12 wooden skewers

1 small bunch of green onions, trimmed & coarsely chopped (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and quartered

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

3/4 cup Carapelli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio

3/4 cup fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

24 Alaska Sea Scallops and/or Alaska Prawns

2 medium bell peppers, cored and cut in wedges

3 large leeks, washed and cut into large chunks OR 12
Cippolini onions, skinned

12 medium to large button mushrooms

Prior to grilling, soak wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

In food processor or blender, pulse green onions, jalapeño, thyme, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, wine and ginger until mixture is almost smooth. Pour half of the mixture into a large resealable plastic bag. Add Alaska Scallops and/or Prawns; seal bag and turn several times to coat. Marinate, refrigerated, 15 to 30 minutes. Cover and reserve remaining marinade.

Preheat grill or broiler/oven to medium-high heat. Remove seafood from marinade; discard bag of marinade. Thread seafood and vegetables onto skewers. Place skewers onto a grill or broiling pan brushed with Carapelli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil and cook, 5 to 6 inches from heat, for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Turn once during cooking. Cook just until seafood is opaque throughout.

Drizzle reserved marinade over skewers just before serving.

Recommended wine pairing: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Grigio

Makes 6 servings

Nutrients per serving: 375 calories, 29g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 69% calories from fat, 20mg cholesterol, 12g protein, 15.5g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 116mg sodium, 51mg calcium and .5g omega-3 fatty acids.

Marshmallow swizzle sticks

Makes 10

Time to prepare: 20 mins (plus chilling)
Cals per stick: 135

100g (4oz) milk chocolate
200g packet marshmallows
45ml (3tbsp) chocolate strands
45ml (3tbsp) sugar hundreds and thousands

1. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Leave until the chocolate has melted.
2. Thread 3 marshmallows on to a long wooden skewer and spoon some of the melted chocolate over the marshmallows to coat. Gently shake off any excess chocolate.
3. Sprinkle liberally with chocolate strands or hundreds and thousands to cover the chocolate completely. Place the skewers on a cooling rack.
4. Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows to make about 10 swizzle sticks in total. Chill in the fridge for 30 mins until set.

Top tip: For a variation, replace the milk chocolate with white or plain chocolate and dip them in desiccated coconut or chocolate shavings.

Mini fish pie faces

Serves: 4-6
Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins

2 x 450g packets ready made, chilled creamy mashed potato
25g butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and roughly chopped
2 tbsp flour
250g cod fillet, skinned and cut into cubes (approx 3cm)
250g salmon fillet, skinned and cut into cubes (approx 3 cm)
1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
200ml milk
salt and pepper
75g Cheddar cheese, grated
1 egg lightly beaten
Carrot for hair (use zester to make long thin strips)
Salad cress for hair
Red pepper for lips
Baby sweetcorn for nose
Spring onion, mini cucumber and peas for eyes
Blanched French beans for moustache
Blanched cauliflower for ears
Cherry tomatoes for cheeks
Basil for bow-tie

1. Melt butter in a saucepan, add the onion and sauté for 5 mins. Add the chopped tomato and cook for 2 mins.
2. Add the flour and stir for about 30 seconds.
3. Add the fish to the onion and tomato together with the parsley and bay leaf. Pour over the milk and season to taste. Simmer for about 4 mins until the fish is cooked through. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cheese until melted.
4. Divide the fish between the ramekin dishes (makes 4 to 6 portions according to size of dish) and top with the mashed potato.
5. Brush beaten egg over the surface of the mashed potato.
6. Cook in an oven pre-heated to 180C for 15 mins and finish off for a few mins under a pre-heated grill until golden.
7. Decorate the pies with faces - children will enjoy designing their own if you give them a selection of vegetables.

Turkey munchkin (Kids Ideas)

This cute little munchkin is a must for kids parties, and great for getting fussy eater's to tuck in.

Preparation: 25 mins

Calories per serving: 265
Fat per serving: 4.3g

170g/ 6oz wafer thin turkey ham
4 Small floured rolls
Butter or margarine
Mayonnaise or salad cream
8 Cherry tomatoes
8 Raisins or sultanas
8 Cucumber slices

1. Cut rolls in half and spread with butter or margarine.
2. Cut a 'v' shape out of the front of the upper half of the rolls to create teeth.
3. Spread rolls with mayonnaise or salad cream if required.
4. Place pieces of turkey ham onto the bottom half of the roll, and top with curly lettuce. Ensure turkey ham and lettuce spills out of the sides.
5. Place top half of roll onto the lettuce layer.
6. Push a cherry tomato and then a sultana or raisin, onto a cocktail stick. Push cocktail sticks into the top of the roll to make the munchkin's eyes.
7. Place 2 slices of cucumber underneath the front of each roll to form the feet.
8. Serve with vegetable sticks or a healthy apple.

Chicken and mushroom stroganoff

This comforting dinner is simple to make, ready in minutes and will warm you from the inside out

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 15 mins

4 chicken skinless fillets cut into strips
1 knob of butter
2tsp oil
1 small onion, finely sliced
150g (5oz) mushrooms, sliced
75ml (0.15pint) white wine
75ml (0.15pint) chicken stock
1tsp whole grain mustard
150ml (0.3pint) soured cream
bunch of fresh parsley or thyme, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan. Cook the onion for 3 - 4 mins until soft and beginning to colour. Add the chicken and cook for 5 - 7 mins until golden brown.
2. Add the mushrooms; cook until soft and most of the liquid has simmered off.
3. Add the wine and boil for 5 mins to reduce by half. Then add the stock, mustard and soured cream and bring to the boil. Season and add the parsley.
4. Serve immediately over noodles or rice.

