Food and Drink

Finding New Recipes For Your Cream Cheese Filling

Finding New Recipes For Your Cream Cheese FillingFinding New Recipes For Your Cream Cheese Filling by by Richard C. Thomas

When it comes to special family events, there is nothing that can beat the food spread that is usually put out. In most families it is the memories of such food and eating together that remain in the hearts of people forever.

There are always a wide variety of things to eat such as meats, cheese fondue, pies, and other goodies that are always just too good to pass up. If you are in charge of making something for the buffet and that something happens to be a pie of some sort, you should go ahead and make it with cream cheese filling.

The cream cheese filling that you use though should be one that you know will go over well. In order to make sure of this, you want to avoid using a new recipe on the day of the big event. This is just to make sure that the recipe is not bad and something that you are going to regret using. If you have enough advance notice then you should look into making the pie with cream cheese filling ahead of time. This way, if there are any problems you will have plenty of time to make the proper adjustments.

Finding New Recipes to Use

When it comes to finding new recipes to use for your cream cheese filling, you want to make sure you find as many different options as you can. This way you will be able to pick the best of the best and serve your loved ones a pie with a cream cheese filling that they will never forget. Start by seeing what your older relatives have in the way of recipes, as these are often the hidden treasures of the recipe world. If you are not able to find anything that way then you can always try another way.

There are also a lot of recipes to be found online if you simply start looking hard enough. Recipes from all over the world from people from all walks of life get posted on the Internet through chat forums, blogs, and other places. Do not be afraid to try a new cream cheese filling recipe even if at first it strikes you as a little odd. You never know what you will like and you may just end up finding a new favorite. Keep your eyes and your mind open and you will be surprised at what you will come across.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on top freezer refrigerator and Jenn Air refrigerators.

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10 Every Day Cooking Tips and Tricks

10 Every Day Cooking Tips and Tricks10 Every Day Cooking Tips and Tricks by by Mary Mechler

Don't you love getting useful tips for just about anything? Tips that can save time, money and are easy? Read on, and I think you'll be pleased with how you can put these to use today!

1. When it's strawberry season, buy extra to freeze. Freeze them unwashed in zipper bags. They work great in winter time smoothies. Just take several out rinse and cut the top off and plop in the blender with a banana and orange juice.

2. Hate making bacon because of the splatter mess? Make it in the oven. Spray a cookie sheet with pan spray and line up the bacon. Bake at 375 degrees until almost done. I drain on paper towels and store in the refrigerator in fresh paper towels. You can take out just what you need and microwave them in another paper towel until done.

3. Isn't slicing grapes or cherry tomatoes in half time consuming? Get 2 plastic carton container lids and put them in between the lids. You can then easily slice them horizontally in a few strokes between the lids.

4. Like to make pizzas on the grill in the summer? After you make the dough, roll it out into individual serving size pizza rounds. Then, grill lightly on one side. Stack them for guests to top as they wish. Make sure they put sauce and toppings on the grilled side. Put back on the grill to finish.

5. Like steel cut oats, but don't have 30 minutes to wait for it in the morning? Make the recipe with one cup of oats and put it in a container in the refrigerator. Scoop out only what you need each morning and microwave. Works great!

6. Have bananas that are getting too ripe, but no time to make banana bread? Peel them and put them in a plastic zipper bag, getting as much air out as possible, and freeze. They will be ready to go when you have the time to bake.

7. Love chocolate desserts? Visit the grocery or drug stores after a holiday and up seasonal chocolate really inexpensively for great desserts in the future.

8. Don't you love those grocery store rotisserie chickens? I cut the breast meat off the bone for my kids, and save the rest of the chicken in a gallon zipper bag in the freezer. You can put it in a stockpot with water, onion, carrot, celery, poultry season, bay leaf and a little salt and pepper for the start of great chicken noodle soup. There is already a lot of great seasoning that adds to the depth of flavor.

9. Have just a bit of steak, chicken or fish left from a meal? Save it and make a quesadilla appetizer tomorrow for everyone to munch on before dinner, or an after school snack.

10. Make too much icing for those sugar cookies? Put the leftovers into zipper bags and store in the freezer. When you need to decorate a few cookies or write on a cake, you'll have them ready made and in a variety of colors.

Mary Mechler has been cooking and baking since she was 5 years old. Mary is excited to share her love of cooking and great cooking tools with others who are cooking enthusiasts, through the website, which offers kitchen cutlerye, chefs knives and kitchen cookware. If you find something you like, and place an order, we'll include a free copy of Amy Coleman's cookbook while supplies last!

