Dinner Fast and Easy: Quick Tips to Get a Healthy Dinner on the Table

If you think you don't have time to make dinner, think again. With these ideas, you'll be a professional at-home chef in no time.

Plan ahead.
Nothing has people reaching for the take out menu faster than a lack of planning. If you've been trying to plan dinner after 5 pm, odds are that you give up on cooking most days. Make sure to plan at least five meals each week before you go to the grocery store for the week, so you have the ingredients on hand. (Printable grocery coupons are here.)  If you have enough food to make several different types of meals, you'll be less likely to eat out.

Each morning, decide what you'll make for dinner that night. You may want to put any meat that needs to defrost in the refrigerator. You'll also want to make sure you have all of the ingredients. Review the recipe and figure out when you'll need to start making dinner in order to have it done on time.

Come up with a system for dinner recipes.

It's easy to make a quick dinner when you have a system that works. Keep it simple. Your dinners can be protein, carbohydrate, plus veggie. This formula can cover a wide range of possibilities – baked chicken, cheesy noodles and broccoli, grilled steak with peppers and onions served with tortillas, sautéed ground beef with Asian vegetables served over rice. The possibilities are endless!

Save time with frozen vegetables.

Everyone needs more vegetables and serving frozen vegetables are an easy way to get more into your family's diet. Keep a wide variety of frozen vegetables on hand. You can change the flavor with spices, margarine mixed with lemon juice or even Italian dressing. A few minutes in the microwave or on the stovetop with a vegetable steamer and you'll have vegetables for your meal.

Cook some ingredients ahead of time.
Ground beef can be used in many different recipes, from spaghetti to tacos. It takes just as much time to brown two pounds of beef as it does to brown a half a pound. On a weekend, brown and freeze several pounds of ground beef or ground turkey. This way, the next time you cook a recipe that calls for ground beef you'll just have to reheat it. You can do the same thing with chicken pieces.

Keep alternatives at the ready.
Even the most well planned menu can come undone from time to time. Keep a few frozen meals at the ready. Frozen lasagna, skillet meals and other pre-packaged foods are okay every once in a while. You can improve the nutrition of these processed meals by adding more vegetables and serving health side dishes.

For those special occasion meals when you need gourmet fare, consider a service that delivers prepared meals or gourmet entrees to your home (such as Home Bistro or Omaha Steaks). This option can get expensive if you use it a lot, but both companies issue online coupons and promotions from time to time. Check here for current Home Bistro Coupons; and here for Omaha Steaks coupons.

Impress Your Guests With Gourmet Food

How to Locate Gourmet Foods

If you are seeking to impress your guests at your next dinner party or special event enrolling in a creative cooking school will teach the necessary skills to properly prepare gourmet food.  Most of the larger retail grocery stores have a gourmet foods isle. If you cannot find what you are hungry for there try a quick online search.

Specialty Meats & Poultry

Online gourmet stores offer many of the hard to find gourmet meats shipped direct to your doorstep.  They may come frozen and packaged in specialized storage containers to retain their freshness and quality.  This is especially convenient if you do not live close to large shopping areas.

By searching online your choices are vast.  Although you may have some fine specialty meat shops in your area supplying you with some very fresh and tasty meats, they may not stock the finer gourmet meats.

Gourmet Coffee

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world and gourmet coffee is most peoples' favorite. Coffee really presents a universe of choices, and especially if you entertain a lot you are going to want to have a good selection of coffee to choose from. Different gourmet coffees have different tastes and it is important that before you actually purchase any coffee you determine how you want to brew your coffee.

If you are taking the time to serve up a special meal consisting of some finer gourmet foods you will to accompany the dish with fine gourmet coffee as well.  Whether it is a cappuccino, espresso, or flavored coffee the bean is the all important component.

Finally the Chocolate

Of course no talk of finer gourmet foods would be complete without discussing gourmet chocolate. Everyone loves chocolate, and in fact there are very few foods in history that are as highly prized as chocolate.

No one would turn away a gift of dark gourmet chocolate.  In fact, chocolates are probably one of the most popular gift items and it is available in such a variety of favorites.  You can choose from truffles made of gourmet chocolate, a chocolate mouse, or chocolate dipped marshmallows.

Searching for finer gourmet foods can be done easily online.  They can be shipped conveniently to your front door and added to your next gourmet meal or dinner party menu.  Whether you are looking for gourmet meats, coffee or chocolates it is always worth it to take gourmet cooking classes. The the extra time and effort will definitely pay off with the compliments you will receive.

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Sparkling Wines - The Wine Of Parties

Champagne & Sparkling Wine

A party is not a party without the presence of sparkling wines or champagne. Sparkling wine is basically the party drink of the alcohol world. Exciting occasions, like weddings, will have sparkling wine present. Champagne has a colorful history and how it is made is quite unique. This truly makes it worthy of the title "party wine."

