- Stir M&Ms and other small candies (like candy corn) into your favorite cookie batter.
- Stir M&Ms and other small candies (like candy corn) into your favorite cake and muffin batter.
- Grate chocolate bars and use the shavings to decorate the top of an iced cake or cupcakes.
- Stir small pieces of chocolate into coffee for a quick hot mocha drink. Stir the same into a cup of hot chocolate to intensify the flavor.
- Crush butterfingers, Kit Kats, Nestle crunch or other such candies and use as toppings for brownies. Crushed candy can also be used in cookie, cake and muffin batter (See #1 and #2, above).
- Add small candies and pieces of chocolate to nuts, pretzels and/or cereal to make a snack mix. Check out a recipe on theBabble.com Web site (https://www.babble.com/best-recipes/better-than-bleep-halloween-candy-snack-mix/)
- Melt chocolate candy in the microwave and use it as topping for ice-cream, cakes, and pies.
- Stir small candies or pieces of candy into yogurt.
- Stir small candies or pieces of candy into oatmeal, cold cereal, or pancake batter.
- Stir small pieces of melted chocolate into chili.
I don’t know about you, but I can never judge how much Halloween candy to buy for my neighborhood trick-or-treaters. The years I buy too much, a mere handful of costumed children knocks on my door. The years I am candy conservative ,gangs of ghosts, princesses and everything in between practically knock down the door. This year, thanks to some really good sales, I overbought Halloween treats. My extra Halloween candy won’t go to waste, and neither should yours because there’s a lot you can do with leftover Halloween candy. Here are some suggestions:
October is National Apple Month. Here are 10 interesting facts about apples:
Source: University of Illinois Extension Apples and More
Was zucchini one of the vegetables planted in your garden this summer? If so, chances are you now have more zucchini than you know what to do with. Here’s a simple recipe for zucchini casserole will help you transform all that extra zucchini into a healthy and delicious side dish. This was one of my mother's signature recipes, so whenever I make it, she comes to mind.
3-4 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into rounds. Leave the peel on, if you like
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cloves minced garlic
1 small green pepper, julienned
2 cups Italian-style croutons
8 oz. Velveeta cheese (use only Velveeta), cut into cubes
Italian seasoning to taste
Olive oil (or use water to save on fat calories)
Cook the garlic and green pepper in the tomato sauce
Sauté or steam the zucchini until soft
When the tomato sauce is thoroughly heated, begin layering ingredients in a casserole dish. Start with a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, then layer zucchini, croutons and cheese. Shake some Italian seasoning over each layer
Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. The zucchini shrinks as it cooks, so you will most likely end up with about half of what you place in the casserole dish. This recipe, if used as a side dish, feeds 6.
Today is National Cheeseburger Day, which is celebrated each year on September 18. Legend has it that the cheeseburger was created by Lionel Sternberger, a teenaged cook working in his father’s Pasadena California restaurant, in the 1920’s. Although the story can’t be authenticated, it makes sense that someone would want to embellish a grilled burger to “beef up” the satiety value, and cheese seems to have been the perfect food with which to do so. The Web site, http://www.cheese-burger.net/history gives more information about the history of the cheeseburger.
Fall may be right around the corner, but it’s not too late to barbeque. You can find creative cheeseburger recipes on the Food Network Web site (http://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/cheeseburger-recipes.html) and on the Taste of Home Web site (http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/all-american-bacon-cheeseburgers). So many varieties of cheese burgers! So little time! Enjoy!
All too often, busy people who get the urge to bake seldom think beyond boxed cake mixes and slice-and-bake cookies. While these conveniences do fill a niche, baking from scratch is a healthier and tastier way to present baked goodies to family and friends. The perception that “scratch” baking is more difficult and takes more time is dispelled with the recently released book, Making Dough: Ratios and Recipes for Perfect Pastries by Russell van Kraayenburg. Using five basic dough ingredients - flour, butter, water, sugar, and eggs - the author shows bakers how to mix 12 basic pastry doughs that can be used to create biscuits, tarts, Danish, pie crusts, croissants, Éclairs and more from scratch. Van Kraayenburg claims the secret to producing wonderful pastry products is the combination of the five basic ingredients in various proportions and how the dough is mixed. Baking terms are defined and measuring techniques discussed. Instructions are easy to follow.
