Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Have a happy Christmas eve

December 24, 2009

Well it is time to party!  I hope you have enjoyed all my holiday tips, recipes, and gift suggestions during the past month.  Please reply with any comments you have from what you learned from THE SAC CHEF.

Now… time to get ready for Santa….

More Tips on How To Make Perfect Cookies

December 23, 2009

Use top-quality ingredient and assemble the ingredients before starting:

You can’t expect a first-rate product using second-rate ingredients. Be sure your ingredients are fresh and of the finest quality. If your recipe says the ingredient must be room temperature, be sure it is room temperature before proceeding. (more…)

How To Make and Bake Perfect Cookies

December 22, 2009

Click here to visit today’s post on my blog

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Classic Spritz Cookies

December 22, 2009

Classic Spritz Cookies are an easy way to add variety to a tray of cookies. A cookie press lets you change disks to produce many different shapes. Serve them plain, sprinkled with decorations or sugars, frosted or dipped in melted chocolate!
click here for recipe (more…)

Cordon Bleu Melts

December 20, 2009

cordon blue (more…)

Kitchen tip = Bars, Squares, and Brownies

December 20, 2009

Just follow these tips to make the best Christmas cookies

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Kitchen Tip = How to use Cookie Sheets

December 20, 2009

A baking sheet should be either cool or at room temperature when the cookie dough is placed on it; otherwise, the dough will start to melt, adversely affecting the cookies’ shape and texture.

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Last-minute shopping tips for holiday procrastinators

December 20, 2009

Uh-oh. Have you procrastinated about doing your holiday shopping? Again? Alright, deadline-pushers, you can officially stop despairing. These tips will require a minimum investment of time on your part, and they’ll help you survive another holiday season while elating your friends and family as well.

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How to Host a Cookie Exchange Party

December 19, 2009

Do you love setting the table with a huge assortment of cookies but can’t stand the thought of spending several days baking? Then a cookie exchange party is the perfect party for you! Plan ahead for your party with our handy checklist.

You’ve picked a date and sent the invitations. What now? It’s simple to organize and throw your own party–we’ll walk you through it. Check out our tips to make the party extra-special, and browse our Christmas cookie recipes from around the world. (more…)

Kitchen Tip = Rolled and Dropped Cookie Tips

December 18, 2009

Some quick tips for perfect holiday cookies

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5 Important Facts about California’s Gift Card Laws

December 18, 2009

The rash of bankruptcies and other difficulties facing the state have led to changes and reinforcements of laws applying to gift cards in California. Since this is the season when the majority of gift cards are purchased,  I thought it a good time to examine these laws for California’s shoppers.

For a state-by-state detailing of gift-card consumer protection laws visit the Consumer Union web site. (more…)

Holiday tip = When to Send Christmas Cards

December 17, 2009

The Post Office expects to deliver about 16 billion mail pieces between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Knowing when to send Christmas cards ensures that someone’s holiday is made jolly; sending Christmas cards too late adds stress to yours. Do it right this year!

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Snowball Cookies

December 15, 2009

Delicious buttery melt in your mouth pieces of pure heaven on earth! These cookies contain either walnuts or pecans.  These cookies have many different names: Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cakes, I just call them Snowballs 🙂 These cookies are very rich and rolled in a generous amount of powdered sugar.  If you have a nut allergy you can leave the pecans out (the cookies are still just as fantastic)


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Kitchen Tip = Winter Sweet Igloo and Penguin Craft

December 15, 2009

Craft time can be just as fun in the kitchen with this candy penguin and igloo project. See how to make a wintery scene with your kids using edible ingredients like marshmallows, frosting, sugar cubes, and coconut.

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Snowman Cookies

December 14, 2009

Holiday party? Turn the kids loose shaping all the cookies—it’s like playing with clay but the results are yummy. Ropes of cookie dough coil up to make these tasty snowmen—simple child’s play.

click here for recipe (more…)

8 Tips For Making The Best Snowman… Ever!

December 14, 2009

8 Snowman Tips:

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Praline Cookies

December 13, 2009

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How to Pick the Perfect Christmas Tree

December 13, 2009

From choosing your tree to keeping your tree fresh, this is your guide to a perfect Christmas tree!

