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Send a Meal 
The main concept behind Send a Meal is to offer food prepared in a gourmet style that allows these prepared meals to be directly delivered to you, friends or family. Dinner delivery has never been easier; you have found the perfect food delivery service that ship gourmet food anywhere nationwide. Moreover, along with prepared meals delivered home, you will find offerings for any eater. Looking for prepared food and meal delivery service? You've found it.
 

 

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    Friday, 30 May 2008

    How many times have you had pasta in the last week? At least once, if you count yourself as one of those 77 percent of Americans who eat pasta at least once a week. With more than 40 percent of Americans stating spaghetti as their favorite pasta, it is almost impossible to imagine an American kitchen without pasta.

    It is not difficult to understand why pasta is popular all around the world. It is an all rounder in the world of gourmet passing off as convenient food, snack and a nutritious constituent all at the same time. Pasta is an excellent base for many dishes. It can be prepared quickly and easily and may be varied endlessly. Depending upon where in the world one may be located, and upon who might be preparing the dish, one is sure to receive the flavor and character of his or her preference. Thus pasta possesses a strong quality of assuming the taste and character of a dish which makes it entirely pliable to the taste of the world. At the rate at which new fiber-rich sorts of pasta are being launched, pasta may also be listed high on the healthy food lists.

    Pasta is a catch-all term for macaroni as well as spaghetti like cannelloni, risoni and noodles. The authentic Italian pasta is made from a mixture of high-quality wheat called Durum wheat, water and sometimes even egg. There is a large variety of pasta in different forms and colors available in the stores today. Green pasta gets its color from spinach, red pasta from tomato and black or dark grey pasta gets its color from octopus ink. In some stores you can even find pasta with colors from blueberry, chili or other exciting colors and flavors!

    When cooking pasta, it is important to use plenty of boiling, lightly salted water. Keep in mind that stuffed pasta should only be simmered so that the filling does not leak out! Adding a little bit of oil makes the pasta glossy and prevents it from sticking, but if the pasta is to be served with sauce one should not add any oil since it prevents the sauce from coating the pasta as it should. Pasta to be used in a pasta salad should be rinsed first with warm water and then with cold water in order to avoid the pasta from sticking.

    Possibilities for variation are among the pasta's foremost advantages. Weekday or a party, meat, fish, poultry or vegetarian - pasta can be used for and with all of this. However, sometimes one tends to run short of ideas and when you do, do not hesitate to take help from our inspiring collection of recipes at IMP Online - Delicious, mouth-watering pasta recipes and more! The recipes at IMP Online are taken from some of International Master Publishers' favorite recipe series, where all the recipes area carefully and accurately chosen and tested so that you may succeed in cooking every time.

    Bon Appetit!

    Jonas Lindblom
    IMP Online

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 29 May 2008

    Fish is one of the best foods for you, and has even been approved by the American Heart Association as being part of a healthy heart diet. There are more varieties of seafood than any other class of food. Tastes in seafood vary from the strong pungent taste of the English Kipper to the delicate taste of Alaskan crab. There is something for everyone, and comes with lots of health benefits:

    1. Fish is high in protein. Protein is essential for maintaining and building muscle. Protein helps your body repair damaged muscle and aids you in developing muscle. It is good for those involved with bodybuilding, muscle strengthening and lots of aerobic exercise.

    2. Fish is low in cholesterol. This is good for maintaining your blood pressure and circulation. It is also beneficial to your heart. In fact, the American Heart Association has approved fish one of the best foods for reducing heart problems. They recommend that it be consumed at least twice a week.

    3. Fish contains heart-healthy nutrients like Omega 3. Omega-3 fatty acids help to reduce cholesterol.

    4. Fish is low in calories. It can help you to maintain a healthy weight.

    Fish is also not that expensive compared to other restaurant foods. Seafood like tuna and crab can be used in salads and sandwiches. Gone are the days when salmon was one of the few choices for seafood lovers. Now when you walk into a seafood restaurant, your choices are endless. Of course, the wonderful taste of smoked salmon is still quite hard to beat!

    There are all sorts of exotic types of fish as well. They may cost a little more, but the price is well worth it. Fish like Swordfish, Sea Bass and Halibut have their own subtle taste. Don't forget freshwater mainstays like Freshwater Trout and Salmon. In some restaurants, you can even get really exotic, by eating squid and octopus. You can really make your meal an adventure - eating healthy doesn't have to be boring, bland or tasteless!

    Crab is one of the most delicate of seafood tastes. It is also fun to eat. Try to remember the fun you may have had as a child, going out with the family and ordering crab. Not only was it delicious, but also intriguing to eat, with all the little tools provided to crack open the crab - not to mention how sweet the meat tasted! Oysters are another delicacy that are simply swallowed whole. You can either "shuck" them yourself or have them presented to you ready to eat. Of course, there is nothing like a royal Lobster gracing the center of the dining table.

    Next time you're walking down the street and you smell fresh fish on the grill, give that restaurant a shot. With all of the health benefits of fish and the variety of flavors from different fish, how could you not want to dive in and give it a try?

    Robert Packer likes to eat healthy and keep his body in good shape for more energy during the day. He highly recommends Fins Seafood Market and Grill for the best Roseville seafood restaurant in town.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 27 May 2008

    If you love to cook salmon particularly the smoked salmon recipes, check out the salmon recipes below and you can add them up to your yummy salmon recipes list. Enjoy!

    WEST COAST SMOKED SALMON AND ARTICHOKE DIP

    Ingredients:

    A tangy, flavorful dip that works well with crackers or fresh bread

    2 cups cooked Salmon, flaked and boned

    1 6 oz jar of marinated artichokes, drained

    8 oz cream cheese, softened

    8 oz sour cream

    2 tsp. dill

    2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

    2 tbsp. Mrs. Dash Salad Dressing mix

    1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    1 tsp. mild hot sauce (to taste)

    1 tsp. spicy mustard

    2 tbsp. lemon juice

    1/4 tsp.

