3 Quick and Easy Barbecue Sauces For the Grilling Beginner

Culinary 1Raw meat and seafood as well as fresh vegetables will be no good on the grill without flavor. Even a simple seasoning of salt and pepper will go a long way. You can either go simple or go all the way with marinades, sauces or rubs depending on your mood. Here are some quick and easy recipes perfect for grilling beginners:

Spicy Raspberry BBQ Sauce

What you need:

1 1/4 cups raspberry preserves
1 cup honey
1 cup dill pickle juice
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 bottle ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared spicy mustard
1 tablespoon minced dried onion flakes
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 dash hot pepper sauce
Ground black pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together raspberry preserves, honey, dill pickle juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, onion flakes, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Bring to a boil while stirring. Lower heat and add hot pepper sauce. Allow to simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour.

Nutty Ginger BBQ Marinade

What you need:

4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup hot water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chili paste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Combine garlic, peanut butter, hot water, soy sauce, chili paste, vinegar, oil, ginger root and red pepper in a large bowl. Stir to mix ingredients well. To use this marinade, place meat in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Discard excess marinade before grilling meat.

Easy Sugar-Free BBQ Sauce

What you need:

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 beef bouillon cubes
2 1/4 cups tomato paste
1 cup minced onion
1 cup granular sucralose sweetener (like Splenda)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup hot water
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt

Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot water then set aside. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil then cook garlic and onions until tender, about 5 minutes. When ready, pour dissolved bouillon cubes in the pan then stir in tomato paste, sweetener, cider vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, hot pepper sauce and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently, until sweetener has dissolved. Lower heat and continue to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Try these quick and easy barbecue sauce recipes and you’re sure to love grilling more!

How to Choose the Best BBQ Catering Services

Culinary 9It is that time of year when you party to the fullest. You get invitations and you invite your friends and family for a house party too. So have you planned anything for your upcoming party as yet? If not then you need to plan your party well on time and avoid the last minute rush. When it is about a house party keeping the mood casual and relaxed would be best. So it would be a great idea if you arrange for a barbeque party.

What are your choices?

When you are planning a BBQ party for your guests you need the food to be absolutely perfect. If it is a large party then going for a professional BBQ catering service would be advisable. It would not only take away a chunk of your responsibility but also save time for you to enjoy with your friends and entertain them. When you hire a professional catering service you would be delighted to see the types of food that you can choose and these companies also offer personalized services for their clients. Grilled, roasted and barbequed food will be served with fine culinary specialty. So you have a great table to present to your invitees. You can also order for delicious sandwiches burgers and sliders for the youngsters.

Wide variety of finger licking food

One of the most mouth watering facts about professional catering is that it offers you a whole range of food items that are just impossible to make at home. So when you are hiring a professional service for your BBQ food, you get to choose from a wide range of items that are prepared from fresh and healthy products. The catering companies also make sure that they keep the quality very high in order to make it hygienic and healthy. Strict processing is observed while making the food and they are prepared with prolific élan. So while you are choosing the food for your BBQ party ensure that you have a mix and match of all types of food on your table to entertain your guests. It would be so much fun to have the best food and for the right party mood.

How to choose the best caterer?

If you are going for a BBQ theme for your event then you must keep some important point in mind before you finalise your caterer.

You must also go with the experienced professionals and avoid experimenting with the new event professionals.

Always check their official website to have a clear understanding of the services.

You should also check out feed back of each event caterer from their customer. This will help you to get a clear picture of the company.

At last but not the least do a little survey to get the best price.

A BBQ theme is an amazing idea for a very happening party. You guest will love the delicious taste and will remember the party for a very long time.

Choosing the Right Beer Growler

Culinary 6Over the last two decades, growlers have become a very popular way to store and carry beer. Microbreweries and small brew pubs have grown in popularity and many allow their customers to purchase their beer by the growler. These popular containers come in many different shapes and sizes and choosing the best growler for your needs will depend on several factors. The purpose of this article is to help you choose the best growler for your needs.

The first thing to consider when choosing a beer growler is your basic approach to beer drinking. Whether you like to keep several different brews on hand or just need to store a particular favorite, there’s a growler style to suite your needs. You will also need to consider how long you need to store your micro-brew. While some growlers are great for storing beer for a week or two, others can keep it fresh for months. Growlers also come in a variety of sizes so you will want to consider the quantities that you will need on hand. Of course for most of us, cost is an important consideration. Glass growlers can be had for a few dollars while ceramic and stainless steel growlers can run considerably more. The spectrum is quite broad when it comes to choosing a beer growler. Taking a little time to consider how you’ll be using your growler can prevent you from making multiple purchases before obtaining the best beer growler for your particular needs.

