Quick Dinner Recipe - Baked Ham Steak with Pineapple

Quick Dinner Recipe - Baked Ham Steak with Pineapple by Diane Watkins

Are you often rushed in the evenings? Finding it hard to get dinner on the table and still have time for the important things in life? A few easy quick dinner recipe ideas, combined with a little planning will make cooking dinner a pleasure again.

Look for recipes that are simple-with minimum preparation, then let your oven or slow cooker do the work. This recipe features an easy preparation, then cooks quickly in only 20 minutes in the oven while you fix a salad and warm some dinner rolls. Baked Ham Steak with Pineapple is a quick dinner recipe than can help solve tonight's dinner crisis.

You will find these pre-sliced ham steaks vacuum packed in the meat department of your grocery. Sizes range from 1 to 2 pounds. This recipe calls for 1 1/2 pound, but choose a steak that will serve your family. If it is much smaller, then cook for a little less time. This serves 4 generously.

Quick Dinner Recipe: Baked Ham Steak with Pineapple

1 1/2 pound ham steak
1 can pineapple rings
brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Trim off or slice through the fat on the edge of the ham in several places to prevent curling in the pan.
3. Place the ham steak in a shallow ovenproof pan and place the pineapple slices on top. Pour the pineapple juice over all.
4. Place the ham steak in the oven and bake for 20 minutes (uncovered).
5. After 20 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven up to broil.
6. Baste the ham with the pan juices. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the pineapple slices and dust with cinnamon.
7. Return to oven and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the pineapple is lightly browned. Serve each ham steak with a pineapple slice.

Serve with a tossed salad and dinner rolls for an easy quick dinner recipe solution. I hope that this menu will find its way onto your table soon.

Do you need more healthy quick dinner recipe ideas complete with menu suggestions and shopping lists? Join our newsletter list for more healthy quick dinner recipe ideas like this one at Quick Dinner Recipe Ideas From Easy Southern Cooking.

Diane Watkins is a busy cook, teacher, and mother. She enjoys cooking and writing about cooking at Easy Southern Cooking.

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How One Can BBQ Safely

How One Can BBQ SafelyHow One Can BBQ Safely  by Jasmine Stone

When it comes to barbecuing, what could be more fun than whipping up sumptuous food on the grill in the company of family and friends? The thing of course is finding the right place for grilling and barbecuing. One favorite spot among true barbecue aficionados would be their very own backyard or outdoor kitchen with their own brick barbecue pit. Actually, any outdoor area is a potential spot for a barbecue but truth be known, the best places for a barbecue are the safest ones.

Choose a location for your BBQ grill that is away from trees, leaves, brush and overhanging limbs. Do not setup your gill in a high traffic area where someone may accidentally brush up against the hot grill.

When barbecuing in your backyard, be sure that you're 5 to 10 feet away from your house or any material that can potentially catch fire. Also, be sure the grill is stable and is away from children or pets that may bump into it. It would also be a good idea to have a water supply nearby like a garden hose.

If you live in an apartment building with a balcony or rooftop or any other outdoor space, be sure to consult with your building administrator (or in some instances, your local fire department) regarding specific restrictions. Generally, using charcoal and gas grills indoors or anywhere above the first storey is prohibited so you may want to consider electric grills instead for your barbecuing efforts.

Another great place to barbecue is in a campsite. Camping is such an exciting way to experience the great outdoors and barbecuing food over a campfire is definitely one of those practical yet cozy things you can do. Just be sure that you are at least 15 feet away from your tent and other camping gears.

Protect yourself by using the correct BBQ utensils such as oven mitts, thongs and a good spatula. Avoid wearing loose clothing while near the grill.

Always leave the lid to a gas grill open when lighting the fire so the gas does not build up under the cover. If the fire does not initially start, turn off the gas, leave the lid open and wait for at lest five minutes before trying again.

It is always a good idea to give your grill a checkup before using for the first time of the season and always store your tanks outside in a upright position where the temperature will never go over 125 degrees.

Of course, it's not just the atmosphere of being outdoors that can make a barbecue fun and special. It's also in the delicious barbecue dishes that you share with your loved ones. To make it all the more special, try a variety of BBQ rubs, marinades, salsas and BBQ sauce to capture the true taste of great outdoor barbecuing.

Learn about pear nutrition and pear wine at the Types Of Pears site.