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Caesar's Pasta, LLC Recalls Beef Meatball Products Because Of Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens




The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that Caesar's Pasta, LLC, an establishment in Blackwood, New Jersey is recalling 46,810 pounds of beef meatball products because of misbranding and undeclared allergens. The product contains egg, a known allergen that is not declared on the product label. 

The FSIS has designated this a Class  Recall of High Health Risk.

The following products are subject to recall:

  •  10-lb. boxes containing 0.5-oz. pieces of “Schiff's ITALIAN BRAND MEAT BALLS,” labeled with lot code 70033SH.

  • 10-lb. boxes containing 1-oz. pieces of “Schiff's ITALIAN BRAND MEAT BALLS,” labeled with lot code 70034SH.
  • 10-lb. boxes containing 1.5-oz. pieces of “Schiff's ITALIAN BRAND MEAT BALLS,” labeled with lot code 70035SH.

The items were produced between Nov. 1, 2015 and Nov. 30, 2017 and bear establishment number “EST. 5498” inside the USDA mark of inspection.

The USDA said the recalled products were shipped to food service locations in Pennsylvania.

The USDA said the problem was discovered when a customer of Caesar's Pasta, LLC noticed that the label did not include eggs in the ingredient statement.

According to the USDA, there have not been any confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to eating this product. The USDA suggests that anyone who is concerned about illness or injury should contact a healthcare provider and that consumers should not eat the product, but instead discard the items or return them to the place of purchase.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Michael Crawford, Corporate General Manager, Caesar’s Pasta, LLC, at (856) 227-2585, extension 226.


But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear ; do not be frightened." 1 Peter 3:14

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Article Reference

USDA News Release


"Caesar's Pasta, LLC Recalls Beef Meatball Products Because Of Misbranding and Undeclared Allergens" copyright © 2017 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.


Making Chicken Soup Using Pressure Cookers

Making Chicken Soup Using Pressure CookersMaking Chicken Soup Using Pressure Cookers by by Stuart Michael

Among all pressure cooker recipes, one simple, healthy one everyone must know is the chicken soup. Used to rid flu and a great body warmer, the benefits of chicken soup is only made better using a pressure cooker.

First, gather the following ingredients. For the main flavoring, get a pack of chicken breasts that has a lot of skin. The additional flavorings can be made using the following vegetables: carrots, parsnips, shallots, and garlic. To make the soup more fragrant, also include herbs like dill and parsley, as well as salt and pepper.

The first thing you will want to do is to cook the chicken. In order to do this, put the chicken into the cooker's pot and fill enough water until its pressure is increased to its maximum. Then, heat the pot on medium-high until the indicator indicates that enough pressure is built. You can then set the heat to low, and leave it be for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the pressure cooker on its own until the pressure drops down low enough for the pot to open on its own. An alternative is to run cold water over the lid so that the cooling process will be faster. When the soup has become slightly cooler to deal with, pick up the chicken breasts with a strainer. Remove the bones, and then put the meat back into the pot of soup.

As the taste of the soup will not be as fragrant without any herbs, add some water, the remaining ingredients listed earlier according to your liking. This way, you will not need to add in any artificial flavorings, as the flavors would have come from these ingredients instead. Make sure your ingredients are fresh in order to get the best of its nutrients. Cook these for an additional 5 minutes, and let it cool naturally.

May you enjoy this pressure cooker recipe!

Author enjoys writing on wide range of topics such as pressure canner and pressure cooker. You may visit for more details.

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How to Cook a Turkey - Without Poisoning Your Guests

How to Cook a Turkey - Without Poisoning Your Guests

How to Cook a Turkey - Without Poisoning Your Guests
By Jan Stuart

Why temperature is so important

NB. F = Degrees Fahrenheit and C = Degrees Centigrade

Temperature is critical in determining how long to cook a turkey, for the simple fact that the bird must have reached a uniform temperature of at least 165 F throughout in order to destroy harmful bacteria. You do not want to give your guests food poisoning!

The turkey is a weird shaped food source! - Large body covered with thick flesh around the breast area, large legs made up of dense muscle and a large internal cavity. Because of this, it is not so easy as cooking a single joint of meet for example. The breast meat tends to cook much faster that the dense muscular leg meat, so there is a risk of over-cooking the breast meat whilst waiting for the leg meat to cook thoroughly.