After considering your particular needs in a growler, you’re ready to take a look at the various growler types on the market. Glass growlers are by far the most common choice on the market today, and as a short-term storage solution for the occasional micro brew, glass is probably a good choice. Glass growlers come in a variety of sizes and are typically very reasonably priced. The biggest concern with glass beer growlers is of course durability.

Ceramic beer growlers are not as popular as glass, but are growing in popularity. They share many of the same qualities as glass but have a few important differences. While ceramic beer growlers are considerably more expensive than glass, the very nature of ceramic opens the door to creativity. Consequently, ceramic beer growlers typically offer much more imaginative styling. Ceramic growlers also do a better job of protecting contents from light penetration, a factor that many beer enthusiasts consider to be extremely important to maintaining both the freshness and flavor of the brew.

In addition to glass and ceramic, stainless steel growlers are quickly becoming a popular choice for microbrew connoisseurs. As one might imagine, durability is the greatest advantage as stainless steel growlers simply don’t break. Stainless steel also does a superb job of keeping out harmful sunlight. For those concerned with style, stainless steel growlers have typically been very plain in appearance. Although that is beginning to change as a few companies are getting a bit more creative with their stainless steel growler designs. The only real disadvantage of stainless steel as compared to glass is cost. They are typically much more expensive than glass, but are not quite as expensive as some of the higher priced ceramic growlers.

When considering the type of growler that fits your needs there are many things to think about. How you will use the growler, material, size, style and price are all factors to consider. Hopefully this article has provided some insight into to the various types of growlers available making your choice in beer growlers a little bit easier.

Tips for a Healthier Heart

Healthier HeartIt is clear as crystal – your diet has a profound effect on your physical and mental health. When combined with a regular physical exercise routine, adequate sleep and minimal-stress lifestyle, you pave way towards a long and healthy life!

In terms of cardiovascular health, it is a well-known fact that a healthy diet comprising of certain heart-friendly foods work wonders to keep heart diseases at bay. With cardiovascular diseases being the numero uno killer of men and women globally, it is important to maintain a healthy heart by consuming foods that help lower cholesterol levels, control blood pressure and blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy body weight. Here are a few heart-healthy diet tips that work towards preventing heart diseases.

1. Control your portion size

Eating right begins with eating the right size! Stuffing yourself with food is a sure way to add unwanted calories. Try using a small plate to control your portion size. Incorporate larger portions of fruits and vegetables, while lowering the portions of processed foods. It is a good idea to track the number of portions or servings that you consume. For starters, use a measuring cup, spoon or scale to track the size and weight of your servings.

2. Reduce unhealthy fats

Saturated and trans fats increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol – Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) – in your body, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Work towards limiting or entirely cutting out trans fats from your diet. Limit your consumption of processed or packaged foods such as chips and cookies. Replace solid fats such as butter and hydrogenated margarine with liquid vegetable oils such as olive oil or sunflower oil. You can also swap whole milk with low fat or skimmed milk.

3. Incorporate healthy fats

Not all fats are bad for you! Omega 3 fatty acids, Omega 6 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats work towards increasing HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol levels that are good for the heart. Fatty fish such as salmon, trout and herring are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Vegetable oils and soy nuts are great sources of Omega 6 fatty acids, while peanuts, pecans, almonds, cashews and avocados are good sources of monounsaturated fats. A simple way to add healthy fat to your diet is to grind flaxseed and add it to cereals, breakfast mixes or any baked foods. However, the key is moderation; all types of fats have a high calorie count.

4. Consume low-fat proteins

Lean meats such as poultry and fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk are excellent sources of low-fat protein. As previously mentioned, fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel are rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Alternatively, you can consume flaxseed, canola oil, walnuts and soybeans for vegetarian sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. You can completely substitute animal protein for plant protein by using legumes such as beans, lentils and peas. These are good sources of protein, contain less fat and no cholesterol.

