Quickly Warm Up This Winter
It’s the time of year when it feels good to have something cooking on the stove and in the oven. Classic winter comfort food: casseroles, stews and soups are sure to warm your kids up after playing in the snow.
My family loves casseroles and I do, too. They’re quick and easy to make. When you regularly keep already cooked brown rice in the refrigerator, most casseroles can be made in 15 minutes! Chili is another type of casserole that takes only minutes when you use canned beans and tomatoes.
Soups on the other hand can take hours to prepare. The key to quick soups is having a blender and cans or boxes of chicken, beef, and vegetable broth. A little sautéing, blending, heating and you’ve got a warm lunch or dinner in minutes.
Baby it’s cold outside!
If you’re a hurry-up cook there’s a couple of kitchen time-savers to consider:
Slow is the opposite of hurry. The benefit is that food cooks while you’re out. Stews, casseroles, and soups will cook while you’re at work in a slow cooker. Get them started in the morning and when you return dinner is served! Be sure that you add enough liquid in the slow cooker, so that the pot doesn’t run dry.
Most slow cookers have a removable, glazed, thick round or oval ceramic stoneware pot (called a crock) placed in a wrap-around heating element. This appliance is low wattage, so food take a long time to cook. The LOW setting on slow cookers is about 200 degrees, and the HIGH setting is about 300 degrees. Foods should be cooked above the minimum safe temperature of 140 degrees.
Last winter my daughter, Jackie, gave me a pressure cooker. I was a little intimidated at first, because I never knew anyone who used one. I ran out and purchased a couple of books about pressure cooking. With a pressure cooker you get two-hour taste in twenty minutes, so I was willing to give it a try.
A pressure cooker uses high heat in a locked environment. When the liquid in the pot comes to a boil, it produces steam. A pressure cooker has an airtight seal which traps the steam inside the pot. This forces the pressure to rise, which quickly cooks the food. As it turned out my pressure cooker is not only a time saver, but actually makes some foods taste even better. The first time I made a pot roast in my pressure cooker, it took only an hour. We couldn’t believe how tender the roast was. In fact, I believe it’s the best roast I ever made!
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