Tag Archives: healthy meal ideas

Pizza Time – how to make the best pizza dough

Of course you can always buy our MagicKitchen.com flatbreads, *Pesto and Cheese Flatbread or Verdura Gourmet Artisan Flatbread with Kalamata Olives.

But if you have some time, making your own pizza dough is so satisfying, easy and tasty!

I’m going to give you two methods; leavened and non-leavened. Traditionally a pizza dough is leavened, using yeast. But a simple dough can also be used. If you have the time, use the leavened version, you’ll be happier.

If you practice, you can get as good as this guy:

Version one- Leavened

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups – Warm Water (110-115 F)
2 Tbsp. – Sugar
1 Envelope – Active Dry Yeast
1 1/2 Tsp. – Salt
2 Tbsp. – Oil
4 Cups – White all-purpose flour

Pour the warm water in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and package of yeast. Stir the mixture until dissolved. Let sit to for about ten minutes.

Add the salt and oil and stir again to combine the ingredients. Add 1 cup of flour and whisk in until dissolved. Add the second cup of flour and whisk it in. Add the 3rd cup of flour and combine. By now the dough mixture should be fairly thick. Add the last cup and flour and, with your hands, begin to combine and knead the dough.

You may need to add a dusting of flour from time to time to reduce the stickiness of the dough. Be patient, folding the dough ball in half and then quarters, over and over again for perhaps 5 to 8 minutes. You may wish to remove the dough ball to a tabletop to knead it. You’ll know you’ve done well when the ball no longer sticks to your hands. It will become a smoothly-textured ball slightly larger than a large grapefruit.

Coat the dough ball with a thin layer of olive oil, and place it in the bottom of a large mixing bowl which has also been coated on the inside with olive oil. Stretch a piece of kitchen film over the top of the bowl and set it in a warm place such an as a microwave. Allow the dough to rise, undisturbed, for 60 to 75 minutes. The dough will have grown to at least twice its original size.

Take the dough out of the bowl and cut in half with a knife. You now have two pizza dough balls, enough to make two (2) 12″ deluxe pizzas. Take each raw dough portion and hand-mold them into balls. Smoothing the outer surface, tuck each ball into itself from underneath.

No need for a second rising, just roll it out, throw on your toppings and cook in a hot (425 degree) oven until the bottom is cooked and the toppings are hot and bubbly.

Version two- Unleavened

Ingredients:

1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups water
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour

Instructions:

1. In a large mixing bowl*, combine the oil, honey, salt, eggs, and water. Stir until well-mixed. Stir in about 4 cups of the flour, then add more flour as needed and knead into a fairly stiff dough. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Divide dough into 8 pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a circle about 8′.  Make it as thin as possible, about like a pie dough. Place on lightly-greased baking sheets and bake for about 6 minutes, until lighttly browned and not doughy.

3. Take them out and add sauce, cheese and your favorite ingredients. Don’t get too heavy-handed, this dough wants a light sprinkling of cheese, a little sauce and about 2 other ingredients. Some fresh chopped basil after cooking is a great touch. Pop them back in the oven for about 10 more minutes until cheese is bubbly.

Serves 8

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10 Cooking Secrets from our Chefs

We’re often asked if we have any insider secrets from our chefs. Greg says, “Many of the recipes we have are from current recipes we have in our collections. Since both Michelle and I come from the food business we have many years of recipes in each of our collections.”

Here are 10 cooking secrets are chefs are willing to part with.

  1. Assemble all your ingredients and tools in one place before you start cooking. An organized kitchen is a good kitchen. This guy might be a little too organized:
  2. Want to remove fat from your gravy? Use a fat separator. They’re pretty inexpensive at a kitchen supply store. It’s basically a pitcher, but the spout starts at the bottom. So you let the liquid from your roast or turkey site in the separator until you see the layer of fat on the top. Pour slowly and carefully into your pan until you reach that line of fat, and discard the fat. Simple! That’s why we only have six grams of fat in our sliced turkey with gravy!
  3. Do you need to cut meat very thinly for a recipe? Firm it up in the freezer first. When it feels solid but not frozen, take it out and you’ll be able to shave it paper-thin with a sharp knife. Be careful!
  4. Rest your meat before cutting. If you cut into a steak or chop fresh off the stove or barbecue, you’ll see juices run out. If you let it rest in a warm place covered in foil, those juices will re-absorb into the meat, making for a juicier product.  Please remember to do this for our Filet Mignon!
  5. For flaky biscuits and pie crusts, you need cold ingredients. Our pastry chefs will go to the lengths of freezing the flour and chopped butter, and if the kitchen is very warm, they will pause while rolling the dough to chill it in the fridge. Keep your hands cold too, by pouring icy water over them then drying well. And of course handle the dough as little as possible. Our pies are legendary for a reason!
  6. Safety first! A good knife is essential in the kitchen, but take the precaution of placing a damp kitchen towel under your cutting board to keep it from sliding.
  7. Save your veggies. If your carrots and celery are looking limp and unattractive, drop them into ice water for a few minutes before chopping and cooking. They’ll freshen right up.
  8. Pat your meat dry before cooking. That will allow you to get a nice sear (and keep the meat  from steaming).
  9. Don’t crowd the pan. Even if you have to cook in batches, keep everything in one layer with a little room around each piece. You’ll get better flavor that way.
  10. When boiling eggs, add a small splash of white vinegar to the water. It will make shelling the eggs much easier. When cooked, run the eggs under cold water before shelling.

 

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger (with the help of our chefs)

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Meals for Singles

Some life situations point out how handy it is for people to have access to good, healthy meals for singles.

