Thursday, December 27, 2012

Melissa's Own Cooking Tips and Tricks

Melissa's Own Cooking Tips and Tricks

Me cooking for my babies, one of my favorite things!

1) Easy things to add just a little more flavor.

a) Instead of cooking rice or stuffing in plain water, try using chicken broth or adding a bullion cube to the cooking water. 

b) When a recipe calls for "bread crumbs" as a topping to a casserole or any other meal try using a stuffing mix instead of plain bread crumbs. Stuffing mix usually has a balanced mix of seasoning on it already adding just a little bit of extra flavor to your meal.

c) Easy cheese sauce: 1-1-1. 1 cup cheese, whatever flavor you like, 1 cup milk and 1 cup Cream of Mushroom Soup. Mix that together then put it over pasta noodles and call it homemade mac and cheese!

2) More baking flavor

a) Butter, butter, butter. Use real butter in all your baking for a deeper and richer flavor. It also compliments and brings out the flavors in extracts that you use like vanilla or peppermint, etc.

b) Next time you bake chocolate chip cookies replace the chocolate chips with crushed  Andy's Mints. A fun little change to a family favorite.

c) Dark Brown Sugar. Next time you bake and the recipe calls for brown sugar, try using dark brown sugar. It adds a lot more flavor and I promise you will be pleasantly surprised. 

3) Getting your young children to eat your meals

a) Children judge a book by its cover. It's just in their nature. First I think of size. If there is too much they feel overwhelmed and don't even try. So I buy tiny individual serving size dishes for meals like casseroles. Instead of putting everything into a 9" x 13" I scoop the casserole mixture into tiny bowls. I used them in the first picture, but I will post it again.

In these little dishes is taco salad and I put the bowl on a plate with tortilla chips on the side. I also serve chicken noodle soup in these bowls with crackers on the side and other casseroles like Broccoli and Chicken Divan. This is also a good method because sometimes, with my children at least, when I scoop a casserole serving on their plate they think it looks "goopy" or they see something in it they don't like. In these tiny dishes it is already the serving size so you serve it as is and they don't "see" anything about it that they want to complain about!

b) Baskets. I also serve their meals in baskets when I can. They think it is fun and fee like they are eating out.

c) Then there is always the delivery. Some of you may remember my Cooking With Cookie Cutters post. My daughter will eat anything in the shape of a giraffe!

d) And finally, toothpicks. My son will eat anything on a toothpick. I always have a rough time getting my son to eat. But if I put Vienna Sausages, cheese and grapes on a toothpick then we're good to call it lunch!

I hope you all are enjoying your holiday season and enjoy all the baking and cooking you are doing for family or for you New Years party!

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