Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cabbage Recipes

VEGAN Savoy Cabbage RollsImage by jennconspiracy via FlickrCabbage recipes are at all times nutritive but generally regarded boring recipes. But one should keep in mind that no vegetable is uninteresting but recipes can be boring. It is likely that steamed cabbage may not appear tempting but cabbage recipes made with tomato sauce and other delectable meats are brilliant. Cabbage recipes can be made appealing by several styles of cooking.


This green vegetable contains plenty of vitamins, minerals as well as it is an antioxidant. It is uncomplicated to get it and it fit in your finances as well. If you face difficulty convincing your children to eat their greens, you will not have any problems if you make one of the following tasty crock pot recipes.

Cabbage Roll Recipe

These rolls, which are also known as dolma, are a delicacy in the Middle East and in Eastern Europe. To prepare cabbage rolls in crock pot, you need cabbage leaves that ought to be steamed until tender. For filling, grounded beef and prepared rice are often used.

Combine a beaten egg, quarter cup milk, a thinly chopped onion and some seasoning of salt and black pepper. Place quarter of a cup of the beef mixture on each leaf and roll the leaves, folding from the sides, to give the shape rolls. Arrange them in the slow cooker.
A combination of lemon juice, brown sugar and tomato sauce can be poured above the rolls to add slight piquancy.

Crockpot Cabbage Preparations With Beef

Casserole dishes are all the time filling and tasty and cabbage is generally used to make a nutritional, flavorful casserole dish in the slow cooker. Browned and grounded beef can be added to make the preparation more scrumptious.

Shred a cabbage and chop an onion. Fill the bottom of the crick pot with either tomato juice of broth made up of beef, then place a layer of cabbage, onion and beef on the top of the liquid and season with thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Layers can be repeated and should be end with the browned beef.

Top layer of casserole can be garnished with one pound of canned tomatoes and little more oregano. Cook on high flame for just about an hour, then mix it. This recipe is perfect if you are going to spent whole day out and you are not certain that at what time you will get house as the casserole can cook for over eight to ten and a half hours and still remain unspoiled. For more cabbage recipes you can look for the world wide web and collect several traditional and nutritious delights.

mrpooper

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Friday, November 26, 2010

America’s Well-liked Regional Dish – Apple Pie

Apple pie has been consumed in England since t...Image via WikipediaOne dessert that everyone can never get enough in America is surely the Apple Pie Recipes. Apple Pie is a out and out American food. Although, you could effortlessly get numerous variations of this very popular American dessert, you need to try the normal and conventional recipe first to know the conventional taste better. The apple pie prepared with regional components and cooking methods is actually 10 times better than a contemporary recipe. There are various regional variations available to explore for this extremely popular American recipe. Do you think the apple pie only like an two crusts and an apple filling decorated with numerous components such as sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg? Well, in that case you need to try the assorted regional recipes of apple pie to get a delectable surprise. Several of the most popular and widely liked apple pie types are named as apple cobbler, apple pandowdy, apple puff, apple crisp and apple brown betty.
You can use various kinds of apples so as to prepare the apple pie recipe. One of the most perfect choices is often the toughest apples that are simply available in your area. You may also go after the culinary traditions and cooking styles of any of your preferred cuisine so as to add a little personal variations.
Aside from regional variations of apple pie, you can even learn some great variations of the same recipe by other countries. Such as New England that has created some marvelous variations to the existing recipes. They’ve got only utilized certain apples just like pippins, Granny Smith’s or some comparable firm fleshed and sweet apple breed.
Just like New England, Maine has shown their very own originality by adding blueberries as part of your very traditional apple pie. Besides these, people in Massachusetts commonly make this very scrumptious and refreshing cranberry apple pie and Vermont has this highlight of honey and maple syrup in the normal apple pie.
So far as the American Apple pie, it’s a full representation of famous and customary American cooking. In every region, Americans have taken the finest of that place to get a brand new variation in apple pie recipe. A number of the popular American regional variations of apple pie are to spray cinnamon, a dollop of whipped cream or a slice of sharp cheddar. Therefore, basically every apple pie recipe is associated with the several areas of America.

