Cooking at Home Q&A with Club House Kitchens

Cooking at Home Q&A with Club House Kitchens

You asked, we answered. Read on for a collection of helpful answers from our Test Kitchens to yours! 

couple cooking at home

How do you make simple vanilla cookies?

Here's our favourite recipe for easy vanilla cookies: Heart-Shaped Painted Sugar Cookies. Cut cookies into your favourite shapes; they don't have to be hearts. A can of store-bought frosting and some food colour can make this recipe a fun, edible painting project for the kids, or skip the frosting for a quick cookie recipe full of great vanilla flavour.

 

What can I do with plain ground beef?

Here are some simple recipes for ground beef with great flavour that use pantry staple ingredients:
  1. Easy Bulgogi
  2. Taco Soup
  3. Shepherds Pie
  4. A fun way to use ground beef: RedHot Cheesy Totchose

 

What are the best herbs and spices to use for meat loaf?

Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Parsley Flakes, Black Pepper, and Salt are good staples to start with. If you have Mustard Powder, it balances out the meatloaf with a bit of zestiness.

 

What is the best way to dissolve cornstarch?

Make a slurry by using equal parts cornstarch to liquid, such as water, stock, or wine. Mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cool water in a small bowl (a wire whisk works best for breaking up any clumps.) Stir the slurry into your hot cooking liquid until well-blended. Rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken 1 cup of liquid.

 

How do you cook perfect noodles with the perfect flavour?

  • Make sure you have a big pot, enough water, and that the water comes to a rolling boil BEFORE you add the pasta.
  • Salted water can do wonders for flavour! Add about 1 tablespoon of salt to 6 quarts of water--this should be enough water for a 16-ounce package of pasta.
  • If you're making soups or stews, cooking short pasta in stock or broth will really boost the flavour. 
  • Cook pasta al dente, especially if using in soups, so it doesn't get mushy. Check pasta about 2 minutes before it's "ready", as cooking times vary based on your water temp and type of pasta.

 

How do you know when spices are old?

Spices should have a strong aroma, potent taste, and vibrant color! If your spice or herb doesn't meet these freshness standards, check the "best by" date on the bottle. Here's everything you need to know.

 

How do you keep brownies soft?

The best way to keep brownies fresh is to leave them un-cut and covered or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. If they’re already cut, try these tips to keep them fresh:
  1. Place in an air-tight container, separating layers with wax paper.
  2. Wrap individual brownies tightly with plastic wrap and store in a resealable plastic bag.
  3. Place brownies in an air-tight container or resealable plastic bag along with a slice of bread. With any method you choose, always store brownies at room temperature. And if you end up with slightly stale brownies, microwave for 5 seconds at a time.


Is there any bread you can make without using yeast?

One iconic unleavened bread is Irish Soda Bread! Try this savoury recipe: Savoury Irish Cheese Soda Bread. Flatbreads make a great base for quick pizza or the perfect snack with hummus. Try this Spiced version: Garam Masala Spiced Roti Flatbread. If you want a gluten-free version,’ Try this simple recipe Gluten Free Greek Quick Bread.

 

How can I have a long lasting crisp on my chicken wings?

For extra crispy wings in the oven, baking powder, a higher cooking temp, and a baking rack will do the trick!

Pat 2 1/2 pounds of fresh chicken wings dry with paper towels. Toss wings with a mixture of 1 tablespoon baking powder along with your favourite dry seasonings. Place a cooling rack on a large shallow baking pan lined with foil and spray the rack with no stick cooking spray. Arrange wings in a single layer on the rack. Bake in a preheated 450°F oven for about 55 minutes, turning wings halfway through cooking. This prep makes super crispy wings that hold their texture even after saucing with our favourite Frank's RedHot!

 

Is there a chart of different cuisines recommending spices that we can incorporate?

Here's a link to get started. You can explore cuisines and learn about the traditional spices and seasonings for each one.

