Archives for Simple Solutions

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Homemade Cheese Sauce

by Jane Wangersky April 11th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
kdIf you've ever wondered what exactly was in that little packet of orange stuff that comes with packaged macaroni and cheese (Kraft Dinner, in Canada) -- well, I don't know either. And I don't know how it turns into cheese sauce when you mix it with milk and butter. But I have learned to make my own cheese sauce, and I know what's in that.

Cheese sauce is more than just melted cheese -- but not much more. (If you're in a real hurry, you can always just throw a slice or some shreds of cheese on top of hot
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Uncanned Tomato Sauce

by Jane Wangersky April 4th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
fusilli n sauceI was going to start this article with a rant about canned (and jarred) tomato sauce -- how it all seems to taste pretty much the same, whether the label says “roasted garlic” or “four cheese” or just “original recipe”. Then I realized my own tomato sauce recipe uses mostly, ahem, canned ingredients. So I’m not going to talk about how awful all canned food is, because it isn’t, really. I’ll just tell you that my sauce, while it may not be much fresher than canned sauce, at least tastes fresher. It’s also nearly as quick and easy, and
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Mini Flatbread

by Jane Wangersky March 28th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
flatbreadThis started out as a pita recipe, but somewhere in there my old friend the muffin tin insisted on being included, so I ended up with something less pocket-like but still very good.

To backtrack a little -- when I first read a pita recipe a few years ago, I was surprised to learn I didn’t have to start by forming two layers of dough and joining them together. Each pita comes from a single circle of dough. The dough itself forms the layers by puffing up as it bakes and then collapsing back into a disc.

Before our current Bread
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Muffin Tin Biscuits

by Jane Wangersky March 21st, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
muffin panHome baked biscuits are the next best thing to home baked bread, and they're a lot quicker, because there's no yeast to wait for. Instead, they're leavened by baking powder. Apart from that, all you really need is flour, fat, and milk, plus a touch of salt -- though you can always add other ingredients, either sweet or savory, like cheese, herbs, bits of cooked meat, sugar . . . But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This recipe I've come up with is even quicker than most, because there's no rolling or cutting out the dough. Instead, the biscuits
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Classic Homemade White Bread

by Jane Wangersky March 14th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
breadThis very basic recipe comes from a 1915 book I found on Project Gutenberg, Mary at the Farm and Book of Recipes Compiled During Her Visit Among the "Pennsylvania Germans", by Edith M. Thomas. Judging from both the title and the recipes, people had longer attention spans 99 years ago. However, some things haven't changed, and this recipe works as well and tastes as good if you make it today in a bread machine. I even used the same brand of yeast (Fleischman's) the book recommends -- I don't buy it in cakes, as people did back then, but
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by TT April 22nd, 2013| Recipes, Simple Solutions, Tapas Monday
fricoEveryone in our house loves cheese.  My husband and I have always enjoyed a wide assortment of cheeses, and as the kids mature, they also have expanded their palates.  I can see this growth when my 15 year old tells me that she has a strong craving for brie first thing in the morning.

To me, cheese is an essential element in so many different dishes.  If I am going to eat a sandwich, burger, or wrap, cheese needs to be a component.  Eating an item without cheese just isn't that exciting.  My favorite Tapas Mondays include some iteration of
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Homemade Bread Crumbs

by TT July 26th, 2012| Simple Solutions
It's been a while, but today I decided to write about a non-recipe recipe.  Bread crumbs.  Most likely when you think of that ingredient you envision a cylindrical cardboard container in your cupboard.  Until about a year ago, I did also.  If I was going to make meatballs, eggplant parmesan, or zucchini fries, I would need to have this ingredient on hand.

I had heard plenty of chefs recommend that cooks make their own bread crumbs.  However, I always thought it was easier to buy them, until one day I had a realization.  Neither my husband nor I eat
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Festive White Chocolate Strawberries

by TT July 5th, 2012| Desserts, Recipes, Simple Solutions
Ideally, I would have posted this recipe on Monday.  If I were running just a little bit late, I would have published it yesterday.  However, I am quite off schedule with my cooking and writing, as we spent the past weekend at a family reunion.  Thus, this 4th of July themed strawberry is a day late.  I debated not posting the recipe until next July, but I have a feeling that there will be more Independence Day celebrations this weekend, with the holiday falling midweek.

This chocolate covered strawberry is a delightful recipe to have on hand, even beyond the
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Asian Ketchup

by TT October 12th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions, Spreads & Sauces
It's been a month since I shared a Simple Solution.  This recipe fits perfectly within this category.  It requires two ingredients and takes about 5 seconds to make.  However, the flavor that it imparts is so much greater than would seem possible.

So, how did Asian Ketchup come to be?  As I've written, our 13 year old is a vegetarian.  Vegetarianism is something I have dabbled with throughout my life, so quite frequently I opt to eat the same dish as her while other family members have a meat-based dish.  Sometimes we make dishes from scratch, but other times we used
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Macerated Fruit

by TT September 8th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions
Technically, I am calling this a recipe, but I know there isn't much involved in the recipe.  It simply is a matter of combining two (or maybe three) ingredients to produce a final product.  However, I think that macerated fruit could be considered a recipe in that the final product is fairly different from the one with which you started.

Macerating fruit can be done in two different ways.  It really depends on what you want the final result to be.  If you simply are seeking a little more sweetness and liquid for your fruit, then you have one option.  If
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Red Wine Tomato Sauce

by TT July 11th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions, Spreads & Sauces
After ten days on the road (with a quick 12-hour stop at home in the middle), it is good to be home again.  Don't get me wrong, the holiday weekend exploring New Brunswick was wonderful.  I also enjoyed a week of business travel in Manhattan, but being home is refreshing.  I don't think we could have planned our return better, as our first full day at home is Tapas Monday.  As I was thinking about tonight's menu I realized that I still had a recipe from a previous Monday to share.

The menu from two weeks ago was filled with new
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Ultimate Figs

by TT July 4th, 2011| Recipes, Simple Solutions, Tapas Monday
I think figs may be one of the most unappreciated fruits.  I know that I didn't always see the beauty in them.  Typically I thought of them in their dried form, which doesn't showcase them nearly as well.  While Fig Newtons may be enjoyed by many, they are near the bottom of the list of cookies I would like to eat.

However, through a few dining experiences, I was able to sample figs in their fresh form.  Served atop salads and integrated into other dishes, I enjoyed the taste and texture of these fruits.  With a new perspective on them, I
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