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Some of the Best Cooking Books That Need to Be in Your Kitchen by Nicola Borasinski

Having just graduated from university, cooking books have a firm place on my kitchen shelf. From disastrous attempts at making barely edible dishes, my time as a student has exposed me to many cooking books. Here are the top ten of the best cooking books that are invaluable to any wannabe Masterchefs out there.

Ready… Steady… Cook!

10. Delia’s Complete Cookery Course by Delia Smith

This mammoth cookery book whips in at number 10. Delia Smith is very much the David Beckham of the cooking world – an institution. Her Complete Cookery Course does exactly what it says on the tin. It provides wannabe chefs with a full, comprehensive guide to creating the best dishes. With fundamental must know recipes like apple pie and yorkshire puddings, Delia shows she is one of the masters. With mouth-watering pictures acting as a rough guide this book is a god send for beginner chefs. No doubt a staple on your mother’s shelf, this book is perfect as a starting point in the basics of pastry making, cake baking and roast making. A genuine triumph in the cookery book world.

9. The New Curry Bible by Pat Chapman

Chapman’s bible does not follow the conventional rules of cookery books, but is a diamond in the rough for curry fanatics out there and the reason it has made this best cooking books list. The New Curry Bible does not simply show you the recipes but teaches you the history of curry making. It is not a book to be bought for people who want a quick fix curry. If you are one of those people I suggest you save yourself time and money and just buy a ready meal. However, if you are interested in the exquisite nature of curries, then this book teaches you all you need to know. Like any specialist cook book, it is a little disheartening at first to encounter all of the strange herbs and spices that you know you don’t own, but the rewards from having knowledge of these is irreplaceable. Although it may take you a while to get to grips with the fine art of balancing the spices, you will most certainly become famous amongst friends and family for the talent you will take from this beautiful book.

8. Rick Stein’s Taste of the Sea: 150 Fabulous Recipes for Every Occasion

As a massive lover of seafood, this book has literally been my magna carta. Rick Stein takes you on a journey around the coast and teaches you to really appreciate fish in all its scaly glory. From skinning methods to filleting, this book teaches you how to prepare and cook fish to perfection. Stein writes in a clear and simple fashion and it is impossible to resist his infectious passion. With a variety of dishes that cater for absolutely every occasion, this book is a must have for beginners and experienced fish mongers alike. The instructions are not condescending or set in stone, and leave freedom for experimentation. A truly great book by a truly great chef and teacher.

7. Simple Chinese Cooking by Kylie Kwong

Following the theme of specialist cooking books, Simple Chinese Cooking is an absolute must have for anyone wanting to start a love affair with chinese cooking. Filled with beautiful photography, this book coaches you through each dish with clear and crisp step-by-step instructions. Usually when faced with a specific cook book, there seems a never-ending list of ingredients that appear to exist in outer space, but this book has essentials that can be bought and found easily in local grocery stores. Not only is this book a great guide, but it is also incredibly exciting as each week you can watch yourself develop and gain confidence with once seemingly difficult dishes. From steamed cod to sweet and sour pork, Kwong’s recipes will have you burning all your chinese takeaway menus from the get go.

6. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals by Jamie Oliver

There can be no such thing as a best cooking books list without Mr Oliver, of course. One of the things I love most about almost all of Jamie Oliver’s cook books are their beautiful and impeccable presentation. They are not endless pages of lines and lines of writing but are instead filled with bright, colourful and delectable pictures, as well as no- nonsense recipes. In his 30 Minute Meals Jaime shows you that once and for all cooking does not have to be a stressful and laborious affair. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals is amazing for working people for whom time is money, and of course students who wish to spend minimum amount of time cooking and maximum amount of time… studying. Not only is it wonderfully organised with a designated section for starters, mains and desserts, but there are numerous vegetarian recipes scattered inside, making this book literally for every type of chef.

5. The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman

After his debut cook book How to Cook Everything became an international sensation, Bittman is back to teach you it is easier than you thought to cook recipes from all around the world. With no unnecessary embellishments Bittman gently leads you on a culinary round the world trip that will leave your taste buds in a state of euphoria. The best aspect of Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes In The World whilst you may never get round to cooking everything inside, the dishes you do make will leave you feeling inspired to take dishes you already cook and turn them on their head. Although it can be overwhelming to face so many recipes in one book, I urge you to add this to your collection. It is timeless and will only help to increase your knowledge of food.

