Friday, 30 January 2009
As the cold winter months set upon us, it's time to think about the warm comforting foods that will get us through the cold days. Many people choose to turn to stews or casseroles, hoping that they will warm up the family. Still others like to bake, getting the warmth from both their cookies and breads, and from the oven. However, we have a suggestion that may seem a little out of left field, but is fun and warm nonetheless. Why not buck tradition and throw your family and friends a big old fashioned lobster bake?
A lobster bake may sound like something to be enjoyed in the summer, buy having one in these coldest months is a great way to bring some of the light and happiness of the summer into your own home. And because lobster is so easy to cook, and so simple to share, it's also a great way to make a large meal for a group of friends and family that you can prepare by yourself, in your own home.
It may seem like a lot of work to find and prepare enough lobsters for invited guests, but in fact, it couldn't be easier. In the past, to have this great summery meal in the winter months would have be nearly impossible. If your local grocery store even had fresh lobster, they would never have enough for all of our friends and family. And what they would have wouldn't be fresh, and would be expensive. But now, you can order your fresh lobster for your lobster bake online!
What goes into a lobster bake? Well, it depends on what you would like to have with yours. The first ingredient is lobster of course! What size you would like to use will be dependent on what kind of gathering you want to have. If you're interested in a more informal gathering, with everyone cracking into their own lobster, than a one pounder is the best size. If you want a more formal gathering, with couples sharing, or only tails and claws being presented, then a two or three pound lobster will do the trick.
The lobster boiling pot is also a great place to add vegetables to join in your lobster bake feast. Carrots, potatoes and onions all taste especially delicious when boiled in lobster stock. It's a great way to round out your meal without adding a lot of dishes to the equation. If you have relatives who aren't as keen on the seafood, offering them a strip steak is a delicious and quick way to round out the meal. This way, everyone can have a little surf and turf, and some vegetables, for a truly memorable meal.
So when you're ready to really shake off those winter blues, and help your friends and family do the same, it's time for a good old fashioned lobster bake. Ordering the lobsters online makes it easier than ever, and because you'll only need one pot, clean up is a breeze.
Thursday, 29 January 2009
In the past, whenever it's Valentine's Day, everybody seems to have a sweet tooth. Chocolates coming from lovers are a common thing, and all people enjoy eating them. Nowadays, people are more health conscious and keep their bodies in check during the holidays. That's why if you can't help indulging on sweets this Valentine's Day, then make room for some healthy Valentine's food to offset the gained weight.
It's really not that hard to include some healthy add-ons to the Valentine's meal you have prepared for your loved ones. If you follow some of these tips, I bet they really wouldn't mind the change at all. Whether it's just between you and your sweetie, with the family, or a Valentine's party, you can employ some innovative cooking sense to make a leaner meal.
Starting off, while the Valentine's food is baking in the oven, you can present some healthy snacks that everyone can enjoy eating. Most of the time, these snacks are cookies or candies, but for a change, how about serving a tray full of veggies and fruit? The vegetables can be topped with your favorite cream cheese for good flavor, or some Ranch dressing. Fruits can be accompanied also by flavored fruit dips or yogurt flavors like strawberry and peach, which works quite the same.
If you're serving chicken as a Valentine's food appetizer, instead of the usual chicken wings, you can opt in with some breaded chicken chucks. It's basically the same chicken, but the difference is the calories saved when you're using boneless and skinless chicken breasts rolled in batter. To increase your metabolism even more, how about serving the chicken chunks with some hot sauce? The heat will definitely up your appetite as well as increase your metabolic rate, essential in keeping slim.
For salads, there's a good alternative for croutons and that's to use cubed pieces of wheat bread for more fiber. Wash them with a little butter before baking them in the oven. You'll be amazed at how wheat bread can still add a little crunch to the salad even though with less fat than your regular croutons. And for more advanced tactics, try adding a sprinkle of shelled sunflower seeds into the mix. That would definitely make the salad crunch even more.
Vegetable haters are the worst, but you can trick them into eating some healthy Valentine's food by hiding the vegetables in tasty soups. Valentine's Day calls for a simple serving of vegetable, chicken noodle or tomato soup. Just remember though that you should pattern the soup type to the meal you'll be serving. Anyways, the point is that other than being a healthy vegetable hider, soups will fill you up quickly without much eating on your part.