Finding a spectacular Christmas tree is a quest many of us embark on every year. But are you really a savvy tree shopper?

Read on to learn how to choose the best tree for you, put it up straight without a struggle, and keep it fresh, fragrant, and hazard-free — plus, secrets to holiday cleanup. (more…)

Party Appetizer Tips

December 11, 2009

Our party appetizer tips will help you plan your next dinner or holiday party. Eating appetizers offers a great way for guests to socialize while having something to do. You can place them strategically around your home to direct the flow of guest traffic and they are a nice thing to offer whenever alcohol is served so that guests don’t drink on an empty stomach.

 

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TERIYAKI STEAK MARINADE

December 7, 2009

click here (more…)

Glazed Honey Cake

December 6, 2009

Easy Holiday Dessert of the day

Honey cake is a Rosh Hashanah tradition. This holiday honey cake is easy to make and delicious to eat.

click below for recipe

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Kitchen Tip of the Day = Great Ideas for Holiday Leftovers

December 3, 2009

Turn holiday leftovers into after-holiday delights with these simple ideas!

Cranberry Relish and Sauce

  • Blend with your favorite mustard and spread on leftover turkey sandwiches.
  • Spoon over yogurt and granola for a delicious and healthy treat.
  • Add to vinaigrette dressing and serve over peppery greens, like arugula or kale, to create a delicious winter salad.
  • Heat with a touch of Grand Marnier liqueur for an incredible ice cream or pound cake topping.
  • Heat with a cabernet wine and serve as a sauce with chicken or pork.

Canned Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • Add to oatmeal and top with a little cinnamon. Pumpkin pie oatmeal!
  • Create an out-of-this-world pumpkin smoothie. Mix with milk and vanilla yogurt, then add a little cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar and blend with a few ice cubes.
  • Divide into ½-cup portions and freeze. Later, you’ll have just the right amount to add to waffle or pancake batter.

More Timely Tips

  • Wine only lasts for a few days after the bottle is open. Freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays. It will be ready to add to soups or sauces. One cube equals about two tablespoons.
  • Chop stale, leftover bread into crumbs and freeze. Thaw for use as a crunchy topping for fish or pasta, and for making meatballs or meatloaf.
  • Freeze leftovers in individual portions. They make a tasty and budget-friendly alternative to store-bought frozen meals.

Kitchen Tip of the Day = Food Safety

December 2, 2009

TODAY IS THE DAY TO TOSS OUT YOUR THANKSGIVING LEFTOVERS

Don’t store leftover turkey in the fridge for more than three or four days. Eat leftovers within four days. Holiday food kept longer than that should be thrown out. Freeze anything that is not going to be used within four days.

SAFETY TIPS FOR STORING LEFTOVERS

November 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the day: Storing Leftovers

Cut the turkey into small pieces; refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking. Use leftover turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days; gravy within 1-2 days; or freeze these foods. Reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 ° F or until hot and steaming.

Here’s a list of common leftovers and recommended refrigerator storage times:

  • soups and stews: 3 to 4 days
  • gravy and meat broth: 1 to 2 days
  • cooked turkey, meat and meat dishes: 3 to 4 days
  • cooked poultry dishes: 3 to 4 days
  • casseroles:3 to 4 days
  • luncheon meats: opened package 3 to 5 days; unopened package 2 weeks
  • pasta & potato salads: 3 to 5 days

Easy Fresh Cranberry Sauce

November 26, 2009

This refreshing cranberry sauce can be made on Thanksgiving Day. That is how easy it is!

Click below for recipe

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TURKEY BRINING 101

November 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the day:

This Thanksgiving, whether you are roasting or smoking your holiday turkey, don’t forget the most important step: brining.

Click below for directions (more…)

Easy TURKEY Pan Gravy

November 26, 2009

Perfect Turkey Gravy for Thanksgiving or Christmas…

I recommend making 1/2 cup gravy per person since it is Thanksgiving. You need that much gravy to pour over everything, and for leftovers. So here is the formula, click below to read the recipe.

