Thursday, December 31, 2009

Shrimp Recipes for the Everyday Menu

By Allan Stearman

Do you think cooking shrimp recipes is only for the elite, trained chef? If you are overwhelmed with the thought, become familiar with the basics to open a new world.

Go beyond opening a box and putting it in the microwave. When you try a simple shrimp scampi recipe at home just once, and your family sits in awe, it will be a short step to adding grilled shrimp recipes or a shrimp pasta recipe. A simple grilled shrimp recipe can bring restaurant fare to the suburban kitchen. The main ingredient for shrimp recipes can be easily mastered.

To visualize what you want to serve, consider the large range of sizes of shrimp that are on the market, each suitable for specific recipes. Bay or popcorn shrimp are used for accents whereas the colossal tiger shrimp is the star of any plate. Shrimp cocktail usually features large shrimp and medium shrimp fit perfectly on top of a bed of pasta.

Of course, in order to successfully prepare shrimp recipes, it is necessary to know how to buy quality shrimp. Larger shrimp cost more per pound, however, regardless of the size, the shellfish should be firm, moist, smell fresh, and have flesh that is translucent, or semitransparent. If there are any black spots or edges on the shells of the shrimp, and if there is any ammonia aroma, do not purchase them. Calculate 1 pounds of raw, in-the-shell shrimp for every pound of shelled shrimp needed.

It is a delight indeed to obtain fresh shrimp near its source, however, most shrimp today is or has been frozen. As with any frozen food, freezer burn is to be avoided and the product should be solidly and completely frozen. To thaw, place under running cold water or leave in the refrigerator overnight. If the shrimp you purchase is already thawed, the flesh should still be firm and glossy, making any shrimp recipe a visual delight.

To ready the shrimp for the recipe, you will need to peel and devein it, unless it is preprocessed and these steps have been completed for you. The flavor will suffer however if you do purchase deveined and shelled shrimp. To begin preparing the main ingredient of your shrimp recipes, get a sharp paring knife to begin peeling the shell.

A light incision down the back from the head end to the tail end allows the shell to be peeled away, revealing a black vein known as the sand vein. The tip of the knife can be used to remove the vein for discarding. Then immerse the shrimp in cold water, keeping all the shrimp at the same temperature as you proceed through your catch. It is simple to split the shrimp in half at this point by placing each face down on the cutting board and slicing through.

Shrimp recipes call for one of five general ways of preparing the shrimp. Boiling, broiling, sauting, steaming, or baking shrimp give results that are tantalizing, tasty, and full of texture. A large spectrum of flavors and visual appeal is available. The main rule to keep in mind for recipes using fresh shrimp, regardless of the method of preparation, is to never over cook the shrimp. Now go enjoy!

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vegetarian Diet Meal Plan - A Deep Look

By Alexis Martin

Not long ago, a well-known star made the headlines when he made an environmental plea for everyone to adopt a vegetarian weight loss diet. He was not even advocating a total abstinence from meat - just one day a week. Many of the newspapers that covered the story were unkind. They laughed and called him an old hippy who didn't know what he was talking about.

With very few exceptions, the media completely failed to take his suggestion seriously and look at the facts. Had they done so, they would have discovered that people give up meat eating for very good reasons. Why not give vegetarians a chance and listen to their point of view for a change?

Americans consume far more beef per capita than any other nation and our environment suffers as a result. We could utilize our precious arable land far better by raising protein rich plant crops than we do by raising cattle. This is an established fact. There is plenty of proof for this that is buried rather than confronted.

People living near beef processing plants and process plant workers report a high incidence of health problems directly related to the processing of beef. There is sound medical evidence to prove this, but one way to find out for yourself would be to visit one of these places. But be prepared - you may get sick from the smell before you even enter the premises.

Unless you are a hardened killer, you will be shocked by what you see inside the meat processing plant. To call it inhumane is putting it mildly. While the killing process itself is not necessarily an environmental issue, it is a moral one. It is doubtful that you will reach for a shrink-wrapped sirloin steak quite so quickly after you have seen what happened at the slaughterhouse. You are more likely to turn away and go to the vegetable department and start your vegetarian diet!

The meat industry will tell you that beef makes you strong and healthy. They will talk about a protein-packed meat diet as if a high intake of meat is essential for health. What they won't tell you is that you are consuming far more meat than you could possibly need for good health. They will also not tell you that your predominantly meat diet contributes to cancer, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses.

Those who have given up meat and taken up a vegetarian diet rarely feel the need to go back to eating meat. While some do go back to occasional servings of meat, they almost never go back to consuming it in large quantities. Why should they? They feel healthier and happier than they did before.

The two largest religions in the world, Buddhism and Hinduism, both advocate a total abstinence from meat eating. Interestingly enough, all the other major religions, including Catholicism, Judaism, and the Muslim faith advocate abstinence from meat during certain religious holidays. Why is it that only the cattle industry advocates a strict meat eating diet?

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dal Makhani - Creamy Lentil Gravy Recipe

By Lloyd Pinto

Dal Makhani consists of lentils and beans in a creamy butter gravy. Dal Makhani can be made with a variety of dals and is a staple dish in Indian households.


1/2 cup urad dal (Whole black lentils), 2 tbsp rajma (Kidney beans), 2 medium sized onions finely chopped, 1 tsp ginger paste, 1 tsp garlic paste, Pulp of 3 medium sized fresh tomatoes, 2 green chillies slit, 1/4 tsp haldi powder (Turmeric powder), 1/2 tsp jeera (Cumin seeds), 1 tsp chilli powder (Chilli powder), 2 tsp dhania powder (Coriander powder), 1/2 tsp garam masala, 1-2 tbsp oil, 1/2 cup cream, Salt to taste, Fresh coriander leaves chopped (Cilantro) and 1-2 tbsp butter for garnish


1. Clean, wash and soak the whole urad - lentils and rajma- kidney beans overnight separately. Drain and keep aside.

2. Combine the lentils and beans and add 2 cups of water with little salt (as per taste) and pressure cook till the dals are overcooked. Whisk well till the dal is almost mashed.

3. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the slit green chillies, chopped onions, ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry the onion till golden brown over a medium flame.

4. Then add turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder and stir for 5 mins.

5. Add tomato pulp and stir till the oil separates.

6. Add the cooked dal and 3/4 - 1 cup of water and salt (as per taste) simmer it for 15 mins till it becomes little thick.

7. Add the garam masala and stir.

8. Add the cream to this mixture and stir gently.

9. Garnish with the chopped coriander and some melted butter.

10. Serve with steamed basmati rice or phulkas (rotis).

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Yeast Free Bread - What Are the Options?

