Cooking Tips for One

If you live alone or tend to make a lot of your meals for just yourself, then you may be struggling to have balanced meals. Most recipes have at least four servings and you may not want to have a huge amount of leftovers. So, if you’re trying to make your own meals without eating the same thing six days in a row, use these cooking tips for one.

Half Your Recipes

Cutting a four-person recipe to just one probably won’t work very well, but you can cut it in half and still end up with a great product. This is a great way to ensure that you end up with just one or two extra servings. And, if you enjoy having some leftovers for another day, this is a great way to enjoy a home-cooked meal and also keep you from swimming in leftovers. You may want to plan out your week with three made-from-scratch meals and three leftover meals. Or you can even turn those extras into lunch the next day!

Keep Bases

Cooking for yourself can be challenging if you’re making a meal from scratch every night. However, if you can think ahead and plan out your meals, you can cook smarter instead of harder. For example, if you’re using ground beef at the beginning of the week and for a meal in the middle, why not save time and cook the beef for both recipes now? This is a great way to save time in the kitchen. Use the same pre-prep methods to chop up veggies or other ingredients that you may need during the week to save time and effort.

Re-use Dishes

Many of the meals that you make can be turned into other dishes with just a little effort. For example, you can turn ground beef from tacos into a lasagna that has a spicy kick! You can also take chicken and turn it into a hearty soup with any leftover veggies that you have from the week. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you’re tired of your baked chicken, then it’s simple to turn it into another meal. Creative meals don’t have to be fussy and you’ll be amazed at the dishes that you can change around.

Cook Ahead

When you’re tired of trying to make a meal every single night, you can save a lot of time by cooking at the beginning of the week. Cook either your lunches or dinner ahead of time. Even making a meal partially can save time when you get home from a busy day at work, so why not use this tip to your advantage? Spend a few minutes planning out your meals and then figure out what you can make ahead of time. You’ll be both surprised and pleased at how easy and effective this tip is!

Cooking for one may seem like it’s inconvenient, but a little planning can keep you on track. Use these tips to make sure that you’re not wasting either time or food and enjoying a home-cooked meal for one!

How to Make Cupcakes That Look Professional

If you enjoy baking and like to make cupcakes especially, you might be disappointed when they turn out nothing like professional ones that you would find in a shop or bakery. There are ways that you can make your cupcakes look just as good as they taste. By following some of these steps, you will learn exactly how to make cupcakes that look professional.

Concentrate on Your Decorating Skills

First of all, it’s not the cake itself that will look professional – it’s the icing and decoration. When the cupcake is in it’s case, nobody notices what the sponge base looks like. You can make the most standard cake in the world but the way that you decorate it could make all the difference. The best thing that you can do is practise, your cakes are not going to look amazing overnight. Like anything, the more you do it – the better you will become. Try different recipes, there are so many on the internet that can help you progress with your baking skills. It’s also a good idea to get your friends and family to judge your cakes, based on how they look and taste. Everyone has a different opinion on what looks professional, so experimenting and getting peoples opinions is the best way to go.

Now let’s talk through a few different toppings that would look so stylish and professional on your cupcakes, I hope these have given you some ideas but there are lots more things you can do with them.

A mini cupcake (on top of your cupcake!)

  • After you have made and iced your cupcake, consider finishing it off with a decorative cupcake! This is really different and looks really good, especially on a chocolate cake.
  • To do this, simply take a Reeses peanut butter cup and ice it gently with the same pastry bag that you did on the cake.
  • Finish your “mini cupcake” off with some colorful sprinkles and set at an angle on your cake.

Fresh fruit

Nothing says elegance better than fresh fruit and topping your cupcake with this, makes it look and taste even better. My particular favorite is topping with a strawberry and this is how it’s done.

  • Take your washed, juicy strawberry and make several thin slices along it (ALMOST all the way to the stem, so it stays connected.)
  • Gently pull the pieces out to make a fan shape and place your strawberry on your cupcake. This works best on a white icing, as it offers a really nice contrast but feel free to experiment with everything.

Printed tags

Tags are great things to use on your cupcakes and although they are not edible, they are a great way for promoting your cupcake business (if you have one) or just having cute slogans like “eat me”.

  • Create little tags yourself on the computer if you are tesh-savvy and print them off. They can be whatever shape you want and the more original, the better. You can also find cupcake tags online by doing a routine internet search.
  • After you have your tags, stick them to colored toothpicks and pop in your cupcakes.

