Category Archives: Cooking Tips

Easy Cookbooks For The Kids In Your Family

Have you ever thought it would be great to get your child or grandchild cooking at an early age?  One of the reasons we works so hard on a family cookbook is to preserve our favorite recipes for future generations. It is equally important to help that next generation develop a love of good food and cooking at an early age. That is why Family Cookbook Project created a simple personalized cookbook just for the kids in your life.

Kids Cookbook Project lets you create your own customized cookbook for the special little one in your life. Simply enter your  child’s name and choose boy or girl and immediately preview them in their own special personalized Cookbook! We will then print your full color customized, personalized kids cookbook. It’s just $24.95.

Keep Kids Interested in Reading …put them in the story! Every child loves a story. A good story helps them to explore their imagination. A great story has them as the main character and holds their interest in reading. That’s what we do! …Kids Cookbook Project makes great stories about children with your child as the main character. And we make it easy and simple to do …as simple as 1-2-3.

This would make a great personalized gift for the youngsters in your life and help them learn their way around the kitchen. To learn more and to order. visit Kids Cookbook Project.

Target Temperatures for Grilling Meats and Chicken

For a long time, judging if meat was cooked to our liking was judged by look and feel, an uncertain art at best, it is actually pretty easy to get great results all the time when you use an instant-read thermometer. A thermometer is the only reliable way to measure internal temperature. When grilling or baking meat and chicken, it is important to let the meat rest before cutting into it and serving.  If given the time to rest the meat will lose less juice when you cut it and when you eat it the meat will be juicier and tastier. Steaks or chops should stand for 5 minutes before serving while other thicker cuts should be longer. Remember that the meat with continue to cook even after being taken off the grill or out of the oven. Include that fact in your calculation of when to take the food from the heat. Rely on the thermometer for doneness, and save your creativity for seasoning and presentation.
USDA Safe Minimum Family Cookbook Project Sugests
Chicken & Turkey
Whole or parts 165 165 breast 165-175 thigh
Beef & Lamb
Rare 125 + 3 minute rest
Medium rare 130-135
Medium 135-140
Medium well 145 + 3 minute rest 140-150
Well done 155+
Ground 160 160
Pork
Medium rare 145 + 3 minute rest 145 + 3 minute rest
Medium 150
Well done 160
Ground 160 160
    Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest! Also check out our BBQ Recipes Facebook Group and Family BBQ and Grilling Recipes Pinterest board.  

Here are some of the Top Cookbooks of 2019 according to Amazon.com that we really like. Click on the Amazon image to learn more about the cookbook on Amazon and give a try.

Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated

The Joy of Cooking is a staple cookbook for most kitchens and for many of us it was our first cookbook. This is the newest edition and makes a great wedding gift.

 

The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook, Gift Edition: 650 Recipes for Everything You’ll Ever Want to Make

If your like my family, The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook is just what you need when the kids are off on their own. Our recipes normally feed 6 or more. This cookbook helps you to create meals when there are just the two of you.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking is such a good cookbook that they made a TV show about it. You can watch it on Netflix. However, if you are on a low salt diet, this cookbook is not for you.

 

Appetites: A Cookbook

Created from famous chef Anthony Bourdain the recipes of Appetites: A Cookbook boils down forty-plus years of professional cooking and globe-trotting to a tight repertoire of personal favorites—dishes that everyone should (at least in Mr. Bourdain’s opinion) know how to cook.

 

The Healthy Family Cookbook: 100 Fast and Easy Recipes for the Whole Family

Many busy families don’t have time for meals together. In our house it was the one time we all sat together and enjoyed each other. The Healthy Family Cookbook: 100 Fast and Easy Recipes for the Whole Family helps create quick, satisfying meals the whole family will love, and tips for raising adventurous eaters.

This cookbook is also available for free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion

Many family gathering start with cheese and crackers. How ever a charcuterie can be so much more.  Beautiful Boards: 50 Amazing Snack Boards for Any Occasion shows you what you can include and how to arraign it for maximum impact.

Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over

Having people over for dinner does not always have to be a major event. Nothing Fancy: Unfussy Food for Having People Over provides some outstanding recipes is a great guide to low-stress feeding friends and family.

Best of the Family Cookbook Project Cookbook

While it was not on Amazon’s Best Cookbooks of 2019, it’s one our our favorite s. Best of the Family Cookbook Project Cookbook is a collection of recipes from our family cookbook editors that are tried and true recipes for you to enjoy introducing to your own family.

 

Top Blog Posts of 2019

Family Cookbook Project is very proud of our blog Creating A Family Cookbook Project. Each week we post articles on what’s new for Family Cookbook Editors, recipe writing hints, How to make a better family cookbook articles and general cooking tips for our readers.

Here are the  most read articles of 2019:

1) 4 Family Cookbook Mistakes to Avoid 
2) How To Scan Recipe Cards into a Family Cookbook
3) Top Cookbook Covers of 2018 
4) How To Make A Bridal Shower Cookbook
5) Anatomy of a Great Recipe
6) The Easiest Way to Preserve Family Recipes
7) Highlighting recipes with recipe symbols
8) Common Peppers at your Grocery Store

 

Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Best Cookbook Stands for Family Cookbooks

We love creating family cookbooks not only because it is an rewarding project and preserves our family recipes for future generations, but because we use it in the kitchen! Having all of your favorite recipes in one place is wonderful, but a cookbook stand can make meal time even easier in the kitchen.

Family Cookbook Project has researched online for what are the best cookbook stands for family cookbooks and here are our top cookbook stand recommendations  and a link to find them on Amazon.com.

Creative Co-Op DE2617 Metal Cookbook Holder

Price: $31.50
Size: 13 x 3.2 x 13.4 inches
Amazon Rating: 4.5 stars
Description: This green cookbook Holder is 13.5″ x 13″. It has two metal balls on chains to hold down the pages. It has a weathered vintage look and the easel folds in and out.
What we liked: Holds large cookbooks and family cookbooks alike. The ball and chain is heavier than we expected, effectively holding down pages. Looks nice in the kitchen even when not being used.

BestBookStand Nice Production INP-101-O Book Stand


Price: $15.99
Size: 11.50 inches X 8.27 inches
Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars
Description: This cookbook stand is made from strong but lightweight material. It is easy to clean and has rounded corners.
What we liked: Can easily hold extremely large cookbooks as well as family cookbooks. Comes with different tilting options for various viewing angles. Can come in different sizes. The page holders can swivel in any direction for easy reading. Most affordable option we liked.

Deluxe Large Cookbook Holder – Acrylic Shield With Cherry Wood Base


Price: $60.95
Size:19 x 13 x 3 inches
Amazon Rating: 4.7 stars
Description: The cherry wood base is sturdy enough to handle any size book and adjusts to a comfortable reading angle. The clear acrylic shield stands in front of your cookbook to protect it from cooking splatter. A stylish black metal hinge allows the entire holder to fold flat for storage and also permits the shield to be pulled forward for easy page turning. The extra large size is perfect for larger books. Cherry base with acrylic shield – Adjusts to any book – Folds flat for storage. Made in America by Clear Solutions Household.
What we liked: This is the Cadillac of cookbook stands. Acrylic shield easy to clean and protects the family cookbook. It’s expandable to fit larger 3 ring binder cookbooks and you can change the angle of the book to avoid glare from the overhead lights. it also collapses for easy storage.

Hala Flip Cookbook Holder Bamboo Large with Acrylic Shield


Price: $38.89
Size: 10 x 13.5 x 1.5 inches
Amazon Rating: 4 stars
Description:  The adjustable 3-position splatter screen holds cookbooks at the easy-to-read angle that you prefer. The shield pulls forward for easy, one hand page turning. The Flip folds up for easy storage – the slim design allows it to be stored with cookbooks on bookshelves or upright in cabinets, saving precious kitchen space. Professionally and sustainably designed by M26 Studio in Chicago!
What we liked: Nice modern look and feel. Can be used for family cookbooks and tablets. An affordable option for a cookbook holder with a plexiglass cover to protect the pages.