If you have been thinking that you’d like to explore baking a bit more this autumn, Making Dough is a good starting place. Before long, you’ll be baking perfect pastries too!
Today is International Beer Day (IBD). According to the International Beer Day Web site (www.internationalbeerday.com) IBD, which was founded in 2007 by the Association of California Brewers, and which has been celebrated on the first Friday in August since 2008, is a day to mark the contributions that beer, and the people who provide it, make in our lives. Hundreds of bars, restaurants, pubs, breweries, as well as backyard parties worldwide observe this holiday, whose mission is to unite the world through beer.
The IBD Web site provides recommendations for celebrating today’s holiday. So get together with friends and find a pub or brewery that’s celebrating IBD. Want to keep the festivities closer to home? Kick back with some friends in your own backyard or living room and enjoy your favorite brew. And don’t forget to try something new, like a beer from another culture. One never needs an excuse to enjoy a cold one. Today there is a reason! Happy International Beer Day!
Last month, Mike Roussell's article, "16 Snacks That Are OK to Eat at Night," was published on the Livestrong.com Web site. Some of the snacks on the list are a little far fetched (like high protein cake batter), but others are quite easy to prepare. Here's a partial list of Roussell's suggestions:
Clara Paul and Eric Treuille run Books for Cooks, a bookstore in London’s Notting Hill section that specializes in all varieties of cookbooks.
Each day they select a few recipes from the hundreds of cookbooks on their shelves and prepare a luncheon menu in a small kitchen that is part of the bookstore.
In an interesting twist, Clara and Eric have written their own cookbook titled, 200 Skills Every Cook Must Have: The Step-by-Step Methods that Will Turn a Good Cook into a Great Cook.
Clare and Eric explain their cookbook’s premise in the book’s introduction when they reveal they wanted to write the “ultimate book that answers all the queries, question, and uncertainties that every home cook has, however experienced or confident they might be.”
The authors begin their book discussing sauces, which are important not only for the flavor they contribute to each recipe, but also because they often form the basis of other recipes. Here, from the Sauce Skills section of “200 Skills Every Cook Must Have” are 10 sauces the authors believe every cook should know how to make:
Each sauce presented is accompanied by a list of tools and ingredients needed to make it, as well as an easy-to-follow method and color illustration. While the authors tend to lean towards the person who is just learning to prepare food, there is something in the book for every cook, no matter his or her level of expertise.
Potatoes are such a versatile food. Think of all the ways they can be prepared: boiled, fried, baked, and in salads. In fact, it is the latter – cold (as potato salad) – that potatoes are usually served in the summer. Ready to mix things up a bit? Try this warm potato salad. The bacon infuses the dish with flavor and the vinegar adds the right amount of tang. And since mayonnaise isn’t part of this recipe, there’s less worry about spoilage. I enjoy this warm potato salad so much that I serve it year round. (It goes especially well with ham.)
4 medium-sized boiling potatoes, peeled
6 slices of bacon
Approximately ½ cup of cooking oil
1 smallish onion, chopped fin
3 Tablespoons red-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Soup in summer? Certainly, if it’s Manhattan Clam Chowder! While some soups, like split pea and butternut squash, are more suited as winter comfort foods, clam chowder is light, and its fresh-from-the-sea taste is a great compliment to other summer seafood fare.
As is the case with many of my recipes, this one for Manhattan Clam Chowder is a compilation of many others. It works great as a first course or as a meal in itself. You can adjust the clam taste by adding more or less bottled clam juice. Makes 6 servings
3-4 strips of bacon
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 8-oz. cans or 1 pt.shucked and chopped fresh clams
2 celery stalks, diced
3 small potatoes, diced
2-4 8-oz bottles of clam juice
1 teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 16-oz can of tomato sauce