Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 
from The Cooker's Blog

Friday, November 13, 2009

Carving Turkey, Step by Step

Carving Turkey, Step by Step
By: Noel Christmas

Take the mystery out of carving that bird.

Carving a turkey can make even the most accomplished home cooks nervous.

1. First of all, don't get bogged down by trying to carve tableside. Though a common tradition in many families, it's perfectly fine to carve the turkey in the kitchen and bring the arranged platter to the table. This especially holds true if you're a novice at carving.

The Tools

* Use a carving knife or a chef's knife. The longer the knife, the better it will work, as a long, smooth slicing motion will make for better slices.
* We used a long carving knife with oval indentations along the blade to reduce friction.
* Be sure to let the turkey rest for at least 25 minutes before slicing: this helps the juices redistribute through the meat, making for a better-tasting turkey. (It also makes it easier to carve.)

2. Remove the drumsticks and thighs. Start by pulling a drumstick away from the bird and using the knife to disconnect the thigh bone from the body. Set it aside to carve later, and remove the second drumstick.

3. Remove the wings in the same fashion to fully expose the breast for carving. The wings on modern, commercial birds contain very little meat, so they're often used mainly for presentation on the platter.

4. To carve the bird, make sure it's lying on its back, breast-side up. Begin with a long horizontal cut at the base of the breast. You might be able to feel where the breast meat ends and the bone begins--cut as close to that area as you can.

5. Begin slicing the breast from the top down, working at a slight angle to cut away from the carcass. The horizontal cut at the bottom provides a convenient stopping point, making it easy to finish each cut. Transfer slices to a warmed serving platter.

6. To carve a drumstick, hold one end and slice off one side. Lay it flat on the cutting board and continue carving. Slice each side, turning the drumstick a quarter turn until you've removed all the meat.

7. Place the thigh on the cutting board and begin slicing parallel to the thigh bone. Cut into even strips.

8. Arrange the rest of the meat onto the warmed platter and serve.

Download this 4x6 Card at

This free printable was made with digital graphics
courtesy of Kay eflin @ e-scape & scrap.

Give Thanks by Kay Eflin @ e-scapeandscrap

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chilli Shrimp Marinara

Jar marinara sauce
1/2 cup water
1 large fresh chilli or chilli paste, or sauce
20 uncooked medium shrimp (peeled)
2 Tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley
Seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, basil
whole wheat pasta

1 Combine one jar of marinara sauce, 1/2 cup of water and 1 large fresh chilli in a large frying pan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.
2 Add 20 uncooked medium shrimp (peeled with tails intact or removed) and spread out in a single layer.
Cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 5 minutes, or until shrimp curl and change colour.
3 Stir through 2 Tbsp of chopped flat leaf parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper, oregano,
basil, etc then serve over whole wheat pasta.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Cooker's Blog Word Search

Healthy Halloween Recipe Series

Download the Set of Four Cards Here

We hope you really enjoy our Healthy Halloween Recipe Series:
A fun and healthy break from Halloween sweets.

Each card has two snacks on it. Share your thoughts or other ideas with us!
What was your kids favorites?
Visit HERE for our 'Googly Moogly' Bragbook pages, also 4x6.
You can use them to make your own recipe cards!

This week we served up:

Edible Eyeballs

Pizza Mummies
Apple Bites
Tombstone Eggs
Carrot Fingers
Ghost Toasts
Eerie Eyeballs

These cards were made with graphics from Googly Moogly
courtesy of Saxon Holt & Tracey Monette
available at Scrapbook

Friday, October 23, 2009

Healthy Halloween: Lunchtime Laughter

Download Here

Healthy Halloween: Lunchtime Laughter
Fun and healthy break from Halloween sweets.

Edible Eyeballs
Cream cheese
Black olives

Slice carrots into 1-inch-thick chunks, top each with a blob of cream cheese and one half of a pitted black olive.

Pizza Mummies
English muffins or Mini Bagels
Tomato sauce
Black olives
Red or green pepper or green olives
Part Skim Mozzerella Cheese or
pulled-apart cheese stick

Lightly toast the muffins or bagels in toaster oven. Spoon on sauce and set olive slices in place for eyes and add round slices of green onion or bits of red or green pepper or green olives for pupils. Lay strips of cheese across the muffin for the mummy's wrappings. Broil for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the muffin is toasty.

This card was made with graphics from Googly Moogly
courtesy of Saxon Holt & Tracey Monette
available at Scrapbook

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Healthy Halloween: Haunted Breakfast

Download Here

Healthy Halloween: Haunted Breakfast
Fun and healthy break from Halloween sweets.

Eerie Eyeballs
For Two Eyes:
2 Apple rings
1 Dried Apricot
1 Raisin

For each pair of eyes, gently flatten two dried apple rings with the palm of your hand. Slice a dried apricot through the middle so that you end up with two circular halves. Press a half, sticky side down, onto the center of an apple ring, covering the hole. For pupils, use kitchen scissors to cut a raisin in two, and press the halves, sticky side down, onto the apricots.