OXO Good Grips Pop-Up Cookbook Holder


Price: $69.95
Size: 1.75 x 9 x 12.62 in
Amazon Rating: 4.6 stars
Description: The Cookbook Holder auto-opens for easy loading and can accommodate very thick and tall books without tipping over. The clear splatter screen holds cookbooks securely in place and upright at an easy-to-read angle without distorting words or images. The screen easily pulls down, allowing you to turn the page with one hand. When you’re finished, simply fold up the Cookbook Holder for easy storage – the slim design makes it perfect for storing with cookbooks on bookshelves or flat in cabinets or drawers.
What we liked: Sleek modern design of white / acrylic fits in well with many kitchen appliances. Splatter guard keeps pages and screens clean without distorting words or images.  Holder auto-opens for easy placement of family cookbooks or tablets.

 

How we did our research: Family Cookbook Project reviewed hundreds of cookbook stands available on the Internet and in retail stores. We reviewed product descriptions, customer reviews, custom question and third party reviews. We purchased those cookbook stands rising to the top and made our final determination on what would be included in this article. Family Cookbook Project is an Amazon affiliate program and does receive a small fee for any products purchased from our site. 

 

Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

The best cookie recipes can be frozen and used as needed

In our house, there is nothing like a warm, soft cookie right out of the oven. However since it is not practical to make dough for only a few cookies at a time, the next best thing is to freeze your cookie dough and pull out enough cookies for your immediate needs.

Freezing cookies also provides time saving opportunities when you want to get ready for a holiday cookie swap in October or getting ready for a school bake sale anytime.

How you best freeze cookies depends on what type of cookie you are making. The FamilyCookbook Project had collected thousands of cookie recipes if you need a suggestion.

Cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin freeze best if you make the actual cookie beforehand. Scoop out the dough just as if you were about to bake it and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (they can be close, but not touching). Instead of putting it into the oven, but them into the freezer for atleast 6 hours instead. Once frozen, the dough balls get sealed inside a plastic freezer bag and when it is time to bake, you are ready to go.

Cookies like shortbread or sandies, or any smooth slice-and-bake cookies can be pressed into logs, wrapped in wax paper and frozen solid. Prepare the dough as usual, then shape it into one or two logs that can be covered with wax paper and placed in a plastic freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, let them warm on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. You might also want to let the logs thaw in the fridge for a few hours before you’re ready to use the dough. Slice the cookies into thick disks and you’re ready to put them in the oven as usual.

The third type of cookies that can be frozen are cut-out cookies, like sugar cookies and many holiday cookies. The dough for these cookies can be frozen in disks and then stacked together with wax paper between them. When ready to bake, thaw until bendable and continue with the recipe.

Most frozen cookies will need an extra minute or two in the oven. Otherwise, prepping and baking the cookies is exactly the same as in the recipe.

 

Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Standard Measurements for Recipes

For many generations, recipes were handed down by word of mouth from mother to daughter. Recipes consisted of a little of this and a smidgin of that. The food always came our great – or at least that is what we told out mothers! Today things are different. Computers make is easy to write down our recipes and share them with friends and family members over the Internet. However it is important to remember that cooking has a language of its own. It is a language of ingredients and measurements and directions. I believe the most important of these is measurements. If we did not have standard measurements for cooking, “T” could be a teaspoon, a tablespoons, a thimble full or a truck load! Here are a list of Standard Measures Abbreviations commonly used in recipes.

teaspoon……………………… tsp.
tablespoon…………………… tbsp. or T.
cup…………………………….. c.
quart…………………………… qt.
ounce…………………………. oz.
pint…………………………….. pt.
gallon…………………………. gal.
inch…………………………….. in.
pound………………………….. lb.
milliliter…………………………. ml
liter……………………………….. L
milligram……………………….. mg
gram……………………………… g
kilogram ……………………….. kg
millimeter……………………… mm
centimeter…………………….. cm
meter……………………………. m
Celsius…………………………… C
Fahrenheit……………………. F

Another important thing about standard measurements is that they don’t work if you don’t use them! Including an ingredient in your recipe without a specific amount is likely to leave someone trying the recipe for the first time scratching their head and wondering what to do. Remember know one will know unless you include it in your recipe.