Sophie Conran's cream of chicken soup with tarragon

This elegant, velvety soup has been an English favourite at state banquets and sophisticated dinner parties for centuries. So why not serve it at yours?

Serves: 4-6

For the broth:
1 whole chicken, about 1.3kg/3lb
1 carrot, peeled
1 rib of celery, cleaned and trimmed
1 onion, peeled
1 sprig of fresh tarragon
1 leek, cleaned, trimmed and cut in half
1 bay leaf
200ml/7fl oz white wine

For the soup:
50g/2oz butter
50g/2oz plain flour
150ml/5fl oz best double cream
1 handful of chopped fresh tarragon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put all the ingredients for the broth in a pan and almost bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and gently bubble for 1½ hours until the chicken is tender. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly, then pop the chicken on a plate to cool, strain the stock and discard the vegetables.
2. Return the stock to the heat and cook at a rolling boil for 20 - 30 minutes or until the stock has a good flavour. Strain well.
3. In another large pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Continue stirring as it bubbles for a couple of minutes, without browning, and then pour in half the stock. Stir well until you have a thickish sauce and then add the rest of the stock and boil for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Meanwhile, remove the skin and bones from one of the chicken breasts and cut into little chunks (keep the rest of the chicken for sandwiches, salads or chicken pie). Add to the pan with the cream and tarragon. Season to taste, heat through and serve immediately with white toast and fine butter.

Mid-week chicken pie

4 skinless chicken fillets cut into chunks
2tsp olive oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
600g (12oz) tomato pasta sauce
125g (5oz) button mushrooms, halved
125g (5oz) red pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
375g (9oz) ready rolled puff pastry
Beaten egg, to glaze
Potatoes and vegetables, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F /gas 7.
2. Roll out the pastry onto a floured board. Cut 6 oval shapes and place on a baking sheet. Score the pastry with a sharp knife and brush each shape with the beaten egg.
3. Place them in the oven and bake for 15 mins or until browned and puffed up.
4. While the pastry is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat. Add the chicken and leeks and cook for 5-6 mins or until lightly browned.
5. Add the mushrooms and red pepper and cook for a further 3 mins. Pour over the tomato sauce and continue heating gently for 5 mins.
6. Spoon the chicken mix onto the serving plates and top with the pastry lid. Serve with potatoes and a selection of vegetables.

Incredible Chicken

  • 4 skinless chicken breast fillets
  • 12 slices hickory bacon strips
  • 4 medium portabella mushrooms
  • 1 large white onion
  • sea salt
  • 1 bundle fresh leaf spinach
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic
  • 4 thick slices cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices toasted French bread

Cook slices of bacon in large skillet on medium to high heat, until crispy. Remove bacon strips, drain on paper towel and set aside. Cook chicken in bacon drippings on medium heat, until golden brown. Remove, drain on paper towel and set aside. Slice onion, garlic cloves, and portabella mushrooms. Cook together in bacon drippings, on medium to high heat, until tender and caramel in color. Remove and set aside in bowl. In same skillet, arrange cooked chicken breast, salt to taste, topping with 2 slices cooked bacon on each breast. Pile the onion, garlic and mushrooms on top. Add the bunch of fresh spinach, covering the entire pan of chicken arrangement. Place lid on top of skillet and steep on low heat until spinach is limp, but still bright in color. Remove lid. Add 1 slice cheddar cheese for each chicken breast, replace lid until cheese is melted. Remove from heat. Using spatulla, place each individual chicken breast on top of toasted french bread on each serving plate. Crush remaining bacon strips and sprinkle on top of each breast. Serve hot with a side salad or cold pasta/veggie dish.

Notes: This whole dish takes less than 30 minutes, is beautiful, and tastes incredible.

Lemon Chicken With Roasted Garlic

8 skinless boneless chicken thighs, washed and patted dry
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 10-15 whole peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the garlic in a roasting pan. Lay the chicken thighs over the garlic cloves. Top the chicken with the remaining ingredients and season well with salt and pepper. Roast in 400 degree oven, turning occasionally until the chicken is golden and most of the broth/juice has evaporated, leaving only olive oil in the pan. Remove the chicken and garlic cloves from the pan leaving the olive oil behind. Serve the chicken garnished with the whole roasted garlic cloves and additional lemon wedges.

Notes: The chicken in this dish is succulent and the garlic is soft, mild and delicious.

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookie


1 cup sugar (220 g)
1/3 cup (75 g) butter, softened
1 large egg
½ cup (55 g) all-purpose flour (- perhaps a little more)
½ cup (50 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 oz (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F (190 deg C).
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter with sugar, add the egg and mix for one minute.
  3. Add vanilla, baking soda, flour and cocoa and mix well.
  4. Add chocolate chips.
  5. Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Drop by rounded large tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake the chocolate chip cookies for 8 to 12 minutes. Always try first with 1-2 cookies to check whether the dough is OK. You might need to add a little more flour.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for a few minutes, then move the cookies to a wire rack.

The best result is obtained if you use chocolate chips made especially for baking. You may also cut chocolate bars into small chips, but these will melt during baking (as on the photo above).


You may also add nuts, smarties or chopped white chocolate in addition to the chocolate chips

Scandinavian Brownies


1+1/3 cup (150 g) all-purpose flour
1+½ cup (330 g) sugar
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (170 g) butter
3 fl oz (0.9 dl) boiling water
3 eggs
4 oz (120 g) chocolate chips (40-50% cocoa)
5 oz (150 g) chopped walnuts or pecan nuts


1/3 cup (75 g) butter
8 oz (220 g) sweet or semisweet dark chocolate
2 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoon hot espresso or very strong coffee


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F (Gas mark 4 or 180 deg C).
  2. Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) cake tin with grease proof or other non-stick paper and grease the tin.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  4. In a bowl combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and vanilla extract.
  5. Add eggs, melted butter and hot water and mix until smooth.
  6. Add chocolate chips and nuts.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  8. Cool the cake. Glace with the chocolate frosting.
  9. For the frosting, mix butter, chopped chocolate, syrup and coffee and heat in a double boiler until melted. Stir until smooth and spread over the cake.