Deciding how long to cook a turkey is not an easy question to answer as there are so many variable factors to consider.

The type of oven

With conventional gas or electric ovens (not Microwave, Convection, Rotisserie) the top of the oven is the hottest zone. The middle part of the oven is usually the coolest zone. The bottom part of the oven is usually also a cool zone in a gas oven, but in an electric oven this area can be a hot zone. As the turkey will remain in the same position throughout the cooking cycle, this will influence the length of time and how evenly the turkey cooks.

Microwave ovens work on an entirely different principle but due to the larger size of turkey compared to chicken, may not be large enough to cook turkey.

Convection ovens are more efficient than conventional ovens because an internal fan circulates hot air all around the food. Turkey cooked in a convection oven should be more evenly cooked with maybe a 50% saving in time.

Rotisserie ovens are also more efficient than conventional ovens because the food is continually turned allowing heat to penetrate evenly.

Size and weight of the turkey

No surprises here, but the larger and heavier the turkey, the longer the time period for cooking! If the turkey is so large that it only just fits into the oven, seriously consider using a bigger oven or buying a smaller turkey. The reason for this is that to cook the turkey thoroughly, there must be a good air space all around the turkey to enable hot air to circulate. If this is not the case then it will be difficult to gauge cooking times and ensure even cooking throughout.

Fresh or frozen turkey?

Many people prefer to cook a fresh turkey as the taste is said to be superior to frozen. Fresh turkey should be purchased 1 to 2 days prior to cooking and stored in a refrigerator. When ready to cook take out of the refrigerator and allow to come up towards room temperature.

Frozen turkey is more convenient for many people however and provided the correct thawing out procedure is followed, should be safe and tasty. Care must taken to follow the suppliers thawing out instructions correctly, including that applying to stuffing. A general guide to thawing frozen turkey stored in a refrigerator is to allow 24 hours for every 4-5 pounds weight (e.g. a 14 pounds turkey would take 3 to 4 days to thaw out).

Deciding how long to cook your turkey

Professional chefs cook their turkey at an oven temperature range 325 F to 350 F (170 C to 180 C).

As a guide, if you are cooking a 12 pounds weight fresh or thawed frozen turkey without stuffing using a conventional oven operating at a temperature of 325 F, the likely cooking time would be 3 Hours. When stuffing is placed within the turkey it will take a little longer to cook through so the cooking time must be increased. Refer to a good turkey cook book for full instructions.

Testing temperature when cooking your turkey

The old school method for testing when your turkey is cooked is to use a clean metal skewer. When the approximate cooking time is up, you take the turkey out of the oven and carefully pierce the thickest part of the leg with the skewer. Remove the skewer and press against the leg to see if the juices run out clear without any trace of pink - if the juices are clear then the turkey should be cooked.

There are more accurate methods available using modern technology, more suited to the amateur or newbie chef:

  • Use a temperature probe food thermometer designed to be inserted directly into the turkey during the cooking process, as directed by manufacturers instructions. This continuously monitors the internal cooking temperature so you can be certain that the correct minimum temperature is achieved.
  • Use a thermometer (designed for the specific purpose) to register the internal temperature of your oven so as to check the accuracy of your ovens temperature controls.
  • When the turkey has cooked and has been removed from the oven, use an "instant read" probe food thermometer to check the internal temperature of various parts of the turkey e.g. legs, inner thigh, breast, internal cavity stuffing. The turkey should be allowed to rest for approximately 30 minutes after cooking and the internal temperature must be at least 165 F to ensure that the meat is cooked sufficiently well and safe to eat.

Turkey cooking tips

  1. Some professional chefs suggest pre heating your oven to a much hotter initial temperature of 425 F ( 220 C ). Place your turkey in the oven and leave for approximately 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature down to the correct range selected e.g. 325 F for the remaining time. The idea here is to give the turkey a good blast of heat which penetrates right into the meat and any stuffing.
  2. Consider cooking stuffing outside the turkey in a casserole.
  3. To protect the turkey breast from over-cooking and drying out, consider placing stuffing under the breast skin. You should carefully peel back the skin and work your fingers and then your hand under the skin to free it from the meat. Spoon the stuffing into the cavity and then replace the skin and secure down to avoid anything leaking out.

Enjoy your turkey dinner celebration!