It is said that sparkling wines were created by accident. Monks from Champagne, France were supposedly the accidental inventors of this drink. When their wines were stored in their cellars for some time, the wine turned bubbly. They thought they had spoiled the wine, but after drinking it they realized that they had created something great. Sparkling wine is created through temperature changes. When the wine cools down below fermentation temperature before all the alcohol has fermented and when it is heated up again, the resulting fermentation creates the bubbly appearance through a carbon dioxide reaction. Many wineries use the name champagne for their sparkling wine, but in actuality, wine that is truly champagne comes from a specific district of vineyards in France. Any other winery that uses the name champagne is stealing the name from the true foreign wineries.

The process of making sparkling wine has stayed pretty much the same throughout the years. This type of process has in recent years become modernized, however it pretty much keeps the spirit of the older ways. The first step in making champagne and sparkling wines is to pick the grapes over a period of time so that every grape is at its ripest. Sometimes, different grapes from different vineyards are used to retain the best qualities of each variety. The grapes are then pressed and stored, usually in stainless steel barrels to ferment. This is done over a period of at least three weeks, until all the sugar is turned into alcohol. The wine is then separated from the bits that sunk to the bottom of the barrels and is transferred to other barrels, sometimes wood, to ferment longer or is mixed in with older wines to retain a particular flavor. For the second fermentation, extra sugar and yeast is put in with the wine to make the bubbly texture. And that is how sparkling wine is made! There are many different kinds of sparking wines and they are all made a little differently, but the basic process is the same.

Now you know the basics of how sparkling wines are made. There are way too many kinds of wines to be named in one article, so if you are interested, check out some wine websites or a wine club for more information. One of the most important sparkling wine facts to remember is that true champagne only comes from France. Use that bit of factual info to impress your friends!

Are you aware of the true value of of the wines that you drink? Are you awaare that you can make wine yourself? If your answer is "no" then you are in luck because you can get instructional material that are able to teach you on all aspects that you need to know about wines. From the grapevine to the table you have the ability to learn how wines get their value, created and even how the grapes are cultivated. Before you know it you will end up being a authority of wines and will be able to impress your friends with your newly acquired ability. All it takes is the appropriate know-how and you will be on your way. For additional information be sure and go here: Making Wine Without Sugar and more information at Making Pear Wine as well as Wine Making Materials

How to Dress Up Budget Food Recipes

Everyone needs to watch their spending today; even someone making six figures is going to feel the pinch of gas prices and food prices that are skyrocketing out of control these days.  But while there seems to be no end to the number of Low Cost Cooking recipes that you can use to cut back on your family's grocery bill, very often these recipes leave something to be desired when it comes to their nutritional value and their taste.  Really, what's the point of following cheap food recipes if it means food that is unhealthy or that no one in your family will eat?  But there are some ways to dress up these recipes so that they're tastier and more nutritious at the same time.

For one thing remember that you can use foods that are reduced in fat and sugar but not necessarily fat free or sugar free.  Usually things like mayonnaise or salad dressing that are fat free are rather tasteless but you can use reduced fat items in Budget Cooking recipes that will make them healthier but still preserve the taste.  Think of how you can use reduced fat cheese, mayonnaise, salad dressing, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, and items like these in any cheap food recipes you may have to make them better for you.

Sometimes when you are looking at meat, its best to look for leaner cuts of meat such as chicken or pork.  Shredded chicken marinating in barbecue sauce makes for great sandwiches, or you can use chicken strips for rolled up sandwiches instead of steak.  Thinking of how you can make up cheap food recipes using less expensive cuts of meat this way can save you quite a bit over time. 

You might also want to think of items you can add to your Low Price Cooking recipes to enhance flavor.  For example, salsa, spaghetti sauce, reduced fat cheese, or sour cream can be used in many casserole recipes without adding a lot of extra calories.  If you're making chicken and rice, add some cheese or sour cream and bake it for added flavor.  Leftover meatballs can be added to pasta sauce for a nice submarine sandwich.  These types of cheap food recipes use up leftovers so that you're not adding anything to your grocery bill.Sometimes we forget and just warm up a plate of leftovers but think of what you have in your fridge that you can add to help with the flavor of those leftovers.

Use vegetables in any of your cheap food recipes when possible; this saves money and is a lot more nutritious than anything else.  When making a casserole, reduce the rice and chicken and bulk it up with broccoli or cauliflower.You really can have a well balanced meal even with a meat dish as you can steam fresh veggies as a side dish.Whats nice about this is that you get some cheap food recipes that are also better for you.  You can even use pasta sauce over steamed vegetables as well for added flavor.  By doing so you'll have cheap food recipes that are healthy and budget friendly.

