- Brussels Sprout and Avocado Salad with Lemon Dijon Dressing
- Chicken Burgers with Chipotle Guacamole
- Pistachio Encrusted Chicken
- Encrusted Parmesan Artichoke Chicken
- Honey and White Cheddar Apple Bites
- Spider Cakes (Golden Butter Cakes with Peanut Butter Icing)
- Black Bean and Mango Salsa
- Berry Studded Honey Cloud Pancakes
- Shredded Pork and Grilled Pineapple Tacos
- Sassy Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Shredded Pork
- Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Biscoff Milkshake
- Grilled Halloumi Cheese and Mango Salad
- Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
- Chicken Wrap with Avocado Mayonnaise
Monthly Archives: April 2008
>The cover story for this month’s issue of Saveur magazine is dedicated to the quest for the perfect Ragu sauce in Bologna, Italy. There are numerous recipes for delicious sounding, slow-cooked, authentic Italian Ragu dishes – most taking about 3 hours or more to prepare. The very thought of those rich and meaty sauces over fresh-made pasta is enough to make my mouth water in anticipation. While reading the article I started trying to mentally schedule a day when I could devote the 3 to 4 hours needed to make the perfect saucy pasta dish for friends and family to enjoy. After a few minutes of contemplation over the scheduling manipulations that would be required to free up the 4 hours of cooking time needed for my pasta feast, I was forced to admit scheduling defeat. (Scheduling is so hard when you are trying to do it all from Career Woman, to Family Manager to Domestic Goddess!) So maybe I will have to leave the creation of the perfect home-made pasta feast in the capable hands of one of the local Italian restaurants (at least for now), where my only time requirement will be the hour or so to sit and enjoy dinner.
There was another interesting shorter article in Saveur this month, titled “Mother’s Little Helper”. Deputy Editor, Dana Bowen, talked about her mother, a second generation Italian-American woman, and her surreptiticious use of Ragu-brand pasta sauce as a basis for her own legendary “homemade” Italian sauces. Dana even mentioned that if family and friends were coming over for dinner her mother took great care to throw the store bought sauce jars away in the outside trash cans so that no one would spot the confederates to a true “homemade” meal in the kitchen trash. I wonder if Dana realizes that while her mother was bring old world traditions over to America she was also modifying those traditions to work in an increasingly fast pace society. Her mom’s creative uses for store bought pasta sauces as a basis for her own variety of Italian dishes made her an early adopter of the semi-homemade cooking trend which is all the rage in American kitchens today.
Today’s cooks are more sophisticated in their tastes but less proficient in their cooking skills than past generations. What they want is slow cooked authentic deliciousness when they dine out and simple dinner solutions that taste homemade for busy meals at home. If you want to appeal to the masses, simple recipes using pre-made ingredients that generate healthy interesting meals in a hurry are just the ticket. Be sure to mix it up with an interesting selection of ethnic dishes as well as simple versions of familiar classics for the broadest reach on usage occasions and the widest appeal to consumers.
Incoming search terms:
- mothers little helper jar
>I opened up the April issue of Gourmet magazine and was intrigued by the picture of the Asparagus Ravioli in Parmesan Broth. The soup looked delicious and fresh and matched my desire to find to new recipes that could use the fresh asparagus which are just coming into season. So I flipped to the back to see how to make it. Of course this is Gourmet magazine so the first thing it called for was making fresh pasta dough followed by making fresh chicken stock infused with a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind and then making your own ravioli using, of course, a pasta machine to roll out the dough. OK that sounds absolutely wonderful except for the fact I do not have 2 1/2 hours to make a first course for dinner tonight. So I got to thinking about what I could do to make this delicious sounding soup in an abbreviated version. Below is the recipe I came up with. Give it a whirl and let me know what you think.
1/2 lbs asparagus (roughly half a bunch)
1 9-oz package fresh refrigerated cheese ravioli
64-oz chicken stock (can substitute vegetable stock if desired)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Cracked black pepper
*Pour chicken stock into a medium to large pot and place on high heat.
*Rinse asparagus. Cut off the bottom portion of the stalks (roughly the bottom 1/3 of the stalks ) and discard. Cut the top portion of the stalk into 2 inch pieces. Set aside until ready to use.
*Once the stock comes to a medium boil reduce heat to medium. Add ravioli and cook according to package directions (roughly 7 minutes).
*When the pasta has 2 minutes left to cook, add cut asparagus pieces to the pot and slowly sprinkle in the Parmesan cheese. Stir well and continue cooking remaining 2 minutes. Season soup with cracked black pepper to taste.
*Ladle into bowls and serve hot.
Voila you have taste fresh homemade soup in minutes – not hours!
Now please do not mistake my recipe makeover as a slight to Gourmet Magazine. My recipe is really more of a tribute to the great work the creative culinary team does over there. The magazine does an outstanding job of delivering deliciously gourmet recipes for me to drool over. Every month it inspires me to try to new flavor combinations and to step out of my familiar cooking patterns to try new things. However, the truly hot on-trend wave in cooking in the average American home right now is semi-homemade cooking. Recipes that use a little creative substitution of pre-made ingredients to make a nearly gourmet version of a meal that mom can bring to her family’s dinner table any night of the week. While the true die-hard cooks will happily do scratch-cooking most of us don’t have time to do it, at least not on a regular basis. So if you are putting together a collection of recipes for middle America rather than chef and gourmet cook type people, remember to keep it simple, quick and help the consumer take timing saving short cuts whenever possible.