of September 26, 2004
all know that commercially frozen foods are easy
to rely on when you are tired and just can't summon
the energy to fix a complete meal. But convienence
does have it downside.
Commercially frozen food are actually quite
The contents of the commercial products are
not always healthy, in fact many have added
fat for flavor.
with a little forethought, you can prepare your
own pre-baked dishes for the freezer on days off
or during the weekend and when you are tired,
pop them right into the oven for an easy and quick
meal that is healthy and economical.
Freezing Pre-Baked Dishes
Because precooked frozen dishes need to be reheated
before being served, plan to undercook your dishes
before freezing them. This ensures that the finished,
reheated product will not be overcooked.
2. Remember to let you precooked dishes cool as
quickly as you can before they are placed in the
freezer. Placing hot foods will raise the temperature
in your freezer. Also the outer edges of a hot
dish may freeze quickly but the interior may not
cool in time to prevent spoilage.
The easiest method for cool the food down by floating
the pan of hot food in a pan or basin filled with
cold water or pan of water filled with ice cubes.
Be sure to change the water often to make sure
it remains as cold as possible.
4. Once cooled in this manner, you may make it
into smaller sized freezer containers or freezer
bags for servings or meals. Place them in the
coldest area of your freezer until firmly frozen.
5. Make sure to use freezer bags, containers and
products that are specially designed for freezing
to protect your food from freezer burns and leaks.
Foods must always be airtight and waterproof to
keep odors from escaping and food from leaking.
Remove as much air as possible from the container
or bag but leave a little room for expansion as
the product freezes.
It is always best to freeze food in no more than
1-quart capacity to ensure that firm freezing
occurs within at least 4 hours.
of September 19, 2004
island of Jamaica is famous stunning white sand,
gorgeous blue green sea, tumbling waterfalls,
reggae music and its smiling, welcoming people.
But, if you can not make it to the islands, just
taste a little of Jamaica instead. Jamaican Jerk,
is the spicing and grilling of meats, poultry,
and sometimes vegetables, resulting in a spicy-sweet
flavor and a tender texture. The term jerk is
also used when describing the dry or wet seasoning
mix used to jerk (season) a particular food.
number of recipes for jerk seasoning are too numerous
to count, but most people who love the taste agree
that there are three main ingredients: allspice,
Scotch bonnet peppers and thyme.
is one recipe for a wet seasoning mix that you
might want to try.
Jerk Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup ground allspice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 to 8 garlic cloves
4 to 6 Scotch
bonnet or habanero
peppers (extremely hot)
1 tablespoon ground thyme
or 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 bunches green onions
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste*
2 tablespoons light soy sauce to moisten
Put everything in a food processor and blend until
smooth. By all means use allspice berries, if
available, but use enough to give the equivalent
of 1/2 cup ground.
the meat with the seasoning sauce. With chicken,
be sure to rub under skin and in cavities. This
sauce can also be used with firm fleshed fish
- never a delicate fish.
overnight. Grill over a low fire until done. The
skin will be a nice and dark color. Chop meat
into pieces, and serve traditionally with hard
dough bread and an icy cold drink.
NOTE: This sauce will keep for a very long time
if kept refrigerated.
I prefer to add the salt to any meat at the end
of grilling to keep it from drying the meat out.
of September 12, 2004
you love tarts, but are looking for a way to lighten
them up and not use a fat laden pastry? Try using
meringue cups - light airy crunchy cups that have
hardly any fat. Fill them with fruit, pudding,
flavored frozen yogurt, sauces and other low fat
8 meringue cups
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 rack in bottom third and 1 rack in top third
of oven; preheat to 200°F. Line 2 large baking
sheets with parchment paper. Trace with a heavy
hand, 4 circles approximately 3 1/2 inches in
diameter on each parchment sheet. Turn parchment
over so that marked side faces down (if you have
traced heavily enough, the circles will show through
to the other side).
sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl to blend.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed,
beat whites in large bowl until foamy, about 1
minute. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks
form, about 1 minute.
sugar mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating
until whites are very stiff and glossy, at least
4 minutes with heavy-duty mixer and 6 to 8 minutes
enough meringue into pastry bag fitted with medium
star tip to fill 3/4 full. Pipe small dot of meringue
under parchment in each corner of baking sheets.
Press parchment onto dots. This will keep the
parchment lying flat.
in center of 1 marked circle, pipe meringue in
continuous spiral to fill circle completely. Pipe
1 meringue circle atop edge of base circle, forming
piping 2 more circles atop first, forming meringue
cup. Pipe 3 more cups on sheet, filling bag with
meringue as needed. Pipe 4 cups on second sheet.
meringues 3 hours without opening oven door (meringues
may drop slightly). Turn off oven; let meringues
stand in closed oven over-night to dry completely.
Store airtight container. Do not stack
Serving: 166 Calories; trace Fat (0.0% calories
from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 3g Protein; 40g
Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol;
42mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 1/2
Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 2 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
of September 4, 2004
you trying to think of ways to serve cool summer
drinks for a backyard outing?
Flavored syrups can be added iced tea or coffee
for an additional flavor dimension. These recipes
are variable, so you can experiment to obtain
the flavors you desire. Just make sure to keep
the sugar and water ratio about the same.
To make a thick but simple syrup, use one cup
of water and one cup of sugar.
the water and sugar in a pot. Bring the mixture
to a boil and make sure the sugar dissolves. Stirring
is not necessary, but will not harm the syrup.
If you want to add flavoring, it is important
to add it at the correct time. If it is not an
alcoholic flavoring, add flavoring before the
water comes to a boil. Example: substituting orange
juice for water will yield orange flavored syrup,
apple juice will yield apple flavored syrup, and
an addition of vanilla beans will yield aromatic
syrup that is excellent in brewed coffees. Remove
the syrup from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
If you would like to flavor the syrup with alcohols
like rum, liqueurs or amaretto, add the alcohol
after the syrup has cooled to room temperature.
Flavored Adult Beverage Syrup
6 Tbsp. sugar
2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons liqueur of your choice
a saucepan with a tight fitting lid mix the sugar
and water and bring to a rolling boil, stirring
constantly. Cover immediately, remove from the
heat and cool completely. This lets steam wash
down any sugar crystals from the sides of the
pan. Transfer syrup to a measuring cup and stir
in the liqueur. If the sugar syrup has evaporated
slightly, add enough water to equal 1 cup syrup.
You can multiply this recipe.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split
all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to
a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the
mixture boils, reduce the heat and simmer the
syrup for 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally.
Cool the mixture completely and pour into a glass
container with a screw-top. Store in refrigerator
for up to 4 months. Remove the vanilla bean before