So many situations call for them:

  • One person of a couple is called away on an emergency, and the other isn’t handy in the kitchen
  • you live alone and get tired of cooking for one
  • you’re on a business trip by yourself and get tired of restaurants
  • you’re a senior living alone
  • you lead a hectic life and don’t want to eat fast food anymore
  • you’re a student!

Since we don’t have dabawallahs (see video) you’ll have to do the next best thing and order singles meals from MagicKitchen.com!

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Best review

We often get great reviews from our customers, but this one stood out. I personally think our chicken pot pie is the best I’ve ever tasted, but this validates my opinion and is a nice story as well.

Elaine wrote, “My eighty-nine year old mother is going through radiation treatment for breast cancer. Her prognosis is excellent: she will probably out-live her grandchildren! I am now living with her as a caretaker, although I often wonder who is taking care of whom. I tell you this because there are times when she just does not feel like eating and there are times when I do not feel like cooking. Eating out for us means carry-in. That limits our choices to Asian Cuisine or Pizza. That’s okay, but not every week .

We sat down to eat MK’s chicken pot pie with much skepticism since both of us are good cooks (That is why we delegated it to our midday meal). Our egos took a bruising at the first taste of this meal. It was better than either of us had ever made! Mom ate every tasty morsel and took a long nap. It was a good day.”

Chicken Pot Pie
Chicken Pot Pie

Melody, MagicKitchen.com Blogger

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They’re Here!

I’ve been unable to blog about our new meals until they were created and available, but they’re finally here and on the menu!

Our chefs, our president and our CEO have all been working hard to create some low-sodium, super healthy complete meals. Unlike so many “hospital meals” on the market, they wanted these to feature gourmet ingredients and to be as good as our regular homestyle meals.

Here they are, and we’re all really excited about them. These meals are fine for diabetics and most heart patients, although we as always caution you to check with your nutritionist, nurse or doctor before changing your diet. They are all low in calories and fat as well, so perfect for a weight loss regimen.

The first package is great for people who are preparing for dialysis, as well as for those on dialysis, while the second is good for people on dialysis. This all has to do with potassium and phosphorus, and needn’t concern those of us who are thankfully healthy! The meals are available individually as well as in the packages.

7 Complete Meals – Pack #1

The meals are:

  • Chicken In Wine Sauce, Cauliflower Puree, Green Beans
  • Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower, Spinach
  • Braised Short Rib, Mashed & Green Beans
  • Baked Tilapia with Lemon Rice Pilaf, Peppers & Onions
  • Stuffed Peppers with Spanish Rice
  • Shrimp in Garlic Sauce over Vermicelli, Stir Fry Vegetables
  • Baked Tilapia a la Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Green Beans

grilled salmon
Grilled Salmon

7 Complete Meals – Pack #2

The meals are:

  • Chicken Marsala & Pasta Primavera
  • Braised Beef Brisket, Green Beans & Wild Rice
  • Chicken & Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce
  • London Broil & Vegetable Pilaf
  • Chile Colorado with Mexican Rice
  • Chicken Stir Fry with Rice & Asian Vegetables
  • Roasted Turkey with Cranberry Pilaf

Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken Stir-Fry

Hope you enjoy them!
Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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8 Healthy Lunch Ideas on a Budget

Ok, it’s the New Year, resolutions are in place and we’re ready to start 2011 right. But how do we keep that commitment to weight loss when we have to go to work, and fast food restaurants are so handy, quick and inexpensive?

Here are eight ideas for quick, healthy lunches that won’t blow your budget.

  1. Pastas are easy – Our Baby Clam Marinara is a healthy meal delivered to your door.  Just 18% fat, but it’s a hearty 10-oz serving of tasty pasta. I’m adding a second pasta to this first recommendation. Our Portabella/Shiitake Mushroom Ravioli is also a low-fat meal at 26% fat. These are both tasty pastas that will keep you going all afternoon. Or bring your own!

    Portabella Shiitake Ravioli
    Portabella Shiitake Ravioli
  2. Leftovers are great! – Make last night’s healthy dinner a little bigger, and bring leftovers for lunch. For instance, I like to roast a whole chicken with garlic, herbs and  potatoes, carrots, and any other root vegetables in season. Pop a serving  into one container and reheat in a microwave.
  3. Salad Additions – I love grilling chicken breasts and then slicing leftovers to throw into a salad for the next day. Chop your favorite veggies, then bag the chicken slices, some diced low fat cheese and bring along a bottle of no-fat ranch dressing.
  4. Cook Big! – Over the weekend, cook up a big pot of stew or soup, and freeze it in individual portions for the week. Do two the first weekend so you can swap them out over the week. Then you’ll have extras and will always have a selection.
  5. Baked Potato – Here’s a versatile and satisfying lunch. Bake a potato in the microwave, and bring in some lowfat toppings. Good choices are steamed broccoli, a small portion of low-or-non fat sour cream, salsa, low fat cottage cheese,  low fat flavored cream cheese (how about a smoked-salmon flavored one?) and lowfat cheddar.
  6. Go Gourmet! – If you don’t need to lose weight, but want to eat gourmet frozen meals, you could try our One Serving Meals Bundle #1 or One Serving Meals Bundle #2.  The main courses are individually packaged but sold in pairs, so you can eat one of the pair and leave the other in the freezer. We also have single-serving side dishes to go along with the mains. Desserts optional!
  7. Pita Pocket – Stuff half a pita pocket with anything good– beans, lettuce, cabbage, radishes celery, cucumber, chicken, avocado, coleslaw, chopped nuts, feta.
  8. Lettuce Wraps – Bring in anything that you would normally have in a sandwich- tuna or egg salad, lunch meats, leftover chicken, curried food, sliced bratwurst. Wrap it in some nice fresh lettuce leaves with your favorite condiment.

There you go, eat healthy!

Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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