The Valentine's food main course is the hardest part because it's really difficult to eat healthy when there's a holiday festivity going on. This doesn't exclude Valentine's Day because it's real hard to monitor everything when you're too busy enjoying yourself. However, if you stick with lean cuts of meat from beef, pork or chicken, I guess you'll do very fine. As an alternative, you can also use seafood in preparing the main meal of the day, depending on what you think would be most enjoyable to eat.
Healthy Valentine's food means healthy ingredients and that mostly mean low-fat alternatives. If your recipe calls for heavy cream, sacrifice a bit of taste by going for some light cream. Try avoiding using much salt on the recipes and just add a little bit of seasoning to highlight the flavor of the meal.
Food for Valentine's Day can be very healthy too. All it takes is a little know-how of alternatives and of course, a bit of knowledge in preparing them. Besides, if you love someone, you would want to make sure he or she lives long enough for you to celebrate more Valentine's Days together. And that reason certainly calls for good health food to eat even in this sweet holiday.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Here's a simple recipe for your winter super bowl dinner. The whole house fills with the fragrant spices and the chicken will be yummy. For 8 hungry people you need a six pound chicken. Mix the following:
- one half cup olive oil
- two teaspoons each of powdered garlic, ground coriander seed, and basil
- one teaspoon of salt.
Rub the inside with half the mixture. Truss the chicken and then rub the outside with the other half of the herb, olive oil mixture. Let stand and heat the oven to 325' F. Place the chicken in a lightly oiled metal pan and roast uncovered for about an hour and a half, basting every 15 minutes. For the last half hour cover lightly with aluminum foil. Remeove when done and oasting pan and set aside when done. Keep warm. Pour off most of the fat. Set the metal roasting pan over high heat. on high. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour into the bubbling fat. Stir for two or three minutes. Then add two cups of chicken broth plus a dash of your favorite wine vinegar. When the sauce is thickened, pour into a saucepan with a tight fitting lid and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve your chicken with the heated gravy, a green bean and broccoli casserole and a baked potato.
Green Bean, Broccoli and Corn Casserole for 8.
- Two large onions
- Two large cloves of garlic, diced
- 4 cups of cleaned cut green beans, lightly cooked
- 4 cups of broccoli florets, lightly cooked
- 1 small can of corn kernels, drained
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- One cup of bread crumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 pound of butter
In a large skillet saute the onions in the heated olive oil. Add the garlic. When the onion is translucent add the green beans, the broccoli and the salt. Cook for two minutes. Then fill an oven proof dish with the mixture plus the corn and the diced red pepper. Sprinkle the seasoned bread crumbs on top, dot with butter. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. When ready to reheat, put uncovered, in heated oven 325' for about 25 minutes until lightly browned. Check after 15 minutes t make sure id doesn't brown too quickly. You can cover it lightly when it is browned and continue heating until it is hot.
Wednesday, 21 January 2009
Are you ready for some football? Yes it's that time of year again; Super Bowl Sunday is around the corner. It is time to get ready for the super bowl parties we all love. You can be cooking for a crowd of 25 or just the family, these recipes are sure to please all party goers.
Don't just serve boring Chips and Salsa, this recipe is great and easy to make.
Crockpot Sausage Dip
3 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese
1 pkg of Owens Sausage (regular or spicy which ever you like)
2 cans Rotell Tomatoes with Chile's (mild, regular or hot)
Hot Sauce (optional)
Cut cream cheese into cubes and allow to soften, either at room temperature or for a minute in the microwave. Brown sausage in a skillet, drain grease completely, I usually pat mine with a paper towel once cooked to get off as much grease as possible.
In a crockpot combine the softened cream cheese, the cooked sausage and Rotell tomatoes. Cook on low for an hour, stirring occasionally to combine ingredients. Taste and add hot sauce as desired for added flavor.
You can use mild or hot tomatoes or sausage depending on how spicy you like your dip. You also can use a block of Velveeta Cheese instead of the cream cheese if you desire. Keep the dip warm in the Crockpot during the game, and serve with tortilla chips.
Buffalo wings are also a fan favorite.
Buffalo Breaded Chicken Wings:
¼ hot sauce
½ cup flour
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
¼ cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
10 chicken wings and drumlets (of course more depending on the crowd)
Vegetable oil for frying
In a bowl melt the margarine or butter and add the hot sauce and the garlic powder. Mix together and set aside for later. In another bowl add together the flour paprika, cayenne pepper and salt, mix together. In a large bowl or bag, put in the wings and coat them with the flour mixture. Ensure that all of the wings are coated evenly with the flour mixture. Put the floured wings in the refrigerator for about an hour which allows the flour to stick to the chicken wings better.
