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Cooking Tips

Discussion in 'Recipes and Cooking Tips' started by Michele, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator


    25. Club Soda. Health up that next large glass of fruit juice with some club soda-- even a simple three-to-one juice to club soda ratio saves some major sugar calories.
    26. Rum. Alcohol ain't just for drinking-- caramelize a few slices of pineapple in rum and add them to pancakes or unsweetened yogurt. Now that's a fancy way to stay sweet.
    27. Tea Leaves. Fruity or earthy leaves like pomegranate and green tea are naturally sugar-free and add an extra nutritional kick to any beverage. Use them in liquor for a surprising healthy twist.
    28. Molasses. What happens when sugar cane, grapes, and beets get together? Molasses. Use this dark syrup in a recipe for gingerbread cookies. It'll add some extra iron and calcium, which makes the cookies healthy, right?

    29. Balsamic Glaze. Ditch the Funfetti frosting and add a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze to angel food cake. Simply simmer balsamic vinegar until it forms a thick syrup.

    30. Yacon Syrup. A sweetening agent extracted from the yacon plant, this molasses-y syrup has hints of apple and just half the calories of cane sugar. It's sweet just like honey, so a little goes a long way in baked goods and raw fruit smoothies.
  2. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Add some lemon peel to your brown sugar. This will keep the sugar moist and easy to use. :dance2:

    Put some lemon peel in the fridge. This will keep odors away and give the fridge a nice citrus smell.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2014
  3. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    How to tell if your Olive Oil is good...............

    Good olive oil will smell like fresh green, ripe olives.

    Rancid olive oil will smell like crayons or putty. It will also have a greasy mouthfeel and the flavor of rancid nuts. If your oil has any of these qualities, toss it!

    It's important to remember olive oil is a perishable food -- all bottles will go rancid eventually -- but it is said when properly handled, sealed and stored in a cool dark place, olive oil will be 'good' for two years from the date it was bottled. If your bottle is older than two years, consider starting with a fresh one. And always remember: When it doubt, throw it out!
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2014
  4. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    [h=2]Keeping Bread Fresh[/h]Ideally, Bread Should be Stored at Room Temperature.

    • Sliced and wrapped bread should always be kept in its wrapper. The ‘best before* date will be displayed on the quick lock or wrapper.
    • Bread is best stored in its original packaging, tightly closed with a quick lock or twist tie. Stored this way, most bread will keep fresh for several days at room temperature. In warm humid areas, where mold growth is a problem, it may be best to freeze the bread and defrost slices as needed.
    • Wrapped bread may be kept in a freezer for up to three months.

    • Crusty bread and rolls are best eaten on the day of purchase * French sticks will go stale after only a few hours.
    • Unused crusty artisan bread will dry out and the crust will become chewy very quickly. Left over bread can be used in the next day or two for things like homemade croutons, gourmet French toast, cheese bread or buschetta.
    Avoid storing bread in a refrigerator. The average temperature of most domestic refrigerators is about 41°F (5°C). This is the temperature at which bread stales most quickly. One day in the refrigerator is equivalent to three days at room temperature.
    The freezer is the ideal place to store bread for keeping beyond its ‘best before* date or when mold growth is a concern.
    Wrapped bread will keep for up to three months in the freezer. Defrosting a loaf at room temperature can take a few hours; this can be speeded up by wrapping it in foil and placing it in a pre-heated oven.
    Crusty bread, rolls and buns which have become a little stale can be freshened by wrapping in foil and placing in a pre-heated oven at 450°F (250°C ) 5-10 minutes. The bread should be left in the foil to cool down and eaten soon afterwards because reheating causes it to dry out and go stale fairly quickly. When crusty bread has lost its crispness it can be placed uncovered in a hot oven for 5 minutes.
    When a loaf stales, the crust starts to become leathery while the inside loses its softness. These changes can be temporarily reversed by warming in an oven, as described above, or by toasting.
    Newly baked bread is free from mold. However, mold spores, which are always present in the air, can fall on the crust and mold may develop, particularly in warm/moist conditions. To delay this process, it is important to store bread, tightly closed, in its original wrapping.

  5. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Other uses for Greek Yogurt:

