Category Archives: Cooking For Beginners

Try the Trendiest Flavors Tonight

recipes for beginners

New seasonings make it easy

(Family Features) DIY cooking is rewarding when you get to try exotic flavors common in the Middle Eastern region of the world like harissa, za’atar and shawarma are having a moment, appearing on restaurant menus and in popular make-at-home recipes.
 
Now is the perfect time to give these flavors a try. Thanks to new global seasonings from McCormick Gourmet, the spice combinations are already blended for the ultimate taste and simplicity.

Made from high-quality herbs and spices, the seasonings are USDA-Organic certified and Non-GMO Project verified so you can feel good about the ingredients used in your cooking. The expertly blended spices help create distinctive global-inspired dishes that take your home dining experience to the next level so you can explore these flavors from around the world without leaving the comfort of home.

  • Za’atar: This traditional Middle Eastern blend of spices including thyme, oregano and sesame seeds is perfect for sprinkling on flatbreads, roasted vegetables, nuts
    or popcorn. It can also be mixed into hummus or oil
    for dipping.
  • Harissa: A spicy flavor found in North African cuisine, this seasoning is made from a combination of chilies, warm spices and mint. Add it to meat and veggies before roasting, stir it into cooked rice and grains, mix it into yogurt to make a dip or combine it with roasted bell peppers and oil to turn this spice into its namesake sauce.
  • Shawarma: Often associated with the slow roasting of meat, this Middle Eastern street food favorite is made with cinnamon, coriander, cardamom and more. Use this seasoning to flavor an easy marinade for chicken, pork or steak.

Look for these flavors as well as new Peruvian and Berbere seasonings in the spice section of retailers nationwide. Find more recipe ideas at McCormickGourmet.com.

Grilled Chicken Shawarma

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 16 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1 1/4    cup plain Greek yogurt, divided
  • 5          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Shawarma Seasoning, divided
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1          teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 2          pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 4          pita pockets, halved
  • 1          medium seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 8          lettuce leaves
  1. In small bowl, mix 1 cup yogurt and 1 teaspoon shawarma seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  2. In small bowl, mix oil, lemon juice, remaining yogurt, remaining shawarma seasoning and sea salt. Reserve 2 tablespoons of mixture; set aside.
  3. Place chicken in large re-sealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 1 hour, or longer for extra flavor.
  4. Heat grill or skillet to medium heat.
  5. Remove chicken from marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill or saute 6-8 minutes per side, or until cooked through and internal temperature reaches 165 F, brushing with reserved marinade.
  6. Slice chicken into thin strips. Serve in pitas with cucumber, lettuce and yogurt dressing.

Shaved Carrot Salad with Pomegranate Harissa Dressing

Prep time: 20 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 1/4       cup chopped fresh mint
  • 3          tablespoons pomegranate juice
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Harissa Seasoning
  • 1/2       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Sicilian Sea Salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Organic Black Pepper, coarse ground
  • 3          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2       pound multicolor carrots, washed and peeled
  • 1/2       cup shelled roasted pistachios
  • 1/2       cup dried cranberries
  • 3          cups baby arugula
  • 1/4       cup crumbled feta cheese
  1. In large bowl, mix mint, pomegranate juice, honey, harissa seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Gradually add oil while mixing with wire whisk until well mixed. Set aside.
  2. Trim carrot ends. Slice each carrot lengthwise into ribbons with vegetable peeler or mandoline. In medium bowl, toss carrots with 1/4 cup prepared dressing. Stir in pistachios and cranberries.
  3. Arrange arugula on serving platter. Drizzle with remaining dressing and top with carrot mixture. Sprinkle with feta before serving.

Za’atar Labneh

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 (2 tablespoons each)

  • 1          cup labneh (yogurt cheese)
  • 2          teaspoons McCormick Gourmet Organic Za’atar Seasoning, divided
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • pita bread, for serving (optional)
  • pita chips, for serving (optional)
  • sliced fresh vegetables, for serving (optional)
  1. In small bowl, mix labneh and 1 teaspoon seasoning until well blended.
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining seasoning.
  3. Serve with fresh pita bread, pita chips or sliced fresh vegetables, as desired.

