Celebrate Memorial Day With Smoked Chicken
By Colleen Walsh Fong
Summer’s here! Well, not formally. The season officially begins with the summer solstice, which usually falls on June 21st. But Americans tend to use Memorial Day and Labor Day to bookend those lazy, hazy, crazy days.
Memorial Day honors soldiers who died during U.S. military service. Since 1971 it’s been observed on the last Monday in May as part of a 3-day holiday weekend. But it was originally celebrated on May 30th, 1868 to honor Civil War troops of both sides. Soldiers who died in all U.S. wars were included after World War I. During the 20th century it evolved further. People began using the occasion to remember nonmilitary loved ones by leaving flowers on their graves. Over the years a host of traditions for the holiday have developed, including parades, retail sale events, picnics and parties, and annual auto races including the Indianapolis 500. Today citizens mark the holiday by displaying the stars and stripes, wearing red poppies and decorating ancestral grave sites with flowers before beginning festivities.
Are you entertaining guests this Memorial Day? Or making a picnic to enjoy in the backyard, park or beach? If you’re in need of a main course idea, try making this grilled chicken recipe. Grill lots of it and use the leftovers for chicken salad the next day. I use applewood chips because their smoke infuses a rich bacon-y flavor into the meat. Since it’s intended to be served cold, go ahead and make the chicken up to 24 hours in advance and keep it cool until you’re ready to serve it. Smokin’ Chicken Drumsticks Ingredients
• 2 C Applewood Smoking Chips
• 24 Chicken Legs
• 2 Heads Garlic
, cloves smashed and peeled
• Salt and Pepper
• Extra Virgin Olive Oil
• Soy Sauce
• 18”-long piece of Aluminum Foil
• Grilling Basket
or rack, lightly greased with olive oil or olive oil spray Preparation
· Soak applewood chips for 30-60 minutes.
· Heat grill to highest heat. If using a gas grill with 2 burner controls, put both controls on high. If using traditional charcoal, mound coals over to one side of grill.
· Drain chips and wrap in foil, leaving a 1” opening in top of packet. Place foil packet on grill rack, over to one side and directly over hot coals.
· Pat chicken dry. Season with salt and pepper and brush lightly with soy sauce and oil.
· Spread garlic cloves over bottom of grilling basket. Lay chicken legs on top of garlic.
· When chips start smoking place basket on the opposite side of grill from chip packet. Turn off the heat on that side of gas grill.
· Grill chicken about 45 minutes. Check to be sure juices are clear. Skin should be deep brown in color and crispy to touch.
· Move the basket to a cooling trivet and rest the chicken for 30-40 minutes. It will be moist and very tender.
· Refrigerate chicken until cold and serve it when you are ready.
Got leftovers? Make chicken salad. Smokin’ Chicken Salad Ingredients
• Left-over Chicken Meat
, boned and minced
• 1 Scallion
per cup of meat, minced
• 1 Celery
stalk per cup of meat, minced
• Salt and Pepper
• ½ C Mayonnaise
per cup of meat
• ½ tsp Dijon Mustard
per cup of meat
• Pretzel Rolls Preparation
· Mix all dry ingredients.
· Mound mayonnaise on top of mixed ingredients.
· Fold mustard into mayonnaise, and then fold mayonnaise blend into dry ingredient mix.
· Spread on rolls and serve.
How do you plan to celebrate Memorial Day?
Image courtesy of piyato / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Do you like saving money on groceries? Here's an Easy
way to keep a few greenbacks in your pocket on grocery day. Buy store brand products.
Most store brands are actually made by the big name-brand producers of foods. Most of the cost savings come from inferior packaging with lower cost or less-extensive artwork. Shoppers who buy the name brand products are paying more for the pretty package.
Hard to believe? Do a little home-based blind taste testing. Buy both a store brand and a name brand package of a few food products, such as cereal, frozen vegetables, and saltine or snack crackers. Prepare both store brand and name brand products for serving, and ask family members or friends to taste them without letting them see which is which. Ask if they see or taste a difference. Or have a family member or friend serve them “blind” to you and see what you think.