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Dinner Recipes

Dinner Recipes  by David Urmann

Cooking can be fun if creativity is involved in it. Everyone wants to try new recipes which are great in taste and less time consuming. Some people are very conscious about their health and try some low crab recipes befitting to their daily diet whereas some very busy people want quick dinner recipes or crock pot recipes which can be done within minutes without compromising for the taste. In today's busy world where people have to give the best shot in the office hardly find time to spend on cooking. Both parents in the family have to work and meet the needs and demand of their children as well as to cope up with the price rise.

For such people quick dinner recipes are of great help. You can take the help of internet and search online the recipes which require less time. There are many website full of new recipes for you to try and enjoy. These websites will help with new ideas and techniques which can be used effectively for making dinner quickly. It is the advantage of some site that the recipes they are offering are able to provide without any charge. They tell you the time saving tips and the things you can do ahead to make dinner time quick and simple. In this way taking the help of such website will definitely prove beneficial for many who want to make their life easy and saving time by trying some of the recipes given in the website.

Evening is the time when all the family members are together and that is why dinner is considered as the main meal of the day where it is expected to have plenty of options, variety and flavor and so preparing dinner can be a herculean task, spending hours together in the kitchen. Even this task can be made easy if certain things are taken into account: -

The best idea to make sure the meal prepared is tasty and fresh is to going for meal planning. Planning for the upcoming meal will keep you away from the hassles. Proper planning and buying all the ingredients required in advance for the coming week will make the task easy and you get along well even after a long hard and tiring day.
You will be sure of what to make in the dinner and will avoid one more visit to a local fast food joint.

Every family member has their choice and demand and wants to have the same for the dinner. To handle such situation try to find out through an informal poll and include at least one favorite in the entire meal. It will not have unsatisfied eaters at the dinner table. In addition to the meal planning you can surf through those hundreds of websites that offer satisfying dinner recipes. The recipes you might think are time consuming these sites would give some amazing shortcut to cut short the required time for any recipe. Isn't it wonderful to have new twist on pork, beef and fish dishes along with countless number of chicken dishes.

Whether you are trying to make quick dinner or those which will reduce the fats but don't forget to give them the balanced diet essential for their growth and development.

Looking for more information on Dinner Recipes check out www.EASYDINNERRECIPES.NET your guide to Dinner Recipes.

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What Are The Best Workout Routines For Toning?

What Are The Best Workout Routines For Toning? by Bretislav Slansky

Today I have decided to share with you my favorite workout routines for toning your body. These exercises will not only tone your body , make your stomach flat or increase your muscle strength. Together with some specific exercise tips, you will improve your wellness as well.


Many people are always on the lookout for the Best Workout Routines for Toning>. It does not matter if the person is new to exercising or if they have been doing it for many years. Everyone knows that lifting weight is the # 1 best way of all to tone your body. However, just simply lifting weights is not all there is to it. Toning your body consists of how you lift the weights, and for how long you can lift them. It requires a very determined mind as well as some physical strength. It is the fastest way possible to tone your body. You want to tone your abdomen, thighs, biceps, and your shoulders and arms.

Swimming would rank as the 2nd best and fastest way to tone your body. It takes every muscle in your body to swim. So by swimming a certain amount of time every day will help tone those muscles. With our busy live today we forget to exercise or just simply do not have the time. Many people say that they are too tired after working all day to do any type of exercising. However, after a hard day's work there is nothing as refreshing as a little time in the pool.

Pilates routine workouts do work, and they have been found effective in reducing lower back pain and they help firm up fast. Many of these workouts are the same routines that we did from gym class back in school and are still so effective that they are still around today.

Yoga is another form of exercise that is good for all fitness levels. It helps you learn the discipline that need to be able to lift weights the way you should for toning your body.

Exercising Equipment

There are numerous types and styles of exercise equipment on the market today, at very reasonable prices. All of them have guides and offer tips to tone certain parts of your body. They will also help you lose unwanted pounds and turn those pounds into very fit and trimmed muscles. Some exercising equipment is much better than others, as they implement more of a variety to exercise toning.

Daily exercising adds years to your life, but it also builds the small muscles that you have into larger, tightened up muscles that make you look and feel great.


You will also need the nutrients that can only come from eating a healthy well balanced diet. Amino acids are a very large part of a great diet. They are the protein that we need. Carbohydrates and low fat, low calorie diets are great aids in keeping toned. Do not forget to take plenty of fiber content for speeding up your metabolism.

Do's and Don'ts of Above Described Workout Routines For Toning

If you are new at toning your body, you should always exercise everyday without fail. However, just beginning you need to set a limit for your tuning sessions. If you try to do too much at one time, not only will you be sore the next day, but it makes you tend to not do the toning exercises at all later on.