Bill Rice is founder and Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories through customized printed cookbooks filled with treasured recipes. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How To Freeze Cookie Dough

In our house, there is nothing like a warm, soft cookie right out of the oven. However since it is not practical to make dough for only a few cookies at a time, the next best thing is to freeze your cookie dough and pull out enough cookies for your immediate needs.

Freezing cookies also provides time saving opportunities when you want to get ready for a holiday cookie swap in October or getting ready for a school bake sale anytime.

How you best freeze cookies depends on what type of cookie you are making. The FamilyCookbook Project had collected thousands of cookie recipes if you need a suggestion.

Cookies like chocolate chip and oatmeal-raisin freeze best if you make the actual cookie beforehand. Scoop out the dough just as if you were about to bake it and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat (they can be close, but not touching). Instead of putting it into the oven, but them into the freezer for atleast 6 hours instead. Once frozen, the dough balls get sealed inside a plastic freezer bag and when it is time to bake, you are ready to go.

Cookies like shortbread or sandies, or any smooth slice-and-bake cookies can be pressed into logs, wrapped in wax paper and frozen solid. Prepare the dough as usual, then shape it into one or two logs that can be covered with wax paper and placed in a plastic freezer bag. When you’re ready to bake, let them warm on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. You might also want to let the logs thaw in the fridge for a few hours before you’re ready to use the dough. Slice the cookies into thick disks and you’re ready to put them in the oven as usual.

The third type of cookies that can be frozen are cut-out cookies, like sugar cookies and many holiday cookies. The dough for these cookies can be frozen in disks and then stacked together with wax paper between them. When ready to bake, thaw until bendable and continue with the recipe.

Most frozen cookies will need an extra minute or two in the oven. Otherwise, prepping and baking the cookies is exactly the same as in the recipe.

 

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How to Host a Chili Cook-off

Chili is always a family favorite and most families have many chili recipes depending on the branch. A fun event for bringing the family together is to host a chili cook off where everyone brings a crockpot full of chili and a blind tasting is used to determine which chili will win the prize that year.

Here are some rules and guidelines we at Family Cookbook Project use when our family has a chili cook off.

Pre-Chili Cook-Off Planning

  • Invite guests to bring their best chili in a slow cooker, hot and ready to serve. Encourage a variety – meatless, spicy, white, or surprise ingredient. Have them bring their recipes as well.
  • Not everyone has to bring chili but make sure you have no more than 10 options for people to try otherwise they will get overloaded and not be able to tell the difference between each participant.
  • Make sure you have enough bowls and spoons or buy disposables so everyone can have a separate spoon for each chili.
  • Make Chili Name Tags with the name of each chili, a rating for heat level and the entry number.
  • Make enough ballots so each guest has a ballot for each chili. The ballot should have entry numbers from 1 to 10, a space where the taster can rank them from 1 to 10 and a third column for notes.

Chili-Tasting Set-Up

  • Just before the guests arrive, set up a Chili Toppings Bar—offer a variety of chili toppings and “go-withs “. Include shredded cheese, chopped onions, tomatoes, olives, bell peppers, sliced jalapenos and sour cream for toppings. You can get these ready the day before. Just cover and refrigerate until needed. Great go-withs include crackers, corn bread, tortillas and corn chips.
  • You may want to invest in several power strips to plug-in the crockpots spread out among among several outlets, so you don’t pop a circuit breaker.
  • Offer a variety of drinks; soft drinks, beer and maybe even a signature cocktail. You can also add a tossed green salad and dessert to round out the meal.

