Web Cooking Classes with Chef Todd MohrWeb Cooking Classes with Chef Todd Mohr

By Chef Todd

More Quick Dishes – Poached Shrimp Pizza

I’m so happy to share more quick dishes for everyday cooking with you. Earlier this week, I caught a Taco Fish and helped you discover the simplicity of a basic breading procedure you can use on any ingredient in your pantry.

In the time it takes most people to just FIND the right recipe, I can apply a basic cooking method to the ingredients already found in my kitchen.

In the time it takes most people to go back to the grocery store because the recipe told them to, I’ll have cooked, eaten and done the few dishes left.

One of the quickest of the 13 basic cooking methods is Poaching. This is when you cook delicate items in a small amount of flavorful liquid in a gentle fashion.

Poaching is generally used to partially cook items that will be used as an ingredient in another dish. Vegetables are poached before stir-fry to assure they’re cooked correctly. Chicken is poached before being shredded into Burritos. In this case, we’ll poach shrimp to add to other ingredients atop a pizza crust.

The advantages of poaching are many. First, being cooked gently in liquid means you can never burn something being poached. Also, poaching liquid gives you a great opportunity to add flavors to the cooked item. A flavorful liquid will infuse its flavor into the item you’re cooking.

That’s why I think poaching is one of the best way to create quick dishes for everyday cooking. You can’t really mess it up, and the item can even be cooked again.

That’s why I choose poaching for my shrimp pizza. If I were to place raw shrimp onto a pizza crust and attempt to bake it, I’d get a very watery pizza from the liquid the shrimp would release.

However, when I poach shrimp in a flavorful broth with whole garlic cloves, I get partially cooked shrimp that now taste like garlic. It’s a perfect ingredient to create a pizza around because it won’t dry out in the oven and now tastes like garlic!

A store-bought pizza dough with canned diced tomatoes, the poached shrimp, and grated cheese creates the quickest, easiest, most flavorful personal pizza you’ve every had. Plus, it is less expensive than take-out and takes less time than waiting for the delivery.

Quick dishes for everyday cooking always come from basic cooking methods and the ingredients already in your pantry. Dinner can’t be quick or inexpensive if you have to first search for a recipe, then go shopping for the ingredients.

What other ingredients already in your pantry could you make a pizza from? Leave your comments below:

By Chef Todd

Catch a Taco Fish, One of the Quick Dishes for Everyday Cooking

If you could cook like me and create quick dishes every night of the week, you’d never need a recipe book. Without a recipe book, you’d never need to stress about dinner. It’s the written recipe that causes so much anxiety about preparing family dinners.

Are you always trying to figure out “what’s for dinner”? Is it a constant battle of finding recipes, sharing recipes, deciding which recipes work and which don’t? Before you start cooking, do you have to search for a recipe first? In my recent “Whip Up Dinner” webcast, I showed hundreds of people how to get fast dinner ideas from your kitchen cabinet.

If most of your dinners come from a phone book instead of your kitchen cabinets, I want to share the quickest and easiest way to put flavorful meals in front of your family with minimal effort. One of the best ways to do this is to create quick dishes from what is already in your pantry.

Taco Fish is something I made up just minutes before I started cooking it. Peering into my pantry cabinet, I noticed a long forgotten bag of tortilla chips. All the dip-able whole chips had been eaten, leaving the broken pieces and crumbs on the bottom. The lonely bag is just sitting there, waiting for the garbage.

However, along with some flounder filets from the freezer, a half jar of salsa, and shredded cheddar cheese, these nacho chip crumbs can be the inspiration for a new pantry meal, Taco Fish.

Since I have command of the steps necessary in a basic breading procedure, I can dredge the flounder in flour, dip in egg, and coat in the nacho chip crumbs. The breading procedure is the same if using bread crumbs, cracker meal, parmesan cheese, or nacho chips. The flour sticks to the fish, the egg sticks to the flour, and the crumbs stick to the egg. It’s that easy.

It couldn’t be much easier to just top the fish with the jar of salsa and shredded cheese and bake until it’s reached the desired internal temperature. It can be served with a can of refried beans or Spanish rice as accompaniment.

When you use the pantry items you already have on hand, you can create quick dishes for everyday cooking without having to search for recipes, or spend more money at the grocery store. My mission is to empower all people with the basic cooking methods behind recipes so that every food item already in your kitchen is the inspiration for a time and cost saving recipe of your own.

What is in your pantry that you can use as a coating for fish or chicken? Leave your comments below:

By Chef Todd

Easy Cooking Ideas a Recipe Book Will Never Tell You

If you’re looking for easy cooking ideas, stop searching in recipe books! Instead, look at your cooking basics. One of the best basic cooking methods to employ for quick dishes is stove-top sauté. Sauté is a direct source, conductive cooking method that uses intense heat to cook and brown products quickly and easily. It’s the best way to get dinner done quickly, regardless of the ingredients you choose.

The most important part of the sauté method is getting the pan hot first. This is one of the biggest mistakes home cooks make that gets in the way of easy cooking. Putting your protein product into the pan and then heating the pan and the product together actually makes cooking more difficult. If you don’t hear a distinct “sizzle” when you add something to the pan, it’s not hot enough. The first thing your protein product will do is release moisture and if you are heating the product at the same time as the pan, you will end up with a dried finished product.

After you’re sure your pan is ready, you’ll need a small amount of fat to transfer the heat from the bottom of the pan to the item you’re cooking. This is one of the cooking basics you can’t ignore. Keep in mind that the use of fat in sauté is meant only to help with heat transfer. This is different from pan frying, where you fill the pan with oil in a moist, convective fashion. So, use only a small amount of fat for sauté.

Once your item is cooked under the direct heat of the stove top, then you can add any type aromatics that you would like, such as onion, garlic, or ginger. Quickly cook them in the leftover pan-drippings or “fond” to combine the flavors.

Now comes the fun of sauté method and the best of all easy cooking ideas, how to make a quick pan sauce. Any type of cold liquid will quickly drop the temperature of the pan and lift the fond from the bottom, allowing you to combine flavors and leave a flavorful liquid that you can thicken or reduce for a sauce.

Quick dishes and easy cooking ideas always come from cooking basics. Once you have an understanding of these basic methods, you can use them over and over again to create dinner ideas from the ingredients you have on hand.

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