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Cookware and Cutlery Reviews, Cooking Tips and Recipes
Although we love to can all year round, we know many of you have been waiting for the official start of canning season. It's fast approaching and we are thrilled! For all of you canning supply needs, please check out our sister site, Canology
. Canology has a wide selection of canning supplies, Ball jars, pressure canners, canning kits - everything you need to get starting with your canning project.
Earth Pan Hard Anodized is rated one of the top Non-Stick Cookware sets! It sells for a fraction of the price of the others in the top spots. Check it out here at CookProStore.com.
For all the strawberry lovers out there, here is a tip to keep them fresh longer. When you purchase them, cut the green tops off and store them without washing. This causes the ripening process to slow, keeping them fresh in your refrigerator longer.
Warmer weather reminds me of having pool parties and cooking outside. One meal that guests really appreciate is grilled pizzas. I think there are a couple of reasons for this. First, they taste really good! Second, your guests can personalize them to their own taste. For the host, this is a great make ahead idea.
Here's what I like to do. I make the dough ahead of time - usually the day before. If you put the dough in a large zipper bag in the refrigerator, it will rise overnight just fine. Then, you can just punch it down and roll out individual pizza rounds. I'll include a recipe at the end for pizza dough. I will typically roll out the dough into about eight-inch rounds and grill them lightly- at a medium temperature - on one side. Then, I stack them between paper towels after they're cool. The grilled side is where toppings go. Put the assembled pizzas on cookie sheets dusted with cornmeal for easy transport to the grill. 5 minutes on the grill should cook the raw side of the dough as well as the toppings. A good tip is also to crumple up two or three paper towels and pour a bit of vegetable oil on them. Use a tongs to rub this over the grate on your grill to help prevent sticking.
Some ideas for toppings include bowls of cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, chicken breast pieces, Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Parmesan, basil leaves, sage leaves, Italian parsley, thinly sliced tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, pizza sauce and whatever ingredients you may prefer. These are some that I use.
Keep in mind these are thin pizza crusts, so the more advanced prep you do for the toppings, the better result. For example, you would not want to put raw sausage on them because there isn't enough time to cook it through before the crust would burn. Likewise for the onions and mushrooms. It would be difficult to fully cook them on the grill, so sauteing in advance is a good idea.
If you set up an assembly line of sorts for the ingredients, it is easy for guests to put together their own pizzas.
Kids especially like making their own pizzas, so this is a fun party idea.
If you prefer not to make your own pizza dough, you can purchase it in the refrigerated section of the grocery store - or, you could use flour tortillas. But, I think the dough gives a more authentic flavor to the pizzas.
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 c. warm water (about 110 degrees)
2 2/3 - 3 c. all-purpose white flour
1 tsp. salt
Sprinkle yeast over the water in a bowl. Stir until dissolved. In the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 2 2/3 cups of the flour and salt. Pour in the wet yeast mixture. Gradually mix it into the flour, adding a little more warm water, up to 1/3 cup. Allow the mixer to knead until very smooth, soft, and no longer sticky, about 2 minutes. You may need to add additional flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. It should still be fairly wet.
Oil the dough and put it back into the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. If you prepare the dough the day before, lightly oil it and put it in a large zipper bag. It will rise in the refrigerator overnight. Punch dough down and turn it onto a floured surface. Use a pastry cutter or a thin sharp knife to divide the dough in half. Divide each half again, and each piece one more time, so that you have 8 portions. Roll each piece out into 8 inch rounds.
You may keep the dough in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or you may freeze it up to 2 months. If frozen, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight before preparing.
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Creamy Milk Chocolate Pie
For some reason, I've never been a chocolate cheesecake fan. I love chocolate in probably everything else imaginable, but typically find chocolate almost clashes with the cream cheese in chocolate cheesecake.
Anyway, I knew there were some redeeming qualities because so many people love it. So, I began to think that maybe the ratio of cream cheese to chocolate was too high. Certainly, there couldn't be too much chocolate. I don't know if that's even possible. So, I experimented a bit and found what I think is the perfect combination.
