Monthly Archives: October 2013

The 10 Hottest Cooking Show Hosts

10 Hottest Cooking Show Hosts

Men love beautiful women. But beautiful women who can cook? That is in a whole other category. Ranging from humble beginnings to fashion models to even a Victoria Secret model, these women will heat up your kitchen. We have compiled our favorite 10 Hottest Cooking Show Hosts.

#10 – Rachel Ray

Rachael Ray | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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Shows30 Minute Meals











#9 – Kelly Choi

Kelly Choi | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsTop Chef Masters











#8 – Sara Lafontain

Sara LaFontain | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsPerfect Day













#7 – Marcela Valladolid

Marcela Valladolid | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsMexican Made Easy











#6 – Ingrid Hoffmann

Ingrid Hoffmann | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsSimply Delicioso












#5 – Nadia G

Nadia G | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsBitchin Kitchen












#4 – Catherine McCord

Catherine McCord | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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#3 – Cat Cora

Cat Cora | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsIron Chef












#2 – Giada de Laurentiis

Giada de Laurentiis | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsNext Food Network Star











#1 – Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi | 10 hottest cooking show hosts

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ShowsTop Chef












Cheap Easy Meals: Shopping at Bulk Stores

Cheap easy meals - Shopping on a budget

Photo by Carl Dunn – All rights reserved

Many of us live on a budget. Coming up with cheap easy meals is often a chore. We grow weary of constantly cooking dinner for our families. Our families rarely realize the struggle we go through at the grocery store and food markets. We begin to make poor dinner choices. I face it, you face it. However, sacrificing “health” for the almighty dollar is not a great choice either. Shopping at bulk stores can help you return a bit of sanity to your food budget.

Bulk Item Stores

In the past 10 years, large outlet stores like Sam’s Club and Costco have appeared. These stores specialize in selling large quantity (“bulk”) food items, paper products and many other items. Used correctly, these stores can save families hundreds of dollars on their household and food budget. The true trick is to convert these large in-bulk items into healthy cheap easy meals for your family. Here are a few tips.

Tip #1 – Frozen Pizza

Frozen pizzas make cheap easy meals

Photo by Carl Dunn

Frozen Pizza is a family favorite. They are cheap and easy to prepare. However, they lack in taste. With a bit of creativity though, you can transform those cardboard tasting slabs into a tasty and healthy meal. Add a half can of petite cut diced tomatoes on top of frozen pizza. Add fresh chopped peppers. Try a can of pineapple tidbits. You will be amazed by the difference in taste. Basic Cost: $3.00 per pizza


Tip #2 – Frozen Meatballs

Frozen meatballs make cheap easy meals

Photo by Carl Dunn

Meatballs are great for creating cheap easy meals. A bag of frozen meatballs allow to add meat to your dinner recipes without destroying your budget. Typically a family will buy a pound or two of meat and use the entire amount in one meal. With meatballs you can limit the amount of meat to just what you need. Meatball stew needs just a few meatballs per serving. Spaghetti needs 3 or 4 meatballs per plate. Basic cost: $2.50 or less per pound.



Tip #3 – Olive Oil Mixtures

Olive Oil is a base ingredient in many cheap easy meals.

Photo by Carl Dunn

Choosing the right oil makes a large difference in the taste of your recipes. Unfortunately pure Olive Oil or Peanut Oil cost more. Sometimes twice as much as cheaper types of oil. The large bulk stores sell less expensive mixtures like Canola/Olive Oil. A trained cook will know the difference but your family will only taste a deliciously prepared meal. Basic cost: $10 (128 fluid ounces)



 Tip #4 – Bulk Spices

Use Bulk Spices for Cheap Easy Meals

Photo by Carl Dunn

Spices can make cheap easy meals taste better. However, in regular stores spices are expensive. Small bottles of spice can cost $3.00 or more dollars. Bulk stores offer many common spices at a fraction of the normal cost. Best of all, most spices can last many months before they spoil or lose their potency. Look for peppercorn, sea salt and dry rubs. Common spices like oregano or basil are also available.

Basic Cost: Varies depending on the spice.


Cheap Easy Meals Doesn’t Mean Fast Food

Far too often we give into the temptation of picking up a bag of burgers or a bucket of chicken. Yes…these qualify as cheap easy meals but they are unhealthy. If you analyze the actual cost of fast food, a “meal” will often cost more than a homemade dinner. Watch a few documentaries like Super Size Me [DVD] or Food, Inc. and you learn about many of the hidden costs behind fast food.

