Sunday, November 16, 2014

Take some help!

Good morning everyone!  I'm sorry I've not kept up with this lately, life has been hectic.  My jam business was invited to attend the Indy Cooking Expo, it was a wonderful time.  I loved that my husband would watch the booth so my son and I could sneak over to the presentation stage and watch the demonstrations.

I will admit that I was surprised to see a professional chef who was taking some help from the store.  I had this grandiose idea that a professional chef made everything homemade, wouldn't hear of shortcuts.  Yea, I realize now how ridiculous that sounds.  They're just like us.  Sometimes you need a little help.

One Executive Chef from a catering company suggested buying cornbread for the stuffing on Thanksgiving.  She said, and it makes sense, that the item will be transformed in the end so there was no reason not to make things a little easier on yourself on the holiday.  

Another, Chef Suzanne demonstrated a yummy pumpkin-black bean soup.  She said you could go to all the fuss of using fresh pumpkin but there was absolutely nothing wrong with using canned.  As long as it isn't pumpkin pie filling that is...LOL  This soup was fabulous.  I was so shocked when my husband tasted it (he generally does not like pumpkin) and loved it and asked me to make it for him.  The recipe is here.  

Speaking of my husband, when he makes chili, he's famous for taking a bit of help from the store.  After he browns the meat (sometimes it's beef, sometimes it's turkey or even ground chicken) he will add a full jar of Pace Picante sauce.  He makes sense here, it has spices and peppers and onions that are diced to the right consistency.  I hadn't thought of that before I met him but it works.

If you want to make a quick chicken pot pie, it can be done with leftover chicken, a small can of peas & carrots (or other mixed veggies), a small can of diced potatoes and even store bought pie dough.  It's fairly simple to put together with some thickened gravy.  I would always make the gravy homemade as it will thin out as it cooks.  I guess you could use a "cream of" soup without diluting it as well.

Something that a friend does that I found ingenious and we tried it and my family loved it.  She takes one cup of Apple Butter (I love that she uses mine!  LOL) and mixes it with 1/4 cup of Apple Cider Vinegar and pours it over top of a pork roast in the crock pot and lets it cook all day.  All the spices and apples already prepped for you in the Apple Butter gave it a wonderful flavor and it was not dry.  Seriously yummy.

So, don't be afraid to take some shortcut help when you're in a rush.  It beats popping by some drive thru somewhere in both taste and nutrition!  Ok, gotta run, I have a large English paper to write!  

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