The author is an enthusiastic home cook loving traditional recipes. For a complete guide to cooking turkey made easy visit []

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Making A Delicious Goat Cheese Salad by by Richard C. Thomas

Making A Delicious Goat Cheese SaladMaking A Delicious Goat Cheese Salad by by Richard C. Thomas

Goat cheese is a delicious and healthy alternative to other types of cheese. It is low in fat and cholesterol but packed with nutrients like vitamin A, niacin, thiamin, and protein. There are many ways you can enjoy goat cheese in any meal but one of the best ways is in a salad.

There are many different recipes for goat cheese salad and all of them are very simple and straight forward. Why not try making a goat cheese salad the next time you cook for your friends or family? Not only is goat cheese healthier than other types of cheese, it is also very delicious.

Goat Cheese Salads with Fruit

Goat cheese goes surprisingly well with fruit. For example you can make a simple and delicious goat cheese salad by combining it with chopped walnuts and strawberries and drizzling it with pomegranate vinaigrette.

You can also make a warm apple goat cheese salad by combining broiled Granny Smith apple slices with endives, parsley, walnuts, raspberry vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. You can also make goat cheese salad with pear and apple honey vinaigrette. Chopped cantaloupe, fresh greens, and berries are also a great combination to make goat cheese salad.

Baked Goat Cheese Salad Recipes

You can bake goat cheese and then put it on top of some crusty bread and drizzle it with vinaigrette and there you have a delicious salad and appetizer dish. Also try combining baked goat cheese with roasted beets, arugula, baby spinach, and vinaigrette to make a delicious salad.

You can also roll goat cheese in bread crumbs and freshly chopped herbs prior to baking it. Then you can combine the baked goat cheese with chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, and avocado as a topping for mixed greens.
Goat cheese isn't only a great ingredient for salads. Along with making goat cheese salad, experiment with different recipes and try serving goat cheese appetizers such as grape leaves stuffed with goat cheese, goat cheese pizza, or goat cheese and mushroom fondue. Goat cheese is a versatile ingredient and it can be used in a wide range of dishes.

In conclusion, try serving a goat cheese salad the next time you cook. Making a goat cheese salad is a great way to impress your friends and family with an exotic and delicious dish. Also don't forget to experiment with goat cheese in other dishes because it is a versatile cheese that is delicious as well as nutritious.

If you love this article, you will also love another article written by this article's author on top freezer refrigerator and refrigerator shelves.

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Colorado Trails and Back Country Fishing

Colorado Trails and Back Country Fishing

Colorado Trails and Back Country Fishing

By: Gordon Hollingshead

The three boys laughed and raced along pushing their bikes up the steep little mountain road of western Colorado early the morning of that perfect, hot summer day in August. Fishing poles over their shoulders, Gordon, Mike and Steve headed up the mountain toward the old coal mine. The played out coal mine marked the upper end of the road known as the "Coal Road" by the local folks of this small town of Paonia, Colorado. In these boys book though, it represented the kick off point for adventure and another of the better fishing trips that any kid could ever hope for. The boys left their bikes behind near the mine, and set out cross country, following game and cow trails through the stands of oak and sage brush and cedar trees. Cutting across the larger meadows near the top of the ridge they finally hit an overgrown old logging road that led up over the ridge to the east of the mine and headed down into the next canyon.

That next canyon held a genuine Colorado jewel, claiming the title Terror Creek. Truly a wonder to those three boys that had slogged for hours up over the hot dusty mountain ridge. Terror Creek offered some of the finest fishing I've ever known, the stuff that fishing legends were made of. Letting out a whoop at the first sight of the creek far below in the bottom of the canyon, the boys broke into a run. Parting from the overgrown road they chased each other down the steep incline, again following game trails that led them through the canyon's pine forests and thick brush. Finally breaking out of the brush they found themselves on the narrow rocky banks of the raging mountain stream as it cascaded from one boulder to the next. Behind and around each of those boulders - a deep pool of cold Colorado mountain spring water was teeming with wild trout.

Those were unbelievable days fishing that wild, raging Terror Creek, so near to Paonia, Colorado, yet so far away and remote that it required hours of trudging over that dry dusty mountain ridge. To their delight the entire day was spent baiting and re-baiting the hook, adding yet another sizeable catch to the fishing bags. On a nearly legendary scale, virtually every cast into a deep, swirling pool yielded another strike by a trout bent on seizing a tasty morsel for it's dining pleasure. There are few pleasures like hitting a backcountry mountain creek where the trout are not wary of constant fishermen.

