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Need buffet menu ideas for party!

Well I think I figured it out myself.

Baked mac & cheese, spiral sliced ham, and a salad of some sort.

Oct 13, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Whole foods macaroni and cheese recipe?

I googled it and it appears there may be some truth to the jarred alfredo sauce + cheese thing. On their catering menu page they describe the mac & cheese they offer as:

"Tender macaroni tossed with Alfredo sauce, cheddar, jack and Parmesan cheeses and then baked with breadcrumbs. $39.99 serves 8-10"

http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/ca...

I'm going to try this myself and add the franks hot sauce as suggested.

Oct 13, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Need buffet menu ideas for party!

I'm planning my daughter's birthday party and I could use some help. I'll have about 15-20 adults and I'd rather not serve them pizza and hot dogs. Last year I did pulled pork, which worked well, but I'd like something different this year. We don't have a lot of table seating, so I need something that is easy to eat (i.e. no major cutting required). It is getting cooler and it will likely be raining, so the BBQ is out. I'd like something that is easy to serve buffet style. I have a large capacity electric skillet and several crockpots. All I can think of is lasagna, but I'm not really feeling it right now.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Oct 13, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2011 [Old]

Tried some more TJ's stuff recently. Unfortunately most of it ended up as "nays". I picked up a lot of prepared or semi-prepared items thinking they would save me time, but most ended up being subpar.

Nay: Pre-cooked, refrigerated rack of lamb. I don't care for lamb so this is solely based on my husband's opinion, and I should note that he likes his lamb rare and generally ordered rack of lamb out at nice restaurants or sometimes buys the french rack of lamb at Costco. Anyway, he said the TJ's lamb was horrible. Way overcooked and mostly fat. I should have known better than to buy precooked lamb for him, I just thought it would be a easy meal for him on his more often then not late nights.

Nay: Jalapeño stuffed Olives (in the jar). Had a strange metallic/ammonia smell and taste. Must be the combination of jalapeño and olive brine. Threw the jar out.

Nay: Frozen Asparagus Risotto: Completely lacked any flavor. Was not mushy like I thought it would be. Was also very dry and I cooked it less than the package directions stated.

Nay: Frozen Mac & Cheese (not the reduced guilt one). Not sure about the hype surrounding this item. It didn't have much flavor IMO. I served it to my toddler who liked it, but I didn't think it was great. Will stick to boxed mac & cheese for toddler meals since it is so much cheaper.

Yea: Steamed, Sliced Beets (in the refrigerated section). My husband likes beets and I think they are too much of a mess to prepare at home. Husband liked these better than canned beets. One of the few TJ items he asked e to pick up again.

Sep 30, 2011
mrs.corgi in Chains

Trader Joe's Yea/Nay Thread - 3rd quarter 2011 [Old]

I don't believe any of these are new, but here's my list of recently tried items. I shop at the greater Seattle area Trader Joe stores.

Yea: Kobe Beef Burgers. I will use these for hamburgers from now on. The ground beef I've been buying typically comes packaged in vacuum sealed squares and I find it too compacted for hamburgers. These patties solve that problem. They do have a lot of calories per patty, something like 600 I think, but I'm pretty sure some of the fat cooks out.. They appear massive when uncooked, but they do shrink down somewhat. Nice and juicy with good flavor.

Yea: Spicy Asian Peanut Dressing (in the refrigerated section). This dressing is spicy and oh so delicious! I used most of it to dress a cold asian noodle salad (spaghetti noodles, some of the TJ's broccoli slaw, and a variety of other veggies I had left over in the fridge). I used the remainder of the dressing as a marinade for a flank steak.

Yea: Champagne Pear Vinaigrette (in the refrigerated section). This is another great dressing. Has gorgonzola in it, which I'm not really a fan of (or any blue cheese for that matter), but it wasn't all that noticeable.

Yea: Cilantro Lime Dressing (again, in the refrigerated section). Liked this dressing as well. Used it on a steak salad. (Costco has this vacuum-sealed marinated carne asada which is very tasty. I find the marinade to be rather salty so I suggest rinsing the meat before cooking)

Yea: Broccoli Slaw. I like this as an alternative to cole slaw. Sometimes it is a bit too fibrous though. I wish TJ's also carried a traditional bagged cole slaw mix.

