Category Archives: Food Tips

Marshmallow storage tips

To store marshmallows, keep in airtight container, ie. glass jar, or put in an airtight bag or container and store in your freezer. When you take them out, they can be put directly into your hot chocolate cup or salad (allow a bit of time to thaw if you are eating your salad promply) or allow to thaw for other uses.

If marshmallows have become hard from being in the bag and not sealed air tight, place in an airtight container and add a slice of bread (not Italian, rye, flavored or French breads), seal the container and the marshmallows will again become soft, like your brown sugar softens with a piece of bread in the container.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Potatoe , tips on buying, types, cooking, storage amd more

POTATOES

INTRODUCTION:

Potatoes are native to the Peruvian Andes and are in the eggplant and tomato family (also known as the nightshade family). Potatoes come in many varieties, shapes and colors. Whichever you choose, they all can be prepared the same way, but each has a slightly different taste and texture. When cooking new potatoes, whether boiled, baked or French fried, eat the peel, too, since it is vitamin-packed.

VARIETIES:

Russet usually called Idaho no matter where it is grown: Has a brownish, russet-colored skin with smooth netting. It is oblong in shape with shallow eyes. It has a thick skin and a high starch content. It is excellent for baking, frying and mashing, but can be used for all purposes. They tend to fall apart when boiled or pan-roasted. It has a mealy texture. Eat skin and all.

Long White: Originating in California, has a thin skin, not a great deal of starch, and is good for boiling or homestyle frying.

Round White: The potato of the Northeast is smooth-skinned potato of all-round use.

Red & White New Potatoes: The new potato gets its name from the fact it is dug up before maturity. They have a thin skin that is easily removed. They are excellent for boiling whole in their skins or jackets and eaten with the skin on. Just mash them and butter them on your plate. This type is used for boiling, creaming, frying and in salads, or any way you choose.

Blue or Purple Potato sometimes called Black: This is a novelty item. It has blue skin and the flesh is blue all the way to the center. It has good flavor and can be baked or boiled, or served the same way as other potatoes.

Yukon Gold and Carola or yellow: These are yellow fleshed and make naturally buttery mashed potatoes and come in various sizes though the flavor stays the same. Their skin is thin, smooth and the potato is creamy, best boiled or fried.

Red skinned potatoes: These are dense and waxy and have a relatively little starch content and hold their shape well when boiled or roasted.

Fingerlings: These are sweet-tasting, tender and best roasted, steamed or microwaved and eaten as finger food.

HOW TO BUY:

Look for potatoes that are uniform in size to make cooking easier, or choose a bag of various sizes to suit different preparation methods, ie, large for peeling, small for boiling, etc. Mature baking potatoes should be dry, firm and well shaped. The eyes should be shallow and well-shaped. Avoid potatoes that are wilted or have cuts and bruises, or sprouts; they will not store well and will have to be used in a few days. They should not have a strong odor. Smell the bag before buying.

NUTRITIVE VALUE:
Potatoes are packed with vitamins. They are high in Vitamin C and have a good supply of Vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron and calcium; they are high in carbohydrates (mainly starch). They are not as fattening as people believe. They become laden with calories only when you fry them and add butter and sour cream. One medium baked potato contains 90 calories; boiled-105 calories; 10 potato chips-115; 10 French fries-155; 1 cup mashed potatoes with milk and butter added has 195.

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS:

If potatoes sprout, brush the sprouts off and discard, they are poisonous and will draw the nutrition out of the potato leaving it withered and rubbery.

Old potatoes should be started to cook in cold water, while new potatoes should start to cook in hot water. Mashed potatoes are fluffier if a pinch of baking powder or egg white is added during the beating time.

Save the cooking water from cut potatoes and freeze for soup stock or use in making gravy. If soup, gravy, etc. is too salty, add raw potato to it and the potato will absorb the excess salt. Then discard the potato if desired.

Left over mashed potatoes make a cream of potato soup by adding milk, butter, fresh minced parsley, bacon (fried) onion salt, and pepper.

Microwave: Prick potato with fork before baking. To speed time, wrap in plastic before baking.

Baked: Wash and dry. Pierce before baking to avoid exploding. To give a baked potato extra tender skin, rub it with butter, wrap it in foil and bake it in 350º to 400º oven or bake unwrapped. Special nails can be purchased which speed the time of baking potatoes.

