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The urge to hibernate – and cook!

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Category: Cleaning, Cooking, Legacy of Clean, Recipe, iCook® Cookware

By: Pat Johnson

It’s finally happened. We knew we couldn’t go the entire month of January without a major snowstorm here in Michigan. So, after a few weeks of record high temperatures, we’re getting a real “snow event” – at least, that’s what the weather forecasters call it.

I call it “hibernation time.” Time to hunker down and make a big batch of “Pat’s Lazy Chili.” Aside from the ground beef, everything’s probably already in your pantry. The recipe couldn’t be easier – made even more so when you cook with Amway’s iCook® Cookware.

I have a lot of reasons to love iCook Cookware, but when I’m making “Pat’s Lazy Chili,” my number-one reason is it cleans up so easily.

Just a quick swipe with Amway’s Legacy of Clean™ Dish Drops® Concentrated Dish Liquid and my iCook Cookware looks good as new. Considering my cookware is many years old, that says a lot.

Back to the chili recipe. After all, the snow’s starting to fall!

Pat’s lazy chili

Brown 1½ of ground beef in the 12-in. iCook Nonstick Frypan. Drain and use a paper towel to absorb some of the fat.

In the 2-quart iCook Sauce Pan, simmer together:

1 can tomato sauce

1 can of petite diced tomatoes

1 can of diced tomatoes w/green chilies (I slice smaller to petite size)

I can of water -(I use this to rinse out and completely empty the above cans)

1 can dark kidney beans (drained)

1 can lite kidney beans (drained)

Add the browned ground beef and season to taste. I use about a tablespoon of chili powder, a teaspoon of cumin, and a little salt and pepper. My husband likes a dash or two of hot sauce as well.

How’s that for an easy-peasy recipe to warm your hearts (and stomachs!) on cold winter nights?

Like tonight, for instance. Mmmmm ….

Home cooking, then and now

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Category: Amway, Amway Food, iCook® Cookware

By: Pat Johnson

Back in the 1960s, the only chef on TV was Julia Child. Convenience foods like TV dinners and canned spaghetti were wildly popular. Yet many “housewives” (and yes, women did most of the cooking back them) still relied on their trusty Joy of Cooking or the trademark red-plaid Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook for the true home cooking their families loved.

So, in 1963, when Amway debuted its superior-quality “Queen Cookware,” we got rave reviews.

Queen Cookware looked spectacular in all its stainless steel glory, and it was designed to be a lifetime investment – often handed down to the next generations of home cooks, and the next. Amazingly, a few sets of original Queen Cookware are still in use today.

Fast-forward now, to 2011. The iCook® Cookware sold today by Amway Independent Business Owners is built for the way we cook now, incorporating the latest in cookware technology and design. One thing hasn’t changed, of course: It still lasts a lifetime, and then some.

I bought my iCook Cookware­­ years ago, and it still looks as new as it did the day I opened the box. And I’m happy to tell you, it proves its worth every time I cook. Even more important, it helps me cook more nutritious foods.

Take veggies, for instance. When I was a kid, my mom depended on canned peas, green beans, and corn as menu mainstays. I taught myself to cook, always looking for a variety of the freshest veggies available, preferably from my local farmer’s market. My iCook Cookware makes them easy-peasy (pun intended) to prepare.

I simply cut them up, throw ‘em in an iCook saucepan with just a tiny bit of water, turn it on medium-low, and in a few minutes, we’re feasting on tender-crisp, bright-colored, and super-nutritious veggies. It’s all thanks to an exclusive Vitalok® moisture seal that forms saucepans, so foods cook without overcooking.

Another exclusive is the Optitemp® cooking base on iCook Cookware. Simply put, you get even heating without hot spots on any type of range, even today’s popular ceramic and glass cooktops.

That brings me to the concept of stack cooking, made possible by that terrific heat distribution. With iCook Cookware, you can cook an entire meal (or a couple of side dishes) all on one burner. I can’t tell you how handy that is on food-centric holidays like Thanksgiving! No need to sacrifice hot mashies for cold broccoli anymore.

We’ve made huge improvements since the 1960s when it comes to food, cooking, and cookware. Today, we strive to eat healthier diets, with fewer processed foods and more fruits and veggies. And even with our busy schedules, many of us (guys, too!) try to cook at home more often. Whether it’s every night or a few times a week, those homemade meals are a lot less work when you’ve got the right equipment.

For me, that means a good recipe and iCook Cookware. In the words of that 1960s-era TV chef/icon Julia Child, “Bon appetit!”

Warm their hearts and souls with soup

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Category: Recipe, Soup, iCook® Cookware, winter

Last week, cold weather made its appearance where we live, sending everyone I know running for scarves, boots, mittens, hats, and other apparel not worn since last March.

Predictably, the cooler temps had me headed for my iCook® Cookware 8-quart Dutch Oven – and the recipe for a family favorite Italian soup. I found the recipe online, then made a few tweaks for our tastes.

What I love about this soup is that I can make it ahead of time, then just heat it up when family and friends visit. It actually has a following with our kids and their friends – they always ask for Zuppa Toscana when they visit.

My iCook Dutch Oven is always in heavy rotation during the winter. There’s something about the stainless steel construction and tight-fitting lid that simmers foods just right, making perfect soup every time. Ditto for chili, beef stew, and other cold-weather comfort foods. This is the one-and-only set of iCook Cookware I’ve ever had, and I’m sure our daughter or son will use it in their homes eventually – if I ever give up cooking, that is!

There’s nothing like soup to warm you up on a wintry day. Nothing like that unmistakable “soup’s on” smell wafting from the kitchen. Nothing like soup to feed a person’s soul!

Zuppa Toscana
1 lb. Italian-style turkey sausage
1 large onion, chopped
6 slices turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 russet potatoes, cut in thin slices w/peel on
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ bunch kale, trimmed and stemmed
½ pint whipping cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

I always start by lightly cleaning the peel on the potatoes using a Legacy of Clean™ Scrub Buds® pad I keep on hand for use with food.

Then, I cook the sausage in the iCook 12-in. Nonstick Frypan, and drain it thoroughly blotting with paper towels.

Next, in the same Frypan, sauté the onions, bacon, and garlic until tender.

Place water and bouillon cubes in the  iCook® Cookware 8-quart Dutch Oven and cook until bouillon is dissolved.  Add sausage, onions, bacon, garlic, potatoes and whipping cream. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are tender.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, I rinse and tear the kale into smaller pieces to provide a choice to individual servings. Put desired amount of kale in the bottom of individual bowls, add soup on top and the kale will be tender-crisp at serving.   

This recipe serves six people, but why take chances? I always make a double batch!

Buon appetito!