Tuesday, April 21, 2015
     

Food

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Homemade vinaigrette dressing really is worth the effort.

Most people reach for prepared salad dressings because they just can't handle the thought of whipping up yet something else.

But homemade dressings are so much better, they really are worth the trouble. In just five minutes you can prep one big batch of dressing for the entire week.

So let's walk through the basics of vinaigrettes.

The standard recipe for a vinegar-based dressing calls for a 3-to-1 ratio of oil to vinegar (or other acid). But really that's just a starting point.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Mason jars provide a twist for this satisfying seven-layer salad.

Too often, a salad is served out of obligation. We feel it is something we have to do to make the meal complete, but really don't want to.

And too often that's why the salads we serve aren't all that great. We don't really care about them. Thing is, I love a well-made salad, and for me it is no obligation to either serve or eat one. This salad, for example, a seven-layer creation built in a canning jar. I love how they look. I love how they taste. I even like the process of assembling them.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
BOB FORD/TIMES NEWS Amy Daderko Alexander dumps a mound of dough onto the work bench for kneading and separating into individually weighed balls.

It was the late Mary Matrician's recipe that started a tradition in the Panther Valley that's been going on since the early 1950s.

In the weeks preceding Easter members of Lansford's Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church gather in the basement to make Paska bread.

Back when they first started, Matrician, who was an active member of the parish, and fellow volunteers would make 25 loaves.

About 25 years ago, Helen Neifert took over the operation and doubled that. Eventually, she doubled it again, to 100 loaves in a day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Welcome spring with Brown Butter Asparagus with Pecans.

Remember the days when you knew spring was coming by the arrival of asparagus at the grocer?

These days, fresh asparagus is available almost all year. But still, my heart leaps with joy the first moment I see asparagus for less than $3 a pound. Then it is officially spring!

When asparagus is in season, I buy it weekly, both because it's so cheap and because it's incredibly versatile.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Go green for St. Patrick's Day

It's easy to be green with help from McCormick.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here are a few recipes to help you celebrate.

The best part? You don't even need to be Irish!

Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes 24 servings

1 package (2-layer size) German chocolate cake mix with pudding

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup water

cup unsweetened cocoa powder

cup vegetable oil

1 bottle McCormick Green Food Color

3 eggs

2 teaspoons McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
AP Photo/Matthew Mead Rotini with Creamy Burger Sauce

Sure, we're all trying to lose those pesky 10 or 15 or whatever pounds, but that's no reason to not keep a pint of heavy cream in the refrigerator.

Truth is, a little fat like that can go a long way to turning a basic dish into one that is exceedingly comforting.

Steak, for example, is dramatically improved with a cream-based pan sauce. Pureed vegetable soups taste like indulgences with just a bit of cream.

And don't even get me started about what it does for mashed potatoes and baked sweet potatoes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Southwestern Sweet Potato Chowder has just the right amount of zing.

As we head into our second week of Lent, we have more recipes from Rhianna Cenci, retail dietitian at the ShopRite of Brodheadsville.

We tried the first offering, Southwestern Sweet Potato Chowder, and let me tell you, it's good.

I love sweet potatoes, so this was one I definitely wanted to make. My husband, on the other hand, is not a fan, not even of those ooey-gooey-covered-in-sugar-and-melted-butter versions that grace the Thanksgiving table.

Surprisingly, he tried this chowder, and he loved it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
KAREN CIMMS/TIMES NEWS Grilled Broccoli-Sesame Noodles

Today marks the beginning of Lent. During this season of 40 days, many families will abstain from eating meat on Fridays, as part of their religion. I also know of those who will have a light, meatless meal another day of the week as well, and donate the money they would have spent on meat to those who don't have enough to eat.

Whether you abstain from meat for religious reasons or because you just want to eat a little healthier, we have several recipes to share over the next two weeks, courtesy of Rhianna Cenci, retail dietitian at the ShopRite of Brodheadsville.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
MATTHEW MEAD/AP PHOTO Start with a classic macaroni and cheese, toss in a few veggies, and you have Green Goddess Macaroni and Cheese.

Do you love macaroni and cheese? Stupid question, right? OK, so let's try this one: How could you love macaroni and cheese even more?

Now we're talking. Because there are all sorts of simple ways to doctor an already awesome pan of basic mac and cheese to take our love of this dish to a whole new level. But let's start with the basics our classic take on macaroni and cheese. Since everyone is pressed for time, we kept it simple with a stovetop version that will have you ready to eat in about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

It's easy to overthink things in the kitchen. It's easy to fall into the trap of assuming that flavor needs a whole lot of labor. Or at least a long ingredient list.

I certainly was of that misguided mindset when I recently prepared dinner for friends. As I considered and discarded one dish after another, I ended up settling on a rather elaborate braised lamb shoulder. It was, of course, delicious. But that wasn't the dish people commented on.