After the wings have been in the refrigerator for an hour, cook the wings in a deep fryer with the oil heated to 350 degrees. Frying should take about 10 minutes or until the wings turn a dark golden brown. Remove from oil and place them in a large bowl, add the hot sauce mixture ensuring all of the wings are coated evenly. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing and celery sticks.
Also Nacho's are a favorite at Super Bowl Parties. Here is an easy recipe for Chicken nachos.
Kicking Chicken Nachos
1-2 boneless chicken breast cut in bite size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cumin
½-3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on personal taste)
1 can sliced jalapenos
1 pkg Mexican Cheese blend
1 Can refried beans
1 cup chili (store bought or homemade)
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl mix together the cut up chicken breasts, olive oil, salt, garlic powder, cumin and cayenne pepper mix together well. In a hot skillet cook the chicken until no longer pink, and completely cooked through.
In a baking dish arrange the tortilla chips in layers. For the first layer add the refried beans (I find it easier to handle when they are heated before trying to put them on the chips). The second layers add the chili over the top. The chicken mixture is the third layer and top that with the shredded Mexican blend cheese. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is bubbling.
Once they are done cooking, top with the sliced jalapeno peppers if desired, and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole.
These appetizers are sure to keep all of the Super Bowl fans happy, and you will have a party they will remember. Are you ready for some football?
Monday, 19 January 2009
For most couples, it has always been a habit to go out for dinner when Valentine's Day comes. However, this practice can be very expensive too, especially when you already have a family to take with you. This is why dinner preparations are also viable options for those who want to save money this Valentine's, and this article can get you started with easy recipes to prepare for your family.
Crock pots are great tools for you to use in preparing Valentine's food. We often use them when we want to make sure that dinner will be ready after coming home late in busy days. But they are great assets for Valentine's also since many times, slow cookers have removable inner pots too that can be served on the table as a stylish dinnerware.
Cooking with a crock pot will also free you up with some quality time with your loved ones during Valentine's Day rather than you spending all your time slaving in the kitchen. There's a vast array of meal ideas for the crock pot too, like roasted chicken or beef roast with vegetables. And the best option of it all is how you can set it to cook slowly or a bit faster depending on the time you have set aside for cooking.
I know that Valentine's Day dinner preparations can be very painful since you ought to spend more time loving than cooking during this day anyways. But for those who are still determined, there's a definite way for you to enjoy more, and that is to make a dish that can be prepared ahead of time or something that just needs to be baked on Valentine's.
With this idea, it's easy to think about making casseroles since they are hands-down the easiest make-ahead food. They can be made using various kinds of meat like pork, beef or chicken, and even your choice of tasty fish, marinated, dressed and wrapped in foil, ready to be baked as a delicious Valentine's food. Just remember though that you are not to add milk or eggs before being ready to cook the casserole, and if you're using cooked meat, cook and slice the meat at February 13 and combine the ingredients by the 14th, which would be the day you'll pop the dish in the oven.
If you're still in a pinch in making a Valentine's food, not wanting to follow the previous two ideas, this one trick I bet will win you over. The trick is to prepare dishes that use only up to five ingredients to make. I know ideas for this one can be quite challenging, but the advantage to this is that you'll save some serious time in food preparation if you have fewer ingredients to think of. Try to make baked foods too. That way, cooking time can be converted to family time when the meal sits quietly inside the oven.
Another advantage to this is because of its simplicity, some old enough family members can also help during Valentine's dinner preparation. This again cuts preparation time, and can be a very fun activity involving family members too. And again, doing prep work the day before can free you up a lot more than you expect.
A great idea that falls into this category involves cooking pasta with some delicious sauce and meat. Good thing about pasta is that the ingredients can be cooked at the same time. Just make sure and be careful that you won't get ahead of yourself and go ruin the meal in the process when you go about cooking all the ingredients simultaneously.
Preparing Valentine's food need not to be painful if you do it right and saves you expenses against eating out. Dinner preparations should not take off your time with your loved ones too, so slaving in the kitchen is definitely not an option. With a little planning and hard work before the event, you can make Valentine's evening a fun and romantic time filled with delights for you and your sweetie.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
Italian cooking is celebrated around the world as there are indeed diverse and tasty as well as feast for the eyes. The preparation and cooking involved in Italian cooking may seem intricate but once you master the finer points, everything is clear-cut. Italian food ranges from pastas to breads and to the most epicurean of dishes. It is truly an achievement to master the fine art of the fame dishes.