By Matt Bournston

If you have recently decided to give up eating yeast, or you are thinking about giving it up, you are probably wondering about the bread options available. Most bread contains yeast, so it's good to know what your yeast-free bread options are, so that you know where to buy it or how to make it yourself.

The majority of people with an allergy or intolerance to yeast have a specific problem with manufactured yeast, but can tolerate natural yeast. In this instance, such a person can eat sourdough bread. However, the trick is to use a proper sourdough starter which doesn't have any added yeast.

What is a "starter"?

A starter is also known as a "levain", and is basically an ancestral form of pre-ferment which you use to make the sourdough bread. Sourdough is the method of trapping natural yeast. Once you have your starter, you can actually make most types of bread. The only difference is there will be a different taste to the bread. This is due to the lactic acid which is produced by the lactobacilli, which gives it its sour flavour, which is where the name comes from.

However, there is another type of bread you can make, and that is Soda Bread. Check out this great soda bread recipe

You Will Need:

* 6 cups flour

* One tablespoon of baking soda

* One teaspoon of salt

* Two eggs

* 3 cups yoghurt


1. Mix the flour, salt and baking soda.

2. Add in the eggs and the yoghurt. Mix well.

3. Need thoroughly for approximately five minutes.

4. Place into 2 bread tins and bake for approximately thirty minutes.

By using a great yeast free bread recipe like this, you'll be able to make it just how you like it. Also, you can enjoy it warm, straight from the oven. Now that's something you certainly don't get with bread bought from the supermarket.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Made By Hand Or Pasta Machine, Homemade Pasta Can't Be Beat

By Gerri Lauder

Have you ever had fresh home made pasta? No? Well it is not as hard to do as you might think. If you have had the good fortune to sink your teeth into rich, soft and yummy just-made pasta, it is hard to go back to expensive, dried store-bought pasta. It just takes a few minutes to combine the things you need. The ingredients are cheap and easy to find, just water, oil, eggs and flour. What could be simpler?

Combine the ingredients and kneed the dough until it takes on a dull shine. You then use your pasta maker or rolling pin to create a sheet of dough. There are many pasta machine manufactures so your choice of pasta maker is quite large.

I have an Atlas pasta machine made from stainless steel that I love and use often, probably once a month to produce two meal's worth of fresh pasta. It only takes 5 minutes to make the dough, half an hour to let it rest, and 10 minutes to put the dough through the pasta maker to flatten it to the perfect thickness. Then I use the cutting attachment on my Atlas pasta machine to cut the pasta into the right noodle.

The next step is to drop the pasta into rolling, boiling, salted water and let it cook for about 5 minutes. That's it. It is effort very well rewarded, believe me. You will love the looks from your family or guests when you take the time to prepare fresh, hand made pasta.

I have tried many different pasta machines and have always stayed true to my Atlas pasta machine. It is extreemely rugged and well designed by the Italians. Who better to make a pasta maker? The machine clamps securely to a counter top or a table top and is easy to operate by hand. You can get an electric model to make things even easier, but I prefer to use the hand crank instead.

There are many differt cutting attachments you can purchase to make other styles of pasta after flattening to your desired thickness. Ravioli or tortellini can be made this way allowing you to add your favorite filling. I use a cutter to make angel hair pasta and soon will buy more cutters in order to do linguine and other pastas.

Making your own noodles proves that you are a dedicated home chef and really can impress your loved ones. You don't have to tell them how easy it was to make with it's wonderful taste and texture. Just let them be suprised and amazed.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mood-boosting foods: Tips to jump-start your body and your brain

(ARA) - If you're determined to eat right to lose weight or improve your health, the foods you choose could also make you happier. We've all heard the old adage "You are what you eat," and the importance of eating for physical health. But did you know that at the same time you could also be eating to improve your mental sharpness, energy and inner peace?

"The connection between food and mood has long been known, but we've come a long way in understanding how new foods can speed the process of helping you feel better by eating right. There are simple ways to tweak your diet that can have profound effects on how good you feel and how consistent your mood is, even while you lose weight and improve health," says registered dietician, Elizabeth Somer, author of the book, "Eat Your Way to Happiness." (Harlequin 2009) Somer offers the following ways to eat your way to a newer, happier you:

Make breakfast a natural high: Even a four-hour lag between meals leaves some people feeling shaky and grumpy because they're essentially running on fumes. This only gives rise to cravings for foods that are bad for you. Restock your fuel stores in the morning with healthy foods, and your body, mind and energy will repay you throughout the day. Use the 1-2-3 rule to create an energy-building combination: No. 1, eat at least one serving of high-fiber carbs such as 100 percent whole grain cereal or bread; No. 2, eat two servings of fruits and veggies, such as a banana and vegetable juice; and No. 3, add a third, protein-rich food such as a whole egg, lean meat, or fat-free or low fat milk.

Embrace the "good" fats: You may have heard about the importance of incorporating good fats such as omega-3s into your diet. However, all omega-3s are not created equal and offer different health benefits. For example, the form of omega-3 found in flaxseeds and walnuts (ALA omega-3) helps lower your heart disease risk, but does not offer the brain-boosting benefits of DHA omega-3, which helps you feel great, think fast and stay mentally sharp. The more DHA omega-3 you eat, the more it is incorporated into brain cells, the more flexible your brain cell membranes become, the better you think, the more you remember and the happier you are.

Almost 97 percent of the omega-3s in the brain are DHA, which is why this fat is so important in lowering the risk of depression and dementia. Yet, most Americans don't get enough of this nutrient. Salmon, herring, lake trout, anchovies and sardines are good dietary sources of DHA. But if you're vegetarian, don't like fish or are concerned about mercury levels in seafood, you can also find many foods, beverages and supplements in grocery and drug stores that are made with sustainable, algae-based DHA. Look for products bearing life'sDHA on the label, such as Mission Life Balance Flour Tortillas, Silk Soymilk Plus DHA, or Walmart Spring Valley Fish-Free Algal-900 DHA supplements.

Choose quality carbs: Seratonin, the nerve chemical, is a major force in mood and appetite. It turns cravings on and off for sweets and starches, helps regulate mood, controls pain tolerance affecting thinking and memory, and even determines whether we sleep well. However, serotonin levels rise with the right food choices. While all carbs will boost your mood, quality carbs in whole grains and colorful starchy veggies like sweet potatoes will give you sustained energy and a mood high without the extra calories. Keep hunger at bay by eating small snacks at even intervals throughout the day. Examples of quality carb snacks: five graham crackers, 75 whole-grain thin pretzel sticks or four cups of air-popped popcorn (salted lightly).