    Procedures:

    Mix together the softened cream cheese and sour cream. Add remaining ingredients, except Salmon, and stir until well-mixed. Add Salmon, and fold together carefully to keep fish flakes solid. Press plastic wrap
    tightly unto top of dip to protect from air. Refrigerate mixture four to six hours and serve with crackers, fresh bread, or veggies.

    SPICY SMOKED SALMON BISQUE

    Ingredients:

    A hearty, spicy stew.

    4 cups cooked Salmon

    1 can cream of mushroom soup (condensed)

    1 can of milk

    1/2 cup dry red wine

    1 can corn

    2 medium potatoes diced

    1 tsp. garlic powder

    2 tsp. Cajun seasoning

    1/2 tsp. seafood seasoning

    Procedures:

    Heat soup and milk until boiling. Add potatoes and boil over low heat until done. Add wine and spices, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Add corn and heat until mixture starts bubbling again. Add Salmon and heat 5-10
    minutes more stirring slowly. Serve with rice or crackers.

    SMOKED SALMON OMELET

    Ingredients:

    8 eggs

    1/4 cup milk

    salt to taste

    2 tbl. butter

    1 1-oz slice of smoked salmon

    Procedures:

    Beat eggs with milk and salt with a whisk and pour into a hot frying pan or omelet pan containing the melted butter. Lift cooked portions of the omelet with a fork to allow uncooked portions to flow to the bottom of the pan. Avoid stirring. Tilt pan to hasten the flow to the sides and bottom of pan, but return to level cooking position to ensure uniform thickness of omelet.

    When bottom is light brown, gently lift out onto a warm plate and top with salmon slices. Cut into quarters and serve at once.

    Dan Pantaleon is a cooking enthusiast and a huge salmon lover. His blog at http://www.howtocooksalmon.blogspot.com provides lots of exciting, easy and healthy ways how to cook salmon with different varieties of recipes like smoked salmon recipes on a fixed budget. When you visit Dan's How To Cook Salmon Blog, you'll never run out salmon recipes ever again.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:39 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 23 May 2008

    There's nothing like a good grilled chicken wing recipe. And there's nothing like summer grilling time! Time to take the cover off your grill, fire that baby up and start cookin'.

    One of my favorite things is grilled chicken wings. Teriyaki wings to be more specific. I love the sticky goodness when they first come off the grill. They are so easy to make and everyone LOVES them so I thought I'd share my grilled chicken wings recipe with everyone.

    3 to 4 pounds of chicken wings

    1 cup of low sodium soy sauce

    1 cup of brown sugar

    1/3 cup of vegetable oil

    1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated

    1 teaspoon of garlic

    Mix together all ingredients into a bowl until well combined.

    Arrange chicken wings in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish and pour marinade over the top of wings turning to coat the wings. Cover and refrigerate overnight OR you can also put the wings in to a gallon freezer bag and pour the marinade over them, seal up the bag and refrigerate overnight. It's best to stir turn the wings once or twice while they are sitting in the marinade.

    Grill over low heat turning frequently until wings are done, about 30 to 45 minutes depending upon the size of your wings. You'll need to keep a close eye on your wings because of the sugar content. They will burn very easily.

    You'll find this grilled chicken wing recipe along with a lot more great recipes including fall off the bone barbecue baby back ribs at: http://www.mamas-southern-cooking.com

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 22 May 2008
    I am a southerner so barbecue is just a way of life for me! There are as many great BBQ sauces as there are cooks; everybody has their favorite sauce plus every region has a different way of preparing their sauces. I grew up with tomato based sauces and they are still my favorites.

    I have selected a few BBQ sauce recipes for you to try from the Southern Living 'myrecipes' collection. I picked a recipe for quick, easy, and make-ahead - you make the call! They are all wonderful and will be the hit if your Memorial Day celebration.

    Quick

    Four-Alarm Barbecue Sauce

    This sticky sauce is better for dipping than basting, since its sugars will cause food to stick to the grill. Try it with shrimp or use it as a table sauce to pour over your grilled food.

    Ingredients

    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1 cup finely chopped onion
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3/4 cup water
    1/2 cup bottled chili sauce
    2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1 teaspoon chipolte chile powder
    1 teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper
    1 12-oz can cola
    jalapeno pepper, chopped

    Directions

    Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    Add onion and garlic and cook 2 minutes or until onion is tender.
    Add 3/4 cup water and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 1/2 cups (about 12 minutes).
    Place half of chili sauce mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Pour mixture into bowl or container.
    Repeat procedure with remaining chili sauce.
    Southern Living, JUNE 2006
    Easy

    Thick and Robust Barbeque Sauce

    This is a delicious sauce - thick, tomatoey, and sweet with just a hint of hot.

    Ingredients

    3/4 cup cider vinegar
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 cup chili sauce
    2 Tablespoons chopped onion
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
    Dash of ground red pepper

    Directions

    Stir together all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil.
    Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Divide sauce into separate containers for basting and serving at the table. Basting sauce brushed on raw food should not be used as a table sauce.
    Discard any remaining basting sauce when meat is cooked.
    Refrigerate remaining table sauce for future use.
    Makes 1 1/4 cups sauce.
    Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2003

    Make-Ahead

    Baby Loin Back Ribs

    This make-ahead recipe does take time but it is so worth it! Once you have made the rub and sauces, you can store them in your fridge for use all summer long. The sauce is intended for ribs but will work equally well on any meat.