This pie is great any time of the year; but, because it's frozen, I think more of making it in the summer. It's really simple and extra creamy. We make it for our beach condo vacation meals because it's so easy and everyone loves it. You can make it even easier if you want to substitute thawed whipped topping instead of cream. If you do, I suggest you omit the sugar from the recipe. I hope you enjoy it, too.
8 Oz. Milk Chocolate
1/4 C. Milk (I have replaced the milk with Bailey's Irish Cream as well)
1 T. Sugar (or more if you like it a little sweeter)
1 8 Oz. Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Pints Cream
1 9" Pie Shell, baked and cooled
Chocolate Curls (Optional)
Heat chocolate and 2 T. of the milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted.
Whip cream and set aside in refrigerator.
In a bowl, beat sugar into cream cheese. Add remaining milk and chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.
Fold about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten. Then, fold the chocolate mixture into the rest of the whipped cream until completely mixed. Be careful to fold the mixtures together and not stir, or you will lose the air whipped into the cream.
Spoon into the cooled pie shell. Top with chocolate curls. Freeze at least 3 hours. Allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes - or until you can easily cut slices to serve.
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What's For Easter Dinner This Year?
I haven't decided yet, but I usually rotate the main course between lamb, ham, beef tenderloin. This has been such a cold and LONG winter that I'm thinking something really 'Spring-y' sounds great. What are you planning? Are you having a large group of guests? Something a little smaller and more intimate? Kids involved? That last question is a real menu challenge at times.
Considering I will have given up my favorite thing for several weeks during Lent, my mind is completely focused on dessert - and chocolate. I think I consume more chocolate on Easter than any other holiday - and maybe all of them together! As much as I love cooking and making desserts, it's extremely difficult for me not to raid my kids' Easter baskets for the Bliss chocolates, Cadbury candy coated chocolate eggs, and, of course, Reese's eggs. I think they're even better than the typical Reese cup.
Okay, since I started writing, I've convinced myself that it's going to be lamb this year. The Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday memories remind me that ham and beef tenderloin made the list. So, with friends John and Marsha's Roasted Spiced Leg of Lamb recipe in hand, that's the plan. The rest isn't as important as determining that chocolate dessert! Marsha and I used to joke about how appetizers and dessert would be perfect, and the rest between was just filling time and placating dinner guests.
Well, I think I can make one variation on that theme for Easter. Everything between Easter baskets and dessert could be optional! Let me know what you're planning. And, here is that excellent Lamb recipe. And, by the way, this works well on lamb chops, too. I just season them with the rub and allow to sit all day, or overnight is best.
Happy Easter, Everyone!
2 Cloves Garlic, smashed, or 2 t. powder
Mix seasonings into a paste with water. Spread on lamb and roast at 325 degrees for 2-3 hours or until internal temperature is 145 degrees for medium. I have also prepared this recipe on the grill, and it is wonderful!
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Easter Egg Cakes
These cakes are fun to make with Easter egg cake pans. I used the Yellow Cake and Butter Cream Frosting recipes from the Best Recipe
Cookbook from Cook's Magazine. Cake mixes are great when you don't
have time to bake, but this recipe is very good, and really doesn't take
a long time. The frosting does take a little more work than opening a
tub, but it's worth it!
I use zipper bags to pipe the frosting
colors on because it's easier than the permanent bags you have to wash.
If there is any left, I just toss them into the frig in a larger zipper
bag to use later. It's fun to personalize the kid's french toast or
other baked goodies you might make - and you don't have to open a new
tub or make new frosting to do it.
Elk Roast Dinner With Friends
Thanks to a good friend and her generous uncle, we made a great
dinner built around this 2.5 pound elk roast. This was such fun to
prepare, and the sides were well-suited to a game roast. I was so
excited to make this for my friends and family, because I do believe Elk
Tenderloin was the best piece of game I have ever had. So, I had high
hopes for this cut of meat as well.
