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


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


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


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?


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


• 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

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

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


Coffee iconImage via Wikipedia



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

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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The Disaronno Originale square bottleImage via Wikipedia



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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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