Food  &  Party

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    Lately I've got ice cream on my mind. Not just ice cream, but ice cream concoctions -- sundaes, sandwiches, you name it. I've been craving decadent ice cream desserts like crazy lately. So I've been looking around the web for sundae inspiration. AND! I just tapped Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and chef of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, for her sundae-building tips. Bauer is also the author of the insanely yummy cookbook Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts. And all I can say is: We are about to change our ice cream sundae game in a major way.

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    Whenever I think of barbecue ribs, I think about sweet, savory, sticky sauce that gets all over your face and hands! Fun, right? Sometimes. Other times? It's just a hassle. So lately I've been looking into recipes that require a great dry rub -- tons of spices and savory flavors that are rubbed right into the meat as a tenderizer. Mmmmm!

    We tried this short ribs recipe at a recent family get-together and loved it: 

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    Has this ever happened to you? You have all the ingredients (and the best intentions) for preparing a delicious dinner in your Crock-Pot when, all of a sudden, you realize you were supposed to get cookin' three hours ago? If you're like me, you've probably wondered, "Instead of eight hours on low, can I just set it for four on high? Is there a difference?" 

    Crock-Pot guru and author of the soon-to-be released OATrageous Oatmeals Kathy Hester shares her insight into the mysteries of the slow cooker's high versus low settings.

    "In a modern slow cooker, if a general recipe says to cook for eight hours on low, you can usually cook it four hours on high instead if the timing works better for you," she explains.

    Good to know, but is that really all there is to it? Not so fast, Hester says. 

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    My husband loves, loves, LOVES fried chicken! As for me, I like eating it but want nothing to do with the messy pans and splattered grease all over my kitchen, to say nothing of the calories that come with deep frying.

    This oven-made fried chicken recipe would make us both happy ... it uses boneless, skinless breasts, and instead of frying, it cooks in the oven in a bit of butter for maximum flavor and minimum fat! However, it boasts a crispy, flavorful coating just like the classic preparation. Best of all, it uses a disposable pan, so you can take it to a picnic or potluck or just toss the whole thing when you're done. This would be a great homemade alternative for nugget-loving kids, too.

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    Tired of the same old lettuce and tomato salads? Well, the good news is getting your greens doesn't have to be dull. 

    Feast your eyes on some flavorful ways to make the most of your produce. Anything but your garden variety salads, these mouth-watering meals are as filling as they are delicious.

    From fun-to-make taco bowls to steak and spicy shrimp, these five salads are so fabulous, you'll forget a single ingredient is good for you! 

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    Whether you're entertaining friends and family or just feel like enjoying some good old comfort food this summer, here are some of my absolute favorite recipes that together make up all the courses of the ultimate comfort food dinner

    What's extra special, aside from their taste, is the fact that the side dishes and dessert can be prepared up to a day ahead, and the main course practically takes care of itself in the Crock-Pot. 

    So, go ahead, invite some guests and serve up some flavorful fare!

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    I am NOT a morning person, and neither are two out of the other three people in my house. But even my morning-sunshine daughter is often playing beat-the-clock to get out the door to school or lessons on time. There's little time for a hot, home-cooked breakfast for any of us.

    That's why these breakfast bars, which are packed with wholesome ingredients and delicious accents, are so wonderful! And unlike the ones you buy at the store, you know what goes into them. Parchment paper makes cleanup incredibly easy as well! I plan to make a couple batches before school starts and have them ready for my sleepy-headed crew to grab and go on busy mornings.

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    I think we can all agree on this one thing about ice cream: It melts when it's warm outside. Heck, it melts in a slightly chilly room. So when Christie Watson discovered her son's ice cream sandwich hadn't melted (much) after sitting in 80-degree weather for 12 hours, she was naturally suspicious. After checking the box of Walmart Great Value bars to verify that they are made with real ice cream, she tried a little experiment. She left another bar out overnight. Sure enough, that one didn't melt, either. "I thought to myself: What am I feeding to my children?" Watson said.

    What's the deal with these ice cream bars?

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    This time of year, I pretty much refuse to turn on the oven except in very limited circumstances, so grilling is our favorite way to get dinner on the table! My husband is the grill guy, although I am learning. But the one thing we are both terrible at is fish. It sticks, it overcooks, it flakes apart and falls through the grates ... disaster! 

    This recipe finds a creative way around the challenges of fish on the grill; you wrap it in a foil packet with onion and lemon to infuse bright flavors into the rich fish. It turns out moist, perfectly cooked, and delicious. You can adapt this technique for other kinds of fish or for a dinner-size entrée, as well.

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    Got any ancient condiments lurking in your refrigerator? I do. Whenever I buy that fancy French mayonnaise, we seem to use all the stuff within a few days. But I also keep a bottle of "guest" ketchup because, while my son and I hate the stuff, most every other kid we ever have over for lunch loves it. I don't know how old our guest ketchup is -- three years? Meanwhile, I know I made that grape jam back in September. There's no mold on it, but is it still good?

    Unlike other foods, condiments aren't usually going to give off obvious signs that they need to be thrown out. Many are made to last a long time. But how long do open bottles and jars of them last in the refrigerator? Here are 8 condiments you should throw out of your fridge right now.

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