Low Price Cooking is a brand new community website for Cooking Nutritious Food at a lower price to help your family budget. Come by LowPriceCooking to get your free Ebook on LowPriceCooking Basics just for joining the Low Price Cooking community for free. You will find cooking Forums, cooking Videos, Low Price Cooking Community Members and more just for signing up for free to join and then you can get your free Low Price Cooking EBook on Low Price Cooking Basics. Come be A part of our Low Price Cooking Community.


30 Minute Meals Recipes

I would love to say that I have the time to whip up amazing meals each night. There are a few problems with that thought. For one, I am not the best cook in the world, and secondly, I just don’t have a lot of time.

I remember my grandmother would spend most of her day in the kitchen, and that was something that she seemed to enjoy. For me, however, it is just not possible. Instead, I look for great and interesting meal ideas that I can make fast. That means that the 30 minute meals you can find are some of the best options for me.

I was never sure how I felt about Rachel Ray, but I love her 30 minute meals recipes. Not only are they pretty easy, they are also meals that are not the ordinary fare that I give my family all of the time.

We get stuck in a rut sometimes with the same meals over and over, and that is mostly because they are tried and true favourites. The meals in 30 minutes are great, and they don’t have to be extremely complicated to keep everyone happy with our menu.

Many of the 30 minute meals are so easy that someone like me can do them. I have make many mistakes in the kitchen, and I think it has to do with my short attention span. Finding great meals to make in 30 minutes is just about right, and is something I can concentrate on.

These are not your average meals either, so it does require some extra shopping. However, if you can plan your 30 minute meals ahead of time (a week or two ahead) you can get all of your shopping done without worrying about being out of or missing something essential.

You can watch Rachel to get your 30 minute meals, or you can find listings online if you want to plan ahead. You can also find meals in 30 minutes by buying one of her cookbooks.

Because she is so popular right now, you can find her books almost anywhere that sells cookbooks, or you can find them easily enough if you do a search online. After a while, you may even be able to come up with some of your own meals that you can make in a half an hour or less.

You’ll learn a lot about food and cooking by following along and figuring out how to put things together in a pleasing and fast way.

Click here to buy cheap 30 minute meals recipes.

An Easy Gourmet Food Recipe

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By Jim Nettleton

Cooking and preparing fine, gourmet meals has always been a hobby of mine. Over the years, I’ve originated dozens of recipes that have pleased family and friends. Here’s one that you can prepare rather quickly that will have your diners praising your skills.



1 15 ounce can Hunts tomato sauce

½ small onion chopped fine

1 tblsp. Parsley, chopped fine

1 tsp. Basil

½ cup water

½ cup dry red wine – Cabernet Sauvignon recommended

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup extra virgin olive oil for sautéing

1 whole mild Italian sausage (about 10 inches)

1 cup coarsely chopped red bell peppers with seeds and stem removed

1½ cups diced creamer potatoes

1 cup freshly sliced mushrooms

5 ounces small cooked shrimp

5 ounces cooked crabmeat

1/3 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tblsp. freshly chopped garlic

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 box jumbo pasta shells (biggest you can find)

5 ounces flounder fillet

Parmesan cheese, grated

Place tomato sauce in a large pot. Add chopped garlic, onion, parsley, pepper, basil, water, wine, ¼ cup olive oil and Italian sausage. Cover pot and bring to boil. Immediately turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes. When finished simmering, remove and save sausage.

While sauce is simmering, saute the following in the ½ cup olive oil: the mushrooms, bell peppers and creamer potatoes for about 5 minutes.

Bake the flounder until flaky and tender. Then, using a food processor (or chopping the ingredients very fine by hand - if done by hand, the resultant mixture should be thoroughly blended) - blend the shrimp, crabmeat, flounder, Monterey Jack cheese, garlic powder and cayenne pepper until smooth and creamy. Set aside.

Prepare the shells according to package instructions. When done, drain and pat dry. Stuff the shells with approximately 1½ heaping tablespoons of the mixture. To aid in judging the amount needed, the mixture should be enough to stuff about 10 shells.

Place the shells in a baking dish. Pour the sauce over the shells, using entire amount. Bake at 325 degrees until sauce bubbles.

Remove. Sprinkle shells with a small amount of Parmesan cheese. Cut sausage into small pieces. Serve with sausage pieces as garnish.


About the Author

Jim Nettleton is a radio and television professional who loves his food. He has been cooking and preparing gourmet meals for decades and loves to share his recipes with those who enjoy good food. He highly recommends The Secret Recipes From Your Favorite Restaurants - http://tinyurl.com/ypo2a8. Visit his French Gourmet Food blog for cooking tips, tricks and recipes at http://frenchgourmetfood.blogspot.com/.


Pottage Italiano

By Jim Nettleton

Here’s another terrific recipe that’s a real tummy filler. Enjoy!


