Wednesday, August 27, 2008

5 Tips to Save Money on Groceries

Rising fuel costs have affected the price of the food that we eat. In fact, food costs are rising faster than any other sector of goods! If you are like many of us, you are looking for some ways to save at the grocery.

Here are 5 easy tips to save on your food costs without depriving your family of the things they like:

  1. Clip coupons. It's worth buying the newspaper once or twice a week to clip the coupons for food and other household products that you use. Usually the coupons are in the Wednesday or Thursday paper, and almost always on Sundays. Check with your local newspaper publisher to find out what issues will be most valuable for you.
  2. Shop at the big wholesale stores like Costco and Sam's Club. These are especially good for the cleaning and laundry supplies and paper products. But, you will also save on food products, too. Just be careful to purchase only those food items that you can use before they will go bad. You'll save big on condiments, rice, pasta, canned goods, and other items that have a long shelve life.
  3. Buy in season. Normally produce that is in season will be less expensive than those that are not in season in your area. Also, don't overlook frozen food options. For example, frozen spinich is much more economical any time of the year than fresh spinich. If you are going to cook it anyway, use the frozen product, and save the fresh for salads.
  4. Plan your meals in advance, and shop with a list to avoid impulse purchases.
  5. Make your own snack foods, instead of purchasing the less economical prepared cookies, crackers, and other snacks. Get an air popper and make popped corn, or make your own cookies and cakes. In most cases you'll spend less, and you and your family will enjoy the snacks much more.
If you enjoyed this article Subscribe to my RSS Feed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bistros and Restaurants in Paris France

by Martyn Davis

Gastronomy is taken very seriously in France and with the rich history for fine French cuisine, Paris is a city where you will find some of the Worlds finest chefs serving remarkable cuisine and you will find thousands of cafes and restaurants in Paris alone, ranging from the small bistro such as the Allard Bistro through to exceedingly plush restaurants.

Even at a small traditional restaurant like the Boeuf sur le Toit or at a fancy restaurant setting such as the Train Bleu, the quality of food is of the utmost of importance, but many places have to be booked prior and some require reservations weeks or even months in advance, like the Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower!

When it comes to the type of cuisine, you have choices from all over the world such as the Blue Elephant which serves Thai dishes in beautiful surroundings, Brazilian food at the Brasil Tropical Cabaret and restaurant, Le Curieux Spaghetti Bar for true Italian delights, or the Tokyo Eat restaurant serving adventurous fusion cuisine.

There is so much variety to tempt your taste buds, yet obviously, it is the French food that really stands out in so many restaurants in Paris and some are in unusual surroundings like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, 1970's style Korova, the family restaurant Apollo or Altitude 95 in the Eiffel Tower and they vary in cost from only a few Euros to hundreds per person.

But if you want to splash out for that special occasion, the finest way of dining in Paris is with Haute cuisine, which is elaborate food preparation and presentation, and just some of the Michelin star rated Haute cuisine restaurants include the Le Grande Cascade close to the Longchamps horse racing, Guy Savoy, Taillevent, Le Grand Vefour and La Tour d'Argent, where you could be paying upwards of 250 Euros per person, but even the most expensive restaurants are cheaper for lunch than in the evening.

Now forgetting Haute cuisine, you will find most restaurants in Paris serving French cuisine have a Menu du Jour or a set menu of the day and this normally means the most reasonably priced meals, which change frequently depending upon what fresh produce is available.

Also, if you want to eat breakfast out it is likely to be at a Patisserie or Tea Salon where you can get croissants, bread, fillings like cold meats and cheeses, pastries and a nice cup of coffee and numerous places such as Angelina's or Laduree, offer a choice of eating on the premises, or items to take away, but just one point worth mentioning is that many establishments add an additional charge to your bill if you decide to sit outside on their terrace, rather than inside.

When it comes to lunch, you will be able to find numerous different cafes and bistros whilst walking around Paris such as the Cafe Marly with a great view of the famous Louvre museum, and it may be an idea to mark these on a map so that you can find your next fuelling station!