  1. For these brownies you may instead use frosting with cocoa powder.
  2. You may add 1 tablespoon of espresso mix to brownie batter and use only semi-sweet ghiradelli chocolate chips and baking chocolate for the best result.

Easy Chocolate Cake


1+¼ cup (140 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (dutched/dark)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 pinches salt
1 cup (220 g) sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla essence
½ cup (1.2 dl) milk or water
½ cup (1.2 dl) vegetable oil (flavorless)
2 eggs

Ingredients for frosting

2/3 cup (1.6 dl) heavy cream or whipping cream
9 oz (260 g) semisweet chocolate (40-50% cocoa)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F (Gas mark 4 or 180 deg C)
  2. Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) cake tin.
  3. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, sugar and vanilla essence in a bowl.
  4. Add milk/water, vegetable oil and eggs.
  5. Mix everything together until smooth, either by hand or by using an electric mixer at slow speed. If the batter is too runny you may add slightly more flour.
  6. Transfer to bake tin and bake at 350 degrees until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 35 to 45 minutes.
  7. After the cake has cooled, slice the cake through the middle to make two layers (easier if the cake has been in the fridge).


  1. Heat 2/3 cup (1.6 dl) of heavy cream or whipping cream in a sauce pan.
  2. Remove from heat, add 9 oz (260 g) of finely chopped dark semisweet chocolate, stir until smooth, and let it cool until in thickens, if needed in the fridge.
  3. Use one 1/3 of the frosting between the two layers, 1/3 on top, and the rest around the cake. Put the cake into the fridge for one hour or more to harden the frosting.
  4. This cake should have room temperature when served.


  1. You may substitute 1-2 tablespoons of cream with rum for the frosting.
  2. You may cut the top of the cake to make a flat surface before adding the frosting.
  3. If you are making it for someone's birthday I would suggest doubling the recipe because this recipe makes for a short, thin cake (suggested by Cyrus, August 2008)
  4. If you prefer a slightly sweeter frosting you may add a couple of teaspoons of honey to the frosting (suggested by Debbie Evans, August 2008)
  5. Instead of vanilla extract, you may use an equivalent amount of freeze dried coffee (Suggested by Carol, October 2008)
  6. You may use ½ cup of freshly brewed coffee instead of milk or water to get mocca flavor (Suggested by Noreen, January 2009)

8-Minute Cheesecake

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup non-dairy whipped topping
1 (9-inch) graham cracker pie crust
1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  1. In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese until softened; gradually add sugar. Blend in sour cream and vanilla until well mixed. Gently fold in non-dairy whipped topping, blending well.
  2. Spoon into prepared graham cracker crust and chill. Garnish with sliced strawberries.

Makes 8 servings.

Dinnertime Pizzazz
for Less than $10

  • Buy on sale. Check weekly ads in-store and online for deals.
  • Try the store brands. Brands like Archer Farms and Market Pantry at Target and SuperTarget taste great and cost less than national brands.
  • Plan a weekly menu. Use that as a basis for your shopping list. You'll stretch your dollars and your leftovers. Last night's roast chicken is a perfect filling for taco night. Sautee the remaining shredded chicken with onion, warm up corn tortillas and add salsa, guacamole and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Buy larger portions on sale to split up into smaller packages or freeze.
  • Make it a challenge. Bring the family to the grocery store and challenge everyone to come up with a meal for $10 or less.

Don't think a family meal for less than $10 is possible? It's not only possible; it's a piece of cake to make. Try the following delicious recipes using Market Pantry ingredients from Target:

  • Enchilada Lasagna Pie (Click to view recipe)
  • Salad with Mexican Vinaigrette: Stir two tablespoons chopped cilantro into 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing. Serve over mixed greens, tomatoes and green onions.
  • A Twist on Flan: Spoon caramel ice cream topping over a dish of vanilla pudding. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Date night doesn't have to mean dinner and a movie out on the town. When you throw in a babysitter your simple night out could cost more than $100. Stay in, rent a movie and make the following recipe for a delicious homemade dinner. Prepare frozen spinach and artichoke purses as an appetizer, an artisan French petite loaf and a mixed salad for course number two and warm some prepared molten lava cakes topped with whipped cream for dessert. You've got a restaurant-quality experience on your home turf. Candles optional.

Eat in, Spice up and Save Money

With more and more of us cooking for ourselves to save money, it makes sense to assemble an assortment of basic herbs and spices. It's an easy, economical way to add fun to your cooking and flavor to your food.

Before we get started, you may need to freshen up your spice rack and now is the perfect time to reorganize and restock. Bottled herbs and spices have a long shelf life, but after they've been unsealed, they lose their robust flavor and color intensity-- usually within a year, even if they're kept in a closed-door pantry. Bulk herbs and spices also have a similar flavor and color timeline.

Perhaps you're setting up your seasoning supplies for the first time. In any case, just a few common spices will enhance almost any dish you make. "Simple dishes become deliciously elegant when paired with the right herbs and spices," says Kendall McFarland, product development manager and food specialist at Frontier Natural Products Co-op. But which spices should you choose as basic staples for your kitchen?

The spices you'll reach for the most will depend on your personal preferences, of course. To discover your favorites, you may want to buy from bulk bins, so you can experiment with small quantities. Combine herbs and spices to complement each other and perk up the flavor of other ingredients. Most spices and seasonings are available in organic versions -- use them to boost the flavor of your meals. Always start with a light touch -- your seasonings should accent dishes, not dominate them.