    The work plan:

    Prepare the Basting Sauce and let stand at least 8 hours.
    Prepare the Rub, spread on ribs, cover and store in fridge at least 3 hours.
    Prepare the sweet sauce.
    Grill the ribs on a covered grill using medium heat (300 - 350 degrees) for 2 to 2 1/2 hours basting with the Basting Sauce every 30 minutes. Turn the ribs occasionally.
    Brush ribs with the Sweet Sauce the last 30 minutes of grilling time.
    Basting Sauce
    1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    2 cups red wine vinegar
    2 cups water
    1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
    1 small bay leaf

    Stir together all ingredients in a small jar, cover and let stand 8 hours. Remove bay leaf.

    Rub

    3 Tablespoons paprika
    2 teaspoons seasoned salt
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons ground black pepper
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 teaspoon ground oregano
    1 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl or small container.

    Sweet Sauce

    1 cup ketchup
    1 cup red wine vinegar 1 8-oz can tomato sauce
    1/2 cup spicy honey mustard
    1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    2 Tablespoons brown sugar
    2 Tablespoons hot sauce
    1 Tablespoon seasoned salt
    1 Tablespoon paprika
    1 Tablespoon lemon juice
    1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/8 teaspoon chili powder
    1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
    1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Bring all ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    Southern Living, May 2001

    These and other recipes can be found at MomsMealConnection.com. MomsMealConnection is designed to help busy moms everywhere prepare meals - family meals, holiday celebrations, and special dinners plus entertaining - through recipe and meal planning links. Most of the links are fast, fun, and free to use. Who has time to waste searching endlessly through the web? Certainly not us moms!

    I am the mother of five grown children who are now starting families of their own so to say that I have 'been there, done that' is an understatement! My trick is to plan weekly menus and grocery shop only once per week. I am a firm believer that once-a-week meal planning and grocery shopping saves a lot of time and money! We can all use more of those commodities.

    I sincerely hope you have fun with your meal planning and preparation,

    Elizabeth Randall and Family


    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 21 May 2008

    Using a microwave oven doesn't have to just mean heating up a TV dinner. Although microwaves can vary drastically in the amount of their cooking times, there are some general principles that can be followed.

    1. Start with a recipe that you are familiar with. That way, you will know how it is supposed to taste before you start.

    2. There are some foods that must be cooked in a conventional oven, such as any pastry dish or dessert that has not been precooked in a regular oven or fried foods.

    3. For most dishes, there will be a 1/4 to 1/3 less cooking time in a microwave oven. Start with a shorter time, then test. If it's not cooked through, add more time. Most ovens have an automatic rotating plate; if yours does not have one, you should rotate the food when it's half way done so that it cooks evenly.

    4. Reduce salt and other seasonings. Add more seasoning, if necessary, after cooking.

    5. When roasting meats, turn the piece of meat over after half of the cooking time. There is no need for basting. Pierce the less tender meats all over with a fork before microwaving.

    6. Omit the browning of meat for stews. Reduce the amount of liquid and cut meats and vegetables into smaller pieces than you would normally. Cover tightly before cooking.

    7. For steaming, most foods can be microwaved in tightly covered dishes without water. Moisture is drawn from the food itself.

    8. Most vegetables can be cooked in just a few tablespoons of water or in their own steam. Do not reduce the amount of water when cooking dried beans or peas.

    9. For sauteing, omit the browning and the fat unless you need the fat for flavor. You won't usually need it if you spice the dish correctly. Microwave, covered, at a power setting appropriate for the food. Your users manual should give a list of foods and the temperatures they should be cooked at.

    10. For poaching, reduce liquid to one cup or less. Season. Tightly cover dish with plastic wrap before cooking.

    11. For casseroles, cut meat and vegetables into smaller cubes and slices. Rotate layered casseroles. Use quick-cooking rice rather than raw rice. Processed and soft cheeses work better than hard cheeses. Casserole topping will not crust or brown. It is better to use corn chips, onion rings or crushed croutons.

    12. For stir-frying, use a browning dish that has been preheated. Add oil, meat and long-cooking vegetables first, stirring every two minutes. Remove. Add quick-cooking vegetables. Cook; then, combine all together.

    There are too many variables for breads, cakes, cookies, desserts, jams and jellies. It is best to refer to a microwave conversion cookbook or use a recipe specifically for microwave cooking. Cookbooks for microwave ovens are easy to find these days.

    You can cook entire meals in the microwave. Simply remember that you don't need as much liquid, your meats won't require browning and the cooking time is reduced drastically.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 19 May 2008

    Diet-to-Go has survived the proverbial test of time. It’s been running strong for 14 years of service providing freshly prepared, tasty, convenient, and nutritionally balanced meals to its customers. All of the meals received are low in fat, low in sodium, and low in cholesterol. Diet-to-Go ships to any U.S location or can be picked up personally in San Francisco, Baltimore, and Washington DC. One of my personal favorite aspects about Diet-to-Go is that there is no portioning, rationing, counting calories or carbohydrates. They also customize the meal plan for you, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy because they take care of you.

    How It Works
    Diet-to-Go supplies meals in several different plans. Each of the plans comprises 4 weekly menus repeated in a cycle of four weeks, so that in a month every week has a different set of menus. They base your personal plan on your personal information such as weight loss objectives, dietary restrictions and preferences. Your own personal counselor recommends an appropriate meal plan, with which you should lose 2 or 3 pounds per week.

    Your 3 Plans: Low fat, Low Carb, Vegetarian
    Your plan options are pretty basic, you can choose from low fat, low carb, or vegetarian. Most of the plans provide 1200 to 1600 calories per day depending on the portion sizes you personally order. They also offer additional sub plans like Convenience Pack or Midweek 3-Pack. Shipping is precise and in order, they ship your food for a week on the first Monday or Tuesday after you place your order; you receive it in 2 to 3 days. All their meals are packed in dry ice, and shipped in styro-foam coolers. Your order is then repeated until you change that arrangement or unless you have ordered a specific number of weeks from Diet-to-Go.