When my kids were young we were on a tight budget. They wanted the store brand foods they saw on TV, but I knew I could save as much as 50¢ per box by buying the store brand. Especially when I bought the larger, economy size. So I kept every one happy by buying one box of name brand cereal. Once the cereal was eaten I refilled the box with store brand cereal, and continued this practice for years. They never caught on.
You may like the packages enough to pay extra for them. But for those readers who’d rather spend their money on other things, go for the store brands and you’ll enjoy your food just as well as if you bought the fancy name brands.
Happy shopping and happy savings!
Tweak an Asparagus Quiche for Quiche Lorraine Day!
If quiche could talk you may be surprised at the answer you would get by asking about its lineage. I’ve always thought of it as French, but in fact it’s German—kind of. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the noun “quiche” comes from the word “küche” in the German Alsace-Lorraine dialect, a shortened form of the German word for cake, which is “küchen.” The French region has previously been an independent duchy and control over parts of it have bounced between Germany and France in recent centuries. So, even though the word is of German derivation, depending upon the time in history quiche could be of either German or French origin.
Wherever it comes from, many agree it is delicious. The egg-based dish has many varieties, but Quiche Lorraine may be its most well known. A real French version will contain cubed bacon and a heavy custard base. In America we often tweak it by adding onions and cheese. That’s how I prefer to eat it. And since today is Quiche Lorraine Day I’m going to make the Pretty Parisian Pie found in both our College Student
and Moms on the Go books
, and pictured here. But I’m going to substitute the asparagus for crumbled bacon, et voilà! Quiche Lorraine Easy Weekly Meals
Try it! And bon appétit!
Armed Forces Day is May 18th
Armed Forces Day falls on May 18th. Hats off to the men and women of our military. Ever wonder what food we provide to the guys and gals in camo? Those of us who have never served probably don’t give this much thought. Prior to writing this article, my notion of military food came from two sources: my late, World-War-II-vet dad, who prohibited chipped beef from the family menu, and Bing Crosby eating seemingly well in movies like “White Christmas.” But the menu reality of many of our military men and women is just another example of the sacrifice they make for our welfare.
Most of our soldiers are fed what is called “the United States military ration.” Much of the military ration consists of prepackaged foods made for easy delivery and suitable for eating in the field. Military rations are made to last long and withstand a wide range of weather conditions so they can be safely stored until needed by our troops. Today we use what the military calls Meal, Ready-to-Eat, or MRE.
Our current MRE’s come in different varieties made to suit various purposes. The A-ration is cooked on-site or close by and is usually fresh food. B-Rations usually come in trays and are prepackaged and reheated at the serving site. Meal, Ready-to-Eat is pre-packed food served in the field, and the First Strike ration is prepackaged and designed to be eaten on the go.
Did you know we’ve been feeding our troops since before we were officially a nation? The Continental Congress instituted both the garrison and spirit rations, which were served from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American War. The garrison ration was food—proteins, bread, and vegetables. For preservation sake, the proteins were often salted and the “bread” was usually hardtack. If you’ve ever seen an example of hardtack you may agree that many soldiers were probably hard-pressed to chew it down to a point where it could be swallowed! Woe to the soldier with poor teeth! The spirit ration of rum, whiskey, or brandy kept spirits up and probably came in handy for soaking and softening hardtack, but it was changed to coffee and sugar in 1832. During the Civil War the consistency of food delivery was spotty for both rebel and union soldiers.
World War I military fare included distribution of the Iron Ration, which incorporated that era’s modern conveniences and came in the form of tin containers originally filled with a mixture of wheat and bouillon, and chocolate bars. Not terribly nutritious or delicious sounding. The Trench Ration served, as you might expect, to soldiers in the trenches sounds equally bleak: tin cans of a limited array of proteins, such as sardines, salmon, and corned beef. Both the weight of the packaging and the poor food selection became problematic as the war wore on. Small improvements were made via the Reserve Ration, which included coffee, tobacco, and broadened the protein variety a bit.
By the time we had men again in the field fighting the 2nd World War, the food had improved and included fresh, prepackaged, and canned foods. The quality of food that a soldier received depended upon his location, though. And while the local fresh food sources could be plentiful and tasty, the emergency ration began to result in vitamin deficiencies. After World War II canned food called C-rations remained standard for field forces until it was replaced with the current MRE ration in 1983.
