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Monday, December 21, 2009

Raspberry-Apple Danish Spread With New RITZ Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers

RITZ has done it again! If you love the RITZ cracker you will and your children will absolutely love their Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers! They are so yummy :)

Here is a very simple easy recipe to share with the ones you love:

Ingredients:


  • 1 Pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, softened
  • 1 Apple chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/3 cup granola
  • RITZ Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers

Preheat Oven to 350.

Spread Neufchatel onto bottom of a 9 - inch pie plate or 1 - quart casserole dish.

Combine the apples and jam; spread over the cheese.

Top with granola.

Bake 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with the Ritz Brown Sugar Cinnamon Crackers.

Enjoy!



Creme de Menthe Chocolate Squares

This is a real quick and last minute dessert for the rush to your Holiday party!

Ingredients:
  • 1 box brownie mix
  • 2 Cups Confectioners Sugar (Powder Sugar)
  • 3 Tablespoons green Creme de Menthe
  • 1/2 Cup Butter - Melted
  • 6 oz Chocolate Chips
  • 6 additional Tablespoons Butter
Prepare the Brownies per instructions on the box, set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl combine Powder Sugar, Creme de Menthe and 1/2 C melted butter. Mix well. Spread over cooled brownies.

Next melt the Chocolate Chips and 6 Tablespoon Butter until smooth. Drizzle over the mint layer.

Cut into squares (with a hot wet knife). Serve. You can also make these ahead of time and freeze.

Enjoy!

Money Saving Services From Repairpal

I would like to thank our Sponsor's this Holiday Season, if it wasn't for them we would not be able to do what we do for all of you. Happy Holidays from Karen B.

Now a word from our Sponsor:

We are all in need of service's at one time or another. Whether it be home, auto, or health related services. Rpairpal offers you a service in time of need.

If you live in the Dallas area and are in need of a brake job on say your Chevrolet Silverado there is a handy service you can get before you go to the service station. You can go to Dallas auto repair and get advice on the repair, be directed to a service station or dealer in your immediate area.

You can look up your type of service needed for example a brake job, diagnose your problem and be directed on what type of repair you will need and be given the closest location to you. This helps save time and money. If you go in knowing ahead of time you will not get the run around for services you don't actually need. As always, do your homework before signing up for any services offered at anytime ;)

Happy Winter ;)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Funfetti Pancakes

Want to make something special for your little ones on Christmas morn? Or any morning....

This real "easy" recipe will put a smile on any one's face ;) All you need is some pancake mix and sprinkles! Yes sprinkles.

Make your pancake mix per instructions on package. Throw in a handful of sprinkles. Mix to combine well.

Grease your skillet and pour batter into pan. When you see bubbles on the edges and in the middle that means your ready to turn.

Flip it over and cook for about the same amount of time.

Hint: the first pancake is aways the dud! Make sure your pan is nice and hot.

Serve with syrup and whippy (whip cream)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Old Fashion Christmas Mincemeat Spice Cookies


I grew up eating these wonderful cookies every Christmas. I do not remember not ever having them as a child. We couldn't wait to get the mixing bowl! The cookies are filled with raisins, apples and spices.

I am bringing one of my favorites to you to share with your little ones.

Ingredients:

  • One 9 oz box of None Such Condensed Mincemeat (crumbled)
  • 1 Cup butter flavored Shortening
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 3 Cups unsifted Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
The recipe is also on the side of the Mincemeat box ;)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First open your Mincemeat and using a serrated or bread knife cut your Mincemeat into this slices to be able to crumble it. I found this the easiest way to do it. Set aside.





In a mixing bowl combine all your dry ingredients (not the sugar); Flour, Baking Soda and Salt then mix together.

In another large mixing bowl mix Shortening and Sugar until fluffy.

Add Eggs to Shortening mixture, beat well.



Slowly add the dry ingredients to the Shortening mixture about a cup at a time. Mix well but not too much. Add the crumbled Mincemeat mix until combined well.

Drop by rounded spoonfuls about two inches apart, onto greased cookie sheet.


Bake 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned.

Cool. Frost if desired. Makes 40 cookies using a 1 - 1/2 Tablespoon cookie scoop.

Enjoy!








Sunday, December 13, 2009

Easy Winter Skillet Chicken

This easy skillet chicken is great for a cold Winter day! It's a one dish meal and everyone loves it. Just add your families favorite cut of chicken and your on your way.

Ingredients:

  • One package of your favorite cut up chicken parts
  • Flour for dredging and gravy
  • Two Cloves Garlic diced
  • Two Carrots diced into small squares
  • One Celery Stalk diced
  • 1/2 Onion diced (green onion or leek is fine also)
  • 1/2 package frozen Peas.
  • One can low sodium Chicken Broth.
  • Two tablespoons dried Parsley flakes.
  • Salt/Pepper
Wash and pat dry chicken. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Dredge in flour coating well.

Preheat skillet with olive oil (enough to cover bottom of pan) to medium.

Brown chicken on all sides. Remove and place on paper towel.

