bcmom's kitchen

bcmom's kitchen

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Get Rid of That Onion Smell

I can't cook without onions.  No, really - if I run out of onions I have a very hard time figuring out what to fix for dinner.  There are so many things I just can't won't make without onions!  But cooking with onions means hands that smell like onions, right?

Not necessarily.  There's a really easy way to get rid of that onion smell on your hands - stainless steel!  Simply rub your hands over stainless steel for several seconds while holding them under cold running water, and the smell will be gone.  I usually just use my knife, since I've got it, and it needs rinsed off anyway, but they also have Stainless Steel SOAP which works the same way, without the sharp edges.  I have several oval-shaped ones, but there are different sizes and shapes available, like this Amco Rub Away Bar which is shaped just like a bar of soap.

I'm not really sure how it works, but it does! (One of the product descriptions says: "Negatively-charged stainless steel soap combines with positive charge of cool water to neutralize germs" - so I guess that explains it.)  Onion, garlic, fish - any unwanted odor completely neutralized and eliminated!  Smells really bother me, so I am so happy to know this.  I wish I had known it years ago - back when I was working in the kitchen in college and chopping tons of onions and garlic.  I never could stand to wear the plastic gloves, so I just dealt with the smell, not knowing how easy it would have been to just get rid of it.

So next time you chop onions or get any kind of strong odor on your hands, try stainless steel.  You'll be wanting to keep one of these handy soaps right by your sink for everyday use!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Make Your Own Taco Seasoning

I buy my Taco seasoning in the big containers from Sam's Club.  It's definitely cheaper than buying the packets at the grocery store, and there isn't much chance of running out.  Still, it doesn't hurt to have this recipe on hand, just in case

Taco Seasoning
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  1. In a bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. To make tacos, use half the batch of seasoning with 1 pound ground beef and 1/4 cup water.

Even though I have plenty of Taco Seasoning, I'll probably have to try this just to see how it turns out.  (and if my taco seasoning has some of the ingredients mentioned in the related article (must read label), I may have to start making it all the time!)
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Monday, November 21, 2011

The Everything Potluck Cookbook - Free for Kindle

I love cookbooks, and potlucks, so I definitely grabbed this one.

Right now you can get The Everything Potluck Cookbook FREE for both Kindle and Nook.  It's regularly $15.95, so now is definitely the time to get it!

Product Description:

Potlucks are a great way to get friends and relatives together without the pricey grocery or restaurant bill! In this cookbook, veteran cook Linda Larsen gives you an array of options for every meal and course. In addition, easy-to-understand icons indicate whether a recipe is easy, healthy, quick, or inexpensive. Everything you need to host, or attend, a successful potluck is here, including: 300 tasty and creative recipes; Tips for transporting food safely; Indications of whether a recipe can be made ahead of time; Menu suggestions for a variety of potluck parties. Guests can make the dishes on their own and bring them to the host's home, or they can all gather in the host's kitchen and make them together. With this book, cooking for the perfect potluck party has never been easier!

Don't have a Kindle? Use the Free Kindle Reading Apps for PC, MAC, iPhone, or Android, or treat yourself to a beautiful new Kindle Fire! OK, I don't really need one, but I would love to have one!  Wouldn't you?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Free Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Cookbook

Make this year’s Thanksgiving feast your most memorable ever with help from Martha Stewart and an esteemed group of our nation’s top chefs, including Emeril Lagasse, Sara Moulton and Eric Ripert. 

Download your FREE copy of the cookbook from Martha Stewart Living Radio on Sirius XM Satellite radio.  You can get the entire cookbook or download each chapter individually.

There are some really yummy-looking recipes in here!  The Sweet Potato Turkey Chowder and the Butternut Squash Lasagna are two that caught my eye.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chard and Cheddar Omelet

I found this recipe over at Recipezaar, made these omelets once, and then forgot all about it until I was sending chard recipes to a friend last week.

