Abundant Asparagus

You love asparagus, but you are tired of having it the same old way.  Here are some ideas for you to change it up a bit!

After cleaning and trimming the stalks you can:

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in the palm of your hand and gently coat the outside of each spear.  Place on a hot grill and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred.  Remove from the grill and toss with some asian chili sauce and a touch of sesame oil.

Saute a pan of mushrooms in butter and garlic.  Add your cleaned asparagus spears with a tablespoon of soy sauce and a dash of rice wine vinegar.

Steam some cleaned asparagus until tender, dice a fresh tomato and toss together in a decorative bowl with a dash of balsamic vinegar.

Lightly broil some cleaned asparagus until tender.  Sprinkle with asiago, parmesan or romano cheese just before removing from the broiler.

Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in the palm of your hand and gently coat the outside of each spear.  Place on a hot grill and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly charred.  Remove from the grill and just before serving drizzle with some blue cheese or ranch dressing.


Olive Rescue

It never fails to happen. You are trying to get the olives out of the jar and the opening is so small that they keep slipping from your grasp.

I have found that you can easily retrieve even the slipperiest of olives if you grab a melon baller.

It is small enough to fit into the mouth of the jar and scoop up every last olive with out making your fingers a mess.

What is Antipasto?

Antipasto means “before the meal” in Italian. (anti “before” + pasto “food”) So you can pretty much go with anything here.

Traditionally antipasto is platters of food with various combinations of the following:

Breads that have been prepared with fresh herbs and oils, along with dips and spreads.

Boiled Eggs, Fish, Cured Meat, Olives, and Preserved Vegetables can all be used.

Vegetables are also very common. You can use whatever you have on hand that is in the height of the season.

Remember, antipasto is only an appetizer, you don’t want to fill your guests up with too much before the main meal, but you also want to serve something that will compliment it well.

Marinated Chicken Wings

If you are having a little get together, you can make up a batch of these great tasting wings for your friends or family.

Combine 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce, 1/2 Cup Honey, 1/4 Cup Molasses, 2 Tablespoons Chili Sauce, 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger, and 4 cloves of garlic into a large bowl.

Add about 3 pounds of chicken wings to the sauce and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375.

Grab a broiler pan and line it thoroughly with aluminum foil.

Spray the foil well with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place on the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, marinating about every 10 minutes with the sauce remaining in your bowl.

Remove from the oven and turn the chicken pieces over. Place back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes, marinating about 3 more times.

Chicken is done when the thickest piece of chicken is no longer pink near the bone.

Throw out any remaining marinade, do not serve it or coat the chicken with it after it is done baking.

Serve warm or chilled. Tastes great either way.

Sloppy Jo Nacho’s

If you have any left over sloppy joes then you are ready for some quick and easy nachos.

Place some corn chips into a baking dish.

Top with the left over sloppy jo mix and some cheese and salsa. Bake at 350 until cheese melts about 15-20 minutes.

Or you can microwave for 3-5 mintues.

Dump the sloppy jo mix over the nachos and serve hot. They will be gone in no time!

Sinking Nuts in Batter

When you are making fresh bread and muffins with nuts or fruit in it, you will sometimes find that the nuts/fruit sink to the bottom before they set in the oven.

The next time that you are baking, take your nuts/fruit and roll them liberally in flour.

Mix up your batter per the recipe and just before baking fold in the nuts/fruit.

Pour directly into the baking dish and bake immediately.

The flour will help keep the fruit/nuts suspended so that they should not sink.

Breading Blues

You are making a recipe that asks for the meat to be breaded.  Only problem is, you can’t get it to stick!  Before breading your food, make sure that the item(s) that you would like to bread are totally dry.

Next take a room temperature egg and mix well. Dip your item to be breaded into the egg mixture and then into your prepared dry breading mix.

Let sit for as long as you can in the refrigerator, up to an hour, before cooking.

Candy Corn Containers

To make some great appetizer dishes find some clean dry terra cotta pots.

Using some lead free craft paint, paint the bottom third of the pot white, the middle third orange and the top third and inside yellow.

If the hole in the bottom of the pot is large enough for your snacks to fall through, place a small folded up paper towel or piece of aluminum foil large enough to block the hole.

If you are planning on putting a dip of some kind in the pot, like the interior with plastic wrap.


Pumpkin Seeds

OK, the pumpkin is gutted and carved, now you are trying to figure out what to do with the seeds.  Toasting the seeds will make a healthy and tasty snack.

From your seeds remove as many of the membranes as possible and throw away.

Place a large pan on the stove and fill with water. Add salt to the water using about 1 teaspoon for every cup. Bring the water to a boil and add your pumpkin seeds.

Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 2 hours. Remove from the heat and drain off all the water.

Place the seeds onto paper towels that have been placed on to wire racks and let sit in a cool dry place for at least 4 hours until dry.

Place the seeds into a large bowl and add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and mix until all of the seeds are coated with oil. Place the seeds onto a clean dry baking sheet and place into an oven preheated to 350º.

Bake the seeds for 20-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with salt and let cool.

You can serve immediately or you can store in a tightly sealed jar or container for up to 1 year.