Add a little more oil to pan with the drippings (the drippings have all the flavor) and add the Carrots, Celery, and Onion. Add a dash of Salt and Pepper at this time. Saute until onions turn opaque and carrots start to get tender. Add Garlic and saute for two minutes or so, do not burn (Garlic will get bitter).

Add two Tablespoons flour to pan, stirring for about a minute or two to remove the raw flour taste. The mix will get real thick at this point it's okay!

Wine Option: You can add a cup and half of white wine at this point if you would like. Stirring constantly and cooking out the alcohol for about a minute or two.

Slowly add the chicken broth stirring constantly and getting all the yummy bits from the pan. You should have a gravy like consistency. If you find it's too thick you can add more broth or some water if you like.

Add the Parsley flakes and stir.

Add the chicken back into the sauce and the frozen peas. Simmer for about 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Enjoy!

Giveaway Winner!

From our lucky giveaway winner:


Hi Karen-
I wanted to let you know that I received your Lucky Brand Food package. Way cool! Thank you very much. I was excited to receive the package. I guess I need to get going on some pie baking :-)

Happy Holidays!
Velva

Stovetop Holiday Popuri

Make your home smell like a warm and cozy retreat for Christmas Holiday!

Grab the following out of the pantry:

Cinnamon sticks
Cloves
Orange

Using a carrot peeler peel some rind off an orange toss in a pot with a couple cinnamon sticks and some whole cloves. Fill pot 1/2 full with warm water. Place on the stove on low heat. Shortly you will start to smell the pleasant sent of the Holiday's.

You can reuse on batch for a few days ;)

Remember to turn off stove before you slumber off to bed!!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Easy Holiday Cinnamon Buns


Whip up these great Cinnamon Buns up in just minutes! You can prepare the night before and refrigerate, then bake in time for breakfast or brunch.

Purchase a your favorite store brand of puff pastry or crescent rolls.


Un-roll onto a lightly floured cutting board or counter top.




With a rolling pin roll out the dough to remove any pre cuts if you purchased crescent rolls.

Brush dough generously with butter.



Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture (click this link for Cinnamon Toast for cinnamon sugar recipe: Cinnamon French Toast)


Then sprinkle ground cinnamon over cinnamon sugar mixture shown here:


Roll dough from bottom of board not pressing down from bottom to top, so you have one long roll.




Cut the roll (with a bread knife or serrated knife) into 2" wide
slices and place on a baking sheet.

Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.

Remove from oven. Let set 5 minutes.

Frost with Cream Cheese Cinnamon Bun Frosting:
  • 1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese - softened
  • 1/2 Cup Butter - softened
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Cups Powder Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk

Combine all ingredients, mix until smooth, spread on very warm rolls.

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Left Over Turkey Recipes: Turkey Nacho's

Turkey Nachos is great way to use up that left over Turkey when you have already had Turkey two or three days in a row. It's a little spicy and gives it a totally different taste than your roasted bird!

Ingredients: You can use any amount you like, no measurements needed here, very easy!
  • Left over Turkey sliced thin or shredded
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Salsa
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese and Mozzarella if you like
  • Two Green Onions chopped
  • Shredded Lettuce, Kayle or Romain
  • One Large Tomato Chopped
  • Sour Cream - optional
  • Guacamole - optional
Place your shredded turkey maybe two cups for a (large nacho) in a large fry pan, sprinkle with Taco Seasoning, one cup of salsa and 1/2 of your chopped green onion. Stir until combined well and simmer for about seven minutes or so.

Spread Nacho chips on oven safe platter or sheet, top with the shredded Turkey mixture and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Place under broiler until cheese is gooey and melted.

Remove from oven, top with shredded lettuce, tomato's, Sour Cream, Guac and additional Salsa. Serve!

Enjoy!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Winner Of The Lucky Leaf Pie Filling Gift Box Giveaway!

The winner of the Luck Leaf Pie Filling Gift Box Giveaway is:


Congratulations!

Please email me your address so Lucky Leaf can send your gift right away!

I'm so happy to be able to share fun gifts and items with my readers! Lucky Leaf has wonderful products and I'm sure you will all enjoy them. You can go to their site and grab some coupons for their products also!

Happy Thanksgiving and Shopping :)

Karen B.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Deep Fried Turkey Safety Tips

We all love deep fried turkey! But please take an additional five minutes and follow these safety tips to prevent a disaster from happening (a fire or serious burns):

Please read all instructions with your turkey fryer kit before attempting to cook!

