Top 10 Tips For Your Thanksgiving Table

October 1, 2014 in Featured Articles

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dv520008It can be easy – but first thing you will need to remember is that setting your table is almost is important as preparing and displaying your food. Paying attention to how you do it and remembering little details will make your holiday meal even more special!

If you are wondering what tablecloth to use, or if you should use placemats instead, or where to put the cutlery , if you should consider setting a buffet-style table and what to do about kids… here are some tips for you that will help:

1. Table Covers: If you have a beautiful table, you may want to consider using placemats. If you feel more comfortable using tablecloth, then start there. The rule in using the tablecloth is that it should be big enough to hang about 6 inches over the edges of the table. White tablecloth are the easiest to start with and make for festive feel – patterned tablecloths have a tendency to make the table look more cluttered. Little tip: if you find that your chosen tablecloth is wrinkled and creased – throw it into a dryer on air setting with a damp towel – that should take care of it, without having to pull out your iron.

2. Cutlery: Forks go on the left, spoons and knives on the right and they need to be placed in the order they will be used – first utensil on the far end from the plate, second one closer to the plate, etc. And the knife blade should be turned towards the plate.

3. China: Side plates go to the left of the main plate setting. If you are serving a salad, you can place the salad bowl either on top of the dinner plate or the side plate.

4. Glasses: Wine glass goes above the tip of the main course knife. If you are using more than one glass, arrange them in the order they will be used. Liqueur glasses don’t belong into your main setting – bring them out separately after clearing your dinner dishes.

5. Napkins: If you know how to make a pretty fancy fold, use it to decorate the table by putting it on the top of the main plate. If you are using it flat, place it on the side plate or under knife and spoon.

6. Place Cards: These a great idea if you are having a large gathering – having them will avoid awkward moments when your guests are seating themselves. Place Cards are easy to make – you can make simple ones by just folding an unlined recipe card in half and writing names on in calligraphy.

7. Buffet Style: This is a good option for a larger gathering when you need to have your guests take up whatever seating is available. Let’s face it – not everyone has a table large enough to accommodate  more than 12 people. When setting up your buffet, place plates, cutlery and napkins close to each other at one side of the table. I like to put cutlery into a neat little package, wrapped in the napkin and decoratively tied with a ribbon or a piece of craft twine. If you can, use larger plates – I prefer 12 inch size, that allows guests to pile on the food and not have to keep returning to the serving table as often. You will need to “police” your buffet table, refill serving dishes and keep it nice and neat. There is another alternative – kind of half buffet and half seated arrangement. Set up your serving dishes in the kitchen, have your guests serve themselves and then seat at the table. That allows the dinner table for being cluttered with serving dishes.

8. The Kid’s Table: It is definitely a good idea to set up kid’s table – and you can make it fun for them as well! Use bright paper or plastic tablecloth and its is perfectly fine to use plastic plates. Another great idea is to put a plain white tablecloth you can purchase at a second hand store and provide kids with markers to draw on it. You may even want to save these works of art for years to come and reminisce with then the grown up “kids” . Alternative to this would be paper placemats and crayons or activity book for each child.

9.Dessert Table: If you have an alternative table – such as one in the kitchen dining area, set up desserts, coffee and tea there. You can serve it in the dining room, after dinner dishes are served, but I find that separate setting works well, especially if you are serving a choice of desserts.

10.After Dinner Liqueurs: You can pick several types of liqueurs to serve – I like to create a tray (round silver one with a paper doilie works well) separate it into four sections, place show glasses filled with different liqueurs on with a little place card with liqueur name next to the each group of glasses and place it on the dining room table or walk around the guest with the offer.

Here are some creative place setting ideas for you:

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Hope this information was helpful to you – please send in your comments, suggestions and experiences – your input is always welcomed and appreciated!

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Tomato Cheese Bread Recipe

June 24, 2014 in Breads, Recipes

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Here is one of my quick and easy and very delicious recipe – definitely a nice addition to any dinner or lunch or as a snack. Try serving it with nice salad for a great summer meal!

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of buttermilk baking mix
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves, crushed, divided
  • 3/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Directions:

  1. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice.
  2. Combine baking mix, 1 teaspoon of oregano and 2/3 cup of reserved tomato juice in medium bowl.
  3. Press dough evenly to edges of 11 x 7 x 2 inch greased baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and remaining oregano over batter.
  5. Distribute tomato pieces evenly over cheese and sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese.
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 375F oven for 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown and cheese is bubbly.
  7. Cool 5 minutes before cutting squares to serve.
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How To Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

June 23, 2014 in Desserts, Recipes

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You could buy a box of candy or make delicious cakes or cookies – but there really is no treat that will equal to fresh, locally grown strawberries that are coated in real chocolate!

And – you can make these ahead of time or have them ready on a short time notice – just a perfect treat!

