Monday, January 2, 2012
Here are five easy steps to a healthier New Year.
Columnist Kelly Burgess is on vacation this week, so we decided to run last year's New Year column that appeared on Pine-Richland Patch because the advice is timeless. The New Year traditionally brings resolutions, and the most popular are to lose weight, improve health, spend more time with the family, get organized and save money. Getting more comfortable in the kitchen can help you achieve all five of these goals. 1. Lose weight. People who cook for themselves tend to make food with fewer calories than restaurant or packaged food. So, even if they don't actually eat less, the chances are they're ingesting fewer calories. 2. Improve health. Cooking for yourself allows you to control the ingredients and make healthy substitutions, such …
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Patch columnist Kelly Burgess' recipes are easy and delicious. Here, we offer 13 of the yummiest from 2011 — all made with ingredients easily obtained at local shops.
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
- AmyJo Brown
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Want to start cooking healthier this New Year? Or just want to freshen your recipe book? Patch columnist Kelly Burgess' weekly columns are devoted to preparing easy, healthy meals from scratch — but with the understanding that "from scratch" doesn't mean what it did when our grandmothers were cooking. Her recipes include helpers like canned, jarred, frozen and pre-cut and washed basics, making the recipes just as fast as ordering a pizza or hitting the drive-through, but the results so much better for you and your family. As for those who "can't" cook, the fact is that cooking is a skill, Burgess says. "You gain confidence and competence the more you practice," she wrote, in her very first column for Patch. "Cooking isn't brain surgery, …
Monday, December 26, 2011
Try these simple recipes for Beans, Greens and Sausage or Quick Onion Pot Roast.
Columnist Kelly Burgess is taking time off to enjoy the holidays, so we thought we would rerun her very first column, which debuted on Pine-Richland Patch on Christmas Eve of last year. Theories abound for why Americans are becoming obese at alarming rates — eating junk food, lack of exercise, too much sugar, and overeating are a few that come immediately to mind. My theory? People aren't cooking enough. And no, I'm not talking about nuking frozen meals, which usually have a long list of unpronounceable ingredients. I'm talking about cooking from scratch. Or at least near-scratch. This column is going to be devoted to preparing easy, healthy meals from scratch, but with the understanding that "from scratch" doesn't mean what it did when …
Monday, December 19, 2011
Pretty cheese wreath makes a great gift or family snack.
Got cookies? I know I do. And candy. And pastries. And fruitcake. And chocolate-covered anything-you-can-think-of. 'Tis the season to be overloaded with sweets and the closer it gets to Christmas, the more sugar shows up at your door. Not that I'm complaining or saying you should slam the door in the face of the next neighbor who comes over with a tray of gingerbread men. That would just be rude. What I am suggesting is that — because everyone else is handing out cookies, fudge and chocolate-covered pretzels — you do something different. That may be easy for me to say because, I must confess, I don't have a sweet tooth. I've gone months without so much as a nibble of anything sweet and not missed it at all. My weakness is the salty snacks…
Monday, December 12, 2011
Or, what I learned from Lewis Carroll and Key West.
Kelly Burgess is on vacation this week and thought you might enjoy this column, which was published in May when she was just returning from another vacation. I have always loved Lewis Carroll. He's best known as the author of "Alice in Wonderland," but I particularly enjoy his clever, nonsensical poems, especially "The Walrus and the Carpenter," which is from "Through the Looking Glass," a sequel to Alice. It's an amusing story about inviting a group of oysters on a walk and then working up an appetite and being unable to resist the urge to eat the fat, fishy little nuggets. The two friends seem almost in denial about their betrayal, as the final stanza attests: "O Oysters," said the Carpenter, "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be …
Monday, December 5, 2011
Cookbooks and recipes are our family heirlooms.
My daughter moved out this weekend. Not far, just to Shadyside with her boyfriend so they can be closer to school. She's attending graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University on her way to, hopefully, going into contract law. He's in pre-med there. It's definitely time for her to move out, and I won't miss her messiness or her dumb TV shows. Still, we enjoy each other's company and do a lot together, particularly related to cooking and eating, so it's going to seem very quiet around here. Last weekend, we went through the kitchen to see what I had duplicates of or rarely used items she could take to help stock her kitchen. When we opened the cookbook cupboard, her eyes lit up. She loves my cookbooks. But first, I need to back up to tell …
Monday, November 28, 2011
Canned chipotle peppers elevate an ordinary dish.
Articles about what to do with Thanksgiving leftovers are a dime a dozen this time of year, although, to be honest, we never have that many leftovers around here. We're good eaters. We always have sandwiches the next day and five or six or seven people times a piled-on sandwich each pretty much takes care of whatever was left. So, while this column does give you yet another recipe for what to do with leftover turkey if you have it, I'm also going to introduce you to an ingredient you can use year 'round -- canned chipotle chilies. If you've never heard of chipotle chilies, or just never tried them, the recipe at the end of this column is a good introduction. And a good way to spice up an otherwise boring turkey salad. Chipotles are …
Monday, November 14, 2011
Carnitas make a delicious entrée or a base for several meals.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about saving time by making big batches of food, having one main meal, and using the leftovers for several different, quicker meals. The recipe that accompanied that column was chili, but I received several emails asking me for a recipe for something I had only mentioned in passing -- carnitas. Carnitas are a pork main dish and are as ubiquitous in Mexican cuisine as ground beef is in American. It's no secret that I absolutely love Mexican food. The best Mexican foods are the fresh seafood dishes and the slow-roasted meats, like the skirt steaks that, in Mexico, cook on a spit outside the restaurant all afternoon. They have so much flavor you don't need anything more than maybe a bit of salsa for fun or fire. …
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Don't be chicken. Try making wings at home.
I don't remember the first time I ate Buffalo-style chicken wings, although it couldn't have been that long ago because they're a relatively recent addition to our food lexicon. There are a few different stories about how the Buffalo wing came to be, all of them involving Teressa Bellissimo, owner of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY, who needed to come up with a quick midnight snack. She hit upon frying up a batch of wings that would normally be thrown away and tossing them with a hot sauce mixture. The rest is history. Hot wings might have been the first incarnation of wings, but now there are as many variations of wings as there are birds in the sky. They've become a staple in the appetizer section of bar and restaurant menus, even at …
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Take the chill out of the air with chili.
Last week I wrote about Marcia Russotto, who recently published a book about growing up in an Italian family. When I interviewed her, I discovered that the two of us have a lot in common, food-wise. We grew up in families where food was a centerpiece of gatherings. My family was not Italian, but it certainly could have been, considering the spreads we had. Russotto and I also agreed that even busy people can have healthy, from-scratch meals with a little planning. What she does, and what I do as well, is cook big batches or multiple dishes when we have the time. Working from home, my lunch is often the leftovers of whatever we had for dinner the night before. It's quick and easy and allows me to get back to work without losing too much of …