As for the evening, meals are usually served from around 7.30pm and restaurants get far busier from around 9pm onwards. Plus we would like to point out that Parisians do tend to dress up for an evening out and in most restaurants it is expected that you have a glass of wine or two with your meal, but bear in mind that a table wine can be just as expensive as many others on the wine list, as they are still of excellent quality.

And numerous different options are available for an evening meal like the cosy intimate setting of Au Bon Accueil, or perhaps you have been to a nightclub and need to eat in the early hours of the morning, then Au Pied de Cochon that is open 24/7 is a good choice, or you could choose the friendly atmosphere and smells of food cooking on a spit at the Atelier Maitre Albert or contemporary cuisine at Spoon Food and Wine, but you also have cabaret venues where you can enjoy a meal and watch a cabaret show such as at the World famous Moulin Rouge.

And after all this eating out in Paris enjoying the fabulous cuisine on offer, it just may not be the same when you get home!

About the Author

Martyn Davis European Traveller, Author, Photographer and Business Development Manager, For all your French holiday needs and travel guide to France, with tourist information, landmarks and attractions - Restaurants In Paris

If you enjoyed this article Subscribe to my RSS Feed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baked Pork Chop Recipes

Pork is being touted as the "new white meat". It is not only tasty, but considered a very healthy, lean protein.

One of the easiest methods for cooking pork chops, which tend to be everyone's favorite cut, is to bake them. Baked pork chop recipes can use a variety of flavorings for variety. What's your family's favorite?

Take a look at all the different recipes for pork chops listed at You'll find recipes that use apples, cherries, stuffing, potatoes and many other ingredients that your family will love. We like this one:

Baked Lemony Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
1/2 to 1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 lemon
Butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Salt and pepper chops. Sprinkle nutmeg on top. Pat bread crumbs over top of chops.

Slice four thin slices from the lemon and set aside. Squeeze the rest of the lemon over chops.

Dot with butter and place thin slice of lemon on each chop.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes depending on thickness of chops. Don't over-bake.

If you enjoyed this article Subscribe to my RSS Feed.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bon Appetit Recipes, Ingredients, and Instructions

One of my favorite past times is to thumb through Bon Appetit magazine looking for new recipes and meal ideas. The magazine offers some of the best recipes, easy to find ingredients and easy to use instructions for making some amazing meals.

I have found that some of the other top food magazines often showcase recipes that have impossible to find or ultra expensive ingredients, and the instructions are not always easy to understand and follow. While the pictures sure look pretty, it would take a genius, well trained chef to prepare the food involved.

I think I will just stick with my monthly Bon Appetit magazine from which I have derived many years of reading pleasure.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Cold Pasta Salad Recipes

On these final hot days of summer, the thought of standing over a hot stove or grill is a big turn-off. I'm always trying to think of recipe ideas that don't require much, if any, cooking. Cold pasta salads are a refreshing meal idea that usually only require cooking the pasta.

It's something you can enjoy for lunch (especially good for brown bagging it) or for dinner. And, who doesn't like pasta? Also, pasta salad is a very good way to stretch your food budget. You can make an excellent meal that everyone will enjoy, and not break the bank.

There are so many different variations for pasta salad, you won't get bored. It doesn't have to be Italian style, although those are good, too. One of my favorites is a recipe for Layered Southwestern Pasta Salad. It's a great make ahead recipe that you can carry to a picnic, or have waiting when you come home from soccer practice.

You can make your own recipes too. Just start with some cooked pasta, add your favorite salad ingredients, a dressing (usually vinigrette or mayonaise based), and chill.

What are you waiting for? Try it tonight!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympic Fever? Try a Stir Fry Recipe

Everyone's excited about the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing China. Tonight we'll watch the opening ceremonies, and it promises to be a spectacular event.

What better way to celebrate the Olympics than with a nice Chinese style dinner. It's not difficult to make a stir-fry. Serve some white rice on the side, and some fresh fruit for dessert.

Get that Olympic spirit! Here's a recipe for Shrimp Stir-Fry that your family will enjoy.

Shrimp Stir Fry

1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1 small sweet red pepper, julienned
1 small green bell pepper, julienned
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
Hot cooked rice

In a skillet, stir-fry broccoli and peppers in oil until tender. Add shrimp; stir-fry for 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink.