4. Gordon Ramsay’s Secrets by Gordon Ramsay

In this incredible and not too badly priced book, Gordon Ramsay lets you in on a few secrets that have made him the world-renowned chef that we have all come to love. With a huge collection of recipes from poultry to fish and desserts to soups, this cookbook lets you in on inside info that will have friends and family thinking you are a bona-fide kitchen guru. The recipes are simple and effective and Ramsay has even added flourishes of his own, such as useful tips on presenting dishes. If you really have a passion for cooking or would love to learn more, this is the book that teaches you not just to cook but how to become a chef. These tips help to make cooking a truly enjoyable experience and will boost your confidence to be adventurous not only in cooking but also in eating as well.

3. The Complete Book of Sushi by Hideo Dekura

As a self-confessed sushi addict this book is incredible – the pages are almost edible. It combines the modern with the traditional and allows you to get to grips with this difficult Japanese style of cooking. Although not to everyone’s taste, this book teaches you the secrets behind making that difficult sticky rice and how to present your sushi in wonderful ways. The most interesting thing about Dekura’s book is they way it advances from simple to expert. This allows you to move gradually at your own pace and also sets little targets within the book. Whilst there are other books on the market such as Yo Sushi’s, it is Dekura’s book that really stands out of the crowd. With gorgeous photography it inspires with a mere flick of the page, and unlike its contemporaries has clear and simple instructions. A must have for any sushi fan and it also makes a great present.

2. Wahaca – Mexican Food At Home by Thomasina Miers

This book comes in at number two of this best cooking books top ten and is a must have for any frequent Wahaca customer. It was only recently published and plunges you straight into the vibrant and tasty world of Mexican street food. One thing that did surprise me was the breakfast section, and I have to admit I have been thoroughly converted to a mexican way of eating in the morning. Full of beautiful pictures and written in an accessible and friendly way, this book does exactly what the title states and brings Mexican food straight into your kitchen. Miers has clearly done the research required for such an exquisite book, and the information about mexican chillies is invaluable. An excellent book for cooking meals for friends and a great equivalent to BBQ parties.

1.Jaime does… by Jaime Oliver

In at number one is Jaime does. In this book Jaime travels through foodie hotspots such as Spain, France and Morocco in order to find innovative recipes. The book is beautifully presented (like all of Jaime’s books) and has wonderful pictures of his travels alongside the amazing pictures of his food. Each country has an introductory paragraph that explains the culture and food he came into contact with, and then in very simple language and an ever friendly tone, Jaime guides you through a range of dishes. From light bites such as patatas bravas to the more complex dishes like the steak tartare, Jaime’s tone never condescends you as the amateur chef. This book not only provides great enjoyment as a teaching tool but is also nice to flip through every now and again to behold the location shots of his food journey. Overall a very deserving winner of this Best Cooking Books list. Absolutely delicious!

This is by no means the only ten cook books I think you should own. There are many other brilliant cookbooks out there for beginners such as The Student Cookbook by Sophie Grigson. This is superb for amateur chefs who simply do not have the time to cook elaborate meals every day and are after recipes for both real cooking and convenience cooking. Then for more adventurous chefs who are willing to getinventive and scientific in the kitchen, there is Heston Bluementhal’s brilliant book The Fat Duck Cookbook, which combines vivid illustrations and wacky recipes for a truly great cooking experience. Overall, the ten books that compose this best cooking books list all offer friendly, easy to follow guidance which enables you to not only enjoy them as books, but also enjoy them as learning tools that will one day make you the king of the kitchen.

Bon appetit ladies and gents.

If you enjoyed this best cooking books list, you can find many other lists in the best books section at

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Bread – A recipe and how to

Hi, let’s get the recipe out of the way first.

1 cup scalded milk

2 cup boiled water

2 tablespoons fat

1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar (for the yeast to eat)

1 yeast cake or equivalent dry yeast (mixed with 1/4 cup lukewarm water)

6 cups flour

How To:

mix the dry ingredients together, take a few tablespoons of the mixture and add it to the water/yeast and mix well.  Let stand until it froths up.  This is called proofing the yeast.

In a larger mixing bowl add the scalded milk and 1/2 the boiled water that you have let cool, slowly mix in the yeast mixture (the temperature should be lukewarm still, too hot and you will kill the yeast.  Then start adding the flour mixture until it forms a smooth ball and no longer sticks to the sides, you may add more boiled water if it gets too dry too soon.