Yea: Corn and Chile Tomatoless Salsa. This stuff is really tasty! Someone told me about using it with mayo to create a coleslaw dressing, so that’s what I did (but with the broccoli slaw). I would like to find more uses for this salsa, so if anyone has any please share!

Yea: Fennel Bulbs (2pk). This is kind of a silly "yea", but fennel is so expensive at my regular grocery store if they even have it. One of my favorite dishes is Giada's Chicken Milanese with Tomato and Fennel sauce- you must try this recipe ( just make sure you really season the chicken cutlets- I like to add a little italian seasoning to them in addition the the S&P. Also, I prefer panko breadcrumbs. Oh and I wouldn't make the sauce in the same oil the cutlets were fried in as the recipe states, that would result in a gritty sauce I think) Anyhow, TJ's also carries mascarpone which is used in the recipe. I 'm pretty sure the little tub at TJ's is like $3 or something and It is closer to $7 at my Kroger owned grocery store.

Yea: TJ's Cinnamon Buns in the canister (located in the dairy section). I like these better than the Pillsbury ones, plus no trans fats! Just watch the expiration dates as they aren't far out in my experience.

Yea: Spiced Pecans. Spicy and sweet, but not too sweet. They never made it onto my salad as intended.

Yea: TJ's Blueberry cream and Vanilla cream yogurts. Sold in a 6 pk, 3 of each flavor. I think it is TJ's that has the blueberry/vanilla combo. I get them confused because I'm certain they are made by Yami as they are identical to the Little Yami cream yogurts which come in a couple of other flavors. These yogurts are delicious and sweet. Full fat and real sugar. Very creamy. In addition to being the best vanilla yogurt IMO, they are great because they are thick and don't easily fall of my toddler's spoon like so many other yogurts do.

Nay: TJ's Buttermilk Biscuits in the canister (located in the dairy section). These tasted off and were not good at all. I threw them out. It is possible that it was near or just past the expiration date so perhaps that's would explain the funky taste.

Nay: Brown Rice Crispy Bars. Do not buy these unless you want to find out what sticky cardboard tastes like.

Nay: Garlic & Herb compound butter. Was not as good as I thought it would be. Maybe it is the wine that's in it?

Meh: The frozen grilled eggplant and zuchini medley. This was alright. My package had only one piece of zuchinni so it wasn't much of a medley. Kind of mushy, but I expected that since it was cooked/frozen/and reheated eggplant. Mostly I'm not sure how to serve it best. I used it as a quick veggie side with salmon and rice pilaf.

Meh: some sort of frozen green veggie meddley with butter. Cannot recall the name, something like three greens? Had roman broccoli in it. Didn't taste bad, just turned out overcooked and kind of mushy. I have that problem with most frozen veggies I think.

Sep 22, 2011
mrs.corgi in Chains

Smoked Prime Rib- Can I serve it the next day?

I bought an electric smoker and I've been planning on doing a smoked prime rib for Easter. The weather forcast has changed and it may be raining on Sunday, but dry Saturday. I do not have any type of prorch or anything, so the smoker has to be on our backyard patio which is completely exposed. Can I smoke the prime rib on Sat and serve on Sun? If so, how should I go about it? Undercook in the smoker and the next day reheat in oven until the desired temp is reached? Or would it be better to just cook in the oven and forget the smoker if I can't do it the day of? Thanks!

Apr 18, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Results - Eye of Round Roast from Cook's Illustrated Recipe

I made this tonight and my verdict is...I don't know. It was still kind of chewy. The thinner the slices the better, but I had a hard time getting consistenly thin slices with my electric knife. Perhaps if I had a meat slicer it would have helped.

I think the roast was around three pounds and it took about 2.5 hours. I turned the oven off at 115 degrees and left it in until it reached 125. It sat for about 20 minutes. When I sliced it some juice still ran. It was perfectly rare, maybe more like med-rare. The only thing I did differently from the originaly recipe was that I forgot to salt it for 24 hours. It was only salted for about six hours. Though I'm pretty sure the salt didn't effect the roast much at all, it was still juicy and moist. Just not as tender as I would have liked.