Eat right at night: If you start the day with the right foods, be sure to end it with the right foods. How well you sleep has a huge impact on your mood, energy level and weight. The worse you feel, the more likely you'll eat - and you'll eat all the wrong things, since fatigue and blues dissolve your resolve to take care of yourself. It takes your system hours to digest a large meal, making it difficult to completely relax into a deep sleep. Keep the evening meal light and low-fat and eat no less than three hours before bedtime, and you're more likely to sleep like a baby all night. And, if you're determined to lose weight, add some exercise every day and you will fall asleep faster, sleep deeper and sleep longer than if you were a couch potato.

By following these simple tips, you'll not only feel better and more energized, but your mood will lift and you'll be a newer, happier you.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Friday, December 18, 2009

Italian Cheeses And Their Many Types

By Jim Antonio

The most tasty and delightful Italian cheeses are found within this article. These work in recipes as well as just paired with a great and favorite wine.

If smoky flavor and a mild taste is what you are looking for. The Provolone is the cheese you need. This is aged for 30 days and has enhanced flavors as well as being a delightful addition to many a sandwich or recipe.

To find the most flavorful of Provolone's look for richer yellow colors. These tend to be the best and freshest for your purchase. Ham and grilled cheese work better when this cheeses is used instead of a cheddar.

A firm textured cheese that has a pungent aroma but mild in its flavoring is the Asiago. Pasta dishes are all even better when this cheese is included within them. Soups and risotto are other favorite recipes to use Asiago cheeses within.

Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is a prime example of Italian cheese's popularity. It has not just cow's milk but abundant and flavorful blends of many spices from around Italy as well. One of these is the tasty Bologna.

It can be aged for up to 3 years. Pasta dishes would not be called Italian if this cheese were not included in the recipe's. It truly makes the dish and adds decadent flavor to anything. Buying it whole will give you the most flavor and it will be one of the freshest compared to that of buying it sliced. Casseroles and stews can be made and the Parmigiano rind when added gives off even more richness to the flavors of the dish.

The town of Gorgonzola is where Gorgonzola was first made outside the city of Milan. It can be compared to the Bleu cheese we know here in America. But it is not at all like the U. S cheese. It's texture is smooth and creamy whereas the U. S version is dryer and more stiff.

Everyone has heard of Mozzarella cheese and has used it in at least one Italian recipe they have made. Most Mozzarella can be found stored in the form of brine or water soaked balls. These can be some of the freshest on the markets. This can be used in casseroles, soups or salads as well, even in side dishes such as stuffed tomatoes, eggplant Parmesan etc.

A Italian Caprese is made with this cheese and adding in olive oil, tomatoes and basil. This a a true cheese lover's delight in flavors and should be tried at least once by everyone. This cheese can also be found packaged as shredded and in block forms too.

Pecorino cheese is made by using the milk of sheep instead of cow's. When aged it can take the place in most recipe's of Parmesan and is often times preferred by those who have a taste for the more sharper flavored cheese. Most Pecorino Romano cheese comes from Sicily and Tuscany.

A more soft textured cheese is that of Crescenza. It does not take long for this cheese to reach aging. Milan is where some of the best quality Italian cheeses originated from. A few other names this cheese is known as are either Robiola or the famous Certosa cheeses. A fine wine is made that much tastier with the addition of a fine and well aged cheese from Italy.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Quick And Easy Dinner Recipes

By Sandra Darryl

The lifestyle of most families nowadays is very busy, causing folk to look for ways to save lots of time. It is very important for families to spend quality time together and a great way to do that is at the dining room table. In order to provide your folks with toothsome and tasty meals, you may need to keep an armoury of quick and easy dinner recipes handy. Actually there'll be occasions when you have masses of time to spend in the kitchen preparing a complicated meal, but many times you will be tired and rushed at the end of the day.

Fortunately , we are living in a time that makes preparing quick and easy dinner recipes much easier than in past centuries. Folks no longer have to spend the bulk of their time in the kitchen preparing healthy and succulent meals. Smart cooks can put a meal on the table in record time while not having to resort to a fast food drive-thru or frozen pizza. Today's cooks have the luxurious of using kitchen gadgets like blenders, food processors, and crock pots to help with food preparation.

To chop your time in the kitchen you may need to get arranged. Keep your quick and easy dinner recipes in a spot that's's easily reached. A recipe card file or a three ring binder is ideal for this purpose. Keep a well stocked pantry with spices that use frequently and staples like rice, beans, potatoes, and onions.

Start your week with a plan and do everything in your power to adhere to it. Choose the quick and easy dinner recipes that you will prepare for the week. Make an inventory of all of the items you'll need for the recipes and make a shopping list. Check you cupboard to establish if you already have some of the ingredients that are necessary.

When possible, plan meals that may serve two purposes. For example, if you are preparing baked chicken one night, plan to use the leftover chicken in a meal the following evening. Anytime you have remains that can't be used right away, keep them in the fridge for use at a later date.

Many people find it extraordinarily useful to chop and cut any fruits, veggies, or meats that'll be used throughout the week in advance. If you spend a bit of time on the weekend doing as much of the prep work as possible, you will be in a position to prepare those quick and easy dinner recipes with very little bother. You can even buy many fruits and vegetables that are julienned or chopped at most supermarkets.

Another tip for preparing those quick and easy dinner recipes is to use frozen foods if necessary. Using frozen vegetables and fruit can save a large amount of time and are as nutritious as fresh produce. Using bottle sauces can get you out of the kitchen in record time. You can prepare wonderful meals like chicken alfredo and spaghetti without making the sauces from scratch. If you chance to make sauces from scratch, make a double batch for the freezer.

As you can see, it's really simple to prepare meals that your family will love. Start collecting quick and easy dinner recipes that are healthy and delicious and use them often .

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Canapé Recipes

A canapé is a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held with the fingers and often eaten in one bite. Canapés are a good party food, or served with cocktails. This time of year, garnish your canapé with red pimento slices and green olives. Be creative and have fun. Here is a canape recipe you may like, and you can make many variations on this theme.

Smoked Salmon Canapes

8 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons capers
24 slices cocktail rye, toasted
8 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
Sprigs of dill weed or cucumber twists

Combine the cheese, horseradish and capers in a bowl and mix well. Spread the cheese mixture on the bread slices. Arrange the bread slices on a serving platter. Top each with smoked salmon.

