Crisper Potato Wedges

You love making baked potato wedges in the oven, but you can never seem to get a nice crunchy exterior.

The next time you make your recipe, try this trick.  Cut your potatoes as normal and place them in a large bowl.  Boil enough water to cover the potatoes, and pour the water over your potatoes and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Drain off the water and dry the potatoes well, then continue with seasoning and baking your wedges.

You should have no more soft and chewy skins!

Ornery Onion

You love red onions in salads, but sometimes the flavor just overwhelms the other flavors of the salad.   You can tone down the onion flavor with just one more simple step before serving.

After you have cut up your onions, place them in a bowl and cover them with cold water for at least 15 minutes, but no more than a half an hour.  Just pour off the liquid and add your onions to your salad.

The water will tone down the flavor of your onions so that they don’t overpower everything in your salad.

Trash to Treasures

When you are preparing vegetables, are you really using them to their full potential?  Can you use more and throw out less?  Here are a few idea’s for using up a bit more of your vegetables.

Broccoli – Shred the stems and use in soups, salads, or slaws.

Citrus Fruits – Before you use the fruit, was the outside and zest the peel.  You can then freeze the zest for use in recipes later.  You can even place in ice cube trays, fill with water and freeze.  When you make up a some ice water or a mixed drink, grab a few for some extra flavor.  Lemon cubes are great in iced tea.

Beets – Beet greens are edible and very flavorful like spinach.  You can also cook them like spinach.  You can even shred a bit of your beet root and add it in for extra flavor.

Carrots - You left the carrots too long in the fridge and they are now wilted.  You can refresh them by dropping them into some ice cold water and letting sit for several hours. You should be able to use them in soups or stews if they do not refresh all of the way.

Herbs - Herb stems, the non-woody kind, can be saved and used in soups and stew broths.  You can freeze if they are not going to be used right away.  The next time that you make your soup or stew, drop in the broth and let simmer.  Don’t forget to pull them out before serving though.

Mushrooms - Mushroom stems and pieces can be cut up and used in salads, soups, and sauces.  You can even add them to ground beef and make flavorful burgers and meat loaf. If you have too many you can tightly seal them and freeze them.  These pieces are great when creating a base for soups and stews.

 

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.

 

Vegetable Variations

You are tired of serving up the same old boring vegetables for dinner each night?

Good herbs to keep on hand for your veggies are Oregano, Tarragon, Dill, Chives, Basil, Thyme and Marjoram.

To make quick herb butter for your veggies, take about 2 tablespoons of butter and let soften to room temperature in a small bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb of your choice (or a teaspoon of dried herbs) to the butter and mix well.

Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using.

Once you have prepared your fresh vegetables, scoop the butter on top of them and mix well, allowing the heat to melt the butter. Serve warm.

If you want, you can make the herb butter up to 2 days in advance, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Preparing Squash for Baking

You are getting ready to bake a squash, but first you have to get it cut and remove the seed. Here is a quick and easy way to get it ready for baking.

Place the whole squash in the microwave oven for 2-3 minutes. The squash should be warm to the touch but not hot.

Place on the counter and let stand for about 5 minutes.

Using a large sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise (from the stem to the base)

Using a large spoon, remove the strings and seeds.

Now all you have to do is finish baking your squash as per your recipe.

Leftover Brussel Sprouts

Not everyone likes brussel sprouts, but if you are a lover of them you may occasionally find yourself with some leftovers.

Here is a quick and easy idea to use them up.

Cut leftover brussel sprouts into quarters and drop in the same italian dressing container as some beans or by themself.

The next time that you have a salad use as a garnish or serve by itself as a side.

Weighty Issues

When you are shopping take a few minutes to weigh pre-packaged items, especially produce.

Grab a few bags of onions or potatoes and compare each one to the weight that you see on the bag.

You will find that you can find bags that weigh heavier than the label as all items are not the same size and it is hard to get the exact weight for each bag.

Added up over time, you will save quite a bit of money if you consistantly buy heavier bags.

Easy Herb Butter

You are tired of serving up the same old boring vegetables for dinner each night. Good herbs to keep on hand for your veggies are Oregano, Tarragon, Dill, Chives, Basil, Thyme and Marjoram.

To make quick herb butter for your veggies, take about 2 tablespoons of butter and let soften to room temperature in a small bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons of the fresh herb of your choice (or a teaspoon of dried herbs) to the butter and mix well.

Let sit for at least 15 minutes before using.

Once you have prepared your fresh vegetables, scoop the butter on top of them and mix well, allowing the heat to melt the butter. Serve warm.

If you want, you can make the herb butter up to 2 days in advance, cover and refrigerate until needed.

Quick Baked Potatoes

To make quick baked potatoes just follow these quick simple steps.

Select as many potatoes as you need for your meal.

Wash all of the potatoes well. Using a fork, prick the potato deeply in at least 5 places for each potato.

Pour a tablespoon of oil into the palm of your hand. Coat the potato with the oil completely.

Once all of the potatoes are coated with oil, sprinkle lightly with salt.

Place no more than 5 potatoes in the microwave oven on a couple of pieces of folded up paper towell and cook on high for about 2.5 minutes per potato. (2 potatoes = 5 minutes)

While the potatoes are cooking, tear off a square of aluminum foil for each potato.

When the potatoes are done cooking remove each from the oven and wrap well with the aluminum foil.

Place on the counter and let rest for 15 minutes or so while you finish preparing your meal.

When you are ready to serve, remove the foil and break open. Serve with condiments of choice.