SEARCH:
Find us on Google+

Updates from July, 2009 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts


    »Cooking for Sunday Dinner«

  • TorontoSEO 9:25 PM on July 11, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: , casserole, , Cooking for Sunday Dinner, , , fried chicken, , , Sunday Dinner, , , ,   

    Cooking for Sunday Dinner

    From as far back as I can remember there have been special church occasions when dinner on the church grounds was the order for the day. Far too many times I watched as person after person walked in with store purchased fried chicken. Whether the reason for this was lack of time, lack of planning, or lack of ideas I was never quite certain. I was certain however, that this was not isolated to my church alone.

    It may seem odd but I have traveled all over the country and lived in many different areas of the culture. One thing that seems constant no matter where I live is that someone inevitably brings fried chicken from a local restaurant or deli as his or her potluck offering. There is nothing wrong with this of course, but there are so many great recipes available for Sunday dinner cooking that it seems odd that so many would resort to this tired old tradition rather than spicing things up with a spicy taco casserole or sweetening the deal with some delightfully delicious and simple to make dessert.

    Sunday dinners obviously aren’t the only time when cooking a casserole or making a dessert is a good decision for the day. They are, however, the most common from my childhood, which is why I often refer to them. There are also ‘pitch ins’ at work that require a contribution and these are an excellent opportunity to make coworkers envy your culinary talents. Even for those who are health conscious however, there are many wonderful types of salads that can be prepared for occasions such as this that will provide you with a guilt free entrée at the event for which you are preparing your offering.

    You do not have to choose calorie or fat filled dishes for your Sunday dinner cooking. In fact, when you are doing the cooking you should cook the things you enjoy eating. Most of us are much more likely to put our best efforts into preparing the foods we enjoy rather than those that feel as though they are a chore for us to make. The same holds true when cooking for potlucks and such. Just be careful that you do not prepare the exact same dish every time or people will think that it is the only dish you can prepare.

    I recommend checking out casserole recipes online and in your favorite magazines. Even magazines that offer healthier eating options often have a casserole, large salad, or even a healthy dessert you can prepare for these events. My personal solution has always been to collect recipes over time that I would like to try out and use the potluck audience as my recipe guinea pigs. This way if my family or I do not like it, we won’t be stuck with leftovers for a week and if we do like it, we can put it into our rotation of recipes for use at home.

    Sunday dinner cooking doesn’t have to be nearly as stressful as many of us make it out to be. Many wonderful crock-pot recipes can actually be prepared while you sleep. Just load your slow cooker with the proper ingredients and turn it on before turning in. You should awaken to the wonderful aroma of whatever delightful dish you have prepared and still manage to get ready for church in record time. This tried and true technique is a great way to make Sunday dinner cooking quick and easy.

    Even if you are one of the many who have very limited culinary talents it is quite possible to wow your friends, relatives, and fellow church members with the correct ‘simple to make’ recipe. Desserts are by far the best way to go in this effort and can also be made the night before (in many cases) and stored in the refrigerator. Desserts are almost always a good bet and very few people ever complain about them regardless. The Kraft foods website offers some fabulously easy to make and delicious desserts if you are in need. The next time it is your turn to join in on the potluck preparation don’t resort to fried chicken. Dish up something that will truly turn heads instead.

     

  • »Cooking for Little Ones«

  • TorontoSEO 8:57 PM on July 6, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: , calcium, , Cooking for Little Ones, , Fresh fruits and vegetables, , , , , , , ,   

    Cooking for Little Ones

    Cooking for toddlers and growing children presents some unique challenges along the way. While you want to provide them with those ever so important nutrients, it is often difficult to get them to eat those foods that are best for their growing bodies. We are all probably well aware of the food pyramid and the number of servings our children need of healthy grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and calcium products. Getting them to eat these nourishing products is another matter all together unfortunately.