    Cost of Diet-to-Go
    The costs vary depending on which of the Diet-to-Go plans you choose. If you order the Full Plan that consists of 7 days of 3 daily low fat meals you’re looking at costs of $113 for 1200 calories and $126 for 1600 calories. If you choose just Lunch and Dinner that consist of 7 days of 2 daily meals you are looking at spending $103 and $112. For the Action Plan which is 5 days of 2 daily meals the prices are $75 and $82. Low-Carb Plan 7 days of 3 daily low-carb meals is $141 for 1500-2000 calories. And finally if you order the Special Value Plan 7 days of 3 daily meals run $103 for 1200 calories. As you can see there are many options to choose from for very low prices.

    This is a fantastic program and is highly recommended and very affordable. The food is top of the line quality, and set to fit any weight loss goals and any budget. I honestly can’t say enough good things about this home delivery system other than it’s in the top 2 with Zone Home Delivery for the best food at home delivery only program. I suggest if you haven’t already giving this program a try; I assure you will not be disappointed.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 16 May 2008
    So, how do you pull it all together on those nights when one child has scouts, one has lessons or a game, you have a meeting, and everyone needs to eat - really quick? My answer is to mix and match!

    I (almost) always have some make-ahead entrees in the freezer to pull out and microwave. Using make-ahead entrees makes dinner prep quick and easy. It is just a matter of cooking some vegetables or making a salad. Once-a-month-cooking is one technique for this where you cook entrees for the whole month at one time. It is a tough day and you will be pooped at the end of the day but you'll have your dinner entrees just waiting for you in your freezer. Cookbooks are available to help you get started; they will have menus, recipes, grocery lists, and even work plans! If you don't have a frozen entree in your freezer, grocery stores will have a great selection for you.

    Another alternative to frozen make-ahead entrees is to bake once - eat twice. Ham, beef or pork roast, chicken, or turkey come to mind here. You can also make meatballs or soups. Just think of the possibilities when you have a ham in your refrigerator. I think the trick to bake once - eat twice is to make each entree different. Some suggestions are roasted chicken then bar-be-que chicken sandwiches; baked ham then chef salad or ham / potato soup; turkey breast then turkey tacos or tetrizini - the list just goes on and on!

    Using the slow cooker can be a great solution to quick meals. Just remember to start the cooker before you leave in the morning. We have all come home to an uncooked dinner in a cold slow cooker because, in the rush of the morning, we forgot to plug in the cooker. Most recipes can be used in the slow cooker as long as the amount of water is reduced. I love the taste (and smell) of a chicken cooked in the slow cooker. I just put a whole chicken in the pot, add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper and I am done. Carrots, celery, and onion can be added for additional flavor. A roast with a packet of dry onion soup mix sprinkled over the top and 1/2 cup water added to the pot is just wonderful when cooked in a slow cooker. And of course, both chicken and roasts can be used for the bake once - eat twice alternative mentioned above.

    Carry out and home delivery is a whole lot more than pizza these days! Companies sell already prepared meals that are either fresh or frozen and shipped directly to you. This is a wonderful idea for young families who don't have the time to cook or seniors who can't always cook for themselves. Almost every restaurant offers carry-out these days and you can even call ahead to order so it will be ready when you arrive saving you precious time. Sandwiches, pizza, you name it, can be delivered right to your door these days.

    Grocery stores have fabulous choices for meals-to-go and so do many gourmet cooking stores. You can select your dinner from a meals-to-go bar making meal prep quick and easy! I laugh about the Christmas when my husband was in the hospital and I did my 'Christmas baking' at the grocery store on the way home from the hospital one evening when company was stopping by.

    I just love the advertisement for the chicken restaurant where you can pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home for dinner tonight. You see, the important thing is to eat together, as a family, not that you fixed the whole meal from scratch.

    These and other quick and easy dinner suggestions can be found at MomsMealConnection. MomsMealConnection is designed to help busy moms everywhere prepare meals - family meals, holiday celebrations, and special dinners plus entertaining - through recipe and meal planning links. Most of the links are fast, fun, and free to use. Who has time to waste searching endlessly through the web? Certainly not us moms!

    I am the mother of five grown children who are now starting families of their own so to say that I have 'been there, done that' is an understatement! My trick is to plan weekly menus and grocery shop only once per week. I am a firm believer that once-a-week meal planning and grocery shopping saves a lot of time and money! We can all use more of those commodities.

    I sincerely hope you have fun with your meal planning and preparation,

    Elizabeth Randall and Family

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 15 May 2008

    Meat Grades...

    Beef

    When shopping for beef, it’s harder to see the quality in a brisket than it is to see the quality in a steak. But if you know how steaks are graded, you’ll have an easier time selecting your next brisket. With beef, safety inspection by the USDA is mandatory, but grading is optional. The top three grades are prime, choice and select. Usually only prime and choice are graded and marked at the retail level. Prime is usually reserved for the nicer restaurants but can be found occasionally in upscale meat stores. Choice is the grade found in most grocery stores and discount warehouses. Select is a lot leaner cut of beef and it is what is sold in the big discount retail grocery stores. “No roll” beef is beef that has not been graded by the USDA. Usually beef that has never been graded would fall into the “select” grade. So, when selecting the best brisket for slow smoking, look for a well marbled piece of meat.