I purachased the eye of round roast at Costco and I don't recall them being dirt cheap, so I'm not so sure this is the cut to go with for a roast beef. I guess I don't see the point of using this cut unless it was super cheap. What other (more tender) cuts are traditionally used for roast beef? And, what else can I do with the eye of round roast besides a roast beef? Since the roast was sold in a 2-pk I still have another in my freezer to use.

Jan 23, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Company's Coming - Looking for a Roast Pork Recipe that will blow guests away. . . would you share one?

The only type of pork roast I care for is one made with bone-in rack of pork. I buy them at Costco. Until recently I would just season with s&p and rosemary, sear, then cook per pkg instructions, but recently I tried the CI Tuscan-Style Roast Pork at it was wonderful. The extra effort was worth it as the flavor was throughout the meat.

http://recipes.cooksillustrated.com/p...

Jan 23, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Costco cooking - advice?

I wish our Costco carried San Marzanos! The east coast stores carry a much better selection of italian cooking ingredients, such a bummer. However, the northwest Costco stores do carry a nice selection of wild salmon that I'm pretty sure other regions don't get. Guess it's all a trade off.

Jan 17, 2011
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Aspartame? Does anyone else enjoy it?

I enjoy it in my diet soda. I find its taste light, crisp and refreshing. I love diet coke. As far as being bad for me, show me real scientific evidence. I am so sick of being told how bad it is, please.

Jan 14, 2011
mrs.corgi in General Topics

Please recommend a nonstick-ish skillet for me!

I cook scrambled eggs for my one year old daughter and myself maybe five times a week. Due to the possible health concerns I would prefer to avoid the teflon type of nonstick pans.

Previously I used an old circulon skillet, but I disliked the ring pattern and I wasn't sure about the safety of it since it appeared that the finish had worn off due to being placed in the dishwasher. I then purchased one of those de buyer blue steel pans from world market, and it worked pretty well other than being a little larger and deeper than I needed. However, I'm pretty lazy and the pan was left in the sink for two days. When I went to clean it I found several spots where the finish had worn off plus it caused rust spots to form on a dish that was also in the sink with it. So clearly I am too lazy for any type of pan that requires special treatment. Cast iron is obviously out.

The magical skillet I'm looking for doesn't have to be super non-stick as I use a lot of butter, but I would like it to function better than my stainless steel pan. I can deal with hand washing, though dishwasher safe would be great. If possible I would like to avoid a chinese-made product. I'm looking for something around 8". Any ideas?

Dec 20, 2010
mrs.corgi in Cookware

How far in advance should I purchase a rib roast?

I went ahead and purchased one today and I think I'll try to dry age it. I just hope that not too much of it that dries out as I bought a small roast to begin with. This is pretty sure thing, right? Not easy to mess up? I went for prime and it would be pretty painful to screw it up.

Would covering it with a tea towl work instead of cheesecloth? I don't have any cheesecloth handy and I don't think I will be happy looking at a completely uncovered hunk of red meat every time I open the refrigerator.

Dec 20, 2010
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

How far in advance should I purchase a rib roast?

Thanks for the advice! I'm pretty sure the ones I saw were not cryovacced. They had a bunch completely unwrapped, I guess maybe they cut to size then wrap. They also had some prime ones that were on styrofoam trays covered with plastic wrap. I think I'll see what the sell by dates say and maybe I'll get lucky and find a knowledgeable meat guy.

Dec 20, 2010
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

How far in advance should I purchase a rib roast?

Really, no one knows? I'm heading out to the store soon, please help!

Dec 20, 2010
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

How far in advance should I purchase a rib roast?

I plan to make a standing rib roast for our Christmas dinner this Saturday. Costco had some nice looking ones and I'd like to pick one up from there. How long can a roast like that sit around in my refrigerator?

I'm going by Costco today and I would love to not have to go back again later in the week .However, five days seems like a long time to leave meat sitting around, but maybe it is different for a roast? Also, Costco had so many that I figure I'd be buying the same one whether I buy it today or a few days later (or maybe not, I'm not sure).

So should I pick up one today while I'm there, or am I better off waiting? Thanks!

Dec 20, 2010
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Braising without wine?

