Sunday, April 3, 2011

Getting a Taste of Home

In my time as a home cook, I've tried a lot of recipes. As you all know, some turn out to be duds and others turn out to be keepers. One source for recipes that I know I can always count on is Taste of Home. Every Taste of Home recipe I've ever tried has been wonderful. Anytime I'm looking for something new, be it for a supper club night with friends, food day at work, or just a weeknight dinner, Taste of Home is always my go-to source. Today I want to sing the praises of The Taste of Home Cookbook, which is the best cookbook I own. It is fantastic is so many ways. It has information in it that is useful to any home cook. Some of the features that I have found useful are:

  • Guides for storing, preparing and using fruits and vegetables. I have found this very useful when buying new produce, or when I just want a refresher on how to prolong the life of say, raspberries.

  • Easy-to-follow instructive guides. This cookbook helped me make a beautiful lattice-topped pie on my first-ever attempt. Lots of pictures are included too, which is a great tool when you're not really sure if those egg whites have reached stiff peak stage yet.

  • References, glossary and indexes. To name just a few, included here are lists of ingredient substitutions, food equivalents and cuts of meat. Seriously, I can't be the only one who wants to know where on the cow that brisket came from.

Basically, this cookbook has pretty much anything the home cook could ever want to know. So much useful information and fantastic recipes. Below is one of my favorite recipes from the book. I love this recipe because it's quick, easy, healthy and flavorful.

Spaghetti Squash with Sweet Peppers courtesy Taste of Home Cookbook, 2006

1 medium spaghetti squash (2 pounds)

1/2 medium green pepper, sliced

1/2 medium sweet red pepper, sliced

4 medium fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium tomatoes, quartered (or you can use 1 14.5-oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

1) Cut squash in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash cut side down in a microwave-safe dish or plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Cool.

2) In a large nonstick skillet, saute the peppers, mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Add tomatoes and garlic; saute 4-5 minutes longer. Add the broth and salt; simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 minutes.

3) When squash is cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate strands. Place squash on a serving platter or individual plates; top with the pepper mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition facts: 1/2 equals 110 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 372 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein.

The pepper mixture in the skillet, before adding to the spaghetti squash.

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