The gastronomy is not just about pastas and pizzas as there are plenty of gourmet dishes and fine Italian cooking that you can savor. It makes use of lots of fresh vegetables and olive oils on top of herbs making them a very healthy type of fare. To get healthy Italian cooking, it is all in the ingredients and it is easier than you would like to think.
There is not a lot of difficulty if you desire to master fine Italian cooking methods and you can start by cooking a starter dish such as Antipasto which is a hearty spread by itself. The recipe is simple although cooking Antipasto entails cold cuts of meat on top of cheese, salami as well as marinated vegetables.
Italian dish is not complete without salad and the ingredients are typically healthy with olives and heaps of fresh vegetables in addition to zucchini, onions and beans. You can have other dollop of healthy Italian cooking by sampling their famous Italian stews and soups. The stews and soups contain ample amount of pulses, vegetables, and chickpeas on top of beans and lentils that are great for your health. Examples of such soups are basil, tomato and broccoli.
After sampling all these healthy cuisine, you can check out Frittata which is an Italian style omelet that is resplendent with vegetables. The ingredients can comprise tomatoes, herbs, onions in addition to salami and chicken. Frittata is a side dish to salads and soups and is normally served in place of bread.
With a full meal, you can then look forward to desserts that are healthy. One of the feted Italian desserts is Gelato that is low in carbohydrate.
In the realm of healthy Italian cooking, you can get hold of certain tips that help you to create such delectable dishes. With those helpful tips, you can prepare hearty and fine meals for your loved ones. Through informed choices and eating healthily, you can value the fine art of Italian cooking.
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
Despite its nice French name, no one is entirely sure that chicken cordon bleu originated in France. It is however a very popular dish in France and one you can make yourself with little fuss, following the easy method given here. And since it has a French name, of course it has a French story to enjoy along with it.
A Little History
Before we start cooking, I thought you might like to know what the cordon bleu was all about. You've probably heard of the cooking school by that name, but the actual cordon bleu had been around for centuries before the cooking school was started in the late 1800's.
During the religious wars that shook Europe for much of the 16th century, King Henry III initiated a special order of knights, known as L'Ordre du Saint-Esprit, to fight for Catholicism. To distinguish themselves the knights wore a Maltese cross hanging from a blue cord around their neck.
In later years, this same order of knights would gather for huge feasts, some of them cooked by accomplished chefs. Hence the blue cord become associated with excellence in cooking (as well as excellence in general) and this was reinforced when the Cordon Bleu cooking school opened it's doors in Paris.
An Easy Recipe
So now that you know a little story to entertain your diners with, let's get cooking.
Lots of Chicken Cordon Bleu recipes ask that you deep fat fry the rolled meat and cheese bundles, but that can be messy and add a lot of unnecessary calories. The dish is actually quite satisfying and delicious when baked. For those of you who miss the extra calories, you can make the shallot cream sauce to serve alongside it.
Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu
- 4 chicken breast filets, skinned
- salt and pepper
- 4 slices ham
- 4 slices of cheese, such as Swiss
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter
Using a wooden meat hammer, pound the chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thick. Or place the breasts between pieces of wax paper or in a heavy plastic bag and use your rolling pin to flatten them.
Lay out the chicken breasts and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top each with a slice of cheese and a slice of ham. Roll the chicken up tightly.
Dredge the rolls in the beaten egg and then in the bread crumbs, coating them well. Use toothpicks to hold them together if you wish. Place the rolls in a greased baking pan, seam side down. Place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each roll.
Bake at 350°F for about 30 to 35 minutes.
Chicken Cordon Bleu Sauce
- 2 shallots, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat and add the shallots. Cook the shallots for 7 or 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and warm through. That's it, ready to serve.
Makes about 1/2 cup.
If you like these recipes, you'll find many more French chicken recipes on Easy French Food. Chicken Fricassee is another popular method for cooking poultry and this Moroccan Chicken Recipe, although not exactly French, is served so often in France, you might think it was. Enjoy.