Don't get stuck in a rut, if you need a change of exercise, to keep you from getting bored, simply find different ones that will do the same amount of good.

Here is the best equipment that will help you get in shape and stay in shape. Check out this website hSchwinn Exercise Bikes which gives you some reviews about Schwinn exercise bike and how they work.

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Fast, Festive Summer Meals

Fast, Festive Summer MealsFast, Festive Summer Meals by Mimi Doe

It's summertime and the living should be easier - at least in the kitchen. Nature gives us everything we need to create simple, luscious, healthy meals -- it's up to us to slow down long enough to enjoy the bounty. With extended daylight hours, and no need to nag our children about homework, dinnertime can take on a whole new tone.

Shake things up a little bit this summer and have fun with these simple dinner ideas. Even the pickiest eaters will be won over.

*Picasso in the Kitchen
Allow the vivid colors of summer fruits to become your palette. Grab a large white plate or pretty tray and arrange slices of watermelon, kiwi, peaches, mango, grapes, and strawberries. This beautiful arrangement can become your table's centerpiece. Add a few bowls of various yogurts around the table and your hungry brood can dip to their delight. Warm a loaf of crispy French bread, wrap it in a festive cloth and add it to the table. Arrange some sliced cheeses and smoked or roasted turkey slices (pick these up at the deli counter) and you've got an easy does it, display that's good enough to eat.

*Participation is Key
Less structured summer days give kids the opportunity to join in meal prep. When kids cut the carrots chances are they will eat the carrots. You might even assign your older kids a specific night to select and prepare the menu -- with you as their sous chef. Offer them a few ideas such as "breakfast for dinner" or "mac and cheese night." The new social networking site for moms,, recently posted an easy, tried and true Mac and Cheese recipe:

Boil 8 oz. small pasta. Drain, then stir in 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar OR 8 oz. American cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle more cheese on top. Bake at 350˙ until heated through. Easy and yummy and plain!!!

You will want to help with boiling the pasta but other than that it's a cinch for kids about 8 years and older. To make this recipe even healthier, throw some peas (frozen or fresh) into the boiling pasta for the last few minutes of cooking time.

*Picnics Inside
Even if it's raining outside think "picnic." Who said a picnic needs to be under the sky? Pitch a pup tent in the living room or use paper plates in the dining room - the idea is simplicity and a lighthearted approach to mealtime. Buy a precooked roasted chicken from your local supermarket. You can often find organic, barbequed, or even provincial chickens for under $10.00. Assemble a large salad from the salad bar or buy a Caesar salad in a bag. Finally, pick up a container of vanilla frozen yogurt and some chocolate chip cookies. When you get home all you'll need to do is cut up the chicken, add it to the Caesar salad and scoop some frozen yogurt between 2 cookies, wrap them in cellophane and freeze for dessert.

*Partner Up
Create a weekly summer pot luck dinner gathering with neighbors. Harkening back to those beach days where everyone contributed to joint family dinners, enlist your neighbors to join you in creating the ultimate summer easy potluck, one night a week. Your kids will love the cooperative feel where gathering together is what counts. Get out a picnic bench, paper tablecloths, and come up with simple contributions from participating families.

*Protein Power
The combination of fat, protein and fiber in peanut butter makes it hard to break down, so it lasts longer in our systems - providing us more energy. A perfect, protein packed, summer dinner kids adore is Spicy Peanut Noodles. It's served chilled or at room temperature so this is a great dish to make in the morning before the day begins. Edamame is also packed with protein punch and would make a great accompaniment to these noodles. You can buy them in the freezer section of your local grocer for ultimate ease.

Spicy Peanut Noodles
Whisk together:
- 4 Tablespoons each creamy peanut butter (organic if available) and low-sodium soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes
Toss with:
- 4 Cups of cooked pasta (spaghetti holds the sauce well)
- A seeded, sliced cucumber
- Top with a few sliced scallions

- Grated ginger and/or garlic
- Chopped fresh cilantro

Mimi Doe is the Chair of the Board of Advisors. She is a national parenting expert and the award-winning author of "Busy but Balanced" (St. Martin's Press).

