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Cooking rice is a great way to add bulk to a meal

Cooking: -rice is a Great Way to Add Bulk to a Meal!

Stocking up on often used pantry items when they are on sale is the perfect way to not only save money on item you know will not go to waste but also to ensure that you will have enough ingredients on hand at all times to throw a meal together in a matter of minutes. Here is a list of my top ten pantry items that will help you add that all-day cooked flavor to quick cooking meals.
1. Pasta: Pasta is so versatile that you could make dinner with it every night for a month and never have the same meal twice. Dried pasta is the perfect pantry staple to stock up on every time it goes on sale at your grocery store. Keep different size and shaped noodles on hand to make meals more interesting. Dried pasta can be added to soups, stews or casseroles, it can be used as a bed for your favorite stir-fry, for more details visit to www.cooking-groundbeef.com to add some bulk to your meal or it can be the star of the show — a quick go-to meal by simply adding your favorite jarred sauce.
2. Spaghetti Sauce: Of course you can use a jar of spaghetti sauce to pour over spaghetti for a quick meal any night of the week, but think outside the box a little when it comes to this pantry staple. You would be surprised how many different ways spaghetti sauce can be used. The great thing about spaghetti sauce is that all of the cooking has been done and that all-day flavor is already sealed in. There are so many varieties on the store shelves that you can get a sauce with whatever flavor combination you prefer, for more details visit to www.apples-recipes.com or you can get a simple marinara sauce and spice it up your own way by adding fresh herbs and vegetables to suit your pallette and your menu.
3. Prepared Broths: Boxes or cans of prepared beef, chicken and vegetable broth are a must have pantry staple. When it comes to quick cooking you should not pass up any opportunity to add flavor. You can do this by substituting broth in place of water to add extra flavor to any recipe. You can even cook your rice in broth instead of water. If you cook often the larger boxes of broth can be stored in the refrigerator after opening so you can use as much or as little as you need and they can sometimes be a better bargain than the cans. If you do wind up with leftover broth in an opened container and are afraid that you will not be able to use it quickly, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. You can pop out as many cubes as you need and melt them right into your recipe. You can even get fancy by adding some dried herbs to your broth cubes before freezing for extra flavor.
4. Quick Cooking Rice: Rice is a great way to add bulk to a meal. Serving a stir fry of meat and vegetables over rice makes a delicious and satisfying meal. Rice is also a great way to add some whole grains to your diet by using brown rice or wild rice instead of white rice. Experiment with different flavors and find one that your family enjoys. Rice also makes a great side dish either by itself, with vegetables mixed in or simply topped with your favorite spaghetti sauce.
5. Condensed Soups: Condensed soups are a fabulous way to add both moisture and flavor to quick cooking meals. You will find recipe ideas right on the soup can labels and there have been entire cookbooks written around the theme of cooking with condensed soups. Cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery and condensed cheese soup are probably the most popular. Take a close look at the soup selection the next time you are in the grocery store. Read the recipes on the labels and stock up on any that you can incorporate into your weekly menu planning. If nothing else, you can make soup for lunch or dinner on a cold rainy day. Don’t forget the chicken noodle in case somebody doesn’t feel well.