Ghost Toasts
White Bread (1 slice per ghost)
Whipped cream cheese

For each, toast a slice of white bread and then cut a ghost shape from it. You can do this freehand using a knife, or you can use a gingerbread-girl cookie cutter. When the cutouts have cooled, spread on a generous coating of whipped cream cheese. For eyes and mouths, add raisins.

Here's Mine: I cut the ghosts out of the bread first and then toasted them. My daughter doesn't love cream cheese so I used 'Smart Balance'. she really enjoyed the surprise this morning!

This card was made with graphics from Googly Moogly
courtesy of Saxon Holt & Tracey Monette
available at Scrapbook

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Healthy Halloween: 'Finger' Foods

Download Here

Carrot-Finger Food

Vegetable dip
5 baby carrots
softened cream cheese

Cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot.
Put a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to 'glue' a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch.
Serve with extra baby carrots, black olives, bell peppers, etc for dipping.

Cheese-Finger Food
Mozzarella string cheese
Green bell pepper
Cream cheese

Wearing plastic gloves or sandwich bags over your hands to keep the cheese as smudge-free as possible, use a paring knife to cut each string in half and then carve a shallow area for a fingernail just below the rounded end of each half.

Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured.

For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it's about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.

Here's mine. I used Greek Cucumber Garlic Dip.

I sort of laid them back a bit since my dip wasn't plaster thick.

This card was made with graphics from Googly Moogly
courtesy of Saxon Holt & Tracey Monette
available at Scrapbook

Healthy Halloween Treats: Apple Bites & Tombstone Eggs

Apple Bites & Tombstone Eggs
Fun and healthy break from Halloween sweets.

• Apples
• Slivered almonds

Quarter and core an apple, cut a wedge from the skin side of each quarter
Press slivered almonds in place for teeth.
If not serving right away, baste the apples with orange juice to keep from browning.

• Hardboiled Eggs, cooled and shelled
• Black Olives

To make the boiled-egg ghosts, cut slits and insert black-olive facial features.

Print this FREE 4x6 Recipe QP
made with Saxon's Halloween Bundles, 1, 2 & 3

D/L here ;>

This card is made with graphics courtesy of Saxon Holt

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Treat Cups-n-Toppers

My Autumn Treat Cups-n-Toppers

Download these free, from my friends at The Nifty Boutique

These are so easy to do and are great for fall celebrations and parties.
Great for dried fruit and nut cups, cupcakes, muffins or whole fruit.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Bento Fun

Grape Tomatoes & Mushrooms,
Crackers & Hummus,
Cucumber 'flowers'.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Submit Your Seasonal Recipes

I am taking submissions for seasonal recipes.
Have your favorites turned into a printable recipe card.

I am looking for seasonal, easy and did I say 'easy'!

Please include a photo of the dish, or ingredient)s), IF you have one!

Email submissions to:
or post as a comment

Doritos belong in outer space. 35 Ingredients?

Which Favorite Snack has 35 Ingredients? - Doritos - Snack Snoop


Which Favorite Snack has 35 Ingredients?

There is a snack that earns Frito-Lay around $600 million a year. The multiple flavors of this chip and colors of the packages are incredibly enticing. With 35 ingredients, they are truly a food engineering miracle. We know them as Doritos.

What exactly is a Dorito? Some would say it is a "food-like" substance. Check out Micheal Pollan's book on the subject at the end of this post.

With upward of 35 ingredients, including such things as MSG and artificial colors, a Dorito is a manufacturing miracle. When you bite into one - are you really tasting food?

Try them up against some Cheese and Crackers or just Potato Chips. Perhaps your own taste test will lead you to the conclusion that Doritos belong in outer space.

The other big issue with Doritos is the serving size. In one package of Doritos, you get just over 2 ounces which is 310 calories.

One ounce (11 chips) is equal to 150 calories. Frito-Lay list one serving as 1 ounce on the package - but who can eat just half a package?

Check out this excellent book on "food-like substances":

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Lunch Note Promise

Make your promise today. | The new Lunchables

Lunch Note Promise: I'm not a fan of Lunchables, as you may have guessed; I make my own 'Bentos', but there are many kids that don't get a proper meal their whole day.

Kraft is running a promotion called "Lunch Notes Promise". For everyone who promises to write a note in their child's lunchbox, they will donate a meal to a child & their family in need through "Feeding America". I'm putting this one in Corinne's snack on Monday, won't you consider doing the same?

see the notes!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Angel Hair Pasta with Spicy Garden Vegetable Sauce

2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 Serrano peppers, chopped
4 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 8 ounce can or jar tomato sauce
4 ounces angel hair vermicelli pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. To a sauce pan, add olive oil, garlic, tomato sauce, tomatoes, peppers and basil.
2. Simmer over medium heat about 1/2 hour (longer for a fuller flavor)
3. Prepare pasta as directed.
4. Add drained noodles to a serving dish and pour sauce over the top.

Download this Recipe Card & and blank at

These cards were made with digital graphics courtesy of
Miki Ferkul @

Miki's Caliente

Feel the heat, feel the passion of "Caliente" by Microferk Designs!
Based on a palette of the colors you find in peppers and tomatoes,
it is a bold and striking kit that celebrates the heritage
of southern borders and so much more!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Garlic Shrimp

I love this recipe, I make it a lot and vary things each time. Just be sure to add a good amount of red pepper to give this otherwise fairly bland dish it's kick!