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Dessert Recipes - With Vegetables Please

Dessert Recipes - With Vegetables PleaseDessert Recipes - With Vegetables Please by Jill Seader

In our effort to get healthier, eat better, and watch our waistline, we often take drastic measures like cutting all sweets out of our diet. And those diets rarely last because we feel deprived. So rather than going completely drastic, here is a question I ask you to consider: Why not try small changes that you can live with? So instead of cutting all sweets out of your diet, why not replace the typical sweets you eat with a dessert that is healthier and that you can feel good about? And what tastier way to help you get that daily intake of veggies than through dessert? Here are a couple of recipes to help you in your urge to get healthy but not feel deprived.

Zucchini Crisp
5 cups sliced zucchini, peeled and seeded
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup water

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook the mixture until it starts to boil. Then boil the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Put the mixture in an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, brown sugar, and baking powder. Mix well. Cut the flour into the mixture and combine until it is crumbly. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the zucchini mixture. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes.

Avocado Pie
1 (3-ounce) package lime or lemon-lime jello
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can (8-ounce) crushed pineapple
1 medium avocado
1 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 package (3-ounce) cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream
9-inch graham cracker pie crust

In a large bowl, put the jello, salt, and boiling water. Stir the mixture until the jello is dissolved. Drain the pineapple juice into a measuring cup. Add the lime juice to it. Add enough cold water to make the mixture equal 3/4 cup. Add this mixture to the jello mixture. Put the jello mixture in the refrigerator until it is very thick. While that is cooling, peel and half the avocado. Cut up half of the avocado into small pieces. In a small bowl, mash the other half of the avocado until it is smooth. Add the cream cheese to the mashed avocado and mix until well blended. Add the cream cheese mixture, avocado pieces, pineapple, and whipped cream to the jello mixture. Mix well and put into the pie crust. Refrigerate until the mixture is firm.

With a passion for baking and story telling, Jill Seader shares baking recipes and stories at Come enjoy the stories and recipes or get some recipe scrapbooking supplies to create your own baking story. Happy Baking!

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The Perfect Sausage Recipe

The Perfect Sausage Recipe  by Adam Marianski

Well, stop looking, it does not exist. The good news is that you can make the perfect sausage yourself every time as long as you obey the basic rules of sausage making. There are millions of sausage recipes floating for free on the Internet and your own creation will be as good or better. How do you know which ones are good? Do you think the professional sausage makers have time to play with recipes on the Internet? Many of these recipes are compiled by people who make a living off the Internet and they are college students, housewives, journalists and others.

The easiest sausage to make is a fresh sausage which will be cooked on a frying pan, barbecued or grilled. Basically you are making a hamburger which will become a sausage once it is stuffed inside of the hog casing. Making smoked sausages requires more knowledge and here you have to observe your smoking and cooking temperatures. Fermented (air-dried) types are harder still and you have to worry about relative humidity.

1. First ask yourself what would you like to have inside of your sausage: pork, beef, chicken, garlic, oregano, paprika etc. If you make a sausage for yourself or your family you don't need any recipes; think of preparing a family meal that everybody will like.

2. Keep it simple. Meat has its own beautiful flavor so don't kill it with unnecessary spices. Many people add only salt when making a ham, saying that even pepper distorts the flavor. Polish Smoked Sausage is made of pork, salt, pepper and garlic (optional marjoram) yet most recipes include dozens of unnecessary ingredients and spices.

3. You can use any type of meat or meat combinations. Just remember that meats containing sinews, gristle and tendons will have to be ground twice with a small grinder plate otherwise they will get stuck in your teeth. For a home based sausage maker nothing beats pork butt; it has the right fat to lean meat proportion, it is inexpensive and its little bone is very easy to remove. A sausage needs about 30% fat so don't use only lean meats. Our commercially made fresh sausages contain up to 50% fat and our low calorie hot dogs can have up to 40% water and fat combined. Yes, we are paying dearly for water though it can not be seen. This magic is performed by a chemical called phosphate which traps and holds water inside.

4. Salt in most modern recipes remains at about 1.5% - 2%. Original sausages were made with preservation in mind and the salt content was higher, up to 3%. Air dried products like countryside ham contained even more salt which was needed to prevent the growth of bacteria. Anything over 3% will taste too salty. Weigh in your meat, multiply by 0.018 (1.8%) and you will get the perfect amount of salt (1.8%) that will be acceptable to everybody. Salt plays the most important role in your recipe as this is where you can ruin your sausage. Once it is too salty, the only remedy that remains is to soak it overnight in cold water (in a refrigerator).

