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Food and drink - Chef Lynn's Cooking Diary

Archive for the ‘Food and drink’ Category

Healthy Foods Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Think food has to cost a lot in order for it to be healthy? You’re not alone. Many people have been trained to believe that healthy food has to be expensive. But the truth is, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to eat healthy, delicious food. You just have to do a little planning, and be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get cooking. Check out my suggestions below. You’ll soon find that the healthiest choices are often the least expensive in the long run.

Bye-bye brand names. Nationally recognized brands are always more expensive than store brands. Get to know your supermarket’s brands of cereal, canned goods and snacks, and the only difference you’ll notice is in the price.

Stock the staples. Make sure your pantry and refrigerator are well stocked with staple items such as beans, brown rice, pasta, oatmeal and barley that are tasty on their own, and can be used to enhance soups, stews and casseroles.

Check the sales. Nowadays, you can check your supermarket’s website to see what is on sale before going out the door. Shop in season. Fresh produce tastes better and costs less when it’s in season.

Don’t buy more than you need. Reduce waste by purchasing fresh produce a small amount at a time.

Make soup. There is nothing more satisfying, delicious, or inexpensive than a pot of homemade soup. Use store bought soup stock or make your own, and add leftover vegetables, potatoes, pasta, chicken, and herbs for an old-fashioned, soul-warming treat.

Limit dining out. If saving money and eating healthfully are on your agenda, consider bringing your lunch a few times per week and cut back on dining out when possible.

Make your own microwaveable meals. Double your recipes and freeze half. Put chili, soup and entrees in freezer and microwave safe containers for quick lunches you can easily reheat.

Take time to plan your meals and grocery lists. You will see big nutrition benefits and your bank account will thank you.

Kitchen Aid’s New Pasta Press Attachment

I love, love, love pasta and I recently had the opportunity over the weekend to use the brand new Kitchen Aid Pasta Press attachment made for their stand mixer.  I have been using Kitchen Aid’s Pasta Roller attachment for several years now and I absolutely love the ease of making fresh Fettuccine and Spaghetti. During the Christmas holidays, I actually gave out packages of flavored pasta (Rosemary and Garlic, Sundried Tomato, and Spinach flavors) that everyone loved and are still talking about.
The new Pasta Press, which is exclusive to William-Sonoma, is a brilliant way of producing all those wonderful pasta shapes at home; which are normally only found pre-packaged in gourmet stores.  This weekend I made and packaged for future use, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, Large and Small Macaroni, and I have to admit..two shapes I wasn’t too familiar with; Bucatini and Fusilli. 
You have to own a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer in order to use the new pasta press, but as I tell just about anyone that listens, owning a KA Stand Mixer is one of the best investments a cook can make.  It’s not necessary to use it only for preparing, cakes, pies or pastries; I actually use my stand mixer more for cooking than for baking.  I’ll have to share with you later some of the fun things I use my stand mixer and the various attachments for.
To make any of the six pasta shapes is a simple four step process.
1.    Mix dough
2.    Attach any of the six pasta plates and drop walnut-size pieces of dough into hopper.
3.    Use the swing-arm dough cutter to cut pasta at desired length as it exits the press.
4.    Pasta may be cooked immediately or dried and stored for later use.
I was anxious to try out the Fusilli that I made so I prepared Fusilli With Shrimp, Asparagus, Basil, and Balsamic Glaze.  It was delicious!..I say ‘was’ because everyone wanted to take some home with them.  Try this recipe and let me know your thoughts.
Fusilli With Shrimp, Asparagus Basil, and Balsamic Glaze
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb medium shrimp
1 lb asparagus
1 medium red onion, halved and sliced (1 1/2c)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaf
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup grated romano cheese
  1. Bring 4 qt water to boil adding salt and pasta. Cook al dente. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Right before putting pasta in boiling water bring balsamic vinegar to boil in 8 in skillet over med heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer slowly until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 c 15-20 minutes.
  3. While pasta is cooking and balsamic is reducing heat 2 tbsp oil in 12 in skillet over high heat until beginning to smoke.
  4. Cut asparagus in 1 in lengths discarding the bottom 1 inch.
  5. Add asparagus, onion, black and red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt and stir to combine.
  6. Cook without stirring until asparagus begins to brown about 1 minute then add clean, devined shrimp, stir and continue cooking.
  7. Stir occasionally until asparagus is tender-crisp and shrimp is done about 4 min longer.
  8. Add shrimp, asparagus, basil, lemon juice, 1/2 Romano,and remaining 3 tbsp oil to pasta in stockpot toss to combine.
  9. Serve immediately, drizzling 1-2 tsp balsamic glaze over individual servings and sprinkle cheese accordingly.

July 7th is National Strawberry Sundae Day

I like the idea that each day is designated as a different “National Food Holiday”.   I had no idea that today, July 7, is known as National Strawberry Sundae Day.


