3 Top Cooking Light Recipes Your Family Will Love!

Light cooking is fast becoming a popular way to prepare tasty dishes as people get more concerned about health and fitness issues. We cover some easy and varied meal options here :

1. A Tasty Recipe for Shrimp and Squash Penne

Ingredients: 2 tbs olive oil, 4 cups of julienne yellow squash, 3 cups julienne zucchini, 1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined, a quarter cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp each of dried basil and dried oregano, half tsp salt and a quarter tsp black pepper; also essential are 3 cloves of garlic, minced, 4 cups hot cooked penne, half finely sliced fresh chives/green onions and a quarter cup of fresh Parmesan cheese

Method: in a large-sized non-stick pan, heat oil on medium heat; put in the squash and zucchini and stir fry for ten minutes before adding the shrimp and sauteing for another 3. Next, pour in the juice and remaining ingredients, stirring continuously for two minutes before mixing the shrimp mixture, pasta, chives and cheese in a bowl, tossing slowly to mix well.

2. An Easy Risotto Dish With Arugula and Toasted Garlic

Ingredients: 3 and a half cups of low-salt chicken broth, 1 tbsp olive oil, 3 cloves of garlic-finely sliced, 1 and a half cups of raw Arborio rice, half cup chopped onion and dry white wine each, a quarter tsp each of salt and pepper and 4 cups of trimmed arugula

Method: simmer the broth in a small pan taking care not to bring it to a boil while on low heat. In another pan, warm oil over medium heat then add the garlic, stir-frying it for 3 minutes till lightly browned. Take out the garlic using a slotted spoon and keep it aside. Put in the rice and chopped onions, sauteing for 5 minutes before pouring in the wine then adding the salt and pepper and cooking till the wine is almost soaked up (approx. 1 minute). Stir gently, add warm broth a little at a time till absorbed; add last 1/2 cup (may take about 20 minutes). Take off the heat, adding in the garlic and arugula trimmings.

3. A Tangy Ginger Lime Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients: a third cup all-purpose flour, 10 cups sweet potato, finely peeled and sliced, a quarter cup of butter, one third cup of light brown sugar, 1 tbsp lime rind, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 1 tbsp each of shredded orange rind and ginger; also called for are 1 tsp each of low-salt soy sauce and salt, a quarter tsp of black pepper and cooking spray.

Method: heat the oven to 425 degrees F while you prepare the rest of the ingredients: with a light hand, spoon in the flour into a measuring cup, level off excess with knife; mix this and the potato into a large bowl and toss gently. After this, melt the butter into a saucepan over a slow fire, adding in the sugar and remaining ingredients, stirring gently to cook for a few minutes till the sugar melts. Pour this over the pre-prepared potato mixture and mixed well before spooning it in to a low 2-quart baking dish, pre-coated with cooking spray. Proceed to cover and oven-bake this dish at 425 degrees F for close to an hour (or till done) and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving!

MasterChef Recipes Make You A Five-Star Chef in Your Kitchen

Many cooking lovers dare not miss a single episode of their favorite reality cookery competition shows like “Top Chef”, “MasterChef” and “Iron Chef”. They want to watch these culinary experts closely as they churn out their signature dishes, before downloading the corresponding MasterChef recipes from the TV show’s website and try them out in their own kitchens.

Few, however, are successful in recreating the dishes in their homes. Most find themselves utterly perplexed that they could not get the dish right even if they faithfully followed the recipe.

Master Chefs explain that this problem is due to the fact that every cook perceives the flavors and aroma of food differently. A perfect dish for a chef may be too bland or too salty or spicy for the homemaker and diner. This is why restaurants – including 5-star establishments – always serve seasonings and other condiments on their tables. Also, every cook prefers to prepare their dishes in a certain way. While the ideal roast for chefs is one with the meat tender and juicy, some homemakers prefer their roasts to be well-done. Because of these two factors, Master Chefs recommend that the homemaker simply make the necessary adjustments to the MasterChef recipes in terms of the seasonings and herbs to be used and the method and duration of cooking.

