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The right tool for the job

March 4, 2015

I’ve written columns before about how much easier the right tool makes the job. Usually I’m talking about painting, building trellises or working with cement or some other outside chore. This time it is about how the right knife makes prep work easier when cooking. With the right knife in hand every cooking experience will Read More

Chili-rubbed pork chops with pineapple salsa

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick CHILI-RUBBED PORK CHOPS WITH PINEAPPLE SALSA   Makes 4 servings Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 20 minutes   INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon chili powder 1 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 4 boneless pork loin chops, 3/4-inch thick, Read More

Column: Readers blast cheapskates

We all want to save a buck, right? Some people (myself included!) have completely embraced a money-saving lifestyle. I love getting the most for my money, but I don’t consider myself to be a “cheapskate” per se. My moneysaving habits would not lead me to resort to anything I consider to be unethical, fraudulent or Read More

Column: Go guilt free with lettuce

February 25, 2015

Have you noticed how many people who order a sandwich these days order it without the bread or bun? Those high-carbed cradles of goodness seem superfluous. That is why I’ve always loved these lettuce-leaved wraps. No guilt-ridden carbs to worry over, just the savory Asian seasonings that make chicken easy to cook and glorious to Read More

Considered wealthy? Sometimes it is a matter of perspective

Jill Cataldo In a recent column, I was discussing our household’s budget and mentioned that I do not consider our family “wealthy.” Several readers wrote to correct me and encourage me to consider a different appreciation of that term. “Dear Jill, I am not the type to write in response to articles, but your statement Read More

A fresh look at a vegetable staple: Carrot salad satisfies with flavor

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick Fresh carrot salad In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 clove minced garlic, 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 fresh red jalapeno pepper (seeded and very thinly sliced) and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Toss Read More

Column: Stalking the sales with help

February 18, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Thanks to social media and couponing blogs, tracking when products are likely to go on sale has become remarkably easy. When you’ve got many pairs of eyes shopping in the same stores, the news that a favorite chain has just dropped a popular Read More

Potatoes O’Brien: An easy side dish that sets the tone for a special meal

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick Dutch yellow Potatoes O’Brien Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1 pound diced Dutch yellow potatoes, 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper, 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper and 1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper, 1 medium diced sweet onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 Read More

Column: No more midnight snacking

Until a few years ago there was little scientific evidence to suggest that midnight snacking wasn’t a good idea. New studies show that mice prevented from eating at all hours avoided obesity and metabolic problems — even if their diet was sometimes less that healthy. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Read More

Column: New warnings in fine print

February 11, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Do you read the fine print on coupons? Manufacturers and retailers expect you to, though the fine print isn’t always the easiest text to read or understand. It’s called the “fine print” for a reason — some of it nearly requires magnification to Read More

Valentines Day sweets for your sweet

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick CHERRY PIE CUPS Servings: Makes 12 cups Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 14 to 18 minutes INGREDIENTS 2 refrigerated pie crusts (from 2-crust box), softened as directed 1 (21-ounce) can light cherry pie filling Heat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll crusts on work surface. With 3 1/2- or 4-inch Read More

Column: Marinating basics

Marinades contain oil, an acid such as vinegar, lemon juice or tomato juice, and seasonings. Marinate covered food in the refrigerator for a period of time to add extra flavor. • Use glass, stainless steel, plastic or disposable aluminum bowls or pans to marinate foods. Do not use untreated aluminum pans, as they react to Read More

Column: Be wary of online reviews

February 4, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. When you’re shopping online, do you read product reviews before you buy? A 2013 study conducted by Dimensional Research notes that 90 percent of shoppers surveyed felt that reading positive product reviews influenced their purchasing decisions. Eighty-six percent of the same shoppers reported Read More

Chocolate shortbread bar: A tender, rich, short pastry far more than the sum of its parts

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick CHOCOLATE SHORTBREAD BARS Servings: Makes 24 bars Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: about 25 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 cup softened butter 1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon orange zest 1/4 teaspoon almond extract 2 cups flour cup chopped toasted almonds, Read More

Column: Punch up the flavor

I often add fresh or dried herbs to dishes. Daughter Ryann asked for a dish of lasagna when she got home over break. While layering ingredients out came the minced garlic, Italian seasonings, basil and parsley, along with salt and pepper. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to put a little kick in the Read More

Column: Recycling and upcycling packaging ideas

January 28, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Dear Jill, I want to recycle and reuse product packaging, and I thought you would have some ideas where to get started with this. I am particularly interested in making crafts or other items out of some of the product packages and bottles Read More

Column: The cookie jar

Most of us grow up with vivid memories of the time we’ve spent in kitchens — those of grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents. Kitchens, then and now, were the magnets of the house, the heart and soul as it were. If you are lucky you can conjure up images of what was and smile. Having Read More

Super easy supper: Thai shrimp curry with grapes and fresh basil

THAI SHRIMP CURRY WITH GRAPES AND FRESH BASIL Servings: Makes 6 servings Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: less than 15 minutes INGREDIENTS 2 tablespoons canola oil 1 medium onion, chopped 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 (14-ounce) can unsweetened light coconut milk 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock 1 to 2 tablespoons green curry paste Read More

Column: Don’t use coupons? Neither do these letter writers

January 21, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Last week, I shared some emails from readers explaining why they use coupons, what they’re saving for and what couponing has meant to them. I also heard from a few readers who do not use coupons, and their reasons for eschewing coupon discounts Read More

A nutty twist on pasta: Try this spaghetti with walnut sauce with your family tonight

By Susan Nicholson Universal Uclick SPAGHETTI WITH WALNUT SAUCE Servings: Makes 6 servings Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 5 to 8 minutes, plus spaghetti INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup walnut pieces 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs 4 or 5 fresh basil leaves, sliced 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 16 ounces spaghetti 1 Read More

Column: Salt to the rescue

Humble salt is nature’s most adept flavor enhancer. It also takes center stage in cooking in general. Salt in bread and pizza dough helps control the action of the yeast and improves the ability of the dough to rise. If salt is left out, the finished product will be bland and have a coarser taste. Read More

Column: Why readers coupon — couponing and you

January 14, 2015

A few weeks ago, I asked you — my readers — to share the reasons you use coupons. I received so many interesting responses! Here’s a sampling: “Dear Jill, I clip coupons from the Sunday paper for the same reason I bend over and pick up a coin on the ground. A little here, a little Read More

Something exotic to start the year: Seared barramundi with oranges and black olives

By Susan Nicholson UniversalUclick SEARED BARRAMUNDI WITH ORANGES AND BLACK OLIVES Servings: Makes 4 servings Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 4 to 6 minutes INGREDIENTS 4 oranges, peeled and cut into segments 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1/2 cup pitted black olives, halved 1/2 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds 2 tablespoons Read More

Column: 10 easy recipes with chicken

1. Quesadillas: Shred cooked chicken breast, sandwich between flour tortillas with cheese and black or refried beans, and cook a couple minutes per side in a nonstick skillet. 2. Salad: Grill chicken breasts, slice thinly, and fan atop a Greek salad of romaine lettuce, kalamata olives, pepperoncini peppers and feta  cheese. 3. Blackened chicken sandwiches: Read More

Column: Readers share their frugal lifestyle tips

January 7, 2015

Jill Cataldo is a coupon workshop instructor, writer and mother of three. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions for 2015? This time of year, the media often focuses on topics like weight loss, health and wellness and financial wellness, and for me, couponing and financial wellness go hand in hand. Coupons are certainly a Read More