It happens at least once a year — your favorite jarred tomato sauce goes on sale and you stock up — enough to feed an army sometimes. While nothing beats homemade sauce, sometimes the jarred varieties are a reliable substitute for quick weeknight dinners.
It’s certainly a must-have in the pantry, along with pasta and one of Melissa d’Arabian’s favorites — dried beans. But sometimes you can fall into a rut, using it the same ol’ way. Not anymore. Food Network Magazine has taken a household staple and provided 50 different ways to incorporate it into recipes like Spanish rice, minestrone soup and Italian meatloaf.
Looking for a way to liven up baked potatoes? Try Pizza Potatoes (No. 21). Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese melts.
Browse the photo gallery for more ideas
You know all those cookie-cutters that are a jumble at the bottom of your kitchen drawer? Well, reach way down and grab a handful because we’re going to put them to good use.
Cookie-cutters are great for transforming ordinary rolled-out cookies into fun shapes, but their usefulness goes way beyond the obvious. I use cookie-cutters for a wide variety of kitchen duties and whenever I let my kids cut their food into fun shapes, they’ll eat just about anything.
Here are five ways you can use cookie-cutters to make cooking and eating a whole lot more fun:
1. Hole Foods — Use a heart, star or any shape you prefer to cut the center out of sliced bread and make an egg in the hole (try Ree Drummond’s recipe). Last week my daughter had Egg in the Dog!
2. Pancake Zoo — Place a greased cookie-cutter in a saute pan over low heat and fill it with pancake batter. Use tongs to remove the hot cookie-cutter and gently flip the pancake until it’s cooked through. I like making a pancake zoo, using a variety of animal shapes.
Three more ways you can use cookie-cutters
My daughter played “What food am I?” in preschool the other day. When I came to pick her up, her teacher gave me an odd look. “What happened?” I asked. “All of the kids had to describe what kind of food they were today,” she began. “Most kids said apples, celery, oranges, hamburgers, tomatoes, etc., but your daughter told us she was a mix of quinoa and gooseberries…”
Good or bad? I wondered to myself. Probably some of both.
In my mind, that definitely tells me I’m going to be “that mom,” the one whose kid constantly feels embarrassed about. And “that mom” was originally my mom: the mom who dares to be different when, among other things, it comes to packing a school lunch.
My mother lovingly packed soggy, lopsided and sometimes grease-stained paper bags carrying oddball sandwiches or various leftovers from dinner.
Delicious? Totally. Awkward to eat? Totally. Not like any of the other kids’ lunches at a time when you did not dare to be different? Totally.
What was a classic lunch for me?
Sam Kass, a White House chef and Michelle Obama’s adviser for her Let’s Move! program, says that the White House is always stocked with fruit in case Sasha or Malia needs a bite. But Sam knows that kids don’t always come home from school begging fora healthy snack, so he offered up these smart swaps for some favorite after-school treats.
Instead of a candy bar, drizzle chocolate on pretzels or apples (pictured left).
Chop 1/2 pound dark chocolate. Microwave three quarters of the chocolate in 30-second intervals, stirring, until mostly melted. Stir in the remaining chocolate until smooth. Drizzle over mini pretzels or apple slices and let harden.
“There is no substitution for chocolate!” Sam says. “The key is moderation.”
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