SOURCE:
McCormick

Comfort Food in the Kitchen

cook for one

Cooking Up Comfort

Hearty dishes for cold, dreary days

(Family Features) On crisp winter days when the wind blows cold, warming up from the inside-out with hearty comfort foods can feel like a worthy solution. From chili to cornbread to dumplings, flavorful and filling foods prepared without an overload of ingredients certainly can provide a feel-good boost on chilly evenings.

Chili, a classic wintertime favorite, can be taken to the next level with a few tasty additions. Make a spicy version by mixing in bacon, sweet potatoes and a chopped jalapeno pepper for a quick warm-up. A simple and somewhat sweet spin on a classic, comforting side, Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread pairs well with the slightly spicy chili. If you’re really looking to put the comfort in a comforting main course, this Skillet Chicken and Dumplings recipe takes less than an hour to create.

To make these heart-warming recipes stand out from a crowd, Circulon Symmetry Chocolate Cookware provides dishwasher-safe, premium nonstick cookware for easy cleanup and food release that slides right off.

Find more information and comforting family-favorite recipes at circulon.com.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Servings: 6

  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 5.5-Quart Casserole
  • 6          slices thick-cut smoked bacon, chopped
  • 1          pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2          medium onions, chopped
  • 1          jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5          garlic cloves, minced
  • 2          tablespoons chili powder
  • 2          teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 2          cups chicken broth
  • 1          can (14 1/2 ounces) no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1          can (15 ounces) no-salt-added black beans
  • 1/2       cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  1. Heat casserole over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until browned and crisp, about 7-8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-covered plate.
  2. Reduce bacon fat in casserole to 2 tablespoons and return to stove over medium-high heat. Add sweet potatoes, onions and jalapeno pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano and ground chipotle; cook until fragrant, 15 seconds.
  4. Pour in broth, tomatoes, beans and barley; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender and barley is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in bacon and salt; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Honey-Pumpkin Cornbread

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12-16

  • Circulon Nonstick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan
  • 1 1/2    cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4    cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3          tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2       teaspoon sea salt
  • 1          cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2          large eggs, at room temperature
  • 5          tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4          tablespoons honey
  • 1/3       cup buttermilk
  • 1          tablespoon grated orange zest
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Lightly butter baking pan.
  2. In bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In separate bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, eggs, butter, honey, buttermilk and orange zest. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until moistened; transfer to prepared baking pan.
  4. Bake until cornbread pulls away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Skillet Chicken and Dumplings

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8

  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 3.5-Quart Saucepan
  • 3          containers (32 ounces each) low-sodium chicken stock
  • Circulon Symmetry Chocolate 12-Inch Essentials Pan
  • 2          medium onions, diced
  • 4          carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-inch rounds
  • 1          head broccoli, chopped
  • 2          tablespoons butter
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3       cups chopped chicken
  • 2          bay leaves
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1          teaspoon powdered garlic
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2       cup half-and-half
  • 2          tablespoons cornstarch

Dumplings:

  • 1 1/2    cups whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 2          teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup half-and-half

Garnish:

  • fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh black pepper
  1. In saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil.
  2. In essentials pan, saute onions, carrots and broccoli with butter. Add olive oil as needed if pan looks dry. Cook until onions are translucent and carrots are beginning to soften.
  3. Add chopped chicken, bay leaves, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and hot chicken stock to skillet. Simmer 20-30 minutes until vegetables are softened. Adjust seasoning, as necessary.
  4. Whisk cornstarch into half-and-half until smooth. Whisk into soup and simmer 5 minutes, until slightly thickened.
  5. To make Dumplings: In medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and half-and-half. Swirl soup with wooden spoon and add heaping tablespoons into center of soup at strong simmer. Continue adding until all dumpling batter is used. Cover with lid and cook on high 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve topped with grated Parmesan and fresh cracked pepper.

SOURCE:
Circulon

Cooking the Low Carb Way

first time cooking

More than ever before people are watching what they eat.. One method that has shown great success in helping people quickly drop those unwanted pounds is through low carb cooking and dieting. This method of weight loss seems to have taken the world by storm promising quick results for the simple (or not so simple) lifestyle change of eliminating as many carbohydrates as possible from our diets.