Of course there was then the long trudge back home from that backcountry fishing adventure. Fortunately, once the mountain ridge was topped for the return journey the route back was a downhill run, and the boys had their bikes to hasten their return. And oh, the wondrous fish feast that followed in the days after each journey over to Terror Creek.

Treasures like Terror Creek were discovered in all directions as we rattled around on our bikes in that little mountain valley of Paonia in western Colorado, exploring every canyon, creek and pond. Of course, the fishing has changed in the years since those childhood memories took form, as the local population and the visitors to the area have grown. Ah, the area though, in the shadow of Mount Lamborn, with a backdrop of Mount Gunnison up Minnesota Creek - we could have sworn we lived in a little corner of Shangri-la.

There are still so many directions to explore back into the canyons and forests around the Paonia, Colorado area to find some solitude, good fishing, and a deep drink of the most spectacular mountain back country in the lower 48 states. If you ever get a chance to slip back into that quiet little neighborhood, don't pass it up. Head off up the North Fork of the Gunnison, explore the shops and gentle neighborhoods of Paonia, and then head on up the canyon to Paonia Dam, Kebler Pass, Muddy Creek, the Ragged Mountains - bring your fishing pole and savor all the wonders found there. As you make your Colorado plans, check out the Colorado trail and National Forest information we've set up to help Colorado explorers. We can sure set you up in some perfect "base camp" accommodations in style nearby in Delta, over in Montrose or down in Grand Junction.


Author Bio
As owner and web designer of the Montana Recreation Connection - Colorado Wilderness Tours (, Gordon Hollingshead has successfully provided an online travel directory for people planning their vacations and travels to the western states. That exciting effort is evolving into a western and Pacific northwest travel directory providing trails and recreation information and nearby accommodations throughout the western United States. For more inside information about prime recreation opportunities and motel and lodging accommodations contact Gordon at

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How To Cook The Best Steak In The World

How To Cook The Best Steak In The World

How To Cook The Best Steak In The World
By Mick Reade

Every person likes their steak cooked a different way, so throughout this article I will make sure that I cover each possible different way so that you will always get the best result for yourself or whoever you cook for.

There are several different cuts of beef that will make a great steak, and there are also many grades of beef to consider, depending on what the cow was fed on the farm, so your first step is to choose which one you would prefer. The choices include rump, scotch fillet, porterhouse, eye fillet and T-bone as the main premium cuts generally eaten. The beef's grading will come down largely to marbling and maturity of the meat. There is a debate as to which is better out of grain-fed and grass-fed cattle, and really the answer is grass-fed beef is healthier for you as it is the most natural form of the cattle, while grain-fed beef will have a lot more marbling and flavour, so I will leave that choice up to you which way you want to go. As for maturity, I recommend finding a butcher that will hang your meat for quite a long time in their meat locker before carving it, I have found that 27 days is ideal. This will help tenderize the meat by having it stretched out and relaxing the muscles, to give you the best possible final result.

The rump and porterhouse are firmer cuts, and the rump in particular can be a bit tougher and chewier than the rest, and you will find a strip of fat at the top of each of these steaks, which will help flavour and tenderize the steak during the cooking process. Both these cuts I would recommend eating rare to medium-rare (I will discuss steak doneness a little later).
Meanwhile the scotch fillet will come very nicely marbled with fat throughout, and can usually be distinguished by a C-shaped piece of fat close to one side. Due to the marbling it will be very tender and full of flavour (however if you're on a diet it may be one to avoid for now), and I recommend eating it medium-rare to medium.

The eye fillet is the most tender cut of beef, and will normally be free of fat, although this also means you may need to do something extra to add some flavour to it, the most popular way being to wrap bacon around it during cooking, so the fatty flavours of the bacon are absorbed by the steak. This is my personal favourite steak, and is best eaten medium-rare to medium.
Lastly we come to the T-bone, which has both the eye fillet and porterhouse on either side of the bone, and will get its flavour from the strip of fat on the outside of the porterhouse. I recommend eating the T-bone rare to medium-rare, though it can be tricky to cook evenly due to the bone in the middle.

