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Thanksgiving Improv: Spinach Pinwheels

by Jane Wangersky November 27th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
spinach pinwheels (400x400)Happy Thanksgiving! Though if you’re reading this on Thanksgiving Day itself, you probably have some last-minute gap in your holiday dinner. Not to worry -- so did I, and I’ll tell you what I did.

Here in Canada, Thanksgiving comes in October. This year, unfortunately, it also came just after I’d been sick for several days. I had the turkey, cranberries, stuffing ingredients, and sweet potatoes, not to mention (almost) everything for pumpkin pie -- but I hadn’t been able to go out for fresh vegetables, and everyone else was too busy. So there I was on the morning of
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Timing Your Thanksgiving Side Dishes

by Jane Wangersky November 21st, 2014| Cooking Basics
Thanksgiving dinner (400x400)As Thanksgiving gets near, there's a lot of cooking advice being sought and given out, most of it about turkey – understandably. But let's not forget the side dishes that are some people's favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner, and that are too easy to overlook in the quest for the perfect turkey.

Of course, the dinner does revolve around the turkey, so timing for the side dishes and everything else will have to be based on its schedule. The first thing to do is figure out when you want dinner, then count back to when you'll have to start the
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Quick Beef Stroganoff — From Scratch

by Jane Wangersky October 23rd, 2014| Simple Solutions
file4531272158954Beef Stroganoff has taken lots of different forms over the past 150 years since the recipe was first published. The only constants have been -- obviously -- the beef (cubes, strips, even ground beef) and sour cream, whether just a little or a lot. Those are the two tastes everyone expects from a dish by this name.

Though you can make quick versions of beef Stroganoff from mushroom soup, or even, ahem, Hamburger Helper, this recipe is just as quick and much shorter on processed ingredients. (Yes, it uses powdered beef bouillon. If that bothers you, try using a few
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Seafood Gumbo

by BnB Finder October 14th, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
Seafood Gumbo - CopyGumbo is much more than soup, and this gumbo is special enough for a Sunday dinner, even if you're having guests. Shrimp, crab, and oysters come together in a thick, rich, spicy base. It will take patience, especially if you've never made roux (a flour-fat base for soup or sauce), but it's worth it. Unlike the usual lard-based Cajun roux, this one uses vegetable oil, which you're more likely to have on hand. It's from the Fuquay Mineral Spring Inn and Garden Bed & Breakfast in Wake County, North Carolina, a designated landmark convenient to Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

 

 

 

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Essential Chili: The 4 Things You Really Need

by Jane Wangersky October 9th, 2014| Recipes, Simple Solutions
chiliI’ve got several time-honored, long-cooking, big-batch chili recipes that use chunks of beef and about 10 kinds of spices. This isn’t one of them. But it’s quick and easy, it tastes good, and you can build on it till it’s almost like one of those more ambitious chilis.

Keeping it to four ingredients, I had to find the essence of chili. Having lived in Texas, I know some people will take issue with that essence containing beans rather than meat. If you feel this way, hey, use meat instead -- I’ll talk about that and other variations in just a
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Turkey With What Sauce?

by Elizabeth Skipper June 11th, 2014| Ask the Chef
backdrop-22024_640Maybe once or twice a year I make a turkey or turkey breast, when it is not during the holiday season.  However, I am not able to find fresh or frozen cranberries to make cranberry sauce.  Is there another fruit I could use (and find easily) to make a different sauce that would complement the turkey?

It sounds as though you want to duplicate the Thanksgiving presentation of turkey as closely as possible, just at other times of the year. Interesting. I like to make turkey other times of the year, too, but I always prepare it differently from a
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Where Does All the Spinach Go?

by Elizabeth Skipper April 30th, 2014| Ask the Chef
file6561309937714I always am surprised when I cook with fresh spinach, instead of frozen.  I have a hard time estimating how much I need.  It seems to reduce by an incredible amount.  Is there a ratio for fresh spinach to cooked spinach (and how much you’ll need per person)? 

Other than lots? As in, lots and lots? With a water content of 80% to 90%, spinach cooks down by an incredible amount. It depends some on whether you're cooking baby spinach or more mature spinach as to how much it reduces, but I generally figure on a pound of spinach serving
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Salmon Sauce

by BnB Finder April 22nd, 2014| Best BnB Bites, Recipes
Salmon SauceThough there's nothing simpler or more delicious than fresh grilled salmon, in this version of it the sauce is really what makes the dish. It's rich, tasty -- and made entirely out of ingredients you probably already have on hand. Tips for grilling salmon follow, so you can whip this up for dinner any time. The recipe comes to us from the Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast in Waynesboro, Virginia. This modern facility is a great place to launch sightseeing trips to the area's many attractions, or just sit on your private deck and enjoy the mountain
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Fresh-Tasting Leftovers

by Jane Wangersky March 6th, 2014| Cooking Basics
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days ago I was overwhelmed with leftovers. It happens to all of us from time to time. Somebody doesn’t make it home to dinner, or somebody’s appetite suddenly falls off, or whatever. Anyway, you’ve got a fridge full of cold food, and nobody, including yourself, is going to want to eat it if all you do is reheat it in the microwave.

So what do you do?

The first thing to do is see what you have that’ll go together. I had lots of leftover chicken thighs, some of them cooked with tomato sauce and some cooked without it.
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Easy as Chicken Pot Pie

by James Maynard March 3rd, 2014| Video
chicken pieChicken pot pie is perfect for late winter days, when warm food can feel like the only way to feel human. Many people also consider this dish to be a comfort food. Most of us remember these delicious treats from when we were children. However, many parents served their children premade pot pies. These savory treats are simple to make at home, and will be even tastier than the frozen variety! In this video, we learn how to make a simple pot pie that will please everyone in your household. Feel free to experiment, and change the filling just
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Plenty of Wine-ing in the Kitchen

by James Maynard December 13th, 2013| Video
fish n wine sauceCooking with wine is one of the hallmarks of really great chefs. Cooking wine is nearly essential in any home where meals are prepared. Wine can be used for any number of applications, from de-glazing pans to poaching, and everything in between. In this video, we learn how to create a wine marinade, perfect for steaks or other meats. We also hear the recipe for a wine sauce, perfect for a variety of dishes. Both these dishes can be prepared with chicken as well, making them versatile for American families. To accompany this meal, we learn how to make
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Life is Based on Carbonara

by James Maynard December 6th, 2013| Video
carbonaraChicken Carbonara is a popular Italian dish that looks much more difficult to prepare than it is when you are actually in the kitchen. This chicken recipe can be made quickly and easily, surprising guests with its delicious aroma and taste. Watch this video, and you will learn how to make chicken carbonara with common ingredients. After you learn the recipe taught here, you will be making carbonara like a professional Italian chef. Because this recipe doesn't use any processed foods, you will be able to control exactly what goes on your family's dinner table. You can even make
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