Hey, there is a lot of romance in making dinner for your love.
If you aren’t a cook, here is a one-pot complete no-fail meal that really makes itself. It’s so easy to put together, nearly anyone can do it, even without lots of cooking experience.
There aren’t a lot of ingredients and the slow cooker does all the work, so this is a Valentine’s Dinner that can be made with confidence.
This recipe uses chicken leg quarters, but other chicken pieces can be substituted, including boneless, skinless breasts. If made with a cut that has little to no skin or fat, make sure to include about one-fourth cup of water or chicken broth to the slow cooker, as those pieces won’t make as much liquid content.
Here’s what you will need to make a cozy dinner for two:
Heavy duty aluminum foil
2-4 chicken leg quarter pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 large potatoes, cut into half-inch
Two ears of corn, cut into halves
Butter or margarine to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
To get started, situate the chicken pieces on the bottom of the slow cooker. If using a cut of chicken that has no skin or fat, pour in one-quarter cup of water or chicken broth. Drizzle with barbecue sauce and add garlic powder and curry powder.
Next, cut potatoes into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Wrap in heavy-duty aluminum foil big enough to accommodate them and fold to seal tightly. Lay this packet on top of the chicken.
Take the sections of corn, wrapping them tightly in the foil after dotting them with butter or margarine and situate them on or around the packet of potatoes.
Turn the slow cooker to high and don’t look at it for six hours.
After the cooking time has passed, it’s time to plate the meal. Remove the pieces of corn, unwrap and plate them, putting a couple of sections on each plate. Gently remove the packet of potatoes and open carefully, as the packet will release steam when opened, and spoon out an amount onto each plate. Finally, put a serving of chicken on each plate. Use a slotted spoon since the chicken will be tender, juicy and falling apart.
As a finishing touch, some of the barbecue sauce can be spooned over the chicken and potatoes for a savory addition to the overall plate.
How easy was that?
Miso: what is it and how to use it
Miso is a traditional Japanese paste. It’s made by fermenting soybeans with salt, koji culture, and sometimes other ingredients such as rice, buckwheat, barley, and oats.
Usually consumed as a condiment, miso is often added to soups, stews, sauces, marinades, dressings, and more. It’s also delicious with corn on the cob. Furthermore, some people use miso as a substitute for butter or salt in certain baking recipes.
The color and flavor of miso changes depending on a number of factors. For example, the longer miso is fermented, the more pungent it’ll taste. In addition, the type of soybean or grain that’s used can result in a lighter or darker colored miso. You may need to test out several types of miso to find ones that appeal to your taste buds and work best with your favorite dishes.
Lastly, miso is high in protein and contains bacteria that are good for your gut. However, if you want to enjoy all of the miso’s nutritional benefits, it’s best to purchase an organic variety.
Spooky good: Banana mummies and cookie spiders
Here are some Halloween-appropriate, kid-friendly treats that require just a few easy ingredients and give kids the chance to make a fun, tasty mess.
Kids can easily make these treats, although adults have to supervise melting chocolate and trimming banana skewers.
1 bunch bananas or as many as desired (firm bananas work best)
White chocolate wafers for melting (candy coating is also fine)
Chocolate icing or chocolate wafers for melting
Peel bananas and slice in half. Carefully slide skewer into banana halves lengthwise, then set on a tray and place in freezer for at least an hour to harden — note that long skewers may need to be trimmed. When bananas are frozen, melt white chocolate wafers or candy coating according to package directions, then carefully dip bananas in coating until covered. Place coated bananas in the refrigerator until coating is set, then decorate with melted semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate icing to create bandages and glue on candy eyes. Freeze until set, then serve.
1 package sandwich cookies (we used Halloween Oreos, but Double Stuf Oreos will also work well)
White chocolate wafers or icing — any color or flavor is fine, but we used leftover melted white chocolate from the Banana Mummies
Mini pretzel rods
Carefully twist cookies apart. Count out eight pretzel rods for each cookie — these are the legs. Dip just the tip of each pretzel rod in the melted white chocolate or icing, then press into the frosting side of the sandwich cookie. Be careful not to press too hard, or the cookie itself might break. Repeat for each of the eight legs. Replace the top of the sandwich cookie before the white chocolate or frosting sets. Use white chocolate or frosting to glue on the candy eyes. Spiders are ready to eat almost immediately.
