Bake Shepherd’s Pie Directly in Potato Skins

Only have to substitute tofu for the meat, or more vegetables to make it vegetarian friendly.

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Mix the Perfect Fruit Salad With the Mad-Libs Method

Here the analogy ends, because, while not even a Snoop Dogg remix could save “We Are the World,” a better fruit salad is well within reach. The trick is to dress it up with the same little flourishes that make savory salads so enticing.

Source: The Mad-Libs Method for Perfect Fruit Salad in Any Season

Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Carrot “Lox” Is a Tasty Vegetarian Bagel Topper

Chickpea “tuna,” I still love you, but when it comes to non-fish fish, nothing holds a candle to carrot “lox.”

There’s no salmon here, but the carrots—fileted, seasoned with smoked salt and liquid smoke, then steam-roasted in the oven—are remarkably similar in color, texture, and flavor, too.

Source: What Looks Like Lox & Tastes Like Lox But is Made of Carrots?

In the briefest of summaries, what’s been omitted is the key ingredients to make it taste like lox: Liquid Smoke + ‘smoked’ sea salt — just in case people decided not to click thru to read the full recipe.

Liquid Smoke is controversial for some folks and you can read about it at Serious Eats.

Roast Dry Pasta Before Cooking It To Give It Some Extra Flavor

I’ll admit I was skeptical of this idea we found in Ideas in Food by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozawa. Roasting concentrates flavor— roasted vegetables, I can get behind. Roasted fruit and citrus, too. But pasta is pretty perfect in my mind, so why roast it dry to enhance flavor before cooking and saucing it?

Source: Roast Pasta Before Cooking It. Really!

I guess this new generation has never heard of Rice-a-Roni, where you brown the pasta in a pan before adding the rice, spices and boiling water.

Transform Soft Cheeses Into Dressing or Dipping Sauce With This Template

The secret to transforming your favorite soft cheese into a salad dressing is your blender. You can use a regular blender, a fancy high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec, or a handheld immersion blender. All three get the job done, so the choice is yours.

Source: A Template for Turning Any Creamy Cheese into a Quick Dressing

That sounds like a lot of work when I can just dip in the melted cheese …or just pour said melted cheese straight into my mouth.

What about hard cheese? Get some sodium citrate.

There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

A surprising new genetic study shows that some people with naturally high levels of HDL cholesterol—the supposedly good kind of cholesterol—are at increased risk of a heart attack. Doctors are now further questioning the use of drugs to boost HDL levels while looking to new therapies to reduce heart risk.

Source: There’s No Such Thing As ‘Good Cholesterol’ Says Pivotal New Study

Sorry for the scare.

For the people with this genetic defect, HDL (“good”) cholesterol is not good because the defect destroys their liver’s ability to absorb fat brought to it by HDL.  In normal people, HDL still correlates with lower risk of heart disease.

Toast and Season Your Rice Before Boiling for Unbelievable Flavor

The secret to a better pot of rice lies in seasoning and flavoring the grains before they even hit that pot of boiling water.

Source: The Tastier Way to Cook Rice

Instead of transferring it to the boiling pot, you could combine this tip with Alton Brown’s pour-over method to really take your rice to the next level. Either way, it’s an easy enough step, and it makes for extra tasty rice.

Make Almost Any Boring Protein Into a Delicious Meal by “Piccata-ing” it

A whole bunch of us grew up eating chicken piccata at Italian-American restaurants with our parents, or at least I did, preceded by an entire serving of fried calamari, and breadsticks too. I’d eat every last little swipe of sauce, excited at how it made the back of my tongue water, at how smooth it felt, at how it draped itself over long strips of pasta. It’s a thrilling sauce. Even more thrilling is the fact that you can use it on any protein that goes well with lemon and wine. (Even tofu and chickpeas!)

Source: How to Piccata Anything

This would work with a number of standard chicken dishes, just apply the sauce to whatever other meat you’re eating, even hot dogs and hamburgers.

Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.