In this entry, you'll see photos of the roast in progress, along with the sides of
Roasted Parsnips and Green Beans, Bruschetta with Herbed Tomatoes
Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette and Goat Cheese baked in Herb Crumbs
Wild and Brown Rice with Golden Raisins and Slivered Almonds
Chocolate Souffle with Warm Vanilla Sauce
A Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet was perfect with the meal.
a good sear, we chose to slow roast the Elk in the oven with Shiitake
mushrooms, onions and aromatics, and a Sherry herb sauce.
Although, we chose to adjust this recipe, the basis for the Elk Roast is found here at Cooks.com: http://tinyurl.com/4aq5j4g.
a perfect meal with great friends and family! Thanks to Pam
Schmalenberger for her excellent photography skills, as well as, the
all-important Elk Roast!
So, I rarely pull out a box of cake mix, but I had an idea to try that I thought might be quick and yummy. And, lo and behold, it is! You have to try this. It is so easy. Check it out.
1 Box White or Yellow Cake Mix
1 can Pumpkin
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. Nutmeg
1/8 t. Ground Cloves
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture - 5 T. Sugar and 1 t. Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin well. Follow directions on cake mix and add pumpkin as well. Pour into muffin tin, almost to tops. Sprinkle with Cinnamon Sugar Mixture. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until tops spring back when you touch them. Cool 5 minutes in pan and remove.
4 oz. Softened Cream Cheese
2 c. Powdered sugar
1 T. Milk
1/2 t. Cinnamon
Beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until smooth. Add a a bit of the milk and cinnamon. Depending on the weather, you may need to add more milk, or maybe none. The consistency should be easy to put into a pastry bag or ziplock and drizzle on the muffins.
After the muffins cool to lukewarm, drizzle with the cream cheese - sugar mixture and serve.
Stainless Steel Cookware Review
There are several advantages to cooking with Stainless Steel Cookware, but it depends on the type of stainless you choose.
Cleaning is no problem. You can clean Stainless Steel Cookware by just soap and water. There is no special cleaning solution or paste required to keep it shiny. In fact, you could put Stainless Steel Cookware through a dishwasher cycle.
Stainless Steel Cookware will not tarnish, change color or add a strange taste to food. It is durable and will last many years if you choose a high quality set. Stainless Steel Cookware stays shiny with minimal effort, and is lightweight.
Cooking with stainless is great, as long as you choose a quality product. Basic Stainless Steel Cookware does not have the inner core necessary to distribute heat well. This will result in food sticking and hot spots. Good quality Stainless Steel Cookware will have an inner core of aluminum or copper. This added core will enable the cookware to distribute heat evenly for even cooking and will eliminate hot spots. Some varieties even have an extended core which goes up the sides of a pan. These sets are more expensive, but really do shake the negative reputation of Stainless Steel Cookware.
For good quality Stainless Steel Cookware, it is important to check out the specs on the set you're considering. In order to not have to repeat this purchase decision again in the near future, it is advisable to buy the best quality you can afford for your cooking needs. Following are two options to check out at CookProStore.com.
Check out these great gift ideas for your great cook! Chicago Cutlery Knife Block Set combinations including some or all of the following items: Chicago Cutlery Cutting Boards, Cheese Knife Sets, Knife Sharpeners and Scissors.
New Chicago Cutlery Groupings
We've added 7 new items that group Chicago Cutlery Knife Block sets
with Chicago Cutlery cutting boards and other accessories. Please check
it out. Great Christmas gift ideas for your Chef!
Happy Holidays to everyone!
We are really excited to introduce this top quality copper cookware line to our product offering! Not only is Mauviel
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I have tweaked this sauce recipe for years, and like the current version really well. Use fresh herbs, if available.
