Category: Yummm and then some


Easy Food Hacks…

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1.) Cooking bacon with less mess
Place a rack in the lower third of the oven then preheat the oven to 400°F: . If you’re cooking multiple sheets of bacon, position a second rack in the top third of the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil (this makes cleanup easier) and arrange the bacon on a baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is golden-brown and crispy, it should take 15 to 20 minutes. Exact baking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you like it. Begin checking around 12 minutes to monitor how quickly the bacon is cooking. The bacon fat will sputter and bubble as the bacon cooks, but shouldn’t splatter the way it does on the stove top.

2.) Keeping that take home food order warm until you get home
Keep a hot water bottle / bag (like the ones most of us use for injuries or for the ladies the ones we use to help with cramps ) in the vehicle and when you go to pick up your order ask for some hot water. Put said hot water in the water bottle and place it under your take out order, between the heat from the food and the heat from the water bottle your food will stay warmer twice as long.

3.) The egg slicer has more than one use
–  If you have an egg slicer, did you know it also works wonders with slicing mushrooms, strawberries, grape tomatoes and many other small food items.

4.) How to quickly remove burnt bits from bread or other baked items
Did those cookies/biscuits you made get a little burnt on the bottom, no need to toss them all, just use a microplane grater on the bottom of them. All the yummy goodness of your freshly baked goodies without the burnt parts.

5.) No more cutting up butter for baking
– When a baking recipe calls for  butter, such as a fruit crisp or a breadcrumb-covered casserole (it adds richness and helps browning), grate chilled butter on the large holes of a flat grater to create uniform pieces that are easier to distribute.

6.)  Defrost meat on an aluminum tray
– If you can’t defrost in water (still the fastest method), aluminum is an excellent heat conductor and will cut the defrost time by about 30 percent, according to Serious Eats – much faster than a ceramic plate or plastic cutting board.

7.) D.I.Y cooking spray
– 1 part oil + 5 parts water + squirt bottle = cooking spray for half the cost of store bought

8.) Squeeze spinach with a sushi mat or potato ricer
– Smooshing thawed spinach in a strainer or wringing it out in a paper towel is messy and not very effective. You can easily remove the excess water in thawed spinach by rolling it in a sushi mat lined with a paper towel or gently squashing it in a potato ricer. This trick comes in handy when you’re making something like Easy Spinach Lasagna, spinach dip, spanakopita, and other recipes that call for frozen spinach to be thawed and drained.

9.) Save $200 and vacuum-seal food storage bags with a straw
– Use a straw to suck out excess air in a zip-top bag. Removing the air from storage bags protects the food better and helps it last a little longer. Note: You might not want to use this trick if you’re sealing up a bag of raw meat.

10.) The smarter way to chill wine
– Stop using ice cubes to chill your glass of wine and try throwing in some frozen grapes instead. All the greatness of a nicely chilled wine without it getting watered down.

11.) Make your banana’s last longer
– Tired of buying banana’s and having them ripe faster than you can eat them? Next time just wrap some plastic wrap around the top part of the bundle, it will slow down the process of them getting ripe.

12.) Minced garlic every time
–  Instead of trying to chop a clove of garlic into super small piece try using a microplaner instead. You’ll get perfect minced garlic every time.

 

 

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Popcorn is a yummy snack but can some times get boring, here are some ideas to change it up. I haven’t tried these with microwavable popcorn so here is my go to way on how to pop popcorn kernels.

What you will need:
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
2 tablespoons canola oil

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil along with a few popcorn kernels to a large, deep pot, and set on the stovetop over medium-high heat. Those few kernels are the key to knowing when the oil is hot enough to add the rest.

2. Once the first kernel pops, add 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels to the pot. Cover the pot with a splatter screen, or partially cover with a lid.

3. Gently shake the pot to prevent the kernels from burning, and cook until there’s about four or five seconds between pops. By that point, just about all of the kernels should be popped.

.:Side Note:.
A half-cup of kernels doesn’t seem like a lot, but it roughly makes 10 cups once it’s all popped.

 

Honey Brown Popcorn
What you will need:
1/4 cup of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of honey
1/2 teaspoon salt

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare popcorn as directed above.
2. In a small saucepan brown the unsalted butter.
3. Remove from the heat and whisk in  honey and salt.
4. Drizzle over the bowl of popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

 

Matcha & Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt
What you will need:
3 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 teaspoons of matcha powder
1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine 3 ounces of good-quality dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.

3.Sprinkle matcha powder over the popcorn and stir until the popcorn is well-coated.
4. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate set.

 

Dill Pickle
What you will need:
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried dill
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup of unsalted butter

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together ground coriander, dried dill, ground mustard, 1 garlic powder, onion powder, celery seed, citric acid, salt.

3. Melt the unsalted butter over low heat then drizzle the butter and sprinkle the herb mixture over the popcorn, then stir until the popcorn is well-coated.

