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Having A Stocked Kitchen Should Help Reduce The Stressful Question "What Am I Going To Cook For Dinner?
All purpose Flour Sugar Dried bread crumbs Baking soda Baking powder Salt
Pasta (in various shapes, strands, and tubes) Chicken broth Cream of mushroom Rice (brown, white and basmati) Olive oil Canned tomatoes Chicken stock or broth Beef stock or broth Canned tomatoes Tomato sauce Tomato paste Can/jar of marinara sauce Canned beans: white, black, kidney
Potatoes Onions Hot sauce Vinegars (balsamic, cider, white, sherry, and wine vinegars) Soy sauce Worcestershire sauce Eggs Milk Butter Ketchup Mustard (yellow, Dijon) Mayonnaise Parmesan cheese Frozen spinach Frozen peas Ground chuck Chicken breasts
The Must Have Herbs and Spices
Garlic is preferably fresh but powdered will do. Garlic is not only good for you, but it tastes great mixed with olive oils to create garlic breads and bruschetta. Garlic powder can enhance the flavor of pasta sauce and can be used to season meats, poultry and seafood.
Basil is the perfect marriage to tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olives. For the most intense flavor, basil should be added at the end of the cooking process. I especially love basil on my homemade pizza.
Sage is a must have herb or seasoning any poultry disk. It has a slight peppery flavor and is best used on meats in a marinade. It is also good in stuffing and sauces.
Rosemary is best used to season fish and seafood products. It is also a great seasoning for grilled meats, lamb and potatoes. I especially like rosemary on roasted red potatoes.
Thyme is used in dishes that span all over the world including French, Italian, Indian, Greek and Spanish cuisines. Use thyme on lamb meats, poultry, soups and stews.
Whole Peppercorns it is essential that your kitchen have a peppermill or grinder to grind whole peppercorns. Use this spice to kick up the heat in any disk.
Bay Leaf this herb is used in soups and stews, with vegetables or with seafood. The bay leaf has a sharp almost bitter taste that compliments these dishes well.
Oregano is one of the main ingredients in Italian cuisine. It can also be found across the globe in Turkish and Greek cuisines. Use oregano to season pasta sauce; to add flavor to a salad, top off a pizza or when frying some vegetables.
Parsley is used for its mild flavor. It is often used for the coloring and as a garnish.
Utensils that every kitchen must have!
At least 1 sauce pot. 1 to 2 quart A 6 to 10 quart stock, pot A large mixing bowl Casserole dishes A slow cooker Baking sheets A blender Good Pot Holders Can Opener Good Sharp Knives A timer A Strainer Pepper grinder Wooden spoons At least 3 mixing bowls—multiple sizes A set of mixing spoons A good spatula A pair of tongs
The warm, rich and flavorful comfort foods to cozy up to!
This go 'round, we're talking about comfort food, but let's be clear: Comfort good and soul food aren't one in the same folks. You'll probably cringe, but I don't eat "soul food." I grew up watching my mama cook fried chicken, cabbage and picking collard greens in a tub. She even washes her greens in the washing machine to get them "good and clean"! Yes, you read that right. Talk about intimidation in the kitchen! I won't ever take you that far in cooking, and you don't have to either, unless you really want to.
I'm talking about foods that satisfy your hunger and keep you full; like chili, hearty soups and casseroles. These recipes are perfect for those cold, crisp nights when staying warm, and cuddling are the only things on your agenda.
1 pound chicken, cut up into small chunks using white and dark meat for added flavor
1 cup chopped onion 18-ounce can chicken broth 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely 2 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoon pepper 2 teaspoon cumin ½ teaspoon fresh oregano 3 15-ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 2 medium red, green or yellow bell peppers, or combination, chopped 2 tablespoons olive oil
Heat oil in a 6 quart Dutch oven. Sauté onions and garlic until tender. Add chicken and season with cumin and oregano. Pour in chicken broth. Allow to slow cook for 3 hours. At the last hour add salt, pepper, drained beans and bell peppers. Serve with hot buttery cornbread.
Main Disk, Soups
Chicken Pot Pie
1 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves-cubed
1/3 cup olive oil ¼ teaspoon garlic, minced ¼ teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 cup onion, chopped 1 cup carrots, sliced 1 cup frozen broccoli ½ cup celery, sliced 18-ounce can cream of mushroom soup, condensed ½ teaspoon celery salt 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/8 garlic powder 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup flour 2 teaspoon baking powder 2 tablespoon butter (separate) 1/8 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350°F. Chicken: Heat a medium pot on medium high heat and add olive oil. Sauté minced garlic and onions until tender. Add the cubed chicken, and season with black pepper. Cook until chicken is no longer pink and thoroughly cooked. Drain and set aside. In the same pot add carrots and celery. Cover the vegetables with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Return chicken to the pot and add condensed soup, celery salt and garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in broccoli last and simmer, if the mixture is to thick add more chicken broth until it reaches the desired consistency.