All in all, military life can be tough on a foodie! As you plan your menu
for the night or the week, appreciate all of the options available to you, and give thanks to the members of our military whose culinary sacrifices are the least of those they make for us.
Wish a soldier, past or present, well on Armed Forces Day, tomorrow.
Imge courtesy of nuttakit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Quick Burger from Easy Weekly Meals.
103 hamburgers were consumed by one person in just 8 minutes! Twenty-three-year old Joey Chestnut set that world hamburger-eating record in 2007. That’s a lot of beef to eat in one sitting, even considering the burgers were of the slider variety. I like hamburgers as much as the next person, but one per meal is enough for me.
Wonder where hamburgers got their name, or where they come from? Your bet may be as good as the next person’s as to who invented the hamburger. Its origins are hotly contested, and claims range from medieval Mongolia, to Hamburg, Germany, to New York, Texas, Ohio, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. Some of the controversy resolves when a distinction is made between a hamburger sandwich and a hamburger steak. Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York carried hamburger steaks on its printed menu as early as 1837. Some say they were meant to attract German travelers who arrived from the port city of Hamburg where a minced meat steak was common fare. But the waters get murky when you add bread or buns into the mix, with many claiming to have made the first hamburger sandwich. Until someone is able to produce some definitive proof of creation, the hamburger sandwich’s origin will remain one of the unsolved mysteries of our day.
The classic hamburger is made with ground or minced beef and served on a bun with the condiments of the consumer’s choice. These can include mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and mushrooms, and the list goes on. They are commonly served with French fries. But some people prefer sides of potato salad, mac and cheese, or macaroni salad.
These days all manner of burgers are available as creative chefs put their personal twists on this old standard. Like Greek food? Make a gyros burger. Deli food? Make a Rueben burger. Have dietary restrictions? Make a turkey or veggie burger, or serve it sans bun as a naked burger. These sandwiches make the perfect 15-minute meal.
Check out our recipe photos
to see some of the easy burger recipes they contain.
If you love burgers—and who doesn’t?—put a smile on your face because it’s National Hamburger Week. To quote a noted seller of burgers, be sure to “have it your way!”
Deconstructed Fruit Cocktail with Bagel Sandwich by Easy Weekly Meals
When you think of having a cocktail, consider making it a fruit cocktail. You won't consume any alcohol, but you'll eat a nice distribution of fruits that should give your spirits a lift.
Today is National Fruit Cocktail Day. Even though it's often served directly from the can, I like my fruit cocktail fresh, like the one pictured in the breakfast photo here.
Bona fide fruit cocktail is supposed to be composed of a set mixture of fruits dictated by the USDA, including peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes, and cherries.
But if you are picky about your fruits, or have a special liking for melons, like me, make yours any way you like it. Have a healthy cocktail, and enjoy today's food holiday!
Do you have a family member who is graduating from high school, moving out of the dorms and into an apartment, or graduating from college? Or are you in that position? Then we've got a great deal for you!
Easy Weekly Meals for College Students has reduced its price to only $3.99 for graduation season. This touchscreen cookbook downloads to your phone, tablet, or ereader so it can go with you anywhere you go.
Why is portability important? Each of the 15 full weeks of food
contains a menu plan, grocery list, and the corresponding recipes for whole weeks of easy, delicious, and healthy meals that can be made really fast for busy people on the go. That means you can save a few trees by taking it to the grocery store. Once there, touch the screen to open the book. Tap the link to the week you're cooking and shop from your phone. Once back in your kitchen, tap the link to the recipe for that night and start to cook. Going on spring break, but traveling on a budget? Visiting friends at another school? You've got your grocery lists and recipes right with you wherever you carry your phone.
Do you get bored with eating the same food over and over again? Or don't want to waste time thinking up and looking up new recipes? No problem. We've done it for you, and we've made the food fun to make and fun to eat, with weekly themes relating to college life, like Orientation, Study Abroad, and Football Tailgate. An entire semester of menu planning, recipe search or creation, and getting it all down onto grocery lists is literally put into the palm of your hand. All for only $3.99! Plus, information about all of the cooking equipment and staples you need to stock a kitchen, our electronic glossary, and lots of information about how to get started cooking are right in the book!
