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Cooking

  • Green foods on St. Patrick’s Day? Not for me

    Saint Patrick’s Day will be celebrated worldwide this weekend. I know many of you like to make all kinds of crazy green-dyed food on this special day. I, for one, am not that fond of green colored foods, or even blue or purple colored foods.

    Some will argue that corned beef isn’t a “traditional” Irish meal, but it was quite popular with hard-working Irish immigrants who arrived in our country with limited means and low-paying jobs. Corned beef was cheap and affordable back then. Today, cabbage with bacon is a popular dish in Ireland.

  • Chicken tastes better with a little marsala mushroom sauce

    One of my favorite weeknight dinners is chicken marsala. Made with sautéed mushrooms in a marsala wine sauce, this dinner is incredibly easy to make with simple ingredients.

    Similar to veal marsala, this dish can be made with chicken breasts or thighs (boneless and skinless or bone-in). They can be sautéed, baked, grilled or even braised. The classic marsala sauce made with shallots, mushrooms and wine can be fortified with garlic, cheese, tomatoes, spinach and heavy cream.

  • No-bake desserts require little time and minimal ingredients

    If you’re like me and really aren’t into baking, no-bake desserts usually come to mind. Many pies, cakes and cookies are made with ingredients that don’t require any baking. And best of all, the traditional no-bake types don’t use very many ingredients, but may require freezing or refrigeration.

  • Wondering about that little cantina outside of Sante Fe

    While traveling out west many, many years ago, my wife and I stopped at a little cantina a few miles outside of Sante Fe, N.M., on our way back home. I was starving, and once I woke her up, she was, too.

    Not familiar with their restaurant, I asked the waitress if she could make some suggestions. One of the chicken dishes sounded good to me. She also mentioned that there was a little clothing shop in the other room, so we decided to check it out while waiting on our meals. The waitress then came over to tell us our meals were ready.

  • Numbers that add up to the perfect snack

    Did you know 2 ounces of popcorn kernels makes about 8 cups of popcorn containing about 240 calories and costs about 30 cents? Naturally low in fat and gluten-free, these numbers add up to the perfect snack to have on hand this time of the year.

    Popcorn is a simple yet satisfying whole grain and makes for a great choice when trying to lose holiday weight. The fiber in popcorn makes you feel fuller longer, which helps curb hunger.

     

    Stovetop popcorn tips

  • Just about anything goes well with bacon

    Bacon seems to be everywhere these days. Over the years, it seems that bacon has gone from being a simple breakfast food that went with eggs and toast (and grits) to showing up all over the place.

    Blended into ice cream, wrapped around hot dogs or pizza, piled on hamburgers and other sandwiches and even deep-fried on a stick at state fairs, it seems like just about any food imaginable can be enhanced by bacon.

  • Homemade recipes from years gone by haven’t lost their appeal

    Since I’ve been writing this food column, the most requested recipes have been ones using ingredients that we have in our pantries or fridge, and the fewer ingredients, the better.

    I have always liked to try different techniques and different types of foods on occasion, but we always come back to our comfort foods in the end. I have many old recipe books from libraries, churches, clubs and even relatives that I haven’t paid a lot of attention to until lately. The recipes below are from books from such organizations dating back to 1924.

  • The popularity of the blender led to today’s food processor

    Most kitchens these days are filled with the latest and greatest countertop appliances, from specialized coffee makers and indoor grills to mixers and food processors! But back in the day, our favorite small appliance was the Waring Blender, made popular by Fred Waring, a well-known entertainer of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

  • Tomatoes are not a main ingredient in a classic Bolognese

    Bolognese sauce, also known as simply ragu, is a meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. It is a slowly cooked sauce made with onion, celery and carrots, ground or chopped beef and ground pork. White wine and milk are added, along with a small amount of tomato paste or whole, cooked tomatoes. The dish is then gently simmered for hours to produce a thick, creamy sauce.

  • A pork loin roast and tenderloin are not the same

    Pork loin roasts taste their best when rubbed with a spice mixture and then cooked on a rotisserie, barbecued over indirect heat or baked in the oven. They should not be braised or stewed, as they have a tendency to lose tenderness and will fall apart when cooked using moist heat.