We've got the best answer to that age-old question "What's for Supper"?

Watch for ideas, recipes, facts and other thoughts to help you enjoy more than an ordinary meal.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What's a Serving?

We're often asked so what do you consider "a serving"?

Well, for dairy products - it's generally 1 cup and for vegetables a serving is usually 1/2 cup raw or cooked vegetables. Fruit is also about 1/2 cup or 3/4 cup for fruit juice.

Meat servings are considered to be 3 oz of cooked meat. Beans is 3/4 cup while grains are 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup pasta or 1 cup dry cereal.

Generally we tend to consume bigger portions than one serving. However, if you're trying to eat a healthier diet, consider first and foremost - watching those portion sizes!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What size egg?

Eggs should be bought and measured by weight but tradition is against this sensible approach. Unless otherwise states in your recipe, we assume that you use a 2-ounce egg. These are known as "large". However, eggs of any size may be used for preparations such as fried, boiled, poached - when the size of the egg has no effect on the overall recipe. The typical serving size per person is 1 to 2 eggs.

Speaking of eggs, our Salmon Asparagus Tart (on the menu this month) is a real treat for either brunch, lunch or dinner. It has it's share of eggs, but a lot of other tasty ingredients as well, that you're sure to find delightful!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bittersweet vs. Semisweet Chocolate

As for ingredients that are similar, we find that both are made of at least 35 percent chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla and lecithin.

Bittersweet bars usually have a deeper chocolate flavor than those labeled "semisweet," and they are apt to be less sweet, however the amount of sugar they contain is not regulated. These chocolates may be interchanged in most recipes, but their differences can affect the flavor, texture and appearance of the finished product. Bittersweet is good for icings, sauces, fillings and candy dipping because of its sheen when it is tempered and melted.

Enjoy your chocolate this valentines ... oh and don't forget about our Chocolate Decadence muffins! They're "to die for"!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sweet Potatoes in the Microwave

Want to enjoy some sweet potatoes with your dinner but pressed for time? Just pierce as many as 4 whole medium-sized potatoes in several places each. Place on a paper towel on the turntable of your microwave in a spoke pattern. Cook on high until tender: 5 - 9 minutes for 2 potatoes / 10 to 13 minutes for 4 potatoes, turning them over and rearranging after 5 minutes. Cover with a towel and allow to stand for 5 minutes after cooking.

And if you like sweet potatoes, you'll love our Sweet Potato Pecan Bake. Even though it isn't a dish you'll microwave, you'll still love this great tasting side dish!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In Honor of the Year of the Tiger

Chinese New Year begins on February 14th, 2010 and this is the year of the Tiger. In honor of the event, perhaps you'll choose to make a dish using a mixture of spices that is popular in Chinese cuisine. One common recipe for the mixture, Chinese Five-spice, includes equal amounts of the following ingredients ground into a powder: broken or crushed cinnamon sticks, Star anise, fennel seeds, Szechuan pepper-corns and whole cloves. The formula is based on the Chinese philosophy of balancing the yin and yang in food. It is used in most recipes for Cantonese roasted duck, as well as beef stew. It is also used as a marinade for Vietnamese broiled chicken. Be sure to store the spice in an airtight container.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Choosing the correct size pan

If you do not have a pan that corresponds to the size and shape that is called for in a recipe, find a pan with a similar surface or square-inch area and substitute a pan of that approximate size.
Should a square or rectangle pan be too large, you can reduce the size of it with a divider made of aluminum foil. The batter holds the divider in place on one side. Add dried beans or rice to the other side to support the foil from the opposite direction.

This month our to-go freezer is filled with some great chocolate desserts to share with the one you care about! After all, who can resist a good chocolate cake or muffin?

Monday, February 1, 2010

About Aromatic Rice

Basmati is a long-grain white or brown rice with alluring aroma and flavor. Basmati gives Indian pilafs their distinctive texture and aroma.

Jasmine, another long-grain white rice, is dense when cooked, almost like medium-grain rice. It has a subtle perfumed aroma. Domestically grown jasmine rice need not be rinsed however imported rice should be.

Several American hybrid aromatic rices have become more widely available, including Texmati, a white or brown basmati grown in Texas, Wehani, a long-grain brown rice from California and Louisiana Pecan, a white rice named for its nutlike aroma.

We offer several Smart Sides as rice dishes including Whole Grain Spanish Rice, Un-fried Rice and Lemon Asparagus Rice. Be sure to order these along with selections from this month's new menu of entrees.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What is Canadian Bacon?