The question of which herbs and spices are the best to keep on hand has as many different answers as there are cooks," says McFarland. But there are some constants. Here are her recommendations for eight herbs and spices no kitchen should be without:

1. Garlic is compatible with virtually every savory food and is available in a number of convenient dried forms. Just the aroma of garlic can speed guests to your table. Use it in tomato-based dishes, dressings, sausage, and spice blends. Or sprinkle it on buttered bread before broiling.
2. Onion seasons cuisines world-wide. The many varieties play various roles -- primary ingredient, vegetable accompaniment, or seasoning. The earthy aroma and taste of onion comes in several convenient dried forms. Use onions in casseroles, soups, sauces, vegetable dishes, relishes, breads and stuffing.
3. Paprika is a sweet and sassy relative of the chili pepper. It's used to add warm, natural color and mildly spicy flavor to soups, grains, and a variety of hors d'ouvres. A shake or two livens up cheeses and garlic bread. Try it in spreads, salads, egg dishes, marinades and smoked foods.
4. Parsley leaf brightens up soups, dressings, salads, casseroles, and stuffing -- any dish that might gain from fresh green color and clean, vegetable taste. It's especially good with fish, egg, and grain dishes.
5. Cinnamon wins the spice world's popularity contest. Use it to add depth of flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike. It's a key baking ingredient and vegetables -- especially carrots, spinach and onions -- are enhanced by cinnamon's pungent sweetness.
6. Basil has a warm, sweet, mild mint/peppery flavor that is delicious with vegetables, especially tomatoes. Add to soups and stews, sauces and dressings. Basil pairs well with many other seasonings.
7. Oregano has a strong personality, but it partners well with other seasonings. Use in any tomato sauce, and on baked chicken and fish. Earthy and pungent, -- it has a special affinity for basil. Team them up in vegetable, cheese, pasta and tomato dishes, and especially pizza.
8. Rosemary adds texture and taste to meats, marinades, dressings, ,and casseroles. Potato salad is lost without it. Try this distinct, pungent taste in egg salad and stir fries, too. It even enhances soups.

Sweet & White Scalloped Potatoes with Parmesan & Thyme

The layers of sweet and white potatoes nestled in a creamy sauce, accented with Parmesan and thyme, make this twist on a classic dish a welcome change.

Sweet & White Scalloped Potatoes with Parmesan & Thyme
1 can (12 fluid ounces) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
2 teaspoons MAGGI Reduced Sodium Chicken Flavor Instant Bouillon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 cups (1 1/2 pounds) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups (1/2 pound) sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) BUITONI Refrigerated Freshly Shredded Parmesan Cheese
  1. Heat evaporated milk, bouillon, onion powder and thyme in large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil and bouillon is dissolved. Add potatoes.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to boil. Cover; reduce heat to low. Cook, rearranging potatoes gently and occasionally, for 35 to 40 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cheese; serve immediately

Makes 8 servings.

Cooking Tip: For quick and consistently thin potato slices, use the slicing blade of a food processor.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories 170; Calories from Fat 40 % Daily Value; Total Fat 4.5 g 7 %; Saturated Fat 3 g 15 %; Cholesterol 20 mg 6 %; Sodium 280 mg 12 %; Carbohydrates 22 g 7 %; Dietary Fiber 3 g 11 %; Sugars 6 g; Protein 7 g; Vitamin A 100 %; Vitamin C 45 %; Calcium 20 %; Iron 6 %

Three Vegetable Bake
3 cups coarsely chopped red or other waxy potatoes (3 medium)
1 cup peeled and coarsley chopped parsnip (1 medium)
3 cups fresh broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
3 tablespoons butter, divided use
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (12-ounce) can NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1 MAGGI® Vegetable Bouillon Cubes
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  1. PREHEAT oven to 350º F.
  2. MICROWAVE potatoes and parsnip in covered, medium microwave-safe casserole dish on HIGH (100%) power for 9 minutes; drain. Return to dish; top with broccoli.
  3. MELT 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour; cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Gradually stir in evaporated milk, bouillon and pepper; cook stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until bouillon is dissolved and sauce is slightly thickened. Pour sauce over vegetables.
  4. MICROWAVE remaining butter in small, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 10 to 20 seconds or until melted. Stir in bread crumbs until combined. Sprinkle over vegetables; cover.
  5. BAKE for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake for additional 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Avocado with Sesame Soy Dressing

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
2 chilled firm-ripe California avocados
12 butter lettuce leaves, rinsed and dried
2 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted lightly
  1. In a medium bowl whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, oil, sugar, and a pinch of salt until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Halve, pit, and peel avocado and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Add avocado to dressing and gently turn to coat.
  3. Line 4 salad plates with lettuce and divide avocado and dressing between them. Sprinkle sesame seeds over avocado

Turkey Supper Salad

4 green onions, chopped, divided use
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 1/2 cups julienne cooked turkey
1/2 cup julienne sweet red pepper
  1. For the dressing: Whisk together in small bowl, 2 tablespoons green onions, garlic, oil, vinegar poultry seasoning, honey, salt and pepper; set aside.
  2. Combine salad greens, turkey, red pepper and remaining green onions in large bowl; toss with Dressing just before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Pumpkin Maple Sauce (recipe follows)
Optional: chopped nuts
  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl. Combine milk, pumpkin, egg and vegetable oil in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy.
  2. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with Pumpkin Maple Sauce and nuts.

Makes 8 servings.

For Pumpkin Maple Sauce: Heat 1 cup pure maple syrup, 1 1/4 cups LIBBY'S 100% pure pumpkin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in small saucepan until warm.