5. Grinders. For thousands of years we have made sausages without grinders and certain classical sausages are still made by chopping meat with a knife (Polish Krakowska or Ham Sausage, Spanish Longaniza, Chorizo or Sobrasada). Don't pre-occupy yourself too much with grinder plates. 3/8" size will take care of most tasks, unless you want to make emulsified sausages like hot dogs or bologna which will require grinding meats at least twice through a 1/8" plate. Commercial processors use a meat cutter which is more effective.

6. Cold smoking was a method of meat drying for preservation and is seldom practiced today. Keep your hot smoke temperature at about 140º F (60º C) as you don't want to cook your meat. Remember that meats smoked at this temperature are not safe to eat and must be cooked.

7. Cook fresh sausages to 160º F (72º C) internal meat temperature. Smoked meats are normally cured with salt and sodium nitrite what provides additional safety and can be cooked to a slightly lower internal meat temperature of about 154º F - 160º F (68 - 72º C). They may may be poached in water at 176º F (80º C) or baked in an oven at the lowest temperature setting (below 190º F, 88º C) until desired internal meat temperature is obtained. Smoking or cooking sausages at too high temperatures will melt the fat inside, they will taste like bread crumbs and will be greasy on the outside. Remember, smoking meats is an art that is different from barbecuing or grilling.

Adam Marianski has co-authored two books on meat smoking and making sausages. He runs the web site Wedliny Domowe where you can find more about making quality meats at home.

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How To Get Those Six Pack Abs

How To Get Those Six Pack Abs  by John Campbell

Everyone wants to have those sleek, sexy, six pack abs. Rock hard, rippling abdominal muscles are the best way to communicate to others that you are fit, healthy and on top of your game. The key to getting those six pack abs is through rigorous training and eating healthy.

You can do crunches and sit ups until you are blue in the face, but if you don't eat right and watch your weight, you will never have six pack abs. You have to lower your overall body mass if you want the muscles to show through. Chances are you already have a lot more definition than you know, you just can't see it through the layers of fat that rest on top of them. So start with cutting calories and eating a healthier diet. Focus on foods that are high in protein (this is necessary in order to build new muscle) and low in fats. Lean meats are especially important.

The exercises that you do when you are trying to get definition in any muscle group are the most important thing you can do, second only to your diet. Try doing full body lifts like barbell squats and deadlifts. The reason that these work for stomach definition is because you are engaging your entire core when you do them. You have to tense all of the muscles in your abdomen, back and upper leg regions in order to get enough strength to lift the weights.

Start training your abdominal muscles by doing crunches, reverse crunches and hanging leg raises about 3 to 4 days per week. You can see demonstrations of these exercises online if you search for them in the search engines. Proper technique is important if you want toned and defined muscles so make sure that you are doing them properly.

When you are doing abdominal muscle exercises, make sure you are maintaining proper form. Keep your body in a straight line, knees hip width apart and focus on breathing in and out in a rhythmic pattern.

The muscles on the front of your stomach are not the only ones that need attention if you are going to have defined, six pack abs. Your obliques, which are the muscles that run up and down the side of your trunk also need to get a hefty work out. You can do this by performing side bends and oblique crunches. Oblique crunches are best performed on an exercise ball. If you don't have one of these at home, consider purchasing one. It will be well worth the investment in order to get the look you are after.

Cardiovascular exercise is also important for losing the weight in order to see the definition in your abs. Make sure that you are getting this exercise at least 2 days per week. Go for a run or do aerobics to get your heart rate up and keep it going for thirty minutes or more.

Anyone can have six pack abs if you are dedicated to it and train your body properly. If you follow the advice here, you'll be well on your way to the sexy body you are dreaming of.

Learn the essentials of effective, time saving muscle building in my free report here: Muscle Building Action Plan. You are invited to visit Bodybuilding Success Guide. Our mission is to provide useful pearls of wisdom for the enhancement of family life,health and strenght and the elimination of debt. We have e-books, books, articles many of which are FREE.

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Free Bread Machine Bread Recipes

Free Bread Machine Bread RecipesFree Bread Machine Bread Recipes by Robin OBrien

There are many free bread machine recipes available online, so don't go out a spend money on books - instead, spend the money on delicious ingredients. Here are some mouth watering bread recipes to get you started.

There are literally thousands of bread machine bread recipes that are free and readily available online from both home cooking websites and bread making forums. You can find not only unusual and delicious recipes; you will also get advice on how to get the best out of your bread machine so you get perfect loaves of bread every time.

Easy Sourdough Bread

If you love sourdough bread but don't relish the idea of the effort involved in making it, you can try this easy sourdough bread recipe.

