash soup, or pumpkin and sausage soup. But there are other good appetizers for the meal. Try something different like cheese wrapped asparagus. Use two cheeses, one spread and one sliced. One idea is swiss cheese slices with a softer blue cheese spread. Spread the soft cheese on the slices, wrap it around a few asparagus spears, then cook in a 230 degree C oven for about 15 minutes, or until the asparagus is soft. Sure wrapping cheese around asparagus turns a pretty healthy food into something a little more fattening. But Thanksgiving isn't a time for a diet. Live a little!
Many more delicious Thanksgiving dinner recipes are available on the Internet.
Friday, November 14 2008
Ah, the magic of comfort food. It brings us feelings of warmth and well being. It brings back memories of childhood and innocence. We have old favorites, such as meatloaf, or Chicken Pot Pie. We develop new favorites, based on our growing tastes and perhaps culture.
Recipes for our favorite comfort foods are available all over, in the form of books, TV shows, hand me down from our parents, and online cooking videos. This last is the most recent in cooking trends, led by such websites as lifestyle.gourmandia.com. Websites that specialize in cooking videos utilize professional chefs as your instructors into making new classic favorites. The recipe lists are displayed in easy to read and easy to print out formats, and the chefs take you step by step on how to make new creations that are sure to quickly become classic comfort foods. Yet these comfort foods are so elegant you could serve them at your next dinner party, without anyone knowing you have not been to a world famous cooking school.
These cooking videos are range from the very simple to fairly complex, and cover a wide variety of foods such as chicken, fish, vegetarian, and even desserts. Michelin rated chefs teach these videos, and show you exactly what is involved in making your next favorite comfort food. Since there is no one else in the "class", you wind up getting one-to-one instruction, just as if they were right there. These are truly the next generation in finding your new favorite comfort foods.
Thursday, November 13 2008
As we all are looking for ways to stretch our food dollar, turkey is a wise choice. Whether or not you plan to cook one for the holidays, buy one when you find them at a good sale price. You can always freeze it for later. You can make a lot of meals from one turkey! And here are some recipes to help you use up that economical turkey meat.
TURKEY SANDWICHES BOMBAY
2 cups chopped cooked turkey
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 tsp curry powder
16 slices white bread
1 pkg (12-oz) American singles pasteurized process cheese food
Combine turkey, raisins, peanuts, celery, onion, and enough mayonnaise to moisten. Add curry powder; mix well. For each sandwich, cover a slice of bread with cheese slice. Top with turkey salad, second slice of cheese and second slice of bread.
1 cup cooked, chopped turkey
2 tbsp chopped celery
2 tbsp chopped onion
1/4 cup margarine
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
Brown celery and onion in margarine. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Combine eggs, milk, and turkey with celery mixture. Add to dry ingredients. Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds full. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes or until brown. Serve with turkey gravy, if desired.
TURKEY SUPPER RING
I found this recipe in an old 1975 magazine but just because it's old doesn't mean it isn't good!
4 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
4 tbsp butter
Melt the butter in a medium hot skillet. Add the flour and milk, cook until smooth.
2 cups diced leftover turkey
3 bouillon cubes
1 can fried Chinese noodles
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
Blend the above ingredients together with the butter mixture. Bake in a greased ring pan or ovenproof mold at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until done. Remove from pan and fill center with cooked vegetables.
Wednesday, November 12 2008
My family goes to my parents' house every Thanksgiving for a wonderful home cooked dinner by my mom. One of my favorite dishes my mom used to make is Sweet Potato Casserole. The reason I say 'used to' is because each year I ask my mom what dish I can bring and she now has me bring this and another dish, a salad.
My mom is a teacher's assistant at an elementary school and the Sweet Potato Casserole was one of the dishes brought to a potluck by another staff member. My mom loved it so much she got the recipe and we've been having it every Thanksgiving since. It's more like a dessert than a side dish.