 

How do I keep chicken breast moist?

  • Each piece of chicken breast should have the same thickness to avoid drying out the thinner pieces while cooking. You can trim thicker pieces or pound them flat until they are all close to the same thickness.
  • Check the temperature about 5 minutes before cooking should be complete. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (73°C); once it’s up to temp, remove it from the heat source immediately. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes before slicing or serving to allow juices to redistribute through the meat.
  • Another way to keep chicken moist is to marinate it: Smokehouse Maple Grilled Chicken. You can also find recommendations on how to best grill chicken breasts here.

 

What are some good potato recipes?

Potatoes are so versatile!

Here are a recipe for easy roasted potatoes. For a twist, try this baked potato recipe. More options:

 

 

What is an alternative to cream cheese for frosting?

Here is a great recipe for Marshamallow Frosting: Beat 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream, 1/2 cup (125ml) marshmallow creme, 1/4 cup (60ml) confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon (2ml) Club House® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 3 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with spatula. Beat on high speed 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.

For a quick white shortening-based frosting, try this: Beat 1 cup (250ml) vegetable shortening in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon Club House® Pure Vanilla Extract. Gradually beat in 1 package (450g) sifted icing sugar, 1 cup (250ml) at a time, on low speed until well blended. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons (30 to 45 ml) milk; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. If frosting is too thick to spread, gradually beat in additional milk.

For a simple buttercream frosting, beat 1 cup (2 sticks/227g) butter and 1 tablespoon (15ml) Club House® Pure Vanilla Extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 box (450g) icing sugar, beating well after each addition and scraping sides and bottom of bowl frequently. Add 2 tablespoons (30ml) milk; beat until light and fluffy.

Here's a great recipe for our Ultimate Vanilla Frosted Cupcakes.

 

What's an easy chocolate cake recipe?

Here's a simple chocolate cake that starts with boxed cake mix: Chocolate Coconut Cake.

Looking for a delicious scratch made chocolate cake? This one will impress: Ultimate Chocolate Cake

 

What are some easy, kid-friendly recipes?

Make creative twists on your kids favourites with these recipes to keep lunch and dinner fresh and fun:

 

What’s the best way to build flavor with my poultry?

Poultry is a blank canvas and takes on flavor in a lot of ways. Marinades and dry rubs or seasonings are easy ways to add flavour using products you already have at home.

To create even more flavour you can layer flavour by using a marinade as your base flavour layer then adding a rub or seasoning on top. Also considering adding another layer by creating a finishing sauce or glaze using French’s Yellow or Spicy Brown Mustard or use your favourite Stubbs sauce to finish.

For fast flavour, try our:

 

What's a good addition to cheesy scrambled eggs other than salt and pepper?

Try these spices and herbs in your next batch of scrambled eggs- garlic, onion, turmeric or chives! Check out this recipe for a Savoury Greek Scrambled Egg Breakfast Bowl

 

What is the best roasted spring vegetable combo?

Roasted or grilled fresh vegetables are a great addition to family meals! Try some these Test Kitchen Favorites to bring color, crunch and flavour to the table. Don’t have a grill? Use the same recipe and roast the veggies in 400°F oven for equally as delicious results.

If you want dinner in one simple step, try some of these sheet pan dinner recipes that include veggies and proteins in one simple step!

One Sheet Pan Piri Piri Chicken and Vegetables

 

What can you substitute and use when you are out of bay leaves?

Add a pinch of whole thyme leaves (up to 1/4 teaspoon in place of bay leaves in any soup or stew recipes. Thyme and bay leaves share a similar savoury earthy flavour profile that includes menthol and eucalyptus with a minty background. Thyme is a bit more assertive than bay leaves so just a pinch will do and the flavour will develop as the soup or stew simmers.

 

What is the best seasoning for carne asada or a feel good marinade recipe?