    The good news when cooking for children is that you do not necessarily need to incorporate all the important nutrients into dinner food. The truth of the matter is that raw cucumbers, which are thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt make a much healthier snack than potato chips and many little ones love this for a snack. You get a vegetable in their system and they are getting a treat at snack time. The same holds true for melon and cantaloupes. These make excellent snacks and are a much-needed fruit in these important diets for little ones.

    When it comes to cooking for little ones, however man, woman, and child cannot live on macaroni and cheese alone. It’s been tried and tested and failed miserably. Try mixing things up whenever you can while keeping meals kid friendly. It is important that you try to introduce whole grains, proteins, and vegetables whenever possible at meal times around your home. The good news is that there are many prepackaged convenience foods that are introducing whole grains like never before in order to meet the growing demand of consumers for healthier meals that can be prepared with little fan fare or fuss.

    Cooking healthier meals for kids is now easier than ever before. Fresh fruits and vegetables are best whenever possible. However, if you cannot manage fresh, you should avoid canned (fruits especially as they are often swimming in sugary sweetness) whenever possible. Frozen is far preferable to canned when it comes to both fruit and vegetables, as there are often fewer additives.

    If you need some great meal ideas that are kid friendly and easy on the budget, you can often find recipes readily available online. You can meet your child’s calcium and dairy product needs by adding milk as the drink of choice for meals or a slice of cheese melted over their favorite vegetable. Ice cream, yogurt, and pudding also make excellent calcium rich treats, in moderation of course.

    Encourage your children to try new things rather than cooking the same few meals over and over again that you know they are likely to eat. This prevents two things from happening. First of all, it helps you not to get bored when cooking for your children. Second, it allows your children to try new flavors and textures and form opinions about them. By trying new things they will learn not only about the things they dislike but also the foods they really enjoy.

    You should also keep in mind that your children are people too when cooking for them. Just as you have foods you like and dislike they also will develop tastes over time. Those tastes may also change in time as well. It’s frustrating, I know, to spend time and money preparing a meal only to have your child push the plate away and refuse to even try the meal. For this, I recommend enlisting their help in the kitchen. Children are much more likely to eat the things they had a hand in preparing as a matter of accomplishment and pride. It’s psychological warfare I know but all is fair in war and dinnertime.

    Perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself (much greater than the help in the kitchen) by ‘forcing’ your little ones to help prepare dinner is that they will learn to better appreciate your culinary efforts and eat peacefully rather than sullenly. This tactic has met with great success in my household when cooking for little ones. I hope you will enjoy the same degree of success as well.

     

  • »Cooking for Crowds Should not be a Frightening Proposition«

  • TorontoSEO 8:56 PM on July 5, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: , consistency, Cooking for Crowds, Cooking for Crowds Should not be a Frightening Proposition, dinner, , , lasagna, Proposition, , , ,   

    Cooking for Crowds Should not be a Frightening Proposition

    Most people balk at the idea of cooking for large crowds of people. With images of huge stockpots boiling over and becoming chained to a hot stove and oven for countless hours on end, it’s no wonder that so many people avoid the idea of cooking food for large crowds with more tenacity than they avoid being last in the dinner line.

    The good news is that it doesn’t have to be the frightening proposition that so many make it out to be. When it comes to cooking for a large crowd, the planning phase is the most important. You absolutely must plan your meals when feeding a large group of people. This goes far beyond the notion of spaghetti or fried chicken as the meals you are planning. You need to know how many servings you will need. While obviously you never know how hungry people will be or who will eat how much when it comes to cooking for a large crowd it is a good idea to always plan for a few extra mouths in case some need a little more than you may think (you might want to double servings for teen and college aged men that will be dining).

    You need to know at least a general number of servings to prepare and adjust your recipe in order to accommodate those needs. Some people find it much simpler if they can double or triple recipes rather than scaling them to specific serving sizes. If this works best for you then by all means incorporate this practice when cooking for crowds. One thing you must be aware of is that you will need to include in order to create the meal you are planning.