Every cooking term in every recipe links to the glossary, so you only need to touch the term to find it's meaning, and touch it again to go back to your place in the recipe. And links to cooking technique demonstrations appear in the recipes, too, so a touch will take you to them, as well, when you're unsure how to execute a step in a recipe.
Remember, this pricing is only available through May 30, 2013, and then it goes back up to $5.99. Take advantage of it now. Ebooks make great gifts, and you can send one to anyone with an email address. And if you've got some friends who can benefit from a really low price for lots of great cooking assistance, let them know about it too!
How can you buy the book? Click the picture above, or click here
I admit it. I’m cheating on my true love. No! Not my husband, my chocolate. If you read our blog you know I am devoted to that substance—maybe even addicted to it. But today is Butterscotch Brownie Day and I can’t wait for dessert so I can savor a richly delicious square. I’m not even going to top it off with chocolate ice cream. Butterscotch Brownies are so good I would never drown out their taste that way.
The typical ingredients in Butterscotch Brownies are flour, brown sugar, baking powder, butter, and eggs. Some people assume that the flavor originated in Scotland, but Doncaster, Great Britain is considered by many to be the home of butterscotch. The flavor’s primary ingredients are brown sugar and butter. Some sort of syrup, either treacle or corn syrup, was traditionally used in addition to the brown sugar. There are a few theories about how butterscotch got its name. I favor the one that emphasizes the word “scotch” which refers to the “scotching” or cutting of butterscotch candies before they set.
If you’d like to make your own Butterscotch Brownies, an internet search will bring up scads of recipes you can use. Most are pretty similar. But if you’re in a hurry or on the run most bakeries carry them as stock items, and I can always find one at my local Starbucks.
Sometimes called Blondie Brownies, the butterscotch variety of brownies can contain flavored chips or chopped nuts, but may never
contain chocolate. And you know what? That’s okay with me, because their distinctive flavor stands on its own.
Photo Courtesy of www.kidspartyworld.com
Give Mom the Gift of Your Time For Mother’s Day
Did you know that as many as 86% of American moms feel unappreciated? Is there any chance that your mom may fall into that group? You may want to think through the number of times you’ve called or visited her in the past month as a guide to answering that question.
Many people give lovely Mother’s Day gifts of jewelry, clothing and even annual memberships to athletic clubs, spas, and gift-of-the-month clubs. Speaking as a mom it’s great to receive such little treats. So I fully endorse them as good Mother’s Day gifts. As long as you don’t use them as a substitute for what moms value most: a little quality time with our kids. The kind we went out of our ways to make for you in your salad days.
This Mother’s Day may be a perfect opportunity for you to spend some quality time pampering your mom with a few simple treats you can make from or for the kitchen. If your mom lives nearby, try one or all of the following to make mom’s day special. Make Mom a Mother’s Day Brunch
Give your mom a break by cooking her a satisfying and healthy meal. Brunches are nice because they offer the most flexibility in terms of menu, timing, budget, diet, and the chef’s proficiency level in the kitchen.
Pre-noon meals often focus on more traditional breakfast items, such as omelets, scrambled eggs, French toast, and waffles. Noon or post-noon meals can contain meatier fare. Some of my favorites are quiches, cold pasta salads, frittatas, and breakfast-lunch fusion dishes like chicken and waffles, and sausage and egg sandwiches. Both avocado and tomato halves make wonderful vessels for chicken, egg, ham, or fish salads. And they eliminate the need for breads, which is nice for those with gluten sensitivities. Find recipes for all of these dishes in our touchscreen cookbooks available by clicking the book icon to your right.
