The Best Tools For That Perfect Grilling Experience

Importance Of Accessories

While we are already aware of the numerous pleasures that can be brought to use by simply the grill alone, we can even multiply that and make grilling tasks much easier and faster by the use of some accessories. With grilling accessories, it is now easier to have items grilled evenly on all sides, have them cooked well and have grilling marks which are the mark of a true grilling master.

grill set

Grilling accessories are quite common and are most likely to be found on your favorite cooking shops. They are also usually quite simple materials and require little or no technology at all; they could even come quite cheap at some places. The best thing about them is you will be able to do more and make grilling tasks much easier with them.

Cleaning Accessories

When it comes to grilling, one thing that is just as important as grilling itself and does not have anything to do with actually grilling is cleaning the grill. After all, you would not want to put in a nice cut of prime rib and later have it taste like grilled seafood. So for you to be able to clean your grill easier and much faster, you can use wire scrubs and brushes that are custom fitted to clean your grill’s surface easily without damaging it.

Aside from that, there are also cleaning agents that are also made especially for your grill’s surface, typical detergents are too tough on the grill and could damage it. Use this along with the grill scrubs and brushes and cleaning your grill’s surface should be much easier than it has always been.

Accessories To Enhance Grilling

To even make grilling better, there are some accessories you can use along with grilling to make food cook or taste much better. Cooking fish is now much easier with the use of wire baskets and you can even use this to enhance flavor by having in the basket some spices, lemon, and herbs. You can also use this for meat, other seafood, and even vegetables.

wire baskets

The grill marks that are on the side have been considered as a mark of a grilling master, to make this easier, you can now have a grill press that would make this very possible. The grill press is a device which would allow you to push items into the grill and making the grill marks on the side appear much easier. With all those accessories, you are sure to have better experiences while grilling.

Other Accessories

While barbecue sticks have been long available ever since grilling became popular, it is now available to suit different types of items and is made to have them cook much better and much faster. Some sticks are made for marshmallows to make sure they do not fall off the stick while having them grilled and some are specifically made for kebabs to have them cook much easier and hold the pieces of meat in place while grilling them.

You can now also have a lot of options for grilling surfaces other than the basic, these of which are custom made to cook various meats effectively. For cooking ribs, you can now have a rack as a surface this of which would make it cook evenly on all sides and is also good for smoking.

With all these accessories available right now, grilling outdoors is sure to be much better and more memorable with you being able to do more with your grill.

Read more

How to use Keurig coffee maker?

Now, you have bought your Keurig coffee maker but you still don’t know how to use it. What are all those buttons for? Where does the K-cup go? How to set the timer? These are just a few questions you would ask yourself when first using a Keurig machine. So, if you are one of those people who still have no clue how to use your Keurig coffee maker, then don’t worry. If you follow the below-given instructions, you would be able to make your own cup of coffee in no time at all. You can also read reviews here of commercial coffee makers.

Requirements:

  • A Keurig machine
  • K-cups
  • Water
  • Mug to hold the brewed coffee

Instructions:

  1. The first step would be to fill your machine’s water reservoir. To do this, you will need to lift the lid off the water reservoir and use filtered or spring water to fill it to the maximum level. Your reservoir might be located either on the left side of your machine or the back side of your machine so you would have to accordingly pull it out. Make sure you don’t overfill the reservoir and adhere to the markings which would be mentioned in it.
  2. Now, keep your mug or cup in which you want your brewed coffee to pour out, beneath the machine spout. This is the spout which will pour out the brewed coffee into your waiting mug so make sure you place your mug exactly beneath it to avoid any kind of splashes. If you are making a large amount of coffee, you would need to use a bigger coffee pot and place it underneath the spout.
  3. You need to install your K-cup inside the machine now. Get your preferable K-cup flavor and then open the K-cup holder which is situated in the front-center of your Keurig machine. Place your K-cup inside this holder without opening it because the machine will create holes in it and then let the water flow to brew the coffee. So let it remain packed.
  4. Now, start your brewing cycle by turning on the coffee maker and you will have to choose the brew size to start the brewing process. You can choose one of the three sizes: Small Cup (5.25 oz.), Small Mug (7.25 oz.) or a Large Mug (9.25 oz.) which basically depends on your coffee mug size. Make sure that you don’t remove your coffee mug from underneath the spout and don’t lift off the lid of the machine. It will take approximately 2-3 minutes to complete the brew.
  5. Once your complete coffee is poured out into your mug and the machine makes a puff of air to pour out the last remaining drops, remove your mug from underneath the spout. If your coffee overflowed and spilled on the drip plate, then you know to use a smaller brew size next time. If your coffee mug is half empty, then you can select a bigger size next time to fill your coffee mug adequately.