Once you've decided which cut of steak you will be eating, you need to work out how big a piece of meat you want. A normal-sized steak is generally around 300g for a good-sized meal, however it could range anywhere from 150g up to 1kg and even more! The size of your steak will become important later when you want to cook it to a particular doneness. For example, two different rump steaks could quite easily weigh the same amount, yet be completely different shapes, sometimes they can be wide and flat, and sometimes short and thick, depending on what part of the rump the steak was cut from. Choosing the size of your steak and the shape go hand-in-hand, it's best to have a thicker steak for a rare or medium-rare steak, and when you want a medium-well or above thinner is better. This is so it doesn't take a long time for you to cook, and you can still have a juicy steak without burning the outside.

Now let's just get away from the steak for a minute and think about what you're actually going to cook it on. Ideally you should have a chargrill, one that sits on an angle, and has enough space underneath the flame to have a tray that you can put a small piece of wood on. What I personally prefer is mesquite wood, which comes from the USA, and the best thing to do is to soak it in water for a couple of hours before cooking. This will help the wood give off its smoky flavour rather than just burn away, and it will also last longer, usually for at least a couple of hours.

I mentioned earlier that if possible your grill should be built on an angle, sloping up towards the back. As you know, heat rises, so naturally you should find the hottest part of your grill at the back, and get slightly cooler closer to the front. Most grills and hotplates in general will have certain "hotspots" that you will need to find for each one to work out the bests places to position your food when cooking. Once you've used a particular grill a couple of times you should find it quite easy to figure out your favourite spots to cook on. The combination of knowing where your "hotspots" are and using an angled grill will make it easier to find the best position to cook your steak. If you don't have a chargrill to use and you have a flatgrill or a hotplate instead, I would recommend not cooking your steak entirely through on the hotplate, particularly for medium or above, seal it on both sides then place your steak on a tray and finish it off in an oven. Otherwise all you will do is burn the outside and lose all the moisture and juiciness from your meat.

The other element to consider is how you would like your steak cooked. In general, a well-done steak should be placed at the back, a medium steak in the middle of the grill, and a rare steak at the front. Obviously, this leaves medium-rare between the front and middle, and the medium-well between the middle and the back. In some situations you will need to adjust this slightly depending on the size and shape of your steak, a big, thick rump may need to be pushed a bit further up the grill to cook properly, while a thin and flat porterhouse might be best kept a little closer to the front to avoid overcooking. Your steak positioning will come down largely to personal preference and a bit of practice and experience with your grill.
Now that you should have worked out where on the grill you will place your steak, you're almost ready to start cooking! What you need to consider now is how you will season your steak. You may not want any seasoning, that's fine, go right ahead and start cooking. If you wish to use salt and pepper, I would suggest waiting until one side of your steak has been sealed before sprinkling any on, as salt has the tendency to leech out some of the moisture from your meat. My preferred method of seasoning is to get a really good steak seasoning spice and generously cover both sides before placing your steak on the grill. When you do place your steak on the grill, if you are going to have a rump or a porterhouse, make sure you place the strip of fat at the top, so as it cooks the fat will melt and drip through the steak, adding extra flavour to your meat.

The process of actually cooking your steak is quite simple, but there are a few key things you need to know to get the best result. Firstly, the advantage of using the chargrill means you can have nice cross-markings on your steak when it's finished, which looks fantastic for presentation. To achieve this, your steak will need to be turned three times, the first time straight over itself, then on the second turn spin it around 90 degrees so the lines from the grill will cross over each other and make little brown squares all over the steak, and then the third and final turn will be straight over itself again. When you're finished the steak should have cross-markings on both sides, and you can choose whichever side looks best to serve facing up.

What you should find if you have got the grill positioning right for your preferred doneness, 3-4 minutes in between each turn should have your steak turn out just the way you like it! (If you are cooking your steak bleu, you only need to cook it for 3 minutes on each side in total, just enough to seal each side basically).

This is just a guide to work by only, as each grill will produce slightly different results, but definitely the most important stage of cooking your steak is knowing when it is at the exact doneness you would like. This can sometimes be a little tricky, but there are a couple of methods for testing your steak without needing to cut into it. The best method to use when you're just starting to learn would be what I call the "thumb test". Hold your left hand out open and relaxed, and press the flesh of your left thumb with your right index finger. It should feel quite soft, and this is how a rare steak should feel when you press it with your finger.
Now lightly touch your left thumb to your left index finger, and press the flesh of your thumb with your right index finger. This is how a medium-rare steak should feel when it's ready. Next, lightly touch your left thumb to your left middle finger, and pressing the flesh of your left thumb will feel like a medium steak when it's ready.

