Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hi Everyone....Back from Vacation....

Welcome back and sorry for the vacation from writing. This summer has been a magnificent one weather-wise. Fun filled and action packed with the 2 kids schedules, family obligations, summer parties and picnics and of course as much boating as possible! With all that activity, there comes food planning, "dish bringing" and some sort of economical shopping for the bbq's and weekly dinners you may be planning.

I am an avid Sunday newspaper reader. I love to look at all of the additions to the paper and of course the weekly ads. I gather an armory of information on bargain shopping for the week ahead as well as clip as many coupons as I can. It is a great resource for planning, scheduling and learning. Even while on vacation I always try to get the local Sunday paper. I compare pricing from stores in that area vs. the Capital District. Different area but nonetheless worth looking at

Recently, I hit a great bargain at our local Price Chopper. It happen to be a week filled with "buy one get one free" items. The great score of the week was a magnificent boneless pork chop. They were buy one get one free and ran about $4.99/lb. Each package had 2 - 12oz pork chops that were thick and marbled nicely. The one package may have had 3 - 8oz portions....but regardless very nice.

The first package:

Marinated the 3 chops in olive oil, fresh garlic, s&p in a zip loc bag for about 2 hours.
Grilled them outside on the grill....about 10 minutes on one side and 15 minutes on the other. Internal temp on pork should be around 160 degrees.

The second package:

I took a partially frozen chop and cut it in to 3 thinly sliced chops for a total of 6 from both chops. Pounded it out lightly and flash fried it in olive oil/butter and browned on each side.

I wiped out the pan and placed pork on a plate. I chopped up 2 small tomato's that I picked off of my tomato plants that my father has so nicely maintained, added black olives, capers, olive oil, fresh garlic and sauteed in pan. I put the pork back in the pan and topped it with the tomato mixture and melted brie cheese over the top. It was so good and heart healthy as well.

I do not normally shop in Price Chopper but on occassion will when a bargain pops up like that one. I am finding more and more that the major grocery chains in our area are all beginning to compare in pricing. What one has cheaper or on sale the other may have something that is relativley cheaper or on sale.

Thanks for listening and Happy Cooking.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hello Again.....Leftovers Anyone?

I have to admit I am not a huge "leftover" person. I am not big on eating the same meal 2 or 3 times in a row. The only time I can dive in to leftover's is when it they come home with me from an Italian restaurant. I love it when they plate enough chicken saltimboca that you can serve the family for an entire week! Something about sitting down the next night and diving in to that goodness. After it sits in the "to go" container it gains a sort of signature appeal that screams "nuke me"!

With that said, I do not like to waste food, so I try to make an entirely different meal out of something I prepared the evening before. I have learned over the years that when I cook I always cook an abundance of food because one never knows who will be stopping by during dinner hour......and I always have a back-up of boneless chicken breasts in the freezer for those emergency nights!

If you have been following the blog you are aware that I had a dinner party the other night for my husband's family. We had some boneless pork spare-ribs (on sale in Hannaford this week) left over from that evening so I pulled together a sweet and sour pork dish served over coconut rice. It was really good. I have to admit my children did not care for the rice but picked a bit at the pork. I had some fresh veggies left over as well from the Carlson garden raid so I added those to the dish as well.

I took....
5 grilled leftover boneless spare ribs (sliced and diced into small pieces - nothing fancy however big you want the pieces to be is up to you)
Small chopped fresh onion
Small chopped fresh green pepper
Container of sliced mush (optional)
Fresh garlic minced
Can of pineapple chunks (8oz)
1/2 cup sweet and sour sauce or any sweet marinade you may have in pantry (don't stress over something specific - grab what you have)
Sautee couple tablespoons of olive oil, fresh garlic, onion, pepper and mush until translucent. about 15 minutes on med heat.
Throw in rest of the ingredients and mix until heated through.

Minute Brown Rice or White - follow directions on box and add:
1/2 cup coconut
SECRET INGREDIENT: Shhh....don't tell anyone.....1/4 cup Friday's Pina Colada Mix!!
Tablespoon of butter.
Add coconut and Fridays mix to water while it is boiling....add rice cover etc.

Spoon pork over coconut was really good!!

Happy Cooking....shoot me a reply with any questions.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Good Monday Morning

Hello and welcome back....I am hoping that everyone had a relaxing and event filled weekend. I had the great fortune of raiding our friend's garden yesterday and picked a plethora of fresh vegetables and herbs. My husband and children and I had a wonderful time picking the veggies and explaining to them what everything was and how it grew.

Our friends, Tae and Kerri meticulously planted the garden and had a variety of fresh veggies to choose from. I picked a little bit of everything and cooked it all up last evening for family members that came over for a dinner party. I have to say the favorite dish of the evening was an appetizer that I had made. It was a roasted eggplant spread which I served with toasted foccacia wedges and tortilla chips. I topped the spread with roasted beets that I chopped and sprinkled on top. It was very easy and a big hit. Even the kids tried it....and my husband too!

I took...
2 medium eggplants and cut them lengthwise (left the skin on)
Washed, peeled and cut fresh beets
Washed, peeled and cut fresh shallots
Spread out on a sheet pan and sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper. Mixed all together and put in a 500 degree oven for 20 minutes to roast. I put eggplant flesh down to begin and flipped over all veggies after 10 minutes.
After veggies cooled I scraped out center of roasted eggplant flesh and put in a food processor along with shallots, fresh garlic, salt and pepper and whirled around until smooth. While it was processing I added about 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
Scraped out of processor and put in a decorative bowl. Chopped up beets and sprinkled on top. Chillled for about an hour. Served with garlic toast wedges and tortilla chips.

Happy cooking and entertaining. Send me a reply with any questions.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Welcome Back...Kids and Food

Hello everyone.....just thought I would continue where I left off. I am excited about starting my new business and look forward to hearing from everyone. Since my children were born, John 4 and Olivia almost 3, I have for the most part stayed home and taken care of them. It has been a challenge daily, to find foods that they both like to eat and are good for them. I was told by one of my son's occupational therapists that it takes a child 7 times of trying a food to eventually like it or want to have it again. I have made an effort with sticking to that and making them try everything several times. I always try to put a twist on what I cook for them. For example, yesterday for lunch I made my son a grilled cinnamon and sugar peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It is a spin-off of a grilled cheese and he loved it. I took two pieces of whole wheat bread, buttered it, sprinkled cinnamon and sugar on the buttered sides and grilled it on low heat in a non-stick frying pan. Please let it cool before serving to kids. The sugar on the bread caramelizes and is very hot!! I cut into quarters and he loved it. I am thinking my husband would enjoy this as well. Happy cooking and I look forward to sending you an update tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hello and Welcome

My name is Melanie Teliska and I have been cooking and entertaining for years. It has always been my passion to cook and I enjoy bringing people together through food. I have worked in and owned restaurants my entire life. Recently, I started another facet of my career which is a business that I conduct at home cooking class parties for people interested in learning how to cook. I named it "A Fresh Start" for a multitude of reasons. I enjoy cooking with fresh healthy foods that you can stock in your everyday refrigerator or pantry. I am also at a point in my life after having 2 small children that I am ready to start fresh and kickstart my career again.

I am excited to bring to you my blog that will showcase daily advice on cooking, efficient and cost effective grocery shopping and stocking your pantry; along with recipes and updates on booking a party to have cooking demonstrations done right in your own home.

I look forward to hearing from my loyal customers, friends and family as well as meeting new people interested in learning how to cook anything from the basics to more advance type recipes. I am always available to give advice and send a recipe if needed. Happy Cooking!!