Suggested Rules of the Cook-Off 

  • Keep the name of the cook of each chili secret—as to not throw the vote!
  • Invite your guests to taste a spoonful of each chili and fill out a ballot for their favorite before eating it as a meal. Disposable spoons makes this more sanitary. Have them clean their palate between tastings with a little water or soda cracker.
  • Have guests rate each chili on the ballot. The chili with the most points wins!
  • Announce the maker of each chili and then announce the winner.
  • Award prizes – grand prize, hottest, most creative, or easiest for just a few ideas. Amazon.com has some great chili contest recipes that you’ll find here.
  • Add each of the recipes to your family cookbook. You can even create a stand-a-lone chili cookbook to share with family and friends.

If in doubt you can always check with the experts at the International Chili Society. They have a whole laundry list of rules and regulations for how a chili cook-off should be run.

At the end of the day, you want everyone to have fun and enjoy the food.

Bill Rice loves Chili and is Publisher of the Family Cookbook Project which helps families and individuals create personalized cookbooks to preserve recipes for future generations. Learn more at FamilyCookbookProject.com

Understand Egg Carton Dates

If you’re confused about the dates you see on egg cartons, it’s not surprising. Food product dating is hard to understand. One of the more puzzling facts is that none of the dates on food packages — not even “use by” dates — are an indication of food safety. Instead, package dates refer to product quality.

An “expiration” or “sell by” date on some egg cartons helps to ensure that the eggs are fresh by informing the grocery store not to sell the eggs after the marked date. These dates are also intended to encourage you to use the eggs when they’re still at their highest quality. An expiration date on the carton is not required but, if one is used, it can be no more than 30 days after the eggs were packed. Since the packer or retailer may choose a date under 30 days, your local retailer can give you more complete information about how many days a “sell by” or “expiration date” allows after packing.

Some cartons show a Julian date on the short side of the carton. The Julian date is the day the eggs were packed — starting with 001 as Jan 1 and ending with 365 for December 31. For example, eggs packed on June 15 would be marked 166. Some other egg packers print an open “use by” date — July 15, for example — right on the eggshell itself. If properly refrigerated, shell eggs will keep with insignificant quality loss for at least four to five weeks after the Julian or pack date. If there is no Julian or pack date, using your eggs within three weeks of purchase will allow for the possibility that your eggs may have been temporarily warehoused by the retailer before you bought them.

Why isn’t safety a factor in these dates? Food safety depends on many things, including how you handle and store eggs and other foods. Both quality and safety changes can happen before or after the date on a package. For example, if you put a fully-cooked deli ham and a carton of eggs in the trunk of your car on a hot day and then run several errands before you refrigerate the ham and eggs at home, you’ve both reduced the ham’s and eggs’ shelf-life and increased your risk of food-borne illness — no matter what the package dates say.

Even when eggs are refrigerated, time causes a quality difference, too, especially in appearance. As eggs age, the whites thin and the yolks flatten. This means that the eggs will spread more in a pan if you fry them and there will be more “angel wings” of white in the water if you poach them. Because the yolk membranes also weaken with age, the yolks may break whether you want them to or not.

For recipes where shape isn’t important, particularly when whites and yolks are beaten together, you can still use the eggs. The weakening of the yolk membrane, however, makes it easier for bacteria — if they’re present — to reach the nutritious yolk. So, to prevent the possibility of foodborne illness, it’s best to use older eggs in fully cooked items, such as quiches, stratas and baked goods.

When correctly handled, eggs have a fairly long shelf-life compared to other perishable foods. For both quality and safety, simply keep eggs refrigerated and cook them properly.

If you love to cook, consider creating your very own family cookbook at www.FamilyCookbookProject.com. We make it easy to turn a collection of recipes from family and friends into a beautiful family cookbook!

 

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!