 

Cookies & Cream
What you will need:
10 ounces of white chocolate
2 tablespoons coconut oil
12 Oreos (1 sleeve), crushed

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the white chocolate and coconut oil in a small saucepan, and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.

3. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the popcorn, top the crushed Oreos, and then stir until well-coated. Eat immediately or chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to let the chocolate
set.

 

Buffalo Wing Style Popcorn
What you will need:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot sauce (your favorite hot sauce will work just as well)

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the butter with the Frank’s Red Hot sauce in a small microwave-safe cup.
3. Heat on high power at 15 second intervals until completely melted.
4. Toss with popcorn in a large bowl and serve.

 

Cool Ranch Popcorn
What you will need:
2 tablespoons powdered buttermilk
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon popcorn salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine the powdered buttermilk,  ground black pepper, dried dill, and popcorn salt .
3. Drizzle the popcorn with the extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat.
4. Add the seasoning mix and toss again. Serve and enjoy

 

Lemongrass Chili Lime Popcorn
What you will need:
2 teaspoons grated zest from a lime
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon popcorn salt (or 2 teaspoons kosher salt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass stalk (the pale green and purple inner parts only), finely chopped

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Prepare the popcorn as directed above.
2. Combine lemongrass, lime zest, cream of tartar, sugar, chili powder, and popcorn salt. 3. Drizzle the popcorn with the extra-virgin olive oil in a large bowl and toss to coat.
4. Add the seasoning mix and toss again. Serve and enjoy.

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What you will need:
3-4 large zucchini
1 cup panko
2 eggs
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried basil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil or parchment paper, then set aside.

2. Combine 2 eggs in a small shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Combine the panko, parmesan cheese and spices in another bowl and set aside.
4. Prepare zucchini by trimming the ends and cutting into ½ inch strips or slices.
5. Dip zucchini strips into egg mixture then in breadcrumb mixture and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat until all the zucchini strips are coated with egg and breadcrumbs.

6. Bake in preheated oven, turning once, until golden and crisp, 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and crispy

 

.:Side Notes:.
If you can’t find panko feel free to use normal breadcrumbs, you can use already seasoned panko or breadcrumbs as well.

These are great to dip in a chipotle mayo, ranch, tzatziki, but your favorite dipping sauce will be great as well I’m sure.

If by some chance you have left overs DO NOT MICROWAVE, re-heat them in the oven and they will keep that crispy coating. I normally re-heat items like this on a non-stick baking sheet in the oven while it pre-heats to 425F.

If you want them super crispy you can do the breading part ( step 5 ) twice.

 

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What you will need:
1 piece of ginger, preferably 1-inch long
1 piece of turmeric root, preferably 1-inch long
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon honey
Ground pepper, just a pinch
A juicer

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Peel the ginger and turmeric root then juice it.
2. Mix with juice of 1 lemon, honey, and a pinch of black pepper.
3. Serve immediately.

 
.:Side Notes:.
This is a great go to if you feel a cold coming on. The immune-boosting, pain reliving benefits of ginger and the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric is just the thing your system need to help fight a cold.

If you don’t have a juicer that’s ok, you can use a blender just blend the ginger and turmeric root with the juice of the lemon and a little water and be sure to strain the concoction before you drink it.

If you can’t find turmeric root, powder works just fine.

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What you will need:
1/2 cup shortening, butter flavored 
1/4  cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl  cream together the shortening, butter, and sugars until light and fluffy (It takes about 4 minutes by hand, do it on medium speed if you’re using a mixer).

3. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine, remember to scrap down the sides of the bowl while mixing.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, soda, and salt.
5. Add to the butter / sugar mixture and mix until it lightly combined.
6. Add the white chocolate chips and the macadamia nut cookies.
7. Spoon onto the sheet pan lined with parchment paper, with about 2 inch spacing (I find a tablespoon works best).

8. Bake until lightly golden, about 10 to 12 minutes then cool on a wire rack.

Quinoa Onion Rings

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What you will need:
3/4 cup of flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large onion

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Preheat oven to 425F, then line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Slice onion into rings, approximately 3/4-inch thick.
3. In a bowl, whisk together batter ingredients: flour, cornstarch, milk, salt and water.
4. In another bowl, whisk together coating ingredients: quinoa, panko and spices.
5. Using your hands, dip an onion ring into batter, making sure to coat all sides.
6. Transfer ring to coating mixture and sprinkle all over
7. Place onion rings on baking sheet and repeat for the remaining rings.
8. Bake for 18 minutes, flipping once after 10 minutes. Feel free to broil them for a minute or two at the end to crisp.

.:Side Note:.
I find that normal sweet onion works best for these onion rings but you can easily use a large yellow onion.

I use normal all purpose white flour, but whole grain flour works well in this recipe as well.