  • Before you begin preparing your turkey, Make sure it is defrosted. Place it in the turkey fryer pot and pour water in it just to barely cover the bird. Mark the outside of your pot with a marker. This mark is your oil level, do not add oil past this line. Remove turkey and prepare for cooking. Completely dry water from pot. Peanut oil is a wise choice for frying.
  • Make sure your fryer is not on the grass or wood surface. Cement is a safe place. Keep children away at all times!
  • Make sure your turkey is completely defrosted, dry and at room temperature. Doing these steps will prevent the oil from having a reaction to the frozen bird hitting the hot oil which will cause the oil to boil over which may cause a fire. Making sure the bird is at room temperature will prevent the oil temperature from falling when the turkey is placed in the hot oil. It will also give you a more accurate cooking time. Which at the proper temp should be 3 to 4 minutes per pound.
  • When the turkey floats that means it's done! Pretty much regardless of the time if it floats the bird is done. Remember that the temperature will rise at least five degrees after removing from heat and continue to cook.
  • Let your turkey rest to redistribute the juices back in to the meat.
Please be careful and Happy Holidays ;)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Get Black Friday and Cyber Monday Food Coupons and Savings Now!

With Thanksgiving here this week we all know what the day after Thanksgiving means "Black Friday"! The busiest shopping day of the year.

I love to save and make things "easy" for you. Here are some great savings I can pass on to you food lovers!

Click here for some great Black Friday Specials on your favorite places like Wine.com, Harry and David, Whole Foods, Ghiradelli Chocolates and more.

Not only can you get Black Friday Specials but you can also receive Cyber Monday Deals as well. It's simple click the link and type in food savings or go to categories and up pops pages of coupons, deals and special savings.

You can get coupons and savings on stores that carry great cookware, kitchen utensils, Holiday gifts, thanks to savings.com.

The best part is most of your shopping can even be done online. Ghiradelli is one of my fav's and we shop at Whole Foods all the time. It's nice to get savings handed to you on a "silver platter".

Here you have more on Black Friday Shopping if you are not up to date on what exactly Black Friday is, check it out ;)

Leave me feedback let us know what you think.
Enjoy!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Brining Your Thanksgiving Turkey Keeps It Moist!

Brine your turkey or chicken before roasting. When you use a brine your bird will stay tender and moist with tons of flavor. And it easy to do!

You will need a large stock pot or spaghetti pot. Room in your fridge or a cooler. If your brining a turkey you can use a plastic garbage bag and a cooler (and ice if using the cooler method).

Here are a list of ingredients you will need:

  • Orange Juice
  • Brown Sugar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • liquid (water, broth, beer)

Spices: You can use what ever you prefer try a few or use them all!


  • Dried Parsley
  • Dried Oregano
  • Basil
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Sage
  • Dry Mustard or Mustard Seed
  • Rosemary
  • Bay Leave
  • Granulated Garlic (use Granulated instead of Garlic Salt)

Or you can use spice blends which are found at any supermarket. I prefer Italian Seasoning Blend, it has all my favorites all in one jar:


  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Marjoram
  • Onion
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Savory
  • Sage

In a pot on the stove add all your spices about a tablespoon of each if you are brining a Turkey, for a chicken 1/2 that amount.

Like I said I tend not to measure exact so you can eyeball it if you want.

One cup of Brown Sugar for a Turkey, 1/2 cup for a chicken.

1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cup of kosher salt for every gallon of liquid used. So for a chicken I would use 1/2 cup and a turkey I would use 1 1/2 cup salt.

Add two cups water, bring to a quick boil and turn off. This releases all the oils of the herbs and gets the flavors going! Also, it dissolves the sugar and salt.

Let cool or add ice to cool it down quickly.

Add your orange juice one cup for chicken two cups for Turkey.

Rinse your bird, place in your large pot or bag. Add the spice mixture with juice. Add water or broth enough to cover your bird. Make sure brine is mixed good. Turn the bird a few times to make sure all the spice mixture gets distributed.

Place in fridge or cooler with ice and let brine for 6 to 8 hours for a Turkey, 3 or so for a chicken. Less time for other meats. Shrimp for example only need 1/2 hour. I like to brine my Turkey overnight.

Remove from brine rinse and dry. Your ready to roast!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Free Lucky Leaf Pie Filling and Topping Gift Box Giveaway!



Lucky Leaf Gift Box Giveaway is here!

Win this Free Lucky Leaf Gift box filled with two Pie Fillings and Toppings, Pie Pan, Can Opener, and the best part a "Free Cookbook" to boot!

Lucky Leaf has wonderful pie fillings now with more fruit and NO high fructose corn syrup!

To enter to win all you have to do is:

  1. Go to this link: Lucky Leaf Premium Pie Fillings to learn more about their wonderful products.
  2. Return to this post (Karen B's) and post a comment about their products.
  3. Sign up to follow Karen B's Cooking Made Easy.
  4. Drawing deadline is November 24th 10:00 p.m.
Follow these simple steps and you are registered to win the FREE gift box sent directly to you at no cost what so ever..... YES it's really free!

I love to share wonderful things with you!

Good Luck and Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Ginger Spice Apple Tart

This Ginger Spice Apple Tart made with Lucky Leaf's New Apple Pie Filling and Topping is "wonderful".

It's easy! Which is the best part and that is what I am all about!