Avoid potatoes with a greenish cast a (giveaway for the presence of solanine). They have seen to much light and will likely be bitter and if eaten in large quantities are toxic.. Keep potatoes in cool (but not refrigerated), dark, well ventilated place.

Rinse potatoes after slicing, etc. before adding to casseroles, etc. to avoid discoloration. Keep in cold water until used to avoid darkening from the starch reacting to the air.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

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PREPARING A TURKEY

PREPARING A TURKEY
Thawing
Two common methods of thawing a frozen turkey are the refrigerator method and the cold water method. To properly and safely thaw a turkey, the refrigerator method is recommended. If time is limited (although the cold water method is not recommended); the cold water method is preferred over the temptation of thawing the turkey at room temperature. Thawing turkey at room temperature or in warm water promotes the rapid growth of bacteria.
Refrigerator Thawing
Placing a frozen turkey in the refrigerator is the best and safest method for thawing. The turkey should be kept in its original wrapper during the thawing process. Thawing the bird in the refrigerator may take a long time, especially if the turkey is a large size, but it is absolutely the safest method for thawing. 24 hours defrosting time for every 5 pounds is needed to properly thaw the turkey. This time may vary because of the individual temperature settings of different refrigerators. Also, thawing a turkey in a refrigerator with glass shelves may require a longer thawing time than a refrigerator with wire shelves.
Refrigerator Thawing Time
8 to 12 pound
frozen turkey 13 to 16 pound
frozen turkey 17 to 20 pound
frozen turkey 21 to 24 pound
frozen turkey
Allow 2 to 3 days Allow 3 to 4 days Allow 4 to 5 days Allow 5 to 6 days
Cold Water Thawing
As with thawing in the refrigerator, keep the bird in its original wrapper and immerse in cold water. Make sure the water is very cold and if the original wrapper has any punctures or tears in it, place the turkey in another plastic bag and seal. Place the turkey breast side down and completely cover with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Allow at least 30 minutes defrosting time per pound when using the cold water method. Turkey that has been thawed by the cold water method must be cooked immediately.
Cold Water Thawing Time
8 to 12 pound
frozen turkey 13 to 16 pound
frozen turkey 17 to 20 pound
frozen turkey 21 to 24 pound
frozen turkey
Allow 4 to 6 hours Allow 6 to 8 hours Allow 8 to 10 hours Allow 10 to 12 hours

Cleaning the Turkey
• After the turkey has thawed, remove the packaging.
• The neck and the giblets are usually found inside the body cavity. These can be removed and discarded if not being used. If they are to be used, wash with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Refrigerate the giblets until ready to use.
• Thoroughly wash the turkey inside and out with cold water and pat dry.
• Season with salt and pepper and with any herbs and spices that are desired, this is optional.
• If the turkey is to be stuffed, the stuffing should be inserted into the body cavity just before the bird will be placed in the oven. It is a dangerous practice to stuff the turkey in advance with the idea that time will be saved. Stuffing ahead of time may promote the rapid growth of harmful bacteria. The turkey should be cooked immediately after stuffing.
• Do not overstuff the turkey because the stuffing will expand as it cooks.
• The turkey may be coated with oil or butter to help brown the skin.
Safe Handling Practices
Proper food handling practices must be followed during the preparation of the turkey in order to avoid possible problems with food poisoning.
• The raw turkey, giblets, and their juices should not be allowed to come in contact with any other food item.
• After handling the raw turkey, your hands will be contaminated. Do not touch any other food items and as few surfaces as possible before your hands have been thoroughly washed.
• Cutting boards and utensils must be thoroughly washed after preparing the turkey for the oven.
• Do not place cooked food on the same plate that held the raw food.
• Besides using soap and water for cleaning surfaces, bleach or an antibacterial spray may be used to help kill any organisms that the soap and water missed.
• Do not use a microwave to thaw turkey. Microwaves distribute uneven, therefore unsafe heat.
• Turkey should remain in the original packaging when thawing. If the original packaging has punctures or tears, place the turkey in another leakproof plastic bag and seal it tightly. If the wrapping is damaged, bacteria from the surrounding environment will contaminate the turkey.