Apple pie recipe - How to make apple pie

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Focaccia Doppia

Ingredients:

• 2 large sweet red peppers (about 1 pound)
• 2 large sweet yellow peppers (about 1 pound, 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil)
• 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 1/4 pound thinly sliced soppressata, diced
• Fine sea salt to taste
• 1 recipe Straight Dough
• 6 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles
• Coarse sea salt for sprinkling
Directions:
Preheat the broiler. Lightly spray the broiler pan with olive oil spray. Place the peppers on the pan so they are not touching one another and broil, turning them often with kitchen tongs, until they are blackened all over, 8 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, grillthe peppers over a gas or charcol grill.)

Transfer the peppers to a heavy paper bag, close the top of the bag, and let the peppers cool for about 20 minutes.

When the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the cores and peel away the skins. With paper towels, wipe away the seeds -- do not rinse the peppers under running water to remove the seeds, or you will lose the flavorful juices. Cut the peppers into thin strips and place them in a bowl along with any juices.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and glazed, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, stir in the vinegar, and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the onions to the bowl with the peppers. Stir in the soppressata and salt, cover, and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Lightly spray two 16-inch pizza pans with olive oil spray and set aside.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, and shape each piece into a ball. Set 2 balls aside and cover them with a towel or bowl.
Roll one piece of dough into a 16 1/2-inch round. Place the dough on one of the pizza pans. Spread half the pepper mixture evenly over the dough.

Scatter half the rosemary needles over the work surface. Place the second piece of dough on top of the rosemary and knead the needles into the dough. Roll the dough out into a 16-inch round and place it over the pepper mixture. Tightly seal the edges of the focaccia by folding the edges of the bottom dough up to meet the edges of the top dough and pinching the edges together to seal them. Brush the top of the focaccia with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Using scissors, cut an X in the center of the top of the focaccia.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling ingredients.

Bake the focaccia for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top and bottom are browned.

Cool the focaccia slightly, then use scissors or a sharp knife to cut the focaccia into wedges.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Beef top round with parsnips, carrots, onion, ...Image via Wikipedia
Remember visiting grandma's house and walking into a kitchen overflowing with the most luscious smells you've ever encountered?  There was always a large pot on the stovetop simmering away.  And when that pot was opened at dinnertime, you found yourself face to face with a plate of the most tasty meats and vegetables you've ever eaten.  Nobody could cook like grandma!

Not to diminish your childhood memories, but you can now cook every bit as good as grandma.  Chances are, in that stovetop pot, grandma was braising.  Braising is a method of cooking meats and vegetables.  It is especially effective for tougher, cheaper cuts of meat such as shanks, briskets and rumps.  This is a primary technique taught in culinary school.  Braising is not only great for home cooked meals, it is also a method for gourmet preparations straight from New York or Hollywood.  Cooking school graduates have developed some wonderful variations to the meats, liquids, vegetables and spices included in braising to create some truly elegant meals.

Regardless of what you include in your pot, one thing is certain.  Because braising involves cooking in liquid for longer periods of time, your house is sure to be filled with the most delightful aromas, and your meat will be fork-tender… just like grandma’s.

In culinary arts school, professional chefs learn to start the braising process by searing the meat in hot oil.  The reason for this is twofold.  First, searing seals the meat (trapping the juices inside) so the meat doesn't become dry when cooked.  Second, searing your meat before braising brings out a lot of flavor.  The caramelization of the meat on the bottom of the pan gives an extra layer of rich essence to the recipe.

Once the meat has seared and is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan.  Create a bed of chopped vegetables (called a mirepoix) on the bottom of the pot.  In culinary school, professionals are taught to pair the meat with the flavors of the vegetables.  For beef or lamb, you might select carrots, onions and celery for your veggie mix.  Allow the vegetables to sweat (cook just until they begin to produce liquid) then add your meat and liquid.

Add the meat back to the pan, add your spices and pour in your liquid.  This is where your creativity will come in.  In the south, you might find braised dishes such as traditional pot roast with carrots and potatoes.  Seasonings could include garlic, salt and pepper.  Liquids might be a combination of beef stock and Worcestershire sauce. 

In the Los Angeles or Hollywood area, you may be more likely to find lamb shanks braised with rosemary, tomatoes, garlic, onion, chicken stock and red wine.  Culinary arts school instructors usually tell would-be chefs to pick up on local flavors whenever possible to bring authenticity to their creations.