Canadian Bacon, which bears little resemblance to standard bacon, actually comes from the meatier, leaner, loin and is more thoroughly trimmed before curing. Canadian bacon is brined and smoked and therefore closely resembles ham. The cooked variety can be sliced as you would regular ham, for cold cuts or panfrying. We've used it in a few of our entrees including Crustless Quiche Lorraine which is included in our Weekender Package for Pick Up ... Check out this great value on our website at www.dinnerbydesignkitchen.com (Racine/Greenfield/NewBerlin Locations)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Size, Thickness & Source Affect Fish Cooking

Did you know the firmer-flesh, often bigger cuts of saltwater fish can tolerate almost any way you wish to cook them - from grilling to poaching. Just last week I enjoyed some Halibut that was grilled on one side and poached on the other!

The generally smaller and more delicate freshwater fish are often easiest to broil or pan fry.
Two other aspects to consider are the oiliness of the fish and whether it has come out of warmer freshwater. Oily fish are strong in flavor and best suited to smoking and grilling. Warm-water fish are also strong flavored and pan frying or deep-frying is the best way to cook them.

This month we have Natures Seasons Tilapia on the menu - It's made in a foil pouch, dusted with Morton's Seasoning and cooks on a bed of rice for a great-tasting end result.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soup's On!

Ever notice how a warm, hearty soup can warm you from the inside out on a winter day?

Just in time to warm you for January, we're offering our Weekender Special including 6 choices - one of which is either our Classic Minestrone Soup or everyone's favorite Chicken Tortilla Soup. Order the package for pick-up and enjoy during any of the upcoming weekends!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Perfect Pancakes!

Spoon, ladle or pour the batter from the tip of a spoon just a few inches above the preheated pan, being sure to space the batter well enough apart to allow some room for spreading. When bubbles have appeared on the surface and are beginning to break, lift the edges of the pancake with a spatula to see if the underside has browned. If it has, slide the spatula under the pancake and turn it. Turn the cakes only once, and cook only until the second side is done. The second side will take only half as long to cook and will not brown as evenly.

A real treat for the kids is "Branded" Pancakes. Drizzle their initial (backwards) on the hot griddle and allow it to cook a brief time. Then pour the remaining dough over the initial. When it's done they'll see their pancake is "Branded" with their initial.

Don't forget about our Weekender Package with an assortment of breakfast, lunch and dinner items to make any weekend special!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making Chicken Cutlets or Strips

Begin with a boneless, skinless chicken breast. If possible, to ensure even slices, freeze the breast until it is firm and icy (about 2 to 4 hours). Using a very sharp knife, slide the meat parallel to where the breastbone was, angling to make the longest slices possible and about 1/2 inch wide. For a uniform thickness, pound the strips gently between two sheets of waxed paper.

Chickens are among our most reasonably priced meats today so it's hard to imagine that in our great-great grandmother's day, Sunday chicken was a luxurious treat since chicken was so expensive in those days. We feature chicken on this month's menu as Kung Po Chicken, Adobo Chicken with Black Bean Salsa, Fiesta Chicken, Mojo Chicken, Crispy Onion Chicken and Moroccan Chicken Pitas so there are a number of different dishes to serve throughout the month.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Safe Poultry Handling

To reduce the chance of contamination, never store uncooked poultry next to uncooked or unwrapped fresh food that will be eaten raw, such as salad greens, fresh fruit or bread.
And after cutting up or handling raw poultry, always wash your hands, the cutting board, counter surface, knives and poultry shears in hot sudsy water before preparing other foods. If you wipe your hands on your apron or a dish towel, replace them promptly with clean ones.

Chicken is one of our most popular choices and we offer a package called Hurry Up I'm Hungry which includes 6 mini meals (each serves 2-3). They're fast - because they cook from frozen and they're some of our most popular entrees - Crispy Onion Chicken, Parmesan Herb Chicken, Chicken Kiev, Stuffed Chicken Parmigiana, Praline Chicken and Chicken Marsala. You can call to order for pick up from our Greenfield, New Berlin or Racine Locations.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Morning Brunch

One of the most delightful ways to spend a Sunday morning is to enjoy brunch in downtown Chicago. Let's see, do I feel like Eggs Benedict or a three cheese omelet or Belgium waffles with fresh berries? No matter what the choice, it's a fun way to start the day and then to work off the calories ingested, one needs to merely bundle up and go for a brisk walk along the lake or down Michigan Ave.