    Here are some good web sites which show the differences in marbling...

    http://www.ams.usda.gov

    Another way to select great beef is to buy the Certified Angus Beef brand (CAB). Remember that this is only a brand name and not certified by the USDA. CAB grades as USDA prime or the top 35% of USDA choice. So... just look for the CAB brand and your shopping will be a lot easier because you know you will be getting good quality meat. Visit their web site for further info...

    http://www.certifiedangusbeef.com

    Chicken

    Chicken is a little easier to shop for because there are only three grades - A, B, and C. Grade A is usually the only grade sold in grocery stores. Grade A chicken has no defects, is meaty, full breasted, firm, no broken skin, and no broken bones. Anything else will be grades B or C. Sometimes you’ll find that the “on sale” chicken will be grade B or C. For more information, visit...

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/poultry/standards/AMS-PYST-2002.htm#70-220-Start

    Pork

    Pork is sort of like chicken... there are only four grades 1, 2, 3, & 4 and most of the pork sold in grocery stores is grade 1. So your choice is fairly simple. Look for pork that is firm, grayish pink in color and has a good degree of marbling. I always buy the full racks of spareribs. The best ribs are “2 and under” but they are harder to find. 3.5 and under are more common and do just as well. Buy 4 and under if you have to but stay away from the “hogzilla” 5 lb spareribs. Remember, this is for the full untrimmed spareribs - not the loin cut, St Louis cut, or baby backs. To see how to trim your spareribs St Louis Style, visit...

    http://www.bbq-book.com/news2006/html/october_2006.html

    For a pork grade chart, visit...

    http://www.ams.usda.gov/lsg/stand/slaughterswine.pdf

    For more information on slow smoking competition quality ribs, butts, chicken, and brisket, please visit Bill Anderson's web site at http://www.bbq-book.com or http://www.bbq-recipes.net

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 01:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 14 May 2008

    Contaminated food poses a significant health hazard - one that we all must be careful to avoid. Harmful microorganisms and bacteria which can grow on virtually any food item can cause stomachaches, illness, or even death. Although there is no absolutely foolproof way to prevent exposure to these dangerous germs, practicing good food safety can greatly reduce your risk of being a victim of food poisoning.

    Wash Your Hands

    One of the simplest rules for food preparation is to wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. To do this, wet your hands under warm, running water, lather with soap for at least 20 seconds, and rinse thoroughly afterwards. Make sure to clean inside skin creases and under fingernails; these are prime places for germs to hide. Though mundane, washing your hands helps prevent food poisoning in several ways. First, it prevents you from transferring any bacteria or harmful substances you may have accumulated on your hands onto your food. Second, by washing your hands frequently and between steps of food preparation, you can avoid cross-contaminating your food.

    Cook Thoroughly

    Meats, poultry, seafood, and eggs are some of the best places for bacteria to thrive. Raw meats are particularly notorious for containing any number of harmful germs. The best way to kill off these germs is by cooking all meat thoroughly; extreme heat will be able to destroy most germs. The best way to tell if meat has been cooked well is with a meat thermometer. Some rules of thumb: beef and pork should be cooked to 160 degrees, Poultry to 180 degrees, and ground meats to 165 degrees. Of course, not every has - or wants to buy - a meat thermometer. In this situation, color is often a good indicator - meats which are pink should be considered undercooked.

    Avoid Cross-Contamination

    Though fruits and vegetables are far less likely than meat to harbor dangerous bacteria, they are not 100% safe. Furthermore, if different types of food are mixed, bacteria can "jump ship" and cross-contaminate both foods. Blood and juices from raw meat, for example, contain large numbers of bacteria. If fruits or vegetables are exposed to this liquid, they can be contaminated as well. To avoid this, be sure to keep different types of food well separated. Cook in stages, and don't cut raw meat and vegetables on the same cutting board without washing it first.

    Keep a Clean Kitchen

    A popular set of statistics shows that kitchen counters, sinks, and surfaces are home to far more bacteria than the typical bathroom. One study showed that the kitchen cutting board - yes, the same board where you slice your meats, vegetables, fruits, and more - may have some 200 times the number of bacteria on the toilet seat. All these disgusting numbers show one thing - it is absolutely vital that you keep your kitchen clean. Don't allow garbage or leftovers to pile up. Wash dishes frequently and well. Replace worn or dirty cutting boards, cleaning rags, and sinks. The neater and cleaner your kitchen is, the less places germs can hide, breed, and wait to jump into the food you eat.

    Now that you've mastered a few of the basics of safe food preparation, put them to use. For recipe ideas to jump-start your cooking, visit http://www.cdkitchen.com

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:58 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 13 May 2008

    The menu could possibly be the single most important element of the Italian restaurant. After all, it is what is on the menu that keeps the customers coming back again and again. Careful consideration should go into planning the menu; this includes not only what foods you will serve, but also the layout and wording as well.

    The first thing on your agenda when planning an Italian food menu is what type of food you will be serving. Are you serving just pizza and Italian sandwiches or will your menu feature a larger variety of dining options?

    Next on your menu planning schedule should be to find several similar restaurants and study their menus. Pay attention to the variety of dishes that they offer, and how their menu is arranged.

    Unless you already have your heart set on exactly what it is you will be serving in your diner, you may want to consider trying some of the most successful Italian restaurants in the area and incorporating some of their best dishes into your own menu. Some of the best Italian restaurants offer authentic foods from Italy, as well as some American versions.

    Another point to keep in mind is that some of the best eating establishments have a signature dish that is all their own. You may want to create a taste that is unique to your restaurant. This is a sure way to keep the customers coming back.

    Divide your menu into sections that include appetizers, drinks, lunch, dinner, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Now you are ready to fill your menu with the many wonderful and tasty dishes that you have planned.

    Planning your menu includes much more than simply deciding what foods you will serve. Proper layout of the menu is also important. Again, study the menus of your competitors. How do they have their menu arranged? What are the menu's advantages and disadvantages?

