Monthly Archives: December 2010

Meal Accompaniments Part Two

Healthy meals delivered to your home make great gifts. We get a lot of customers wondering what accompaniments would go best with certain main courses, so they can advise their gift-getters. Oh, the heck with you, Microsoft spell-checker, I know gift-getters isn’t a word, but it fits!

Here’s a guide to accompaniments both on and off the menu.

Beef Short Rib Roast
Beef Short Rib Roast
Our Beef Short Rib Roast – Family Size is Cooked, boneless, and really tender. Order our One-serving Side dishes#1 with this. Broccoli & Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce,Buttered Carrots, Rice with Mixed Vegetables and Scalloped Potatoes in one-serving containers! Off the menu, mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Pinot Noir is a nice light red.

BBQ Baby Back Ribs
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
BBQ Baby Back Ribs are tender and finger-licking good. Pair these with  creamy Cheezzee Corn and Dutch Apple Pie. Off the menu, serve them with oven fries, a tomato salad, fresh crusty bread and plenty of cold beer.

Boneless Pork Chop with Diced Apples
Boneless Pork Chop with Diced Apples
If you order the  Boneless Pork Chop & Apples, a great side dish is the Fresh Cut Corn Medley. Pork and corn go together wonderfully. Finish with Madeleines Dipped in Chocolate .Off the menu, steam some frozen corn and add a little margarine, salt & pepper, then add oven-roasted potatoes. A light Sauvignon Blanc will set the pork off nicely.

Stuffed Chicken Montrachet
Stuffed Chicken Montrachet
Chicken Breast Montrachet is a boneless chicken breast stuffed with chevre cheese, herbs and pine nuts. It’s nice and light, and a good foil would be crispy Potato Pancakes and bright Spinach Italiano. Off the menu, a green salad with sweet peppers, cucumbers and an Italian dressing would set it off nicely. Either a  Riesling or Chenin Blanc wine is a good choice.

Meat Pierogies
Meat Pierogies
Pierogies are a great comfort food, and the three types we have are extremely popular. Whether meat, potato & cheese or sauerkraut, buttered carrots are a great choice for a side. For dessert, try the amazing Handmade Rugulach Pastries. Off the menu, streamed buttered carrots are still a good choice as a side.

Happy New year- let me know if you have any particular dishes you’d like to appear.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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The Perfect New Year’s Day Menu

New Year’s Day. You’re maybe a little hung over. You had a great time the night before. This is one of the most relaxing days of the year, all the holiday hoopla is over and your New Year’s resolutions haven’t kicked in yet. here’s a fun video about creating a New Year’s Day Brunch.

I’m going to suggest a full day’s menu,  both on and off the MagicKitchen.com menu. The MagicKitchen.com meals are  frozen dinners delivered to your door. The gourmet frozen meals are easy to put together, delicious and will put a great spin on this last day of the 2010 holidays.

Breakfast, MagicKitchen.com version:
Open a container of your favorite yogurt. I really love Greek yogurt, it’s so rich and thick. Put it into bowls and drizzle with liquid honey. Sprinkle with MagicKitchen.com Gourmet Granola. This granola tastes like love and brown sugar and nuts.

Breakfast, Off the Menu version:

Breakfast Burrito Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 4 tortillas
  • 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz. leftover ham, turkey or lunchmeat, diced
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • 1 chopped green onion
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro, if desired
  • 1/2 T. cumin
  • 1/2 T. chile powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Whisk the eggs and sour cream together with salt and pepper.

2. Spray a fry pan with non-stick coating and add egg mixture. Cook eggs over medium-low heat, stirring continuously until eggs are done. Stir in grated cheese and pre-cooked ham or turkey, and cumin & chile powder. Remove from heat and set eggs aside in a bowl.

3. Wipe out the frying pan. Spray again with non-stick coating. Add each tortilla wrap, one at a time and cook over medium heat, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and keep warm.

4. In the center of each tortilla, place about 1/3 c. of the egg mixture, sprinkle chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro over the top. Fold the bottom of the tortilla up about one third of the way, then fold in the sides, then roll up. Wait a few minutes for them to set. Cut the tortillas in two.

