Dinner Clubs

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Are you a part of a Dinner Club, Gourmet Club, or Supper Club?  Do you wish that you were part of a group of people who enjoyed cooking food and eating together?  Across the country there are dinner clubs and similar groups where friends gather in groups of 8-12, and every 4-6 weeks they plan a special meal together.  Maybe you would like to start a group in your neighborhood or community.  It is so easy!

Gather a group of friends who enjoy cooking and eating (try to gather people with a similar skill level so that you do not have novices intimidated by great chefs).  Then decide how you want your club to work.  For example, some groups use the time to try new things and experiment with new cuisines or ingredients, while others like to stick to basics that they all enjoy.  You might decide whether the group will have a different theme for each get-together (maybe pumpkin for fall or luau or BBQ for the onset of summer), and how formal or informal the occasions will be.

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Some groups have arrangements for each of the cooks to prepare food before coming (this makes the evening go by more quickly if the cooking doesn’t all have to be done at the location), but others enjoy the experience of preparing dishes on-site as a group.  Also decide whether alcoholic drinks will be part of the evenings, and if so, whether each person will contribute alcohol to the meals or if there will be a rotation of providers.

Choose how often the group will meet and set a regular schedule (perhaps the 3rd Saturday of each month).  Consider how many courses will be served at each event and how those courses will be divvied up and rotate between members.  And once you have all the details figured out, get dishing!  Then meet up about every six months to discuss how everyone likes the way the group is interacting and see if any changes need to be made.

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And … you can use Dish Dish as your tool for keeping all the shared recipes in an online cookbook, where each member of the group could access and share any time – a great resource for sharing recipes with your newfound friends and Dinner Club.

So, what are you waiting for?  Leave us a comment to let us know if you start a group (and cookbook) and how things go.  🙂

Saving Money while Shopping

 

 
Grocery Shopping in Grocery Store | Save Money

 

1. Make a Grocery List Keeeping true to a shopping list keeps us from picking up so many unnecessary items (those pesky impulse buys!).  Those impulse buys can often add as much as 20% to our grocery bill before we know it.  Avoiding those extras by sticking to the grocery list will save us money each and every week.  Try our shopping list and menu planner features to help with this money-saving tip.

2. Cut out Some Coupons— No, this doesn’t require being an extreme coupon person to save some money at the store each week.  Save money by clipping coupons, spending just a few minutes each week browsing through the local paper or weekly flyers to find coupons on items purchased most frequently.  Also take advantage of sites like Coupons.com and find savings for your family.  In the North Texas area, Coupon Crazy Mommy also sends out daily emails with tips on best savings offered in local grocery or drug stores.  Spending just a little bit of time on this task could save $15-20 or more a month for most families.

3. Think Generic — Give the store-brand generic versions of products a try.  Many of the store-brands have come a long way and may even be produced by brand-name manufacturers these  days.  Finding the generic items your family enjoys can help save as much as 20% on the cost of each item.  This could easily add up to $10-20 a month of savings for the average family.

4. Skip the Pre-prepped Items — Items that have already been prepped in some way, such as pre-cut fruit or pre-packaged greens, are always more expensive than purchasing the items and doing the prep yourself.  Of course, it may save you a few minutes, but the savings in money usually far outweigh the time it takes to chop your own salad, cut up fresh fruit or even mix your own spices.  The UCLA Center on the Everyday Lives of Families estimates doing these chores yourself in the kitchen adds only about 10 minutes to meal prep.  Following this simple guideline could save the average family of four $10-15 a month.

5. Avoid Items Pre-Packaged in Small Servings The cheapest way to have snacks in small packages is to buy the larger package and divvy the items up yourself into smaller groups.  As an example, buying the Mini Oreo cookie snack packs would cost roughly three times more per cookie than purchasing the Oreos in a family pack.  Avoiding that type of packaging can help save your family around $10 a month.

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Adding Green – for St. Patrick’s Day, of course!

 

 
st. patrick's day, irish, irish greensWell, usually when we think of getting out our green for St. Patrick’s Day, vegetables are not on our minds, right?  But with the amazing health benefits of these powerful green vegetables, we could add an amazing punch to our lifestyle by incorporating these “greens” on a more regular basis.

 

spinach, greens, cooking with spinach, spinach recipesLet’s start with spinach (which, of course, was Popeye’s favorite!); it is packed with Vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.  These vitamins help our bodies with things like immunity against infections, nerve development, healthy skin and eyes, keeping blood cells healthy, wound healing, iron absorption, neutralizing harmful free radical molecules (which can cause heart disease, strokes and various kinds of cancer), blood clotting, and bone metabolism, just to name a few!  On top of all this, spinach also is high in calcium, iron, and magnesium, minerals that contribute to healthy bones, help protect against high blood pressure, and help carry oxygen to our cells.  Some easy ways to add spinach? Throw it into a salad with the lettuce or put it on a sandwich.  Cook it with scrambled eggs or an omelet for breakfast, or add it to a favorite soup, stew, casserole or pasta dish for dinner.  Try these simple spinach recipes.

 

kale, kale chips, kale recipes, For a traditional Irish touch to your St. Patrick’s Day, whip up a batch of colcannon (kale mixed with mashed potatoes).  Kale provides a valuable mix of Vitamins A, B9, C and K along with calcium and potassium.  This means improved brain and nerve function, help maintaining normal blood pressure, and even aids with minimizing muscle soreness after working out.  Other than using kale in the colcannon, mentioned above, try making some kale chips!  Or chop up some kale for adding to slow-cooked soups, stew or chili.

 

broccoli, swiss chard, collard greens, greens, vegetables, healthy cooking, Collard greens, swiss chard, and broccoli are some other terrific greens for receiving healthy benefits from the vitamins and minerals they contain.  Collard greens with vitamins A, B, C and K plus calcium and protein helps support natural metabolism along with helping keep hair and skin healthy.  They are delicious steamed with some carrots and zucchini; they are also easy to add to soups or stews.  Swiss chard can be cut into long, thin strips to saute with fresh spinach, or use baby varieties of it in salads.  It contains vitamins A, C, and K, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium.  Lastly, throw in some broccoli with whatever you might be steaming or stir-frying, and reap the benefits of its vitamins A and B with calcium.  So many ways to easily add some green healthy foods to the every-day routine.

And tell us about your favorite way to add or prepare greens in the kitchen.  Keep your favorite recipes in your own online cookbook here at Dish Dish!

Have fun Dishin’!

 
 

Fresh Asparagus Health Benefits and Recipes

Are we eating enough vegetables and foods that are good for us?  An easy one to add to the routine this time of year is fresh asparagus.  Something about tiny sprigs of fresh asparagus makes me want to jump up and down with joy that spring has arrived and it is once again time to enjoy some delicious fresh asparagus recipes.
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Asparagus has so many health benefits, too.  It is full of fiber, folates, and vitamins A, C, E and K.  It even has chromium, which assists the body’s insulin in carrying glucose to the cells.  Packed with antioxidants, asparagus ranks high among vegetables because of the way it neutralizes cell-damaging free radicals.  The folate in the asparagus works with Vitamin B12 to help our brains fight off cognitive impairment.

Remember to preserve the nutritional value of your asparagus by cooking it with a waterless method (such as roasting, grilling or stir-frying).  Here are a couple of fabulous recipes to try:

 

Prosciutto Asparagus Spirals

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 Stir-Fried Chicken and Asparagus with Cashews

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Grilled Asparagus Salad

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