Elegant Baked Eggs
1/2 cup blanched spinach, well drained
2 Large Chino Valley fresh eggs
1 tablespoon crumbled cooked bacon
1/2 tablespoon rninced parsley
1 tablespoon cream
  1. Preheat oven to 40O*F. For each serving, butter an oven-proof baking dish.
  2. Place spinach in bottom of dish. Break eggs over the mixture and sprinkle with bacon and parsley.
  3. Drizzle with cream. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until yolks are thickened.

Makes 1 serving.

Cooking Tip:
To blanch fresh spinach, place1 teaspoon oil in non-stick fry pan over high heat. Add spinach and 1 tablespoon water, cover and let cook about 1 minute.

Bake eggs on a bed of any vegetables..ratatouille, sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, refried beans, hash, crushed tomatoes. Top with grated cheese.

Nutrition Information per serving:
Calories 200, Protein 16 g., Carbohydrates 4 g., Fat 13 g., Cholesterol 434 mg., Sodium 229 mg., Iron 2 mg.

Mushroom Pasta Pilaf

1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 1/3 cups uncooked ring, orzo or other small pasta
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can beef consomme, undiluted
1 cup water
1 (7-ounce) can mushroom stems and pieces, undrained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in butter until tender.
  2. Add remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until pasta is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Lemon Couscous

2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup couscous
  1. Combine all ingredients except couscous in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, uncovered, and remove from heat. Stir in couscous, let stand 5 minutes, covered, and fluff with a fork.

Makes 4 servings.

Salsa Italiana

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato sauce
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons crushed dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons crushed dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet to medium-high. Sauté onion and parsley for about 4 minutes until softened; add garlic, cooking until garlic is aromatic but not brown.
  2. Lower heat to medium; add tomato sauce and mushrooms. Pour in water and wine followed by basil, oregano, salt, sugar and pepper. Stir to blend. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Ladle salsa over grilled and broiled meats, pasta, gnocchi or use as a dipping sauce for chunks of crusty bread.

Makes 8 servings.

Moroccan Roasted Chicken

1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
1/2 preserved lemon*
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small onion, chopped roughly
1 carrot, peeled and chopped roughly
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cups boiling water
1 (16-ounce) bottle pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  1. Wash chicken and gently pull loose the skin. Set aside.
  2. In food processor, combine preserved lemon, olive oil, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne pepper. Grind to smooth paste. Rub marinade under chicken skin and inside cavity. Place chicken in refrigerator and marinate at least 2 hours, or overnight.
  3. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).
  4. In large roasting pan, combine onion, carrot, cinnamon stick, sugar and boiling water. Place chicken in pan and cook in preheated oven 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F (175°C) and turn chicken over; cook another 20 minutes. Turn chicken over again and cook 20 minutes; turn chicken final time and cook additional 20 minutes. Baste chicken with pan juices during each turn.
  5. While chicken is cooking, place pomegranate juice in small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced to about 1/4 cup.
  6. Remove chicken to cutting board and let rest for 15 minutes. Place drippings from pan in medium saucepan; add reduced pomegranate juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook 15 minutes to thicken. Stir in mint.

Makes 6 servings.

*To make homemade preserved lemons, cut 4 large lemons into 8 wedges each. In mixing bowl, toss with 2/3 cup salt and 1 cup fresh lemon juice. Transfer to large glass jar and cover with tight-fitting lid. Let lemons stand at room temperature for one week, shaking jar each day. Add olive oil to cover lemons and store, covered and refrigerated, up to 6 months

Chicken Paillards with Orange-Thyme Butter

4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons almonds, ground
1 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  1. Prepare orange-thyme butter by combining butter, ground almonds, orange juice, thyme leaves, orange zest, salt and pepper in small bowl. Mix well. Transfer onto a piece of plastic wrap. Roll into a 1-inch diameter cylinder; secure ends by twisting plastic. Chill butter until firm, about 2 hours.
  2. Open chicken breast halves and “butterfly” each piece by making a cut in the thickest part of the breast. Spread open chicken breasts between sheets of parchment or plastic wrap; pound to an even 1/4-inch thickness to make a paillard.
  3. Prepare gas or charcoal grill. Sprinkle chicken breasts with additional salt and pepper; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Place on grill and cook, turning, until done throughout, about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until done.
  4. To serve, top each paillard with a slice of orange-thyme butter.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Analysis, Per Serving: 330 calories; 24 g fat; 9 g saturated fat; 1 g carbohydrate

Zippy Cheese Artichoke Oven Omelet

3/4 cup picante sauce or salsa (hot or mild)
1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup (1-ounce) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup (4-ounces) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup (4-ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
6 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) carton sour cream
Tomato wedges (optional)
Parsley sprigs (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Butter a 10-inch quiche dish. Spread the picante sauce on the bottom. Distribute the chopped artichokes evenly over the picante sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the artichokes. Sprinkle with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese.
  3. Blend the eggs in a blender until smooth. Add the sour cream to the eggs and blend until mixed. Pour the egg mixture over the cheeses.
  4. Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until set.
  5. Cut into wedges and serve garnished with tomato wedges and parsley.

Makes 6 servings.

Swiss Steak Piperade

1 3/4 pounds boneless beef chuck shoulder or eye or bottom round steaks, cut 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, thinly sliced *
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups hot cooked pasta or rice for accompaniment
  1. Heat oven to 325°F (160°C).
  2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Brown beef steaks. Pour off drippings. Season with salt, garlic powder, thyme and pepper.
  3. Sprinkle onion and jalapeno peppers on steaks. Add 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook in 325°F oven 45 minutes. Add tomatoes and bell peppers. Continue cooking, covered, 30 to 45 minutes or until steaks are fork-tender. Remove steaks; keep warm.
  4. Cook juices over high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Cut steaks into serving-size pieces; place in sauce. Serve over pasta.