Be the Master Chef of your own five-star kitchen by recreating or developing a delicious variation of the MasterChef recipes that we have for you below…

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas

Ingredients:

2 pounds individually quick-frozen chicken breast tenderloin fillets
1 1.4-ounce package fajita seasonings
2 1/2 cups (1/2 package) frozen-pepper stir-fry
Juice of 1 lime (around 1 1/2 tbsps)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
12 fajita-sized flour tortillas
1 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese

For Garnish:

Fat-free sour cream
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomato

Instructions:

1) Arrange frozen chicken tenderloin fillets at the bottom of a crock pot.

2) Sprinkle fajita seasonings on top of the chicken and add frozen pepper stir-fry and lime juice.

3) Pour the chicken broth over your chicken. Cover the crock pot and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours. Once cooked, put the chicken mixture inside a bowl.

4) Spoon enough chicken mixture into the tortillas and sprinkle with shredded cheese.

5) Garnish your chicken fajitas with sour cream, shredded lettuce and diced tomato.

* * * * *

Baked Chicken And Rice

Ingredients:

3 cups water
6 chicken stock cubes
1/2 cube butter or margarine
1 cup uncooked rice
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
8-10 pieces of chicken

Instructions:

1) Boil water in a Dutch oven. Drop the chicken stock cubes into the water.

2) Except for the chicken, put into the stock and water all of the ingredients. Wait for the rice to be partially cooked.

3) Season the chicken with salt and other seasonings as desired. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the rice mixture.

4) Bake inside the oven for 1 1/2 hours at 400F.

Cook Like a Chef in Your Home Kitchen

Most people enjoy the experience of eating out. However, spending money to get a meal created by a chef can get expensive, especially if you are splurging regularly. The good news is that you can learn to use techniques in your own kitchen that will give you the same results as eating at a five-star restaurant. These tips and tricks are simple, but can really take your cooking to a whole other level.

Recipes are Key

Even the most experienced chef has recipes that are tried and true, and that they use on a regular basis. Often, these recipes aren’t their own creations, either. While experienced chefs will often adjust and adapt a recipe to their own taste, they still begin with a basic blueprint that gives them the direction is which to take a dish. In order to cook like a chef in your home kitchen, you will need to have a good selection of recipes on hand. Choose one book that features basic recipes, as well as several books with more interesting fare. Don’t be afraid to try new recipes on a regular basis, though it’s best to only serve guests something that you have had time to perfect.

Pay Attention to Details

If a professional chef does anything, it’s pay attention to each detail that goes into their dish. Your ingredients are the foundation of the food that you serve, and you should select and prepare them with care. Chefs have specific ways that they do things, and ingredients that they prefer. For example, dessert chefs prefer unsalted butter. Using this product in your baked goods will give you more control over the final product and result in a higher quality confections. Butter is also an integral ingredient for other types of chefs. Many sauces are made with the assistance or real butter. In order to cook like a chef in your own kitchen, you will need to learn how to clarify butter. This professional technique separates butter solids from the pure fat, and increases the quality of any sauce.

Details also matter when selecting fresh ingredients. When it comes to produce, the fresher you can get your ingredients, the better your final result will be. If you have outside space, grow a garden for ultra-fresh organic produce. Even those that live in apartments or small spaces can grow herbs in a pot on the windowsill. Barring getting produce that you have grown yourself, seek out farmer’s markets, community supported farms or organic fruits and vegetables. Even with conventionally grown items, you can choose the best that is available in your area. For example, vine ripened tomatoes and tree ripened fruit have better flavor than their chemically gassed counterparts. In addition, you will get better results if you buy fresh produce in season. Even chefs hesitate to offer a strawberry dessert in February, because the quality will not be up to par at that time of the year.

Cooking can be a mystery to some people, but it isn’t that difficult. Learning a basic recipe is easy. With practice, and proper technique, you can easily learn to cook like a chef as well. Using the tips, tricks and techniques that chefs use will improve the quality of your food, impressing your family, friends and guests.