The notion sounds simple on one hand and is appealing to not only women hoping to drop those vanity pounds but also men who welcome the idea of eating all the steaks they can handle throughout the year. Low card cooking is becoming a way of life for many families as a result though the idea of this particular lifestyle change and the reality of it do on occasion seriously collide with one another.

If you are interested in dropping those unwanted pounds and keeping them off, this is a doubt that without a doubt gets results. The problem is that you must stick to the diet in order for the results to remain consistent even after you’ve met your weight loss goals. This means that you are not really embarking on a diet so much as a complete overhaul in the way you eat.

The excellent thing about low carb cooking is that it is so widely popular. This means that you will have no trouble finding resources, tips, tricks, advice, and even amazing substitutes for those things you often miss most when engaging in the low carb lifestyle. Popular stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes are great places to go for specific foods that are low carb in nature and designed to meet the chocolate or breading needs of those who feel more than slightly deprived by the rigorous restrictions of a low carb lifestyle. Many mainstream grocery stores are also beginning to see the value of catering to this ‘high end’ market of consumers and offering a wider variety of low carb friendly foods to consumers.

You can find recipes that are low in carbs by the mouthful at your local libraries and bookstores around the world. You can also find many resources on the Internet to help assist and encourage you in your low carb lifestyle incorporation. In addition to the cookbooks, recipes, and encouragement you also need to weed out the fact from the fiction when it comes to low carb cooking. The best way to do this is to go straight to the source. If you are going to incorporate this lifestyle altering diet into your way of life, you want to make sure that you are following it to the letter and not some knock off version that may not be as effective.

When it comes to low carb cooking you have the perfect excuse to use your grill well and use your grill often. In fact, I highly recommend a George Foreman grill (or some similar knock off) for your home for those days when grilling outside simply isn’t an option. Around our house, those are the days when the snow reaches the bottom of the grill but we are the exception rather than the rule. Most importantly about low carb cooking you should keep your goal in mind. Just adjust they way you cook and eat to reach your goals.

Cook up a Southern Storm

cook at home

My memories of real Southern food stem way back to my childhood. From as far back as I can remember we had long summer afternoons spent drinking iced tea and snapping beans and on my grandmother’s porch. I have moved on from my roots and have made my way into other regions of the world. One thing, however, that has remained constant in my life is my deep and abiding love for southern cooking and cuisine.

I was probably well into my teen years before I realized that diy tea could be served any other way than loaded with sugar and over ice. It was about that same time that I realized some folks would eat vegetables that hadn’t been soaked in batter, dredged in cornmeal, and deep fat fried. Southern cooking is not for the faint of heart though it can cause many hearts to grow faint. One thing that can be said is that you’ll never find anything else like it on earth.

People in the south learned to make do with little in many instances. Some of the poorest people in America live in the southern part of the country. Of course, you will find that many of these people despite their poverty are also among the most generous. The same can be said of diy food. It’s the one thing that seems to be in ample supply in most Down South homes and very few will turn you away with an empty stomach.

Perhaps it’s the seasonings that are often used when cooking southern food. From the crab boil and gumbo file of Cajun Cuisine to the secret ingredient that almost every southern kitchen contains for their diy fried chicken recipes (and no one on earth can fry chicken like a born and bred southern grandma). Perhaps it’s the Sunday church dinners where everyone shares a little of what they have with others or the love that goes into preparing these meals that are shared with friends and family. Whatever the case may be, if you ever have the occasion to experience real Down South , do not pass it up. You might shave a day off your life, but a good southern fried chicken leg is really living and well worth the sacrifice if you ask me.

Of course it would be remiss to mention diysouthern cooking without bringing up some of the more delicious desserts that seem to be perfection for the south. I mentioned banana pudding above but there are so many more. Pralines are a perfect for those living down around New Orleans as is bread pudding. A little to the east there are grandma’s who have taken their lemon icebox pie recipes to the grave with them so coveted were these delicious deserts and the same holds true for pecan pies as well. We should never forget the flavorful diy Mississippi Mud cake though, and so many other wonderfully delicious treats that southern cooking has introduced to the world at large.