Here's a quick and easy recipe for Carne Asada Steak:

 

  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Club House® Tex Mex Seasoning, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) honey
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil
  • 1 pound (500 g) skirt steak or flank steak
  • 1. Mix vinegar, lime juice, 1 tablespoon (15ml) of the Seasoning, honey and oil in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Rub steak with remaining 1 tablespoon (15ml) Seasoning.
  • 2. Grill steak over medium-high heat 3 to 4 minutes per side or until steak is desired doneness, brushing occasionally with 3 tablespoons of the lime juice mixture. Slice steak across the grain into thin slices. Drizzle with remaining lime juice mixture to serve.

 

What is the ratio of eggs and milk/cream in a quiche?

For a standard 9-inch (23cm) quiche, use 3 eggs and 1 1/2 cups (375ml) of milk or cream.

Test kitchen Tip: The secret weapon to making a solid quiche is to add a whisper of Club House® Nutmeg to the custard mix.

 

How can I make a korean style dry rub for bbq?

For a quick dry rub using pantry staples try:

Use the rub on 1 pound (500g) of meat such as chicken, beef or pork Want to make a marinade? Add a little soy sauce, honey or light brown sugar and green onion to make a paste.

 

Can you substitute for buttermilk effectively?

Yes, you can! Here is an easy recipe for making homemade buttermilk

  • Add 1 1/2 tablespoons (22ml) of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice to every 1 cup (250ml) of milk.
  • Let it sit for 15 minutes and it is ready to use!

 

I'm out of mayo what can I use?

If you're looking for a quick swap for mayo in chicken or egg salad, try using sour cream--you can even thin it out a little with a splash of milk or white vinegar, if you want. Greek yogurt is a great swap as well. You can substitute in equal proportions and add a pinch of salt to even out the flavour. 

If you're just looking for an easy and tasty sandwich spread, 
French's Mustard is great, or try mashed avocado or a spread of hummus.

Have some free time on your hands and feel like making your own? Try this recipe for homemade mayo! It's simpler than you think.

  1. Place 1 room temperature egg yolk and 1 tablespoon white vinegar in a large bowl. 
  2. Mix vigorously with a wire whisk. 
  3. While whisking, gradually and slowly add 1 cup of vegetable oil. The key here is how slow you add the oil. 
  4. Once all the oil is completely added, season the mayo with salt, pepper, a pinch of Club House Ground MustardCayenne Pepper and a splash of lemon juice. 

Voila, Mayonnaise! (You can also use pasteurized egg yolk in place of the raw egg yolk.) 

Once you have your base mayo, try spicing it up! Our 
Chipotle Mango Mexican Style Street Corn, is a fan favourite. Or try adding Chipotle Chili, mustardor your favourite BBQ sauce.

 

Garlic Powder is hard to come by. I know we can use minced garlic, but anything close to powder we can use?

Although it's slightly sweeter and less pungent in flavour, Onion Powder can be used as a quick substitute for Garlic Powder. If you have granulated garlic, you can grind it into a finer powder, or use it as is, at half of the amount suggested in the recipe. If you have Garlic Salt, you can also use this as a direct substitution, but omit about 1/2 teaspoon of salt if it's added to the recipe. 1/8 teaspoon of Garlic Powder is equal to about 1 clove of fresh garlic. If you happen to have shallots on hand, you can use about 1 teaspoon of minced shallots per 1/4 teaspoon of Garlic Powder called for in a recipe. 

 

If I have a recipe that calls for heavy cream, what can I use as a substitute for it?

A great heavy cream substitute is coconut cream. If you don't have coconut cream on hand either, you can make your own heavy cream substitute. Place 1/4 cup of cooled melted butter and 3/4 cup of cold milk in a small bowl; mix well with a wire whisk. If you want it to be a little thicker, stir in 1 tablespoon of flour. This substitute for heavy cream will work well in cooked applications, but will not whip like regular heavy cream.