Kneading the mixture:

On a floured cutting board place the ball of dough in the center and using the heal of your hand slowly knead the dough turn and fold in on itself turning the dough 1/2 turn each time you press it down.  You can use one or both hands for this.  Keep this up for about ten minutes, this helps develop the gluten in the dough and makes the bread smooth and light.  Your dough should spring back when your lightly press down with a finger, and the texture should be smooth.

Let rise:

Grease the sides of the bowl original mixing bowl with the fat and place the ball in the middle of the bowl.  Smooth the top into a rounded dome.  cover with a clean dish towel and leave in a warm place for about three hours or until the ball doubles in size.  Roll it out onto the floured surface again and punch down to remove the air from the dough.  Cut the dough into loaf pan sized chunks and place them into greased loaf pans, probably three or four.  Let them rise until they reach the top of the loaf pan then place into a 350 degree oven until the tops are golden brown  (~45 to 55 minutes but check sooner ovens vary) and you hear a hollow sound when you tap them.  Avoid opening the oven during the first 15 or 20 minutes of baking as you do not want the bread to fall.  Remove when done and let cool on a cooling rack.

Bon Apetit!


More recipes coming, many very old and very tasty!




Fish Cooking Basics – How to Transform Those Fish You Just Caught into a Wonderful Seafood Dinner by Chris Cliff

Fish Cooking Basics

I must admit that I have met more than a few fishermen that know every trick in the book to catch fish, but after they have caught it, have no idea what to do with it. So if you are still wondering what you should be doing with those fish you caught, I have some help for you. The basic techniques for turning those fish into food are very simple and I have outlined the basic information and cooking methods for you.

10 minutes to the inch

Whether you are grilling, frying, baking, poaching, steaming of broiling your fish, the basic rule is that it will take 8-10 minutes of cooking time for every inch of thickness. The biggest mistake most people make in cooking fish is to over cook it. Now if the fish is frozen, count on 20 minutes per inch.

It starts at the water

Fish can degrade quickly after you catch it. One thing you can do to prevent this is kill the fish as quickly as possible. Smack it in the head with a club, then cut the gills with a knife. This will bleed the fish out quickly and slow down spoilage.

You caught it, you clean it

OK, so you probably know this already, but you need to clean the innards out, using a sharpknife and your thumb or narrow spoon. The longer you leave that stuff in there, the more chance it will have to start messing with the fish’s flavor.

When is it done?

The classical definition is that fish is done when it hits 160° and the juices run clear. Stick a fork into the thickest portion and twist gently. It should be flaky, but please, what ever you do, don’t let it cook into dry nastiness.

NUKING (MICROWAVING) FISH – Fillets, 1″ thick steaks

Yes, this is a valid fish cooking method!Microwaves cook by exciting (heating up) the water in whatever you put in there. Now call me crazy, but fish are just full of moisture. Gee… wonder why? Here are the proper steps for nuking fish. Allow 6 minutes per pound of fish, and remember that no two microwave ovens will be the same so adjust accordingly.

  1. Arrange the fish with the thickest parts towards the edge of the plate, and tuck and thin parts under so they don’t get overdone. One layer deep only please.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap, but pull one corner back just a little, or punch a little hole in it to vent steam.
  3. Don’t blast it! Cook at 70% of full power. Again, we are looking for just flaky.
  4. Let the fish rest for three minutes after you nuke it.

PAN FRYING (SAUTÉING) – Fillets less than 1-1/2″ thick, scallops, large shrimp

The old standby by for cooking fish, there are countless variations on how to pay fry fish.The basics are to heat butter or oil over medium heat in a pan big enough to comfortably hold your fish. Then cook on one side till brown then turn over and brown the other side. This shouldn’t take long so don’t over cook them!

What you do with them before you drop them in the pan is what matters the most. To be a purist, you can pat them dry and just lightly season them with salt and pepper. Of course if you want to get fancy, you can always coat them with egg and bread them with flour or bread crumbs.Then we get into seasoning of the breading and things get really interesting. Have fun, experiment.

BROILING – Fillets & Steaks 1/4″ to 1-1/2″ thick, Scallops & Shrimp
Think of broiling as blast cooking your seafood. Put the top rack ~4 inches below the broiling element and pre-heat that puppy. One thing to remember is that broiling can suck the moisture right out of fish, so you have to make sure it doesn’t dry out and get nasty. Fish like Salmon, Tuna and Swordfish have enough oil already to keep them moist, but think about marinating other types of fish.