I was thinking about giving braising a try and maybe adding the Molly Stevens cookbook along with an LC braiser to my Christmas list. The thing is, I hate wine in food. I'm not much of a wine drinker period, though I find drinking it to be tolerable on the rare occasion when I have a glass. However, I cannot stand the taste of wine it when used in cooking. I'll admit don't know much about braising, but my general impression is that most of the recipes call for wine to be used.

Typically when wine is called for in a recipe I will either omit or substitute with water and or chicken broth and it seems to work out fine. Is braising any different? Are the components in wine more important when it comes to braising? In braising, is the wine just used to deglaze or is it for something else?

Thanks for your help!

Nov 08, 2010
mrs.corgi in Home Cooking

Tramontina vs. All Clad

I decided to go ahead and give the Tramontina set a try since it is at my local Walmart. I don't have any All Clad to compare it to, but it seems very nice. As mentioned the set is composed of smaller sized pots, however the set I am replacing is a non-stick Wearever of the same size. My set of the "Gourmet" Tramontina all-clad tri-ply is made in China, which is the only thing I don't like about it.

I'm going to keep a few of the All-Clad pieces on my registry, like the 3 qt curved side saucier. It will be interesting to compare the two brands side by side.

Jul 13, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

Where are there any nice looking corn skewers?

Crate and Barrel has brushed metal ones, they sort of have a spiral design to them.

Jul 12, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

Tramontina vs. All Clad

For some reason I thought the Walmart Tramontina was made in China. Walmart.com lists the country of origin as USA and/or Imported, so no help there.

Jul 11, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

Tramontina vs. All Clad

I have yet another cookware question with regard to my wedding registry. I wish I found this site sooner, I have learned so much already though!

So, I've read up on the stainless clad tri-ply Tramontina that Walmart sells. It looks very appealing to me and the price is just fantastic. Most of the reviews I've read recommend it, but I did read one review which found the Tramontina to be thinner than All-clad, thus leading to hot spots on the saute pan. Has anyone here used both brands? If so, please share you thoughts. I also have a slight concern about the Tramontina being made in China. Is my concern totally unfounded when it comes to stainless cookware?

Thanks for your help!

Jul 10, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

LC 12" Frypan or 4.5 qt cvrd Saute?

I am working on my wedding registry and could use some cookware advice. I already have a 12" All Clad frying pan on my registry and I would like to add one other type of fry/sauté pan. I would like to stay away from non-stick so I was thinking about the LC 12" frying pan, but I recently saw the 4.5 covered sauté pan at Williams Sonoma. The sauté pan has the standard LC enamel finish on the inside, whereas the frying pan has the black satin finish. I know both pans are not non-stick, but which one would be less likely two stick of the two?

Also, for a Dutch oven should I go with round or oval? I have an oval shaped cheapo pasta pot at home and I don't know if I imagine it, but it seems like it takes longer to heat up because of it's shape. So, I kind of lean towards the round shape, thought the oval has more cooking surface I guess.

Thank you!

Jul 10, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

New Le Creuset Color--Slate!

The Slate color seems really dull and drab to me. Also, I don't think food looks as appealing on gray.

Jul 08, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware

Wedgewood, Apilco, or PB dinnerware?

I know this topic has been discussed somewhat, but I could really use some help selecting my "fine" dinnerware. I want all white dinnerware that I can mix with seasonal/holiday accent plates (most likely porcelain plates from C&B/PB).

I'm getting married next month and currently I have Wedgewood White on my registry and so far I have received 2 place settings of it. I really love the Wedgewood white, but as pervious posters have mentioned it is very white. I recently purchased some accent plates from Crate & Barrel and unfortunately they look slightly off when next to the WW. I'm contemplating taking the WW off my registry and going with something else instead.

While I recognize that bone china is superior to porcelain, I think that porcelain may be the better choice. At Pottery Barn the other day I noticed their PB White dishes and I thought they looked quite nice. Does anyone have any experience with these dishes, do they hold up? Apilco was mentioned in a previous post, but they are more than the Wedgewood. Are they really worth it? They are touted as indestructible, are they thick and clunky as a result?

Any other fancy white dinnerware suggestions? I would prefer something not made in China and I already have Fiestaware for my everyday dinnerware. Thanks!

Jul 08, 2008
mrs.corgi in Cookware