Once your favorite seasonings and liquids are in place, reduce the heat to a low setting for stovetop cooking or transfer your pot to the oven and bake at approximately 300 degrees.  (Be sure you have an ovenproof pot.)  Cook for about 3 hours on the stovetop or 2.5 hours in a 350-degree oven.  Plate up your meal and serve with some of the delicious sauce left in the pot!  It's a meal everybody will love.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Seared Scallops with Orange and Vermouth

Using an orange zester to zest an orange.Image via Wikipedia
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 pounds sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
2 scallions including green tops, chopped
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 teaspoon grated orange zest


In a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat until very hot. Season the scallops with the salt and pepper. Add half the scallops to the pan and cook until browned, about 1 minute. Turn and cook until browned on the second side and just done, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from the pan. Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pan and repeat with the remaining scallops. Wipe out the pan.

In the same pan, melt the butter over moderate heat. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the vermouth and orange zest. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the scallops and warm until just heated through, about 1 minute.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cooking With Honey – The Healthy Sweetener

A jar of honey with honey dipperImage via Wikipedia

If you want to be able to cook sweets without the negative health effects of refined sugar, honey is an excellent option. Among other reasons, honey is metabolized more slowly by your body, meaning that you are less likely to get a sugar “high” after eating something made with honey.

Honey can be challenging to cook with, though, for several reasons. So many people don't cook with it because they don't know how. But once you know how to use honey in your favorite kitchen creations, it's not hard at all to use.

The first challenge that honey presents is that it burns more easily that normal sugar. This problem is usually eliminated by doing your cooking or baking at a slightly lower heat.

The main hurdle to cooking with honey is that it is a liquid. Replacing sugar with honey will ruin some recipes if you don't make an allowance for the extra liquid that the honey adds.

Most muffins, simple quick breads, yeast breads, etc you can make the substitution without any adjustment. Cakes, cookies and some other recipes you should decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe to account for the honey.

Honey is also very easy to use in pies. Since they are already somewhat liquid, you can replace the sugar with honey. If the pie filling seems too runny, just add a little extra thickener before you pour it in your pie shell.

The flavor of honey can sometimes be an issue, but not usually. If you are making a recipe that you don't want the flavor to be noticeable, there are several things you can try. First of all, get the mildest flavored honey you can. Usually that will be a very pale clover honey. (The paler the honey, the sweeter and milder the flavor, in general.)

If necessary, you can use part honey, and part some other sweetener, such as apple juice concentrate, agave nectar, stevia, or even sugar if you have to.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Barbecuing: A Quintessential American Tradition

Some chicken, pork and corn in the barbequeImage via Wikipedia

Next to baseball, nothing says summer like the sizzling sounds, enticing aromas, and mouth-watering flavors of barbecuing. In fact, according to a recent survey commissioned by Hormel Foods and conducted by Harris Interactive®, 90 percent of respondents2 agree that barbecues make them think of summer.

Where does America barbecue? According to the survey, 89 percent prefer to hold family barbecues in their backyards, compared with 3 percent who prefer a public park or picnic area. Barbecues are a great way to bring the family together, entertain friends and family and enjoy the summer nights-right in the backyard!

A few simple tips, courtesy of Hormel Foods, can make your next grill-out even easier:

Marinating musts: Marinating meat adds flavor and tenderization before cooking. Every marinade should contain an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or wine; an oil, such as olive or canola; and seasonings, such as herbs and spices. For a no-mess solution, try a pre-marinated variety of Hormel® Always Tender® pork.


Barbecue in bulk: Got leftovers? No problem. Barbecue meals freeze well, and often become more flavorful when the sauce and spices are reheated at a later date. Once you have fired up the grill, cook as much as your pit can handle since your food will maintain its flavor for future meals. Then thaw, reheat and just add sauce for a delicious leftover treat.

Fire up a fast-cooking feast: To spend more time with guests instead of the grill, choose a pre-cooked variety of barbecue meat, like Lloyd's® barbeque fully cooked ribs, which cuts cooking time to less than five minutes. Just heat and eat!

