Monthly Archives: March 2014 Menu for the Perfect Date

So you’re serious about someone. Serious enough to want to eat in front of them, and have them into your home. That’s pretty serious. Are you worried that your cooking skills aren’t up to it? Maybe you don’t want to come to dinner sweaty and smelling of garlic. So let put together the perfect date menu. Reheat, serve and enjoy the night!

Here are five killer dinners that you and your date will love:

  1. Chicken Parmigiana, Rosemary Potatoes, Buttered Carrots and Tiramisu for dessert.
    Why? Italy is the land of love! Italian meals are great first date meals.
  2. Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo, Verdura Artisan Flatbread and Panna Cotta for dessert.
    More Italian dishes, and seafood!
  3. Osso Bucco, Magic Mashed Potatoes, French Bread and U-Bake Apple-Raisin Strudel  for dessert.
    What man doesn’t like perfectly cooked meat? If your date is a woman, if you know she’s a meat-lover, perfect.
  4. Seared Salmon Filet, Creamy Spinach, Herb Focaccia and Chocolate Ganache Cake  for dessert.
    This is simply elegant, and will impress the heck out of your date!
  5. Beef Sirloin with Peppercorn Sauce, Rice with Mixed Vegetables, Eggplant Parmigiana and Dutch Apple Pie for dessert.
    The sauce screams sophistication, the flavors are mild but delicious, you can’t go wrong with this meal.
  6. Crab Cakes, Rice Pilaf, French Green Beans with Mushrooms and Cream Sauce  and Gourmet Cupcakes Assortment 2 for dessert.
    This is a wow! Easy and delicious crab cakes, a decadent side dish, and 2 Meyer Lemon, 2 Red Velvet & 2 Caramel Blast Cupcakes to choose from.

Meal Suggestion 1
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Meal Suggestion 6

Quick and safe ways to defrost frozen food.

Most of the time, you’ll put your frozen food in the fridge overnight or all day, and let it defrost that way. But sometimes you don’t have that kind of time. (Like when I need to get at’s Sirloin in Peppercorn Sauce and just can’t wait! Here are a few safe ways to defrost food a little faster.

1. Put the food into a ziplock bag with all the air pressed out, and put it into a bowl of cold water. You can use a clothespin to make sure that no water gets into the bag(Clip it to the edge of the bowl), and just change the water now and then (every 30 minutes) to make sure it stays cold. This works surprisingly quickly, a small portion could be done in an hour.

2. Microwave- difficult, because parts of the food may start to cook while others remain frozen. I like to give it a minute , then let it thaw normally, giving it another minute in a half hour or so. This speeds up the process without cooking the food. In this method, the food never defrosts in the microwave, it just gets a head start. But if you go for the full defrost, you have to cook and eat (or just eat if it’s cooked) the food immediately. Otherwise bacteria could grow. Bad stuff.

3.  Under running cool water- this method will work quite quickly (More quickly than the cool water in a bowl method). Set the food in the sink under a slow stream of cold water, again in a zip-lock bag with all the air pressed out.  Monitor the food to be sure  you put it in the fridge once it’s thawed.

In any method you use, food shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours, so keep a close eye on it!  Here’s a wonderful episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown explains all!



Learn How Frozen Meals Offer Excellent Nutrition

Some people wonder if a frozen meal could have as much nutrition as one made at home. The answer is yes, and here are the reasons why.

1.’s frozen meals are flash frozen immediately after cooking and packaging, so that as many nutrients are retained as possible, and to make sure that the food is as fresh and flavorful as it can be.

2.  If frozen meals are healthy when they are fresh, they will be just as good purchased frozen as they are fresh. In some cases, they may actually be better, because if you keep meal ingredients in your fridge for a long time, they lose some of their nutritional value.

3. Blind taste tests have put frozen and fresh meals on a par, with the frozen meals actually coming out on top quite often (

4. Buying the right frozen meals gives you correct portion size, like our portion controlled meals.

5. Here are some guidelines for buying healthy frozen meals.

So go ahead and order up some frozen goodness!

Shrimp Burrito
Shrimp Burrito

Bean Soup
Bean Soup

Mushroom Ravioli
Mushroom Ravioli



How to make Butternut Squash Crostini

Today I am going to show you how to make a delicious appetizer. This is a great appetizer to serve because it is so simple to put together, you only need five ingredients and it is a really beautiful and vibrant bite to serve your guests while you are preparing the main meal. (Or reheating your prepared meal).

List of Ingredients

1 lb. butternut squash

Sprinkle of salt

½ c  water

1 baguette, cut into ¾ inch slices, toasted if you like

7 oz  whole milk ricotta

¼ c of balsamic glaze

½ c toasted and chopped hazelnuts


The first thing that you need to do is to prepare your butternut squash so start by cutting off both ends of the butternut and once the ends are off, you just want to cut through the length of the butternut, then you are going to take a melon-baller or spoon to scrape out the seeds.

Put the butternut on a sheet tray, sprinkle the tops with some salt and bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes until the squash is nice and tender.

After the butternut is cooled, you can scoop out the flesh and put it in the bowl of a food processor. Now add a half cup of water to start and a pinch of salt, you are going to purée this until it is nice and smooth. If your butternut squash purée is a little bit too thick you can add a little bit more water to thin it out.


Now you’re ready to assemble everything, Take a spoonful of the butternut squash pure, spread that on the piece of baguette, then take a spoonful of whole milk ricotta, add that on top, then finally add a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Balsamic glaze is basically a reduction of balsamic vinegar, it is a bit acidic and it is much thicker and sweeter than balsamic vinegar, it is a really great ingredient to have on hand.

Then you are going to finish this with some toasted and chopped hazelnuts. The taste is absolutely delicious; there are so many flavors and rich textures in here. This is a great appetizer to serve with some nice orange juice or a tropical blend of banana and orange, your guests will surely appreciate this.


Chef Linda Rosario is a food blogger from Chef Needs, one of the trusted suppliers of unique bar stools. She also loves to paint and dreams of having her own art gallery. Aside from painting and drawing, Linda has a heart for cooking and food.