Other things I may add:

chopped sundried or fresh tomatoes
chopped artichoke hearts
hearts of palm
black olives

Garlic Shrimp

12 oz angel hair pasta
21⁄2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 lb peeled, deveined large shrimp, thawed if frozen
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1⁄4 tsp each salt and crushed red pepper
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1⁄3 cup chopped parsley

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook as package directs, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water before draining.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp of the butter and the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook over medium-low heat 30 seconds or until fragrant.

3. Add shrimp, lemon zest, salt and crushed red pepper; sauté over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes until shrimp is just cooked through.

4. Stir in lemon juice; remove from heat. Pour over drained pasta; add remaining ½ Tbsp butter, the parsley and about ½ cup of the cooking water (more if desired). Toss to mix and coat.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Korean Barbecue Tofu

I saw this recipe for Korean Barbecue Tofu by Emeril Lagasse on 'Emeril Green'.
I wanted to try it but his version was a bit complicated for me, so I simplified it down some. I made it twice now, as an appetizer. I made it even easier by using jarred minced garlic, jarred ginger and bottled lime juice.

It's a really forgiving and adjustable recipe, so make it however suits you. Here's my version, and that what's on the card, but Emeril's original is posted below.

My Version:

Korean Barbecue Tofu

1 pound extra firm tofu
Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
grated carrot
sliced scallion

To Taste:
Soy sauce
Hoisin sauce
Chili sauce
Lime juice
Minced garlic
Minced ginger
Sesame oil

Barbeque Sauce:
In a bowl, combine all the sauces, minced garlic, ginger and sesame oil.

Brush tofu with oil and place on preheated grill. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn over and brush with
the sauce. Grill for an additional five minutes. Remove from grill and slice into 1/2 inch slices.

Serve the tofu in the lettuce leaves. Garnish with grated carrot & sliced scallions.

Download this Recipe Card & and blank at

These cards were made with digital graphics courtesy of
Bernadette Hunt, Scrapdragon Designs @ e-scapeandscrap

This very gorgeous kit is called Land of the Morning Calm, depicts a beautiful land of lush greens and browns which shows a calm and peaceful way of life.

FREE GIFTS from Bernadette


Korean Barbecue Tofu
Recipe by Emeril Lagasse

1 pound extra firm tofu
½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 tablespoon Ponzu sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon hot sesame oil
1 tablespoon toasted white or black sesame seeds
1 ½ teaspoons Sambal sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
2 head Bibb lettuce, leaves separated
½ cup grated carrot
½ cup grated daikon radish
Kimchee, for serving


For the Barbeque sauce:
In a large bowl, combine soy sauce, rice vinegar, Ponzu sauce, lime juice, sugar, minced garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sesame seeds, Sambal sauce and fish sauce.

For the Tofu:
Brush tofu with oil and place on preheated grill. Grill for 5 minutes. Turn tofu over and brush with the Barbeque sauce. Continue to grill for an additional five minutes. Remove from the grill to a cutting board and slice into ½-inch thick slices.

Serve the tofu in the lettuce leaves. Garnish with grated carrot, grated daikon, and Kimchee.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Bento Crazy! Healthy and Easy School Snacks and Lunches

2 Tier Bento Box

Last year when Corinne was in Kindergarten I used this adroable Bento Sidecar for her daily snack.

Often people think you can't fit much in there , but I was able to pack most kinds of snacks with plenty of room. Some boxes are two tier, like this one. One is a little taller than the other, and they fit together or can be used seperately.

Using these containers saved us from a lot of 'disposable' waste. One day while visiting the class at snack time I saw the amount of garbage that was produced by the children's snacks. Juice boxes, returnable plastic bottles, lot's of individual chips packets, etc!

Inside I use silicone muffin cups. I cut the height down to fit the height of the bento. You can get silicone muffin cups at Michael's, Target, specialty cooking stores and I even got a few packs at the Target Dollar Spot last year! I fit three cups in each box. I filled the three cups with all kind of things for a healthy snack.

Some things that I serve are:

Grape Tomatoes
Black Olives
Green peppers cut up
Mayo Cup of Blue Cheese Dressing for dipping
Turkey Pepperoni
Roast Beef (cold cuts) Rolled up
Mini Hot Dogs w/ small party size potato rolls*
(Hillshire Farm or Nathan's Mini Little Smokies or Hot Dogs)
Balogna cut into small circles
Orange Slices
Kiwi Slices
Any kind of small cookie or cracker,
(I like Paul Newman's Chocolate Chip cookies)
Chocolate Kisses

*Corinne's Snack time is late in the day and the snack bags were not refrigerated.
She likes her dairy products very cold, like yogurt or cheese, so I serve snacks like that as after school snacks. Also the school had a no peanut rule so I did not use any nut products.

But there are so many things you can pack in a Bento. It's a great way to encourage kids to have the coolest (aka healthiest and most 'green') snack in the class!

Here are some cute Bentos and some good Bento Food Idea sites/blogs to get you going!