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10 LOW FAT WAYS TO USE LEFTOVER TURKEY

10 LOW FAT WAYS TO USE LEFTOVER TURKEY

When Thanksgiving or Christmas is over and you still have lots of turkey left, you may wonder what you can do with all that turkey. Actually, quite a lot. First; chop, dice or shred your leftovers and store them in re-sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator. That way, you can reach for a bag or two as you need them.

1. Soups: Add 2 cups of chopped leftover turkey, a selection of chopped vegetables and 1 cup of uncooked rice or noodles to 3 cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth.
2. Salads: Add leftover turkey to a mix of arugula and spinach, sliced mushrooms, cranberries, shredded carrots, sliced red onions and a sprinkling of heart-healthy walnuts. Toss with your favorite low fat or fat free fruity dressing or vinaigrette.
3. Sandwiches and Wraps: Use slices of leftover turkey to make various kinds of sandwiches. Be sure to use whole grain breads and rolls, and low fat or fat free fillings. If you don’t like the taste of fat free mayo; use mustard instead, or flavor your mayo with a little curry powder or another herb or spice. Make a turkey-salad filling with crunchy celery, cranberries and apple. Use plain low fat yogurt for the dressing. Stuff into a whole wheat pita or spoon into the center of a whole wheat tortilla wrap and roll up.
4. Pizza Toppings: Top a prepared whole wheat crust with 1/2 cup of tomato or barbecue sauce, 1 cup of chopped turkey and 1/2 cup reduced fat cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.
5. Quesadillas: Combine shredded turkey with a little cumin. Spoon the turkey mixture on one half of a low fat corn tortilla; sprinkle with reduced fat cheese; fold tortilla in half. Cook this Quesadilla in a nonstick skillet (coated with cooking spray) for 5 minutes, turning once.
6. Burritos, Enchiladas, Fajitas, and Tacos: Add shredded turkey to salsa, black beans, low fat sour cream and reduced fat cheese; or combine with sautéed onions and sweet peppers; with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes; or mix with mild green chiles, seasonings, scallions and a can of enchilada sauce. Use low fat flour or corn wraps or tortillas with these fillings.
7. Pot pies: Add leftover turkey, sliced mushrooms and leftover green beans and carrots to low fat, reduced sodium condensed chicken or mushroom soup. Top with a low fat biscuit topping (there’s now a low fat version of Bisquick) or phyllo pastry sheets. Bake.
8. Casseroles: Combine 2 cups chopped leftover turkey with 2 cups cooked whole grain rice, a can of fat-free, low sodium broth or chopped tomatoes, and a selection of chopped vegetables in a 2-quart casserole. Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
9. Skillet Meals: Add 1 1/2 cups of chopped leftover turkey to sautéed onion, mushrooms, broccoli and rice cooked in fat-free broth. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese before serving.
10. Pasta dishes: Add leftover turkey to any number of pasta dishes. Use shredded turkey instead of ground beef in your favorite lasagna recipe. Be sure to use reduced fat cheeses.

Finally, don’t forget to use the turkey carcass. Put it in a big pot of water along with some onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns and herbs; bring it to a boil, then simmer. After a couple of hours, you’ll have a rich stock, which you can de-fat and use for low fat soups, stews and gravies throughout the holiday season.
Who knows, once that turkey is has finally gone, bones and all, you might even miss it…

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Save Money on Meat

Buy boneless pork shoulder instead of center-cut pork chops – make into stew

Buy a whole pork loin and have the butcher cut it into individual portions for you instead of center cut pork chops

Learn to use meat as an ingredient or garnish instead of a main course

Use meat sparingly in family favoriotes like casseroles, stgir it into rice dishes and use it to flavor a vegetable lasagna o spaghetti sauce

Cut it into small, ibt-0size piecs and skewer it ionto kebobs with plenty of fresh, flavorful vegetables

Buy chicken in large quantities, separate into smaller pkgs. and store in freezer
cut up your own chicken and save wings, etc. for soup

Buy bone in breast and de-bone it yourself.

When buying turkey, buy the largest available – more meat and less bone

Buy frozen fish instead of fresh – better quality and price

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

How To Stir Fry Anything

HOW TO STIR-FRY ANYTHING
Stir-frying is an Asian technique for cooking meat and vegetables quickly, so that they retain texture and flavor. Stir-frying typically involves a quick sauté over high heat, occasionally followed by a brief steam in a flavored sauce.
Step 1
Invest in a nonstick or carbon-steel wok (you need to season a carbon-steel wok). While you can stir-fry in any old skillet, the wok's depth and sloping sides (it's cooler there, so you can move ingredients away from the hot bottom to the sides) are ideal.

