Wednesday, 28 November 2012

6 Tips to Easily Accommodate Unexpected Dinner Guests


 In today’s fast paced and economy conscious world most moms plan family dinners well ahead of time, and grocery shop accordingly. These plans work very well until an unexpected extra guest or two arrives on the scene. Don’t panic. You will be surprised at the options the everyday items in the pantry offer. Use the following tips to easily stretch your meal for four to a great meal for six. 


  • Make a quick soup to serve before the main course. Most of us have canned soups hiding in the pantry that can be used as is or spiced up with vegetables. Ramen noodles can be used, add some vegetables and garnish with sliced green onions. 
  • Make a super salad. Serve a nice salad before the main course, use garnishes such as sliced sweet peppers, boiled eggs and sliced tomatoes to make it special. 
  • Add bread. Make some quick garlic bread, or biscuits to go with the dinner. 
  • Add a dish to your main course. Consider adding macaroni and cheese, or make a rice dish to compliment your main course. 
  • Use leftovers as a side dish. Take a dish of leftovers out of the freezer and use as a side dish. Not enough for six? Take out a couple of dishes. 
  • Use a restaurant delivery service. Occasionally you will be faced with an unexpected guest that you want to impress, perhaps a co-worker or parents of your daughters or sons current paramour. For these occasions utilize restaurant delivery for one or two side dishes to compliment your meal and make yourself look like a master chef! 
Whether you add soup or salad (or both), breads or leftovers you will easily and economically have a meal that is fit for a king.

 TIP: If you find yourself having one or two extra teenagers as dinner guests use restaurant delivery for cheap pizza. Pizza is always a hit with teenagers, cut into small pieces and pile on a platter along with your planned meal.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Easy Salsa Chicken

Chicken, potatoes and salsa come together in this dish to make a tasty, easy summertime meal. Everything is cooked in aluminum foil packets in the oven or on the grill, ensuring a quick and easy clean-up. Use your favorite brand of store-bought salsa, or make it from scratch to lend a fresh and vibrant flavor to the dish.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Grocery Shop on a Budget

After almost 20 years in marketing in the food and beverage industry, I can tell you with all certainty that there are thousands and thousands of people making big bucks every day by thinking up devious ways to get you to spend more in the grocery store. In fact, premier researcher Paco Underhill has made a fortune from his book "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping." The book teaches marketers how to tug at your emotions so that you will buy their products.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Crockpot Beer Ribs

Summer is officially here, and it's time to dust off the grill, tune up the air conditioners and break out the bathing suits. But don't pack your crockpot away just yet. There are plenty of slow cooker meals that will free up your days and provide a healthy, summertime meal for you and your family.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Superbowl Family Traditions


Superbowl Sunday traditions have changed a bit since my children were younger. Back then, there were several families that would converge on my house the afternoon of the big event. Each family would bring a dish that was either finger foods, snacks or just hearty he-man fare. The wives would set out the buffet with hot foods being kept warm in crockpots or chafing dishes. Once everything was set, off we would go to dinner and a movie, leaving the men to watch the Superbowl and the kids. Read more...

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Picnics and the 4th of July

If you're looking for some great picnic recipes and ideas, your search stops here. Click here to see some great outdoor recipes including Munchies and Nibbles, Salads, Sides, Burgers, Poultry and Desserts.

Included are recipes for Grilled Clams, Bacon and Corn Salad, Brownie Bites, and more. You'll also get some quick tips on food safety for the warm summer sun.

Easy Picnic Recipes

Friday, 26 June 2009

The Great Lobster Roll Debate


How do you like your lobster rolls -- warm with lots of melted butter and lemon, or mixed with mayo and serve chilled? Click here to learn more about this delectable dish and get the recipes for the Connecticut Lobster Roll and the Maine Lobster roll. This is the perfect summertime lunch.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Kentucky Derby Fare: Mint Juleps



(Photo by joshleo)

No Kentucky Derby party would be complete without Kentucky Bourbon -- and lots of it. Bourbon actually got its name from Bourbon County, Kentucky where it was originally invented back in the 18th century. There are now almost 70 brands of original Kentucky Bourbon most notably Maker's Mark, Wild Turkey and Early Times. 