Touching your left thumb to your left ring finger will make the flesh of your left thumb feel like a medium-well steak, and touching the left thumb to your left little finger will make the flesh of your thumb feel like a well-done steak. Try this out as a guide to get you started, and as with all things, practice and experience will help you hone your ability and instincts to know just when your steak is cooked to perfection! And just as importantly, make sure you get feedback from every person that you cook a steak for, this will make your progress go much faster. As they say, "feedback is the breakfast of champions!"

Another method to use, which can be a little bit sneaky, is if you can see into the middle of the steak at the edges to see what colour the middle looks like. This works really well for a scotch fillet, as you can gently pull away part of the meat right where the C-shaped piece of fat is without damaging your steak, and see if the inside is red, pink or grey.

Now I will explain to you each doneness, so you can work out how you would like to cook it and so you know what to look for when it is finished.
I will start with bleu, which is basically just sealed, is still very red in the middle, quite mushy to the touch, and will feel a little cool inside, only slightly warmed.

Rare is red in the middle from edge to edge, a little mushy, and will just feel warm inside. Medium-rare is red in the middle and pink at the edges, and will feel warm inside. Medium is pink in the middle from edge to edge, feels tender to the touch, and will be warm to hot inside. Medium-well still has a quarter in the middle that is pink, and will be grey at the edges, feels quite firm and is hot inside. If you plan to cook your steak medium-well or above, I would suggest you could speed up the cooking time by using a steak weight to place on top of your steak. It should be shiny silver and kept clean, and what will happen is the heat coming up from the flames below will be reflected down on to the top of the steak so it cooks on both sides. Make sure if you use a steak weight that you only place it on your steak after sealing one side so there is no chance of cross-contamination.

Well-done steaks are grey throughout, no pink at all, quite firm, although can still be juicy, and is very hot inside. Very well-done steaks are grey throughout with no pink at all, very firm, very hot, and no juices whatsoever. You can also get your steak cooked Pittsburgh, which basically means charring the outside so it is burnt while the inside doesn't need to be completely cooked. For example, if you want to have your steak Pittsburgh-Rare, you could char the outside, and the inside would be red in the middle from edge to edge. To do this you will need some oil or butter, I personally use lemon butter just for the flavouring, and drizzle some over the steak until it drips onto the flames underneath. Your goal here is to build the flames up so they are licking at the steak and will cook the outside much faster than the inside.

CAUTION! Be very mindful of how much butter you use, make sure you have fire safety equipment, and if necessary that you have adult supervision. Do not do this if you do not feel comfortable working with large flames, it can be very dangerous if something nearby catches fire, so please be very careful if this is how you would like to have your steak cooked.
Everybody has different preferences when it comes to their beef, but I would urge you to try each different way so you can work out for yourself what's best for you. Many people fear the sight of blood coming out of their steak, if you can work up the courage to try something new for yourself, who know, you might find you really like it! I personally eat my steaks medium-rare, and would like to take this opportunity to mention that once your steak starts getting to medium-well and above, you really lose a lot of the nutritional benefits of eating beef, so I would recommend not cooking your steak any more than medium, but obviously that is a choice that is entirely up to you.

Now all that's left to do is to serve up your perfectly cooked steak, there are many choices of sides and sauces, far too many to list here. I always love it with a creamy mashed potato and seasonal steamed vegetables, and my favourite sauce is mushroom sauce. If you have the time the best sauce is made using beef bones, cooked off with a little tomato paste, then make a stock by boiling the bones in water with some celery, carrots, onion, leeks, bay leaves and peppercorns. Simmer it for a couple of hours until it reduces about three-quarters, and then remove the bones and vegetables. Add some red wine and port, and reduce it down to about half of where it is now, until it starts to thicken with a nice consistency. From here you can add some sliced mushrooms, or peppercorns if you prefer, and even add a little cream if you like as well. This is very time consuming to make the jus (rich beef gravy), but if you can do it you will find it well worthwhile. One other little tip I have for you is to brush a small amount of lemon butter over your steak before saucing it, this will keep your steak very juicy and tender.

I hope you enjoy cooking and eating many steaks in the future, and make sure you go out and impress your friends with your newfound cooking skills!

Mick Reade is a chef from Australia who has been cooking in commercial kitchens across the country for over 10 years, and has been helping teach others how easy it can be to cook great tasting and healthy meals, for more information please visit []

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Alaska Halibut Fishing

Alaska Halibut Fishing

Alaska Halibut Fishing

Coming to Alaska on a halibut fishing trip can be exciting and a bit overwhelming.