It actually took me less than the 25 minutes prep time to prepare, but cooking is what I do. So it may take you the full 25 or less.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Package refrigerated, unbaked pie crust (2 crusts)
  • 2 - 21 ounce cans Lucky Leaf Apple Pie Filling (or any pie filling if you don't have Lucky Leaf, I recommend theirs)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla
  • 1 -1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar
Optional:
  • whipped cream topping or vanilla ice cream for topping
  • additional chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare Tart Pan: Spray with nonstick cooking spray (butter flavor if you have it).

Defrost crusts according to package instructions.

Combine sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in small dish, mix and set aside for later.

On lightly floured surface roll out one crust to a 13" to 14" circle to accommodate the tart pan (which is larger than a pie pan). Lay crust into prepared pan.

Using a cookie cutter cut shapes (stars, hearts, Holiday shapes) out of the second pie crust. 5 to 6 cutouts should work. Set off to the side.

In a large saucepan combine pie filling, butter, 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh ginger. Heat over medium heat until butter is melted gently stirring frequently.

Pour apple filling into your crust in the tart pan. Lay the cutout pie crust on top of the pie filling. Trim crust to edge of tart pan and gently press together to seal; crimp edge as desired.

Place the cutouts on top of the tart careful not to cover the openings.

Lightly coat the tart with non stick cooking spray; sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture over entire top of tart.

Bake for 40 minutes on a cookie sheet (to prevent browning cover edges with foil or a pie ring). After 40 minutes remove foil and continue to cook for 10 more minutes until tart is golden brown.

Cool on rack for one hour. Serve warm and top with whip cream or vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

How To Set Your Holiday Tables With Help From Pfaltzgraff

With the Holidays upon us here are some helpful tips on setting your Holiday tables.

We can always use help in the decorating department. First thing is to make sure to choose your dinner ware and flatware or silver flatware Those are your major "investment" items. Then plan your theme. You can always change out the accessories allot easier and less costly than the dinner ware.

You will need to start with at least place mats, napkins, and table linens. Make sure they coordinate with your dinner ware pattern. Don't make it too busy though. Too many flowers on the china and too many on the place mats, napkins and linens will collide and give you and your guests a headache. So I suggest simple patters that compliment and or solid colors.

Then add your accessories and centerpiece (remember not taller than your shoulders, you want to be able to see the guest sitting across from you and have a conversation). Extra tall candles are always a hit and very elegant for any occasion.

Place cards are always a great idea. Very impressive and then you can choose where you and who you want your guests to sit with. The boy then girl, boy then girl is always recommended. And this keeps the men from talking shop and or football at the dinner table.

Your local Florist or Supermarket always has greenery available for the season. Stop in and grab a bunch. Add some evergreen branches to flowers and or get the firs (a softer pine) are a nice touch to napkin rings or displayed down the center of the table with votive candles placed here and there. Sprinkle some fresh cranberries in as well.

Remember to dim the lights just a bit.

When you have all your table decorations planned get your menu ready. Karen B's and Food Network are great resources for menu planning.

There are a ton of ideas and help at the touch of your fingertips. Please feel free to ask me for help anytime.

Happy Holidays ;)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Free Food Information and Coupons From Savings.com and Food Network

I am always one for sharing. Here are a couple things that I can share with you food lovers today. I do like to have a ton of food info on had at all times. It makes my life so much easier when cooking a meal or preparing for a party.

The Food Network site is a wonderful place to gather food info on recipes, helpful hints, cookware and so on.

Here we have some Olive Garden coupons for all you food lovers that like to dine out. In today economy we all love to save a little "dough" where we can right? So click the link if you are interested in Olive Garden coupons.

Here are more free online coupons. You can get a coupon for practically anything you need form anyplace with these free online coupons.

Happy shopping. I will bring more helpful and usual information when I get it. Have a great day!

Enjoy ;)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giveaway Starts Soon For Lucky Leaf Pie Filling Gift Box!

Keep your eyes and ears open in the next few days we will be starting a giveaway for a fantastic gift box from Lucky Leaf. I will be making some of their fabulous recipes to share with you and give you a chance to win those products!

Tell your friends and stay tuned ;)

Karen B.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How To Cook A Pumpkin or Squash For The Holidays

Cooking a pumpkin is a piece of cake and the bonus is you don't need to toss those porch pumpkins out anymore! This recipe can be used for any edible pumpkin or squash.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.


Cut pumpkin in have and discard the seeds. Spray a cooking sheet with non stick oil and place pumpkin or squash halves cut side down skin up.








Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes or until fork tender.








Scoop out cooked pumpkin from the skin. It is ready for any of your Holiday recipes! You can put in a zip lock freezer bag and freeze until ready to use.



If you would like to cook it with spices just turn cut side up and sprinkle with cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, butter and brown sugar for a wonder easy dessert. Cover with foil and bake until fork tender.

Enjoy!

Holiday Pumpkin Crunch

We received this yummy recipe from friends and then lost it! So I did research, found a Hawaiian recipe and then found the old one I had lost. After trying to duplicate it I made several versions. The mistake which is this one is the one we absolutely love.

So here is my version of Pumpkin Crunch.