The Cranberry Fruit salad recipe I'm including was also found at a staff potluck at the school where my mom works. It's sweet-tart, delicious and very easy which is a big plus at Thanksgiving time! I hope you'll try them on your tables this year.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Two 16 Oz Cans Sweet Potatoes
Heat yams & drain. Mash with other ingredients and mix well. Pour into ungreased 9" square glass baking pan. Mix all topping ingredients till crumbly. Spread on yams then bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
NOTES: May be made the day before and refrigerated before baking.
Cranberry Fruit Salad
one 12-oz pkg. fresh cranberries
Put cranberries into food processor and process until finely chopped; ad sugar and drained pineapple and process until blended. Put cranberry mixture into a large bowl and fold in whipped topping and marshmallows.
Wednesday, November 05 2008
Making Thanksgiving meals easy for the whole family.
* De-bone and remove skin from a large turkey breast
* Butterfly the breast
* Cover with plastic wrap and pound lightly to ensure that meat is an even thickness
* Remove plastic wrap and cover butterflied breast with your favorite stuffing (leaving aprox. 1 inch around the edges uncovered)
* Roll breast up and tie securely with butchers twine
* Cook covered in a 375* oven on low rack for aprox. 1 hour per pound , basting frequently with melted butter
* Uncover and cook an additional 10-15 min
* Let stand 10 minutes before removing twine and slicing
French Fried Sweet Potatoes
Be sure to use sweet potatoes and not yams as they are much firmer and will not break as easily while cooking. These fries can be made sweet or savory.
* Cut sweet potatoes as you would cut regular potatoes for french fries
* Soak in cold water for aprox. 10 min
* Rinse and pat dry
* Deep fry in light oil until crispy and browned
* Season hot fries with garlic salt and pepper, or cinnamon
* Serve hot
Pineapple Baked Loin of Pork
When cooking for only a few people, a boneless Pork Loin with Pineapple is a simple alternative.
* Boneless loin of Pork
* 1 can crushed Pineapple undrained
* 1/4 cup light Soy sauce
* 1 tbsp crushed garlic
* 2 tbsp liquid Honey
* Salt and pepper
* Combine all ingredients and pour over pork in a roasting pan
* Cook pork uncovered according to package directions, basting frequently
* Cover with as many pineapple chunks as possible and broil for the last 5 minutes of cook time
Cornish Hens with Cranberry Stuffing are a great alternative to turkey .
* 1 cup Chopped Fresh Cranberries
* 1/4 cup minced Onions
* 1/8 cup Sugar
* 1/4 cup chopped Celery
* 2 Tbsp. Parsley
* 1/4 tsp chopped Fresh Rosemary
* 1/4 cup melted Butter
* 4 cups dried Bread cut into cubes
* Salt and Pepper
* Combine berries and sugar and let set for half an hour
* Saute onions, celery and parsley
* Add crumbs and seasonings
* Add cranberry and sugar mixture and stuff into hens
* Cook Hens according to package directions
Tuesday, November 04 2008
How many times have you had pasta in the last week? At least once, if you count yourself as one of those 77 percent of Americans who eat pasta at least once a week. With more than 40 percent of Americans stating spaghetti as their favorite pasta, it is almost impossible to imagine an American kitchen without pasta.
It is not difficult to understand why pasta is popular all around the world. It is an all rounder in the world of gourmet passing off as convenient food, snack and a nutritious constituent all at the same time. Pasta is an excellent base for many dishes. It can be prepared quickly and easily and may be varied endlessly. Depending upon where in the world one may be located, and upon who might be preparing the dish, one is sure to receive the flavor and character of his or her preference. Thus pasta possesses a strong quality of assuming the taste and character of a dish which makes it entirely pliable to the taste of the world. At the rate at which new fiber-rich sorts of pasta are being launched, pasta may also be listed high on the healthy food lists.
Pasta is a catch-all term for macaroni as well as spaghetti like cannelloni, risoni and noodles. The authentic Italian pasta is made from a mixture of high-quality wheat called Durum wheat, water and sometimes even egg. There is a large variety of pasta in different forms and colors available in the stores today. Green pasta gets its color from spinach, red pasta from tomato and black or dark grey pasta gets its color from octopus ink. In some stores you can even find pasta with colors from blueberry, chili or other exciting colors and flavors!