    Having the proper ingredients and the proper amounts of ingredients is more important in bulk recipes than is often necessary in smaller recipes as there is less leeway when it comes to creating the proper consistency. You should keep this in mind when making purchases for your cooking for a large crowd event.

    Some people find the best route to take when it comes to cooking for crowds is to keep everything as close to their normal cooking routine as possible. This would mean that instead of cooking one really huge pan of lasagna for a triple sized crowd, they would instead cook three normal sized pans of lasagna. This accomplishes two things really and is something you may wish to keep in mind despite the extra time spent in the kitchen.

    First of all, if something goes, wrong only one third of the meal is in shambles rather than the entire dinner. Second, you have a greater possibility of finding consistency issues before the baking begins if you are using measurements and cooking containers that you are familiar with and comfortable using. It is always best to discover errors and omissions sooner rather than later when it comes to cooking as very few ingredients can be properly added after the fact.

    While cooking for crowds may send some into dizzying spells with heart palpitations it helps if you take a few deep breaths, sit down, plan your menu, plan your meals, make a list of your ingredients, and cook in a manner that is comfortable for you. If you would rather get it all over with in one fell swoop, then by all means do just that. If you are more comfortable making multiple dishes of family favorites then that is probably going to be the best course of action in order to meet your large crowd cooking needs.

    Most importantly you should remember when cooking for crowds is that you might have just earned yourself a well-deserved night off afterwards. Cooking for crowds is time consuming and should be approached when well rested (if that is even possible) for the best results. There is something that is actually very satisfying about knowing that you have fed a crowd and fed them well.

     

  • »Cooking Cajun Food«

  • TorontoSEO 8:56 PM on July 3, 2009 Permalink |
    Tags: , , Cajun cooking, Cajun Food, Cooking Cajun Food, , , , , , , , ,   

    Cooking Cajun Food

    Cooking in the heart of Cajun country is an art form. There really is very little science to this particular form of cooking that includes a lot more than mere lagniappe from the pantry or the spice cabinet. Cajun cooking is something that has often been imitated around the country and around the world but can very rarely be accurately duplicated.

    One of the fascinating things about Cajun cooking is the fact that there are very few exact recipes. Most, if not all authentic Cajun cooking is done to taste rather than measurements. Even more amazing is that from day to day one person can make the same dish over and over and it is quite likely to taste a little bit different each and every time it is made. The major reason for this is that in addition to being an art form in and of itself, Cajun food is often made even more delicious or mysterious simply by the mood of the one doing the cooking.

    I’m sure that many of you have watched as Emeril Lagasse makes some special concoction and exclaims “Bam!” there is a good bit of that when it comes to Cajun cooking. Something that goes far beyond the ingredients in the recipe and somewhere into the heart and the soul of the cook in question. There is a reason that many southern cooked dishes are referred to as soul food and you should not for one second forget that New Orleans is in the heart of the Deep South.

    The most difficult thing, perhaps when it comes to preparing good Cajun dishes outside of the New Orleans region is finding the right ingredients. It is nearly impossible to find the fresh seasonings and spices that are essential to most Cajun cuisine outside the heart of the old south. Not only that, but fresh crawfish and andouille sausage are a little difficult to come by during the heart of a Michigan winter.

    If you are determined to learn to make Cajun food of your own, you must first find the ingredients. Specialty food shops or those that will special order might be your best bet. There are some grocers that will carry a limited stock of Cajun seasonings on their international food aisles. Keep in mind that these sources are extremely limited. Once you have the ingredients, it’s time to let a little jazz blare from your speakers in order to set the mood. Most of the best Cajun dishes require a substantial amount of time for simmering and this should be considered. Cajun food is not to be rushed-much like the citizens of the Big Easy. The food will be ready in time and as the one cooking the food you must learn to accept that about Cajun food. It has a way of letting you know when it is ready that is almost mythical until you’ve experienced it for yourself.