Thursday, 08 January 2009
An original Carbonara only consisted of eggs, parmesan and black pepper, cooked in the still hot pasta (mostly Linguine or Spaghetti), with some fried bacon thrown in for good measurement. It is, the story goes, the traditional way for North Italian coal miners to prepare their meals. Especially as they only had very few things to choose from up the hills anyway. At first rather obscure as a dish, it became more popular when after WWII Italians were supplied with loads of eggs and bacon by the American troops, and had to do something with those things.
This recipe works without the cream most people associate with Carbonara.
Serves 4, estimated time for preparation: 20 min.
250g Pasta (Linguine, Spaghetti, etc.)
80-100g freshly grated parmesan (or any other hard cheese, e.g. cheddar.)
Black Pepper, freshly grated
Salt to taste
1. Cook Pasta in salted water until it is al dente.
2. Meanwhile cut bacon into small pieces or stripes and fry in small amount of butter or olive oil
3. Meanwhile break eggs into cup, add cheese and a good measure of pepper; mix thoroughly.
4. When the bacon is crisp, take away from fire
5. When the pasta is done, take from fire, drain water into the sink, put hot noodles on plates and put the egg-cheese mixture over it; mix thoroughly.
6. Put bacon on top of noodles, serve immediately and enjoy
Variant: A tablespoon of cream or crème fraîche adds quite a lot to the taste, just don't overdo it.
Gottfried Neuner is an aspiring freelance writer based in Bamberg, Germany and actually living somewhere all over Central Europe. In his free time he likes to try out new ideas in his kitchen. His weblog is Under the Hill http://gneuner.wordpress.com
Wednesday, 07 January 2009
Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful start to this new year!
I just love cook once - eat twice menus. This week I am using the technique twice for an easy week of menus as I settle back into the 'normal' routine.
The menus this week are simple but hearty to get us through the cold days ahead. The grilled London broil steak and shrimp can be broiled if you aren't able to grill this time of year.
I hope you have a great week!
Turkey Breast with French Country Gravy (crock pot, jarred alfredo sauce; save some turkey for Tuesday)
Long Grain and Wild Rice (boxed mix)
Sauteed Brussels Sprouts
Pound Cake Torte (purchased pound cake and prepared icing)
London Broil with Corn Salsa (canned corn; save some beef for Wednesday)
Baked Potatoes (microwaved then baked to finish)
Single Layer Chocolate Cake (cake mix)
BBQ Turkey Sandwiches (pre-cooked turkey from Sunday, jarred BBQ sauce)
Buns and Condiments (jarred condiments)
Cole Slaw (bagged slaw mix, jarred cole slaw dressing)
Fruit Pizza Cookies (prepared cookie dough)
Mexican Beef and Cheese Soup (beef from Monday, shredded cheese)
Tortillas with Guacamole Spread
Stacked Brownies (purchased brownies, ice cream, and chocolate syrup)
Stuffed Spuds (microwaved then baked to finish)
Spinach Salad with Mandarin Oranges (bagged spinach, canned oranges, and jarred salad dressing)
Baked Cookies (boxed cake mix)
Sausage Roll (puff pastry)
Sugar Snap Peas with Vinaigrette
Peach Tarts with Almond Crunch Topper (canned peaches, prepared pie crusts)
Grilled Shrimp with Greek Veggie Salsa (cleaned and deveined shrimp, canned tomatoes)
Corn on the Cob
Ice Cream with Apple Crunch Topper (purchased ice cream)
I sincerely hope you have fun with your meal planning and preparation,
Elizabeth Randall and Family
These and other menu and party ideas can be found at http://www.MomsMealConnection.com
The 30-Minute Menus give you instructions for preparing your complete meal in 30 minutes - flat! Party in a Bag offers ideas for 30-minute appetizer courses or cocktail parties.
MomsMealConnection is designed to help busy moms everywhere prepare meals - family meals, holiday celebrations, and special dinners plus entertaining.
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
Tuesday, 06 January 2009
As a kid, did your parents ever take you to Maine for the summer? If they did, you're sure to remember the idyllic days spent lounging by the cool ocean, reading and playing, and finally, dinner time. Who could forget delicious and fresh lobsters, caught that very morning, steamed with vegetables, and given to you with claw crackers in order to get the meat out of the whole thing. It was fun and delicious. Even if you didn't get to do this as a kid, it sounds great, right? Well, you can share it with your family by ordering live Maine lobster.
