Monday, September 30, 2013

Non-Stick Spray


I'm really funny when it comes to cooking chicken.  When a recipe calls for cooked chicken I usually boil it to get the stock.  Two things come from this, besides my chicken.  #1 I don't like all the 'stuff' that boils out of my chicken so I wash it and even strain the broth before it goes into the refrigerator or freezer.  #2 I hate the film that it 'cooks' into my pan.  I normally end up filling the pan with hot water and detergent, letting it soak a bit before I scrub.  I use stainless steel pans, not non-stick. 

Well today I was getting ready to boil some chicken for a new dish I was working on.  Just before I filled my pan with water I decided to give it a spray with the non-stick.  I use it for everything but wasn't sure it would work when boiling my chicken.  What did I have to lose? 

It worked!  When my chicken was done, removed and my broth poured out I put my pan under the hot water and the scum from cooking the chicken just wiped right off.  One of the dreads in boiling chicken was just rinsed away.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Orange Juice

For years I wondered which orange juice to buy.  Some said pasteurized, some said from concentrate and some said fortified.  What is the difference and which is best?  Here is what I found out.

Pasteurized - Almost all supermarket orange juice is pasteurized (heated to a high temperature), increasing its shelf life and ensuring that the juice doesn't separate.

Frozen Concentrate Orange Juice - This is orange juice with the water removed.  When prepared according to package directions, it has about the same amount of vitamin C as not-from-concentrate juice.

From Concentrate - The water has been removed form this juice for storage, then added back in before bottling.  In terms of nutrition and price, buying a carton of OJ "from concentrate" is about the same as mixing it yourself.

Fortified Orange Juice - These varieties have added nutrients.  Most have calcium and vitamin D added.

Not From Concentrate - Just like fresh-squeezed juice, there’s no water, sugar, or preservatives added, only 100 percent pure premium quality pasteurized.

Now I know the difference and can make my decision knowingly.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Individual Meat Sections

This is too good not to share.
You can divide and store ground meat in a zip lock bag.
Just break off how much you need and keep the rest in the freezer for later.
Great Idea!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pepper news

Peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating.
Peppers with 4 bumps on the bottom are stronger flavored.
I had read somewhere that those with 4 bumps were the ones you wanted for stuffed peppers because they would sit better in the pan but this flavor news is new to me.  Good to know.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Peanut Butter and Marshmallow Cream

I may be behind the times but what can I say at 63 and all of my kids grown.  Someone may have already come up with this idea and I just haven't heard about it yet. 

I was looking for something to snack on last week and found that I was out of my favorite peanut butter crackers.  I rummaged around the pantry until I spotted a jar of peanut butter and a container of marshmallow cream.  I started thinking and decided why not.  I like peanut butter and I like marshmallow cream.  How about putting them together to spread on crackers.  I mixed a little and gave it a taste.  Boy was it good.  I tried some on some butter crackers and the slight taste of salt from the crackers and the crunch of the peanut butter and the sweet from the marshmallow cream made my little snack crackers perfect.  I haven't tried it between bread yet but I bet it would be good toasted and could even take the place of peanut butter and jelly.  And if you check the calorie count of the marshmallow cream and that of jelly you'll find the cream wins out at about half. 

Give this a try and give the kids a taste.  I think you will all love it as much as I do.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Corned Beef - 1 pot meal

This is one of the easiest meals you'll ever make and it's so good.  It is something that needs to be done when you have some time but there is actually very little work and preparation involved.

You will need:

1 Corned Beef Brisket

Cook your corned beef according to the package directions which normally is done by covering it with water and boiling for about 45 minutes per pound.  When the beef is done, remove it form the pan.  Add potatoes and cabbage and cook until tender.  Replace meat to heat.  Add some corn bread muffins or rolls and dinner is done.

Comments:  This meal is so easy yet so tasty.  If you cut the potatoes into chunks you can add them along with the cabbage.  If you want your cabbage with a little more texture, add it about halfway through the cooking of the potatoes.  DO NOT ADD SALT.  Due to the salt content of the beef, you will not need to add salt to the potatoes nor the cabbage.  Also, you can add carrots and onions to this dish to add more flavor and color.  Plus, the leftover beef makes a great Ruben sandwich.  This is one meat that a little bit goes a long way due to its flavor so you can create a couple meals out of this one cooking.  I almost forgot, you can finely chop the leftover meat and potatoes and make Corned Beef Hash which is delicious for breakfast with an egg on top.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Yogurt - Greek or Not


I found these questions and answers on a site for Grand Parents.  I love my yogurt and eat it daily so I thought I would share with those of you who love it too and maybe a few that don't but will after reading this.

Is Greek Better Than Regular?

First off, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt have the same ingredients—milk and cultures. The difference is how the yogurt is made, explains registered dietitian Danielle Omar, M.S., R.D. Greek yogurt is strained, which removes the excess liquid and is responsible for its thick and creamy consistency.

In terms of which is better for you, Greek is the definite winner. Greek yogurt can contain up to twice the protein and half the sugar of regular yogurt, because the technique of straining the yogurt removes the excess sugar and concentrates the protein. A typical 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt contains between 15-20 grams of protein, the same amount in 2 to 3 ounces of lean meat. (Regular yogurt has about 9 grams). Protein helps keep you fuller longer and may keep blood sugar levels from spiking if you have diabetes, says Taub-Dix. The CDC recommends that 10-35% of your daily calories come from protein. Women should get about 46 grams of protein a day.