Ingredients - this will make a 1.5lb loaf

1/2 cup of plain, nonfat yogurt
2/3 cup water (room temperature)
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon softened butter (margarine can be used instead)
3.25 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1.5 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons regular active dry yeast


Never use the delay bake option with this recipe. Put all the other ingredients into the bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the French bread cycle.

Apple Oatmeal and Raisin Bread

This is a delicious, sweet and moist bread; perfect for children and adults alike.

Ingredients - this will make a 1.5lb loaf

1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
5/8 cup of water
1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce
2 3/4 cups of bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons of nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter (margarine can be used instead)
1/2 cup of raisins
2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast


Put all the other ingredients into the bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the basic bread cycle with the light crust option and press start. After baking, leave the loaf to cool for at least one hour.

Carrot and Thyme Bread

This is a moist multi-grain and versatile bread that goes with fruit or vegetable salad or pulse soups.

Ingredients - this will make a 1.5lb loaf

2 1/4 cups of bread flour
1 cup of rye flour
1/2 cup of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried thyme
2 cups of freshly grated carrots
1 cup of water (some bread machines may require a little more)
2 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast


Put all the other ingredients into the bread pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select the basic bread cycle and press start. After baking, leave the loaf to cool.

All of the above recipes are not only flavorful; they are full of fiber and vitamins. Preparation time is also minimal; grating the carrots for the above bread machine bread recipe is the part that requires any work at all. Other, equally delicious bread recipes for bread makers are available online.

Follow the links for more delicious bread machine recipes as well as bread machine reviews on leading brands like Oster, Breadman and the Cuisinart bread machine.

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The Ways Of Crock Pot Cooking

The Ways Of Crock Pot Cooking by Jillian Smith

When the weather outside warms up, the kitchen can be a terrible place to be. There are many things you can do however, when it comes to cooking a nice home made meal that doesn't require traditional stove top or oven cooking. Learn to utilize some of the lesser heat producing equipment in your kitchen, such as the crock pot, in order to truly beat the summer heat and keep your cool while preparing a nice hot meal for friends and family.

So, how does crock pot cooking really help beat the heat? Simply put, the crock pot in and of itself puts off far less heat when cooking than an oven or stove top. This is the first and possibly the best reason to utilize the crock pot in your summer meal planning. You should also consider the fact that by not heating the house by using your stove top or oven you are also preventing your air conditioning (or other cooling methods) from working overtime in order to compensate for the additional heat that other cooking methods introduce.

This makes crock pot cooking a win-win situation as the costs involved in operating a crock pot are far less than the costs involved in operating a stove or oven in general. Whether electric or gas, your stove and oven are often serious energy hogs. Add to that the fact that you are not raising the temperature in your home by traditional means of cooking and you are using even less electricity.

Unfortunately for most, the general consensus has been that crock pots were meant for comfort foods and hearty winter meals. The truth is that the crock pot should be one of your best loved and most often utilized cooking methods if you can manage it. When it comes to cooking with a crock pot, the options are almost limitless. Almost anything that can be baked can be made in the crock pot and many, many more wonderful and enticing meals and treats as well.

Benefits of Crock Pot Cooking In addition to the cost benefits mentioned above when it comes to crock pot cooking there are many other benefits that are well worth mentioning. First of all, the bulk of the work involved in crock pot cooking takes place early in the day when you are refreshed rather than at the end of a hectic work or play day. This means that you are less likely to forget an ingredient or make other mistakes that often occur as we hurriedly prepare a dinner when we are exhausted from the activities of our day.

Second, many great crock pot recipes include the vegetables that insure we are getting the nutrients we need. So often, when preparing a meal at the last minute, vegetables and other side dishes are left out in favor of expedience. Crock pot cooking in many instances is a meal in one dish.

Another great reason to use a crock pot for your summertime cooking is the ease of clean up. Unlike pots and pans, most crock pot meals are made in one dish. This means that there will not be mountains of dishes to be either hand washed or loaded into the dishwasher (or if you are like me-both) afterwards. You can spend less time cleaning just as you spent less time slaving over a hot stove. Oh wait! Make that no time slaving over a hot stove. Once clean up is complete you can get back to enjoying the sun set, chasing the lightening bugs with your little ones, or waiting for the first star.

While there will never be a one size fits all best cooking method, crock pot cooking comes very close. If you have a crock pot collecting dust somewhere in the back of your pantry it is time to get it out, dust if off, and dig up some great summertime crock pot cooking recipes.

Read about cooking for large groups and french cooking terms at the Easy Home Cooking website.

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