Another easy way to make a substitute for heavy cream is to add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1 cup of milk; whisk thoroughly and use for cooked applications. For a vegetarian alternative, combine 2/3 cup of soy milk with 1/3 cup of olive oil; whisking thoroughly to combine. As a direct substitution, try using half-and-half in place of heavy cream. Half-and-half will whip, but will not be as thick. Make sure to chill your bowl and beaters before whipping. 

 

Can I substitute self-rise flour for regular flour?

Yes, you can--IF your recipe calls for baking powder. Self-rising flour is a mixture of all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Self-rising flour will work for recipes that call for 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp. baking powder per cup of flour. When making the substitution, just omit the baking powder from the recipe, since it is already in the flour.

 

I have a coffee cake recipe that calls for cake flour. I don't have this ingredient, so can I substitute regular flour?

Here's the short answer: Yes! you can substitute--For every cup of cake flour called for in the recipe, use 1 cup of all-purpose (AP) flour, minus 2 tablespoons. Replace the 2 tablespoons of AP flour with 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot powder.

Here's why: The main difference between all-purpose flour and cake flour is the amount of protein--cake flour has a lower protein content. Cake flour is also finer and lighter, so it gives cakes a lighter texture and helps them rise. Basically, protein in flour turns to gluten. Since AP flour has a higher protein content than cake flour, there is more gluten production which gives a denser texture; but it can still be used in its place. You will just need to add some cornstarch or arrowroot, which helps inhibit gluten formation when baking.

 

Is it acceptable to substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour in every recipe?

In most recipes you may substitute whole wheat for all-purpose flour without issue. When it comes to baking, swapping equal amounts may result in dense baked goods, and sometimes the flavour will be slightly different. We recommend experimenting with the ratio of whole wheat flour to all-purpose flour when baking. Start by replacing 1/3 of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour (i.e. 1/3 whole wheat and 2/3 all-purpose per cup of flour needed) and gradually increase to a half and half blend of each flour, if you find you like the texture and taste of your finished recipes.

 

What recipes can you suggest for shrimp?

Shrimp cooks up in a flash & can take on many different flavour profiles! One of our faves is Shrimp and Roasted Mango Skewers with Chili Sauce or Honey Citrus Shrimp.    

 

Can I freeze bananas raw or should I cook them first?

You can definitely freeze bananas raw! Just be sure to peel them and place in a resealable freezer bag or an airtight container. Frozen bananas are perfect for smoothies, frozen treats or thawed and baked into banana bread. For smoothies, you can even pre-sliced the bananas before freezing. The smaller chunks will process easier in the blender. For smoothies, you can even pre-sliced the bananas before freezing. The smaller chunks will process easier in the blender.

 

How do I keep avocados from turning brown once they've been cut?

If you just need 1/2 an avocado, leave the pit in the center and rub the exposed surface with lemon or lime juice. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in a small airtight container. If you're working with mashed avocado, stir in about 2 teaspoons of lime juice and press plastic wrap onto surface of avocado mixture and cover bowl tightly.

 

Can I freeze fresh herbs like parsley and tarragon?

You can, but frozen herbs will never have the same flavourful impact as fresh unfortunately – finely chop your herbs and roll them tightly into a log shape then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze. No bias here or anything, but for the best flavour after fresh, you’re better off using dried Parsley and Tarragon.

 

Can I put sour cream in burritos before freezing them?

We don’t recommend freezing sour cream when used as a topping because you will unfortunately lose the creamy consistency. We haven’t tested this, but you could try stirring the sour cream into the burrito filling – while you won’t have the creamy topping, the tangy flavour of the sour cream will still come through.

 

Can we freeze fresh ginger for use in recipes later?

Sure, you can freeze fresh ginger! Your best bet is to grate the ginger finely with a microplane or box grater first. Freeze in 1 tablespoon portions for easy use in recipes. However, our ground ginger is also a great substitution for fresh when you run out! Use about 1/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger.