The Best Time of Year for a Nature Hike

Take a hike in the woods, fish a mountain brook, and more. Since church is mostly shut down, on Sunday afternoons, Merri Ann and I pack a lunch, grab a lesson manual, and go find a quiet place in the woods for a picnic, time together, and a discussion. This was as quiet a place as you could find, tucked under the Continental Divide. It was an hour on paved roads and 45 minutes on rough dirt roads. That’s a long way for a prayer and discussion, but oh, was it worth it! A Nature Hike in a Quiet Canyon …

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Grilled Panini Sandwich Recipes

Sometimes, there’s nothing better than a hot sandwich, and what better way to do that than with crispy grilled sandwiches? Cook them in the panini press, and you have easy, tasty hot sandwiches in no time. Here are some of our favorite grilled panini sandwich recipes. Tips for Grilled Sandwiches When making a panini or a grilled sandwich, it’s important that you use ingredients that mix well together rather than fight over which one will be the star. In our Reuben sandwich below, we were hesitant with using our Black Russian bread at first because of the big flavor, but …

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Oven Grilled Shish Kabobs

These are the easiest shish kabobs we have ever made.  Just put the whole shish kabobs in the oven and forget them.  When you can’t grill on the deck, this is the way to quick and easy shish kabobs. The marinade is excellent. Ingredients 2 pounds sirloin steak or another beef cut salt 1/4 cup vinegar 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 teaspoon seasoning salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper dash cayenne pepper 1 large sweet onion 2 bell peppers, red or green Directions Trim the beef and cut it into 1 to …

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How to Bake a Perfect Pizza on Your Grill

It’s easy to bake pizza on your grill. Pizzas are baked quick and hot—perfect for the grill. You can have picture-perfect pizzas from your grill in no time. Pizzas make great summer food, but no one wants to heat the oven up to 400 degrees in the summer. That’s okay—grill the pizza. Not only is it the slick way to bake pizzas in the summer, but you’ll also really impress your friends and family—a backyard magician. What You’ll Need to Bake Pizza on the Grill A grill with a cover. You can use gas or charcoal though the charcoal will …

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How to Pack a Terrific Lunch for a Nature Hike

Several years ago, Merri Ann and I hiked up Burns Creek Canyon in the Big Hole Mountains and then up a side canyon called Hells Hole. (It’s not aptly named unless you’re trying to climb out the top of the canyon.) We found a beautiful meadow overlooking the canyon where we spread out a blanket and had a wonderful lunch from our daypacks. The Perfect Lunch for a Nature Hike To keep our food cool and safe in the summer sun, we packed insulated lunch bags, each with an ice a pack and then our food, and then buried them …

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Pork Chops with Apple Gravy

Pork and apples is a classic combination, but the apple gravy is a different twist. We like this pork chops and apple gravy recipe with new red potatoes. The apple cider isn’t dominant, so the gravy works well with potatoes. You can make this on the stovetop or cook your pork chops on the grill.  If you cook the pork chops on the grill, you won’t have drippings for the apple gravy, so we have given you an alternative using Instant Clearjel and butter.  With Instant Clearjel, you don’t have to cook the gravy, so it’s very easy to make.  Of course, …

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How to Make Monte Cristo Sandwiches

This is an old French sandwich circa 1910. It became popular in America in the 1930’s and then seem to drop out of sight in the 1960’s. My dad loved Monte Cristo sandwiches. As a child, it seemed that they were popular in diners and other casual recipes. Either way, they were made with meat, usually ham, and a soft cheese, raspberry jam, and mustard or a hot sauce. They are now a type of sandwich, a meat and cheese sandwich cooked like French toast or deep fried. We’ve maintained the sweet layer with either jam or a flavored honey.

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that are easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present them to company. Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know. Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices. They work in both the summer and winter. Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to …

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Learn How to Bake Bread on Your Grill

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. Baking your bread on the grill can provide a nice respite from the midday heat, and you don’t have to add the extra heat into your kitchen while it’s baking. Enjoy the fresh air and fresh-baked bread at the cabin, on the patio, or the next family reunion as your neighbors turn their noses upwind to get a swift of the aroma of fresh-baked bread wafting over the fence. Believe it or not, you can bake your bread on the grill, and we’ll tell you …

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Do I Need to Bake My Graham Cracker Crumb Crusts?

(Updated from May 26, 2014) When you don’t feel like preparing a pie crust for your desserts, a graham cracker crust is the way to go. It works great for cream pies and cheesecakes, especially. But do you need to bake your graham cracker pie crusts? It depends, but you will need to expose our crust to the cold or the heat to allow it to properly set. Save your graham crackers for the smores. Make your graham cracker pie crusts easier by using graham cracker crumbs instead of smashing perfectly good graham crackers to make your own. To Bake …

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Artichoke Garlic Bread

This is a quick and simple garlic bread made with a jar of artichoke tomato bruschetta, so it’s super quick, easy, and a bit different from your typical garlic bread. Ingredients 1 1-pound loaf French or Italian bread 4 tablespoons butter, softened 6 to 8 roasted garlic cloves 1 1/2 cups of Artichoke Tomato Bruschetta or to taste Directions Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the bread in half diagonally and spread butter on both pieces. Grill in a pan or on a grill until toasted. Mash the garlic and mix it with the bruschetta. Spread the mixture onto …

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How To Make Oven Fries

Choose a FREE Bread Mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z123” at checkout. One of my favorite things to pair with homemade burgers is french fries, but deep frying the fries in oil can be pretty tricky and often makes quite the mess. Here’s how you can make oven fries. The Best Oven Fries We’ve Ever Made Ingredients 2 1/2 pounds russet or other baking potatoes (not peeled) 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1 teaspoon salt pepper Instructions Preheat the Oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or use a crisper and …

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How to Cook Burgers on a Rack in the Oven

(Updated From May 10, 2014) Get a FREE brownie or snickerdoodle mix! Add it to cart and use code “Z333” at checkout. What if it rains this weekend, and I can’t make burgers on the grill? Don’t worry; I found just the trick. Making burgers in the oven means you can cook them rain or shine. When you cook your burgers on a rack in the oven, you don’t have to turn your food. The air circulates under the food and cooks the food from above and below. Cooking times are reduced. Without turning, your burgers are incredibly juicy. There …

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Can I Substitute Butter or Shortening for Oil in My Recipe?

When we developed this snickerdoodle mix, we wanted the crispness of shortening but the flavor of butter. So we used both. After several trials, it worked perfectly. So much so that the proprietor of a cookie store contacted us and asked if she could buy the mix in bulk and sell these in her store.“She said, ‘I’ll even put a sign on them saying, “Prepared Pantry Snickerdoodles”.’Of course, we said “yes.”Use the code above and share these extraordinary snickerdoodles with your family or friends.” Dennis Weaver The perfect cookies, the best sandwich loaves, the tastiest muffins— all of these require …

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How to Cook Steaks on a Rack in the Oven

There’s nothing like grilling up some good steaks on the barbecue, but we have to deal with the fickle Idaho winds and weather here at the Prepared Pantry, so we’ve had to improvise. You can still get great, juicy steaks when you cook them in the oven, and you don’t have to deal with any of the outdoor factors that you’d have with the grill. Cooking Steaks on a Rack in the Oven A Note to Remember: Steaks one-inch or more in thickness use more heat than for burgers, chicken or fish; turn the heat up and move the meat …

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Homemade Burger Buns

Choose One! Get a FREE Burger Press or a FREE Bun Mix! Add it to checkout and use code “Z507” or “ZBUN” at checkout. The weather is warming up, and it’s time to let the neighborhood cookouts and family picnics begin. Burgers are the spotlight of the season, and it’s always best to impress. While you’re showing off your homemade burgers on the grill, why not also give our favorite homemade burger buns a try? As Dennis likes to say, “the buns make the burger,” and it’s true. I’m sure we can all remember eating a burger fresh off the …

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The Quest for the Perfect Omelet

We wanted omelets that were easy and quick. Many recipe books instruct the reader to turn the omelets in the pan. Often they don’t fold well or break apart. We needed a solution to that. We wanted them to cook evenly, the interior set but the outside just burnished with a little gold but no tough skin. Problem 1: Cooking the Omelet Properly with No Skin on the Outside Omelets tend to be overdone on the outside when they are well set on the inside. That is especially true with thicker omelets, when the pan is overloaded a bit. Problem …

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Thai Mango Salad with Sweet Chili Dressing

Mango salad with fresh mango, peanuts, and sweet mango chili dressing

Thai Mango Salad with Thai Sweet Chili Dressing Recipe I love Thai food. I love the kick that Thai sweet chili brings. I love peanut sauce, even the chopped peanuts. And I love mangos. So, this is a perfect combination with its bright sweet chili and lime dressing and ripe mangos. When we made this in our test kitchen, we served this to customers and employees. (That’s what we do in the test kitchen.) Most loved it! The dressing has a little kick. You can control how much by how much of the pepper that you add. We’re in Idaho–meat and …

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How to Make Your Brownies Look Like They Came from a Bakery

Choose your brownies and make them so that they cut neat and square.  Our New York Dessert Brownies were designed for that.  If you want a gooey brownie, choose Uncle Bob’s Extra Moist Brownies but freeze them for an hour to make them firm before cutting. STEP 1: Line your pan with parchment paper.  Spread shortening in the pan to hold the paper in place.  Don’t worry; the fat will be outside the paper, not on your brownies. STEP 2: After removing the pan from the oven, grab the edges of the paper and lift the cake from the pan. STEP 3: Using two cooling …

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How to Make Stuffed Pork Chops (with Recipes)

Stuffed pork chops are one of those foods that is easy to make for the family on a busy day and impressive enough that you can present to company. Stuffed pork chops are one of the most versatile main dish foods that we know. Both sweet and savory fillings go well with pork chops so you can stuff them with an endless array of choices. They work in both the summer and winter. Since you can grill them as well as fry or bake them, you can cook them on the patio when the weather is nice. How to Stuff …

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