5. Serve with fresh tomato salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce.
Serves 8

Lunch, MagicKitchen.com version:

Our light, fresh and really delicious Portabella/Shiitake Mushroom Ravioli.

Portabella Mushroom Ravioli
Portabella/Shittake Mushroom Ravioli

Lunch, Off the Menu version:

Fresh tomato and Basil Pasta
Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 2 boxes grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups torn fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and keep warm in a serving bowl.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and stir just until they burst.
  3. Spoon the tomato mixture over the pasta; add pasta,sprinkle with the Parmesan, and toss gently. Serve Immediately.

Serves 4-6.

Supper, MagicKitchen.com version:

Time for one last blast of wonderful food before real life begins again. Scallops Sancerre, Rice pilaf, Corn Medley and Family-size Chocolate cake.

Scallops Sancerre
Scallops Sancerre – puff pastry cup not included

Supper, Off-the Menu version:

Make it easy on yourself with an easy to prepare soup and a fresh baguette from the bakery. While you’re at the bakery, pick up your favorite dessert.
Here’s a Navy Bean Soup that can be simmering all day long.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried navy beans
  • 2 quarts boiling water
  • 2 ham hocks or a ham bone
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 to 2 cups chopped ham
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Wash beans; put in a pot and boil hard for one minute. Turn off heat and let sit for one hour. Drain.
  2. Add beans to large pot along with ham bone or hocks. Add water to generously cover.
  3. Simmer ham bone or hocks with the beans until beans are tender. Remove bones. Add chopped onions and celery. Add water to make about 1 gallon. Add ham meat, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook about 30 minutes longer.

Serves 12 or more.

Happy New Year!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate

You know, there should really be a chocolate monster to rival the cookie monster. It’s that important. History itself shows us how vitally important chocolate is.  The Mayans and Aztecs in Mexico are known to have used it first, making a spicy frothy drink out of the ground cacao pods. From there it was taken to Spain. At some point the French got hold of it, and that’s where it began it’s real journey of transcendence. Because they invented chocolate mousse and ganache.

Here’s a video on how chocolate is made by El Rey chocolate factory:

Of course, chocolate desserts are found worldwide now, and pastry chefs make the most of chocolate to create delightful concoctions. Our chefs have prepared a chocolate bundle that I mentioned in an earlier blog, 8 Guilty Pleasures.

Allow me to rhapsodize.

First you get our Chocolate Ganache cake. Moist chocolate cake with layers of Ganache.  Ganache, in case you don’t know, is a French term for a smooth, creamy and rich mixture of chocolate and fresh cream.

Next Madeleines dipped in chocolate. Madeleines are elegant little French cakes with distinctive shell shapes. Rich and buttery, soft with lightly crisped edges. These little delights are dipped into rich dark chocolate.

Our family size chocolate cake is so good that Greg said he would eat the whole thing in a single sitting, given the chance. Incredibly moist chocolate fudge cake, filled and iced with a delicate sour cream chocolate frosting.

Gourmet Cookie Selection: Three chewy cookies. Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, Snickerdoodles and Dr. Midnight Cookies make a sweet trilogy. Indulge in chocolate-y goodness!

Double-fudge Brownies-Don’t the words double fudge make your hair stand up?  Made with Guittard Chocolate, this dense and decadent no-nut double fudge brownie is laced with chocolate chip.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Sick during the Holidays! 5 ways to cheer them up.

Few things are worse than being sick over Christmas, unless it’s being alone at Christmas. Here are some great ideas to bring some holiday cheer.

  1. Soup: Send them our Soup for the Soul bundle. Vegetable beef barley, chicken with rice, seafood medley, broccoli mushroom zucchini and many bean soup will have them back on their feet in no time!