Garnish with sprigs of dill or cucumber twists.

other ideas:
  1. Use wheat bread. Spread with cream cheese and garnish with hot pepper jelly.
  2. With cocktail rye bread, spread with pimento cheese spread, and garnish with sliced black olives and finely chopped parsley.
  3. Place a dollop of lobster, shrimp or crabmeat salad on slices of cucumber. Garnish with sprigs of dill.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Save Your Oven Space For Your Main Meal - Try Crockpot Dessert Recipes

By Susanne Myers

Does shuffling around your dishes in and out of the oven get complicated during a big holiday meal? We like to have several desserts, so that usually means something's got to come out of the oven so the desserts can start going in. Why not put your crockpot to work for you this year? Transform your old favorite dessert recipes into crockpot dessert recipes and free up your oven for what it was meant for... the turkey and Green Bean Casserole!

Turning your family's favorite desserts into crockpot dessert recipes isn't difficult. I have chosen three of our favorite recipes to make in our crockpot this year. Let's see how these crockpot dessert recipes differ from their original recipes.

Apple Crisp: This dessert is one where the timing is most important. You want to serve this dessert hot with a little scoop of ice cream or whipped topping. The melting topping is what makes this dessert wonderful! Use your basic recipe, but add a touch more butter, then cook it on low for a couple hours or until the apples get soft, but not all mushy. Figure out your timing so that you turn off the heat just before serving.

You can add a crunchy topping just before serving if you wish. Just mix the ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat until butter is incorporated. Sprinkle on your mixture either just before serving or after you scoop the apples into dessert bowls.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies: Regular brownies are good, but this chocolate brownie dessert with peanut butter swirled in is a special treat. Very moist and yummy! This dessert is made with brownie mix, but it's spooned into dessert bowls, not cut into squares. Serve while the dessert is still hot so you can add some ice cream or whipped topping and it gets all nice and melty!

You can garnish this dessert a bit more with a sprinkle of Reese's Pieces or even some mini peanut butter cups. A few chocolate sprinkles is nice, too. Once again, you throw this all together to cook a few hours before you want to serve dessert and you don't have to worry about shuffling pans in and out of the oven. And, your dessert will be ready to serve, still nice and warm.

Pecan Cheesecake: Cooking a cheesecake in this way is especially fun. A slowcooker really is, after all, just a mini oven. The trick here is to use a regular springform pan, but be sure it actually fits. You'll need a 5 or 6 quart crock pot with room for a 7" springform pan. I make my graham cracker crust with some finely chopped pecans mixed in, pat the crust into shape in the pan, then pour in my whipped up cheesecake ingredients and it's ready to go.

You'll need to put a small rack in the bottom to hold the springform pan off the bottom. If you don't have a rack that fits, just pull a good length of aluminum foil off the roll and form a donut shape out of it to support the pan. Put that on the bottom and put your pan in. Just be sure the pan is at least an inch off the bottom. Use enough foil to get a good support. You want to cook your cheesecake on high for several hours, then shut off the heat and let it sit in there for another hour or until it's cool enough to handle. Then you'll let it cool completely on a rack on the counter before you remove the pan from the cheesecake. Because you serve cheesecake either room temperature or cold, you can actually get this prepared ahead of time. Remember to refrigerate any leftovers... like you're going to have any!

Rather than struggle another year shuffling food around all around the kitchen, leave your dinner cooking in peace and quiet, tucked safely away in the oven where it belongs. Because a holiday dinner is not complete without desserts, this simple plan to create new crockpot dessert recipes out of favorite old standards will help with all that last minute chaos. Why sacrifice any sweet treat because you lack room in the oven? Get out your crockpot and start re-creating your own favorite dessert recipes. Enjoy!

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Festive Tiramisu Recipe

Tiramisu is a popular and festive dessert for the holidays that is much easier to prepare than you may have thought. Our family loves it, and it's great for the hostess because it is something that can be prepared well in advance of your holiday dinner or event.

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Balducci's Tiramisu Recipe

Source: Balducci's - New York, New York

24 ladyfingers, toasted in a 375 degree F oven for 15 minutes
2 cups espresso coffee, cooled
6 eggs, separated
3 to 6 tablespoons granulated sugar, to taste
1 pound mascarpone
2 tablespoons Marsala wine
2 tablespoons Triple Sec
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons orange extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Arrange the ladyfingers on a plate and lightly soak them with the cooled espresso. Put half of the soaked ladyfingers in one layer in a rectangular serving dish.

While the ladyfingers are soaking, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the yolks turn pale in color. Add the mascarpone, the liquors, and the extract, and stir gently.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a wire whisk until they are stiff. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone mixture.

Use half of this mixture to make a layer on top of the ladyfingers in the serving dish. Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Repeat the procedure with another layer of soaked ladyfingers, the mascarpone mixture, and chocolate. Cover with tin foil and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

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Is A Fancy Christmas Dinner Impossible This Year? Try A Lovely Brunch Instead

By Angela Tyler

There are many reasons why a family would plan a Christmas brunch instead of dinner. Perhaps they celebrate with several families at different locations and don't want to sit down for two big meals. Maybe brunch fits in perfectly with plans for church, or they will be traveling home and need to leave early during the day.

If you are considering your family's budget, big sit-down dinners tend to be more expensive than even the nicest brunch. The menu for a big dinner will normally include a large meat main course, numerous side dishes, and many fancy desserts and candies. The beverages served during a formal sit-down dinner in the evening will typically include fancy drinks, wine, and after dinner drinks. In other words, a big dinner can add up to a lot of money.

If your family needs to trim the Christmas budget, travel to more than one household for dinner, or leave early in the day for another location, celebrating together with a brunch instead of dinner may help solve your dilemma. Let's take a look at how we can host a brunch that is not only convenient, but fun, frugal, and delicious.

Brunch Casserole - Probably one of the most familiar and popular dishes for brunch, there are countless recipes from which to choose. Most begin with some sort of potato like hash browns, or bread. To that you add your layers of anything like sausage, ham, green pepper, cheese, and egg. This assemblage is refrigerated overnight, then baked in the morning and served hot. You can make this as simple or as complicated as you choose.

Skillet Dish - If you've ever had a Frittata then you know what a skillet meal is like. For brunch, you want to make the Frittata using a variety of breakfast-like foods. Starting with some hash browns or rice, you would fry that up with whatever sausage or ham you like, maybe some vegetables, then pour the egg over and let it set up. Cover it with some shredded cheddar cheese and you have a complete meal in a skillet.