1 Medium Onion, chopped fine
1 Stalk Celery, chopped fine
2 Carrots, chopped fine
2 Cloves Garlic, chopped fine or put through a garlic press
1 28 oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
1 16 oz. Can Tomato Sauce
1 6 oz. Can Tomato Paste
3/4 C. Red Wine
1 t. Basil
1/2 t. Oregano
1/2 t. Crushed Fennel Seed
1 t. sugar
2 T. Milk
1 t. Sea Salt
1/2 t. crushed Black Pepper
a heavy pot, or dutch oven, heat about 2 T. olive oil. Add the onion,
celery, carrots and garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring until the
vegetables are soft, being careful not to burn the garlic.
Add the wine and allow to simmer until reduced until liquid is gone.
Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste, stirring to blend.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Mix in about 2 cups of water.
Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours until flavors blend and sauce thickens.
Pour over cooked pasta and serve with Parmesan Cheese.
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Chicken with Pesto Penne Pasta
Basil season is in its prime right now, so this is a great time to make your own pesto. Homemade Pesto is so much better than purchased variety, and it's easy and quick. Toward the end of the summer, I will make various types of pesto and freeze so that I have a taste of summer all through the winter.
Because the olive oil in pesto prevents it from hard freezing, it is easy to scoop some out of a container that you have frozen whenever you need it. That said, I recently put together this recipe made from my abundance of basil! I hope you enjoy it.
1/2 c. Toasted Walnuts (you may use only walnuts or pine nuts in this recipe)
1/2 c. Toasted Pine Nuts
5 Cloves of Garlic (or more if you like prefer)
6 c. Basil Leaves (make sure you pack the leaves when you measure)
1 2/3 c. Parmesan or Romano Cheese
1 1/2 t. Sea Salt
1 1/2 t. Freshly Ground Pepper
1 3/4 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor and process until smooth - or the consistency you prefer for pesto. Taste a bit after you process your pesto. You may choose to add a little more cheese or garlic, salt, etc. This is the time to adjust for your specific taste.
The pesto will last for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, but will freeze well for several months.
Chicken and Pasta
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, pounded between plastic wrap until 1/4" thick
2 t. Salt
1 t. Pepper
1 t. Garlic Powder
2 T. Olive Oil
1 lb. Penne Pasta
Bring salted water to a boil, and add pasta. Cook pasta until al dente while you prepare the chicken.
Season both sides of the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat 2 T. olive oil in skillet (grill pan, if you have one). Brown chicken in oil on both sides, cooking for about 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and allow to cool a bit. Chicken will continue to cook as it is cooling.
Drain pasta and toss with 3 T. Pesto. You may choose to add more or less, depending on your taste.
Slice Chicken in to strips and arrange on top of pasta.
Grate fresh Parmesan or Romano cheese over and serve with warm slices of Italian or French bread.
This dish can be made very quickly for a week night dinner. Just prepare the chicken to the point of adding seasoning and store covered in the refrigerator the night before - or in the morning, if you have time. When you get home from work, all you'll need to do is boil pasta, saute the chicken and warm bread.
I have memories of my grandmother's homemade chicken and dumplings,
and to this day, I've never had any that come close. Unfortunately, I
don't have that recipe, but I've come up with a chicken noodle soup
recipe that my kids love.
It's really not that difficult to make
great tasting Chicken and Noodle Soup. Really! With the convenience of
using a supermarket roasted chicken, you can get incredible flavor
without starting from scratch.
When I started testing recipes, I
looked through all my conventional cookbooks, gourmet cookbooks, online,
etc. All the recipes I found seemed to lack the flavor I was looking
for - you know, that great 'chickeny' depth of homemade chicken soup?
So, I started looking in those cookbooks from churches and other
Although I didn't find the exact recipe there, I
did have some thoughts that led to my current method. I use a noodle
recipe from a very sweet lady who goes to my church, Delores Koster. Her soup recipe is in the St. Francis Xavier, Carbondale, Illinois Cookbook
struggle I was having lied in making the stock/broth/base for the soup.