5. Indulge in fruits and vegetables

Besides being super-rich sources of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables are low on calories and may curb your pangs for high-fat foods such as processed foods and snacks. Always keep a bowl of fruit or a box of cut vegetables handy in the refrigerator for some healthy snacking, or to whip up a fresh salad! Incorporate vegetables, especially leafy vegetables, into your cooking. Add legumes such as beans, lentils and beans to your diet. Carrots, tomatoes and celery are rich in insoluble fibre while berries, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, apples and pears are rich in soluble fibre. Both types of fibre are heart-healthy.

6. Be a fan of whole grains!

Whole grains are rich sources of fibre and other vital nutrients that help in regulating blood pressure, thereby maintaining a healthy heart. Substitute white rice and refined flour products such as white bread, biscuits and so on with whole wheat flour, whole grain bread, oatmeal, high-fibre cereals, and whole grains such as brown rice.

7. Reduce your sodium intake

High sodium levels can increase your blood pressure, thereby increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Limit your sodium intake by reducing the amount of salt and salty foods in your diet. Avoid foods and condiments with high sodium content such as table salt, canned soups and foods, soy sauce and tomato juice. Replace them with herbs and spices, low sodium labelled foods and sauces and salt substitutes.

Besides following a heart-healthy diet, it is important to lead a stress-free life, combined with adequate physical activity and regulated sleep to keep your body energised, your mind fresh and your heart ever-healthy!

Information on Assorted Sweets

Assorted SweetsThe term assorted sweets is usually used for boxes of sweets containing at least three to four different kind of sweets. These boxes are primarily used as gifts during festive seasons such as Christmas, New Year, Diwali, and so on. However, these days, stores and shopping malls have huge collections of assorted sweet boxes all through the years as a significant section of buyers prefers buying them even for celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and other such events.

In this article, we will be discussing about the kind of items you can expect to get in the modern-day assorted boxes of sweets. Read on to know more.

One feature that is common in the majority of these packages is that they come filled with exotic sweets, some that you will not find during your regular trips to your favorite confectioneries.

The first combination we will be discussing about is the combination of cakes and cookies. Chocolate cakes remain the hot favorite even when it comes to these assortments. The item might be common, but it never fails to impress, which forces almost every confectioner to prepare combinations using it.

Chocolate cakes are usually combined with mint flavored cookies, vanilla cakes, cupcakes of different flavors etc. If you are buying the assortment for a kid, we would advise you to opt for the cup cake and chocolate cake combination. This is because that combination is not only tasty, but also very vibrant and colorful, qualities that will catch the attention of kids easily. For older people, we would recommend the combination of chocolate cake and assorted cookie.

It might be hard to believe, but our planet does have people who hate the chocolate flavor. If you are planning to gift the assorted sweet box to someone with such likings, pick a basket filled with fruit cakes, cupcakes, chocolates, sugar candies and cakes of flavors such as mint, cardamom, cinnamon, etc.

The above discussion was about baskets containing different kinds of western sweets. Let us now talk about assortments of eastern sweets. The popularity of assorted packages containing eastern sweets has increased significantly in the past few years. These packages mostly contain laddus, pedas, barfis and chikkis made using a range of ingredients from nuts to raisins. When preparing these packages, confectioners try to introduce fresh flavors. For example, you will get pedas and laddus in western flavors such as vanilla and chocolate. There are also some traditional eastern flavors that confectioners always include in these boxes. They are: saffron, cardamom, rose, and pistachio.

Cooking Pasta Made Easy

Now that we have covered some of the more time-consuming aspects of pasta, like making pasta from scratch, let’s move on to more familiar territory. Have you ever noticed how big the pasta aisle at the super market is? It’s because pasta is a quick meal that can be tailored to fit any tastes, no […]

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One-Dish Dinners Take a Bite Out of Daily Dinner Prep Stress

For many of us, this is the busiest, most hectic, and stressful time of year. Halloween is over, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas are on the horizon. We have gifts to purchase and wrap, parties to host and attend, travel plans, work deadlines, and church activities on top of our normal everyday activities and duties.

In order to make the season enjoyable and reduce the amount of stress that I feel as a mother of two young children, I always look for quick and easy dinner time meals that will taste good and satisfy my family, while keeping my workload to a minimum. One of the best solutions that I have found is to look for recipes that have only a few easy- to-find ingredients, that can be made hours (or days ahead of time.) One dish meals (not necessarily traditional casserole recipes) are easy and have been my saving grace in that they are less complicated to make and serve. Not only is preparation more simplified, but getting a one dish meal from the oven to the table is much easier, as well. A delicious meat and pasta dish served with a lovely green salad is all everyone needs on a busy weeknight.