Yes, that's right, you can buy the best and freshest lobster online
right now, for less than you'd pay in the grocery store, and have it delivered the next day. That means you can have it in time for that great weekend brunch that you're always planning, but never get around to, or in time for the dinner party you have planned in two days. Live Maine lobsters offer fresh and succulent meat that you can't get anywhere else, and your friends and family will be surprised and amazed that you've got such a high quality dinner waiting.
How do you get your live Maine lobsters so quickly though? You can't really get them the day after they're caught, can you? By cutting out the middleman and ordering online, you can. Instead of waiting for lobsters to be trucked to your local store, you're buying the lobsters direct from the fisherman, as they catch them. It's a great way to support the fisherman and get the lobsters that you crave without the wait, and without the trip to the store!
And one of the best parts of buying live Maine lobsters online is the money that you can save. It's true! Buy buying online direct, you can save enough money that lobster can be more than just a luxury. Instead of paying the middleman's fee's, you pay the fisherman only. It's a great way to bring this delicious and healthy food to your family without breaking the bank. You'll save so much money through buying direct that you'll be able to invite even more people over to your fabulous lobster dinners.
Live Maine lobster dinners are a great way to bring your family together. What could be better than relaxing in a warm cozy house while the smell of lobsters and fresh vegetables simmering wafts though. And eating lobsters as a family is great fun. Even kids will want to get in on the action, and take a crack at using their shiny steal claw crackers. It's a delicious meal that's sure to be remembered.
So why not get the party started, invite over some friends, and order live Maine lobsters online today. They're at a price that can't be beat, and they'll be at your house tomorrow, all without a trip to the store. You'll see what a great time you all have with fresh, succulent lobsters!
Want to jazz up your next family party? Order live Maine lobsters! You can get a great deal when you order today from Quality Fresh Seafood
Monday, 05 January 2009
We all know that heart problems are one of the most common ailments ailing modern man and that a majority of people today suffer from one or another kind of heart problem. However, do you know that heart diseases are the number one cause of deaths in the United States with more than a million people dying of coronary and cardiovascular diseases every year? Another startling fact is that more than a third of these deaths would not have occurred if people had incorporated required changes in their lifestyles and diets. Making food choices that keep your heart healthy is not just a necessity for people who are already suffering from heart problems but for healthy individuals who want to avoid getting a heart disease in the future. Incorporating simple changes in your eating and cooking habits can make a large amount of difference to the health of your heart and help you in avoiding heart problems. Follow our tips below if you want to keep yourself and your family heart healthy for life.
Change Your Cooking Medium: An unhealthy cooking medium is one of the most important causes of clogged arteries and heart problems. For making your food healthier, banish all kinds of animal fat and switch to using vegetable oils for all your cooking needs. Instead of choosing just any cooking oil, go for olive and seed oils since they are known to be heart friendly.
Get Vegetable Friendly: Food products from animals generally have high cholesterol levels and therefore if your meal consists mainly of meats, milk, eggs, cream, butter and poultry, then it is high time that you incorporated a variety of vegetables in your diet. Make it a point to serve at least one portion of vegetables with every portion of meat or poultry and you will balance the bad effects of your high cholesterol diet instantly. You can do this by making salads, stir fries and steamed veggies a part of all your menus. They are easy and fast to make and are tasty enough to be consumed by even hardcore non- vegetarians without too much of a fuss.
Lower Your Salt And Sugar Intake: Sodium from salt in foods, specially fried and packaged snacks is a major cause of high blood pressure. Therefore, try to cook with the minimum possible amount of salt and substitute packed snacks for home made ones. While sugar does not directly cause any heart problems, it causes obesity which is another major reason contributing to all kinds of heart diseases. Start making desserts that constitute mostly of fruits and have a low fat and sugar content. Fruit salads, sorbets, low fat fruit yoghurt and raw fruit served with dips are great dessert ideas that are easy to make and healthy to boot.
Switch To Low Fat "Everything": Even salads can prove to be unhealthy for your heart if they are laced with cholesterol laden cream dressings. Apart from making a conscious effort to buy low fat milk and animal products for cooking, you should also do away with fat and cream products. Go for non-cream dressings for your home made salads and try to substitute non-cream gravies and dressings for cream ones in pasta and non-vegetarian dishes.
Cooking wholesome, healthy meals need not be time consuming and difficult. Try some of Lisa's easy to follow crock pot recipes which are made from scratch. You can prepare something like her apricot ginger chicken crock pot recipe in minutes in the morning and enjoy a full meal at evening with no more work.