Whichever way you go, balance the meal with some lighter side dishes like fresh fruit or green salads. Strawberry-and-cucumber water makes a refreshing and healthy beverage, too. But be sure to serve mom her caffeine in the way of hot or iced coffees or teas if that’s what she likes best. Treat Her Tired Tootsies
Help soothe your mom’s aching arches with a hot tea soak. Brew some strong tea and pour it into a small tub. Let her soak her feet in it for 15-minutes. Gently towel her feet dry and then rinse with a light spray of water in her big tub. Relax Her Tense Facial Muscles
Make your mom a relaxing facial mask by mixing together:
· 1/4 C Plain Oatmeal, ground to a powder with a coffee grinder, food processor, or blender
· 1/8 C Baking Soda
· 2 tsp Honey
· Just enough Warm Water to make a paste
Apply the mask to her face, making sure to leave the areas around her eyes free of mask paste. Let it dry completely—about 10 minutes—and then rinse it off. Make Mom’s Closets and Drawers Scentsational
Use frilly ribbon to tie together stacks of 3 herbal tea bags to create easy aromatic sachets for your mom to use in her dresser drawers and closet. Celestial Seasons sells several flavors that work well for sachets, including cinnamon apple spice, honey vanilla, mint magic, and lemon zinger. They can be found in most supermarkets. Ease Her Access to Fresh Herbs
Fresh, live, potted herbs are available in many grocery produce sections. Pick up her most favorite, or 3 most favorite ones and put them into small decorative pots to give your mom her own indoor kitchen garden. Be sure to keep her counter top space in mind when deciding how many herbs to buy. Treats for Out of Town Moms
If your mom lives in another city or state consider surprising her with a Mother’s Day visit in person, if your budget allows.
Virtual visits are appreciated too! Depending upon mom’s technology cache, make a significant time allotment to chat with her via telephone, online chat, or Skype. And consider giving mom a coupon book like the kind you made her in kindergarten filled with coupons good for sweeping the floor, washing the dishes, and dusting the furniture. The kind she never redeemed because she wanted to keep the booklet intact. Create a virtual coupon for her book by setting a regular date on her electronic or paper calendar for monthly virtual visits. And then follow through!
Photo Credit: Image courtesy of digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Angelic Chicken from Easy Weekly Meals for Moms on the Go is loaded with nutrition! But if you need to eat gluten-free, make it using the suggestions on our Healthy Substitutions page under the Recipes tab.
The 22nd annual International No-Diet Day is today. Yea! I get to eat anything I want!
Not exactly. International No-Diet Day is part of the awareness campaign for eating disorders. It is intended to remind us that eating in a consistently healthy way, and avoiding fad diets, will keep our bodies looking and working their best. At Easy Weekly Meals
we define eating consistently healthy diets as eating regular, well-balanced and nutritional meals. Eating in this way is easier than ever today, as supermarket chains have responded to consumer demand for lower-fat and, antibiotic and hormone free, and grass-fed meats; expanded their grain sections to include a wide-range of options; created gluten-free sections; and expanded organic and green selections of produce and meats.
Our cookbooks give you weekly menu plans and corresponding grocery lists and recipes to keep your healthy eating on track. Our recipes generally avoid unhealthy saturated fats
and use a variety grains and fresh produce. They are quick and easy to make, use lots of different flavors and spices, and contain meals for virtually all the holidays and fun events the calendar contains. In a nutshell, we've done all of the research, thinking, and planning to allow users to make and eat healthy food by downloading an EWM book to a touchscreen device and tapping the screen to navigate to the appropriate week of meals.
Does using our books mean you can never eat out at your favorite greasy spoon with the best, high-fat fries in town? Or that you must avoid the gooey delight of a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream? NO! I treat myself when I choose and I don't worry about it because I eat a healthy diet on a consistent basis. So my body weight, dress size, or arterial system aren't altered significantly by occasional indulgences. But since I've committed to healthier foods, my body has come to crave their taste and the way they make me feel. Too much sugar or really heavy and fat-laden foods make me lethargic. (I still eat crispy fries at my favorite burger place anyway!) Our books are simply a tool to help busy people eat in a healthy--and low-cost--way most of the time.
The essence of International No-Diet Day is promoting healthy bodies and healthy self images. When we improve what we put into our mouths, we don't deny ourselves good food. We don't starve our bodies to get to a desired weight or dress size. We eat well and by doing so we keep our bodies and minds healthy. And if we've been in the habit of eating higher fat and less nutritious foods, we're likely to see the side benefit of some gradual weight loss, which of course is the healthiest way to do it!
Embrace International No-Diet Day and feed yourself and your families delicious, interesting, and healthy food for a healthy life.