Combine the cornstarch, brown sugar, ginger, orange juice and soy sauce until smooth; add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

Serve over rice.

Yields 3 to 4 servings.


Instead of shrimp, use thin sliced beef sirloin, pork, or chicken. Vegetarians, substitute cubed firm tofu.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Walnut Crusted Halibut Recipe

Cold-water fish like halibut are a rich source of the omega-3 essential fats. Recent research indicates that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial in preventing strokes, heart attacks, Alzheimer's disease, and a host of other health problems. By just adding 2 - 3 servings a week of salmon, tuna, cod or halibut to your diet, you may benefit greatly. Other foods that are a good source of the omega-3's are walnuts and flaxseed.

I'm trying to add more cold-water fish to our weekly diet, with much protesting from my husband who insists he doesn't like fish. However, here is a recipe that he has asked me to repeat, so maybe your family will like it too.

Walnut Crusted Halibut With Honey Soy Sauce

1/4 cup flour
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups clover honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
Four 6-ounce Alaskan halibut fillets
2 eggs lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Stir a pinch of salt and pepper into the flour and reserve in a shallow dish. Whisk together the honey and soy sauce and reserve in another dish.

Dip the halibut fillets in the flour, coating thoroughly and shaking gently to remove any excess. Next dip them in the beaten egg wash, draining off any excess; then immediately roll them in the walnuts to coat. Reserve for 5 minutes to allow the coating to "set."

Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof skillet large enough to hold the fillets, and add the fish. Cook on one side until golden brown, flip carefully and put it immediately into the oven for 5 minutes, or until cooked through. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with the reserved honey-soy sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Freezer Casserole Recipes - Save Time and Money

The kids will be going back to school soon, and you're going to be busier than ever - recipes that can be prepared ahead and stored in the freezer are great for those days you have sports games, dance lessons, music lessons, etc.

Freezer casserole recipes are not only a good way to save time, but you'll also save money. First, you'll have something to eat at home, rather than stopping at a restaurant on those really busy days. Normally, it costs more to eat out than to prepare meals in the home. Also, you can have a tasty meal using ingredients that can stretch the dollar, like less expensive cuts of meat, or no meat at all.

One freezer casserole recipe that I've found kids really like is Cheeseburger Casserole. This is one that you can prepare for a meal on the weekend, but double the recipe and freeze half for a meal on another day. Reheat it covered in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until it is heated through. If you are really in a hurry, and have used a microwave safe container, you can also reheat it in the microwave oven.

Another great recipe that can be frozen for later use (once again, it takes the same amount of time to prepare if you double the recipe and save half to freeze for another day), and very kid friendly, is Burrito Supreme Casserole. Just prepare it up to the part where you would bake it, and then freeze it for later. Just about any casserole can be frozen and used later.

There are so many different casseroles that you can make using your family's favorite foods, and don't be afraid to experiment with some of the recipes. If you don't have an ingredient on hand, or if you know your family won't like it, substitute something else. And, have fun. Cooking should always be fun, and you should enjoy the food that you eat!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Boxed Cake Mix Recipes

A boxed cake mix can be used to make many desserts other than a cake. When you are in a hurry to make a dessert, or you are just looking for a simple and easy to prepare dessert, a boxed cake mix can be a very versatile ingredient.

You can use a boxed cake mix to make cookies, pancakes, quick breads, and even cheesecake.

One of my favorite boxed cake mix recipes is Peach Cobbler Dump Cake. Although it is not a particularly elegant sounding name, the resulting dessert is delicious. And, the ingredients are just a few things you probably already have in your pantry like a can of peaches and a yellow cake mix.

Here's the recipe:

Peach Cobbler Dump Cake


1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 (32 ounce) can sliced peaches in heavy syrup
1/2 cup butter
Ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Empty peaches into the bottom of a 13 x 9- inch pan. Cover with the dry cake mix and press down firmly. Cut butter or margarine into small pieces and place on top of cake mix. Sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream

  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds on top before baking
  • Use a can of cherry or apple pie filling instead of the canned peaches
  • Try cherry pie filling and chocolate cake mix for a "black forest" dessert