Saturday, August 31, 2013

M Is For Mango Lassi

Not all weekends are meant for cooking especially as summer comes to an end.  Enjoy every last drop of sunshine before the cold sets in again, but don't go hungry!  And this quick recipe is just what I'm talking about--throw it all in the blender or Magic Bullet and go--M is for Mango Lassi.  Enjoy!

Magic Bullet type blender
Knife, for chopping mango

3/4 cup 1% Milk
1/2 cup Vanilla or Plain Greek Yoghurt
1 tsp honey
1 cup of chopped fresh mango
3-4 ice cubes

Redi-Whip if you want to be fancy

Combine in a blender.

Push button.
Head out the door.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lemonade Stand And College Financing

Even if you are already into college full swing I thought this article from The Empowered Dollar Blog on creative ways to enhance your college funding might be useful for some of you.

Teaching kids to be financially aware is not something our nation does very well, in fact we promote quite the opposite:
- "put it on plastic"
- "spend because you deserve it"  
- "you had a rough day"
- and whatever else we convince ourselves with that the burden of debt we are about to purchase won't matter.

But it does.
When you are in debt someone and money owns you, your time, your decisions, your lifestyle until that debt has been paid. I don't know alot of people who like to being "owned", but that is exactly what debt does--it owns you and ability to choose.

Get into the mindset that your money should always be working for you:
--gaining interest
--gaining knowledge
--increasing in value
--removing debt
--making more money.  

If you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck then consider yourself officially employed by money rather than the other way around.

--Educate yourself.
--Quit spending 
--Take a finance class
--Look into Roth IRA's.
--Learn about investing.
--Ask for advice
--Make a budget.
--Look at your expenses 
--Look at your skills, talents.

-Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
-Suze Orman
-David Bach
-Jim Cramer

No Fuss Waffles On The Run

Stumbled upon this brilliant and delicious recipe in the recent Cooking Light edition and added some variations for a great bite on your way to class.  Take advantage of seasonal fruits to make this recipe your own--for now enjoy the last of summer's fruits such as strawberries and peaches.
When fall arrives experiment with apples and pears.  

I'd suggest making the cream cheese spread and slicing the fruit the night before (unless you are using bananas) so that nothing's left to do on your way out the door except assemble the goods.  Think outside the box and be creative.  Oh...and make one for your roommate.

Note: I have pictured a variation for those who love peanut butter, honey and banana.  

Small mixing bowl
Toaster oven or regular oven

Whole wheat frozen waffles
4 oz of 1/3-Reduced fat cream cheese
1 tsp of cinnamon 
1 Tbls of brown sugar (optional in my opinion)
Sliced strawberries

1. Wash your hands and the strawberries or whatever fruit you are using.
2. Combine the cream cheese, cinnamon, and sugar with a fork.

3. Toast your waffles.
4. Once waffles are golden brown, spread your cream cheese mixture onto two warm waffles.

5. Add your fruit and top with the second waffle.  Waffle sandwich to-go is done.

For the PB-Banana Combo:

1. Combine 2-3 Tbls of peanut butter with 1-2 tsp of honey.

2. Spread onto waffles as above and layer your banana slices on top.

3. Easy Breezy!

If you are sitting down for breakfast, leave it open-faced and combine with syrup and take your time.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Skillet Mac N Cheese

One of my sons was is a particularly picky eater growing up, and while the rest of us had Beef Stroganoff or Chicken & Rice, he would only have the egg noodles or rice plain.
Including Ben's palate with our meal plan was quite a challenge to say the least.  That is, until I discovered 'Skillet Mac 'N Cheese' from Cooks Illustrated The Best 30 Minute Recipe Cookbook...after which the Velveeta and Kraft boxes started having a very long shelf life.

What makes this recipe ideal for any apartment dwelling college student is the simplicity and need for limited equipment; however, you do need some patience and prep work for seperate steps. But, if you do that, and have your ingredients will be generously rewarded for your efforts.  If you are new to cooking, expect this recipe to take a few tries to master! 

5-qt saucepan
Whisk or Fork
Spatula or wooden spoon

3 cups pasta, ie elbow, penne, or gemelli
3 1/2 cups water

1 12 oz can Evaporated Milk, divided 1 cup and 1/2 cup
1 tsp corn starch
1/4 tsp Dijon Mustard or 1/2 tsp dry mustard
1-2 splashes of Tabasco Sauce

2 cups Monterrey Jack-type cheeses, grated
2 cups Sharp Cheddar, grated
2 Tbls butter
Salt & Pepper

1. Wash your hands.
2. Read the recipe. 
3. Prepare the thickener
    Combine the  evaporated milk, cornstarch, mustard, and hot sauce. Set aside.

4. Boil pasta while stirring frequently until pasta is "just" cooked.

5. Add milk-thickener mixture. Stir for 1 minute until begins to thicken.

6. Remove from heat. It will look "soupy" at this point. Don't worry, be happy!
7. Add cheese one cup at a time--YOU MAY ONLY NEED 3 or 3 1/2 cups.
(Adding too much cheese will make the pasta heavy,  sticky and matted because when it begins to cool, it will congeal even further. )

8. Add 2-3 Tbls of butter.

9. Season with salt & pepper.
10. Once finished, the Mac 'N Cheese should have a velvety golden appearance.

11. If too thick, add water or milk in very small amounts
12. If too thin, add the remaining cheese.
13. Serve immediately.  We had turkey burgers, arugula salad and mac 'n cheese.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fundamental Garlic Bread

After mentioning 'garlic bread' in my last post--I figured, why not? Easy to make, and an absolutely fundamental skill for any would-be chef. Enough said!

Baking sheet/jelly roll pan with sides.
Aluminum Foil
Small mixing bowl

Small loaf french bread
1 Tbls Olive oil
4 Tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt (use less if you only have salted butter)
2 Tbls fresh parsley, chopped
4 Tbls Parmesan cheese, grated 

1. Wash your hands. 
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Chop, mince and mash garlic with 1/4 tsp of salt.

4. Combine olive oil with softened butter and minced garlic.

5. Add chopped parsley.

6. Cut bread length-wise.

7. Spread garlic smear on top.

8. Sprinkle cheese over that.

9. Cover with tented foil and bake x 15-20 minutes.

10. Remove foil and broil until golden brown approx 2-3 minutes.

11. Watch this closely!!