How to Cook Pasta to Perfection – All in Pictures

Pasta Cooked Al DentePasta: It’s a popular favorite, it’s versatile, and it’s easy to make.

Here’s all you need to cook pasta to perfection.

Needed to Cook PastaClick any picture on this page for complete, easy to follow step-by-step cooking directions that include tips about how to measure serving size easily for any shape of pasta, how much water to use to cook pasta, and what it means to cook pasta to “al dente” (Italian for “to the teeth”).
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Cinco De Mayo Fresh Salsa and Fresh Guacamole – All in Pictures

Fresh Salsa and GuacamoleHere are two easy to make recipes to bring Cinco de Mayo – or any day – to fantastically flavorful life: fresh chop & mix salsa and fresh guacamole. (Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, is not Mexican Independence Day but is instead the anniversary of the Mexican’s unlikely defeat of the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862.)

As always, the key to make these two recipes as powerfully flavorful as possible: fresh ingredients. You bet!

Here’s what you need to make fresh chop & mix salsa.
Fresh Chop and Mix Salsa IngredientsHere’s what you need to make fresh guacamole.

Fresh Guacamole IngredientsJust click either picture below for either or both easy to follow step-by-step picture book recipes.

Fresh Chop and Mix Salsa Step-By-Step Picture Recipe Fresh Guacamole Step-By-Step Picture Book Recipe


Fresh 5-Ingredient Nonfat Yogurt Salad Dressing – All In Pictures

Fresh 5-Ingredient Nonfat Yogurt Salad DressingHere’s an easy way to change the flavor and calorie content of the fresh 5-ingredient salad dressing shown in the previous article. All you have to do is replace oil with nonfat yogurt. See the nonfat plain Greek yogurt to oil nutrition fact label comparison below and note that a serving of nonfat plain Greek yogurt is 1 cup (8 ounces) while a serving of oil is 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce). That means that 1 cup (8 ounces) of oil contains 1920 calories and 224 grams of fat as compared to the cup (8 ounces) of nonfat yogurt shown below containing 130 calories and 0 grams of fat.

Nonfat Yogurt to Oil Nutrition Comparison

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Fresh 5-Ingredient Salad Dressing – All in Pictures

Fresh Salad DressingIt’s all about learning and adapting. What you see below are the ingredients I used to use to make a fully flavorful, quick, fresh salad dressing. But then after working with some fellow military veterans, some of whom had either or both high blood pressure and diabetes, I improvised a dressing on the fly to show them to make that cut out the added salt and sugar. I even cut out the paprika because, as one of the guys said, “You can’t taste that sh– (stuff) anyway”.

Former Fresh Salad Dressing Ingredients

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Instant 5-Ingredient Salad Dressing – All in Pictures

Instant Salad DressingHere’s a quick, easy, and fantastically flavorful salad dressing that requires only 5 ingredients (garlic powder, black pepper, mustard, vinegar, and oil), a teaspoon, and a 16-ounce jar with a snug fitting lid (if you don’t have a jar, you can use a measuring cup instead). The small amount of salt and sugar in this recipe comes from mustard (and vinegar, if you use balsamic vinegar as shown below), which therefore makes the dressing low in both sodium and sugar, though please check the ingredients you use to make sure they comply safely if you happen to be on a sodium and/or sugar restricted diet.

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Cooking Mistakes Can Taste Great!

Cooking Mistakes Can Taste Great

It’s all about not giving up, being flexible, and staying calm – and, you bet, that’s sometimes a lot easier said than done. And while some cooking mistakes are better to walk away from; burned chocolate is a great example – here’s an example of a cooking mistake that turned out tasting great.

I’d recently intended to make a mixed berry fruit pancake that was supposed to look like this…

Berry Pancake

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How to Chop Garlic Picture Book Directions

Chopping Fresh GarlicThere’s nothing quite like the magnetic scent of freshly cut garlic to attract attention to action in the kitchen. And then, of course, there’s nothing like the fantastic punch of flavor freshly chopped garlic adds to any recipe you’re preparing.

First, here’s what to look for when you buy fresh garlic at the grocery store. For optimal flavor and ease of chopping, select fresh garlic bulbs that are firm to the touch and heavier in weight, not those that are dried out, spongy soft, and lighter in weight as shown in the comparison pictures below. Also, avoid garlic bulbs that have started to sprout green shoots or show signs of dark colored mold on or under the bulb’s papery white skin. Finally, select garlic bulbs with bigger garlic cloves as bigger cloves are a lot easier to peel and chop than smaller cloves. Read more »

How to Make Hummus – All in Pictures

HummusLike I mentioned in the last post that showed how to cook dried garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), garbanzo beans/chickpeas are nut-like in flavor, versatile, meaning they can be used in all kinds of recipes, and are highly nutritious, especially regarding their protein and fiber content. Read more »

How to Cook Dried Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) – All in Pictures

Cooked Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)If you’re not familiar with garbanzo beans or chickpeas, they are nut-like in flavor, versatile, richly nutritious (especially regarding protein an fiber), and extraordinarily appetite-satisfying. Below is a summary of nutrition facts (164 grams is 1 cup of cooked garbanzo beans), which you can click for a full garbanzo bean nutrition graphic posted by Condé Nast that was derived from USDA information.

USDA Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) Nutrition

NOTE: If you’re not used to eating foods high in fiber, like these beans, you can acclimate your body and minimize uncomfortable bloating by starting with a small amount of beans added to your meal and then steadily increasing that amount. I followed that advice myself, and it worked out great.

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How to Take Microwave Cooked Oatmeal From Simple to Exciting – All in Pictures

Microwave Cooked Oatmeal From Simple to ExcitingHere’s how to vary the flavor of microwave cooked oatmeal using commonly found ingredients. First, though, a couple quick points:

1. Flavors and tastes are exceptionally personal. The ingredients you see below work great together – for me, but my taste is not your taste. For example, you’ll see in the picture below that I use plain nonfat Greek yogurt, which I love for its flavor, thick texture, and high protein content. You, however, might not like Greek yogurt – or any yogurt at all for that matter – and that’s ok. Skip it, replace it with something else – and do the same for any other ingredient you see below to make your simple to exciting oatmeal all yours. Read more »

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