Makes 4 servings.

* The heat of peppers is in the membrane and seeds. If you prefer less heat, use a sharp paring knife to halve the pepper and remove the membrane and seeds prior to slicing.

Crabby's Grilled Cheese

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, extra for spreading
4 slices Italian or Vienna bread
2 slices Muenster cheese, halved
2 slices Monterey Jack cheese, halved
1/4 cup flaked white or blue crabmeat, fresh and/or canned
2 thin slices red onion
  1. Sauté pepper in 1 tablespoon butter in skillet.
  2. Butter each slice of bread on one side.
  3. Place 2 bread slices, buttered side down, on top of pepper in skillet.
  4. On each slice of bread, layer 1/2 slice Muenster cheese, 1/2 slice Monterey Jack cheese, 2 tablespoons crabmeat, and half of the onions.
  5. Top each with remaining 1/2 slice Muenster cheese, 1/2 slice Monterey Jack cheese and bread, buttered side up.
  6. Grill over medium-low heat, turning carefully, until golden brown.

Vegan Chocolate Tart

Brought to you by Vegan Chocolate Company
For the Ganache:
6 cups soy milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod discarded
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Earl Grey tea
5 cups chopped Xocai chocolate Power Squares
For the Ganache:
6 cups soy milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped and pod discarded
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp. Earl Grey tea
5 cups chopped Xocai chocolate Power Squares

1. In a bowl, combine the soy milk and vanilla bean scraping. Set aside.
2. Bring the water to a simmer. Add the tea and steep for 15 minutes. Strain and then pore over the Xocai chocolate.
3. Stir in the soy milk mixture until dissolved.
4. Pour into the pre-baked crusts and let cool for 3 to 4 hours.

All the Xocai products are made from natural ingredients, such as unprocessed natural cacao. The chocolate is full of the healthy Omega - 3 and the Omega - 6 fat acids, all the essential amino acids, iron, calcium and proteins that are similar to the protein composition that is found in fresh eggs. Xocai dark chocolate products contain other healthy and delicious ingredients such as açai berries, blueberries and also concord grapes which are super foods known for being high in antioxidants. The effects of the dark chocolate can be astonishing. In some cases whole diseases have been eradicated after a period of consuming some of the products offered by Xocai. Some people who have used it have seen some vast improvements in their general quality of life.
More studies are concluding that chocolate not only tastes great it has numerous health benefits. As far as your oral health is concerned cocoa and dark chocolate can reduce the bacteria in the mouth, reduce bleeding gums, reduce reduction of the gums, enhance breath odor and dramatically reduce the risk of cavities. Most people don’t realize that chocolate is so nutriant-rich. The level of antioxidants in chocolate can be compared to many fruits and vegetables. Hundreds of studies have proven that cocoa can reduce the risk of mood and emotional dissorders. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis has forever been connected to inflammation.
Research today shows that there are also connections between inflammation and conditions like cancer, allergies, hormone imbalances, Alzheimer’s and of course cardiovascular disease. Doctors today know that this is the case and now test for these heart conditions earlier than in pervious history.
Cocoa that has high levels of flavanol can be very effective in counteracting inflammation. Doctor’s in Germany have discovered that the cocoa polyphenols neutralized compounds that are inflamed and cause artery disease. The tested 20 different individuals with astounding results. They also reconfirmed that cocoa protects the cardiovascular system as a whole.

Dr Phil's Recipes - Discover Top Diet Recipes by Dr Phil

Dr. Phillip C. Mc Graw, a life strategist is the host of nationally syndicated series - Dr. Phil. He has written several books. This health expert features in Oprah Winfrey show on regular basis. Besides he is also famous for his motivational seminars held all across the United States of America. His next book that is under process, purely focuses on the strategies, for weight management. Dr. Phil has also devised several diet recipes, that can be found on the internet as well as on his show.

One of his top diet recipes for weight loss is Addictive Enchilada Casserole:

Ingredients in Addictive Enchilada Casserole:

· Ground beef or bite-sized pieces of chicken - 1 1/2 lb.
· Chopped onion - 1 C
· Cumin - 1/2 tsp
· Garlic cloves - 2
· Chili powder - 4 tsp
· Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
· Pepper - 1/2 tsp
· Water - 1 C
· Salsa or taco sauce - 2 C
· Corn or flour tortillas - 12
· Monterey Jack cheese - 1 lb (shredded)
· Sour cream - 1 C

Procedure to prepare Dr. Phil's diet recipe:

· Pre heat the oven up to 375 degree.
· Grease the pan sized 13" x 9".
· In a skillet, cook the chicken or ground beef along with onion until it gets brown.
· Drain it & add next 6 ingredients from the list.
· Simmer it for 10 minutes uncovered. Stir it occasionally until the liquid evaporates.
· Now pour taco sauce in the casserole.
· Arrange half of the tortillas. Cover the bottom of the casserole with these.
· Pour some more sauce on the tortillas.
· Fill in the meat mixture.
· Top this up with sour cream and cheese sprinkle.
· Now arrange the remaining tortillas over the cheese.
· Next, spread the remaining taco sauce over the tortillas.
· Top it with the remaining cheese.
· Last cover it and bake for 40 mins.