Best cookware set for the kitchen

Best Cookware Set For The Kitchen

People want to know whats the best cookware set for the kitchen? It is true that you can find really good deals on complete cookware sets but it is no bargain if you end up with pieces that you will never use when preparing meals.
Before buying any cookware try and define what it is you are trying to accomplish with your cookware. This will help to in determing whats the best cookware set to buy for your kitchen.
I prefer cookware that is more functional and can perform more than one cooking task when preparing a meal. Things like browning or searing meat on the stovetop and then finishing the cooking process in the oven all in same piece of cookware. To be able to do this style of cooking I would find cookware that is oven safe and can withstand high temperatures including the handles and lids.
Other examples of cookware that can perform many tasks is enameled cast iron cookware. This type of cookware is good for performing many tasks as simple as preparing sauces like spaghetti sauce on the stovetop or cooking a roast in the oven.
Another mutitasker to consider would be a stainless steel stockpot with basket insert. You could use this pot for making homemade soups, and with the basket inserted make your favorite pastas and can also be used as a steamer for steaming vegetables and seafoods.
This method of cooking will also cut down on clean up time because you are minimizing the amount of cookware you will be using when preparing meals.
One other piece of cookware I keep on hand is at least one good nonstick skillet. Although this may not fit into the category as a multitasker it is one that is great to use when making eggs and is idea for preparing things that maybe messy and sticky. Also great if your’re on a diet and want to prepare low fat meals.
Also one thing to consider if being able wash your pots and pans in the dishwasher is a priority then plain cast iron and anodized aluminum is not a good choice. You then might want to consider stainless steel pots and pans.
I have many pots and pans but when I finally adopted this method of cooking I typically only use a few pieces of cookware when preparing meals in the kitchen. I also take this same approach when looking for cooking utensils. This is just my personal choice and approach when I am looking for the best cookware for the kitchen.

Cook french white sauces easy and delicious

Cook French White Sauces — Easy and Delicious!

French chefs are known for their splendid sauces—sauces that do not cover up the flavor of the food served with them, but rather compliment whatever they are eaten with. And while many American cooks assume French sauces are difficult and time consuming to make, nothing could be further from the truth.

While it makes good sense to at least begin with an excellent cooking recipe for a French sauce and complimentary menu, you’ll soon learn you can whip up a sauce quickly without looking at a recipe.

Here’s how to make a classic white sauce (or, as the French say, sauces blanches).

What you need:

Butter

Flour

Milk or stock (you can even use wine)

1. Begin by measuring out the roux, or the butter and flour base of the sauce. (As a general rule, follow these guidelines: For a thick sauce, use 1 T. of flour for every cup of liquid; for a medium-thickness sauce, use 1 ½ T. of flour per cup of liquid; and for a thick sauce, use 2 T. of flour per one cup of liquid.)

2. Over low heat, melt 2 T. of butter in a saucepan.

3. Blend in 3 T. flour. Cook these two ingredients together slowly for several minutes before adding any other ingredients, stirring constantly. After about 2 minutes, the roux should be frothy.

4. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat 2 cups of milk and a pinch of salt until they boil.

5. Remove the roux from heat. Once it stops bubbling, add to it the milky liquid. Beat with a wire whip.

6. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and continue to use the wire whip until the sauce comes to a boil. While continuing to stir, boil for 1 minute.

7. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

8. If desired, you may also add extra flavoring. Typical additions are butter (usually, about ½ to 1 T. per 1 cup of sauce) or cream (to taste).

9. Serve immediately or freeze for later use.

TIPS: If you follow these guidelines, your white sauce should turn out splendidly. But if for some reason the sauce is lumpy, you may use a blender to even it out. Sauce that’s too thick may be thinned with milk, stock, or cream. Sauce that’s too thin may be boiled down until the correct thickness is achieved.

Warning: Always use a heavy stainless steel, porcelain, enameled, or tin-lined copper saucepan when making white sauce, to avoid scorching and discoloration.