    Cooking Cajun food will try your patience, try your talents, and in some cases zap your energy, as it tends to be an emotional process for many. On the other end however, Cajun food is some of the richest and most delicious food on the planet. Mastering the ability to cook this wonderful food will make you a slave to its flavor for many years to come.

     

  • »Beat the Summer Heat with Crock Pot Cooking«

  • TorontoSEO 8:55 PM on November 1, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , Beat the Summer Heat with Crock Pot Cooking, Crock Pot Cooking, , , , ,   

    Beat the Summer Heat with Crock Pot Cooking

    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.

     

  • »Southern Cooking Brings Soul to Food«

  • TorontoSEO 9:50 PM on July 29, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , South, Southern Cooking, Southern Cooking Brings Soul to Food, , , ,   

    Southern Cooking Brings Soul to Food

    I was born and raised in the heart of the Deep South. From as far back as I can remember I remember long summer afternoons spent drinking iced tea and shelling peas and butterbeans on my grandmother’s porch. I have moved on from my roots and have made my way into other regions of the world. One thing, however, that has remained constant in my life is my deep and abiding love for southern cooking and cuisine.

    I was probably well into my teen years before I realized that tea could be served any other way than loaded with sugar and over ice. It was about that same time that I realized some folks would eat vegetables that hadn’t been soaked in batter, dredged in cornmeal, and deep fat fried. Southern cooking is not for the faint of heart though it can cause many hearts to grow faint. One thing that can be said is that you’ll never find anything else like it on earth.

    People in the south learned to make do with little in many instances. Some of the poorest people in America live in the southern part of the country. Of course, you will find that many of these people despite their poverty are also among the most generous. The same can be said of food. It’s the one thing that seems to be in ample supply in most southern homes and very few will turn you away with an empty stomach.

    Perhaps it’s the seasonings that are often used when cooking southern food. From the crab boil and gumbo file of Cajun Cuisine to the secret ingredient that almost every southern kitchen contains for their fried chicken recipes (and no one on earth can fry chicken like a born and bred southern grandma). Perhaps it’s the Sunday church dinners where everyone shares a little of what they have with others or the love that goes into preparing these meals that are shared with friends and family. Whatever the case may be, if you ever have the occasion to experience real southern cooking, do not pass it up. You might shave a day off your life, but a good southern fried chicken leg is really living and well worth the sacrifice if you ask me.

    Of course it would be remiss to mention southern cooking without bringing up some of the more delicious desserts that seem to be perfection for the south. I mentioned banana pudding above but there are so many more. Pralines are a perfect for those living down around New Orleans as is bread pudding. A little to the east there are grandma’s who have taken their lemon icebox pie recipes to the grave with them so coveted were these delicious deserts and the same holds true for pecan pies as well. We should never forget the flavorful Mississippi Mud cake though, and so many other wonderfully delicious treats that southern cooking has introduced to the world at large.

    Favorite vegetables in the heart of the south as I mentioned above included peas and butterbeans, snap beans, corn, summer squash (after all, it’s summer all year in the south), and okra (fried or boiled in many southern kitchens). Not all vegetables were deep fried though few were off limits. I remember eating my share of fried okra, fried squash, and yes, fried green tomatoes. Life was good back when calories weren’t counted and no one really worried about clogging arteries. While I wouldn’t make these a daily dish in any household, I certainly would recommend trying them out if you ever find the opportunity.

    Another great thing about southern cooking is the wonderful fried seafood that seems to abound. From fried fish (almost any variety works well when it’s southern fried) to fried oysters, seafood just seems to taste so much better in the south. If you are hoping to learn some of the southern cooking and cuisine you will most likely need to order your spices and have them shipped unless your grocery store has a rather extensive ‘exotic’ foods selection. You can sometimes find great southern seasonings on the International food aisles in grocery stores as well. If you want to really treat your family to an outstanding meal, you should really try southern cooking for the night.