Drop your fish on the broiling pan, season it lightly and get it under the broiler. Keep a watchful eye on it though. Broilers will take food from done to crispy in the blink of an eye.

STEAMING SEAFOOD – Fillets, Steaks, Whole Fish and Shellfish

Steaming is about as easy and healthy as it gets. No added oil is needed, just a little salt and pepper. If you like, you can steam your veggies right along with your fish! Just remember the 10 minutes to an inch rule and go for it.

BAKING SEAFOOD – Fish Fillets, Steaks, Shellfish & Whole Fish

Baking is the tame version of broiling. Set your oven for 450° and away you go! As for the fish, arrange them one layer deep in a lightly oiled pan, tucking any thin parts under so they don’t burn. Variations include breading, coating with oil/butter, and topping with fruit and/or veggies.

POACHING (NOT BOILING) SEAFOOD – Whole fish, Steaks, Fillets, Shrimp, Scallops

Basic poaching technique is to cook the seafood in a broad, shallow pan filled with enough hot, but not boiling liquid to completely cover it. Any liquid will do, from plain water to concoctions of water, wine, herbs and stock. The liquid should be brought to a boil then turned down till you see movement, but no bubbles breaking on the surface. Carefully place your food in the water and cook the required time. Another very healthy way to cook your seafood!

STIR-FRYING – Chunks and strips of firm fish, Shrimp, Scallops, Squid

Stir frying is broiling from the bottom effectively. This is because to correctly stir fry, even cooking, make sure that your pieces of food are fairly uniform. Here is the basic stir frying technique.

  1. Heat the wok over high heat with oil till the oil starts to smoke. Add your vegetables if any and stir constantly. Cook until they are just a little tender and then set aside.
  2. Add oil if needed and reheat the pan. Cook the seafood, stirring constantly so it doesn’t stick. Cook until it is browned slightly and opaque in the center.
  3. Add the veggies back in along with some sauce and any other seasonings you like. And you are done!

GOOD OLD GRILLING – What can’t you grill?

Whole encyclopedias could, and probably have been written about grilling. It must tap into some primal spot in our soul to be outside, cooking or burning a piece of meat over some hot coals. Here are the main points to remember.

  • Keep your grill clean! Dirt grills cook unevenly and dirty grates are more likely to have food stick to them.
  • Oil your grill grates! It will help keep the food from bonding to them.
  • Grilling can dry food out like broiling does, so use fatty fish, and consider using a marinade or oiling and seasoning your fish before grilling.
  • For fish that is small, or might fall apart, use aluminum foil on the grill.
  • Once you put the food down on the grates, don’t mess with it! As my cooking hero Alton Brown says ‘Just walk away!’ Granted, not for long but don’t fiddle with it till it is time to turn it over.

So there you have the basics of cooking fish. Best of luck in your cooking adventures! Just remember to let your creativity flow and don’t be afraid of trying new things!

Cliff is a long time fisherman and cook hails from the remote lands in Northern Idaho, but has now moved to the big city. He is also the founder of the web based fishing show ‘Fishing with Cliff’ that can be found at where you can watch on demand episodes of his show, and get more great cooking ideas!

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Once-A-Month-Cooking: How to Make Your Plan Work by Crystal Paine

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Learn How To Cook: 7 Simple Strategies To Start Cooking Delicious Family Meals Today by Emma M Henry

The whole “learn how to cook” concept can be hugely daunting for first timers, whether or not you simply haven’t been interested in cooking until recently, or perhaps you haven’t had the confidence to start. Maybe you are just sick of take-out food and want to start creating healthy and delicious family meals. It’s never too late to learn how to cook.

What’s great about cooking your own family meals?

– It offers you the flexibility to create and then also enjoy what you want to eat, whenever you want to eat it
– It enables you to pick and choose nutritious recipes and ingredients, which means it is typically a much healthier option compared to most take-out choices
– Quite often, there will be yummy leftovers to devour the next day
– In many instances it is less expensive than take-out
– It can be a creative outlet for many people and actually quite fun and relaxing as well
– You get to see the excitement of your family when they discover you have cooked a delicious meal for them

Where to start?

1. The first step will be to choose some good easy recipes. Begin with a cookbook or even visit an online cooking and recipe internet-site or simply ask your friends and family for a handful of their proven, best recipes. You could also watch a cooking show where you can view the cooking being demonstrated (however in the event you do this, always make sure that you write down the ingredients and the steps)

2. Start off with a simple and easy recipe incorporating only a few ingredients. Seek out something that looks delicious to you and one where you can recognize all the ingredients. Make sure that you understand the cooking terminology used in the recipe and whenever you don’t have an understanding of it then find out prior to starting cooking or choose something else.