This pasta pronto, one-dish wonder, that I found in the December 2011 edition of Cuisine at Home is sure to delight children and adults, alike. The pasta cooks right in the sauce, so the pasta takes on additional deep rich flavors while the sauce thickens from the starchiness of the pasta. In this type of dish, Cuisine at Home recommends using short-shaped pasta like penne, because they cook more evenly, and starting with a bold-flavored sauce. A richer more flavorful sauce can stand up to the additional liquid that needs to be added to cook the pasta.

One Dish Sausage & Penne Ragu

12 oz. bulk Italian sausage
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup diced onion
2 Tbs. each minced garlic and tomato paste
2 tsp. each dried oregano and dried basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 cup dry red wine, divided
1- 28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1tsp. sugar
1 cup water
8 oz. dry penne pasta
salt and black pepper to taste
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, sliced
chopped fresh basil

Brown sausage in a large saute pan in oil over medium-high heat, 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and onion, cooking until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, oregano, dried basil, and pepper flakes; saute until fragrant, 1 minute.

Deglaze pan with 1/4 cup wine, increase heat to high and cook until liquid nearly evaporates. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, simmer until thickened, 5-8 minutes. Stir in water and remaining 3/4 cup wine, then add pasta. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pasta is tender and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat broiler with rack 6″ from the element.

Divide pasta among 6 individual oven safe dishes, like the Fiestaware 4 1/2″ diameter ramekins and arrange on a baking sheet. Top each dish with cheese; broil until cheese is bubbly, 2-3 minutes. Garnish each serving with fresh basil and enjoy!

Cheap Meal Ideas When You’re Too Tired to Cook

Looking for fast cheap meal ideas? Busy moms often do not have the energy at the end of the day to cook a family meal from scratch. Our busy lifestyle makes it hard to put 4-course meals on the dinner table every night like our mothers did. Wouldn’t it be nice to cook a fast meal that even the kids will enjoy. Children are notorious for being picky eaters and most budget recipes include things that kids don’t like

Noodles are typically the fastest cooking recipe ingredient because it only takes 10 minutes to have a plate of hot, steaming noodles ready to top with your favorite sauces. Cheap meal ideas can be made delicious and healthy by adding vegetables, protein like chicken, beef or eggs and cheese.

Make your own kid-friendly meals by adding some meat, leftover vegetables and your favorite toppings or sauces and you have a custom made dinner that took less than 30 minutes from kitchen to table. There are few pots to use so cleanup is easy too. Here are a few cheap and easy meal ideas using noodles:

Spaghetti and Chili

Ingredients:

Cooked spaghetti noodles

Canned Chili

Shredded cheese

Cook spaghetti noodles in boiling, salted water for approximately 10 minutes. Heat 1 or 2 (15 oz.) cans of chili over medium until heated through. Drain noodles and toss with butter, season with salt and pepper. To serve, ladle 1 scoop of chili onto each plate of noodles, top with shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese.

Noodle Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

Leftover hamburger, beef or chicken

Bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables

Hot cooked noodles

Favorite stir-fry sauce

Chopped onion and garlic

Soy sauce

Thaw vegetables in a colander under running water for 5 minutes or until softened. Cook over medium heat in a tablespoon of oil. Add chopped garlic and onion to vegetables and cooked until onions are translucent. Pour stir-fry sauce into pan, add leftover meat and cook until heated. To serve, spoon sauce mixture onto a plate of hot noodles and top with soy sauce and your favorite condiments. Sliced almonds or sesame seeds make a nice garnish to the finished plate.

Tip:

Cook a batch of hot, buttered noodles and let the kids top it with their favorite toppings like shredded cheese, chili, canned chicken, seasoned taco meat, jarred alfredo sauce, creamed soups or any other topping or sauce you can think of. In my family, we have a leftover night where we pull everything out of the fridge and dish it up buffet-style and let everyone serve themselves. I make a pot of noodles or rice and some garlic bread to make a filling meal.

Most noodle or pasta recipes can be adapted for any type of noodles, even ramen noodles. Ramen is a versatile noodle because it cooks faster than traditional spaghetti noodles and can be topped with different sauces, vegetables and condiments. Noodle shops in Japan are very popular with students and tourists for their cheap, filling meals.