Deck out your deck: Minimal meal preparation time gives you a chance to focus on the details. To make your barbecue spectacular, set the mood by hanging lanterns around the yard, blending a signature summertime cocktail and presenting the meal on brightly colored plates.

Now that the days are long and school is out, it's easy to step outside and cook dinner on the grill. A relaxing backyard barbecue dinner will melt the stress of the workday away. Your family will love the meal, and you'll love the convenience.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

ALASKAN MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKES

Mixing melted butter with chocolate to make a ...Image via Wikipedia

2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
3 (4-oz each) premium semisweet chocolate baking bars, broken into chunks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cups egg substitute
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
powdered sugar for dusting

Brush 16 muffin cups with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter; sprinkle evenly with the unsweetened cocoa, shaking out the excess. Set into the refrigerator.

In a large heavy saucepan, place the cut-up butter and the chocolate chunks. Cook over low heat, stirring often, until all melted. Slowly whisk in the cream using a wire whisk; set aside.

Combine the egg substitute and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 5 to 7 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add the chocolate cream and the flour, beating until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups filling each to about 1/4-inch from the top. Cover and return to the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Remove from refrigerator and bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 10 to 11 minutes or just until the edges of the cakes spring back when lightly touched but the centers are still soft. Remove from oven and let stand 3 minutes . Loosen cake edges with a thin knife and invert cakes onto a baking sheet. Transfer cakes to dessert plates. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
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Friday, May 21, 2010

TARRAGON CHICKEN WITH CARROTS AND LINGUINE

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 08:  A culinary student ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

6-oz uncooked linguine

1 cup stock

1 lb skinless boneless chicken breast

1 small onion, sliced crosswise

2 carrots, cut into julienne strips

8 mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/2 tsp dried tarragon

freshly grated Parmesan cheese

minced green onions for garnish

In a large stock pot, cook linguine until just tender. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat stock over medium heat. Cut chicken into strips 1/2-inch wide and 3-inches long; add to the stock. Separate onion slices into individual rings and add to the stock. Cook 7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the carrots, mushrooms, parsley, and tarragon. Heat until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add linguine and toss to combine. Heat until linguine is hot. Remove to a serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with cheese and green onions.
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

GERMAN SKILLET DINNER

Raw Ground beefImage via Wikipedia


For the busy cook, skillet meals or dinners can be a lifesaver. These meals are easy, quick, tasty, and combine several food groups into one pan. Clean-up is reduced which is also important to busy cooks. Here are some choices for easy skillet meals. Try the German Skillet Dinner which features ground beef, rice, and sauerkraut. Don't like German? How about a Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry?

GERMAN SKILLET DINNER

1 tbsp butter
1 can (16-oz) sauerkraut, undrained
1/2 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lb lean ground chuck, lightly browned and drained
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 can (8-oz) tomato sauce

In a large skillet, melt the butter. Spread the sauerkraut out evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle the rice over the sauerkraut and the onion over the rice. Top rice with the ground meat, salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Cover skillet and cook over low heat 25 to 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.
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Monday, May 17, 2010

Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding

Sunday roast consisting of roast beef, roast p...Image via Wikipedia

Ingredients:

• 4.5 lbs Topside roast (with the fat still attached if possible)

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 4 eggs, beaten

• 2 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C

2. Wash roast and sprinkle with salt and pepper

3. Bake on a wire rack inside of a large roasting pan in the preheated oven for 2
hours or to desired doneness

4. Remove roast from pan and save dripping

5. In a small mixing bowl, beat the two eggs until frothy

6. In another small bowl, mix the salt and flour

7. Stir the beaten eggs into the flour stirring constantly, gradually pour in the milk

8. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C

9. Pour the saved drippings into a medium muffin tin and place in the preheated
oven for 3 minutes

10. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the hot drippings

11. Return muffin tin to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until fluffy and golden
brown



12. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into the hot drippings

13. Return muffin tin to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until fluffy and golden
brown

14. Make the gravy with the juices from the meat

15. Serve with vegetables of your choice and horseradish sauce




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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BAVARIAN MINT COFFEE CREAMER

Coffee iconImage via Wikipedia

BAVARIAN MINT COFFEE CREAMER

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Non-dairy coffee creamer
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
3/4 cup Confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. Peppermint extract

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid.
Shake well to blend.
Store in airtight container and give creamer with the recipe for Bavarian Mint Coffee.