Chard and Cheddar Omelet

  • 2   tablespoons   butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 ounces swiss chard, stemmed and chopped (equals about 3 cups of packed chard)
  • 3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1.  Melt 1 tbsp of butter in an 10-inch diameter non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until soft (about 2 minutes). Stir in the swiss chard, cover, and cook until tender (about 4 minutes). Stir in the hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a small bowl, and wipe the skillet clean.
  2. Whisk the eggs, 1/4 cup cheese, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
  3.  Melt 1/2 tbsp butter in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the egg mixture and cook until the eggs are just set in the centre (about 2 minutes), tilting the pan and lifting the edge of the omellete with a spatula to let the uncooked portion flow underneath. Scatter half of the chard mixture over half of the omelette. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese over the chard. Fold the omelette over the cheese, and slide onto a plate.
  4. Repeat with the remaining butter, egg mixture, chard, and cheese.

  Made them for dinner the other night - so good!

Tip: When making omelets for dinner (or any time), turn your oven on warm and place the finished omelets in the oven while you cook the rest.  That way everyone can eat at the same time, and the cheese gets all melty, more than it does just from cooking in the skillet.  Of course, you want to make sure your plates are oven-proof!  I usually cook all our omelets, and then while they're staying warm in the oven, I make toast to serve with them.  When the toast is done, the omelets are perfect, and we can all sit down together.
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Hearty Soup

This soup is so good!

Hearty Soup

  • 1 lb. lean hamburger or ground turkey
  • 12 oz. diced potatoes
  • 1/2 c. each carrots, celery & onions, chopped
  • 4 oz. rice
  • 4 tsp. butter or margarine
  • 1-28 oz. can tomatoes, quartered, w/ juice
  • 1/2 large head cabbage, cut into wedges
  • 1-1/2 quarts water
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  1. In margarine, sauté cooked hamburger, carrots, celery, onion and rice until vegetables are tender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer 3 to 4 hours

Serve with biscuits - made with half whole wheat flour.  

For best results, make this soup they day before you want to serve it. Refrigerate it overnight and reheat the next day - it's better that way and continues to improve every time you reheat it!

Measurement tip: 1 lb. diced potatoes = about 4 cups.  So for the 12 oz. needed in this recipe, you will need 3 cups.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I've been making these biscuits for as long as I can remember. They're really easy and good!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup milk 
  1. Mix dry ingredients together in medium bowl, using fork
  2. Pour oil and milk into measuring cup (do not stir together), then pour all at once into flour mixture
  3. Stir with fork until mixture cleans sides of bowl and rounds up into a ball.
  4. Knead on floured surface just until dough looks smooth; roll dough out to 1/2" thick; cut with biscuit cutter and place on ungreased baking sheet
  5. Bake at 475° for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown

Depending on what I want to use these for, I either use all white flour or half whole wheat.  The whole wheat ones go especially well with Hearty Soup.

Either way they're really good. I especially love the little odd-shaped ones because they get really crispy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apples and Apple Dip

Apples are an all-American success story-each ...Image via WikipediaI love apples.  They make great snacks.  They're good with popcorn, good with peanut butter, really good with this apple dip recipe I tried recently.  They're also good in pies, crisps, cakes, and muffins.

The problem I have is remembering which apples are good for what - which ones are for eating, which ones for baking and cooking.  So, when I found a list in the food section of my newspaper describing apple varieties and what they're good for, I saved it.

These are some of Wisconsin's favorite apples:
  • Gala apples are small to medium in size with a yellow-pinkish skin.  Sweet and juicy, they are good for salads and cooking.
  • Paula Red apples are medium-sized and are red over green skin.  Juicy and sweet, they are great for both cooking and eating.
  • Fuji apples are large, with a reddish-pink skin.  They are sweet and best for eating and salads.
  • McIntosh apples are small to medium in size with a bright red skin.  Mild, they are good for cooking, eating, and sauces.
  • Honeycrisp apples are larger, with a red and green skin.  They are juicy, sweet and crisp.  Great for eating.
  • Golden Supreme apples are medium-sized and sweet.  They are good for eating, salads and sauces.
  • Ginger Gold apples are medium to large with a yellow skin.  Juicy and sweet, they are good for eating and baking.