Get ready for your cooking

3. When you have chosen your recipe, it’s time to get prepared. You’ll want to make sure you have the basic cooking equipment needed to create your meal. At a minimum, make sure you have; a good-sized frying pan, a big and a small saucepan, a roasting pan, a ceramic baking dish and furthermore, several decent chopping kitchen knives, measuring cup, tongs, wooden spoons and a spatula. I am a huge believer in using high quality cooking tools if possible. Pay for the best products that you can afford given as they are more likely to endure the test of time and it’ll make cooking less of a challenge. If a recipe needs much more than these practical items mentioned, you may have selected a recipe that’s somewhat too tricky for a novice so in this case, choose another simpler recipe.

4. Next up should be to head to the supermarket or market to shop for the ingredients in your recipe. Attempt to choose the freshest meats and produce that you can get. Once you have the required cookware as well as the necessary ingredients, it’s time to begin cooking.

The Cooking Process

5. Make sure to allow yourself lots of time to prepare your recipe and give some prior thought to the preparing and cooking time. For instance it won’t be good if you have to dash out for an appointment whilst the food is cooking in the oven!

6. Prior to starting the cooking process, you really should start preparing the ingredients as they are mentioned in the recipe. As an example, if it says finely sliced bacon, chop the bacon into really small bits and place it in a plate all set for cooking and do any measuring of ingredients in advance. Prepare all elements from your recipe in advance.

7. It is time to start cooking. Keep to the recipe and make sure you use a timer if it calls for cooking for specific periods of time.

Once you’ve completed cooking, it’s time to enjoy your creation. Try to remember that recipes don’t always work out the first-time and occasionally your version at home is not going to be exactly like the picture in your cookbook. A few recipes that you make might need to have some fine-tuning so if you happen to cook a recipe and it doesn’t quite work out yet you loved the food, create some notes on your recipe to make slight improvements for next time. With cooking, just like everything else, practise make perfect.

Start out with easy recipes and as soon as your self-confidence and skills develop, start to experiment. Every cook has disappointments therefore don’t be put off if a few things don’t work out. Keep on trying and you will get there. The most vital thing is always to enjoy yourself. What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work out and you have to get takeout, that’s what. Or maybe, you could possibly surprise yourself and your friends and family and create an absolutely great tasting dish.

There are plenty of good reasons why you should learn how to cook. If you search around, you will come across a myriad of beginner recipes out there to get you started. Happy cooking!

Click the link for more tips on how to cook, and click this next link for loads of Family Meals ideas plus fantastic articles, great tasting recipes and cooking information.

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Solar Cooking by Lee D Elliott

Most people to some extent are entrepreneurial by nature. In fact I have yet to meet the person who does not either enjoy making money or at least saving money. Solar cooking not only achieves this naturally, but by the very nature of cooking with the sun perpetuates the concept of cooking without using electricity, and therein reinforcing the embedded opportunity cost saving.

There is an unavoidable initial cost of either purchasing a commercial solar cooker or purchasing the raw materials to construct your own solar cooker, but that is a once off cost that is easily recouped assuming you cook a reasonable proportion of your meals in a solar oven. A fun approach to this would be to cook the majority of your weekend meals in the solar oven when you are not under routine weekday time pressures associated with work and domestic time deadlines.

Whilst one will never become a millionaire in this fashion, it is still nonetheless exciting to realize that cooking with sun actually puts money back into your pocket and comes with the added bonus of an absolutely nil carbon footprint.

Solar cooking over the weekend using solar energy exclusively can also become a full family activity with even children getting involved, provided of course that there is appropriate supervision.

Budding solar chefs can sometimes underestimate the admittedly limited, but real inherent dangers associated with solar cooking. A solar oven left standing in full sunshine can develop extremely high internal temperatures and inexperienced users can inadvertently burn themselves by accidentally touching the internal reflective material of the cooker.
Similarly a parabolic reflector left unattended and uncovered in full sunshine can concentrate and reflect sunshine on to any form of wooden structure in close proximity to the reflector, thereby causing a fire.

If the ultimate business model is to have nil fixed costs and an entirely variable cost structure, than solar cooking and solar ovens have to be an excellent example, albeit on a small, domestic scale.