Servings: Yields 15 servings.

Attach Recipe to Jar:

To make Bavarian Mint Coffee:
In a mug, combine 2 tablespoons of creamer with 6 ounces of coffee.
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AMARETTO COFFEE CREAMER

The Disaronno Originale square bottleImage via Wikipedia

AMARETTO COFFEE CREAMER

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Non-dairy coffee creamer
1 tsp. Almond extract
1 tsp. Ground cinnamon
3/4 cup Confectioners' sugar

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid.
Shake well to blend.
Store in airtight container and give creamer with the recipe for Amaretto Coffee.

Servings: Yields 12 servings.

Attach Recipe to the jar:

Amaretto Coffee:

In a mug, combine 2 tablespoons of creamer with 6 ounces of coffee.
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Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quick Caramel Rolls

ingredients:

1 Loaf frozen bread dough
3/4 C Nuts
1/2 pkg Butterscotch pudding (not instant)
1/2 C Brown sugar
1/2 C Margarine
1 tsp Water

Directions:

Thaw bread for 45 minutes.
Grease Bundt (or other tube pan) well with butter (margarine) and sprinkle nuts all around bottom and sides.
Cut bread into 12 equal pieces and put in bottom of pan.
Combine last 4 ingredients in small saucepan and cook stirring constantly over medium heat until bubbles form and boil one minute.
Spoon over bread dough to coat each piece.
Cover lightly with kitchen towel and leave on counter overnight.
In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Let cool for 5 minutes. Then flip onto a plate and let sauce drizzle over.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chop Till You Drop

A wooden chopping board with a chef's knife.Image via Wikipedia

You use it everyday in the Kitchen. If not looked after it can make you sick – And yet you probably never give it a second thought.

The Chopping Board is a large board you use in the kitchen for chopping, cutting and preparing food on.

When purchasing a new board, there are heaps of options to choose from – timber, glass, marble, plastic. And it can be a confusing choice.

Glass and Marble type cutting boards may look good but they play havoc on your knives. The hard surface will quickly blunt your knife and damage it’s edge.

So, keep your glass and marble boards for serving food only.

When it comes to wooden and plastic boards, even the experts are divided as to which is best. It comes down to personal preference. And mine is…. wooden.

Wooden boards are generally heavier and less inclined to slip. They are also more attractive and can be used to serve food at the table.

Where as plastic boards are lighter, come in various colors and are dishwasher safe.

Whichever type you choose, it is imperative you clean it well. Harmful bacteria can breed on your board and cause dreadful food poisoning.

So … be sure to scrub your board well after each use, with hot water and detergent. Then allow it to stand and drip dry. Your board should be completely dry before using again.

It’s a good idea to have more than one board, to avoid cross contamination. Have one for raw meat and one for other foods.

Or take it to the extreme and do what the professionals do. Use 5 different colored boards:-

Red – Raw Meats
Yellow – Poultry
Blue – Seafood
Green – Fruit and Vegetables
White – General

So, if you board is starting to look a bit worse for wear, then it is probably time for a new one. And now you will be well informed to choose the right one for you.


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Thursday, May 6, 2010

SWEET AND SOUR BEEF AND CABBAGE

Three bellpeppers (Capsicum annuum) from three...Image via Wikipedia

SWEET AND SOUR BEEF AND CABBAGE

1 1/2 lbs lean ground chuck

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tbsp dried parsley flakes

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 medium head of cabbage, cored, cut into 6 wedges

1/2 cup tomato sauce

1/4 cup vinegar

2 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend

In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook the ground chuck, onion, celery, and bell pepper until the meat is browned and the veggies are tender. Drain in a colander and rinse with hot water. Wipe the skillet with paper toweling to remove excess grease. Return the mixture to the skillet. Sprinkle the parsley flakes, salt, pepper and garlic powder over the mixture. Arrange the cabbage wedges over the mixture. Combine the tomato sauce, vinegar, and Splenda brown sugar blend; stir until well blended. Pour the sauce over the cabbage and meat mixture. Cover and bring the ingredients to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately while hot.
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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Wonderful Tools of Cooking

