Contributed by: NAPSA
Time-Saving Tips Help Keep Cooking Simple (NAPSA) - Families are increasingly looking for ways to make their lives hassle-free. Finding the time and energy to prepare and clean up from a family dinner can be almost overwhelming with today's hectic lifestyle. Every step that eases the burden makes a big difference.
One way consumers are looking to save time is with products that are packaged for convenience. For example, a recent national consumer survey commissioned by Hunt's Tomatoes found that 80 percent of consumers say packaging innovations make their lives easier.
"You want to set up your kitchen and pantry so that when you get home at the end of the day, it's as easy to whip up dinner as it would be to call for takeout," explains Alton Brown, author of best-selling cookbook I'm Just Here For the Food. "That means paying attention to details, from carefully choosing the tools you use, to how you stock your freezer, right down to the kind of ketchup bottle you buy. You want the entire operation to be streamlined and hassle-free."
Brown offers these simple steps to help take the hassle out of mealtime:
- Keep your kitchen stocked with spices and condiments. Adding a quick dash of flavor can turn a bland dish into an appetizing meal in seconds.
- When shopping, select products that minimize the mess and make preparation hassle-free-Hunt's, for example, has introduced new Perfect Squeeze ketchup, the first upside-down, no-mess ketchup bottle.
- Plan your menu ahead of time and make sure you have all the ingredients and "hardware" (pots, pans, etc.) before you start cooking.
Keep it simple
- Choose easy-to-make recipes and family favorites that can also be tomorrow's lunch. Many sauces and salads taste even better the second day.
- Engage the entire family in mealtime preparation and clean up-a little work by everyone means a lot less for you.
To help you get started, Brown offers this easy recipe:
- 2 cups packaged croutons (any flavor)
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tsp. dry Italian herbs
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced fine
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1 lb. ground chuck
- 1 lb. ground sirloin
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 Tbsp. Gulden's¨ mustard
- 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup Hunt's¨ Perfect Squeeze ketchup
- 1 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. honey
Heat oven to 325 F.
In a food processor bowl, combine croutons, black pepper, cumin and dry Italian herbs. Pulse until the mixture reaches the consistency of coarse crumbs. Move to a large bowl. Combine the onion, garlic and red pepper in the food processor bowl and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the crumbs along with the meat, egg, mustard and salt. Mix with clean hands, but avoid squeezing.
If desired, pinch off an ounce or so of the mixture and cook it in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat, hamburger style. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
Line a loaf pan with wax paper so that several inches hang over the long sides, then pack in the mixture.
Turn the meatloaf out of the pan onto the center of a parchment-lined sheet pan or jelly roll pan and peel off the wax paper. (A cookie sheet will work, too, as long as it has a lip all the way around to catch any rendered fat.) Precook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile combine the ketchup, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and honey in a small bowl. After 15 minutes, remove the meatloaf and liberally brush on the glaze. Return to the oven and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the loaf registers 160 F (45 minutes to an hour).
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour
Serving Size: Yields 8 servings