After all to cook for free with no associated electricity cost has to be the ultimate form of cheap solar and a no-brainer. Whist you admittedly do not have the same level of control and predictability that you do with a conventional oven or stove, you do have numerous benefits with solar cooking with a solar oven which include, but are not limited to the following:

Economical: No electricity is required first-and-for most. There is a once-off, small cost in acquiring the solar cooker and thereafter no overhead cost implications.

Skill: Most solar cookers are easy to use and do not require an advanced level of technical skill. A basic education on how to use the solar cooker is necessary and thereafter the user can use the cooker day in and day out on a regular basis.

Slow-cooking concept: The process dynamic is slow cooking. The food cooks properly over an extended time and due to the low thermal flux dynamic food does not burn. Despite the longer cooking times in comparison to conventional cooking, solar cooked foods retain and preserve the vitamin and nutrient content of the food as well as, or even better than foods cooked by conventional methods.

Wikipedia describes the advantages of slow cooking as being: ” Cheaper cuts of meat with connective tissue and lean muscle fibre are suitable for stewing, and tastier than stews using expensive cuts, as long slow cooking will soften the connective tissue without toughening the muscle. Slow cooking leaves the gelatinised tissue in the meat, so that it may be advantageous to start with a richer liquid. The low temperature of slow-cooking makes it impossible to burn food even if cooked too long…”

No fuel requirement: The raw material is sunshine which is abundant and free (although not necessarily always available). As a consequence there is no fuel requirement which reduces and potentially eliminates deforestation and related health disadvantages such as smoke-pollution.

No need to walk long distances to find and retrieve fuel, for example wood. It has been recently extrapolated that one solar cooker saves approximately the equivalent of 2 tons of trees per annum.

In terms of the macro environment greater reliance on sunshine and reduced reliance on burning fuel translates into a reduced greenhouse effect, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, an improved contribution to reducing global warming and a lower carbon footprint loading.

A further specific benefit of solar cooking is the reduction of black carbon emissions. Black carbon is a consequence of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels and biofuels and is particularly prevalent in Africa as a consequence of open fires. Black carbon emissions are postulated to be disproportionately detrimental to the greenhouse effect and particularly severe on human health.

Water sterilization and pasteurization: Water can be heated and pasteurized using a solar oven thereby sharply reducing the risk and occurrence of water-borne diseases such as cholera, enteritis and diarrhoea. In areas where communities live in close proximity to water the use of a solar still, be it a domestic model or a commercial model, can generate pure, uncontaminated water on a daily basis.

Portability: Certain of the makes of solar cookers, for example the box and panel solar cookers, are light weight and can be easily folded up into a compact unit and transported. In many instances the solar cookers weigh less than 11lbs (5 kg).

Longevity: Most commercial solar cookers are assembled and constructed from robust materials which if properly cleaned and maintained should last for an extended period of time. An additional benefit is that most cookers do not have a multiplicity of moving parts or interlinking components, hence minimal maintenance requirements.

Lee Elliott is an Author on Solar Cooking and related solar cooking activities. As an Author on the subject, he is at the forefront to provide solutions to information related to solar cooking and using solar cookers.

For more articles on Solar Cooking or to get your FREE Mini Course on Solar Cooking go to

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Cooking Ideas That Will Save You Time And Money by Chris Grimbilas

The saying, “time is money” certainly applies in the business world, but it applies in the kitchen, too. Saving time and money in the kitchen really helps with family time and the family budget. So it works in our favor when we come up with cooking ideas that save time and money in the kitchen. There are a lot of kitchen shortcuts out there, but no matter which way you cut the roast, cooking is still cooking. So what are some cooking ideas that will save you time and money?

Easy cooking is a great place to start. We all like to think of ourselves as good cooks, but not everything has to be complicated. It’s hard to save time and money if you aren’t organized. So get organized by focusing on what to cook and when to cook. Write your cooking ideas down and put them in your own personal cooking book. Along with planning what to cook, you should plan when to cook. Most people assume they have to cook dinner between the hours of 4 pm and 7 pm. As the norm this is great, but make sure you are using easy recipes for dinner.

Here is another one we found works in our house. Cook dinner at breakfast. No, most would not classify this as a normal habit. Think of it this way. By cooking your dinner in the morning, you will not have the evening rush of “what to cook” which regularly translates into “where can I order out” because you don’t have the time or energy to make a home cooked meal. Prepare your dinner meal while you are fixing breakfast, and then put it in the refrigerator. When you get home, you will only have to reheat and a home cooked meal is on the table in a jiffy. This is especially good when you are cooking for kids.