Crust: In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add cold butter and mask together with a fork; and milk. Form dough into a ball and dump on to a flour dusted surface and roll out. Roll the dough out to cover the sides of your baking disk.
Fill a 9"x9" disk with the chicken mixture and cover the top with the crust. Brush the crust with egg wash and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Crust should be golden brown and filling is bubbly.
Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Main Disk, Poultry
4 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon fresh thyme ¼ cup/lour 6 cups chicken stock 2 cups heavy cream 2 large potatoes, peeled and diced 16 ounce whole kernels corn Salt and black pepper to taste ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves 6 slices bacon, cooked crispy
In a cast iron skillet fry bacon until it is crispy; drain and set aside. In a large pot heat on medium high melt the butter and add the olive oil. Sauté onions and garlic. Cook until tender, about 6-8 minutes; add thyme. Add flour, coating onions and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Slowly pour in the stock and whisk fast. Allow the stock to boil. Mix in heavy cream and potatoes. Allow the soup to continue to boil for 5 minutes then add corn. Reduce heat and simmer. The soup will begin to thicken as the potatoes breakdown Season with salt and pepper; stir well and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Serve and top with crumbled bacon.
Cooking time: 45 minutes
French. Onion Soup
¼ cup butter 3 large onions, sliced 1 teaspoon sugar 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 ½ cups water ½ cup red wine 2 ½ cups beef stock 1 loaf of French bread 8 ounce sliced Swiss cheese
In a large heavy bottom pot, melt butter on medium high heat. When butter has a slight sizzle, add onions and cook for 10 minutes. Onions should be tender and golden brown. Add sugar and flour; stir well to coat the onions; about 5 minutes. Do not burn, the onions. Stir in, wine, stock and water; stir well. Bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. For 10 minutes cover and reduce heat to simmer. Slice French bread 1 inch thick and toast until slightly brown on both sides. Place 4 oven-safe bowls on a sheet pan and ladle soup in each bowl. Top each bowl with French bread. Place a slice of cheese over toasted French bread. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is golden.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Open-faced Ham and Cheese Sandwich
2 slices crusty bread 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature 4 slices thinly sliced ham 2 fried eggs 1 tomato, thinly sliced ½ cup butter ½ cup all-purpose flour 3 ½ cups milk ½ teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat; whisk in flour. Cook; whisking constantly for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk; add salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium; cook, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly. Add cheese, stirring until melted. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Spread each slice of bread with half of the butter. Top the bread with ham, fried egg and tomato slices on each piece of bread. Place sandwiches on a rimmed baking skeet. Pour ¼ of cheese sauce over the sandwich. Bake them for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Potato and Leek Soup
3 large leeks cut lengthwise, separate, and clean. Using only the white and pate green parts. 2 tablespoons butter 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups chicken broth ½ chili powder 2 pounds potatoes, peeled, diced into ½ inch pieces ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme Salt & Pepper ½ cup water ½ marjoram
Heat a heavy pot on medium high heat; melt butter. Add leeks, salt and pepper (before cooking, be sure to wash the leeks well). Cover and reduce heat to low for 10 minutes. Stir often to prevent leeks from browning. Be sure not to brown leeks because they will have a burnt taste. In the same pot combine potatoes, broth and heavy cream. Stir well and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove 2 cups of the soup, pour into a blender and puree. Mixture should be smooth and free of lumps. Return to the pot and add water, marjoram, parsley, chili powder and thyme; stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer another 10 minutes. Serve and top with a little shape cheddar cheese and crumbles of crispy bacon.