     

  • »Quick and Easy Lunches for the Cooking Challenged«

  • TorontoSEO 9:50 PM on July 28, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , Challenged, , delicious lunch, , filling, Lettuce, Lunches, macaroni and cheese, Quick, Quick and Easy Lunches for the Cooking Challenged, , , ,   

    Quick and Easy Lunches for the Cooking Challenged

    Let’s face it, cooking is not a top priority in the lives of every man, woman, or child on the planet. In fact, far too people have made learning to cook a priority in their lives. This means that we often exist on convenience foods and boxed mixes rather than taking the effort to prepare healthy meals for our families and our own personal enjoyment.

    The same holds true for lunches when we often resort to a can of soup or box of macaroni and cheese or some other such product rather than putting our creative efforts into making a quick and easy yet delicious lunch. You will see many ideas in this article and the hope is that these ideas will not only get you off to a great start for ending the lunch rut we all seem to find ourselves in at some time or another but also to try new things on your own.

    First of all, not all great lunches require actual cooking in order to prepare. Some of them will require the use of the microwave and some of them will need to be cooked or at least prepared before hand and reheated. The choices are virtually limitless once you understand the creative concept that must be in place. You should also find that many of these ideas are so simple you will wonder why on earth you have never thought of them. I certainly hope that some of these ideas will become main features within your own home.

    Lettuce wraps. These mike delightfully delicious lunch treats and the filling can be prepared ahead of time, which leaves only reheating the filling and wrapping when you’re ready to eat. This is a fun lunch to share with your little ones and it teaches them that lettuce is much more versatile than people often give it credit for being. Some people choose to go with a teriyaki inspired filling; my family likes taco inspired fillings for our lettuce rolls. You are perfectly free to come up with a favorite filling of your very own.

    Try sandwiches with different breads. Believe it or not, my children love trying new things. It’s a rare trait for which I am extremely grateful. Believe me I understand all too well how fortunate I am. My youngest however, has a little difficulty with thick or crusty bread. Her favorite sandwich choice has become Hawaiian sweet rolls. We put the meat, cheese, mustard, and pickle in her roll as if it were a bun and she’s thrilled. Other great ideas include hollowing out crusty rolls and filling them with roast beef and cheddar. You can broil this in your oven for a few minutes for a rare sandwich treat. The cooking part is very minimal and you do not have to have in depth knowledge of anything to prepare or enjoy these simple treats. Other great bread ideas include croissants with ham and cheese or chicken salad, taco pitas (another great favorite in our household), and paninis (this works really well if you have a George Foreman grill or a panini press).

    While this is by no means the end all be all guide to cooking quick and easy lunches it is good food for thought. The hope is that this will get your own creative juices flowing so that you can prepare wonderful lunches for your family without needing to do too terribly much heavy cooking in the process.

     

  • »Pleasure Cooking«

  • TorontoSEO 9:50 PM on July 27, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , boredom, confidence, , , , , , Pleasure Cooking, , , ,   

    Pleasure Cooking

    Far too often we get caught up in the necessity of cooking in order to eat and forget the absolute joy that can be found through the act of cooking. Of course this isn’t limited to stovetop cooking. There are many men and women around the world who find baking to be an extremely pleasurable pastime in addition to traditional stovetop cooking or even barbecuing on a grill. The main distinction occurs in how you perceive your cooking projects.

    How Do Your View Cooking?

    While this question is asked somewhat rhetorically, it is a question you should ask yourself and answer. Do you view cooking as a chore or duty or do you view it as a project? There is something much more exciting about embarking on a new project than getting around to a loathsome chore. If you do view cooking as a chore the more important question might be why?

    Some common reasons that people dislike cooking include the following: lack of skill, lack of confidence, boredom, or you could simply dislike the inevitable clean up far more than you enjoy the process of cooking. For each of these, there are solutions if you are willing to make the effort.