Muffin Tin Meal - Make individual little pot pie style dishes by forming a crust in the muffin tin with some refrigerator biscuits. Mix up some egg, hash browns, cooked sausage or bacon, or any other breakfast foods you like, and fill the cups. Bake them and serve them warm. These are not only cute and delicious, but you can make a variety so everyone can have something a little different.

Omelets - This item on your menu won't work for you if you don't want to cook while you have guests in your house. If your kitchen is far removed from the area where your family and friends will be mingling, you probably wouldn't want to prepare omelets. However, if your house is set up with an open kitchen dining room area where you'll be gathering right around the cooking area, then you may find this fun. Be sure to get all your prep work done well in advance so that you are ready. Wash and chop all the veggies you are using in the omelets and get the assembly line well organized so you don't miss a beat.

A wide variety of food should be planned for your brunch in order for your guests to walk around and sample a little bit here, a little bit there. Brunches are meant to be casual with a lot of mingling and mixing. Don't forget to get the coffee started early. Have a choice of coffee and tea, as well as nice pitchers filled with milk, juice, and water on the table. You can forget about the fancy desserts, but a few cookies would certainly be nice.

You don't need to spend a lot of time or a lot of money on a nice Christmas get together. These simple ideas for planning a brunch can help get your family together for a nice meal, without all the fuss. Enjoy your Christmas celebration!

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Meatloaf Recipes

By Jesse Scott

When you think of distinctive Yank foods, there are plenty of different dishes that may spring to mind ; however it would be really tough to compile a catalogue of American favorites that did not include meatloaf. This dish has been a staple mark of eating for a few years and it remains a popular item in home kitchens and restaurants nation wide. When you think about how wide of an appeal meatloaf has, it's no poser that when it comes to a meatloaf recipe, there isn't any one standard or best recipe that seems to apply.

When looking at a meatloaf recipe, many of these recipes will often include a mix of ground beef ( the commonest is beef, but you can use whatever appeals to you ), eggs, breadcrumbs and oatmeal, which when mixed will form a dough like mixture. This is the base of a meatloaf, and if that looks good to you, you can simply cook it as is. This is a simple way to start a good meatloaf.

However , there are tons of diversifications too such as adding ground almonds, spices, onions, green peppers, and celery to the mixture. You can also fill a meatloaf with things like eggs, cheese, herbs and plants, such as mushrooms. Finally, you may also find a selection of different toppings for meatloaf. The most common topping in American meatloaf is a ketchup mixture, but some meatloaf recipes call for a catsup and some even are topped with bacon too.

While the ingredients which make up a meatloaf will change radically from one meatloaf recipe to another, the method of cooking them will alter also. While the most conventional form of cooking a meatloaf is to put your mix in a bread or loaf pan and bake it in a stove, it could also be cooked in a crock pot, a microwave, and in some cases, it can actually be smoked as well .

Meatloaf is an extraordinarily versatile and easy dish to make. It can be made as a comfort food, it can be a flavorsome item in upscale dinning. It is also a preferred fave in soul food cuisine, and with the replacing of leaner meats, for example turkey, it can be a healthy food item as well . The truth is that meatloaf can be many things to many people. The key is finding the proper meatloaf recipe for you. Occasionally the recipe will be fine the way it is ; other times you will need to tinker with it. Whatever the case, and whatever your personal tastes are, meatloaf is something that the general public can enjoy.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Body Wellness Properties That Can Be Found In Green Tea

By Jenny Liskin

Green tea is known for all sorts of different health benefits. The health benefits of green tea are especially strong for all sorts of reasons. It also works with a quality taste that is not too harsh and can be easy to enjoy. These factors make it a popular dink for health reasons.

The materials used to make the tea are very unique. They are leaves from tea plants in Asia. While this tea works with a harvesting process similar to what works with other options the leaves are unfermented. This is a very vital difference with regards to how the team is made. Oxidation will be reduced because of how the fermentation process on these leaves will not work.

According to various reports cholesterol levels can be properly handled with the use of green tea. What happens here is that polyphenols that come from plant chemicals can work in the body. They will work to handle cholesterol to where it will not be absorbed inside of the body. With this the cholesterol that one has will be reduced. Green tea can even help with handling HDL cholesterol, which is "good cholesterol, " by increasing it.

There are more antioxidants because of how there is no fermentation processes involved. These antioxidants will work with greater efficiency to rid of body of free radicals. These free radicals can come naturally from pollution and food toxins. Fortunately they can be removed so that the body will have more energy. When these free radicals are removed the immune system will be healthier as well.

In addition to these benefits there are other things to see about it. The tea works to improve metabolism rates in order to get fat to be burned quickly. Inflammatory bowel disease can be handled too in that inflammation symptoms can be reduced. Blood glucose levels can also be properly regulated through the tea. With this it will be easy to manage or prevent type 1 diabetes.

Another notable part of this drink comes from its taste. It works with a refreshing mint flavor but it can also take on tastes of herbs. Some drinks can combine this tea with other flavors. These can include fruit flavors like strawberry or lemon. These can help to make this drink easier for some people to consume.

These are all great parts of green tea for anyone to check out. The body can use it for all sorts of great health advantages in many ways. It can also feature a great taste that can be enjoyed by anyone.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Italian Cheeses Are Known Worldwide

By Luigi DeMarco

Italian cheeses are some of the best in the world. And while we're all familiar with the top few selections, from our pizza and sandwich consumption, it may surprise you to know there are around 400 different Italian cheeses to choose from. And when it comes to quality and good tasting cheese, the Italians have a great passion for delivering on it, and they do.

From Sicily and from Tuscany, they make the best parmigiano and mozzarella going. Their provolone is beyond compare. They make so many different cheeses by mixing up the types of milk they use, and the processing methods. They utilize sheep milk, and goat milk, cow's milk, and buffalo. Their cheeses are known for their fragrance and great texture. They can be used for cooking or shredding alike.

The Italians take a lot of pride in their cheese quality. And if you go shopping for a quality Italian cheese, just look for the classifications on the label. These are the 'PDO', which means Protected Designation of Origin. And the other is IGT, which means the Protected Geographic Indication. This is known as their stamp of approval as far as quality assurance. Wine uses the same indicators.

When learning about tasty Italian cheeses, you're sure to come across the famous 'Bel Paese' cheese. In Italian, this means 'Beautiful Country'. This cheese has become one of the favorites of all time and one of the best known by people all around the world. It was first made near Milan in a place named 'Melzo'. But it's mostly made in Lombardy, with pasteurized cow's milk. It's meant to be used as a table cheese, but works very well in cooking.