    By taking careful note of these aspects of the menu, you will have a good idea of how to best layout your own menu. Generally, appetizers and salads, along with soups appear first on the menu, followed by sandwiches, lunch selections and finally dinner plates.

    Another extremely important factor that should not be overlooked when planning your menu is the color scheme and theme of your menu. The colors and graphics of your menu should reflect the overall theme of your establishment.

    Don't forget that you will need quality graphics to represent the many wonderful dishes that you will be serving. The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. People are visual and want to see what their food will look like. Last but not least is menu selection description. Use very descriptive and flowing language when describing the selections that are featured on your menu.

    Once you have settled on your menu items, you'll be one step closer to your dream of opening a successful Italian restaurant.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 12 May 2008
    The tools are almost as important to the recipe as the ingredients and the words in the recipe. Picking the right tools can sometimes be a daunting task..

    Its always best to start with the basics such as vegetable peelers, knives, cutting board, and utensils and plates to put the food on. Starting with a basic understanding of how basic tools work is the first step to being able to understand and know how to buy different gourmet tools.

    Even these simple tools need to be understood, and making sure to spend money on quality tools is the first step to becoming a gourmet chef. A chef who doesn't know how to properly use a carving knife, or how to operate a vegetable peeler isn't really a chef until they can master those tools. These are some of the most basic tools a gourmet chef needs to know about.

    One a chef has mastered these particular tools its time to move onto more complicated tools. For example many gourmet chefs use mandolines as a means of chopping up vegetables.

    These are much like shredders, except instead of having little pieces of metal jutting from the metal base, there is one long blade in the center of the device and the vegetable is scraped over the blade giving thinner and more precise cuts. Its much like a meat slicer, except for vegetables and even cheeses. It's tools like these that separate simple tools such as graters from the more complex ones.

    Mixers can also be a great gourmet cooking tool. Professional mixers come with a variety of different attachments for pastry, vegetable fillings, and even bread making attachments.

    Different ingredients need to be handled differently and different attachments on certain professional mixers will allow for things such as egg whites to be handled more delicately than other items. Many professional mixers can be pricey, but many gourmet chefs emphasize the need for costly tools in order to properly propel the craft of cooking forward.

    Buying the necessary attachments and spending the money it doesn't hinder a cook and allows them to be as open minded and creative as possible because they have the needed implements to do so.

    Measuring and timing tools are another crucial tool that must be bought and handled correctly. It's best not to buy cheap measuring cups and spoons because sometimes these plastics will not hold up to the dishwasher.

    Its best to buy metal or another kind of material because plastic is usually never sturdy enough. Also make sure that your tools are as accurate as they can be. The more accurate the better measurement, and the better the recipe will be!

    Its important to pay attention and shop at quality cooking tool stores, stores that mainly focus in selling these cooking tools only, rather than chain stores that do not specialize in cooking tools. In truth its best to pay attention to what you buy.

    The more you pay attention to this, the better your dishes will be and the more knowledge you will gain about the craft. Also you will be able to teach other people and explain to them how to use a seemingly confusing contraption.

    Find discount Gourmet Cooking Tools at : Discount Gourmet Cooking Tools

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 12:12 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 09 May 2008
    The main lasagna recipes are those with tomato and besciamella sauce. Lasagna is only another shape of pasta and so, it also matches with an infinity of seasonings.

    Among all lasagne recipes, the number one should be the most traditional one. Before preparing it, it's necessary to have already a tomato meat sauce and a besciamella ready to use.

    A good tomato meat sauce needs good ingredients, as they contribute strongly for the best final result.

    You'll need (4 people):




    4 spoons of extra virgin olive oil



    200 gr of ground veal meat (instead of ground, it can be minced too)



    2 cans of peeled tomatoes



    ½ minced onion



    2 pieces of minced garlic



    minced parsley



    some basil leaves (if you don't have them, don't worry)



    salt

    How to do it:

    Put the oil inside a pan (it's better to use a "high" pan, to avoid squirts), turn on the gas and add the minced onion. Leave it for a while, mixing it to avoid overcooking, and then add the minced garlic and the minced meat.

    After colouring it for a while, add the peeled tomatoes cut in medium pieces. Mix it all and leave it on high gas for a while. As it begins to boil, regulate the gas to avoid overcooking it, but leave it a little bit high. Otherwise you'll get a "too liquid" sauce, and a good one should be dense. Mix it every now and then.

    When your Italian tomato sauce is ready? When the oil is separated from the tomatoes. It'll take about half an hour for this quantity, but pay attention when you mix it that you'll notice that you can see the oil apart from the tomato cream.

    The besciamella:

    It's much simplex than the name suggests. Just take ½ liter of milk, add 3 spoons of wheat flour and half spoon of butter. Mix it while on the low gas until it' gets creamy. Add then salt and nutmeg.

    Other than the tomato sauce and the besciamella, you'll need Italian mozzarella and grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano. Don't use any cheese, as a good cheese really makes the difference.

    The lasagna packages say that it doesn't need to boil before going to the oven. But the old Italian women are distrustful and prefer to do it their way. What do they do? They put the lasagna sheets for about a minute into the boiling salted water and then put them on a dishtowel, without laying one upon another.

    (If you choose not to boil them, they will come less softy and the sauce will not mix so much.)

    Take an oven pan and begin with a layer of tomato sauce, then lasagna sheets (not overlapping them), besciamella, tomato sauce again, pieces of mozzarella and grated Grana Padano.

    Go ahead until the ingredients finish, taking care of finishing with the tomato sauce with cheese.

    Put it into the pre-heated oven (about 180°C) for about 30/40 minutes, when it began to get crispy on the boards.