Chickpeas: a versatile ingredient
Chickpeas are affordable, nutritious and can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes. They can add flavor, texture, and nutrients to salads, pasta, stews, curries, tagines, wraps, and other dishes.
Roasted and seasoned chickpeas make an excellent protein-packed snack. In addition, pureed chickpeas can be used to make delicious homemade soups, nutritious cookies, and flavorful hummus dips.
Lightly mashed chickpeas are a great meat substitute in vegetarian dishes and are featured in several Middle Eastern staples, including falafel. Furthermore, chickpea flour can be used to make gluten-free tortillas and pizza dough.
To find dried or canned chickpeas, visit your local grocery store.
Aquafaba is the liquid leftover when chickpeas are cooked. It can be used to replace egg whites in a variety of recipes because of its mild flavor. When whipped, aquafaba has the same texture as stiff egg whites. Consequently, it can be used to make vegan meringues, mousses, custards, and more.
5 things to consider when buying a bread maker
A bread maker is a small appliance that allows you to easily prepare homemade loaves. If you’re considering purchasing one for your kitchen, here are five criteria to consider.
1. Space. Bread makers can be fairly bulky countertop appliances. Before making your purchase, you should decide where you want to keep the bread maker to ensure you have enough space.
2. Features. Bread makers come with a variety of different features. Depending on the model, you can adjust how thick you want the crust to be or make recipes with different types of flour, such as whole wheat or spelt. Some bread makers can even make meatloaf and jam.
3. Loaf size. Each bread maker will make a different size loaf. If you have a large family, you may want to look for a bread maker that makes big loaves.
4. Noise. Unfortunately, most bread makers are quite noisy, especially during the kneading process. In addition, they normally make loud beeping sounds between each step. If these sounds are a problem, look for a model that comes with adjustable volume control.
5. Cost. Like any other kitchen appliance, bread makers are available at a variety of price points. On average, you can expect to pay around $80 to $165.
One thing is certain, the smell of baking bread and biting into a fresh loaf is among life’s little pleasures.
Bread makers usually have a stainless steel or plastic exterior with a removable, non-stick metal bowl fitted with one or two kneading blades. Most models also have a digital display and a window, so you can watch the bread bake.
Meal kits: an easy way to change up your routine
Do you love to cook but sometimes lack inspiration? If so, signing up for a meal kit delivery service may be just what you need. Here’s what you should know.
How it works
The exact terms and conditions may vary depending on the company. However, most meal kit delivery services include the following features:
• You select how many times a week you want to receive a meal kit
• You choose the recipes that interest you
• You select the number of servings you want
• You place your order online
• Your meal kit is delivered to your doorstep
The meal kit contains all the ingredients you need to make the recipe, as well as preparation instructions. Most meals are designed to be ready in around 30 to 45 minutes.
People who love meal kits will tell you their main advantages are that:
• The ingredients are pre-portioned, so there’s no waste
• The products are always fresh
• The recipes are diverse, so you can discover new dishes
• The cost per portion is less expensive than eating out at a restaurant
Lastly, some companies offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and organic options. A quick online search should direct you to a meal kit delivery service available in your area.
6 tips for making homemade dumplings
If you love dumplings and want to try your hand at making them at home, here are six tips to ensure everything goes according to plan.
1. Keep the dough warm. Whether you use homemade or store-bought dough, make sure you let it warm up to room temperature so that it’s easier to handle.
2. Cover the dough. Raw dumpling dough is susceptible to drying out. Consequently, it’s a good idea to cover the dumpling wrappers with a slightly damp towel to keep them moist and pliable.
3. Don’t overfill the dumplings. Each dumpling only needs about a teaspoon of filling. If you overfill your dumplings, they might burst open when cooked.
4. Seal the dumplings with water. Regardless of the folding technique you use, lightly wet your fingers and moisten the areas where you fold the dough so that the seams stick together.
5. Take your time when folding. Start with simple shapes and make sure to give yourself enough time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it perfect on the first try. How they taste is more important than how they look.
6. Freeze the dumplings separately. If you want to freeze your dumplings to enjoy them later, spread them out on a baking sheet and place them in the freezer for about two hours before transferring them to an airtight container or bag to prevent them from sticking together.
Visit your local Asian food store or the international aisle of your regular supermarket to pick up everything you need.