Swedish Chef makes Soup:

  1. Aroma Therapy candles – These particular ones are aromatherapy candles combined with a little humor. Try the “Lighten up candle: Because someone, somewhere has it far crappier than you!”
  2. Fruit  Basket – These pictures show some creative ideas, but a real fruit basket would be both healthy and welcome.
  3. Banana Dog
    Strawberry Kiss
    Cauliflower Sheep
    Dropped Cone
  4. Four-leaf Clover Earrings – If you want to cheer someone up, give the gift of luck with some earrings embedded with hand-picked real four-leaf clovers.
  5. Candy!! –  Not so healthy, but who doesn’t love candy at Christmas? Check out this page full of different Christmas candies you can have shipped.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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Meal Accompaniments – Part One of Two

We get a lot of customers wondering what accompaniments would go best with certain main courses. Here’s a guide to accompaniments both on and off the menu.

Our Lamb Shank with Rosemary & Mint Sauce is a tender piece of delicious lamb on the bone. We recommend our scalloped potatoes and broccoli, peas and corn, with a light panna cotta for dessert.

Off the menu, mashed potatoes and your favorite steamed vegetables. For wine, a nice Merlot would go nicely.

Our Fire-Roasted Vegetables en Croûte are a unique little package. The veggies inside are a truly delicious blend with a Mediterranean bent. I would select the creamy Lemon Risotto to accompany it.

Off the menu, a green salad with a light vinaigrette would work, and a Chardonnay wine.

The Almond-Crusted Salmon is a favorite of many, including me. I love it with our Buttered Carrots and Fresh Cut Corn Medley – just fresh, fresh tastes and textures.

Off the menu, a creamy cucumber salad! Cucumber is a wonderful foil for salmon, they taste great together. Pan-roasted potatoes would also go well, with a light Beaujolais or Pinot Noir.

As it happens, I’m having this tonight! Magic Mashed Potatoes sop the delicious gravy, and French Green Beans with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce are a wonderful side.

Off the menu, make your own favorite mashed potatoes and steamed veggie. I’m having cookies for dessert myself. A Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon are good wine choices.

Our new Seafood Medley Soup stands well on its own with just a crusty bread, but you can also incorporate our Verdura Flatbread nicely into this meal.

Off the menu, bake your favorite biscuits or heat up some bakery buns.

Keep your eyes here for part two, and let me know if you have any particular dishes you’d like to appear.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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8 Guilty Pleasures

Holiday time means we let ourselves go! Otherwise what would we have to make New Year’s Resolutions about? Here are ten guilty pleasures to indulge in this season.

Moms discuss their guilty pleasures:

  1. Desserts: The number one guilty pleasure has to be desserts. Say no more, we have some amazing ones that ship right to your door.
  2. Lingerie: Check out some of Victoria’s Secret sleepwear. Sexy and comfy, win-win!!
  3. Sleep/Relaxation: One of the luxuries we deny ourselves is actually a life necessity. Give yourself, a friend or a spouse a day or hours off, to allow them to relax and recoup their energy.
  4. Spa: Or go directly to relax, do not pass go!!  Find the most high-end spa in your town and give yourself an afternoon of pampering.
  5. Ice Cream: A scoop of creamy ice cream (my favorite is and always has been Mocha Chocolate Almond). What’s your pick?
  6. Movie night at home: Get your favorite person to join you. Get your favorite old flicks like Dirty Dancing, Grease, Monty Python’s Holy Grail (or Mean Streets, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas, my old favorites), get in your jammies, crack a bottle of wine, pop some popcorn and close the blinds. Enjoy!
  7. Chocolate!: Everyone’s -or at least every womans’- secret delight. We can accommodate you with our new Chocolate Lover’s bundle.
  8. Pizza! It also deserves an exclamation mark.  Whether it’s your favorite local custom pizza place, a national chain or your best homemade recipe, pizza with its drippy cheese, warm soft bread crust, and decadent toppings is one of the all-time guilty pleasures.

Go ahead, drop the guilt and indulge in one or all of these guilty pleasures.  2011  will be here all too soon.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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The Giving Season – 6 ideas for feel-good gifts

What do we all really want to do this season? We want to get into the spirit, and give as much as we can. It’s human nature, and it’s what makes us beautiful.  It makes us feel good, and it helps people around us, so what could be bad?

MagicKitchen.com is proud to partner Graham’s Foundation year-round. Graham’s Foundation provides care packages designed for the needs of parents of micro-preemie babies, and we provide gift certificates to go into those packages.