    Tip: After taking it out of the oven, wait for about 20 minutes before serving. It will allow the pasta to absorb the sauces and will be easier to cut and the taste will gain.

    Other lasagna recipes:

    An easy and original idea is to use pesto between lasagna sheets, adding grated Parmigiano Reggiano and less besciamella.

    Another vegetarian recipe is using tomato sauce without meat. Do the sauce in the same way without adding meat and proceed for the lasagna the same exact way.

    An original veggie recipe is using grilled eggplant between tomato sauce and besciamella.

    For more information on Lasagna recipes visit All About Italian Food.

    Ana Maria da Costa. Economist, living in Italy since 1983 and proceeding the studies in Food and Wine culture

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 07:35 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 07 May 2008

    During the 18th and 19th century many Welsh people sought to escape Britain for both linguistic and religious reasons to found new homelands. Many Welsh colonies were founded, some in very surprising places but most were subsumed into the native culture. One exception to this was in Pagtaonia (Argentina) where Welsh is still spoken and a new Cymro-Hispanic culture has emerged.

    This region of Patagonia is known as the 'Gwladfa' (literally the 'little country') and is a vibrant mix of Welsh, Amerind and Hispanic cultures.

    As well as an inter-mixing of languages and cultures there's also an inter-mingling of foods and cookery so you end up with many dishes that are based on Welsh originals but have a distinctly Hispanic flair or flavour about them.

    Below I present two such dishes (both translated from the original Welsh).

    Teisen Sbeis Eirin a Chnau (Spiced Plum and Nut Cake)

    Ingredients:
    225g of dried plums (or prunes) finely chopped
    230ml boiling water
    460g self-raising flour
    ½ tsp salt
    330g white sugar
    3 eggs
    350ml of a light oil grape-seed oil or olive oil infused with lemon are good)
    1 tsp each of powdered cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger
    225g of walnuts finely chopped
    225g of seedless raisins
    grated rind of 1 orange

    Method:
    Pour the boiling water over the chopped dried plums, add the raisins and orange rind to this and set aside to stand. Next prepare the liquid ingredients by mixing the eggs and oil to a large bowl and beating them all together well. Add the plums, raisins and their seeping water to this and again mix together well. In another bowl mix together the flour, the spices and the sugar. Gently tip this into the bowl containing the liquid ingredients a little at a time, ensuring that each time the flour is properly folded into the oil and water mixture. Finally add the nuts and fold in. If the mixture is too stiff at this point you can add a little milk to slacken it up (however, this recipe is an excellent cake for someone whose lactose intolerant if you're serving it for someone like this add more oil rather than milk). Bake in an oven pre-heated to 150°C for about 45 minutes.

    Cyw Iar Bricyll (Apricot Chicken)

    Ingredients:
    2 pieces of chicken meat per person (8 in all)
    2 carrots, thinly sliced
    1 onion, thinly sliced
    500ml vegetable stock
    300ml cream
    1 dessert spoon each of sage, dried bay leaf and basil
    butter for frying
    salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
    12 ripe apricots
    1 tbsp water
    1 tbsp sugar
    1 dessert spoon cornflour (mixed with 2 tbsp water)

    Melt the butter in a pan and when hot add the meat and season. Fry until the chicken has browned then add the vegetables, the stock and the cream. Bring to a simmer then cover the pan and cook for 90 minutes.

    About 30 minutes before the meat is ready add the apricots (stoned and halved), water and sugar to a saucepan. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly. After about 10 minutes add the cornflour slurry and cook for a further 15 minutes. At this point mash the apricots.

    When ready to serve spoon the apricots onto a plate and place the chicken on top. Serve with plain rice.

    I hope that these recipes have given you a little taste for both native Welsh and expatriate recipes and that you are now ready to find out more . . .

    Dyfed Lloyd Evans is the creator of the Celtnet Recipes where you can find many more examples of traditional and modern Welsh and Patagonian Recipes as well as the best of British Recipes in general.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:52 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 06 May 2008

    This is a quick, easy dish made from organic food ingredients that’s great for any season.

    The navy beans provide a big serving of protein, so this can serve as the entrée. The sun dried tomatoes pack a lot of flavor and satisfying, chewy texture.

    The specific organic food Ingredients

    2 15 oz. cans organic navy beans

    ½ 4 oz. package organic sun dried tomatoes (already sliced, if possible)

    6 cloves organic garlic

    ½ organic onion

    3 tablespoons organic olive oil

    2 pinches sage

    Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

    Place the sun-dried tomatoes in one cup of hot water and let them soak; this rehydrates the tomatoes to a small degree and coaxes out more flavor. Meanwhile, dice onion and crush garlic in garlic press.

    Add olive oil to large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until they are translucent.

    Meanwhile, remove sun-dried tomatoes and slice them into fourths, if they are not already sliced. Reserve the sun-dried tomato water; don’t pour it out!

    Drain the beans.

    Add sun-dried tomatoes and beans to aromatic garlic and onion mixture. If your family’s not hovering yet to see what fragrant dish you’re cooking up for dinner, they will be any minute!

    Add all of sun-dried tomato water, two pinches of sage and salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, until water thickens and becomes gravy-like, stirring occasionally--at least 20 minutes.

    This dish serves two. It’s very nice served with an organic food salad of romaine hearts, slivered almonds and shredded carrot with a tomato-based vinaigrette.

    Enjoy!

    Virginia Louise runs a free organic food information site to spread the word about the benefits of eating organically.

    Visit her site to pick up 6 more free tasty recipes to try.

    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 11:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 05 May 2008
    Grilling is a delicious and easy way to quickly cook fish without adding more than a tiny bit of extra fat! In France, this is often greatly improved by adding herbs to the side of fish that is being grilled while you are cooking the fish. In other words, you actually grill the herbs along with the fish.