How to cook for crowds

How to Cook for Crowds

Most people balk at the idea of cooking for large crowds of people. With images of huge stockpots boiling over and becoming chained to a hot stove and oven for countless hours on end, it’s no wonder that so many people avoid the idea of cooking food for large crowds with more tenacity than they avoid being last in the dinner line.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be the frightening proposition that so many make it out to be. When it comes to cooking for a large crowd, the planning phase is the most important. You absolutely must plan your meals when feeding a large group of people. This goes far beyond the notion of spaghetti or fried chicken as the meals you are planning. You need to know how many servings you will need. While obviously you never know how hungry people will be or who will eat how much when it comes to cooking for a large crowd it is a good idea to always plan for a few extra mouths in case some need a little more than you may think (you might want to double servings for teen and college aged men that will be dining).
You need to know at least a general number of servings to prepare and adjust your recipe in order to accommodate those needs. Some people find it much simpler if they can double or triple recipes rather than scaling them to specific serving sizes. If this works best for you then by all means incorporate this practice when cooking for crowds. One thing you must be aware of is that you will need to include in order to create the meal you are planning.
Having the proper ingredients and the proper amounts of ingredients is more important in bulk recipes than is often necessary in smaller recipes as there is less leeway when it comes to creating the proper consistency. You should keep this in mind when making purchases for your cooking for a large crowd event.
Some people find the best route to take when it comes to cooking for crowds is to keep everything as close to their normal cooking routine as possible. This would mean that instead of cooking one really huge pan of lasagna for a triple sized crowd, they would instead cook three normal sized pans of lasagna. This accomplishes two things really and is something you may wish to keep in mind despite the extra time spent in the kitchen.
First of all, if something goes, wrong only one third of the meal is in shambles rather than the entire dinner. Second, you have a greater possibility of finding consistency issues before the baking begins if you are using measurements and cooking containers that you are familiar with and comfortable using. It is always best to discover errors and omissions sooner rather than later when it comes to cooking as very few ingredients can be properly added after the fact.
While cooking for crowds may send some into dizzying spells with heart palpitations it helps if you take a few deep breaths, sit down, plan your menu, plan your meals, make a list of your ingredients, and cook in a manner that is comfortable for you. If you would rather get it all over with in one fell swoop, then by all means do just that. If you are more comfortable making multiple dishes of family favorites then that is probably going to be the best course of action in order to meet your large crowd cooking needs.
Most importantly you should remember when cooking for crowds is that you might have just earned yourself a well-deserved night off afterwards. Cooking for crowds is time consuming and should be approached when well rested (if that is even possible) for the best results. There is something that is actually very satisfying about knowing that you have fed a crowd and fed them well.

The benefits of organic herbs

The Benefits of Organic Herbs

Organic herbs are preferable to non-organics because they are not grown using chemical fertilizers or chemical pesticides. Chemicals can leave residues on plant matter, and work their way into the plant’s roots, leaves, stems, flowers or bark, and this means that they can reach your body if you were to ingest them. Instead, a healthier alternative is to forgo the chemicals and stick with organic herbs. Organic herbs and spices add zesty flavor to recipes, drunk as tea and several can also be used for medicinal purposes. Organic herbs can also be purchased in bulk and for wholesale prices. Organic herbs provide a tantalizing alternative to herbs grown with chemicals.

Bulk organic herbs provide you a ready supply of tasty spice available at your fingertips. You might choose to keep a supply of organic bulk herbs handy in the kitchen, where you go through them frequently during recipe preparation. Standbys such as wonderful pepper, bay leaf, basil, cumin, curry powder, and so many more will be used day in and day out in your meals. Quick recipes utilizing pasta are common around dinnertime, and pastas need deeply flavored sauces to accompany them. No marinara, for example, would be complete without Italian seasoning. Featuring garlic, oregano, basil sage and marjoram, your sauce will reach the peak of perfection when you add these special spices to your dish. Desserts are no different. Pies would be flavorless without the appropriate spices. Allspice was made for pumpkin pie and hot apple cider, two fall favorites. Vanilla beans are your freshest-tasting choice for its distinctive flavor in recipes and drinks.

Certain organic herbs also make fragrant teas. Peppermint or chamomile have been used for centuries to soothe the stomach and provide a relaxing tonic before bedtime to help bring on restful sleep. Organic bulk herbs can also be combined into unique tea blends to satisfy your specific tastes. If you need a sweet-tasting pick me up that doesn’t come loaded with calories, try a tea blend of peppermint, chamomile, licorice root and cinnamon. Each of these organic herbs is lovely on its own, but when blended together provide dynamic contrasts that will heighten your taste sensory pleasure.