And, if by chance you're interested in serving your family brunch in the comfort of your home. Don't forget, we've got Crust-less Quiche Lorraine, Cinnamon Rolls, Breakfast Sausage Strata, Cherry Cheese Danish, Chocolate Decadence Muffins, Stuff 'n Puff or Country Breakfast Casserole available to pick up at any of our 3 locations. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

An endlessly fascinating gastronomical object

Yes .. that's the potato! Did you know that ounce for ounce, potatoes have fewer calories than fresh peas, Lima beans, or sweet corn, yet potatoes come so near to being the complete food that one can survive healthily on a diet of potatoes only, plus a very small amount of fat, for as much as 5 months!

Perhaps that's why sometimes a baked potato with a smidgen of sour cream and perhaps just a wee bit of finely shredded cheddar cheese can taste so great as a mid-day meal! And if you ever really care to indulge ... try our cheesy, smashed potatoes - many customers say they're to die for!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Serve up some Whole Grains

Whole grains such as brown rice, wheat berries and amaranth are considered done when they are tender yet chewy; the degree of desired tenderness may vary depending on how they will be served. Most grains benefit by being fluffed after cooking. Use a fork to reach to the bottom of the pan and gently pull the grains to the top; repeat this action several times. If not serving at once, keep covered. Most grains also benefit from resting in the covered pan for 5 to 10 minutes, either before or after fluffing. This allows the grain to absorb the last bits of moisture.

Try some of our whole grain Spanish rice as a side with your evening entree and as a nice change from potatoes or pasta. It's available from tour to-go freezers along with several other "Smart Sides".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Primer on Rolling Pins

There are two styles of rolling pins - the French style (pastry) and the standard rolling pan with handles. Pastry pins are either thick and uniformly cylindrical or slender and tapered at the ends. The tapered end allows you to maneuver dough but on the downside, the pastry pin can be awkward to work with for some beginners. The standard pin, on the other hand, is available in various sizes and weights. Wood is the perfect material for all rolling pins.

How about making a delicious deep dish cranberry apple pie with your rolling pin ... or if you're short on time, stop in and pick one up that's already made for you from any of our three locations' to-go freezers.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Ummmm... Start the morning with Cinnamon Rolls!

Well, I woke up to the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls this A.M. What a treat on our anniversary! As my husband said... "Today is all about food" as a part of our day of - Eat, enjoy a drink and be merry! Can't think of a better way to start the day!

Oh, and just in case you'd like to begin your special day, Sunday or just any weekday for that matter on such a happy note - we've got Cinnamon rolls made up for you to purchase from our To-Go Freezer. Life just got a little easier!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

About Cooking Pasta

If you want to avoid pasta or noodles sticking together, cook all types of pasta in a large quantity of boiling salted water. Allow 4 - 6 qts. water per 1 lb. of pasta. Use about a tablespoon of salt for each 2 - 3 qts. of water. Cooking more than 2 pounds of pasta at once invites uneven cooking so cook in batches and use a pot that's big enough but isn't too big to make for safe draining.
This month our menu boosts an outstanding Spaghetti Pie that you can enjoy without having to go through the added step of cooking the pasta. Enjoy!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cooking with crumbs

To prepare a simple breading, use flour, fine bread crumbs, or cornmeal. You'll find cornmeal gives the firmest coating. If the food is not fragile, a very even, quick and economical method to coat it, is to put a small quantity of the seasoned coating material in a paper or plastic bag with the food and shake.
One of our very popular recipes is Parmesan Herb Chicken. It's coated with herbs and Parmesan cheese and conveniently cooks from frozen. This entree is almost always available from our to-go freezer and is part of the "Hurry Up I'm Hungry" package that can be ordered for pick up.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The perfect game day sandwich - Italian Beef

“Who created the Italian beef?” We tip our hats to all the contenders for the title. For without them, the Italian beef sandwich would not be where it is today: in our stomachs, and in our hearts. And one thing is for certain: the Italian beef sandwich will not be found anywhere in Italy. It's the best sandwich to enjoy during the Sunday football game - juicy, tasty and one that will leave most fans satisfied no matter how their team is performing!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 9th is Apricot Day - Enjoy!

Apricots can be sliced or halved and frozen in syrup. They are also great for making brandy or wine. They are delicious eaten whole and fresh, and the good news is they are low in sodium, calories and fat, so there is no need to feel guilty no matter how many you eat! The most recent edition of Real Simple magazine has an excellent recipe with apricots, pine nuts, chicken and broccoli. Eat healthy & Enjoy!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Come home to comfort foods!

Using a slow-cooker or crockpot is the perfect choice for winter cooking. While you go about your day, your home gradually fills with wonderful aromas of beef, chicken, and herbs. Yum!