The Italians are definitely passionate about their cheese. They have made it up in the Alpine mountains, where they perfected their methods. It was an isolated affair, but what they brought off the mountain was literally gold made from milk. Caves were used to keep things cold since the idea of refrigeration back then was just a new concept.

They use the same types of tools today as they did back then. After all, if it works, then don't fix it. They use wooden shelves, salt, oil, water, cutting boards and small hammers. The three main ingredients that anyone needs in order to make a cheese, is salt, rennet, and milk. From here you can make all kinds of cheeses, and using different kinds of milk and processes, will produce different cheeses.

Milk is the beginning of all cheese making. Simply broken down, cheese is milk coagulated. Ricotta is a cheese that's made with milk whey and cream. The Italians have four basic types of milk that they use, and they are buffalo, cow, sheep, and goat. But other cheeses may be made up of the milk of yaks, reindeer, or camels.

Italian cheeses are some of the best by far, and it comes from a long tradition of cheese making. They take great pride in their work. So many people go through life eating and enjoying this great craftsmanship, without ever learning anything about it. It's a shame, because it really is an interesting study. Anyone who wants to learn more about the Italians and their cheese, can go online and find tons of information to enlighten them. Next time you eat that pizza, think 'Italian.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Herbs Guide is a Valuable Tool For Every Cook

By Peter Williams

Have you ever found yourself wondering, what herb is that? If so, then it's time to get an herbs guide to aid in your new cooking talent. An herbs guide can explain everything you need to know about herbs, including how they are grown, what they are used for in cooking and other important facts.

Some Examples of Herbs

What are some of the healthiest and most delicious herbs that are recommended by cooks and diners alike? Garlic is certainly at the top of any herbs guide, as this herb delivers both great taste and other physical benefits. Garlic can prevent heart disease and cardiovascular disease, and it also shows signs of preventing cancer development.

Another well regarded herb is Hawthorne berry and this too will be in every herbs guide. Known for its health benefits, it can reduce the risk of heart problems by enlarging the arteries & slowing the heart rate. Another 'health' herb is Ginko Bilobo, this one is great for people with macular degeneration

It is also recommended to treat problems with vertigo, depression, senility and inner ear disturbances. Licorice is also mentioned as a healthy herb, one that has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric is known to ease arthritis and prevent Alzheimer's disease and is regularly found in curry dishes.

Herbs... Delicious, Healthy & Smell Wonderful

Don't just buy an herbs guide for health reasons, you would be wasting money. Herbs have been used in cooking for eons and, depending on which one is used, the taste of many dishes can be significantly improved. For example, if you're looking for a 'mint' flavor throw in some basil or for a strong spice taste, try oregano. Many herbs are used in cooking.

As you read through an herbs guide you will notice that culinary herbs are slightly different from other types of extracts, such as leafy greens, spices, berries, seeds, roots, fruit or even dried leaves and roots. Culinary herbs are used in small amounts and primarily for adding flavor instead of substance. Many of the most popular types of culinary herbs are actually shrubs, including such herbs as rosemary. Others are extracts from trees, such as bay laurel, while others are extracts from botanic (or non-wooden) plants.

The Kitchen Cousins... Herbs & Spices

Ever thought about the differences between herbs & spices? Both of these words are commonly used to refer to the drier portions of the plant & they are both responsible for making food taste better. Herbs are more aligned with green leafier plants & spices with more aromatic plants like cinnamon.Spices do better in warm environments whereas herbs prefer a more temperate climate. Generally speaking spices now includes herbs & extracts

There are so many varieties of herbs available for cooking and if your wish is to improve your cooking, then learning about them is a great place to start. Many of the most common ones have beautiful flavors plus are very healthy. The best tool for learning all about these terrific plants is an herbs guide.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Your Traditional Crockpot Appetizer Recipes May Need A Little Attitude Adjustment

By Susanne Myers

With the holiday season quickly approaching, I'm guessing you have already pulled out some of your favorite appetizer recipes. You know you love those mouth-watering little treats and you know that your guests love to nibble on appetizers as they mingle.

Your holiday entertainment plans may include a sit down dinner, but if your guests are like mine, they still enjoy a few nibbles before dinner. Serving a good variety of appetizers is one way to please everybody on your guest list. But, it can be difficult coming up with new ideas, especially when we've grown to love our traditional snacks.

Let's put your crockpot to work making something a little more special than the same little wienies, cheese dips, and barbecued meatballs that your guests have come to expect. It's time to go beyond those simple treats and come up with appetizers that are worthy of your holiday get-together.

Cheese Dip: This appetizer is so classic I don't think a holiday buffet is complete without a crockpot full of tasty, melted cheese. However, go one better by mixing up an Artichoke Hearts and Cheese dip to perk up your holiday table.

Add a little zest to this dip by using freshly grated Parmesan cheese. For even more of a tangy flavor use some Dijon mustard and a little Worcestershire sauce if you like. And for some "heat" sprinkle in red pepper flakes or even some Louisiana Hot Sauce. Put everything in the crockpot on low for about 2 hours or until all hot and bubbly. Put out a bowl of crackers, bread, or hearty chips to complete this appetizer tray.

Saucy Sweet Sausage: Those little Vienna Sausages have been a favorite in many households for many years. And with good reason - they're fun and delicious. But, how would you like to surprise your guests with an even tastier sausage treat like a Sausage and Apple Appetizer. Cut up some apple smoked sausage, sweet onion, and some nice tart apples into bite size chunks and start them simmering away in a sauce created with balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and mustard. Now that's just the ticket to whet those appetites!

Your guests will be pleasantly surprised when they help themselves to this delicious and special flavor combination. Just mix the ingredients together well in your crockpot and put the heat on low. Let it cook for about 2 hours, or until the apple chunks and onion pieces get soft and everything is nice and bubbly hot.

Meatball Bites: Those little meatballs swimming around in barbecue sauce are tasty, but are they special enough for your holiday event? Go ahead and make your mini meatballs out of your favorite recipe, but when it comes to the sauce, it's time to do something special. Beer is the ingredient that kicks this appetizer recipe up a couple pegs. This Tangy Meatball Appetizer will have your guests wondering what makes the sauce so yummy. Start by making your favorite meatball recipe, form the mini meatballs, then brown them in a heavy skillet with cooking oil. Once they're brown, put them in your crock pot.

In a bowl, create your sauce with beer, spicy tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and a little horseradish. Add salt, pepper, onion, garlic, hot sauce, or other seasonings you like. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and cook in your crockpot on low for about 2 to 3 hours or until the meatballs are cooked through. Now your little meatball appetizer won't be like every other one on the block.