Those who will resell the herbs in products or in use in restaurants will find considerable savings in wholesale organic herbs. These wholesale top-quality organic herbs can be purchased in bulk quantities for deep savings.

When people shop for herbs, organic products are their first choice. No one wants to add harmful chemicals to their diets or apply it in medications or cosmetics to their bodies. This purity factor is why organic products are so popular. When you can keep your shelves stocked with delicious and aromatic organic herbs, you will attract discriminating shoppers who will recognize their value and come back for more.

Basic slow cooker tips and delectable roast beef recipes

Basic Slow Cooker Tips and Delectable Roast Beef Recipes

There are things to consider when using a slow cooker or crock pot. There are also various roast beef recipes you can make with your slow cooker.
Slow cookers or crock pots are countertop electrical cooking appliances that maintain a low temperature for several hours. This enables cooking stew or pot roast without the need to check on it from time to time.
Amateur cooks will find it very easy to handle and maintain. All you need to do is to fill it up, and then turn it on. After several hours, dinner can be served. However, when using the slow cooker, there are some things you need to consider. It is best to get one that has a removable liner, making it very easy to clean. If you already have one with a non-removable liner, you can just use a cooking bag; then, use cooking spray on the inner liner.
Make sure you only fill your slow cooker ½ up to 2/3 full. The food will not be cooked properly if filled to the brim. However, if the liquid and food level is a bit lower, it will cook quickly.
You will find that the food along the bottom part of the slow cooker are moister and become cooked faster. This is because they are continuously immersed inside the simmering liquid. Since fats have a tendency to melt and cook easily when heated for a long time, resulting to an unpleasant texture, it is best to trim the excess fat formed and remove the skin from poultry.
During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, you can remove the lid and cook it on high to thicken the juices and add more flavors. It is best to cook on High during the 1st hour of cooking so that the temperature would easily reach 140 degrees, ensuring food safety. When you are almost done with your cooking, you can turn the dial to Low.
Do not place frozen foods inside your slow cooker. It should be defrosted first before cooking it. This way the temperature would easily reach 140 degrees. It also protects the appliance from being damaged.
Use cheaper cuts of meat because this requires about 8 hours of low cooking. Aside from being able to save money, they have less fat, moist and they result to more tender meats.
Ground meat should be cooked inside a skillet prior to cooking it in the slow cooker. If you will be cooking seafood in a slow cooker, this should be added in the last hour of cooking; otherwise, it will become overcooked and it will showcase a rubbery texture. Take note, 1 hour on high setting is actually equal to 2 hours on low setting.
Only use small amounts of Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper because they become bitter when they are cooked for a long time. It is best to add them during the end of your cooking time.
Make sure you only add tender vegetables such as mushrooms, tomatoes and zucchini on the last 45 mins. of cooking time. This way, you will not overcook them.
Dairy products, on the other hand, must be added only during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Prior to storage, take out cooked food from the slow cooker or liner. Since the slow cooker’s liner is composed of thick material, cooked food will not be able to cool down quickly so as to prevent the growth of bacteria.
Only stir in spices during the last hour of cooking time. If you cook this for a long time, it will lose its flavor.
Carefully follow the layering instructions. Since vegetables are not cooked as easily as meat, you need to place them in the bottom of your slow cooker.
If you are using low temperature, do not lift the lid when you stir. This is because the heat will escape and extend the cooking time to 30 minutes more. You can check the cooking progress by spinning the cover so that the condensation would fall off, giving you a chance to look inside your slow cooker.
Here are some of the best Roast Beef Recipes you can cook with your slow cooker:
Roast Beef a la Mushroom Soup
Ingredients are 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, small to medium shoulder or chuck of beef roast, 1 can of French Onion Soup, a dash of pepper and ½ can of water (for cleaning the soup can).
Procedure:
Place the first 3 ingredients inside your slow cooker. Mix the ingredients until thoroughly blended. Sprinkle a dash of pepper. Put the settings on Low and allow cooking for the entire night. The next day, remove the meat and prepare your gravy. If your gravy seems too thin, add about 1 to 2 tsp. of cornstarch with ¼ cups of cold water. Set the cooker on high. Stir in the mixture to thicken and serve.
Roast Beef with Gravy
Ingredients are olive oil, 3 to 3 ½ pounds Boneless Rump Roast, 8 garlic slivers, salt and pepper. You will also need a meat thermometer. For the gravy, you will need some beef stock or red wine and corn starch.
Procedure:
One hour prior to cooking remove the roast from the refrigerator at put it in room temperature.
Using a sharp knife, you need to cut about eight small incisions around your roast. You will place one sliver of garlic on each incision. Place one tablespoon of olive oil around your roast and then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put your roast on the oven rack with the fatty side up and a drip pan over a rack under the roasting rack. This way, you will not be required to turn the roast.
Brown your roast at 375oF for 30 minutes. Then, put it on 225oF. It would still 2 to 3 hours to cook but if it starts to drip and is already brown externally, use your meat thermometer to check its temperature. After this, pull your roast from the oven once the temperature reaches 135 to 140oF. Place it on an aluminum foil for about 15 minutes and carve to serve.
For the gravy:
Take out the dripping pan from the oven. Place it on the stove top while it is on medium heat. Collect the drippings, add water, beef stock or red wine. This will loosen the drippings off the pan. Then, dissolve one tablespon of cornstarch with water and add this on the drip pan. Stir it quickly as the gravy thickens. You can also add some butter, salt and pepper. Aside from this, you can also add some fresh thyme.