Here is a another one from the cooking book. Dig out the crock pot. We do this a lot on Sundays. There are healthy and great tasting dishes that you can make in a crock pot. In the morning, all your ingredients get added to the pot. By dinner, it’s ready to serve. How much prep time do you have when you get home? Just long enough to set the table. Talk about easy cooking! To us, this is as close as it comes to having someone cook your dinner for you. Shop around. There are some great crock pot recipes available that will tantalize your taste bud.
Along with those quick and easy recipes, try this. Plan a kitchen table picnic. What does that mean? It means you use paper plates and plastic ware. Does that beat washing the dishes or what?! Even the kids can get involved with throwing out the plates when they are done eating. I f you do this when you do crock pot cooking, then you have only one dish to wash, the crock pot!

This one needs prep time, but offers you a real break on a day to day basis. We do this about five or six times a year. We cook for a whole month a one time. Everything goes in the freezer. When we are done, there are 30 dinners in the freezer. It takes two days to get it all done, but for a month, dinner is on the table about 20 minutes after we get home. If a month seems overwhelming, start with doing meals for a week or two. Every night then has easy recipes for dinner!

Save time. Save money. It’s a great way to run a kitchen. The more easy cooking and cost effective cooking you can do, the better off your kitchen is!

Chris & Michelle Grimbilas both have backgrounds in teaching and education. Cooking is one of the things they both enjoy. They have five children who have shared the kitchen with them over the years. You can get more great easy cooking ideas at their Creative Cookery website. You’ll find more cooking ideas,real resources that will help you in the kitchen, and best of all FREE GIFTS! Get software that shows you how to cook almost anything! Get free dessert recipes! Claim your gifts today at the Creative Cookery!

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The Art of Healthy Cooking – The Principles of Scientific Cookery by Jon Lee Clark

We lay so much emphasis on the taste factor in cooking that we often forget that the key to healthy eating lies in not just the food elements that are chosen, but also the way in which these elements are cooked. The process of cooking changes almost all the elements of food except for fat, and therefore, it is essential that we ensure proper and scientific cooking if we want to retain all the goodness of these elements.

If you want to know how to cook healthy recipes, then you also need to know the right manner in which the cooking process should be undertaken.

Any of the healthy recipes cooked without adequate preparation is not likely to give the right benefit that you are seeking from your food. While it is sometimes necessary to indulge in the sensory aspects of cooking, you also need to make sure that you learn how to cook to retain all the goodness in the food.

The dictionary meaning of cooking states that cooking is the process of preparing food for consumption with the application of heat, but this heat can be applied to the food in various ways, and so, we have the various forms of cooking that include roasting, baking, broiling, boiling, simmering, stewing, steaming and frying:

– Roasting – Roasting is a process in which you allow the food to cook in its own juices, and this is done on an open fire most of the time. Also known as grilling, this process uses radiant heat to allow the food to be cooked. In most cases when the food is large or compact, the process of roasting is recommended.

The radiation heat works on the surface of the food and travels inwards to ensure that the food is cooked properly. Since the radiation heat sears the surface of the food, the juices in the food are not allowed to escape and the inside of the large food is cooked in its own juices. It is recommended that the food that is being roasted be turned to ensure even heating.

– Baking – This is a process of cooking in which the food is cooked by the dry heat in an oven that is almost always closed. This is a style of cooking that is often used for food that contains a fair amount of moisture so as to ensure that the food does not dry up or burn in the closed environment. This is because the dry and hot air in the oven tends to take up the moisture in the food. If the food that is put in the oven does not contain adequate moisture, it is likely to get too dry or burnt in the process.

– Boiling – As a well-known process of cooking, boiling requires a fair amount of boiling water for the food to be cooked. As the water boils, it gives out minute bubbles of air, and these tend to form at the base of the vessel as the water increases in temperature. As the bubbles of hot air continue to rise, the water becomes a hub of mechanical energy and soon enough, the water begins to show rapid activity.

Boiling something hurriedly does not ensure that the food will get cooked any faster; it only ensures the wear and tear of the food particles that are in the water. Hurried steaming actually causes a lot of wastage of fuel and also makes food less palatable. In most cases, the liquid used for boiling is water, but there are also some healthy recipes that use milk as the liquid used for boiling. Boiling starchy foods such as macaroni, rice, farina, etc. in water or even milk is recommended since it makes the overall dish more nutritious and fitter for healthy eating.