Read more

February 13 is Tortellini Day!

February 13 is Tortellini Day. Imagine, a day to celebrate pasta filled with cheese or meat! Sounds good to me! I love these little pasta rings! They taste great in salads and prepared in any recipe that would utilize pasta! Here are a couple recipes that use tortellini and are just delicious! One is a complete meal in a dish and the other is a nice side dish that in fact can be a perfect lunch!

Chicken Cheese Tortellini Cacciatore

  • 4 cups cooked cheese tortellini
  • 1 1b. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepper
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 can diced onion, basil, garlic tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  1. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Cut up the chicken and saute in the oil in a frying pan.
  3. Add in the onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the sauce and tomatoes. Cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the tortellini, cover, and heat through on low for about 10 minutes longer.
  6. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Tortellini Salad

  • 1 lb. tortellini
  • 2 cups cooked chopped chicken
  • 1/2 cup minced red or sweet onion
  • 1 cup chopped or small tomatoes1 cup chopped cucumbers
  • 1 cup Greek salad dressing.
  • 1 cup feta cheese or any cheese cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  1. Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Cool.
  2. Mix all ingredients and serve.
  3. Makes 4 generous servings.

Read more

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Here are a light and delicious blueberry cake with a delightful crumb topping. I made this to accompany a chicken parm dinner as I figured it would be a light ending to yet another fulfilling meal. Great choice.

It is not too sweet and definitely will make an appreciated breakfast or snack treat. I used fresh blueberries, but frozen would suffice.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened to room temp.
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries

Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp. butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*.
  2. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in eggs and milk.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in blueberries. The mixture will be stiff.
  5. Spoon into a greased and floured 9X7 pan for a thick cake and 9X9 for a thinner one.
  6. Prepare crumb mixture by mixing sugars, flour, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle on top of batter.
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until it passes the cake test.

Read more

Fresh Lemon Cake and Fresh Berries

What a perfect spring weekend. Spring rarely shows up on the first day of spring. Doesn’t make much sense, but if you stop and think about it, it will! However, this year, we celebrated the first day of spring with a meal prepared on the grill and actually eaten outside at 6:30 in the evening.

Now, that might not sound like something unusual, especially if I lived in the south, but, I don’t! I live in the northeast, an hour away from Boston! Our spring usually shows up sometime in late April, early May. This year it showed up in March, mosquitoes and all! For our spring celebration, we had a delicious grilled chicken dinner followed by a wonderful spring dessert, Berry Shortcake! This time for the shortcake I used a lemon cake as it is the perfect accompaniment for berries. Berries are a staple of my life.

I eat blueberries lemon cake for breakfast, have strawberries and raspberries for morning break, and usually top any cake with berries, eliminating the frosting without removing any taste! Berries are plentiful throughout the entire year. Prices do go up but I am at an age where what the heck? I want, I get. Spending money on fresh fruit is very justifiable as they will add to the health and probably save money in the long run, plus, I am just so worth it! Here is the recipe I used for the cake, which is not too sweet and very moist! I used a blend of fresh raspberries and strawberries which were washed, dried, cut up, placed in a bowl, and to which I added about a teaspoon of sugar which I might add was not for the sweetness, but rather to make them have some juice. Yum! Double Yum!

Lemon Cake

  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk

Directions

  1. Cream butter with sugar. Add in extract and egg. Beat till smooth.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Add flour mixture to butter along with the milk.
  4. Beat for 1 minute.
  5. Pour into a greased and floured 7 X 10 or 8 X 8 pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350* or until it passes the insert knife cake test.