5 Great Tips For Deep-Frying

Since deep frying process involves dipping foods in hot, liquid fat, it may not be easy for you to become accustomed to the idea that it’s in fact a form of dry heat cooking. However, if you have ever seen the reaction of hot oil to water, you should know that oil and water are perfect opposites that don’t want anything to do with each other. Although fat can take a liquid form, it’s still considered as a solid, hence dry heat. If you are a fan of crispy and tender foods, then you should consider deep frying your food. If done well, deep frying can create a shatteringly crispy exterior whilst keeping the inner part almost oil-free. Here are the 5 tips to help perfect your deep frying skills.

1. Dry the Foods Properly Before Frying

As mentioned before, water and oil are perfect enemies. Not only do these two liquids not mix, but a reaction between water and hot oil is explosive. This is why you need to thoroughly part dry all your foods using a paper towel before deep frying. Some foods can also be dipped in bread crumbs or flour to help remove the water, before being dipped in hot oil. Also, remember to always keep your work area clean and completely dry. Never keep water around the deep fryer or on a shelf right above the stove, so as to prevent any possible contact between water and hot oil.

2. Use Oils with High Burning Points

If you use oil with low burning point, it will start to smoke and will burn your food if not removed from the heat right away. Safflower oil, peanut oil, canola oil and sunflower oil are some great choices. Remember never to use olive oil or butter, because they’ll burn quickly.

3. Pick the Right Pan for Deep Frying

Pick a deep and very heavy pot or skillet to use for frying. When deep frying, add oil to the cold pan and leave no less than two inches at the top. You may also want to leave more space to ensure that the oil doesn’t bubble over when you add the food. Avoid letting food drop into the hot oil. Instead, you can carefully put food in the pan using tongs.

4. Maintain Even Temperature

First heat the oil from 350 – 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and keep it at this point during the cooking process. The best and easiest way is to make use of a deep fat frying thermometer. Alternatively, you could drop a one inch cube of white bread into the hot oil. If the bread turns brown in sixty seconds, then it’s a sign that the oil temperature is approximately 365 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Avoid Overcrowding the Pan

Carefully place the foods in the pan, making sure to leave enough space round every piece to allow the food to cook evenly. The food needs to be surrounded by bubbling oil. If you happen to fry too much food at the same time, the temperature of the oil will get colder all of a sudden and the food will become soggy and greasy.

So, in spite of the fact that deep-fried foods are known to be greasy or oily, greasy foods is simply a sign of poor deep frying technique, and not an indictment of deep frying itself. But with the above tips, you’re sure to get the best results.

Beef Caserole

Ingredients:

2 1/2 pounds Beef
2 cans Onion Soup
2 cans Mushroom Soup
2 Jars Mushroom w/juice
1 pint Sour cream

Directions:

Cut Beef into 1″ cubes and mix all ingredients together in casserole dish.
Cover and cook at 325° for 4 hours

Serve with noodles and sour cream.

Apricot Roasted Chicken and Beets with Fall Vegetables

Ingredients:

4 Small Carrots
2 large Beets
2 large Fennel Bulbs
2 tbs Olive Oil
1/4 cup Apricot Jam
1  whole chicken
1 whole lemon
Salt & pepper

Directions:

Heat oven to 450.
In a heavy baking pan, toss vegetables with oil and half of jam mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
Add chicken pieces and lemon wedges to roasting pan, season with salt and pepper, and return to oven. Roast for 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and glaze chicken in remaining apricot mixture.
Return to oven until cooked through, about 20 more minutes.

Mozzarella Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

1.5 teaspoons italian seasoning
1  sweet onion
4  boneless chicken breasts
3/4  cup  Pesto sauce
8 ounces Fresh mozzarella cheese
2 large Eggs
1 cup  panko bread crumbs

 

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

2. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, flatten each chicken breast to about a 1/4 inch.

3. Spread 3 tablespoons pesto onto each chicken breast; top each with mozzarella cheese, about 2 ounces of cheese per breast. Carefully roll up the chicken and secure with toothpicks.

4. Place the beaten eggs in a pie plate or shallow dish. In a medium bowl, combine panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Dip each chicken breast in the eggs and then into the panko parmesan mixture. Make sure the breasts are well coated. Discard any extra mixture. Place chicken on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake 40-45 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and the chicken is golden brown. Serve warm.