Comfort foods are rich, filling, easy to make and eat, and delicious. Make them in your slow cooker and you have some sure-fire winners! These methods cook your recipes to perfection, and you hardly have to do a thing.

But be sure you follow basic rules. Fill the appliance 1/2 to 2/3 (some say 3/4) full, cook as long as the recipe directs, layer foods starting with hard root vegetables and ending with meat and tender ingredients, and don't lift the lid while the food is cooking.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cheers to your health!

Wine is rising in popularity in the U.S., showing particular gains among women and people in their twenties. Wine even outstripped beer in popularity in the U.S. for the first time in 2005!

Red wine has surpassed white wine in sales for the first time since the mid-1970s. One likely reason for the rising popularity of red wine is the “French Paradox”— the fact that, despite an appetite for rich foods like butter, cheese and cream (sounds like Wisconsin doesn't it) the French people experience a heart disease rate significantly lower than that of other Western countries. Some believe it's a result of the inclusion of wine in their diets. Scientists point to a compound found in red wine called resveratrol that possesses numerous health benefits.

So remember in include wine in moderation as a nice addition to your evening meal. Cheers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Saving Sauces?

I don't know about you but I think it's usually the sauce that turns a good dish into a great dish! So I have a tendency to make a little too much of a good thing. And when that happens to you, it's best to store and use remaining sauces wisely.
You can keep white sauces, tomato sauces, brown sauces and gravies in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. To store, strain the sauce, pour it into a container and cover with a piece of plastic wrap (pressed directly against the surface) or a thin layer of fat, vegetable oil or sherry.
You can also freeze sauces in ice cube trays, and then after removing the cubes from the tray, keep them in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag. You can take out as many as you need and save the remainder for another time.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Need to warm up from the inside out?

Try a little arrabbiata!

Arrabbiata Sauce is a light marinara or red Italian sauce that is given an extra spicy flavor by adding hot peppers to the sauce. Arrabbiata can loosely translate to “angry mood". It’s unlikely the sauce will accomplish this for anyone, and the name is actually inspired by its piquant taste. In other words, it’s an angry sauce that is likely to delight your taste buds.

We're offering Shrimp Arrabbiatta on this month's menu. However, Arrabbiata Sauce will go well with any plain pasta, and it is often best enjoyed over penne (which is the small ridged tubular pasta). The ridges help hold the sauce and the tubes can fill with the sauce, creating fiery mouthfuls with each bite. Definitely something to warm you from the inside out on a frigid, winter day!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Healthy, Hearty and oh, so delicious!

Oats deserve attention for their nutritional value, especially for their fiber (1/2 of which is insoluble and aids in digestion and the other 1/2 is the soluble type that lowers cholesterol. All oats are whole grains and still have the bran (oat bran is the outer layer of the oat kernel only).

100 grams of dry, rolled oats contains 380 calories, 67 gms. of carbohydrate, 16 gms. of protein, 6 gms. of fat as well as a good supply of thiamin, vitamin E, iron and phosphorus.

Oatmeal is the "secret ingredient" in my meatloaf, replacing bread crumbs and resulting in a moist, flavorful and nutritious dish!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Another reason to keep that New Year's Resolution

Many of us make a promise to ourselves on New Years Day to eat healthier and get fit. How are you doing so far with your resolution to lose weight?

Now there's a whole new reason to get in shape - whole body scanner!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

It's cold out there ... better put the soup on!

I remember being greeted at my aunt's house on cold winter days with a warm bowl of soup. A hearty soup, warm whole wheat roll, salad with fresh greens and juicy piece of fruit can be all it takes to make a meal on a day when the temperature dips and the snow crunches under your feet.

Split Pea with Ham is one I remember best:
2 cups dried split peas are soaked overnight in 6 cups of cold water. Then drain and put in a soup kettle with a meaty ham bone, 1/4 pound of salt pork that's been cut in 1/2" pieces plus 10 cups of water. Cover and simmer for 2 hours, then add 1 cup of diced onions, 1 cup celery leaves & stalks, chopped. Simmer about one more hour (adding another cup of water if the soup dries out too much). Remove ham from bone and dice. If desired, remove the salt pork. Put the soup through a strainer. Blend with ham or add ham back into soup after blending. I prefer to keep some of the pea soup as is and only mash a portion to keep some texture. If the soup is not as thick as you'd like you can always add about 1/2 cup of light cream. It's enough to serve 4 to 6 hungry souls who've just ventured in from the cold outdoors!

Make some memories... serve a warm, homemade soup today!