Favorite vegetables in the heart of the south as I mentioned above included peas and butter beans, snap beans, corn, summer squash (after all, it’s summer all year in the south), and okra (fried or boiled in many southern kitchens). Not all vegetables were deep fried though few were off limits. I remember eating my share of fried okra, fried squash, and yes, fried green tomatoes. Life was good back when calories weren’t counted and no one really worried about clogging arteries. While I wouldn’t make these a daily dish in any household, I certainly would recommend trying them out if you ever find the opportunity.

Another great thing about southern cooking is the wonderful diy fried seafood that seems to abound. From fried fish (almost any variety works well when it’s southern fried) to fried oysters, seafood just seems to taste so much better in the south. If you are hoping to learn some of the southern cooking and cuisine you will most likely need to order your spices and have them shipped unless your grocery store has a rather extensive ‘exotic’ foods selection. You can sometimes find great southern seasonings on the International food aisles in grocery stores as well. Do something special for your family and cook up a Southern storm.

Cook Italian Meals at Home

There are not too many people who do not love Italian cooking. Unfortunately, far too many of us discount the possibility of bringing Italian cooking into our very own kitchens for fear that many of the recipes are far too difficult. The truth is that learning to cook Italian food just might make your home the favorite drop in dining spot for friends and family all over.

Believe it or not, most great Italian recipes have an easier version that can be made with very similar effects when it comes to flavor and aroma. Also, despite the commercials of old, all Italian cooking does not require an entire day of simmering in order to achieve great flavor. Though you do not have to let your friends and family in on that little secret. Be a martyr for flavor and they will love you even more. You do not have to let anyone in on your best-kept secrets when it comes to preparing these often simple dishes.

The biggest challenge that most Americans face when it comes to Italian cooking is basically learning a new set of essential ingredients. The cheese, meats, or grains that are used in their creation most often identify or define Italian cuisine. It’s the combination of these primary ingredients that create some of the most distinctive flavors on earth. Learn about these ingredients. Identify the flavors and study the combinations of flavors and you should be able to not only follow many great Italian recipes but also to invent a few of your very own Italian inspired recipes.

The greatest thing when it comes to cooking Italian food is that most of these dishes are rather difficult to destroy. This of course does not indicate that it cannot be done, only that it isn’t as simple as with some of the more delicate cuisines around the world. Italian food is durable and flavorful but for the most part not too terribly delicate when it comes to flavor. You can go a little heavy with some spice or cheese without completely ruining the dish in most instances. If you are anything like me, this is a regular occurrence when cooking and one of the reasons I enjoy cooking Italian food so much.

Whether you are a beginner when it comes to the culinary arts or a seasoned pro there is something that will provide the appropriate challenge for you when it comes to Italian cooking. Take a look around there are recipes in abundance across the Internet, at your local library, in specialty cook books, and even in your favorite block buster best selling novels.

Another thing you should keep in mind when cooking Italian food is that nothing seems to bring out the flavor of Italian food better than a good bottle of wine to match. Perhaps this is the reason that it is difficult to ruin an Italian meal, no matter how bad it is, the good wine paired with it, will erase all ill will and tastes in very short order. You will want to spend a little time researching and studying the science (though some will argue that this is truly an art form) that goes along with pairing a good bottle of wine with the right flavor combination when it comes to Italian cooking. Once you’ve mastered this, there is nothing to prevent you from being the diva of all things Italian when it comes to food preparation.

The most important thing for you to remember when cooking Italian food is not to take the cooking too seriously. Good Italians know that the enjoyment of the meal is far more important than the process of preparing the meal. Make your meal an event with plenty of time for pleasant conversation and enjoyment of your company in between courses. The point of a good Italian meal is the pleasure of enjoying it with fine wine and good conversation.

Use the Best Ingredients for your Home cooked Gourmet Meals

gourmet cooking

gourmet cooking

Cooking gourmet food is the use of the freshest ingredients available. This means that to enjoy authentic gourmet food you must prepare your food immediately after purchasing the fresh ingredients that will comprise your meals. Not only do you want to purchase the freshest ingredients when cooking gourmet meals but you also want to insure that you are purchasing ingredients of superior quality.

