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.

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Know When Your Sauce Has Reduced Enough With a Jury Stick

Reducing a sauce or any other liquid seems like such a matter-of-fact, unambiguous step in a recipe. But I admit that I often feel a knot of anxiety grow larger the longer I hover over the pan of simmering, steaming liquid. Does it look like a cup now? Is that about half? Should I keep going?

Today, let’s relieve some anxieties. Here are some things you should know about reducing sauces, soups, and other liquids, and three ways to tell when they are ready.

Source: 3 Ways to Know When Your Sauce Has Reduced

It’s not a super specific measurement usually, and it can be hard to gauge sometimes (especially for beginner cooks).

Use Cold Butter to Make a Better Butter Sauce for Pasta

Italians are pretty specific about how to cook and dress their noodles, and we urge you to adhere to our ten basic rules when cooking pasta!!

Source: The 10 Most Important Pasta Cooking Tips

Ugh, first one is about salting the water.  Don’t do that – it’s a waste of salt.

Marinade: Rules for Use and Re-Use

When you cook meat or fish, you should never reuse “raw” marinade. With tofu, though, the marinade doesn’t have the same health risks. Re-add the marinade to your tofu dish at the end of cooking for more of the recipe’s flavor.

  • You should not store a marinade that’s been used for raw meat.  If you use a raw-meat marinade in a sauce, you should cook it (and anything that touches it) immediately, and thoroughly.
  • If you are cooking the marinade in the sauce, it is no longer “raw” – this can be reused.

On a related note, see this article for tips about grilling/broiling tofu.

Top 10 Simple Weight Loss Hacks You Can Implement Right Now

Weight loss isn’t easy (if it were, we wouldn’t have a billion different diet plans and products to waste our money on). But even the smallest weight loss tricks or mind hacks can make a big difference when it comes to sticking to your diet or weight loss plan. Here are 10 such tricks you can easily incorporate today.

Source: Top 10 Simple Weight Loss Hacks You Can Implement Right Now

Drink more water?  There are some things to consider about what some would suggest is the proper amount of water to be drinking.  But substituting water for other beverages would be a good idea, and likely cheaper…

The plating idea is interesting, but I fear most will think they have to buy new stuff to make it work.

Alcohol is empty calories.  Lots are very surprised how much weight they drop when they minimize how much beer/etc they consume.

As always, figure out what works for you.

BBQ Sauce: How Much Vitamin K?

Unlike ketchup, BBQ sauce could really be anywhere on the map.  Lots I know who do BBQ tend to make their own BBQ sauce.  So – take the following with a grain of salt? 😉

BBQ sauce supposedly contains the following amount of vitamin K:

  • 1 cup/240 mg: 4.5 mcg, or 6% Daily Value (DV)
  • 100 grams: 1.8 mcg, 2% DV
  • 2 tablespoons/35 grams: 0.6 mcg, 1% DV

Like ketchup, you can see that the dose can ramp up quickly if you aren’t careful about the volume you eat.  Be aware that BBQ sauce does have vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, riboflavin, naicin, folate…  However it is high in sodium and sugar.

…but it takes so good.

Sodium Citrate: Emulsifies Cheese into Creamiest Nacho Sauce

Sodium citrate may sound unfamiliar and possibly suspect, but it’s basically just a form of salt that works as an emulsifier. More plainly stated, it’s an agent that reduces the cheese’s acidity, makes the proteins in the cheese more soluble, and prevents it from separating into a greasy mess; instead creating a smooth, creamy texture that will never “break.” You probably won’t find it at a normal grocery store, but it’s available in specialty food stores and online. It looks like salt and tastes slightly sour (and of course salty), and you’ve probably tasted it before in club soda. Just the tiniest sprinkle of it will transform an entire block of cheese into a submissive puddle of its former self, so there’s little need to be concerned that it’ll increase the sodium level of your cheese sauce. (And if you’re that concerned about your sodium intake, you’re unlikely to eat a heaping plate full of delicious nachos anyway.)

Source: Sodium Citrate Will Turn A Block Of Cheese Into The Creamiest Nacho Sauce Ever. Get Some.

A Mornay sauce is a classic French cheese sauce based on Bechamel. The butter (emulsifier) and flour (binding agent) react with the cheese in order to work within a certain range of temperature to get that creamy goodness.  It is a great sauce but even under the most watchful eye, it can “break” (meaning when the oil separates) – rendering the sauce useless.

Cheeses have different melting temperatures, and overheating cheese leads to the “breaking”. So the key is to heat cheese to its melting point, without going too far.  To make a sauce out of a cheese that is difficult to work with (harder cheeses, like Parmesan or Romano)?  Add a little sodium citrate (E331) and a little liquid (water, beer if you want to add flavour) chemically emulsifies the cheese into a sauce that does not break. It’s a foolproof way to nail cheese sauce, without resorting to Cheeze Whiz/etc.

Cook Almost Anything with Your Bread Machine

You have a robotic cooking machine, and you may not even know it. Dust off your bread machine, or go buy a bread maker from the second hand shop for a few dollars. They can be used for a lot more than just bread. Main courses, desserts, appetizers and drinks can all be made with this versatile, under-utilized machine.

Source: Cook EVERYTHING with your bread machine

You can use a bread machine for so much more than the obvious stuff: bread or pizza dough. Pretty much anything you need to stir and heat is fair game. My favorite idea is using it for soup (just toss in the ingredients and go), but hit up the site for suggestions on casseroles, sauces, breakfast, and snacks.

10 Pasta Sauces to Freeze for Later

What do you call a fake noodle?  An impasta.

Dinner nirvana is what happens when you walk in the door, all tired from work, and just a few minutes later you’re snuggled up at the dinner table with a hot, saucy plate of pasta and a glass of red wine. With a little foresight and the help of your freezer, this weeknight heaven can be enjoyed any time you like.

All it takes is a double batch of pasta sauce, next time you cook one up. Eat half now and freeze the other half for later. Here are 10 recipes for delicious, freezable pasta sauces to help you achieve this weeknight heaven in a bowl.

Source: 10 Pasta Sauces to Freeze For Easy Weeknight Meals