Step 2
Prepare everything you need before you begin to stir-fry. Cut all your vegetables and meats and prepare your sauce. Stir-frying is fast; you won't really have time to chop the broccoli while the onion is cooking.

Step 3
Make sure that your vegetables and meats are all cut approximately the same size – bite size, as a matter of fact. Stir-frying uses high heat, so pieces must be small enough to cook through without burning.

Step 4
Learn the different cooking times of meats and vegetables. You'll need to stagger additions to the stir-fry according to how long they take to cook. (For example, you'd add onions first, and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add broccoli florets and stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes, then add red bell pepper and stir-fry for 2 more minutes.)

Step 5
If you've got a wok full, stir-fry the meat completely first, then add it back in at the end. (This works well for a large assemblage of ingredients, because you ensure the meat cooks fully but not too much.)

Step 6
Heat the pan first, then add oil. When the oil is hot, add aromatics, such as ginger and garlic, and stir-fry for a few seconds, or until you smell them.

Step 7
Start adding your other ingredients, according to their approximate cooking times. When the food is about two-thirds done, add your sauce. If the food will take more than a few minutes more to cook, cover and steam until done. If it will take less time, continue to stir-fry.

Step 8
Practice the basic technique of lifting under the food in the wok with a spatula or other flat utensil and moving it to the side.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Rice Tips

HOW MUCH RICE TO COOK AND HOW TO TEST FOR DONENESS

One cup uncooked long-grain rice will yield 3 to 4 cups cooked rice. One cup pre-cooked rice makes 2 cups cooked rice.

To test for doneness: Pinch grain of rice between thumb and forefinger. When no hard core remains, it is done.

TO REHEAT, REFRIGERATE, OR FREEZE RICE

REHEAT:
For each cup of cooked rice, add 2 tablespoons liquid. Simmer in a covered saucepan 4 to 5 minutes.

REFRIGERATE:
Tightly cover cooked rice and refrigerate up to one week.

FREEZE:
Freeze cooled rice in a freezer tray. When frozen, remove rice and wrap in plastic bag and store in sealed freezer container. Freeze up to 8 months. Reheat as indicated above.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Holes in cakes

If you are finding that your cakes have holes in them, it is very likely due to not distributing the baking powder or baking soda evenly. Sift your dry ingredients to avoid this, or if you do not have a sifter, be sure to beat with a beater instead of stirring (if your recipe will allow this much mixing – if not, be sure to sift them with a sifter). Small lumps of a rising ingredient in your batter will cause the holes, as this is where it is putting the “push” in the rising process.
There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Do not refrigerate potatoes

Refrigerating potatoes will lengthen their storage life and reduce chances of sprouting, but the natural starches change into sugars and will make the potatoes become grey when cooked or fried. Always rinse potatoes after slicing or shredding when making potatoe pancakes or scalloped potatoes, to save them from turning grey in this use also.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.

Frozen seafood instead of fresh

Vacuum-packaged salmon, flounder, and tilapia fillets and bags of frozen shrimp cost 20 to 40 percent less than their counterparts at the fish counter. Most fresh fish has been previously frozen during transport, so you are often not really getting “fresh” fish, just “thawed” fish.

There are many, many entries on this web site. Be sure to scroll back through to the beginning for all the recipes and tips. The “calendar” area has class listings of many types of classes and locations that I teach cooking, homemade pet foods, homemade soap and personal products and many more items. If you would like a class in “home-making”, sewing without a machine or with a machine or any other subject, please contact me and we can arrange a class in my home or any location of your choice. Please contact me for more details. Classes for all ages are available, including children – hands-on or presentational style.
Gift certificates area available for weddings, holidays or “your are special” gifts or any other reason.
Team building with cooking classes is fun. Join co-workers and create recipes or learn about each other while cooking.
I am available to teach cooking classes or food related subjects in your home or give presentations or classes for your organizations or groups. Contact me at the following e-mail address:
creativecook@sbcglobal.net
Cooking classes currently scheduled can be viewed by clicking on the “Calendar” icon. The schedules will be updated as they change.
Interactive questions, comments, suggestions, etc. can also be posted on this website.