This recipe can easily be dairy free just substitute soy milk in place of normal milk this recipe called for.

apple-chips


What you will need:
1 Ambrosia apple, thinly sliced
ground cinnamon
brown sugar

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
3. Wash the apple leaving the peel on.
4. Slice the apple very thin with a knife or a mandolin slicer.
5. Spread the apple slices onto the baking sheet making 1 single layer.
6. Sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.
7. Bake for 1.5 hours, flip the apples over, and bake for another 1.5 hours.
8. Let cool completely before storing in an air tight container.

.:Side Notes:.
For a crunchier result, turn the oven off and keep the apples inside for another 1/2 hour or so. The thicker apples may just be chewy and only slightly crunchy, the thinner will be very crunchy.

Store the chips in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

If you can’t find Ambrosia apples the following ones work just as good:
– Fuji
– Gala
– Honeycrsip
– Pinklady
– McIntosh
– Granny Smith

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What you will need:
2 quarts 100% apple juice
½ cup brown sugar
1 apple, unpeeled and cut in half
1 small naval orange, unpeeled and sliced into ¼-inch slices
2 tsp. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. allspice

 

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Carefully insert the whole cloves into the apple on both the flesh and skin sides.
2. Heat apple juice over medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven.
3. Once heated, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.

4. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Promptly remove the apple halves, orange slices, cinnamon sticks and any clove remnants from the pot.

6. Let cool but still serve while warm.


.:Side Note:.

You can make a big batch of this and keep it in the fridge to warm up again later or serve as a nice cool drink.

If you’re into garnishing your drinks try adding apple chips to the rim or a cinnamon stick in the glass.

If you want to make this an alcoholic Autumn drink try adding any of the following.
Whiskey
Cinnamon schnapps
Grand Marnier
Jagermeister
Brandy
Bourbon
A nicely spiced rum, I suggest Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum or if you can find it Kraken Blacked Spiced Rum

Sweet Potato Chip

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What you will need:
1 large sweet potato
2 tsp olive oil OR oil spray, for fat-free potato chips
1/4 tsp salt

*optional sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder, rosemary, cayenne, or any other spices you wish

Steps to yummy goodness:
1. Heat the oven to 300 F
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a wire cooling tray over the baking sheet.

3. Peel the sweet potato if desired, then slice the sweet potato as thinly as possible, using a mandolin if you have one.

4. Try to cut the chips as evenly as possible so that they all take around the same time to bake without some burning while others are not yet crispy.

5. Soak in water for 10minutes to remove some of the starch, which helps them get crispier.

6. Pat dry, place in a large bowl, and toss with the oil or spray.
7. Toss with the spices, arrange the slices on a single layer on the cooling tray and then place on the middle rack in your oven.

8. Bake for 40 minutes.
9. Open the oven and remove any chips that are already starting to get crispy.
10. Continue baking the rest of the chips up to 20 minutes longer, being sure to keep an eye on them once they start to curl up. Once they start to look browned and a little crispy, remove, let cool, serve and enjoy.

.:Side Note:.
This recipe works great with yams or normal potatoes.

Serve and eat by themselves or use a ranch dressing for a  dipping option.

Flavor ice cubes are a great idea to keep your Summer drinks cool but not have them watered down by the melting ice. Here are some of my favorite flavored ice cube recipes.

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Strawberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen strawberries and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

Mint Ice Cubes:
Fill the ice cubes trays half way with water and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Remove and top the partially frozen cubes with fresh chopped mint, then fill with additional filtered water as needed. Place back in the freezer until frozen.

Pomegranate Ice Cubes:
Take a couple tablespoons of pomegranate seeds and place them in a small amount of  water. Using the edge of a knife crush the seeds to release the flavorful juices. Pour the mixture into the ice cube trays, toss a few additional pomegranate seeds in each cavity, and place in the freezer until frozen.

Pineapple and Raspberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen pineapple chunks and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

For the raspberry cubes, follow the same directions as above. These are also fun to do as a half and half ice cube. Just fill the ice cube tray half way with one mixture, freeze, then repeat with the other mixture.

BlackBerry and Blueberry Ice Cubes:
Puree fresh or frozen blueberries and mix in a small amount of water. The consistency should be thick but pourable.  Fill ice cubes trays with the puree and place in the freezer until frozen.

For the blackberry cubes, follow the same directions as above. These are also fun to do as a half and half ice cube. Just fill the ice cube tray half way with one mixture, freeze, then repeat with the other mixture.

Lemon and Mint Ice Cubes:
Squeeze 2-4 lemons. Combine the lemon juice with a small amount of water. Fill ice cube trays with the juice mixture, sprinkle with dried lemon peel granules and and diced mint then place in the freezer until frozen.

Coffee Ice Cubes:
Don’t dump that last little bit of this mornings coffee down the drain, fill the ice cube tray and let it freeze to make a nice iced coffee later on this afternoon.