Pecan Snacks: A few pretty bowls of nuts scattered on tables throughout the house during your holiday gathering is always a nice touch. Instead of just pouring mixed nuts right out of the jar, how about your own special nutty treat? Pecans are often thought of as a dessert nut, so surprise your guests with pecans presented in grand Cajun fashion!

Start by mixing up a batch of dried or ground seasonings that you would typically find in a Cajun meal; spices like cayenne pepper, chili powder, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder. Put melted butter, pecans, and the seasonings in your crockpot, cook covered on high for about 10 to 12 minutes, then uncover the crockpot, turn it down to low, and cook uncovered for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When done cooking, dump the spicy pecans out on a rack to let cool.

Don't limit yourself to the same old appetizers you've made for years. Serve your guests new, tastier versions of the appetizers you know and love by adding just a few simple, yet surprising ingredients!

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Utensils You Will Probably Want To Buy For Mexican Cooking

By Beverley Drake

There are certain tools and equipment that you will need for cooking authentic Mexican foods. Some of those tools may only be found in Mexico, where as others may be found in a good Mexican grocery store in your own neighborhood. They will help you to prepare authentic Mexican food. You will find that Mexican cooking is very rewarding.

Mole is best made in a Cazuelas. This is a small bowl like pottery dish with handles that is used to simmer sauces. Clay is very good at dispersing heat and prevents hot spots where sauce is burnt. The handles make them easier to handle in open fires. The outside may be painted brightly and beautifully, while the inside is glazed. These clay pots look great when just setting on a shelf as decorations.

The Olla or Barro are also Mexican clay pots. These pots are very large and may be used for simmering beans, soups or stews. These pots offer even heating and can be heated all day long over an open flame. Remember that these pots are fragile and that quick changes in temperature can cause them to break.

A Comal griddle is a large griddle that is made of cast iron, aluminum or clay. It is usually round and can be used for warming tortillas or roasting chiles or other vegetables. They come in a variety of sizes from that of a large plate up to two feet across.

The Metate y Mano is a hand grinder that has been carved from lava rock or stone. We would call it a mortar and pestle. In Mexico, it is used for grinding corn or spices and foods may be mixed using the cylinder of stone. There are usually three legs that have been carved to hold the bowl upright.

The Molcajete y Tejolote is a true Mexican mortar and pestle. It can be made of stone, clay or even wood. It is sold with a wood cylinder that is rounded on each end to use to crush spices or chilis to prepare them for cooking.

A Molinillo is a wood wisk which is used to froth hot chocolate in a cup. To use this tool, you spin it between your hands to form the foam on the chocolate.

A Tortillero or tortilla press can be made of wood, cast iron, plastic resin or aluminum. The aluminum presses break rather easily, so choose one of the other presses fro best result and to save money. Mesa is rolled into a ball and the ball is pressed flat into the shape of a tortilla. The tortilla is baked on a griddle before eating.

As you can imagine, cooking in the traditional Mexican way can take some time. Fortunately, there are many shortcuts that you can take, and many people make very tasting Mexican food using utensils that are already in their kitchen.

In addition, you may be able to find a high quality Mexican bakery in your neighborhood that can supply you with high quality tortillas so you will not have to grind your own corn or press your own tortillas in order to make your own authentic Mexican food.

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Steak Grilling Tips That Work

By Howard Timelson

There is nothing better then a nice juicy steak for dinner. We live in a world of technology which means you no longer have to go to the grocery store to purchase your steak. This is a very different way of grocery shopping but in all reality it's very convenient. With just a click of your mouse you can get quality and delicious steaks without leaving the comfort of your home.

The first thing that you will need to do is find a steak vendor. There are many different companies out there so you will want to research them and see which company fits your needs. Be sure and pay attention to every detail that is made available to you, this will help you to make the decision of which company to try out. Ask your friends and co-workers if they have ordered steaks online and which companies they recommend.

Many websites offer costumer reviews which is essential when you are making the leap to shopping online for steaks. You don't want to go into this blindly. Follow the advice of other costumers by reading about their own experiences with the company and their quality of meat. By reading the costumer reviews you'll get an idea of how the company works and what they have to offer. More and more people are shopping online these days because of busy lifestyles so you should find plenty of reviews to help you decide on a company.

The other key elements that you'll want to pay attention to is the companies return policy and the shipping costs. You might find a killer deal on steaks but then have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping which doesn't make it worth it. Research to see if the shipping cost is included in the list price of the meat or if it's an additional charge. Keep in mind that you are shopping out of convenience, you won't have to go to the grocery store so is this extra charge worth it to you?

Buying steaks online isn't cheap but even steaks at your local grocery store are pretty high priced. While you are shopping for steak just keep in mind the cut, quality and price range that you are looking for. When you factor in the cost of the steak at a local mart, fuel to get you to the mart and the time you spend shopping all of these will help you to decide on if the price is worth it for purchasing steak online. Some websites might charge more for their steak but it might be a higher quality meat. You pay for what you get and internet businesses prosper by costumer referrals so they will do what it takes to keep their costumers happy.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top New Mexican Restaurants

By Sarah Turner

One of the popular travel destinations in U.S. is New Mexico. The place has one-thirds of native American population, who gives it a traditional and cultural look in all places in the city. New Mexico is known for its famous art stores, restaurants and multitude boutiques. There are many interesting places to visit for all age groups. New Mexico also offers excellent Mexican food for visiting tourists.

La Hacienda Grande - La Hacienda restaurant offers tasty breakfasts on the covered portico in the courtyard. The restaurant offers suggestions about other economical places to eat while on the move. The restaurant provides a homely environment for tourists and is a great place to relax here. The restaurant provides tourists with tasty breakfasts on the covered portico in the courtyard. Guests staying here are provided with useful suggestions about other economical places to dine. The restaurant promises homely environment and is a treat for all visiting tourists.

Tiny's Restaurant and Lounge - Known to be a cozy and warm restaurant, this one has been the longest survivor in the neighborhood. The restaurant is famous for Mexican fare. Visitors can be found in the patio during summer days where lunch is served. Chips, salsa and tortillas are all time favorites that are offered in large portions. The place excels in friendly service and great Mexican food.

El Faro Restaurant - Known to be the longest existing restaurant, even before artists took over the place, El Faro is one of the most loved restaurants in New Mexico. This restaurant is one of the beautiful places in the neighborhood. The place offers visitors with traditional Spanish fare, complete with tapas, paellas, seafood and wines.