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Appetizer, Main Disk, Potatoes, Pasta, and Grains, Soups
Shrimp and Grits
1/3 cup heavy cream 1 ½ teaspoon salt 1 1/3 cups cooking grits 1 ½ cups(6 ounces) shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese 1 ½ sticks butter ½ cup dry white wine 1 ½ pound unpeeled large (21 to 25 count) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined ½ cup chopped green onions Cracked pepper 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely 2 cups chicken stock 2 cups water
In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups chicken stock, 2 cups of water to a boil; add salt. Stir in half-and-half Gradually stir in grits. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 5-6 minutes; until thick and creamy. Add cheese, stir and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt butter. Sauté onions and garlic; add shrimp and wine, bring to a boil until shrimp turn. pink. Add a little salt to the shrimp mixture. Spoon cheese grits into 4 martini glasses; top with shrimp and a spoonful of sauce mixture and cracked pepper
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Appetizer, Fisk and Shellfish
Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese
½ cups of bread crumbs 1 tablespoon butter 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 teaspoons onion powder 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 cups milk ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon black pepper ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded ½ cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese 1/3 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese 4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic; cooking for a minute or so then add flour; cooking for an additional minute, stirring constantly. Slowly pour in milk and add salt, onion powder and pepper; whisk constantly. Bring to a boil; cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Gradually add cheeses; stirring until melted. Add macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until well blended. Pour macaroni into a 2-quart baking disk. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Pasta, Side Disk
Spanish Corn. Sopa
2 pound Ground Chuck 16 ounce can Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes 16 ounce can Kidney Beans 12 ounce can White Corn 1 large onion, chopped 1 package taco seasoning 1 package Ranch Dressing Mix 2 cups beef stock 16 ounce can black beans 2 teaspoons of garlic powder Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat oil and sauté onions until translucent. Add ground chuck and cook until no longer pink; drain. Stir in tomatoes beans, corn, and beef stock. Season with taco seasoning, ranch dressing mix and garlic. Simmer for 35-40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with tortilla strips.
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Bring the "Happy Hour" to your home with delicious appetizers and juicy cocktails.
Let's be honest, when you come home after a hard day, you need a cocktail—something to ease your mind and help you relax or even get the party started. Why sit at a bar and spend money on high-priced cocktails with your friends, when you can make your own right at home?
I have a home bar that is fully stocked with libations to prepare drinks for any occasion. From the "Summer Breeze" to "The Pretty Woman" with vodka to an "Ok Berry Sangria", you can try these fun libations out. Just remember, a drunken man's mouth speaks a sober mans heart, so take it easy!
"Oh Berry" Sangria
1 bottle of Stella Rosa (or your favorite red) ½ cup fresh raspberries ½ cup blackberries (fresh or frozen) ½ cup fresh blueberries ½ cup fresh sliced strawberries 8 ounces club soda ½ cup sugar 2 ounce blackberry liqueur 2 tablespoons Triple Sec Fresh mint (optional)
Pour the wine, berries, blackberry liqueur, triple sec and sugar in a pitcher, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. Immediately before serving, add in the club soda. Add ice in either the pitcher or individual glasses top with mint. Enjoy!
Bleu Buffalo Shrimp
5 ounce Franks Red Hot Sauce ½ pound butter, unsalted 2 tablespoons heavy cream 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 2 cups all purpose flour 2 tablespoons garlic powder 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning ½ cup whole milk 2 large eggs Peanut oil ½ cup bleu cheese crumbles
Heat a small sauce pan on medium high heat. Add hot sauce; cook until hot sauce begins to thicken. Stir in heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add butter (cut medium size pieces). Stir until all the butter has melted; set aside and keep hot. Heat peanut oil in a deep fryer or heavy deep pot. In a shallow disk combine the four, garlic and adobo; mix well. In another disk whisk eggs and milk. Dredge the shrimp in the egg mixture then into tine flow. Allow the shrimp to set for a few minutes before dropping them in tine fryer. Test the peanut oil but dropping a pinch of flour; fit sizzles, it's ready. Fry shrimp in the hot oil for 3 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove shrimp and drain. In a large bowl toss shrimp and sauce. Drain excess sauce and plate. Sprinkle with bleu cheese crumbles.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
1 cup Ricotta cheese 1 pound Italian sausage, cooked & drained ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese ½ teaspoon sweet basil ½ teaspoon minced garlic 1 pound store bought pizza dough
Using store bought pizza dough, divide the dough into 3-4 equal parts. On a floured surface roll dough into rounds. In a small bowl, combine parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, sweet basil and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spread mixture on one side of the dough. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and sausage over mixture. Using the other side, cover the filling and seal together. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes until crust is browned. Serve with warm marinara sauce.
Servings: 3 to 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Appetizer, Main Disk
Serve with hot tomato sauce.
Excerpted from The Single Girl's Guide to Great Cooking! by Ragan Oglesby Copyright © 2012 by Ragan Oglesby. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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