Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Mom Money-Saving Tip 91

To keep bread from getting stale, do not refrigerate it.  Store it at room temperature or in the freezer.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mom Cooking Tip 143

DO NOT DO THIS: chop large chunks of chocolate in the food processor.  You may break the food processor.  Better to melt the large chunks first or use chocolate disks, small chocolate bars or chocolate chips instead. 
                                                 See all my Cooking Tips!

Saturday, April 14, 2018

My Adventure with Baby Back Ribs

Ribs have never been part of my culinary life.  I’d eaten them several times but never cooked them.  Never considered cooking them.  But with several one avid meat eaters in the family, surrounded by vegetarians, partial vegetarians and a few fish lovers, I figured it was time to branch out.

My inspiration was a sale on pork baby back ribs: $1.99 per pound versus $6.99 per pound, saving $16.  I dashed home with my bargain and began opening cookbooks and checking internet recipes.  Because my grill is in the shop, I needed a recipe for oven-baked ribs, and I didn’t find many.  One involved slathering the ribs with mustard and liquid smoke, while another called for a dry spice rub.  One said bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, another said 300 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours while a third said 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Who to believe?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Question for Mom?

Why do my hard-boiled eggs have a green ring around the yolk? –Melanie R.

You overcooked them.  They will still taste fine, though.  Here are two ways to cook hardboiled eggs.

1) Gently place the eggs in a pot of boiling water, lower the heat to medium, cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for 2 minutes.  Drain and add cold water to the pot to cool the eggs.  Peel, wrap in plastic or place in a covered container and refrigerate until needed.  This approach works well if you are also cooking a pot of noodles.  You can cook the eggs and the noodles at the same time.

2) Put the eggs in a small pot, cover with cold water and then a lid.  Bring the water to a boil (about 5 minutes) and cook the egg for 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water, covered, for 12 minutes.  Then drain and add cold water to the pot to cool the eggs.  Peel, wrap in plastic or place in a covered container and refrigerate until needed.

                                         See all Questions for Mom

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Please Teenagers with Homemade Chicken Fingers

Whenever I’m trying to figure out a dinner menu that includes teenagers, Chicken Fingers pop into my head.  This is a main course I started making years ago in London, inspired by my kids’ love of Fish Fingers (the British version of Fish Sticks).

At the time, chicken tenders were not available at the grocery store, so I simply cut boneless chicken breasts into “fingers,” marinated them for a while, breaded them and then baked them.  Leftovers made great snacks—although late-night excursions to the fridge usually resulted in an empty plate by morning.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Question for Mom

Do I have to soak dry beans before I cook them? –Natalie T.

No.  Not soaking beans means they will take a bit longer to soften during cooking – maybe 3 hours instead of 45 minutes-to-2 hours.  The longer you cook them, the more chance they will boil dry and burn in the pot.  Yes, I confess I have done that.  But that could have also happened had I soaked them first, so keep the heat low and check them often.

However, there is a good reason to soak dry bean.  Soaking reduces the possibility of flatulence. Here’s what the University of Nebraska website says about soaking and cooking dry beans:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Shortcuts in the Kitchen

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
 I love shortcuts when they work.  And you never know if they will work until you test them.  I tried what I thought might be a shortcut yesterday and was mightily disappointed.  I’ll say this much – it involved using packaged frozen chocolate chip cookie dough as a crust

I’d read about this in a magazine recently, and it sounded clever and quick.  It was clever and quick.  And the end result looked quite presentable.  It just didn’t taste very good.   I should have made my own chocolate chip cookie dough - but then it wouldn't have been a shortcut.