Directions:

  1. Coarsely chop about 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate
  2. Wash and dry 1 lb. of fresh strawberries (that’s about 20 of them and if you use locally grown strawberries, you will definitely notice the difference)
  3. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
  4. Dip the strawberries – holding each strawberry by the stem end, dip in the melted chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip of. Repeat with the remaining berries.
  5. Transfer dipped strawberries onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  6. As you set each berry down, slide it about 1/2 inch to the side to prevent the formation of a “chocolate foot”.
  7. Refrigerate the strawberries until the chocolate is firm – at least 30 minutes.
  8. The dipped strawberries will keep up to 3 days, covered, in the refrigerator.
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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Recipe

June 16, 2014 in Recipes

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Bacon wrapped chicken 001   You could just take chicken tenders and broil or barbecue them – or you can give them extra flavour by using this recipe. Try it today! Ingredients:

  • 8 chicken tenders, patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce, divided

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler
  2. Line broiler pan with foil and set aside.
  3. Sprinkle chicken tenders with paprika.
  4. Wrap each tender with slice of bacon in spiral pattern.
  5. Place on broiler pan.
  6. Broil chicken for 4 minutes.
  7. Turn and broil for additional 2 minutes.
  8. Brush with barbecue sauce and broil for 2 more minutes.
  9. Turn and baste with remaining barbecue sauce.
  10. Broil for 2 more minutes.
  11. Serve warm.
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Orange Glazed Roasted Salmon with Fennel

June 11, 2014 in Recipes

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If you like salmon, you are going to love this recipe!The combination of orange flavor and fennel truly complements the salmon flavor – try it tonight!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 navel oranges
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil (plus additional for the baking pan)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 large bulbs of fennel
  • 1 large salmon fillet (about 2 lbs.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Coat 16 x 10 inch baking pan with oil.
  3. Grate 1 tablespoon of orange zest.
  4. Squeeze oranges to get 1/2 cup of juice.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the zest, juice, oil and salt.
  6. Trim the fennel.
  7. Mince about 2 tablespoons of the feathery leaves and set them aside.
  8. Cut bulbs lengthwise into quarters.
  9. Cut out and discard the cores.
  10. Cut the fennel into thick slices.
  11. Place slices in the baking pan.
  12. Drizzle with half of the juice mixture and toss to coat.
  13. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until lightly browned.
  14. Remove the pan form the oven.
  15. Clear a space in the centre and lay the salmon diagonally in the pan, skin side down.
  16. Drizzle with the remaining juice mixture
  17. Spread to coat the fish.
  18. Place in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until salmon is opaque in the centre.

 

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Crispy Tortilla Chicken Recipe

June 10, 2014 in Recipes

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Tortilla chicken recipe 001 This is one of my favorite quick and easy recipes. Deliciously crunchy and tasty – try it – you will love it!

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups of crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 package (about 1 oz.) of taco seasoning mix
  • 24 chicken drummettes (about 2 lbs.)
  • Salsa (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Shake off excess crumbs and lace chicken o prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake about 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with salsa if desired.

Note: you can also use this recipe for about 1 b. of boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch strips. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the centre.

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Pizza Pinwheels Recipe

June 6, 2014 in Recipes

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Quick, easy and inexpensive! You can get creative and add other ingredients – just don’t overload them or they will not bake nice a crisp for you!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages (about 14 oz. each) of refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 1 cup of shredded Mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup sliced pepperoni, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. With rolling pin or your hands, press each pizza dough crust into 12 x 8 inch rectangle and then cut into 4 equal squares.
  3. On two greased baking sheets, arrange squares.
  4. With knife, starting at corner of each square, cut toward centre of the square, stopping about 1/2 inch from the centre.
  5. Evenly top each square with 2 tablespoons of sauce, then cheese and pepperoni.
  6. Fold every other point into the centre and press to seal.
  7. Bake 10 minutes or until crusts are golden.
  8. Serve with remaining pasta sauce, heated.

 

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Sesame Garlic Flank Steak Recipe

May 23, 2014 in Recipes

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Try this recipe this weekend! Simple combination of ingredients and equally simple preparation results in a delicious dinner!

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef flank steak – about 1-1/4 lb.
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoons of dark sesame oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic. minced

Directions:

  1. Score steak lightly with sharp knife in diamond pattern on both sides.
  2. Place in large resealable food storage bag.
  3. Combine soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil and garlic in small bowl, pour over steak.
  4. Seal bag and turn to coat.
  5. Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours, turning once.
  6. Drain steak, reserve marinade.
  7. Grill over medium heat 13 – 18 minutes for medium-rare to medium or until desired doneness, turning and brushing with marinade halfway through cooking time.
  8. Discard remaining marinade.
  9. Transfer steak to cutting board and carve across the grain into thin slices.

Hope you will enjoy this recipe – please send me your comments, your input is always welcomed and very much appreciated!

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Easy Vegetable Topped Baked Potatoes

May 21, 2014 in Recipes

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Are you looking for something just a bit different? Try these potatoes – easy to make and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 cups of frozen broccoli-carrot vegetable medley
  • 4 large baking potatoes
  • 1 can of condensed cream of broccoli and cheese soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and Black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place vegetables in microwavable bowl.
  2. Microwave high on 5 minutes and drain.
  3. Scrub potatoes and pierce several times with fork.
  4. Microwave on high for 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  5. Meanwhile, combine soup, vegetables and cheese in medium saucepan.
  6. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese melts and mixture is heated through.
  7. Split baked potatoes lengthwise in half.
  8. Top each potato with vegetable mixture.
  9. Season with salt and pepper.
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Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

May 20, 2014 in Recipes

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Quick, easy and really, really good ! Try it today and let me know what you thought!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. of lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup of Italian seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 jar of pasta sauce
  • 8 oz of spaghetti, cooked and drained

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, bread crumbs and egg.
  2. Shape into 12 meatballs.
  3. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring pasta sauce to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Gently stir in meatballs.
  5. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the centre.
  6. Serve over hot spaghetti, sprinkled with shredded Parmesan cheese.

 

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