When using milk for boiling, it should be remembered that milk is denser and creates less steam. However, not many know that it also boils faster than water.

– Stewing – The process of stewing is another process that is commonly used in healthy recipes. It is a process in which food is cooked in a liquid that is kept just below the boiling point. This process is often confused with simmering, which indicates cooking the food at boiling point.

To ensure that the stewing is taking place in a proper manner, you can use a double boiler in which the liquid in the outside vessel boils. This ensures that the liquid in the inner vessel is just below the boiling point since the inner vessel is always a few degrees cooler than the outer one.

– Steaming – Steaming is the form of healthy cooking that uses the heat of the steam to prepare food. There are various ways in which people use steam to cook food. The most common style is to put food in a vessel that has holes and to place this vessel on a pot of boiling water.

Foods that have high water content are best suited for steaming. Sometimes, the vessel that contains food can be put inside another vessel that contains boiling water too. This apparatus is called the double boiler.

– Frying – This is not really a healthy process of cooking food, since it involves cooking what you want to eat in hot fat. Once fat is cooked, it becomes less easy to digest, and therefore, people who are looking at healthy eating should not opt for this method. The process of frying actually requires you to heat up large quantities of fat in a vessel and bring it to a high temperature.

The food is then dropped in the hot oil and allowed to remain in it till it is cooked. Most people drain the excess fat from the outer part of the food, but a large amount of fat is always absorbed in the food while it is being cooked.

Each of these cooking processes, except for frying, allow for healthy recipes and healthy eating if done properly.

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Save Your Wallet and Your Waistline With Freezer Cooking by Michelle Shaeffer

Have you heard of freezer cooking? It’s a great way to save time and money while eating healthier meals at home!

Freezer cooking just means cooking meals ahead of time and freezing them so it’s easy to defrost, warm and serve later. Variations can include once a month cooking, batch cooking, or cooking parts of meals.

Some cooks create a weekly or monthly plan, then cook meals all in one day and freeze them. Others cook one large batch of a meal, like chili, then divide it into family portions or single servings and freeze it. You can also cook certain ingredients ahead of time and freeze them-such as meats cooked and frozen in small portions to be added into chili, stew, or casseroles later.

Save Time: By cooking in batches you can save time. If you’re already cooking a casserole, it only takes a few extra minutes to double the recipe, cook a second one and freeze it for later.

Save Money: Buying in bulk is usually cheaper than smaller sized portions. When you cook in batches you can easily purchase bulk sizes without worrying that they’ll go to waste. You’ll also save money when you’ve got meals ready to eat and don’t end up calling for a pizza or other food delivery.

Save Your Waistline: Once you’ve got a stash of healthy meals in the freezer ready to defrost and eat you’ll find the temptation to grab “fast food” or eat junk is easier to avoid.

Freezer cooking is a great strategy if you have special dietary needs, too. I cook gluten-free waffles, pancakes, soups, pizza and breads and freeze so that meal time is easier. By planning ahead and cooking in batches I’m able to save money over the price of prepared specialty foods and know that we’ve always got “safe” meals easily accessible.

Some meals work better than others for freezing so it’s a good idea to take some time to explore websites about freezer cooking and find reliable recipes and tips.

If you’re new to the idea of freezer cooking, these tips helped me get started:

  • Prepare by having freezer safe storage containers ready before you begin cooking.
  • Start small by cooking double on your family’s favorite dish and freezing one for a future meal.
  • Try cooking ahead parts of meals. Cook up chicken or hamburger in bulk then freeze it in meal-sized portions for easy use later.
  • Keep track of the date you freeze each meal either with a list on the side of your freezer or by labeling each meal as you freeze it – that way you can use it within a safe time frame.
  • Don’t feel like you have to jump all in and cook a month’s worth of meals the first time you try freezer cooking. But do use the once a month cooking websites and guides for great freezer meal ideas and helpful hints to make your freezer cooking easier.

Give it a try, and discover how much easier freezer cooking makes meal time!

Would you like a free email course about meal planning, crock pot cooking, or freezer cooking? Visit now and let me send you helpful tips and ideas that will make it easier for you to balance homemaking, homeschooling, and working from home.

Michelle Shaeffer has been a work at home mom for more than 10 years and loves to share the tips and strategies she’s learned to help other small business owners and entrepreneurs.

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