A cook sautees onions and peppers.Image via Wikipedia

Far too often people overlook the importance of using the proper tools when cooking fine meals. While there is nothing in the world that can quite compare to cooking with the finest and freshest of ingredients, using the perfect tools for the job at hand enhances the experience.
When it comes to pots, pans, and skillets, you should keep in mind that conductivity is of extreme importance. You should also select pots and pans made of a heavier gauge. This allows your pans to heat evenly, avoiding hot spots, which can lead to food that may stick to your pan or scorch during the cooking process. This means that simply stopping in at your local mass market retailer and purchasing any old set of pots and pans is probably not the best course of action for the best possible quality in your kitchen.
Kitchen knives are also important ingredients in the kitchens of today. If you plan to prepare many meals in your kitchen, then the quality of your knives is of the utmost importance. Your knives are an investment you will not make too often in your lifetime. For this reason, select a really good set and be prepared to make a sizeable investment in your knives. You will never understand, unless you've tried to prepare foods with knives of inferior quality, just how important it is to purchase good quality and well-balanced knives for your kitchen. You should also try the handles in your hand to see how comfortable they feel before purchasing a set of knives. If you do a lot of chopping and cutting during your meal preparation and cooking, you will want to make sure that the knives you are using feel comfortable in your hands.
If you are like me, and plan on cooking a great deal of meat, then you should also invest in a jacquard. This useful tool helps not only when it comes to tenderizing rather rough and tumble cuts of meat, but also pierces the surface so that rubs and marinades can penetrate for a more flavorful experience. This is by far one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, and it isn't a sizeable investment for the added value it provides to meals.
A good quality grater is another tool that no kitchen should be without. Many feel, with all the shredded cheese products on the market today, this tool is obsolete, but nothing is further from the truth. Shredded cheese simply doesn't touch the quality of flavor that freshly grated cheese provides. Remember that cheese isn't the only thing that these graters are useful for grating. Graters are excellent tools for grating citrus fruits, spices, garlic, chocolate, and even onions. If you do a good deal of baking in addition to your cooking, you should not overlook the value of having a quality grater in your kitchen.
Of course, there are many more cooking tools than I could possibly mention here. Those mentioned above simply happen to be among my personal favorites. There are all kinds of appliances that, in my humble opinion, no kitchen is truly complete without. In addition to these great appliances, many tools are simply matters of preference. Do you peel enough potatoes to warrant a special device? Or, do you simply opt to purchase an ergonomically designed potato peeler and peel them by hand? There are no "one size fits all" answers when it comes to kitchen tools, and serious budget constraints and restrictions limit many of us. My best advice, if this is your situation, is to purchase the best possible quality you can afford and build from there. Even if it means replacing one pot or knife at a time until you can manage a complete set of superior quality cooking tools, you will find it well worth the price you pay in the end.
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Saturday, May 1, 2010

White Chocolate Truffles

Raw white chocolateImage via Wikipedia

Ingredients:

1/4 C butter
1/2 C confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg yolk
8 oz. white chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 C chopped blanched almonds, lightly toasted

Directions:


Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat.
Add sugar, egg yolk and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer until smooth.
Transfer to a shallow glass casserole dish.
Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
Shape mixture into 1 inch balls.
Roll in almonds.
Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Place in miniature foil cups at room temperature to serve. Store in airtight container in refrigerator.

Servings: Makes about 2 dozen truffles
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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Truffles

Butter making womanImage via Wikipedia

Ingredients:

1 C peanut butter chips
3/4 C butter
1/2 cup cocoa
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Coatings: crushed graham cracker crumbs, confectioners sugar or crushed nuts

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with butter.
Stir in cocoa until smooth.
Add condensed milk and vanilla.
Cook and stir until thickened and well blended, about 4 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Chill until firm enough to handle.
Shape into 1 inch balls.
Roll in desired coating.
Chill until firm.
Store, covered in refrigerator

Servings: Makes about 3 dozen truffles.
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Monday, April 26, 2010

BALSAMIC CHICKEN BREASTS WITH FRUIT AND NUTS

Grilled Summer Vegetable Terrine and Hazelnut ...Image by emptyhighway via Flickr