    If you want to grill indoors (and don’t have an indoor BBQ) all you have to do is use a stove-top grill .

    This method can be used with a whole gutted fish or a fillet. It is best to leave the skin on your fish for this cooking method as it will protect the fragile flesh from breaking up during the cooking process.

    Salt the fish (and pepper it, if you wish). If you want, you can make small diagonal slits in the skin to allow it to get more crispy while cooking and also to let in any other flavors you may want to add while preparing or cooking.

    Heat a stove top grill or BBQ on high heat until water splashed onto it sizzles. Then, very lightly grease your cast iron grill with a paper towel that has a little olive oil on it. When hot, lay the fish, skin-side down and allow to cook about 2/3 of the way through if you are cooking a fillet. When it is 2/3 cooked, gently turn the fish over and quickly grill the other side (the remaining 1/3 of the fish). If you are cooking a whole fish, leave it to cook all the way through on one side and then turn it over and grill the other side. (Each “side” of the fish being up to the bone in the middle.)

    The bigger the piece of fish, the “lower” the heat but you still need to grill the fish quickly at a high heat so only turn it down a bit.

    If you have a skinless filet and you only have a grill on which to cook it, I recommend that you grill it on top of a lightly oiled piece of parchment paper.

    You need to keep an eye on your fish and turn the heat down if necessary.

    Fish is almost translucent when raw and looses its translucence (becomes opaque) the instant that it is done. This is the exact moment to serve, as fish becomes rubbery very easily when over-cooked. Serve fish on a warm plate. You can serve fish with olive oil and also with freshly squeezed lemon. You can also serve fish with a sauce.


    Want to know more? Download the free ebook excerpt "Cook French and Stay Slim" by Jean-Louis Vosgien www.photos-and-recipes.com

    Jean-Louis Vosgien is a culinary consulting chef. He was the first chef in France to introduce in the 1980's fusion food, which at the time was unknown, and is considered an expert in that field by press people. He created two cookery schools, one in Saint-Tropez and the second in Lorgues, near Saint-Tropez He created a cake, famous in France, “Le Canelou de Provence”, sold today in the three major supermarket chains in France.


    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 10:48 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 01 May 2008
    So, how do you pull it all together on those nights when one child has scouts, one has lessons or a game, you have a meeting, and everyone needs to eat - really quick? My answer is to mix and match!

    I (almost) always have some make-ahead entrees in the freezer to pull out and microwave. Using make-ahead entrees makes dinner prep quick and easy. It is just a matter of cooking some vegetables or making a salad. Once-a-month-cooking is one technique for this where you cook entrees for the whole month at one time. It is a tough day and you will be pooped at the end of the day but you'll have your dinner entrees just waiting for you in your freezer. Cookbooks are available to help you get started; they will have menus, recipes, grocery lists, and even work plans! If you don't have a frozen entree in your freezer, grocery stores will have a great selection for you.

    Another alternative to frozen make-ahead entrees is to bake once - eat twice. Ham, beef or pork roast, chicken, or turkey come to mind here. You can also make meatballs or soups. Just think of the possibilities when you have a ham in your refrigerator. I think the trick to bake once - eat twice is to make each entree different. Some suggestions are roasted chicken then bar-be-que chicken sandwiches; baked ham then chef salad or ham / potato soup; turkey breast then turkey tacos or tetrizini - the list just goes on and on!

    Using the slow cooker can be a great solution to quick meals. Just remember to start the cooker before you leave in the morning. We have all come home to an uncooked dinner in a cold slow cooker because, in the rush of the morning, we forgot to plug in the cooker. Most recipes can be used in the slow cooker as long as the amount of water is reduced. I love the taste (and smell) of a chicken cooked in the slow cooker. I just put a whole chicken in the pot, add 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper and I am done. Carrots, celery, and onion can be added for additional flavor. A roast with a packet of dry onion soup mix sprinkled over the top and 1/2 cup water added to the pot is just wonderful when cooked in a slow cooker. And of course, both chicken and roasts can be used for the bake once - eat twice alternative mentioned above.

    Carry out and home delivery is a whole lot more than pizza these days! Companies sell already prepared meals that are either fresh or frozen and shipped directly to you. This is a wonderful idea for young families who don't have the time to cook or seniors who can't always cook for themselves. Almost every restaurant offers carry-out these days and you can even call ahead to order so it will be ready when you arrive saving you precious time. Sandwiches, pizza, you name it, can be delivered right to your door these days.

    Grocery stores have fabulous choices for meals-to-go and so do many gourmet cooking stores. You can select your dinner from a meals-to-go bar making meal prep quick and easy! I laugh about the Christmas when my husband was in the hospital and I did my 'Christmas baking' at the grocery store on the way home from the hospital one evening when company was stopping by.

    I just love the advertisement for the chicken restaurant where you can pick up a bucket of chicken on the way home for dinner tonight. You see, the important thing is to eat together, as a family, not that you fixed the whole meal from scratch.

    These and other quick and easy dinner suggestions can be found at MomsMealConnection. MomsMealConnection is designed to help busy moms everywhere prepare meals - family meals, holiday celebrations, and special dinners plus entertaining - through recipe and meal planning links. Most of the links are fast, fun, and free to use. Who has time to waste searching endlessly through the web? Certainly not us moms!

    I am the mother of five grown children who are now starting families of their own so to say that I have 'been there, done that' is an understatement! My trick is to plan weekly menus and grocery shop only once per week. I am a firm believer that once-a-week meal planning and grocery shopping saves a lot of time and money! We can all use more of those commodities.

    I sincerely hope you have fun with your meal planning and preparation,

    Elizabeth Randall and Family


    Posted by: Send a Meal AT 01:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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