Read more

Saturday Pasta Fagioli Soup with Meat

What to do with leftover ground meat? Want a delicious comforting meal? Soup. A nice, steaming, healthy soup will utilize the meat and add some healthiness and comfort to a Saturday meal. This recipe is perfect, not just for the taste, but for the fact that it is so easy to make, (only thing easier is to open a can of prepared soup), smells incredible while it is cooking, and it is very healthy. Traditionally, pasta fagioli is just some type of pasta cooked with cannellini beans.

This is a souped-up version, that includes meat.  I like to make my own soup to control the amount of sodium in my diet. Sodium lurks about in many hidden places, including all canned vegetables. It actually blows me away that it is even found in most cereals, in high amounts. If the recommended daily sodium intake is 2400mg and FYI, a teaspoon of salt contains 2358mg, then we really don’t need any extra salt. Of course, if one is working out and perspiring profusely, then extra sodium is okay.

But really, who works out that much, more than 2 hours a day? So, back to the soup! I pretty much follow the recipe to a T but I cook the orzo al dente and don’t add it until before I am ready to serve the soup. I don’t like mushy orzo so I don’t overcook it. If you decide to cook the orzo in the soup, then add some extra broth. Of course, as with any recipe, feel free to use low salt or the products of your choice. I also rinse the beans and use low salt tomatoes and broth. I also do not add extra salt to the recipe as there is plenty of the fat-free, low sodium broth. Enjoy with a crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Ingredients
  • Canola oil
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lb ground meat
  • 2 tsp. hot Mexican chili powder
  • 1 15 oz. can seasoned tomatoes
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can cannellini beans, great white northern beans, or beans of choice
  • 1/2 cup orzo, uncooked

Direction

  1. Finely chop celery, carrot, onion, and garlic and saute in a small amount of oil.
  2. Stir in ground meat, tomatoes, pepper,  and chili powder.
  3. Cook uncovered till the meat starts to brown.
  4. Add in broth and stir. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
  5. Stir in beans, cover, and cook an additional 15 minutes.
  6. Cook orzo to al dente stage and stir into soup about 5 minutes before serving.

Read more

Chicken Parmesan for Sunday Dinner

One of the things about growing old is that we tend to look back over the years. One of my fondest memories is the Sunday dinner with family. I don’t have much family around here anymore, the kids have grown and moved on to better places. However, I still have my husband and luckily, my mom. I do like to have a traditional Sunday dinner once in a while so this weekend I will prepare one of my mom’s favorite dishes, chicken parmesan.

I must admit, it is also one of my favorite dinners. I sometimes make it the delicious, high-calorie way, but often, I make it a reduced calorie, healthy version, which is what I will do this time. I am trying to rid myself of some unwanted winter weight gain so that when springtime finally raises its weary head, I will be one step ahead of the game, and be a little thinner. I don’t want any surprises when I get out last year’s capris and put them on.

I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs as they are very tender and moist. I will also use a couple of chicken tenders so as to have some white meat to save some calories. When I don’t have the ingredients I need to make the low-calorie version, I will use an old standby: Shake and Bake Italian Chicken Seasoning mix, and bake it in the oven. Very good, very tender, and when I use my sauce on it, very very good. Put some freshly grated parmesan cheese on top, you have one meal fit for a king, or in my case, a mom!

Boneless Chicken Parmesan

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 cup nonfat or low-fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • nonstick spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450*.
  2. Lightly spray a baking pan. I use my broiler pan.
  3. Put breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  4. Stir in Parmesan cheese, parsley, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, and thyme.
  5. Put milk in another bowl.Beat in egg.
  6. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels.
  7. Dip chicken into egg-milk mixture, let extra liquid drain off, roll in crumbs, and shake off excess crumbs.
  8. Put chicken in pan and bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.
  9. Spread with tomato sauce, top with parmesan cheese, and bake an additional 10 minutes.
  10. Serve with linguine and sauce and a crusty bread.

Higher Fat Version-Very good

Follow the directions for above but instead of baking in the oven, heat 1-inch oil in a cast iron pan. Brown dredged chicken pieces on both sides. Place on paper towels to drain. Place in a pan spread tomato sauce on top, add the cheese, and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cooked.

Read more