1. Give a gift of delicious frozen meals for a local senior. We provide a $10 discount for seniors, so a gift certificate is an excellent choice.

2. A donation to Graham’s Foundation will help the parents of a micro-preemie baby. Make a donation in the name of a friend!

3. Dedicate a Tree – Dedicating a tree is an unusual and eco friendly gift that will last for years to come. Check it out at  www.plantatreeusa.com. You get to give a nice certificate.

4. Adopt a Dolphin – Ocean Conservation Society provides an adoption certificate, along with a booklet.

5.  Name a Star – Ideal for anyone who’s into astronomy, the International Star registry gives you a star chart with the location and coordinates of your star. OK, this doesn’t actually give anything to anyone but the service, and your named star won’t be recognized by the International Astronomical Union, but this is just plain cool.

6. Send Christmas Dinner – Do you know someone spending Christmas alone?  There are few things as lonely, and nobody wants to cook  big dinner for themselves. Our Best of the Season Meal bundle provides a comforting Turkey dinner with dessert that’ll leave them with leftovers.

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Crazy Gift Ideas and why not to go there.

I came across this site called stupid.com the other day and I want to explain why it’s just a bad idea. Go to our food gifts instead.  Here’s a quick comparison chart of sample gifts.

Gift from stupid.com Gift from MagicKitchen.com
Zing Food Catapult – food goes flying around the room. Baby Clams With Linguini Marinara -ready made meal stays on plate.
Voodoo Toothpick holder– You’re messing with Voodoo! Not good. Scallops Sancerre – gourmet meal is not dangerous.
Gun Egg Fryer – Fries your egg in the shape of a gun. Coffee Cake – a cake in the shape of a cake.
Spongioli Dish Sponges – Dish sponges in the shape of your favorite pasta. Our Pasta Menu – The real thing!
BBQ Branding Iron – Brand your name into your favorite meat dishes. Why not? Buy it and use it to brand our Filet Mignon, Ready to Cook Filet Mignon!

I’m just kidding, of course, those gifts look like a blast. I can’t believe Christmas is coming so soon. Get out there and shop, people! And have fun doing it.

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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More words like Turducken, and how to create one out of our meals

OK, you’ve heard of the Turducken, a chicken stuffed in a duck stuffed in a turkey. Delicious, right? How about a cherpumple? It’s  a three layer cake with three pies baked inside. Check out the how-to video here:

That started me thinking, what other composite names could I make, based on our menu? This is what I came up with:

Ok, first, we already have some stuffed items, so let’s start there:

Chicken Da Vinci is a chicken breast stuffed with Gruyere cheese and spinach in puff pastry, or en croûte.Chicken Breast Da Vinci

A Chigruspin! or Gruspinchik.

Of course our Shrimp Burrito could be the  Burrimp.

Ok last try at dishes already on the menu. One of my faves, a boneless chicken leg stuffed with crouton, apple and almond stuffing. Here goes… An Almapleken.

If we took the Short Rib Roast, butterflied it, and stuffed it with Apple-Sage Stuffing mixed with Broccoli & Cauliflower with Cheese Sauce, then warmed it through, it would be both delicious and a Brocsturib. Which sounds like something out of the Flintstones. Ok, I’ll leave the renaming of dishes to the experts. It’s harder than it looks!

If that’s not enough, World Wide Words.org has this on the subject:

“This method of cooking is actually quite ancient, with recipes from medieval times that were often much more complicated still. The technical term for the process is engastration, from Greek words meaning “in the belly”. A well-known English example of the nineteenth century was Pandora’s Cushion, a boned goose stuffed with a boned chicken, which was stuffed with a boned pheasant, itself stuffed with a boned quail.

If the turducken were not enough, a news article from 1997 said that a store in Louisiana was experimenting with a pigturducken, though nothing has been heard of it since. And a rumour has reached me via the Internet that South Africans have gone one better, producing an osturducken, in which the whole concoction is stuffed inside an ostrich. However, this may possibly be an urban legend, because the only reports come from somebody who has heard of it from somebody else.”

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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