    Soup. Add a creamy consistency with a few spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt. Just wait until the soup is removed from the heat, to avoid curdling.
    Deviled eggs. Super simple: just use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in your favorite deviled egg recipe, for fewer calories, less fat, and more protein.
    Dips. This is incredibly easy, and the options are limitless. Use plain Greek yogurt (I prefer the texture of lowfat yogurt in dips, not fat-free) in place of mayo and/or sour cream in your favorite savory dip recipes. Think spinach dip, crawfish dip, even plain old ranch dip. Promise, no one will even know the difference.
    Sour cream swap-out. Use a dollop of Greek yogurt to top lean chili, tacos, or a taco salad. Same tart creaminess, for a fraction of the calories.
    Chicken salad. Or tuna salad, egg, salad, whole wheat pasta salad, you name it. And check out our recipe below for a lower-calorie version of Whole Foods' delicious Sonoma Chicken Salad, made with Greek yogurt in place of mayo.
    Salad dressing. This is another you-really-can't-mess-it-up idea: Simply blend plain Greek yogurt, a bit of milk, and herbs of spices of choice, and you've got a low-cal flavor-packed homemade salad dressing. One variation that I really love: Greek yogurt, minced garlic, cilantro, and a splash each of olive oil and milk. We've got a recipe for a refreshing cucumber Greek yogurt dressing, below.
    Party platter with fresh fruit. My husband's cousin, Ashley Fury, often serves up a dip for fresh fruit that's oh-so-simple and oh-so-delish: lowfat Greek yogurt and sweetener of choice, blended with a dab of vanilla extract and nut butter until whipped and creamy. She sometimes adds reduced-fat cream cheese to make it a little richer and thicker. You can't mess it up.
    Smoothies. See our Popsicle combos above, and repeat for a smoothie that's perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up for a breakfast on the run. Think of Greek yogurt as your protein-powder replacer.
    Butter substitute. Use plain, low-fat Greek yogurt in place of half the amount of butter called for in a recipe. For example, instead of one cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of Greek yogurt, and save 725 calories and 60 grams of saturated fat.
    Oatmeal protein booster. It may seem weird to stir Greek yogurt into your oatmeal, but it'll add a tanginess, along with a hefty dose of protein and probiotics.
    Add nut butter. Or powdered nut butter. Stirring in a spoonful of peanut butter, almond butter, or any one of the many nut butters now available can impact the taste and texture enough to make Greek yogurt palatable for even the strongest haters. And now powdered nut butters like PB2 are becoming more widely available, adding the same peanut-y flavor for about 75 percent fewer calories.
    Add protein powder. It may seem odd - and it's certainly adding more protein to an already protein-rich product - but a lot of my friends and clients really love a scoop of their favorite protein powder (usually chocolate), stirred into a carton of lowfat Greek yogurt.
  6. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Healthy Recipe Substitutions:

    fluff.jpg Marshmellow fluff in place of frosting:

    Replacing the fat and sugar in frosting with marshmallow achieves the perfect consistency with many fewer calories. While two tablespoons of marshmallow has just 40 calories and 6 grams of sugar (and no fat!), the same amount of conventional frosting can pack up to 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fat.
  7. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Vanilla for sugar:

    Cutting sugar in half and adding a teaspoon of vanilla as a replacement can give just as much flavor with significantly fewer calories. Assuming the recipe originally calls for one cup of sugar, that's already almost 400 calories cut out! You can't sub this one in equal ratios, but next time you're whipping up some cookies, try cutting 2 tablespoons of sugar and adding an extra 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
  8. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Pita for bread:

    One 4-inch whole-wheat pita runs around 80 calories and only 1 gram of fat (though there is some variation from brand to brand). Two slices of whole-wheat bread typically comes in at around 138 calories!
  9. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Steaming for boiling:
    While both are great options for meats and veggies, steaming is king because it removes fewer nutrients from vegetables. While boiling can leech out some of the better nutrients (hence why water turns green after boiling broccoli), steaming keeps all that green goodness inside the veggies.

    Oven or pan-frying for deep frying:

    Yes, those chicken tenders are deliciously greasy, but by foregoing the oil bath for just a misting of oil in a pan or oven, it's easy to cut fat without sacrificing flavor.

    Olive oil spray for olive oil from the bottle:

    Oil glugs out of the bottle, leading to overly-greasy dishes. Using a spray bottle is a great way to cut down on oil while still getting the non-stick benefits. A little mist is all that's needed!
  10. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Keep your summer produce fresh longer with these tips:

    Don't wash immediately. Instead, wash produce just before using -- and scrub your hands first, so you don't transfer spoilage-causing bacteria onto the food.

    Separate fruits and veggies. One bad apple really can spoil the bunch. Fruit gives off a gas called ethylene, a ripening agent that can prematurely rot surrounding veggies.

    Know when to refrigerate. Some fruits -- plums, peaches, avocado, mangoes, tomatoes, melons, apples, pears -- will continue to ripen if left at room temperature. But berries, cherries, citrus, and most vegetables will quickly deteriorate, and should be stored in the fridge.
  11. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Condiments That Do and Do Not Need Refrigeration

    It seems that many people are confused about whatneeds and does not need refrigeration- in the condiments dept. Here's my go at it:

    Condiments that DO NOT need refrigeration are those that are primarily made up of:

    SUGAR(jams,jellies, honey, maple syrup, caro syrup, molasses etc)
    or SALT: soysauce, oyster sauce,fish sauce etc.
    or ACID: vinegars, mustard,hot sauce, steak sauce, worc sce.,ketchup
    or ALCOHOL, except Wine: madeira,marsala, port, sherry, liquers,etc
    all OILs( but those that are nut or seed based can more easily go rancid in hot weather, so best to keep refrigtd)

    Condiments/sauces that MUST BE refrigated are those that are NOT primarily made up of the above ingredients AND that contain either:

    VEGETABLES( i.e. vinaigrettes with garlic or shallots or onion or fresh herbs)
    or FRUIT (Ponzu sauce, salad dressings w/ citrus juice or other fruit, bottled citrus juices etc)
    or DAIRY (i.e.mayo or creamy salad dressings, tadziki sauce etc)
    NUT OILS (refrig staves off rancidity)
    I'm sure i've left out some things, but i hope this can be a helpful basic guide.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2014
  12. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    When making chicken soup, you can take the broth and freeze it in ice cube trays. Whenever a recipe calls for stock, just pop out a cube.

    You can do this with pesto too!
  13. Michele

    Michele Chi Super Dog Administrator

    Pizza tips:
    To store your pizza:
    The best way to store pizza is slices stacked on top of one another, wrapped in paper towels and plastic wrap.

    To Reheat:
    Surprisingly a saucepan does the trick best.
    Nat Ursula likes this.

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