When cooking pasta, it is important to use plenty of boiling, lightly salted water. Keep in mind that stuffed pasta should only be simmered so that the filling does not leak out! Adding a little bit of oil makes the pasta glossy and prevents it from sticking, but if the pasta is to be served with sauce one should not add any oil since it prevents the sauce from coating the pasta as it should. Pasta to be used in a pasta salad should be rinsed first with warm water and then with cold water in order to avoid the pasta from sticking.
Possibilities for variation are among the pasta's foremost advantages. Weekday or a party, meat, fish, poultry or vegetarian - pasta can be used for and with all of this. However, sometimes one tends to run short of ideas and when you do, do not hesitate to take help from our inspiring collection of recipes at IMP Online - Delicious, mouth-watering pasta recipes and more! The recipes at IMP Online are taken from some of International Master Publishers' favorite recipe series, where all the recipes area carefully and accurately chosen and tested so that you may succeed in cooking every time.
Monday, November 03 2008
I love pumpkin soup not only because of it's unique taste and nutrition benefits (pumpkin and carrots are a great source of Beta-carotene, that is essential for healthy skin and eyes), but also because of the optimistic yellow - orange colour of the soup. Moreover, preparation is extremely simple - pumpkins, carrots and other ingredients can be chopped in whatever-you-like shapes - everything will be blended anyway.
4 tablespoons olive oil or butter
½ teaspoon curry spices or nutmeg (according to your taste preferences)
I hope you will enjoy your meal!
Saturday, November 01 2008
It's that time of year again. Time to start looking for some great Thanksgiving dinner recipes. In my family I am in charge of this dinner and I want to satisfy myself and my family. I do this by trying new recipes. This way I'm challenged when time comes to cook, and my family gets their old tried and true Thanksgiving favorites and gets to try some new dishes, some of which may become tried and true too!
It's easy to do an internet search for Thanksgiving menu ideas. If you do this you'll end up with millions of search results, but how do you know you can trust a recipe? There are hundreds of thousands of food blogs out there and frankly, not all the recipes are good. The way you know you can trust a recipe is it's source. It doesn't necessarily have to come from a "food site" but, if it's referenced it should be from a cook book, or other trusted source, such as a well known chef, and that source should be named.
So what are some tasty and easy Thanksgiving dinner ideas? How about a new twist on stuffing? Try a stuffing with Sausage, Apple and Sage, or maybe even a homemade Chestnut Stuffing. How about adding a cranberry side dish such as Fresh Cranberry Orange Compote or making a tangy Cranberry Apple Chutney? These Thanksgiving side dish recipes are quick and easy.
Make sure that you use the turkey giblets to make a homemade turkey broth. A homemade turkey broth is the only way you can assure you're going to get the best flavor out of your stuffing. A well seasoned turkey broth truly makes all the difference in the outcome of your dishes. I wouldn't consider making Madeira Gravy without my homemade stock.
If you've never cooked a turkey, or if you simply want a reminder it's also easy to find tips on cooking a turkey online. Year after year I make notes about my dinner. I may have cooked too much of one thing and not enough of another. My family may not have liked a new dish or may have. Making notes after cooking my Thanksgiving dinner is a way I remember from one year to the next.
One of the tricks to successful Thanksgiving dinner is not just the recipes, it's knowing how to time the dishes. Every year I make a time-line for cooking. This way I'm assured that all my stuffing, vegetables and side-dishes come out perfectly cooked, and all at the same time. This way when we sit down to eat everything is hot and ready. Having a time-line also takes stress off of me. All I have to do is follow my list and I know that everything will be under control.
Don't forget to ask family members to bring a dish to your dinner. Share your Thanksgiving recipes with them. Maybe you can ask a sister-in-law to make a side-dish of Pearl Onions au Gratin and ask your mother to make the Bourbon Cranberry Sauce and have your sister make the Campbell's Green Bean Casserole. Perhaps you can assign each of them a dessert item like a Strawberry Trifle or Red Velvet Cake.
We love hosting our family, I enjoy trying new recipes and they enjoy tasting new dishes. It's a win-win situation for us!