Those who excel at gourmet cooking and food preparation have many options available to them. From catering to opening up their own restaurant these talented individuals who are entrepreneurial in spirit often do quite well in the world of business if their talent is sufficient.

When it comes to cooking gourmet food the two rules mentioned above are the only hard and fast rules. Everything else is purely a matter of adventure and taste. Now this doesn’t mean that any and everyone can become a gourmet cook simply by going out and purchasing the finest and freshest of ingredients and throwing them into a pot. There is some degree of art involved when it comes to gourmet cooking and a large degree of skill that is necessary in order to achieve these culinary masterpieces.

You should also understand and be prepared to discover that fresh ingredients are not always available so there are times when compromises must be made when cooking gourmet meals. For this reason you capitalize on what is in season and plan your meals accordingly whenever possible. One important quality when it comes to cooking gourmet food is the layering of flavors. You should be able to taste the meat or seafood as well as the vegetables, herbs, and spices that comprise your skillfully prepared meal.

You should not however rely on taste or aroma alone when cooking gourmet foods. As I mentioned above gourmet cooking is a large degree skill but there is some degree of art involved. For this reason, presentation is a key component of the gourmet dining experience. Through a few freshly chopped herbs on the plate before placing the food or top the food with appealing and aromatic herbs that will compliment the flavor of the meal you have prepared. Present the fruits and vegetable sides in a visually appealing fashion rather than simply tossing them onto a plate.

With proper presentation even foods that were simple to prepare can take on the flavor of a gourmet feast. This is something you should keep in mind whether your cooking plans for the evening involve the gourmet or the every day. The thing about gourmet cooking is that it is to some degree more art than science. This means that there is always room to improve your skills and stretch your limits as a cook. There will always be the next great challenge or the ‘what if’ when it comes to flavor combinations.

In fact, some of the greatest foods began with someone asking, “What would happen if I added this?” Always ask what if and always seek to improve your skills. The good news if this is an avenue you wish to pursue is that there are often gourmet cooking classes offered at gourmet food shops in your area. Some colleges or local community programs will also offer these sorts of classes for a few if you are interested. This means that there are almost always opportunities to broaden your experiences with gourmet cooking and expand your horizons.

Whether this is your first time considering gourmet cooking or you are an old pro, keep in mind that skills can be learned over time with the proper motivation and an open and honest desire to learn. If you want to learn more about gourmet cooking there is really nothing to stop you from doing so other than yourself. Check out your local library, bookshops and the Internet for great gourmet recipes to try.

Make Beef Stew from Leftover Pot Roast

Making beef stew from last nights pot roat is simple to do in minutes.

Don,t let your left over beef go to waste when it can become a whole new meal for your family.

Let us show you in this video how simple making beef stew can be.

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How to make Holiday Turkey and Stuffing.

turkey dinner

So it’s your turn to make the big Turkey dinner this year but you have no clue where to start.

Believe it or not but making turkey and stuffing is not that hard to do even for the beginning cook.

Here is a little video which describes how to make homemade dressing and oven baked turkey.

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How to cook a burger On the Grill

cook a burger
You can learn how to cook a burger on the grill by going through this recipe. There are many recipes on how to cook a burger on the grill but this one is different from all as you do not need to know a great deal about cooking. All the recipes for how to cook a burger on the grill can show a way to make a burger but to get the perfect one you need to be patient and improve gradually with practice.

How to Cook Ribeye Steak

cooking steaks at home
Learn how to cook a ribeye steaks. Today I am going to tell you how to grill a ribeye steaks
Place a seasoned cast iron skillet in oven and preheat oven to 450°F. Brush both sides of the steak with your favorite oil and then season with salt and pepper. When oven is heated, carefully remove pan and place on stovetop over medium heat.
Place the ribeye steak in the hot skillet and sear for 2 minutes. Flip the steak, top with garlic and course ground black pepper and place skillet back in oven for around 6-7 minutes.
Put the skillet back on stovetop over low heat this time.
Flip the steak, now top with butter and very carefully tilt pan while scooping on the melted butter, garlic and pepper to continually coat steak for 1-3 minutes.
Check the steaks doneness with an instant read thermometer and pull the steak from the skillet at 120-125°F for medium rare and so on. Let rest five minutes and finally coat with the browned butter before serving.
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