Tomasitas Santa Fe Station - Tomasitas is one of the best known places in New Mexico, for its excellent service. The restaurant has waiters ready to help and guide visitors with the yummy Mexican menu. The restaurant has mildly priced food. It is best suited for tourists traveling with children and elders, who will definitely love this place. This restaurant is best known to retain its local flavors and is a treat for all guests.

Accommodation in New Mexican restaurants are available throughout the year.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Apple Crisp Recipe: How To Make A Great Apple Dessert

By Ben Cook

An apple dessert made from apples and has a delicious crunchy crust on top is called apple crisp in the United States. It is called by the name apple crumble in Britian and both use apples, butter, brown sugar or granulated sugar, flour or oatmeal, cinnamon, and other spices to make a delectable apple crisp recipe. This is a type of peasant dish only being presented to families and never served during the holiday or when guests come to call.

There seems to be some sort of confusion with some other kinds of desserts made with apples. There is a dish called apple brown bettie that is made by layers of apples alternating with layers of sugar laiden bread or crackers and slathered with a sauce. Another dish uses drop biscuits on top of the apples and is called by several names including apple cobbler or apple grunt, slump or apple pandowdy.

Fannie Farmer's Cook book that appeared in'96 was the first to publish the recipe. It was being presented on tables long before that. It is always made during the autumn of the year because that is the time when the apple crop is harvested. You can also make it with canned apples to bring that flavor to the table any time. Several variations may include fruits that are in season at the time you make it such as different berries or peaches.

The types of apples needed to make apple crisp are called cooking apples. They are tart and a little more firm than other apples and will stand up to baking and not get mushy. Varieties that make good cooking apples are Granny Smith, McIntosh, Jonathan, Northern Spye, and Winesap.

A simple version of apple crisp can be made using 6 large apples that have been peeled and sliced, three fourths cup rolled oats, one half cup brown sugar packed, one half cup flour, one half teaspoon cinnamon and six tablespoons of room temperature butter. You would core, peel and slice the apples and place them in the bottom of a 9 inch square baking dish that has been buttered so they won't stick. In a bowl the other ingredients would be combined and mixed with a pastry cutter or forks to resemble fine crumbs and then spread over top. It would be cooked in a 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes then removed to cool slightly. It should be cut into squares and served warm with vanilla ice cream over top. Some people prefer whipped cream over top.

Another version adds some cheese to the ingredients. A traditional dish is apple pie and a slice of Cheddar cheese and this recipe is based upon that tradition. You will need 6 apples that have been cored, peeled and sliced; one third teaspoon of cinnamon, six teaspoons apple juice, one half stick of butter, three fourths cup sugar, one teaspoon lemon juice, one eight teaspoon salt, one half cup flour, and one fourth pound grated Cheddar cheese. Again the apples should be sliced and placed in a nine inch square baking dish. The cinnamon should be sprinkled over top and then the apple juice and lemon juice added. In a bowl the butter should be at room temperature and be cut into the flour with a pastry cutter or fork. The sugar and salt are added next and then the shredded cheese. The mixture should be crumbly and is placed over the apple mixture. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes until it is bubbling and crust is crisp. Let this version cool a little but serve warm and you can serve with ice cream.

Suppose there is no apples to use but you have an abundance of zucchini in your garden. You can make that zucchini taste like apple crisp. You will need five cups of peeled and seeded zucchini that has been sliced about the size of an apple slice, one third cup sugar, one fourth cup lemon juice, one teaspoon cinnamon and three fourths cup apple juice or cider. Place this mixture in a saucepan and bring to a boil simmering for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the zucchini is tender. Place all in a deep dish pie pan. In a bowl you will need to combine six tablespoons room temperature butter, one fourth teaspoon salt, one teaspoon baking powder, one cup flour and one half cup brown sugar. Cut this mixture with a pastry cutter or fork and when it is crumbly like fine meal place it over the zucchini mixture in the pie pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes and serve warm with ice cream. It will taste like apple crisp.

Try making one of these recipes for your family during the autumn when apples ripen. If they haven't had it before they will ask for it again and again. If you have made apple crisp before try making the one with cheese to surprise your family or try the one with zucchini and amaze your family that a vegetable can taste like apples. Apple crisp should be a dessert your family looks forward to once summer is over and fall descends with cool winds and apple crops.

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Soups to Cook and Savor

By Patricia Cox

If you're short on ideas for an appetizer, you might want to consider making a soup at home. It's light, it warms the body, and the right ones are absolutely delicious. I have a whole cabinet full of recipes and I'd like to share some ideas with you.

Depending on what it's in it, a good soup can vary in both consistency and taste. I've been cooking soups for years now, and I'm going to share a few ideas with you if you're bored at home with the same old soups. There are plenty of ideas that you've probably never even thought about.

The first one on my list is a butternut squash soup that features an apple flavoring with it. It goes above and beyond the traditional roasted butternut squash soup by adding a nice, sweet and healthy layer to it.

If you like cream of broccoli soup, I can tell you that it goes even better with cheese. Not just ordinary melted cheese, but a bread accent that's flavored with cheese. Croutons are the best natural fit here, and the melted cheese inside the hot soup really makes it interesting.

If you're a fan of potatoes, try throwing a nugget into the middle of a cream of potato soup. Not only does it add to the flavor, but it gives your soup a great texture, as the warm potato will really enhance the overall experience.

Pumpkin is in season right now and people love a good pumpkin soup. Making one of these from a fresh pumpkin can be absolutely delicious. There are a number of different ways this can be served, both hot and cold. Use your imagination and get creative with the many possibilities.

Lastly, a cream of turkey soup with turkey dumplings inside. This requires a bit more work, but it's such a great soup and my personal favorite. If you have the energy to pull this off and you like turkey, then I know how you'll feel about this soup.

Well, I hope I've inspired you in one way or another. Most importantly, have some fun and always test the limits.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken Piccata Recipe

Here is an easy but elegant dish to serve at dinner parties or for a weeknight dinner for your family. This chicken piccata recipe is tried and true. My family loves it and I hope your's will too.

Chicken Piccata Recipe

4 chicken breast halves, skinned and de-boned
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup boiling water
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1 egg
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules (2 cubes)

Beat egg with 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Combine flour, garlic powder and paprika. Dip chicken in egg mixture then in flour mixture.

In skillet, brown chicken in margarine or butter. Dissolve bouillon in boiling water; add with remaining lemon juice to skillet. Cover; simmer 20 minutes or until tender.

Makes 4 servings.

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