I'm not sure if that helps or not.  I'll probably still buy my apples the way I usually do - by smelling them and buying the ones that smell the best.  I do know that I like tart apples like Granny Smith with that Apple Dip!  What?  You want the Apple Dip recipe?  All right, here you go.  I went looking for an apple dip recipe online - there are lots - and combined a couple that sounded good.

Apple Dip
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all ingredients together, then stir in some Heath bits o brickle (baking bits). I didn't measure them, just poured some in.

Serve with sliced apples. Tart apples are best.

This stuff was really popular!  It can be made without them, but the toffee bits really add something.  Somebody asked if it was peanut brittle in there, so next time I make this I am trying peanut brittle.  It sounds like it will be good.
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Crazy for Coconut - Rum, That Is!

I pulled these recipes off a bottle of coconut rum we had.  When I went looking for the website, I found it wasn't there anymore.  Are they not making Cabana Boy rum anymore?  The information on the back of the recipes said it was produced and bottled by White Rock Distilleries, but when I visited their page, I didn't find it either.  They do have a line of flavored rums called Jack, so I checked that out.  There are several recipes for the coconut rum, but neither one of these are there.  So I'm sharing before I lose this cute little umbrella-drink-shaped tag with the recipes.

This one sounds particularly good.  Have I mentioned that anything cranberry catches my attention?

Jamaican Me Crazy
  • 2 oz. Coconut Rum
  • 1 oz. cranberry juice
  • 1 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • 1 oz. sour mix

Mix with ice and garnish with fruit.

This one sounds like a really good milkshake:

Coconut Mudslide
  • 2 oz. Coconut Rum
  • 2 oz. coffee liqueur
  • 2 oz. Irish cream
  • 1 oz. chocolate syrup
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
Blend first four ingredients.  Mix in ice cream.

Here are the coconut rum recipes on the Jack Flavored Rums website. Some of these sound pretty good, too.

Mediterranean Penne Pasta and Beans

I don't know what it is about this stuff, but I love it! I could eat it all week, and usually I do - because usually I make it just for me. (my husband tends to turn his nose up at things that don't include meat)  The flavors and textures just seem to go together so well.  And really, with the beans and pasta and greens, and feta!, who really needs meat?

Mediterranean Penne Pasta and Beans

  • 6 oz. (1 3/4 cups) uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (15-oz.) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 t. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 t sugar
  • 6-8 cups fresh chard, stems removed and chopped (or a 10-oz. pkg. prewashed fresh spinach)
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced ripe olives
  1. Cook penne to desired doneness as directed on package. Drain; cover to keep warm. 
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds.  Add chard; cook until chard wilts, stirring frequently.
  3. Add tomatoes, beans, Italian seasoning and sugar; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. 
  4. To serve, arrange cooked penne on large serving platter. Top with tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and olives.

The original recipe calls for garbanzo beans and spinach, but I've always used the kidney beans and chard, mostly because I like kidney beans better, and I always have plenty of chard from my garden.

Also, this is why I need to start saving all my recipes in the same place.  I want to make this for lunch, knew I had the recipe printed out somewhere - but I couldn't find it anywhere.  So I went looking online and thankfully found it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I'm a Recipe Nut

RecipesImage by pirate johnny via FlickrI collect recipes, from everywhere.  I cut them out of the Sunday paper, out of magazines, out of the coupon section of the paper.  I have some of them organized in one of those 'magnetic' photo albums, and I use a lot of those recipes over and over.  I have a whole bunch more in a shoe box and some organized in envelopes - according to recipe type - and more in a large envelope, and...  Well, I have recipes all over the place and, even though I cut them out originally because I really wanted to try them, I usually never do get to try them - because I can't find them again!  Or, even worse, I try a recipe that we really like but then I can't find it again!