I can’t even remember when I developed my love for Strawberries.  I recall always eating them.  So much so that I often would make myself sick…especially when I would attend the annual Ponchatoula (that’s in Louisiana, Ya’ll) Strawberry Festival in April.  My family would bring home crates of strawberries at a time so we would have them on hand and probably because of my love for them.  We would make a variety of strawberries dishes.  My favorite, of course, would be a Strawberry Sundae…with lots of whipped cream…hold the cherry!…I’m not crazy bout cherries. 


This is the perfect time to add sweet, tasty berries to ice cream (or yogurt) for a cooling summer treat.


If you are like me and are trying to monitor your daily caloric intake then you’ll love this recipe that I got from FoodFit.com. Yummy!!…It’s so easy to make.  Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings. Whipped cream is a must.

Celebrate today, with a Strawberry Sundae


Strawberry Sundae

This recipe serves: 2



1 1/2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

1/4 cup sugar, or to taste

4 scoops vanilla non-fat frozen yogurt

2 teaspoons walnuts, chopped

2 teaspoons semisweet chocolate shavings or sprinkles

Cooking Instructions

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the sliced strawberries with sugar.

2. Puree half of the strawberries in a food prcessor to make a strawberry sauce. Reserve the sauce and the remaining sliced strawberries in the refrigerator until ready to use.


3. Pour a few teaspoons of strawberry sauce into the bottom of each sundae glass. Add a scoop of frozen yogurt to each and drizzle with more strawberry sauce. Add another scoop of frozen yogurt and top with the remaining sauce and sliced strawberries.


4. Decorate each sundae with nuts and chocolate shavings.


Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Sundae 



Protein8 g

Total Carbohydrate71 g

Dietary Fiber3 g

Soluble Fiber1 g

Insoluble Fiber2 g

Sugar31 g

Total Fat3 g

Saturated Fat1 g

Monounsaturated Fat1 g

Polyunsaturated Fat1 g

Trans Fatty Acid (tfa)0 g

Omega-3 Fatty Acid0 g

Omega-6 Fatty Acid1 g

Cholesterol1 mg

Percent Calories from Fat8 %

Percent Calories from Protein9 %

Percent Calories from Carbohydrate84 %

Happy Ice Cream Soda Day!

Now here is a holiday I don’t mind celebrating…National Ice Cream Soda Day.
One of my favorite ice cream memories was when I was a kid.  My Mom used to make us Black Cows made with Barq’s root beer and vanilla ice cream. OMG, it was so good.  I haven’t had one in years.  Here’s the recipe as I remember it from the 60-70’s…
The root beer must be very cold when you make these floats, or the ice cream will melt too quickly. My mother always made these in those clear glass beer steins (which we used to drink ice water instead of beer).

Prep Time: 5 minutes


  • 4 scoops super-premium ice cream
  • 16 oz. bottle root beer


Pour about 1/2 cup root beer into the bottom of each glass. Carefully add one scoop of ice cream to each glass, then fill the glass with more root beer. The glasses will probably overflow – that’s part of the fun! Eat slowly, starting with the cold frozen foam on top, scooping ice cream and root beer together with your spoon, then drinking the creamy, caramel colored root beer at the end. Serves 4
Here’s the adult version – Root Beer Floatini 
The Root Beer Floatini is a vodka spiked, root beer float; and it makes an excellent treat. The best part of the Root Beer Floatini is that Three Olives Root Beer Vodka does a pretty good job at replicating its non-alcoholic predecessor and there’s a little twist when you add the amaretto.
This is an excellent tasting and elegant-looking dessert takes you back in time and gives you a nice ‘buzz’ as you reminisce of times gone by:
  • 1 1/2 oz Three Olives Root Beer Vodka
  • 1/2 oz amaretto liqueu
  • melon-ball sized scoop of vanilla ice cream


  1. Shake the vodka and amaretto with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass.
  3. Float a small scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center.

Today is National Tapioca Day

Today is National Tapioca Day
Tapioca comes in many names and shapes. Native to Brazil, this starchy treat has circled the globe and is eaten by kids and adults of many nationalities. Aside from tapioca pudding, this starch is also used in the production of pills and house paint! 
I’m not crazy about Tapioca but here’s a receipe for you to try.
Butterscotch Tapioca
Serves/Makes: 6    |  Ready In: < 30 minutes


3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Mix tapioca, salt and milk in heavy-bottomed pan and let stand 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, about 6 minutes, until mixture comes to full boil. Remove from heat. Melt butter in small skillet and stir in brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar melts and bubbles for 1 minute. Stir into tapioca mixture and add pecans. Serve warm or cold.

1st Posting

My first blog posting….Yea!!!

Chef Lynn Ware


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