Alaska Salmon Pepper Chowder

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15

4 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 cans (14 oz. each) chicken or beef broth

1 can (10 oz.) diced tomatoes and green chiles

1 can (8 oz.) diced chiles

2 teaspoon dried minced onions

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon chipotle-red pepper sauce

1 can (12 oz.) evaporated low-fat milk

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided

2 cups tortilla chips or strips, broken

Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Salmon under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Cover frozen salmon on microwavable dish and partially thaw in microwave for 6 to 10 minutes on medium-low (30%) power. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

Coat the inside of a large soup pot with nonstick cooking spray. Blend cornstarch and broth in pot. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, minced onions, garlic salt, oregano, and pepper sauce. Heat to boiling; cook and stir one minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in evaporated milk and salmon. Continue cooking 5 to 10 minutes until salmon is cooked.

To serve, portion into large soup bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with tortilla chips and 2 tablespoons of cheese.

Nutrients per serving: 448 calories, 13g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 27% calories from fat, 123mg cholesterol, 46g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 1272mg sodium, 555mg calcium and 1g omega-3 fatty acids.

Alaska Salmon Havarti Caesar Salad

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 10

4 Alaska Salmon steaks or fillets (4 to 6 oz. each), fresh, thawed or frozen

2 Tablespoons olive, canola, peanut or grapeseed oil

Seafood seasoning, to taste

4 Havarti cheese deli slices (approximately 2 oz. each)

2 light Caesar salad kits (7 to 8 oz. each)

Fresh dill, for garnish

Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Salmon under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Heat a heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brush both sides of salmon with oil. Place salmon in heated skillet and cook, uncovered, about 3 to 4 minutes, until browned. Shake pan occasionally to keep fish from sticking.

Turn salmon over and sprinkle with seafood seasoning. Cover pan tightly and reduce heat to medium. Cook an additional 3 to 6 minutes for frozen salmon OR 1 to 2 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Cook just until fish is nearly opaque throughout. Add Havarti slices to top of salmon portions; cover. Turn heat to low and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Remove from heat; keep warm.

Prepare Caesar salad according to package directions. Portion salad onto 4 serving plates. Top each salad with salmon fillet; garnish with dill.

Variation: Substitute Pepper Jack cheese for Havarti cheese slices.

Nutrients per serving: 601 calories, 41g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 65% calories from fat, 176mg cholesterol, 43g protein, 7g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 889mg sodium, 319mg calcium and 1.6g omega-3 fatty acids.

Your Best Dungeness Crab Recipe

A Dungeness crab recipe appropriate to your next meal won't be hard to find. Recipes are extensively available and this delicacy is always a welcomed addition to the dining experience, whether it be a special occasion or just a weekly family dinner. Crab is an excellent choice because of its moderate price and ease of preparation; it is also very nutritious. It's available in convenient sections or clusters (half a crab), or as single legs, cocktail claws and crab meat. It is also sold pre-cooked and whole.

The meat is traditionally served with crab cocktails or over greens in a Crab Louis salad. Extremely versatile, Alaska Dungeness Crab meat can be combined with a myriad of seasonings in seafood stews or soups, or with dips as an appetizer or main dish.

From the shell, it can combine brilliantly with other foods in seafood stews or soups, sautes, salads and variations. A Dungeness crab recipe can be found in just about every variety: bisques, creamed dishes, pastas, salads, and casseroles. Don't forget the always popular crab cakes!

To get specific, an easy dungeness crab recipe is a simple crab cluster boil, which you can pair with a medley of dips, including garlic aioli and chipotle salsas. In a giant pot, combine 24 whole precooked clusters (thawed, cleaned and halved) and 1/4 cup of each: sea salt, coriander seeds, cayenne pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add 2 tablespoons of peppercorns and enough water to cover crabs. Bring to a boil and cook for roughly 5 minutes or until heated through.

Or a Dungeness crab recipe couldalso include a marinade, like smashed scallions with fresh dinger and rice wine. Marinade your crab meat for 20 minutes. Then cook more scallions and shredded ginger and stir-fry about 10 seconds, until fragrant. Add the crab and stir-fry over high heat, tossing them. Add the rice wine and salt, cover and cook the crabs for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the meat is no longer translucent.

No matter which recipe you choose, crab corn pudding or crab enchiladas, crab stuffed chicken breast or crab and yogurt soup, it is sure to be a guest or family favorite.

Alaska is home to an abundant variety of seafood, and offers some of the purest marine, freshwater, and upland habitats on the planet.

From the clear crystal waters comes seafood that is delicious and healthy. Alaskan seafood is low in fat but big on flavor and Omega-3 oils. You can study thousands of pages of nutritional research. Or, simply observe the amazing health and longevity of people in countries where seafood is the most important part of their diet. Either way, Alaska seafood is as healthy as it is delicious.

Are you are looking for a meal that is low in saturated fat, filled with nutrients and packed with good heart healthy Omega-3s oils? Then you should start with Alaska Seafood.

Delicious Dinner Recipes in 30 Minutes Or Less? - Serve Hearty Sandwiches

Dinner in 30 minutes? Impossible you say?. Well you can create delicious dinner recipes in 30 minutes or less with hearty sandwiches. These ideas will come in especially handy for moms (and dads) who are dealing with very hectic schedules. They and you will no longer need to use a crock pot in order to sit down to a tasty meal.

The following suggestions can be used as a starting point, of sorts. It should be relatively easy to expand on these ideas, based on the likes and dislikes of your family. Ask them to help; you might be surprised with what they come up with.

Dinner sandwiches. Don't discount the goodness of a hearty sandwich. There are literally thousands of tasty combinations to choose from. Consider purchasing a sandwich or Panini maker, which will make grilled sandwiches with ease. (If you opt for the sandwich maker, you can also make mini omelets, cakes and other yummy snacks.)

If you don't have a Panini maker you can use a skillet. Place the sandwich in a buttered hot frying pan. Cover the top side of the sandwich with a layer of foil. Place a heavy pot on top of the sandwich to press it down. When one side is brown, flip it over, cover with foil again and replace the heavy pot. A foil wrapped brick will work as well. Soak the brick in bleach water overnight. Rinse well. Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. This will sanitize and dry out the brick.

Be creative with your sandwich choices. Don't get stuck on the same old same old. Try honey ham, cheddar cheese, with sliced tomatoes on sourdough bread. Or thinly sliced chicken, apple slices, and cream cheese sprinkled with dried cranberries. What about rye bread, Swiss cheese and roast beef topped with sliced onions and spicy mustard. Grilled portabella mushrooms on a whole wheat bun with bacon slices and mayonnaise is as good as any hamburger.

Vary the breads, flavors, and textures. If you're using a bland meat such as turkey or chicken add some zip with an assertive cheese and full flavored breads. Contrast creaminess with crunch. Since it is dinner be generous with portions, but of course don't go overboard.

Serve the sandwich hot. If that's not feasible because of the fillings, for example lettuce goes limp when it's hot, then toast the bun and serve at room temperature. Supplement a hot sandwich with a complimentary side salad of your choice. Add a hot side dish such as mac and cheese, hot potato salad, or baked beans, to a cold sandwich.

30 minutes and you've made a quick and filling dinner.

5 Tips For Kitchen Survival

My oven died. It put up a good fight and was faithful enough to tough it out through a heavy Easter dinner, but it just couldn't go on. I was crushed. The signs had been there for months but I held my breath and believed that my oven could over come. The struggle ended with my dear friend no longer able to function.

This was a dilemma I did not want to face. Sure, I could have been saving all this time for a new oven, but I felt like it would be a betrayal (and I didn't have any extra funds). Now the oven was dead and there was no money to replace it.

The first week we ate out. We didn't really have the money for that either, but I didn't want to have to deal with the empty shell that was now my oven. The bank account was close to bleeding when the week ended so I knew I had to come up with a plan.

Necessity may be the mother of invention but creativity has to be a second child or at least a cousin. I knew we couldn't afford a new oven so it was time to find ways to utilize the other appliances in our home to meet our needs.

1. The crock pot - ever an appliance of convenience it now became a key tool in my kitchen. I found ways to make lasagna, bake a taco pie and even back a cake all in the crock pot. It took a little tweaking of existing recipes and the discovery of new recipes online but I managed to create a wonderful menu for the family time and time again.

2. The toaster oven - it was no longer for just warming things. I used the toaster oven just like my regular over and even cooked casseroles (albeit tiny ones) in the toaster oven.

3. The electric skillet - I had always used it for cooking things like pancakes but now it was my ONLY tool for frying or boiling. I tried everything in the electric skillet that I might otherwise have cooked on the now cold and quiet stove top. The best thing about the electric skillet is that I could set the exact temperature with the control.

4. The microwave - this was my second place for boiling items (especially vegetables).

5. The grill - ever the summer cooking tool, the grill became one of my favorite ways to cook meat and vegetables (second only to the crock pots) and even to toast bread.

Eventually I received a new oven as an early Christmas present from my father-in-law (I don't think he appreciated my creativity of cooking Thanksgiving without one). Although I now have the ability to cook the traditional way, I have found that I prefer many of my other tools more. The death of my old oven brought new life to my kitchen in the form of new recipes, new dishes, and new ways of preparing meals that give me more time and more flexibility.

Kathryn Lang is a freelance writer working for several companies around the globe. You can view some of her links at She also has a website with tips and resources for family budgets and personal savings at

Tips on Buying and Cooking Potatoes

Since we are all trying to save money these days, I'll bet we are all using more potatoes than ever before. Potatoes are good source of vitamins and minerals. Potatoes contain no fat or cholesterol and minimal sodium. A six-ounce potato contains 2 grams of highly digestible protein, almost as much as half a glass of milk. Here is the breakdown on nutrients in potatoes:

An average (~5.3 oz) potato with the skin contains:

* 45% of the daily value for vitamin C

* 620 mg potassium

* trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc

* 110 calories and no fat.

Here are some tips from Graham and Rosemary Haley's book Haley's Hints on using and buying potatoes:

Peeling - Pour boiling water over potatoes just before peeling to ease the peeling process.

Consider not peeling - The Haley's offer a most interesting statistic on potato peels. "It's said that the average family's annual potato peels amount to the following nutrients. The iron provided by approximately 450 eggs, the protein of 50 steaks and the vitamin C you can get from 100 glasses of orange juice."

Baking Potatoes - Boil potatoes whole for fifteen minutes before placing in a hot oven. Saves half the baking time. Did you know your oven is the one of the most expensive electrical appliances to use in terms of kilowatt used per hour? To keep your baked potatoes warm slip them into an extra pair of oven mitts. They'll stay warm until you are ready to serve.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes - Mash potatoes will be light and fluffy if milk is heated and added before mashing. If you do not want to use milk in your mashed potatoes add some of the water you boiled the potatoes in to increase fluffiness. If your mashed potatoes are too soggy, stir in some powdered milk gradually with a whisk until texture is satisfactory.

Home fries - Sprinkle potatoes to be fried with flour. They come out golden brown. Add garlic salt and a bit of paprika for extra flavor.

Un-fried Fries - Coat french fry cut potatoes with egg whites and add a little seasoning like paprika, salt and garlic. Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown.

Buying Potatoes - Pick potatoes with a uniform shape. Size doesn't matter, as long as they have a good weight to them. Look for potatoes with a smooth texture and firm feel. Watch out for 'eyes', cracks, shriveling and a greenish texture.

Get more tips on living on cheap but well. Visit our site and see our recipe for Baked Potato Soup

Jamie Oliver - Recipes