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HOW TO DEFROST / THAW YOUR THANKSGIVING TURKEY IN TIME

November 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the Day

click below to view thawing charts

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Homemade Turkey Broth

November 26, 2009

A Thanksgiving turkey would be naked without the proper broth and gravy.

Click below for recipe

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Table Setting Guides

November 26, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the Day = How to set a table

Setting a table is not as difficult as it seems. The basic rule is: Utensils are placed in the order of use, that is, from the outside in. A second rule, with only a few exceptions is: forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right.

Click below for Descriptions and diagrams

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MICROWAVE RICE COOKING

November 9, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the Day = How to use a Microwave Rice Cooker

1. To cook rice, refer to package microwave directions. If package microwave directions are unavailable, a general guideline for four servings is 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. Fill cooker with water and rice. Cook on HIGH (100% power) 5 minutes; reduce to MEDIUM (50% power)15 minutes or until water is absorbed.

2. Place clear inner lid into base with outer rim upright. Set lid on top of cooker aligning lid tabs with handles. Pull locks up and over tabs to click in place.

3. Place cooker in microwave and follow package directions to begin cooking. Microwave ovens vary; adjust times and power levels as needed, beginning with shorter cooking times.

4. Remove from microwave with heat-resistant oven mitt or pad. Release locks from tabs. Caution: Steam will build during cooking. Using a heat-resistant oven mitt or pad, lift lid toward you, allowing remaining steam to escape away from you. Insert a utensil in center hole, lift clear inner lid toward you.

5. Refer to microwave manufacturers instruction manual for more information on cooking other foods.

Stuffing and Dressing Cooking Tips and Hints

November 4, 2009

Kitchen Tip of the Day

stuffing (1)

Whether your family calls it stuffing or dressing, most likely the first thing that comes to mind is Thanksgiving. However, stuffing is not just for holidays and not just for poultry. Many varieties of seafood and vegetables are also prime candidates for stuffing.

Click below for more information

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Kitchen Tip = ONLY 3 WEEKS UNTIL THANKSGIVING

November 3, 2009

YOU HAVE ONLY 3  WEEKS UNTIL THANKSGIVING

roasted_turkey

Think it’s too early to start planning Thanksgiving dinner? Think again! Nov. 26 may seem like a long way off, but for the holiday host, it’s right around the corner. That’s why each Tuesday until Turkey Day, I’ll bring you preparation tips to ensure your Thanksgiving is as smooth as your gravy (should be). Here are two tips to start thinking about today!

1. Get a head count.

Now’s the time to start inviting people to Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re thinking about it, chances are good your friends and family are, too. So if your cousin is bringing her new boyfriend, and both sets of grandparents are coming to town, as well as your parents and siblings, you’re going to need to figure out how to seat everyone at your small table with three mismatched chairs.

Getting a head count this early ensures you’ll have enough time to borrow tables, chairs and whatever other furniture items you need to so that everyone can eat comfortably, and then have a place to lounge when the tryptophan-wine combo sets in. And don’t forget to find out who’s a vegetarian, who’s allergic to nuts, and any other dietary restrictions you’ll be dealing with. The last thing you want to hear as you put your pecan pie on the table is that your cousin’s new boyfriend has a severe nut allergy.

2. Pre-order your turkey.
There are few things more stressful than trying to find a good turkey of the correct size during the week before Thanksgiving, especially if you want a fresh turkey over the 3-4 days to defrost a frozen turkey

Luckily, many grocery stores begin taking orders for turkeys around the beginning of November. And that early head count will let you know how much turkey you’ll need to ensure everyone leaves with bellies so full they’ll wish they’d worn sweatpants. Allow for one pound of turkey per person (that way you’ll most likely have leftovers for things like turkey sandwiches and other fun recipes I will be posting here after Thanksgiving.

How to Toast Nuts in the microwave

November 2, 2009

toastedpecans1

HOW TO TOAST NUTS

Here is a great tip for your Autumn baking, I discovered that most nuts such as PECANS, ALMONDS, and WALNUTS toast beautifully in the microwave. Many Fall recipes call for nuts which are in season right now. By toasting them first, the flavor explodes and enhances your recipe. Instead of using your stovetop or oven, put this microwave method to the test. It worked like a charm.

