Remove the label from the can of sweetened condensed milk.
Place the can on its side in a saucepan and add enough water to cover the can plus 1”. Cover the pan with a lid and bring the water to a boil.
Turn the heat to low. Simmer can for 3 hours, rolling it around every 30-40 minutes. Add water, if necessary, to keep the can completely covered.
Use tongs to carefully remove the can from the water. Allow it to completely cool before opening.
Use dulce de leche on ice cream, for cake/pastry filling, spread on cookies, stirred it into your coffee or any other place where caramel would taste good!
Hack: Transfer dulce de leche into a tightly covered container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Hack: I suggest using a solid can (not a pull tab) for this recipe to avoid a rupture.
Hack: Don’t have time to watch a pan? Put the can in a slow cooker and cover it with water plus 1”. Set it to low for 8 hours.
Hack: Dulce de leche can also be made in the oven. Simply open and empty the can into a pie pan or similar size pan. Cover tightly with tin foil. Place the pie into a larger pan (so that the pie pan sits comfortably). Fill the larger pan with ¾" of water. Bake in a 425℉ oven for 60-90 minutes,
Cream shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar until well combined and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and egg. Mix just until combined.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the creamed mixture and stir to combine.
Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip a fork in sugar and press lightly twice on one cookie, flattening it slightly to create a crisscross pattern. Repeat for each cookie.
Bake for 7-8 minutes until set and just beginning to brown on the edges. Do not overbake, as cookies will continue to cook on the hot cookie sheet after removing them from the oven.
Allow cookies to rest on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Hack: Store cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Hack: Cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months. Place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place them in the freezer until completely frozen. Remove to a sealable freezer bag and place in a freezer-safe container. To thaw, remove the desired number of cookies from the bag and place them on a paper towel-lined plate. Allow to thaw completely before serving.
Many people face barriers in preparing healthier meals, including a lack of time and conflicting information about nutrition, and taste preferences.
Eating healthy. It’s something we all know we should do but it can seem like an impossible task. Often we feel so ingrained in our bad behavior that it’s hard to decide how to even get started.
I’m not an expert in the field and my eating habits are not perfect. I’m just a gal who’s trying to do better today than I did yesterday. I fall off the wagon just like everyone else and struggle to get on the right track again.
I have, however, picked up a few nuggets of knowledge along the way in regard to preparing healthier meals and I’d like to share a few of them with you!
Eat At Home (And Pack Your Lunch)
Americans love to eat out. It’s a fact. Studies show that we, on average, spend over 50% of our total food budget to eat food away from home 4-5 times per week.
Now, we all know the dangers associated with fast food but there are pitfalls at your local sit-down eatery as well. Restaurants are in the business of serving food that tastes good with little regard for how healthy it may be. The result is often an increased amount of fats and sugars compared to meals you would normally cook at home.
And since you’re cooking dinner anyway, why not cook extra to pack for your lunch tomorrow?
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
The recommended amount of produce for adults is 1-2 cups of fruit and 1-3 cups of vegetables. (And, no, french fries don’t count.) This seems to be an area where many of us fall short. More than 90% of Americans don’t eat enough produce.
While a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are the optimal solution to good health, let’s be serious. We don’t all like every vegetable. Me? Not crazy about salads. Or at least that’s how I feel about the bowl full of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers but I love this Mexican Avocado Salad and this Orange and Beet Salad.
Smoothies made with whole fruits and vegetables (not juice) are a great choice, quick to prepare and easy to take along for the ride to work. This is one of my favorites but there are plenty of other options out there, both “green” or “fruity”. Really, almost any combo of fruits and veggies works well in a smoothie so use your imagination!
So, maybe it’s not that you don’t like produce. Maybe it’s just that you don’t like the way you’ve been preparing it!
Lose The Cans And Bottles
Marinades, sauces, dips, soups, canned fruits and veggies…the vast majority of these pre-made items are loaded with sugar, salt, fat and all kinds of additives. And P.S.? They don’t taste nearly as good as what you can whip up in your own kitchen.
OK, OK, you’re right. I’m not going to ferment my own vinegar or soy sauce. It’s stinky and it takes months.
Salad dressings and dips often don’t hold up as well to freezing but it’s easy to throw together just the amount you need for the meal you’re having. Blue cheese? Yes, please! Thousand island? Honey Mustard? Making these will leave you unflustered!
And this ranch powder mix will happily sit in your cupboard for a long time until you need it.
Make a meal plan. This doesn’t have to be complicated but it is important. It’s a fact that those who make a meal plan are more likely to have a healthier diet.
Hit the store. Make a list of everything you’re going to need to make those meals and go shopping for everything you don’t already have.
Prep, prep, prep. Prep all the food you just brought home from the store. Break the proteins down into serving-sized portions for freezing (so you don’t have to defrost 5 pounds of ground beef to make one meal) and pre-prep other items in advance (such as turning that head of broccoli into bite-sized pieces). It’s easier to prepare a meal after work if you’ve already done some of the work!
Cook for the future. Since you’re cooking anyway, why not make enough for another meal? Many of my recipes, such as this pepper steak stir-fry, make 2 or 3 servings that can be used for several meals during the week. I love to cook a whole meatloaf and then freeze individual slices to use later in sandwiches. Uncooked meatballs can be frozen (make sure the ground beef hasn’t been previously frozen) and then thawed in single portions to make sweet and sour meatballs or pasta.
Don’t be overzealous. This is a mistake I’ve made more than once. I mean, why not double this sausage and butternut squash skillet so it will last the whole week? Because I guarantee you’re going to be sick of eating it by day 3. Luckily, it freezes nicely so I was able to eat the rest a few weeks later.
Go Forth And Cook
The road to eating healthier meals can seem like a long and daunting journey but keep in mind that you don’t have to be good at this all at once. There will be missteps, missed exits and side trips. The important thing is to stick with it. Before you know it, you’ll be looking forward to preparing that healthy meal. I promise.
What strategies have you adopted to make things easier? Let me know in the comments below!
Did you know? Milton Hershey’s first successful business was not chocolate but caramels. In fact, the Hershey Company was NOT started to make a certain iconic candy bar but to produce chocolate to coat their sister company’s popular caramels! Get some other fun facts here!
Light syrup from one 11 oz can of mandarin oranges
1tbspminced red onion
2tbspapple cider vinegar
Place orange juice and light syrup in a small saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until thickened and reduced to ¼ cup., about 40 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine onion, vinegar, salt, pepper and oil. Add orange syrup and mix well.