That's when I decided there had to be a better, easier, faster way to
get the flavor I wanted without waiting for a whole chicken, vegetables
and some seasonings to figure out how to marry together appropriately.
night after my daughter's basketball game, we stopped to get a
rotisserie chicken and the grocery store for dinner. My family only
likes the white meat, so we always have part of the chicken left over.
Rather than tossing it, because no one liked the dark meat, I froze the
whole thing until I could figure out how to use up the remaining
My son had been asking for homemade chicken and noodles,
and that's when I decided to give it a try. I added what was left of
the rotisserie chicken into water with some vegetables and spices to
make the base for the soup. After a couple of hours of simmering on the
stove - and it smelled great - I strained the mixture and boned what
was left of the chicken. Ironically, my kids don't really like a lot of
chicken in their soup, so this idea works out great for us. And, for
some reason, they do eat the dark meat in this soup.
I add the
noodles and let it simmer for at least an hour or two. Usually, I have
to add more water prior to adding the noodles. The result is really
good. It has become one of those meals that everyone looks forward to,
and the kids always ask for when they don't feel well. I guess that's
the true test of chicken soup, right? I hope you enjoy it, too!
the way, feel free to add new carrots or whatever other kind of
vegetables you would like to this soup. The flavor of the vegetables you
add to make the broth releases into the broth and chicken, so you'll
need to toss those. My kids prefer to have a bowl of steamed broccoli
and cauliflower that they can dip in the broth, so I don't add anything
but noodles to the strained broth for us.
Grocery Store Rotisserie Chicken - or the remaining part of one. (If
you like a lot of chicken in your soup, you may want to add a chicken
breast or two if not using a whole chicken)
1 Medium Onion, quartered
2 Stalks Celery, cut into 2 inch pieces
5 whole Peppercorns
1 T. Poultry Seasoning
1 T. Sea Salt
a Dutch Oven, or large soup pot. Add all of the above ingredients
except water. Pour enough water over to cover ingredients by 1 inch.
to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and leave uncovered for at least 1
hour, but preferably 2. I like to start this first thing in the morning
to have for lunch, or at noon for an early dinner.
With a slotted
spoon, or spider, strain chicken, bones, and vegetables out of pot.
Put pot back on burner, and add about 3 cups of water.
chicken, reserving meat for the soup. If you would like to add
vegetables, especially carrots, do so now. If adding peas, you can wait
until the last 10 minutes of total cooking time.
3 egg yolks
2 C. Flour
2 t. Salt
a medium mixing bowl, add all eggs. Whisk until light. Add 3
tablespoons of cold water and salt and whisk until well blended.
flour and mix with a fork until you can gather it up in your hands and
form a ball. Depending on the weather, I've had to add a bit more water
to bring it together; but, be careful not to add to much and make it
Let the dough sit for about 5 minutes. This is important
because it allows the dough to be rolled out much easier, and less like
Flour the area where you will roll out the dough.
out the dough into a large circle. I get it as thin as I can, about
1/8 inch, although some people like their noodles thicker. If you prefer
them thick, you will need to add for time for cooking to make them
Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into noodles the desired width and length you prefer.
the noodles into the simmering broth and continue to simmer for at
least 1/2 hour, but they are more tender if you have the time to let
them simmer for an hour.
Add the chicken about the last 15 minutes.
Taste for seasoning, because I usually need to add at least another teaspoon or so of salt at this point.
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As much as I love chocolate, and rarely stray from making anything
near a dessert that doesn't weigh heavily on chocolate, I have a huge
affinity for oatmeal cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, oatmeal cookies
with nuts......etc. The softer and chewier, the better! So, I have
made countless recipes, hoping to find that elusive, "gourmet
bakery-like" version. And, my success rate has been a big fat zero,
My new find is full of flavor, soft, chewy, rich and
amazing! When I looked at the ingredients, it seemed like the recipe
might just be what I've been seeking. I couldn't wait for the baked
version, and had to eat a bit of the cookie dough. YUM! My thought was
if they taste as good baked as they do in dough form, I had a winner!