Ingredients:
  • 1 Large Can Pumpkin with spices added
  • 1 Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar (for healthier version use 1/2 C Sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 Eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla
Topping:
  • 1 Box Spice Cake Mix
  • 2 Sticks of Butter melted (Paula Dean would be happy ;)
  • 1 Cup or more of chopped Pecans
Additional Topping Optional:
  • 1 - 8 oz package of Cream Cheese (or low fat)
  • 1 Cup Cool Whip
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a 13 x 9 metal pan (preferred over glass if you have one) by spraying with non-stick cooking oil.

In large mixing bowl combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix well using a whisk. Pour into prepared pan.

Topping:

Sprinkle one box of Spice Cake Mix on top of uncooked pumpkin mixture. Drizzle with melted butter. Then sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake at 350 for one hour until set and nuts nicely browned.

Optional Topping:

Combine Cream Cheese and Cool whip, mix well, spread over top of cooked Pumpkin Crunch (we prefer just plain old whip cream on top).

Serve warm for best results. If you liked the Karen B's Homemade Carmel Apple Bread Pudding recipe your gonna LOVE this one!

Enjoy!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Vintage Silver and China Serving Pieces "In" for the Holidays

With the Holiday's already here by what the TV and stores are saying....

Here are some great helpful ideas to dress up your Holiday tables and buffets.

Vintage Silver and China serving pieces can make a great show. From the Napa Style site here we have some old serving pieces used to dress up any buffet or table.

I have several hand me down silver trays, pitchers, china and crystal that I love to use. The old Butler trays that held the coffee carafe, creamer and sugar can be used as a hourdouve' tray.

Take old crystal martini glasses and fill with seasonal nuts. Tall crystal water goblets can be filled with tall thin crispy bread sticks... All you need is some doilies and or leaf shaped paper cutouts to place a cheese wedge on. Even evergreen sprigs can spruce up any event. Most supermarkets have a floral department now with the make it yourself section. Grab some greenery and lay around the trays or centerpiece for that extra touch.

Happy Party!


Cast Iron Cookware For Your Kitchen



The Holidays are here believe it or not. Family gatherings and parties are right around the corner. If you entertain and or love to cook having the best cookware is a must. Even if it is one item make sure it's a good one!

Every kitchen should have at least one cast cookware enamel iron roaster, baker or large deep fry pan. I prefer the French Oven or a Dutch Oven. It's a one stop shop piece of enameled cast iron cookware. You can make stew, soups, fry, sear, saute' and then pop right in the oven with out changing pans. Making Holiday meals so much easier.

The only thing that you need to know ahead of time that any cast cookware enamel iron pieces are extremely heavy compared to stainless cookware. A French Oven with a large roast will surprise you when you go to pick it up to pop it in the oven. You will need to use those are muscles!

A good piece of cast cookware enamel iron has wonderful heat retention and can be used on the stove top and oven. Making slow cooking and recipes easier with much better results than that old crock pot. Do your research before purchasing there is several Chef's out their now with their own lines, Emeril, Martha, Rachael Ray just to name a few so not to confuse you with the originals like Le Creuset or Lodge.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tip Of The Day: Cooking Hamburgers Indoors

Want that just cooked outdoor on the grill taste but are cooking hamburgers indoors?

Try this simple tip:

Sprinkle a little bit of Mesquite Rub onto your uncooked burgers and spray with a little non-stick cooking oil. Don't use too much you just want to make "taste" like it was cooked on the grill.

You will get a robust and smoky flavor. You can also use it on steaks, ribs, chicken and turkeys.

Enjoy ;)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds

This easy Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds recipe takes no time at all and you end up with a yummy crunchy snack for anytime not just Halloween.

All you need are the seeds, cookie sheet or sheet pan, and spatula.

Ingredients:

Seeds
Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves (cleaned and smashed)
Salt
Lawry's Seasoning Salt

Preheat oven to 325.

Wash and pat dry seeds.

In a small fry pan heat 4 to 5 tablespoons Olive Oil to med low heat, add garlic and stir over low heat for a few minutes to season the oil with the garlic flavor. Turn off heat and let sit for ten minutes or so. Taste the oil to make sure you have a garlic flavor. Heating to a high temp will only burn the garlic and leave a bitter taste.

Pour Garlic Olive Oil onto a baking sheet, add Seeds and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with a little Salt. Not too much.

Place in preheated oven and roast stirring every ten minutes or so. This should take 45 minutes to an hour. Half way through while seeds are still a still a little moist season with Lawry's Seasoning Salt. Stir to coat well and return to oven.

Roast until nicely browned and crunchy.

Enjoy ;)

Monster Cupcake Cake

This Easy Monster Cake is a big hit for Parties!!

Arrange your cupcakes into desired shape. Using a grass decorating tip pipe on your frosting starting at the head and work your way to the feet. Making it look like a single layer cake. Add you accents and your done! Easy and fun for the kids ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Wine History The "Wine Bible"

We have been drinking wine for thousands of years now. It has been apart of many cultures around the world in many different ways.