And that's just the printed recipes.  There are so many recipe sources online.  Sites where you can find recipes for just about anything and even save those recipes for later use.  The problem is that there are so many sites - and I've signed up for and saved recipes at most of them.  But finding those recipes later?  Not so easy, because who can remember where a particular recipe came from?  That's why I'm loving RecipeNut.  It's a site for gathering, collecting, and sharing recipes from anywhere.  Adding a recipe from another site is as simple as pasting in the URL.  RecipeNut finds the recipe info, you add some tags, select some categories to make the recipe easier to find on the site, and save it.

I've been saving all the online recipes I want to try at RecipeNut for a while.  So now I always know where to look!  Now I just need to get around to all the recipe sites and save the recipes I liked over there to RecipeNut so I can find those too.  And all those printed recipes?  I'm either going to have to start finding them (or something similar) online so I can save them to RecipeNut, or I'm going to have to add them myself.  You can add your own recipes, too by manually entering measurements, ingredients, and instructions.  Personal recipes can either be shared with everyone else who visits RecipeNut, or you can keep them private.  So, if you want to save your grandma's secret chocolate cake recipe, you can keep that to yourself.

Besides being a great place to save recipes, RecipeNut is a great place to find them too.  All the recipes there are recipes that people thought were worth saving and sharing.  I usually end up saving one or two from the front page where they always show the most recently saved recipes.  It's easy to save them, just click 'Save' and it's added to your recipe box.  You can also browse through the categories such as Main Ingredient, Meal/Course, or Occasion to find recipes.  I haven't done that a lot because I'm still saving all these other recipes - I'm afraid I'd never stop!

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Cheap Healthy Meals for a Working Lifestyle

Some people will lead you to believe that eating the right foods will cost you an arm and a leg. Others may think that the right foods are bland and tasteless. Would you believe that you can make cheap healthy meals in the comfort of your own home? That’s right! Using ingredients from your local grocer, you can make a huge difference whether it is your goal to lose weight, reverse a medical condition, or simply start living a healthier lifestyle.

1. Start with preparation methods

You can do this by writing down some of your favorite meals and looking into how they are prepared. If your favorite dishes are prepared by another person, include these as well. Many of us love foods that are cooked in oil. Though lard is relatively inexpensive, it is the most fattening of the cooking oils available on the market. Some restaurants use lard in the preparation of their meals, but you can go online and look up ways to cook the same foods using canola oil. Though some grocers price canola oil slightly higher than corn or vegetable oil, your best bet would be to buy the largest size possible at a grocery warehouse or discount store. You can also look into ways to reduce the amount of oil used. Dishes like fried chicken can be prepared using less than half the amount of oil that would be used if It were cooked in a deep fryer. Also, look into using oil sprays to make things like french fries and sautéing vegetables.

2. Take a look at the ingredients

Some of us work long hours and want to have the quickest meal possible. There is nothing wrong with wanting a quick meal, but taking shortcuts can result in taking in extra calories -- fat and sodium. This is especially the case with processed meats and meal starters. If you like to make beef stroganoff, try using a low-sodium or reduced fat cream of mushroom soup along with a teaspoon of your favorite seasonings. If your dish needs more flavor, then add more of the abovementioned ngredients carefully. Dried and fresh herbs are a great alternative for those who are trying to cut back on sodium. Also, roasted garlic cloves can be made easily in your own oven. After spraying the cloves with oil, place them in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. If garlic cloves cook uncovered without oil, they will most likely scorch and have a bitter aftertaste, which will make them inedible. Garlic cloves are also good for lowering high blood pressure.

3. Portion Control

Many of us take pride in eating a large meal and when done in moderation, there is nothing wrong with this. However, constant consumption of large servings can expand the stomach, which lead to more an increase in daily calories. Ways to watch our portions is to chew food slowly before taking another bite and to fill up on vegetables instead of breads and other starches. Weight Watchers suggests placing your eating utensil down on the table between bites. This is a natural way to tell your brain that you arefull and will not need more food. Practicing this on a daily basis will lead to less food intake per meal, which will give you more leftovers for later!

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