Category Archives: beans

Kitchen Tip Thursday ‘Pantry Staples’

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It’s Thursday, so that means it’s Kitchen Tip Thursday! Today’s tips are all about Pantry staples. These are items you should have in your pantry. 

Garlic: Slice, dice it,  mince it, crush it, roast it, sauté it, grill it. You can buy fresh garlic in whole cloves or already chopped in a jar if you don’t want to do the work. 

 Extra Virgin Olive Oil: EVOO as some call it. You need some type of fat to cook in. This has antioxidants that help lower cholesterol and give your food flavor. 


Stocks or Broths: Use broths in place of water to add some zip to your dishes like rice, string beans or cabbage.

Spaghetti Sauce:  Great shelf life, buy a variety of flavors to have on hand. Quick meals, just add pasta.

Dry Pasta: Yes pasta, all shapes and sizes. Just add spaghetti sauce or EVOO and you have a meal. You can add vegetables, seafood, poultry or beef.

Rice: Quick-cook, whole grain, long grain, flavored. Brings a variety to your meal, just add veggies or some meat.

Canned Tuna or Salmon:  Mix eggs and breadcrumbs and you’ll have some patties. Quick sandwich to put together, add some cheese. On a Summer afternoon mix together with some pasta for a quick salad. Choose water-packed tuna.

 Dry Beans: Dry beans taste better than canned beans. Allow time for beans to soak. If you are new to beans start with black, kidney and pinto beans in your pantry. You can always have canned beans on hand, especially if you are in a rush.

Peanut Butter: Great on sandwiches but get creative. Add to dishes to create an Asian flare. Use it as a snack with crackers or veggies. Also great for cookies!

Canned Tomatoes: Salsa, pasta, potatoes. Fresh tomatoes are nice but when they are out of season these are next in line.

 Baking Soda and Powder: Baking recipes call for them. Helps with cleaning and keeps your fridge fresh.

 Onions: Red or Yellow. Great for sauteing meats, add to pasta dishes or salads. Gives off a great flavor.

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Use stock instead of water when cooking vegetables and deglazing pans.

Convection Oven: An oven equipped with a fan that provides a continuous circulation of hot air around the food.

Pinch: The amount of dry ingredients you can hold in a pinch (between your thumb & forefinger). It’s equivalent to 1/16 teaspoon

Out of brown sugar, mix granulated sugar and molasses together.

Spray measuring cups or spoons with cooking spray before measuring honey or molasses.

Broccoli stalks, carrot tops, onion peelings, and celery stalks can be added to soups and sauces to give flavor.

If you need only 1/2 an onion, save the root half. It will last longer.

Roasts should be allowed to “rest” 10-15 minutes after being removed from the oven. This allows the juices to settle before carving.

Leave a thin layer of fat on steaks and roasts during cooking to preserve juiciness.

When boiling eggs, add a pinch of salt to keep the shells from cracking.


Sunday Dinner: Recipe or No Recipe?

How often do you use a recipe when you cook? Me, not that often; if I’m baking then all the time. But, after cooking Sunday dinner with my mother, I realized we don’t often use a recipe.

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Sunday Dinner: BBQ Pig Feet, Baked Beans and Potato Salad

People ask me all the time about recipes for the items that I cook throughout the week. Most of the time my response is “I don’t have one.” Usually, I don’t. I just cook sometimes I experiment with spices and other times I know what the ingredients are, I just don’t know the measurements.

Growing up in the kitchen with my family, I watched my mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and great-grandparents just add stuff to the pot. As I got older I started to ask about the measurements and how much is too much to put in certain dishes. The unanimous response for family ” I don’t know, I just pour and stop when it looks like it’s enough.” That right there is trial and error. I’ve learned a lot from the people in my family and have chosen to educate those that come after me. My challenge is to take one recipe at a time and write down the measurements so my younger relatives and children (when they come) can have them.

So often we learn things just by doing them. When it comes to showing others we have to figure out a way to do because there are no accurate directions. No recipe? No problem. But what do you do when a family member or friend wants a recipe for a dish that you make? I have had to make the dish again, recording the measurements just so I can give it to them or I end up making the dish then telling them to come to pick it up. But due to my schedule lately, I don’t always have that option.

Here’s to me recording all of my recipes that don’t have measurements to them!

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