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Kentucky Derby Fare: Hot Browns


If you've never had a Hot Brown, you're in for a treat. This delectable sandwich was originally created as an alternative late-night ham and egg dishes at the Brown Hotel in Louisville in the 1920's. Although very rarely seen on menus outside of Kentucky, it is standard fare, particularly in the Louisville area, and a must-have on Derby weekend.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Kentucky Derby Fare: Burgoo


The Kentucky Derby, held at Churchill Downs the first Saturday of every May, is the longest running sports event of all time. I've never been to the Derby, but my dear friend, Kathy from Louisville, hasn't missed one in years and she talks about the experience extensively -- especially the food.

Burgoo is a soup that dates back to the Civil War times and is a traditional dish served to patrons of the Kentucky Derby. At Derby time, you'll see many street vendors making copious amounts of this tasty treat in huge metal vats.

There are many, many regional variations of this dish from light and thin to thick and hearty and from spicy to mild. This tomato-based version is a quick, light version of the original that is sure to please even the pickiest of palates.

Kentucky Burgoo

12 cups water
1 (3-pound) fresh whole chicken, cut up
2 pounds stew beef, diced
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 strips of bacon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 (16-ounce) cans whole tomatoes, undrained
1 cup peeled potato, cubed
2 cups chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
4 whole cloves
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 whole bay leaf
1 (15-ounce) can corn, drained
1 (10-ounce) packages frozen okra, thawed
2 (16-ounce) packages frozen lima beans, thawed

Combine water, chicken, stew beef, salt and pepper in a large stockpot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat, turning it down to medium low when it reaches a simmer, until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

Remove the chicken and beef. Reserve the broth. Skim any fat from the surface. Remove and discard the skin and bones and discard. Dice the meat and return to the pot.

In a heavy skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp, 7 or 8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain bacon, leaving the drippings in the skillet; crumble bacon and add to the stockpot. Add flour to the bacon drippings, return to burner and cook, stirring until smooth and starting to turn golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir this roux into the broth until dissolved.

Add tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onion, celery, green bell pepper, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, cloves, garlic and bay leaf. Cover and simmer for 1 hour; stirring often.

Remove the cloves and bay leaf. Add corn, okra and lima beans and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: Serves 12

Related Posts:

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Best of the Best

It's been a while since I've done any foodie blog reviews, but faced with a rainy Saturday morning, I decided to spend some roaming the blogosphere. Here are some of the gems that I discovered:

The Worst Cook Ever has a very humorous take on life, love and food. From 1950's advice such as "Every morning before breakfast, comb hair, apply make-up, a dash of cologne and perhaps some simple earrings..." to a recipe for "Gentleman Lover's Mashed Potatoes" to lessons on "Fingering Your Meat", this blog is absolutely going to make you smile.

The Frantic Home Cook will have you laughing, crying and drooling all at the same time as she shares her cooking projects with daughter, Eleven Year Old, and imparts her wisdom in posts like "30 Ways to Use a Hardboiled Egg".

You won't find a single recipe on Manolo's Food Blog, and yet I am sure that you will be as captivated as I am with this site. The posts are completely intriguing and spark lighthearted debate on subjects such as coldcuts and the lack of nutritious food at DisneyWorld. Mr. Henry has also made sure that his readers are exposed to gems like "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Monday, 24 March 2008

Leftover Ham Recipes: Hawaiian Pizza

While the thought of eating a pizza with pineapple on it makes my toes curl, Hawaiian Pizza is the only pizza that my oldest daughter will eat. While a classic Hawaiian Pizza is topped with Canadian Bacon, we have substituted some of that leftover Easter ham that you have in the refrigerator. Imagine your kids' surprise when you set this down on the dinner table tonight!

For this pie, you can use homemade or store-bought pizza dough, boboli pizza crusts, or split open an English muffin and make little Hawaiian Pizza snacks for the kids after school.

When it comes to the sauce, the classic Hawaiian Pizza is made with tomato sauce, although I personally would prefer this with a good barbecue sauce instead.

Hawaiian Pizza

Homemade or store-bought Pizza dough
Olive oil
1 cup pizza sauce or barbecue sauce
1-1/2 cups shredded mozzerella cheese
1 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks
3/4 cup ham, sliced thinly and cut into 1" squares
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Roll out pizza dough to make a 12" crust. Brush the entire crust with olive oil. Spoon sauce over the crust and spread out evenly with the back of the spoon, leaving a 1" crust around the edge.

Sprinkle the cheese over the sauce. Top with ham and pineapple.

Put on oiled baking sheet or on pizza stone for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is a golden brown.

Remove from oven. Top with chopped parsley. Cut into wedges and serve.

Additional Ham Recipes: