Thursday, October 30 , 2014

Pumpkin Pie in a Cupcake

It's almost Halloween, and pumpkins are everywhere. We just can' wait till Thanksgiving for the great taste of pumpkin and spices! Here's a tasty cupcake recipe we just had to share. We actually like these better than the traditional pumpkin pie.

Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

1 15 oz can pumpkin purée

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¾ cup evaporated milk

⅔ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, plus additional for sprinkling

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1¼ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with silicone liners or foil liners sprayed with cooking spray or just spray the muffin-tin cups. (The cupcakes would stick to paper liners.)

Mix the pumpkin, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Add the flour, pumpkin spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda to the mixture. Evenly fill each cup with the batter (about one-third cup or so). Bake for 20 minutes, and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the pan, and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Top each cupcake with whipped cream, sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice and serve. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Thanks to TheKrazyCouponLady.com for this recipe.

More festive recipes...


Sunday, October 26 , 2014

How to De-Fat Your Gravy

Turkey is great for making reposing juices that you don't want to go to waste…they are the key ingredient to delicious homemade gravy! But a big bird can also make a lot of fat. Sure, you can use a spoon to tediously take away the grease pools, but here are two ways that are easier and leave more of the tasty juices behind.

• Remove fat by putting the juices/fat runoff in a container in the freezer for about 20 minutes (while the bird reposes). After that time, the fat will have formed a solid layer on top and you can easily spoon off as much as you wish (then quickly make your gravy while the carving commences).

• To remove residual fat that’s floating on top of your simmering gravy, blot it up with a piece of dry bread.

More holiday cooking tips...

Friday, October 24 , 2014

Making Plans for Apple Pie

We think the hardest part of making pie is finding really tasty apples that cook up sweet and juicy! Then there's the peeling and slicing and keeping the apples from turning brown. You probably know about a citrus bath for apple slices, but lemons have been pricey lately and you might not have any on hand, so here are two other ways to keep apple slices looking and tasting great for the best pie filling.

• To keep apples from turning brown, dunk the cut pieces in a mixture of one-quarter teaspoon of salt and one pint (two cups) of room-temperature water. This salt-to-water ratio should not make your apples taste salty, even if they sit in this mixture overnight. Or...

• Cover the cut apple slices with apple juice and refrigerate them for about a half-hour. (Do this while you make your piecrust.) They won’t turn brown, and in case your apples are not in tip-top shape, this juice bath will make them crunchier and tastier.

Our favorite pie bakers all have different theories on the best apples to use for pie—one baker we know swears by Granny Smith...and another uses a blend of Empire and Golden Delicious. Please share with us your favorite apple or apple combination for pie filling. We’d love to know!

More holiday cooking tips...


Tuesday, October 21 , 2014

Get That Burnt Smell Out of the Kitchen

Here’s a fun way to get rid of lingering burnt-food smells. 

Wet a dishrag with plain water, wring out the excess, then imitate a cowboy swirling a lasso for a couple of minutes...until the smell is gone. If there’s smoke in the air from the burned food, sprinkle a dishrag with white vinegar instead of water and start “lassoing.” Be careful not to knock any knickknacks, mugs or dishes off counters or shelves. Shout out a “ Yee-ha!” to detract from the coughs and complaints from your family.

Friday, October 17 , 2014

Better Than Brillo

Broiling provides great flavor, but the high heat does a great job of searing food onto your pan! You could soak and scrub your fingers raw, or try this easy fix...

While the broiler pan is still hot (or reheat it slightly if it has cooled), carefully sprinkle on some powdered laundry detergent—enough to cover the burned-on food. On top of that, place wet paper towels (whatever you need to cover all the detergent). Leave everything for about 15 minutes, then remove the towels. The burned-on stuff should easily come off with a gentle scrape.

More easy ways to clean...


Wednesday, October 15 , 2014

Taming Plastic Wrap

It's a common kitchen hassle—wrestling with your plastic wrap as it tries to tangle and cling to everything in sight. If plastic wrap gets unmanageable, chuck the box in the freezer. Cold plastic wrap will behave the way you want it to. And what if you can't find the edge of the sticky roll to pull out? Here's what to do...

Take a piece of tape (any kind), and dab at the roll until it picks up the loose edge.

If plastic wrap won't stick to the bowl or dish you're wrapping, dampen the outer edge of the bowl or dish, and then put the plastic wrap on. It will seal with a kiss!

More help in the kitchen...


Thursday, October 09 , 2014

Crustless Apple Pie in 3 Minutes

There's so much to love about fall. One is the bountiful harvest of so many different kinds of apples! They're great to eat on their own, and here are three easy, healthful recipes that taste great and will have you thinking beyond high-calorie apple desserts.

Nutrition expert Dr. Daniela Jakubowicz says that eating this apple treat as part of a balanced breakfast can help curb cravings for the rest of the day...

Nutty Candied Apple

Slice one small apple. Sprinkled slices with cinnamon, and dip them into one-and-a-half tablespoons of almond butter mixed with one of teaspoon honey. Makes one serving.

Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, is a former professor of medicine and endocrinology at Virginia Commonwealth University and is now at the Wolfson Medical Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel. She also is the author of The Big Breakfast Diet: Eat Big Before 9 am, and Lose Big for Life (Workman).

Here’s a delicious apple salad filled with nutrients...

Apple-Jicama Salad

Core two apples (a firm red variety is best—these include honeycrisp, jazz, empire, Jonathan and others—with skin intact) and julienne into matchsticks. Place in a bowl.

Julienne one peeled medium-sized (about one pound) jicama (a crisp, slightly sweet root vegetable), and add to bowl.

Add a handful of orange segments (cut into smaller pieces if you prefer) and a handful of chopped mint.

Mix together with an orange-lime vinaigrette—one to two tablespoons each of orange juice and lime juice with two to three tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a bed of watercress with some toasted pecans scattered on top.

Serves four.

David Joachim, chef, based in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, and author of numerous cookbooks, including Perfect Light Desserts (William Morrow), The Science of Good Food (Robert Rose) and Fire it Up: More than 400 Recipes for Grilling Everything (Chronicle).

This guilt-free dessert takes just a few minutes to make…

Easy Crustless Apple Pie

Core an apple, and place it, peel-on, on a microwavable dish. Into the center of the apple, spoon one teaspoon brown sugar and one-half teaspoon whipped butter. Drizzle the apple with lemon juice and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Microwave on high three to four minutes or until tender. (If your microwave tray does not turn automatically, rotate the dish one-quarter turn halfway through the cooking time.) Makes one serving.

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is the author of 25 books on nutrition and cooking, including Comfort Classics: Hearty Favorites Made Healthy (a Barnes & Noble Bargain Book). She is based in Pleasant Hill, California, and wrote the nationally syndicated column “The Recipe Doctor” for 10 years.

More ways to healthy eating...


Wednesday, October 01 , 2014

How to Stop Your Rice from Sticking

We love plain old long-grain white rice...the most versatile side dish ever. But we hate it when cooked rice sticks to the pot bottom! We do three things to make sure that never happens.

Most people make rice by measuring out the rice and the water, putting them into a pot and bringing it all to a boil.

Before cooking rice, we first rinse it using a fine-mesh strainer under cool running water. Then we add the rice to a pot of simmering water, bring it to a second boil and then stir before lowering the heat. After the rice is finished cooking, we let it sit (covered) for at least five minutes (up to a half-hour). No stuck rice! Anything that rests is always more cooperative.

More help in the kitchen…


Friday, September 26 , 2014

No More Hard Edges On Your Cheese

You know those hard, translucent edges that form on your block of cheese when it sits in the fridge for more than a few days? Here's how to keep cheddar cheesy and delicious.

Coat the exposed edges of the cheese with a thin layer of butter—the moisture from the butter will prevent the cheese from getting hard and inedible. Wrap in foil, and store the buttered cheese in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat the cheese, just wipe off the butter...or not.

More help with food storage...


Thursday, September 25 , 2014

Make Bread Fresh Again

You just bought that baguette yesterday, and it's already feeling a little too stiff to eat. Here's an easy way to bring it back to delectable...

To make stale bread fresh again, spray it with a bit of water or milk and wrap it in aluminum foil. Put it in a 350°F oven for about eight minutes, and the bread should taste as though it just came out of the oven…for the first time.

More help in the kitchen...