Evenly spread nuts in a flat microwavable dish such as a small stoneware bar pan. Microwave on high or full power for 3 to 4 minutes for 1/2 cup of nuts and 4 to 5 minutes for 1 cup. Stir every 45-60 second intervals (which is good for all nuts) to control the toasting times during cooking. Do not over cook as nuts will continue to darken after being removed from the microwave.

Warning!!  the dish will be HOT. allow to sit for 5 minutes to cool the nuts to room temp before using in your recipe

Do you have leftover SNICKER BARS Candy? Make SNICKER BAR COOKIES

November 1, 2009

Do you have leftover SNICKER BARS Halloween Candy?

OatmealCookies2

SNICKER  BAR COOKIES

INGREDIENTS
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups rolled oats
1 (13.3-oz.) pkg. fun-sized Snickers® candy bars, each cut into 8 chunks

DIRECTIONS

Heat oven to 350°F.Spray cookie sheetswith nonstick cooking spray. In large bowl, combine brown sugar, sugar and butter; beat until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and eggs; blend well. Add flour and baking soda; mix well. Stir in oats until well combined. Stir candy pieces into dough.Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto sprayed cookie sheets.Bake at 350°F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets.

yield 3 dozen cookies

Witches’ Brew Ice Cream Soda

October 31, 2009

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Chocolate Syrup
  • Cold Ginger ale
  • 3 scoops (about 3/4 cup) orange sherbet
  • TWIZZLERS Strawberry Twists / Red Licorice

Directions

1. Combine syrup with small amount of Ginger ale in 16-ounce soda glass.

2. Add sherbet; fill glass with more soda.

3. Cut tips off licorice to make a straw. Serve immediately.

Makes one 16-oz. serving.

Patrick Mummy Pizza Bites

October 30, 2009

Just in time for Halloween.

Ingredients =
English muffins
Pizza sauce
Black olives
Scallions
Red or green pepper
Cheese sticks

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350º F.
  2. For each mummy, spread a tablespoon of pizza sauce onto half of an English muffin.
  3. Set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper for pupils.
  4. Lay strips of cheese (we used a pulled-apart cheese stick) across the muffin for the mummy’s wrappings.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.mummy pizza

Finger Cookies

October 30, 2009

witches-finger-cookies-thumb

Creep out everyone at your Halloween party with finger cookies.

Yield: 5 dozen

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup Butter, softened
1 Egg
1 tsp Almond extract
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups Flour
1 tsp Salt
3/4 cup whole Almonds
2 squares of melting chocolate, or chocolate bark

Combine the sugar, egg, butter, almond extract, and vanilla in a bowl. Mix in the flour, and salt. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes, or until it’s firm.When you’re ready to shape the cookies, only take out a small portion of the dough at a time. Shape the cookies into fingers by rolling and working with your hands. Score the top of the cookie with a knife or spatula to make it look like the wrinkles in your knuckle. Press an imprint into the tip of the cookie with your finger to make a spot for the almond finger nail. Press an almond into the tip of each finger to look like a fingernail.Placed on a cooking sheet lightly coated with no-stick cooking spray and bake at 325` for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cookies are a very light golden brown. Let the cookies cool on a drying rack.Use melting chocolate to go around the outside of the almond nail, giving a ghoulish appearance. Just melt the chocolate, put it in an icing piping bag, and cut a very small hole in the tip. Then pipe around the nail.

If you use red melting chocolate the look will be even more dramatic, you can also make small drops of chocolate blood, or chocolate cuts on the cookies if you really want to gross out your guests.The witches finger cookies will make great party treats, but you can also bundle them up in a decorative container and use them for your Halloween party favors.

Tricia Mummy Dogs

October 30, 2009

mummy

Tricia Mummy Dogs

INGREDIENTS
1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 1/2 slices American cheese,
1 pkg ( 40) mini hot dogs / cocktail sausages
Mustard or ketchup

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.
3. Cut each rectangle with a pizza cutter lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into half then into 40 small strips
.4. Wrap 1 piece of dough around each hot dog and 1 strip slice of cheese stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for “face.” On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down)
5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot.
6. With mustard, draw features on “face.”