Dressing properly for your halibut fishing trip can make the difference between a good time and an uncomfortable time. The weather in Alaska no matter what time of year can be unpredictable. There are two certain precautions that one can take to make sure he or she isn't caught off guard.

First, always dress in layers. Even in the peak of summer the mornings can be darn right cool, sometimes even cold. Your base layer should always be a quick wicking synthetic. I always advise against cotton fabrics. Cotton isn't near as breathable nor has the wicking power of the synthetic garments. Cotton, when wet takes forever to dry and can leave the fisherman uncomfortable for the extent of the halibut fishing trip.

So stick with synthetic base layers. After the base layer you may add as many long sleeve shirts as the weather report calls for. The beautiful thing about dressing in layers is that you can shed off layers anytime you wish and put layers back on when you are feeling chilly. There are many great types of light-weight fleeces being made today. The best type of fleece you can have on is one that's light-weight and that can stop the wind. When you are heading out to the halibut fishing spots you might be on the back deck of the boat, usuallly in the morning. The back deck can be quite cool and the wind can chill the bone. A good fleece will stop the wind and make you feel nice and cozy. In addition to the layers, a medium to light-weight coat should be brought along. You'll sure wish you brought one on a cold Alaskan morning.

Wearing the proper pair of pants can also be critical for comfortable. I highly advise against the wearing of jeans. Cotton jeans when wet are miserable and won't dry for the entire time of your halibut charter. Again, try and wear a synthetic blend pair of pants. As for footwear, I recommend a light-weight wool sock and a waterproof boot of some kind.

Finally, one of the most important precautions to take on any Alaska fishing trip is to bring along the best rain gear that you can afford. Both the pants and the jacket are a must due to the unpredictable weather in Alaska. It can look beautiful out in the morning and by mid-day it's pouring rain and the temperature could drop ten degress or more. Always bring rain gear, if you don't bring anything else, always bring rain gear. Always dress in layers and always bring rain gear. Those two precautions will ensure you being comfortable on your halibut fishing charter, leaving you to fully concentrate on catching those huge halibuts.

Author Bio
Marc Theiler - Alaska Halibut Fishing Expert Alaska Fishing Guide & Outdoor Writer

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Healthy Snacks for Your Kids

Healthy Snacks for Your Kids

Healthy Snacks for Your Kids
By Stephen G John

One of the challenges for parents, especially moms, these days is providing healthy snacks for their children when they go to school. Some either don't have time to shop for healthy ingredients and prepare, while others just don't know which snacks fall under the 'healthy' category.

Giving your child money and letting him decide what snack to get at school is not really a good idea. A child is generally drawn to sweet stuff, and that's what he would probably buy with his money. Driving through a fast food restaurant to buy his snacks before dropping him off to school is not a better idea either. You'll just be loading his body with unhealthy ingredients.

Well, there are snacks you can prepare that won't be harmful to your kid and don't take hours to prepare. Here are some of them:

Peach pops - Kids (of all ages) love those literally cool pops. Instead of giving your kid one that's laced with preservatives, why not make your own? You can use peach (or any of your kid's fave fruit, for that matter) to make a peach puree and have it frozen.

Watermelon salsa - If your kid loves tortilla chips (who doesn't?), instead of making tomato salsa, make it more exciting by substituting it with watermelon. This is especially ideal during those hot days.

Pick those pickles - Certainly, you can get preserved pickles from the grocery. But there's just nothing better than something made in your own home. Your own loving touch adds something more into the food that no food shop can give. Pickles can be prepared in a jiffy, plus they can stay in your fridge for up to 10 days.

Polenta biscotti - These crisp golden slices can make a nice contrast when paired with fruit or a warm drink (like tea). The name of this snack may sound intimidating, but you really don't have to be an expert baker to make them. You only need a few basic ingredients and some kitchen magic.

Cornish pasties - This snack is well-known and well-loved throughout Great Britain. It's excellent for your kid's lunch or snack box. You can even have it as a main course dish by serving it with fresh vegetables.

Yogurt smoothie with banana- Nothing beats fresh fruit as a healthy snack choice. And if you combine fruit like banana with dairy, you have a mini-meal that's both filling and good for the health.

These are some snack ideas that you can prepare for your kid without compromising his health. This can give you peace of mind that he consumes only the good stuff every time he's in school.

Do you want to learn how to prepare Cornish pasties? You can find info at Food Plus for that and other healthy snacks.

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