Making an Excellent Turkey Spaghetti for Dinner

Spaghetti is usually a crowd pleasure, whether it is made with a meat sauce or with meatballs. However, if you make it using regular ground beef or hamburger meat it can be very fattening. A healthy option or alternative to use instead of regular ground beef is to use ground turkey, which when used in a tomato sauce usually tastes almost the same, but can contain a lot less fat. As long as you choose lean ground turkey or ground turkey breast you will be eliminating the majority of the fat and the spaghetti will be a healthier alternative to the normal dish.

Making an excellent turkey spaghetti for dinner can be easily accomplished if you consider the likes and dislikes of your family. First, consider the type of spaghetti you use. Whole-wheat spaghetti is healthier, since it contains more protein and fiber, but some families do not like the flavor. Next, decide whether to use meatballs or meat sauce. Using a meat sauce can save time, and insure that the meat is spread throughout the sauce so everyone gets some and any leftover sauce still contains meat. If you have time, you can make a tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes, but doctoring up a store-bought sauce can make it taste almost as good as homemade. Choose the types of vegetables you want to include to add more flavor to the dish. Onion and garlic are common, but people add many other vegetables as well, including green pepper, mushrooms, spinach, butternut squash and grated carrots. Adding vegetables increases the nutritional value of the meal. Finally, choose which spices you want to use to add more flavor. Some people find ground turkey to be less flavorful than ground beef, and using spices, such as garlic, oregano, basil, salt and pepper can improve the flavor of the final dish.

Once you have decided on the ingredients you want to use, boil water and begin cooking your pasta. Start making the spaghetti sauce by using a small amount of olive oil and sauteing your vegetables and ground turkey. If you choose to make a meat sauce, then add your tomato or spaghetti sauce and simmer to allow the flavors to blend. Meatballs should be cooked separately and then added to the sauce to insure they are completely cooked through. Drain your noodles and top with the sauce and Parmesan or other cheese, if desired.

Quick and Easy Seafood Alfredo

This seafood Alfredo recipe is easy, simple and relatively inexpensive. It takes as long to cook as the pasta takes to boil!

I love seafood. I like it any way I can get it and I created this easy seafood pasta dish that you can use for a light meal, or as a side dish or an appetizer.

Ingredients:

Shrimp (4 – 8 ounces)

Scallops or crab meat (4 – 8 ounces)

Old Bay Seasoning

5 – 6 whole Mushrooms (diced)

Alfredo Sauce (16 ounces)

1/4 Chopped onions (if desired)

1 TBSP Minced garlic

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Pasta of your choice (Spaghetti, Rotini, Ziti, etc.)

Olive Oil

Parsley flakes or Italian seasoning for garnish.

Spinach (4-6 ounces if desired)

This dish is so quick, you should first start boiling water with salt (or oil) for the pasta. When the water boils, add a handful of pasta, and cook until your desired texture. While this is happening, proceed to cook the sauce as instructed below.

Now, in most of my pasta dishes I like using minced garlic and onions as a base. The first thing to do is clarify the garlic and onions in olive oil, sprinkled with a little bit of Old Bay Seasoning in a 10 – 12 inch frying pan. Reduce the heat to medium and then add the seafood and cook until it is pink. I like mushrooms in mine, and sometimes spinach. But if you add mushrooms and spinach, make sure the onions and garlic are clarified first, and the seafood has already been cooked.

Add the Alfredo sauce. This recipe will make it thick and rich with seafood content. If you prefer more sauce, then add more sauce or milk and butter to stretch it out. Dust with more Old Bay Seasoning, reduce heat and simmer on low.

I prefer to add Italian Seasoning at this point – just enough to powder the top of the sauce and stir. Some people may not want any seasonings in their sauce, so you may prefer to keep some to the side for those who wish to garnish their own, with either the Italian seasoning or parsley.

At this stage, I prefer to melt the Parmesan cheese into the sauce as I do not keep leftovers. However, if you believe this dish will be too much for your family to manage in a sitting, you may want to add a sprinkle of the Parmesan cheese to the dish as it is served hot on the table.

When the pasta is done, add to a plate and cover with the sauce. Garnish to taste.

This is so tasty, that people will swear you stole it from a restaurant!

Enjoy!