Bulk Store Locators

Simple Spaghetti Recipe: What to Cook for Dinner

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What to Cook for Dinner

“Spaghetti Night” is a tradition in many households. We love cooking Italian dishes of all kinds and our simple spaghetti recipe is a great answer of what to cook for dinner. Best of all, this recipe is healthy and delicious.

Spend a night or two in an Italian kitchen. You will quickly learn how passionate they are about their food. Buying spaghetti sauce in a jar is just not an option. Using cheap brands of spaghetti is a sin. Their seasonings are all fresh. And not surprisingly their food is delicious, like out-of-this-world delicious.

The first lesson you learn in the Italian kitchen is that their recipes are not simple. Well, not simple for most households. That is why there are 40 different brands of pre-made spaghetti sauce and 10 different brands of spaghetti noodles. But we wanted that out-of-this-world delicious, so we began developing our simple spaghetti recipe. When we decide what to cook for dinner, spaghetti is a favorite choice.

Humorous note: As a Midwestern farm boy, I was never invited into their kitchens. In fact, men are generally not allowed in the Italian kitchen. However, if bring a two bottles of good wine and fill a few wine glasses, you can earn a spot in the corner of the kitchen. Forget getting anywhere near the stove or the cutting board. :-)

Simple Spaghetti Recipe: The Sauce

  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes (look for No-Salt Added brands)
  • 1 clove of garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 cup of red wine
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • 1 yellow or orange pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 6oz can of tomato paste

Preparation Instructions

Put diced tomatoes in a mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the tomatoes into a saucy mixture. Place the olive oil and wine in a stock pot. Heat on medium for 1 minute. Add the garlic and chopped pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato mixture with 1 cup of water. Stir pot until all the ingredients are well mixed. (should take about 1 minute) Add 3 cups of water and stir again. Turn the heat to high and bring the sauce to a slow boil. (should take 3-5 minutes) Turn the heat to simmer. Add a healthy dose of Italian Seasoning. Now for the boring part: You need to let the sauce simmer for at least 1 hour. Stir the sauce every 10-15 minutes. After 30 to 40 minutes, add the can of tomato paste. Stir into the sauce thoroughly.

Simple Spaghetti Recipe: The Noodles

  • 1 pkg of authentic spaghetti noodles (Get the good noodles)
  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp of Salt

Preparations Instructions

Partially fill a large pot with water. Add the olive oil and the salt. Bring to a slow boil. Put in the spaghetti noodles. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir regularly making sure none the noodles are sticking to the bottom of the pot or clumping together. Using a large colander, strain the noodles in the sink. Wash the noodles with cold water.

The Art of “Plating your Spaghetti”

Plating spaghetti properly will turn the average spaghetti dinner into a delicious treat. Begin by placing a tablespoon of olive oil on the plate. Sprinkle on a touch of ground black pepper. Place 1/2 serving of noodles on the plate. Top with some spaghetti sauce. Place the second half of the noodles on the plate. If you plan to use meat, place on meat now. Top with a generous amount of spaghetti sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do you not include meat in your spaghetti sauce?
A: We keep the spaghetti sauce meatless because we like to use the sauce in many different recipes. One night we may do a simple spaghetti and meatball recipe. The next night a chicken parmesan recipe. What to cook for dinner now becomes using homemade spaghetti sauce in different recipes.

Q: Why should I make homemade spaghetti sauce?
A: We have one simple answer – Sodium. Spend a moment reading the labels of store-bought spaghetti sauce and you see the high levels of sodium. With a little practice, your sauce will taste better than anything in a jar.

Q: What is meant by “authentic spaghetti noodles”?
A: Fact: Better noodles taste better. Skip by all the national brands. Look for specialty brands. Look for words like “Organic”, “Stone Milled” and “Authentic”. Eventually, you will be able to judge the quality of the noodles just by looking at the color of the noodles.

Q: Why do you wash your noodles?
A: This question is often debated in the world of Italian cooking. We wash our noodles because it removes any sediments left over from the cooking process. We also believe the washing process delivers better looking noodles.

Q: Can I add other ingredients to the sauce?
A: Absolutely but one warning: Less is more. We have experimented with many flavorings and ingredients over the years. Time and time again, we revert to our simple spaghetti recipe.

Related Links: Other Simple Spaghetti Recipes