1 15 ounce can Hunt's tomato sauce

1 tblsp. finely chopped garlic

1/2 small onion, chopped in chunks

1 tblsp. parsley

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. basil

1 whole mild Italian sausage

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup dry red wine - Cabernet Sauvignon recommended

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup freshly sliced mushrooms

1 cup coarsely chopped red bell peppers, with seeds removed

1 1/2 cups diced creamer potatoes

4 pieces veal, scallopini style

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup Parmesan, Romano, Provolone cheese, mixed in equal portions and grated

1/2 cup olive oil for sauteeing

1 cup fresh snow peas in pod

Place tomato sauce in a large pot. Add garlic, onion, parsley, pepper, basil, water, wine, 1/4 cup olive oil and two small pieces (about an inch long apiece) of Italian sausage. Cover pot and bring to boil. Immediately turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes.

While sauce is simmering, saute the following in the 1/2 cup olive oil, saving the oil for the next step: the rest of the sausage, by itself, for 10 minutes. Save sausage drippings and clean the skillet; then, together, the mushrooms, bell peppers and creamer potatoes for about 5 minutes; then, the snow peas for 1 minute.

Next, cut the veal into thin strips about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. Using the saved oil and sausage drippings, saute the veal for about 2 to 3 minutes. Place all sauteed items aside. When sauce is finished simmering, strain to remove the onion pieces, but retain all other ingredients. Return to the pot and add heavy whipping cream (fat free ½ and ½ can be substituted, but will result in thinner substance) and the 2/3 cup mixed grated cheeses, stirring carefully to blend.

Now, add all sauteed items. Stir. Cover the pot and bring close to boil, then reduce heat and simmer until peppers and potatoes are tender and the sausage is completely done, about 10 to 15 minutes. Watch the pot carefully during this time and stir frequently to avoid burning.

Ladle into large soup bowls. Serves 2 to 4 as either a soup or a complete entree.

About the Author

Jim Nettleton is a radio and television professional who loves his food. He has been cooking and preparing gourmet meals for decades and loves to share his recipes with those who enjoy good food. He highly recommends The Secret Recipes From Your Favorite Restaurants - http://tinyurl.com/ypo2a8. Visit his French Gourmet Food blog for cooking tips, tricks and recipes at http://frenchgourmetfood.blogspot.com/.

Low Fat Cooking: 7 Tips to Make Your Favorite Recipes Lower in Fat

You can make your favorite recipes lower in fat and calories with a few simple substitutions. Here are seven tips to help you adapt any recipe to your new low fat lifestyle.

1. The first step is to take all of your recipes and make a note of the high fat ingredients. These can include whole milk, butter, margarine, cheese, sour cream, oil and eggs. Make a note of what needs to be substituted and then start to adapt the recipe.

Start making your substitutions slowly. It is going to take a little bit of time to master the art of low-fat cooking. Try substituting half of the low fat options at first and see how the dish tastes. If you are able to reduce the fat without sacrificing flavor, then try to eliminate a little more fat the next time around.

2. If your recipe calls for eggs, you can use low-fat egg substitute. Egg substitutes are available by the carton at your local grocery store. Use 1/4 cup of egg substitute for one egg. You can also reduce the fat by using egg whites instead of the whole egg, however this changes the composition of your dish slightly.

3. Make an easy switch from whole milk to low-fat or fat-free milk. If you're drinking whole milk on a daily basis or using it for your cereal, you should be making this switch anyway to follow the rules of your low-fat way of eating. If you are accustomed to using whole fat milk, first switch to 2% milk and then work down to fat free milk eventually. This way you can become accustomed to the taste of the lower fat varieties.

4. Mayonnaise, sour cream and cheese can all be substituted with lower fat versions of the same products. Use the same amount that you would with the high fat varieties. Low-fat plain yogurt also makes a great substitute for sour cream. When it comes to cheese, keep in mind that low-fat cheese doesn't melt as well as regular cheese. You may need to adjust your baking time.

5. Eliminate excess butter and oil by using cooking spray to prepare eggs and other items in a frying pan. You can save a lot of fat calories this way and will hardly recognize the difference. The clean up after using cooking spray is a lot easier as well.

6. You can also eliminate butter and oil in sweet baked goods by using applesauce. Use a cup of applesauce or pureed fruit for every cup of oil or butter required in the recipe. You can experiment with different flavor combinations and come up with many varieties of your favorite baked goods.

7. Your meat choices can also play a big part in how much fat a dish contains. Use extra lean ground beef (such as 97% fat free) instead of the full fat variety. Try substituting ground turkey for beef for an even lower fat option. If you aren't a fan of the flavor of ground turkey, try mixing the ground beef and the ground turkey together.

By using these simple substitutions, you can easily reduce the fat in your diet. The flavors of your dishes won't change a whole lot but your waistline will thank you.