In Medieval Europe drinking wine with a meal helped make the very bland food taste better. Wine has come along way since then. It is now grown and sold for profit.

The British have this great little site called the Wine Bible and I am bringing it to you. If you need to learn about wine, the many many different wine grape varieties this is a very helpful site.

You can also learn about all the wine producing countries around the world as well.

The history of wine is so interesting. Being as wine has been around for so long it is fascinating to see how it has evolved over the years. You once could only drink it if you were of a certain class in society, now everyone does.

Check out the Wine Bible and save it as one of your cooking favorites for interesting reading and reference.

Happy Fall!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hot New Finds: Starbuck's Ceramic Travel Mug

I have found the greatest item ever! Starbuck's has a ceramic travel mug! No not stainless or plastic but ceramic! I am so thrilled I just can't stand it ;)

I have never liked the taste of coffee in stainless or plastic cups, I have to have it in a ceramic cup or it just does not taste the same.

So I usually put my morning coffee in a regular old coffee cup and off I go. Maneuvering through bumps and traffic trying to hold the cup up so it doesn't spill coffee all over me or my car.

But not anymore. The other day I forgot my coffee and had some errands to run after dropping the kids off to school. I popped into Starbuck's to get just a regular Joe and waiting in line there gleaming on the shelf was their ceramic travel mug with a snap on leak proof lid! Like I said I was so excited.

It keeps the coffee very hot and I did burn my tongue so I have to be careful. It is double walled so the hot liquids stay hot but it's cool to the touch which is an added bonus. So very proud of my new mug!! I have been getting funny looks because of the mug, people aren't sure if Starbucks changed their carry out cups or what ;)

Happy Fall!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wine Pick Of The Day! Kirkland 2006 Napa Valley Meritage

Needless to say.... very disappointing :( This is sad being as I loved the other Kirkland wine, I was so excited to get it.

It's 69% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. It smelled like "grapes" a little on the flat side coming from the "Master Cask Series". Maybe too much Black Cherry and not enough oak???

Price Point: $9 - $11.00

I prefer Kendall J Meritage.

:/

Friday, October 9, 2009

Karen B's Homemade Carmel Apple Bread Pudding


Karen B's Homemade Carmel Apple Bread Pudding is a special dessert
and loved by many. It will bring a smile to your family as well as warm their tummy's.

It's quiet simple all you need are the ingredients and you will be surprised at what they are!

Ingredients:
  • One Dozen Cinnamon Cake Doughnuts
  • 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 5 Large Eggs
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 - 1/2 Cup Chopped Dried Cinnamon Apples ( I use Mariani Fuji Apples w/Cinnamon) If you cannot find dried apples use two fresh apples chopped and dredge in Cinnamon and Sugar.
  • Cinnamon & Sugar (mixed together)
  • Two Carmel Apple Wraps
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Pnuts (optional) (you can find chopped Pnuts at the store)
Preheat the oven to 350.

Prep a 9 x 13" glass dish with cooking spray.

Take your cake doughnuts and break into pieces show here, place into pan.

Chop your apples into 1/2 inch size pieces, sprinkle over doughnuts.

Take two Carmel Apple Wraps and remove paper.

Cut with kitchen scissors into small pieces, it is easier to use scissors than a knife. Sprinkle Carmel pieces and Pnuts over doughnuts and apples. Gently mix in with hands to distribute evenly.

In a bowl add the eggs and whisk. Add the milk, sugar and vanilla mix until sugar is dissolved. Pour the eggs and milk mixture over the doughnut mixture. Press down the doughnut mixture with a spatula to make sure all the doughnuts get covered with the eggs and milk.

Let sit for five minutes.

Sprinkle Cinnamon and Sugar over the entire top of the bread pudding.

Bake at 350 for 35 to 45 minutes until set.

Serve warm with a dollop of whip cream or just by itself!

It is delightful!

Happy Cooking ;)



Old Fashion Bread Pudding on Foodista

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How To Carve A Watermelon Basket

You can make this adorable watermelon basket with just a few supplies and a creative mind.

Supplies:
  • One large nice shaped watermelon
  • Carving knife
  • Pumpkin Carving knife or serrated knife as shown
  • Large serving spoon and or Ice Cream Scoop or Melon Ball er which ever you have
  • Large Mixing bowl for the watermelon pieces

Wash your Watermelon with soap and warm water.

Find the bottom and slice off a thin strip length wise to make a the bottom flat to prevent rolling or movement while carving. Be careful not to cut too deep just the bottom skin will work just fine.

With a dry erase marker draw your design on to the clean dry melon. Here we are making a whale for my Daughters Birthday Party.

Cut with the serrated pumpkin knife/cutter along the lines using a in and out motion or sawing motion as you go.
Use the carving or meat knife to stab and pull out sections of the melon as shown here:

Be careful not to break off delicate pieces.

Here we cut out the mouth section.


For the eyes I used a pairing knife (.99 cents) and bent the tip over to make a round tip to carve out the skin and scrape until you can see the white flesh of the melon.