    A lack of skill when it comes to cooking can be easily corrected in most cases by taking a few cooking classes. Classes are offered for varying degrees of skill sets and are meant to help you develop your cooking talents while teaching you the basics of meal planning and preparation. You can increase your skills by taking more classes down the road.

    While a lack of confidence is a little more difficult to address having a few ‘dinner parties’ in which your quests can compliment your culinary talents can often solve this particular dilemma. The key in this process is to plan your menu carefully and remain well within your comfort zone. You will be amazed at the wonderfully rich and delicious meals that can be prepared with very little effort if you are willing to sift through the recipe books in order to find them.

    Boredom in the kitchen is perhaps one of the easiest problems to fix there is. The solution is exceedingly simple-find a challenge. Try cooking Thai or Indian cuisine. Try more difficult recipes. Try making only meals from scratch or simply try broadening your use of spices and seasonings. There are many things you can do in order to bring some excitement back into your kitchen. You may even discover hidden talents and tastes in the process.

    There will always be clean up. My suggestion is to make a deal with either your partner or your children and they can draw straws over who cleans up. Of course if this won’t work in your family, you could always turn over a new leaf and clean as you go whenever possible. This makes the clean up process after dinner so much simpler to handle that it is well worth a few extra minutes during meal prep.

    Cooking for pleasure is really the only way to cook. If you have difficulties when it comes to finding the enjoyment and entertainment value of cooking, perhaps it’s time you bring some fun back into your kitchen. If you’re barbecuing, put on some Jimmy Buffet and dance around your kitchen. If you’re cooking Italian find some nice Italian music to set the mood. Bring the fun back into your kitchen and you will find that cooking is a pleasure rather than a chore.

     

  • »Once a Month Cooking«

  • TorontoSEO 9:49 PM on July 26, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , Month, Once a Month Cooking, , , , , ,   

    Once a Month Cooking

    If you are like most moms around the world, there never seems to be enough time or energy at the end of most days to prepare the nice home cooked meal you would love to have ready made for your family. Unfortunately, cooking a good family meal requires both time and energy. A few wise moms have discovered a concept that has become known as once a month or freezer cooking to assist in those nights when time, energy, or both are in short supply.

    The thought behind once a month cooking is that for one or two days (if you prefer to spread the process out over a couple of shorter days rather than one long day of cooking) of intense culinary effort your family can dine well for an entire month. Many women who have tried this have also discovered that not only does it help by always having something nice and home cooked for dinner, but also helps families stay within budget.

    Far too many mother’s will guiltily raise their hands when asked whether or not they’ve ever resorted to fast food or junk food meals simply because they were too tired to cook or were missing one ingredient for a meal and did not feel up to running to the grocery store in order to pick up the missing ingredient. This practice can get expensive over time and rob your family of some well-earned fun money.

    There are some important things you must keep in mind if you are considering once a month cooking as a way of life for your family. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that planning is the key. You will need to set aside a day (or two) for the cooking when nothing else is on the calendar. It is simply too difficult to see to all the details if you are planning your cooking event around car pools, soccer games, or dance practices. You need a full day that will be relatively uninterrupted. If you have a spouse, partner, or family member that can take the children for the day this will be the ideal situation. Otherwise be sure to have plenty of distractions on hand for the little ones or find a way to enlist their help with any cutting, chopping, slicing, dicing, or peeling that may need to be done.

    You should also create a thorough menu followed by a list of each and every ingredient you will need. Shopping needs to be done on a day other than when you are planning to cook. This means that you aren’t likely to rush through the shopping trip and forget something as a result. Bring your menu and your list and get everything you need in one trip whenever possible. You can also save money by planning your meals for the month according to the sales circulars and coupons you have for the week in order to stretch your budget a little further.

    Finally, you need to make sure that you have all the supplies, dishes, and containers you need in order to prepare and store the meals you’ve prepared properly. You should also make sure that the recipes you are using for your once a month cooking marathon are recipes that freeze well. It is even better if you have recipes that double well so that you can get twice the results from the same effort.