Sunday, 04 January 2009
Difficulty (Scale from 1-10): 6
Makes 1 pound of pasta (serves 6-8)
1 pound dried penne pasta
1 pound of sweet Italian sausage taken out of it's casing
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 pound of baby Portobello mushrooms sliced
3 cloves of fresh garlic - pressed
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon rounded of salt
1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
1/2 cup of parmesan cheese - grated
8 oz of whole milk mozzarella cheese - shredded
1) Cook Pasta in a salted boiling pot of water until al dente; drain pasta & transfer to a large bowl, put aside a 3 quart flame proof casserole dish, for the baking process.
2) Preheat broiler
3) Cook sausage in one tablespoon of olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally to prevent sticking/burning while breaking up and large pieces of sausage, until no longer pink. Transfer sausage to a bowl leaving behind the fat in the skillet.
4) Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the already existing fat in the skillet. Add pressed garlic and mushrooms to the skillet over medium-high heat until mushrooms are cooked (do not over-cook - garlic should not burn), garlic should not get darker than golden brown. Cook time should be 5 - 7 minutes.
5) Return sausage to skillet along with heavy cream along with salt & pepper. Boil over medium-high heat until thickened, about 5-6 minutes. Pour over pasta (in large bowl) and mix in parmesan and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Salt to taste.
6) Pour into casserole/baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
7) Broil 3-4 inches from broiler until golden brown in spots, about 5-7 mins.
Remove from oven and enjoy your meal.
Thursday, 01 January 2009
Frozen lobster has some definite benefits over fresh live Lobster.
- Frozen lobster can be bought and stored until you are ready to use it.
- Frozen lobster will be less expensive.
- Frozen Lobster tail is easier to obtain.
- A big benefit is that the frozen lobster has already been prepared so you don't have to deal with the dilemma of cooking a live lobster.
It is true that fresh live Lobster will generally taste better but that comes at a considerably higher cost. This is because fresh lobster is usually bought for the meat in the tail and claws. Frozen Lobsters tails can come from any of dozens of other different varieties of claw-less species which makes them more available and less costly.
Sources Of Frozen Lobster Tail
In general, there are two distinct sources for frozen Lobster tails. Some are harvested from warm waters and some come from cold waters. Most chefs consider the warm water varieties to be the least desirable. This is because by the time that they are harvested and get to you the meat is of poor quality in a large percentage of the tail.
You should always try to buy your frozen tail from the cold waters of southern countries and avoid the central American variety. Sometimes the information is on the package though often it is not. Then you have to rely on the information the vendor can give you or guess based on the price. The warm water tails will always be the least expensive.
Cooking the Lobster
To get the best flavor and texture from frozen lobster tails they should be thawed prior to cooking. It is possible to cook frozen tails but doing so will produce a tough less tasty meat.
To thaw frozen lobster tails let them sit in their unopened packaging in the refrigerator for about 24 hours. You can thaw them faster by immersing the package in water, then letting that sit in the fridge.
In a rush you can use a microwave with a defrost setting to thaw the tails. Just be careful so that you don't start cooking the Lobster tails this way.
Once thawed, the Lobster Tails should be cooked in a timely manner. After thawing they can be boiled, steamed, baked, broiled or grilled. It's up to you.
Here are the two most popular and easiest ways to cook Lobster, boiling and steaming.
Boiling thawed frozen Lobster is really easy.
- Fill a pot with enough water to cover the Lobsters you are cooking,
- Add about one tbsp salt per quart of water
- Heat the water to a rolling boil
- Drop the Lobsters into the boiling water
- Cook for about 1 minute per ounce of Lobster
Steaming is similar except you will use less water. You will need a steaming basket that can hang into the pot but not reach into the water and a tight lid.
- Put 1 to 1 ½ inches of water into pot.
- Add salt (1 tbsp per quart of water)
- Heat the water to boiling
- Hang the steaming basket into the pot
- Cover with heavy Lid (If you don't have a heavy lid sit a brick or rock on top to hold the lid down)
- Cook them for 7 to 8 minutes
Just remember, be careful and watch out for the hot steam when you open the pot and remember that the pot, lid, strainer and Lobsters will all be extremely hot.
Serve the Lobster on a platter with some hot clarified butter and you are ready to feast.
Learn all the different ways that you can enjoy Lobster. Bob Current is publisher of http://www.cookinglobster.info. Here you can learn the where how and what of finding and cooking lobster