Is Yogurt with Added Fruit Healthier?

It might sound healthy, but beware: many times the “fruit” added to yogurt is not real fruit, but instead, fruit-juice concentrates or artificial flavorings. “If it’s not real fruit, it may say something like ‘blueberry flavor’ or ‘natural flavor,’” says Omar. Read the label and steer clear of artificial coloring, flavoring or other additives. Your healthiest option if you want fruit and all the nutritional benefits fruit has to offer like cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, buy plain unflavored yogurt and add your own fresh or frozen berries or other favorite fruit, advises Taub-Dix.
Does Yogurt Really Help with Digestion?
Can Eating Yogurt Help You Lose Weight?
Is Yogurt Filled with Sugar?
Find the answers to these questions by going to Grand


How to keep the straw from rising out of your fizzy drink can
This works!  And it's great to use when driving.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Side Toasting

You can flip a toaster on its side and grill cheese in it.
I would put something fireproof under this.  My toaster's sides get pretty hot.  But this is a good idea for some of those toaster pastries.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Rice - Did you know?


Rice is the most widely eaten grain in American and has been the culinary foundation for many of the world's oldest cultures.  Rice was first grown in the American Colonies in the late seventeenth century.  The two main classifications of rice is white and brown.  White rice is less nutritious, as much of the brand, fiber, nutrients and the rice gems have been removed.  White rice is quicker to prepare and has a rather bland flavor.  Brown rice on the other hand has a nutty, rich flavor and requires longer cooking time.  Brown rice retains most of its nutritional values, which include a limited amount of protein, but the protein quality is excellent because of the high levels of amino acids.  Rice is loaded with carbohydrates and includes nutrients, such as B Vitamins, iron, phosphorus and magnesium. 

An easy way to enhance the flavor and excitement of rice is to cook it in an assortment of liquids, such as stocks, juices, or with wine.  another easy flavor enhancer is to use different spices and herbs.  You can also add cut up fruits or vegetables, like carrots, celery, apples or pears to rice as it cooks.  You can even add slivered nuts, dried fruit or chilis for an easy yet delicious option.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Do you know this Painter?

I bought a dish that I'm looking for some help with.  It is what looks like maybe a candy dish.  It has the signature on the bottom de Pisis, the back says Made Italy and it looks like it has a written number 766 although that could be something else.  I did find out that the painter de Pisis was from Italy but most of what I find on him is in Italian so I can't understand it.  Any help would be appreciated.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Fruit Seasons

Apples July through November
Apricots May through August
Blueberries/Blackberries June through August
Cantalope July through August
Cherries May through August
Grapes June through August
Grapefruit January through June
Kiwi January through April
Mango May through August
Melon June through July
Nectarines June through September
Oranges January through September
Papaya June through September
Pear September through December
Peaches June through August
Pineapple January through December
Plum June through August
Pomegranate October through January
Raspberries June through September
Strawberries May through June
Tangerine October through April
Watermelon July through September

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegetable Seasons

Arugula April through May - September through October
Asparagus March through June
Bell Peppers July through November
Broccoli September through December
Brussel Sprouts May through August
Carrots January through December
Celery June through October
Corn June through September
Cucumbers June through October
Eggplant June through September
Green Beans June through August
Green Onions/Scallions January through December
Kale August through October
Lettuce April through September
Mushrooms April through May - September through October
Onion January through December
Peas April through August
Potatoes January through December
Spinach April through September
Sweet Potatoes January through December
Tomatoes June through September
Zucchini May through August

Tips for Cooking Pasta

Basic cooking instructions for boxed or dry pasta is the same for all varieties of pasta (vermicelli, spaghetti, fettuccine, etc.).  What does vary, depending on the variety and manufacturer, is the length of cooking time.  Pasta should always be cooked "al-dente" which means "to the tooth" or firm.  Do not overcook your pasta.  If you plan on using the pasta in Quick Pasta Dishes at a later date, you need to cook the pasta 2-3 minutes less, as the pasta will soften while refrigerated. 

To cook 1 pound of dry pasta (which yields about 10 cups or 8 servings of cooked pasta), bring 5 quarts of water with 2 Tbsp. salt (you can omit the salt if you are on a low sodium diet) to a rolling boil.  Just before adding the pasta, add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to water. Add pasta, stir immediately to separate each strand of pasta, return water to a boil.  Reduce heat to a light boil and cook according to manufactures directions.  Thin pasta (like Angle Hair or Thin Spaghetti) will require anywhere form 3-7 minutes.  Regular spaghetti will require 6-8 minutes.  Thicker, heavier pastas (like fettuccine) will require about 9-11 minutes for cooking.  If cooking fresh pasta, cooking time will be very short, usually between 1-3 minutes. 

Read package directions and stay with your pasta as the end of cooking time nears.  Also, using a timer will help prevent overcooking.  Do not "throw your pasta against the wall" to check for doneness.  If you follow this method, only overcooked and limp pasta will stick to the wall.  Drain your pasta thoroughly in a colander.  If using right away, rinse your pasta in hot water.  If using your pasta in cold salads or if you plan to refrigerate the pasta for Quick Pasta Dishes, rinse pasta under cold water to stop cooking process.  Drain well.  Refrigerate in sealable plastic bags.