    You should also make sure you are mentally prepared for your marathon cooking session. Beginning with a nice and tidy kitchen is a great start. Folding card tables make an excellent flat surface for storing things out of the way and freeing up valuable counter space for preparing and assembling the foods that will be prepared. You should also utilize as many appliances in your kitchen as possible for maximum efficiency. Don’t limit all cooking to the oven. Find dishes that freeze well and can be prepared in the crock pot or on the range top. Once a month cooking is a challenge but many women will agree it is well worth the effort on those nights when the thought of cooking seems unbearable and the wallet has been stretched to its limit.

     

  • »Microwave Cooking is the Wave of the Future«

  • TorontoSEO 9:49 PM on July 25, 2008 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , Microwave, Microwave Cooking, Microwave Cooking is the Wave of the Future, , , , , ,   

    Microwave Cooking is the Wave of the Future

    When it comes to cooking there are few tools that are more versatile in the kitchen than the microwave. This device offers so many functions when it comes to cooking that most people never bother to utilize. It’s sad really. In most homes, the microwave has been relegated to doing duty as a meat defroster, popcorn popper, and coffee warmer rather than using is as the fabulous device for actual food preparation that it really is capable of being.

    Before you set up to change your ways, you need to understand that when it comes to microwave cooking, not all microwaves were created equal. Wattage is vitally important as is the quality of your microwave. The average el cheapo microwave that you can find in discount stores will simply not stand up to the rigors of regular full meal preparation though they are perfectly acceptable for many wonderful dishes that can be prepared as side dishes. The correct microwave however, can actually brown and bake a full sized Thanksgiving turkey.

    Microwave cooking is definitely not something that is meant for those who are afraid of trying something new or those that are afraid of making mistakes along the way. This is a process that is one part science and one part figuring it out. Research helps a great deal but even many of the recipes you will find for microwave cooking are written for microwaves of varying wattage so you will need to ferret out what times and temperatures would be appropriate for your microwave. This is to a large degree going to be a process of trial and error unless you are using the recipe book that came with your microwave.

    Do not despair however, most that have tried microwave cooking find it to be a much better process for their meal preparation needs. While microwave cooking is great for big families it is an outstanding way to save money when cooking for and feeding one. It is also rather simple. In other words, even college students can benefit by learning microwave cooking for one or more as it will help them limit their expenses while still eating healthy fresh made meals.

    Another great thing about microwave cooking that is often overlooked is that there are far less messes to be made than when cooking part of a meal stove top, part of a meal in the oven, and part of the meal elsewhere. By and large, microwave cooking keeps any spills and splatter isolated to your microwave. Most of these can be cleaned and controlled rather easily by using a removable plate in your microwave (that can be washed in the dishwasher) and covering your food whenever possible to avoid splatters.

    Microwave cooking is gaining popularity despite the fact that is hasn’t caught on as well as the inventors would have liked. The proof of this is in the many products that have been created to make microwave cooking a little bit easier. From omelet makers to special trays for cooking bacon in the microwave industrious people are working to make the easy way of cooking that much easier.

    If you have a microwave in your home that is used mostly for melting butter and warming pizza, then you have a microwave in your home that is being terribly under utilized. It is time you hit the search engines for recipes that will be appropriate for your microwave and get busy trying something new and different that will have your family awed and amazed. Imagine having them toss accolades for your tireless devotion and standing over a hot stove for hours when in actuality you only checked on the microwave when the proper time approached.

    Microwave cooking very well may be the wave of the future. Get a head start and begin building your collection of wonderful microwave recipes right away for the best selection. The day will arrive when you can make microwave cooking the rule rather than the exception.

     
SEARCH:

c
compose new post
j
next post/next comment
k
previous post/previous comment
r
reply
e
edit
o
show/hide comments
t
go to top
l
go to login
h
show/hide help
shift + esc
cancel