I wasn't disappointed. They were amazing! My kids loved them, and I
took a few to an Arts meeting. They loved them! One fellow member asked
if I would bake a batch for another organization's upcoming fall tour,
and I did so yesterday.
As I said to my arts group, I think you
could start a bakery with recipes like this. Where did I find it?
Hopefully, your newspaper offers a publication each month called Relish.
It is such a great addition to the normal food section. They have
wonderful recipes, new food trend information, wine reviews, tips and a
lot more foodie news.
Relish is where I discovered Vermont Maple Pecan Cookies.
Yeah, I know, oatmeal isn't even in the name! But, to me, they are the
ultimate oatmeal cookie. Here is a tip, though, that I've learned from
all of my oatmeal cookie baking experimentation. Use rolled oats,
instead of the normal quick cooking oats that are so commonly called
for in baking recipes. I think this makes a tremendous difference in
the texture and body of the finished product.
for allowing me to check this one off my list. I can keep busy
experimenting with other additions to this recipe all winter. Now, on
to the beef stew recipe that will end another lengthy search!
would love to hear your comments if you choose to make this recipe, so
please post and let us all know what you think. If your newspaper
doesn't carry Relish, just visit their website at www.relishmag.com.
Le Creuset Cookware is now available at
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Whether you're looking for an entire
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Check our website for great sale prices on this new line of great cookware
Hard Anodized Cookware Review
The Cookware you choose should be a reflection of how you cook,
aspire to cook, and your budget. If you spend a lot of time in the
kitchen, and love to cook, you probably want to invest more into a
cookware set. If you are a busy person who occasionally entertains, you
may or may not want to invest in a high end cookware set. There is a
type of cookware for every lifestyle and cooking interest.
said, this article will focus on Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware, with
other articles focusing on stainless steel, cast iron, etc. coming in
the future. Keep in mind, if you have an opportunity to borrow a piece
of friend's cookware to try, or ask your friends for their opinions
about the cookware they use, it will help you greatly in determining
which type of cookware suits you. Also, consider purchasing one piece
of cookware to test before you purchase an entire set, if the investment
isn't too great.
one of the best and most popular types of cookware for several reasons.
For professional and home chefs, the primary benefit of using this type
of cookware is the even heat distribution it offers. You'll find no hot
spots on the surface of Hard Anodized Cookware. This is very important
in that the food you are cooking will cook at the same rate regardless
where it is positioned in the pan or pot.
A characteristic of Hard
Anodized Aluminum is that it has an extremely smooth, virtually
non-porous surface. The great thing about this is that food doesn't
stick as easily as it will on other types of cookware with a more porous
surface. Another benefit to this is easier clean up.
Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware
is very strong. In fact, it is harder than stainless steel. It
resists abrasion and offers incredible durability for a long life. It
is not unusual for an owner to have this cookware for 20 or more years,
and remain completely satisfied with its performance and durability.
benefit of this cookware is that it withstands very high temperatures,
so that no transformation in the products occur. Again, Hard Anodized
Aluminum is very, very durable. In fact, it's difficult to damage it.
are even new Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware sets that are available
with a non-stick interior, which means very easy clean up and less fat
required to cook food. So, not only will this cookware offer superior
performance and durability, sets with nonstick surfaces makes your
cooking experience even more pleasant.
Professionals depend on the
reliability of Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware, and it is a very
popular choice with chefs at all skill levels. So, if you are
interested in cooking with the same cookware many pros use, Hard
Anodized Aluminum is a great choice. Add the non-stick feature to this
top performer, and you have the best of both worlds.
Thanks for stopping by CookProStoreBlog.com. You will find a selection of Hard Anodized Aluminum Cookware at http://www.cookprostore.com/rachael-ray-10-pc-hard-anodized-non-stick-cookware. And, if you make a purchase, we will include a free cookbook ($19.95) value with your order, while supplies last.
Magefesa Now at CookProStore.com
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