What everybody should know about preparing your kitchen for daylight savings time

What Everybody Should Know About Preparing Your Kitchen For Daylight Savings Time

If you have a love of cooking like I do, you’re excited about the days getting longer. Honestly, with the exception of cooking for the holidays, cooking in the winter seems more like a chore to me. However, cooking in the spring and summer is cooking for fun. In fact, I can’t wait to start grilling outside! But, before we all explore our love of cooking in the spring and summer, we need to address the art of cooking and prepare the kitchen.

Daylight savings time is the perfect opportunity to review all of the items in your kitchen, especially the herbs and spices. Of course, you have herbs and spices because you hope that they will give you flavor for all the wonderful fresh ingredients coming your way. However, as we will see, that isn’t necessarily the case.

So, let’s get started.

First, you should review all your spices. Go to your spice rack, chances are there are spices that have been in your cabinet for years! If you can’t recollect buying the spice within the last year, the potency of that spice has degenerated, so I would recommend that you throw it away. All of the spices that are left in your cabinet after this review, open them up and take a sniff. Does it still have some pungency or does it smell musty? Again, no point in putting stale spices on fresh ingredients! Get rid of it.

For the spices that are left in your cabinet after this review, place a sticker on each one with the letters: DST. When you return to standard time, you can review the spice and know for certain when it was inspected last.

Some of the spices that are left in your cabinet can be combined into new flavor combinations. And why not? It’s YOUR cabinet and your spices. Who said you can’t combine them? You do when you cook! Be daring and have fun. you never know, you may just come up with your own secret spice! Once you’re done, make a list of the spices that you need to purchase to refill your stock.

What else should you do?

  • Clean your oven
  • Remove the crumbs and brillo the racks
  • Review your plastic, Tupperware and utensils
  • Review serving wares for cracks and cleanliness
  • Have knives sharpened or sharpen them yourself
  • Clean pots and pans with brillo if needed
  • Clean cookie sheets for better reflection of materials
  • Clean out freezer of old items
  • Organize your pantry, throw away Christmas gifts

Beside turning your clock back, daylight savings time is a reminder of the art of cooking. Cooking should be fun, and if you are prepared for the season by turning your kitchen forward too, you will love and enjoy the fresh ingredients that the coming season will bring for your cooking pleasure!