Then we cleaned out the melon with a large spoon or scoop, reserving the melon to be cut up to fill the basket later.

Next dry out your melon with paper towels.

Cut up all the fruit you will be adding and keep in separate bowls.

Hint: do not mix the different types of fruit together in one bowl. Layer them in the basket. This keeps the fruit intact and looking beautiful no smashed from mixing.

Keep the melon in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill and serve.

Layer all the different fruit into the bowl. Decorate the platter with greenery, flowers and additional fruit if desired.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mashed Potato's With Herbs And Sweet Potato's

Sweet Potato's are the much healthier potato to eat. Not everyone likes Sweet Potato's. My Family is actually starting to enjoy them more and more.

Here is a great recipe to help jump start your Family to start eating healthier.

Mashed Potato's with Herbs and Sweet Potato's are just as easy to do as plain mashed potato's.

Ingredients:
  • Yukon Gold Potato's (one per person)
  • Sweet Potato's (one per person)
  • Two Tablespoons Fresh Chives (chopped)
  • Two Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley (chopped)
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Three table spoons Butter
  • Milk
Wash all the potato's.

Peel the Sweet Potato's (and the white ones if you prefer, I leave the skins on).

Cut all the potatoes into 1 - 1/2 in square pieces.

Place potatoes into large sauce pan and just cover with water. Bring to boil reduce to simmer until just fork tender. Don't over cook or they will turn to mush.

Drain in colander.

Place butter into hot sauce pan and melt. Add 1/2 Cup Milk and heat, season with salt, Pepper, Chives and Parsley.

Add Potato's back into sauce pan and toss together, just enough to mix well and heat (you can add more milk a little at a time if needed)

Serve.

This recipe is also great for left overs, just reheat in the microwave!

Let me know what your family thinks ;)

Enjoy!

Grilled Vegetables For Better Flavored Dishes!

The next time you make Pasta Sauce or and dishes that calls for vegetables try grilling your vegetables first.

Grilling the vegetables instead of sauteing them gives them a more smokey grilled flavor. I did this the last time I made Spaghetti sauce and we all loved it.

I just oiled my grill pan, sliced the veggies, seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled until they got nice grill marks. Then, I chopped them up and finished my sauce as I normally would.

Try it you will like it!

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tip Of The Day: Cooking Pasta

A quick "Tip Of The Day" while cooking pasta is to simply cook the pasta only three quarters of the way done.

Add the partially cooked pasta to your sauce and finish cooking. The pasta absorbs the flavors of the sauce and makes it taste so much better!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Betty Crocker Decorating Frosting in a can?

My Daughter's eighth Birthday was this month. She has celebrated her Birthday the entire month so we have had several kinds of cupcakes and cakes.

She wanted me to make "homemade" cupcakes for the neighborhood children. Very specific, confetti cake and frosting with sugar sprinkles.

During the shopping trip to the supermarket I found something I have never used before. Cupcake Icing in a can. Betty Crocker has yet again come up with something new.

It's decorating frosting with different tips in a can you just turn up side down and squirt! It actually works. It comes in several different colors and does not need to be refrigerated.

The price point is $3.99 (which I thought was VERY expensive!) You can get the cheaper version, put it in a plastic bag, snip the corner off and you have an instant pastry bag for about a $1.50.

The directions state that one can will decorate 24 cupcakes.... NOT! It only did 18 of what you see here. They did turn out cute, but I use a lot more frosting on my cupcakes. If your in a hurry this is a great new find.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Italian Simmered Tomatoes and Zucchini

Simmered Tomatoes and Zucchini is a wonderful side dish that can be made anytime and be served with almost anything. It's great all year round. Just add some fresh herbs, garlic and olive oil and your done ;)

Ingredients:
  • Three Large Tomatoes sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • Three Zucchini sliced 3/4 inch thick
  • Three Fresh Garlic Cloves sliced
  • Three Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leave Parsley chopped
  • Two Tablespoon Fresh Oregano chopped
  • 1/2 small Red Onion sliced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive Oil
Coat deep fry pan with Olive Oil and heat. Add Garlic and Onions saute until you can start to smell the garlic.

Layer in the Squash, Tomatoes and herbs. Season with Salt and Pepper.

Drizzle some more Olive Oil over the top.

Cover and let simmer, turning occasionally gently until tomatoes are cooked and zucchini is tender. The aroma is amazing!

Serve as a side dish with chicken, beef or fish.

Serves two Adults and two Children. Double recipe for more guests ;)

Enjoy!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Tip Of The Day: Pre made Pie Fillings

Pre made Pie Fillings are a staple in every one's pantry.

Keep one or two on hand for that last minute get together or a quick dessert.

You can make a quick Blue Berry Tart:
  • Frozen Pastry Sheets
  • Blue Berry Pie Filling
  • 1 Egg whipped
Remove Pastry Sheet from freezer and defrost. Place crust a cookie sheet or tart pan. Spoon pie filling onto center and spread outward in a large circle leaving a couple inches around the edge.