BALSAMIC CHICKEN BREASTS WITH FRUIT AND NUTS

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

2 tsp canola or extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup seedless grapes, halved

1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 cup sliced plain almonds

Sprinkle the salt and pepper evenly over the chicken breasts. In a large nonstick skillet heat the canola or olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan; stir in the grapes, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and Splenda brown sugar blend. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup (approximately 5 to 6 minutes). Return the chicken to the pan and cook another 3 to 5 minutes, turning to coat both sides, until chicken is cooked through. Serve by putting sauce over the chicken and sprinkling the almonds over the top.
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MIXED VEGETABLE SALAD

Beans Alubia pinta alavesa. Álava, Spain.Image via Wikipedia

1 can green beans
1 can kidney beans
1 can peas
1 can lima beans (not butter beans)
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cups diced celery
1 cup diced green bell pepper
3 tbsp pimento

Drain the green beans, kidney beans, the peas, and lima beans. Mix the beans and peas together lightly. Add the onion, celery, bell pepper, and pimento; toss the mixture to blend well and set aside.

1 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
dash of freshly ground pepper
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp mustard

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and pepper. Stir in the vinegar, water, and mustard. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils, stirring frequently. Pour dressing over the vegetable mixture until well coated. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator in a covered container. It will keep indefinitely.
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Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beat the Summer Heat with Crock Pot Cooking

A slow cooker. This one has a removable 'crock...Image via Wikipedia

When the weather outside warms up, the kitchen can be a terrible place to be. There are many things you can do however, when it comes to cooking a nice home made meal that doesn't require traditional stove top or oven cooking. Learn to utilize some of the lesser heat producing equipment in your kitchen, such as the crock pot, in order to truly beat the summer heat and keep your cool while preparing a nice hot meal for friends and family.

So, how does crock pot cooking really help beat the heat? Simply put, the crock pot in and of itself puts off far less heat when cooking than an oven or stove top. This is the first and possibly the best reason to utilize the crock pot in your summer meal planning. You should also consider the fact that by not heating the house by using your stove top or oven you are also preventing your air conditioning (or other cooling methods) from working overtime in order to compensate for the additional heat that other cooking methods introduce.

This makes crock pot cooking a win-win situation as the costs involved in operating a crock pot are far less than the costs involved in operating a stove or oven in general. Whether electric or gas, your stove and oven are often serious energy hogs. Add to that the fact that you are not raising the temperature in your home by traditional means of cooking and you are using even less electricity.

Unfortunately for most, the general consensus has been that crock pots were meant for comfort foods and hearty winter meals. The truth is that the crock pot should be one of your best loved and most often utilized cooking methods if you can manage it. When it comes to cooking with a crock pot, the options are almost limitless. Almost anything that can be baked can be made in the crock pot and many, many more wonderful and enticing meals and treats as well.

Benefits of Crock Pot Cooking

In addition to the cost benefits mentioned above when it comes to crock pot cooking there are many other benefits that are well worth mentioning. First of all, the bulk of the work involved in crock pot cooking takes place early in the day when you are refreshed rather than at the end of a hectic work or play day. This means that you are less likely to forget an ingredient or make other mistakes that often occur as we hurriedly prepare a dinner when we are exhausted from the activities of our day.

Second, many great crock pot recipes include the vegetables that insure we are getting the nutrients we need. So often, when preparing a meal at the last minute, vegetables and other side dishes are left out in favor of expedience. Crock pot cooking in many instances is a meal in one dish.

Another great reason to use a crock pot for your summertime cooking is the ease of clean up. Unlike pots and pans, most crock pot meals are made in one dish. This means that there will not be mountains of dishes to be either hand washed or loaded into the dishwasher (or if you are like me-both) afterwards. You can spend less time cleaning just as you spent less time slaving over a hot stove. Oh wait! Make that no time slaving over a hot stove. Once clean up is complete you can get back to enjoying the sun set, chasing the lightening bugs with your little ones, or waiting for the first star.

While there will never be a one size fits all best cooking method, crock pot cooking comes very close. If you have a crock pot collecting dust somewhere in the back of your pantry it is time to get it out, dust if off, and dig up some great summertime crock pot cooking recipes.
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