Fold in edges to make a crust and to prevent the filling from spilling over. Brush edges with egg and bake per instructions on pastry box. Done :)

You can also purchase a store bought cheese cake and spoon pie filling over the slices for a quick and "fancy" topping. Just add a dollop of whip cream and serve ;)

Labor Day Corn On The Cob With Dill Butter

Mix it up a bit the next time you cook Corn On The Cob. Top it with quick and easy Dill butter.

If your grilling the corn or boiling it works for both.

Grilling Corn:
  • Peel back husks remove the corn hair (leave husks attached)
  • Soak in five gallon bucket for 1/2 hour.
  • Brush Dill Butter on Corn close up the husks and tie the end shut with string.
  • Grill Corn until tender, turning every five minutes and cook on all four sides.
Dill Butter:
  • One stick butter
  • Two to Three Tablespoons finally chopped Fresh Dill.
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • Dash of Fresh Ground Pepper if desired.
Combine Butter, Dill, Salt and Pepper mix well.

My New Mario Batali Basting Brush

I got a new "toy" for my Birthday this year. The Mario Batali Basting Brush.

It's great!

My old basting brushes have hit the dust. They were just basic with wood handles with bristles that were half half gone. The wood handles were burn't, the bristles were either burn't and melted and the connector was rusted. They have been through the works. The last time I was grilling and I noticed some bristles that were left on my chicken I said "I need something new".

I had mentioned this to my Mother In Law and she handed me a gift bag the next time she came over filled with some goodies inside ;) Out came Mario's nesting set of small bowls to use for just anything and this basting brush.

It's made of silicon and can withstand 500 degree heat with out melting. It feels and looks like it would shrivel with the slightest touch of heat but it wont.

You can baste anything with it or even prepare your pans with oil or butter. When you are done just pop it in the dish washer :)

I give this a big thumbs up!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tip Of The Day: Non Stick Cookware Safety

Spending an arm and leg on non-stick cookware only for it to not last long. Here are some simple helpful tips to maintain the life of your cookware and to keep them safe.

  • When cooking with non-stick cookware never heat the pan on a heat higher than medium with out having any food in it.
  • Purchase a higher quality cookware line that has a guarantee not to peel.
  • Do not use metal utensils of any kind to flip or stir food! Do not even use a metal spoon to stir pasta thinking you will not touch the pan because you usually do :( One tiny scratch will lead to peeling.
  • Do not use harsh cleaners on your cookware or scrubbing sponges that will scratch the cookware's surface.
  • If your pans have little flakes from the pan peeling, throw it out! These will end up in your food and in you or your family.
Taking care of your cookware with prolong the life and keep them safe for you and your family.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Brian Boitano on Food Network?

Checking out my fav show Food Network. I was surprised to see Brian Boitano cooking on the show. His premier for his new show What Would Brian Boitano Make? is a cooking how to series.

He is actually doing a good job, much better than the new Food Network Star winner, the blond gal (can't remember her name). She made crispy potato's by sauteing them in oil, then adding a little water, covering, steaming until tender and then adding butter and popping them in the oven to crisp them up???? Way to many steps, I would never have the time to do that for dinner. It's much easier to purchase the little frozen cut squares spritz with Olive Oil and bake "same end result". Or you can just toss fresh cut potato's with Olive Oil, season with salt, pepper and some garlic then bake in a 400 degree oven until crispy

The longer I sit at watch Brian I am impressed, the camera is kind to him and he is funny ;)

He's also offers helpful cooking tips through out the show.

Check him out on the Food Channel ;)

Happy Summer!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Quick and Easy Chopped Artichoke and Salami Antipasti Salad

If you need a Antipasti or hourdouve' for dinner or a party this Chopped Antipasti can be put together in about ten minutes. It's so simple, all you do is chop, toss and serve.

Ingredients (serves four can be easily doubled):
  • One Head Romaine Heart Lettuce - chopped
  • One Jar Marinated Artichoke Hearts in Oil and Spices - lightly chopped - reserve oil
  • 6 oz. good deli Italian Salami - cut into bite size pieces
  • 8 oz. Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella Cheese - cut into bite size pieces
  • Fresh Basil about 1/2 Cup - chopped
  • Six Queen Ann size Olives - sliced
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Salt
In a large wooden salad bowl add all chopped ingredients, drizzle with reserved oil and spices, season with Salt and Pepper, toss and serve.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Anti Tummy Bloat Cucumber Lemon Ginger Water

Instead of drinking diet soda's or just plain old water here is a drink that is healthy, all natural and actually tastes great!

Anti Tummy Bloat Water is easy to make and all the ingredients are in your refrigerator. Drink for a couple days before any big event to help get rid of tummy bloating. Or drink it anytime, why not, it's good for you ;)

Ingredients:
  • Lemon Slices
  • Cucumber Slices
  • Shredded Ginger
  • Fresh Spearmint Leaves
  • Water
Combine all ingredients into a pitcher and fill with water. Place in refrigerator to chill.

You will find this so refreshing it's like going to the spa!

Enjoy!

Water Lemon on Foodista

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