199 episodes

Tips, fun facts, and recipes from Chef Sandra Lewis of Life At The Table to help you answer the most important question of the day, "What's for dinner?".

A Savory Moment by Life At The Table Chef Sandra Lewis, Life At The Table

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 5 Ratings

Tips, fun facts, and recipes from Chef Sandra Lewis of Life At The Table to help you answer the most important question of the day, "What's for dinner?".

    Top Five Reasons to Love Leftovers

    Top Five Reasons to Love Leftovers

    In Praise of Leftovers: The Unsung Heroes of Meal Time

    Let’s be honest, leftovers have been getting a bad rap for far too long.

    If you’ve ever refused to carry home the remains of your meal or turned up your nose up at the sight of those lonely leftovers the next day, it’s time to rethink your relationship with leftovers.

    Often relegated to the back of the fridge waiting for their moment in the spotlight, leftovers are often passed over and forgotten until way past their prime. Then they’re not good for anything except the landfill.

    Leftovers deserve a place of honor in your fridge and on your table. It’s time to learn to love leftovers. The picture above is of repurposed brisket that’s been stuffed into a poblano pepper with melted cheese on top. What’s not to like?!

     

    Top Five Reasons to Love Leftovers

    Here are my top five reasons to embrace leftovers for the culinary champions they truly are.

    1. Reduce Food Waste. Did you know that approximately one-third of all food produced globally is wasted? That’s like cooking a three-course meal and tossing one entire course straight into the garbage. This is not just bad for the environment in multiple ways, it’s a sad squandering of the labor, energy, and water that went into producing that food. Leftovers are the knights in containers ready to combat food waste one reheated meal at a time.

    2. Save Money. Leftovers are wallet-friendly wonders. Eating leftovers means you’re making the most out of your grocery budget, reducing the need to buy more food or splurge on eating out. Enjoying last night’s dinner today is the ultimate trick for eating well on a budget.

    3. Save Time. On a busy day, leftovers are a lifesaver. Having a meal ready to go means you can skip cooking and still enjoy a satisfying and delicious meal. What’s not to like about having more time in your day?

    4. Enhanced Flavors. Many dishes improve with time. Soups, stews, and sauces often taste better the next day after their ingredients have had more time to meld together. That’s not myth, that’s science. Flavor molecules have more time to make their way around a dish the longer the dish sits.

    5. EmbraceCreativity. Leftovers are the perfect canvas for culinary creativity.  Transforming leftovers into a new dish or adding a few extra ingredients to reinvent them can be a fun and rewarding way to experiment with flavors and textures.

     

    Learn to Love Leftovers

    Leftovers deserve your respect, admiration, and attention. So next time you find yourself with an extra serving of lasagna, remember: You’re not just saving a meal; you’re saving the planet, your time, and your money.

    Let’s give leftovers the love they deserve and make every meal a round two worth celebrating.

     

    Check out this article on How To Manage Leftovers Effectively.

    And try these recipes with leftovers you may have lurking at the back of your fridge.

    Vaca Frita – this is an easy and delicious Cuban dish that uses leftover roast.

    A frittata is a great way to use up leftovers!

    The Humble and Fabulous Frittata

    • 3 min
    The Ultimate Guide for How to Fry an Egg

    The Ultimate Guide for How to Fry an Egg

    Ah, the humble egg!

    That versatile orb of deliciousness that has the power to transform your humble breakfast into a feast fit for royalty.

    But here’s the catch – frying an egg is both an art and a science.

    Get it right, and you’re a culinary genius. Get it wrong, and well, it’s scrambled eggs for breakfast again.

    Fear not!

    Today, we’re diving into the egg-citing world of frying eggs, ensuring that your next egg-sperience is nothing short of spectacular.

     

    Types of Fried Eggs

    Dive into the sizzling world of fried eggs, where the flip (or lack thereof) makes all the difference.

    1. Sunny-side up. Welcome to the sunny-side up spectacle, where the egg basks in its glory, unflipped, boasting a glistening, runny yolk and tender whites, kissed by the pan just on one side. Cover the pan with a lid to gently steam the yolk. It’s like a morning sunrise on your plate, bright and full of promise.

    But wait, there’s a plot twist in the egg saga – the flip. Cue the over easy, medium, and over hard egg, the difference being how long you leave that beautiful yolk in contact with the heat of the pan after the flip.

    2. Over Easy. This is the sunny-side’s adventurous sibling. Flipped with finesse, it features a delicately cooked exterior with a yolk that’s still eager to spill its golden secrets. It’s the perfect balance of slightly firm but oh-so-gooey goodness.

    3. Over Medium. For those who like to tread the middle path, the “over medium” egg is your culinary soulmate. This one takes the flip a bit more seriously, wearing a slightly firmer yolk jacket, yet it’s not afraid to let loose a little when poked. It’s the culinary equivalent of a warm, hearty hug.

    4. Over Hard. And then there’s the “over hard” egg, the no-nonsense, fully flipped, fully cooked stalwart. The yolk is solid, the whites are firm, and together, they’re ready to take on the world (or at least your breakfast plate) with gusto.

    Whether it’s tucked into a sandwich or standing its ground solo, it’s dependable, delicious, and utterly satisfying.

     

    Tips for How To Fry an Egg

    Let’s crack the code to the perfect fried egg.

    You want that white tender, and the yolk runny and rich – a culinary masterpiece that’s as beautiful to look at as it is delicious to eat.

    The secret?

    It’s all in the technique.

    Below are my five tips for the perfect fried egg.

    1. The Right Pan: Start with a non-stick skillet or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan. This is non-negotiable. You want your egg to glide onto the plate, not stick to the pan in a tragic egg-scape attempt.

    2. The Crack: Crack your egg into a bowl first, then gently slide it into the pan. This avoids any unwanted shell-crashers and ensures your yolk stays regally intact.

    3. Fat is Flavor: Whether it’s butter, olive oil, or even bacon grease (for those feeling adventurous), the choice of fat adds a layer of flavor to your egg. Don’t skimp on the fat as it’s also important to prevent sticking.

    4. The Perfect Heat: Medium heat is your friend here. Too hot, and your egg turns into a rubbery disappointment. Too cool, and you’ll be watching paint dry. Add your egg to the pan after the butter melts and begins to bubble. The perfect temperature for frying an egg is 255˚F – 280˚F. Happily this is also the same temperature that butter sizzles without turning brown.

    5. The Flip: Flip your egg gently. Use a slotted turner or pluck up your courage and flip the egg using the pan itself.

     

    The Egg-straordinary Conclusion

    Now you’re well on your way to mastering how to fry an egg.

    So go forth, crack some eggs, and let the yolks fall where they may.

    After all, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all just a bit of fun with food.

    • 3 min
    Herbs de Provence Chicken with White Wine and Lemon Sauce

    Herbs de Provence Chicken with White Wine and Lemon Sauce

     

    Are you searching for a new chicken recipe that is full of flavor and easy enough on a weeknight?

    I’ve got you covered!

    Try my Herbs de Provence Chicken with White Wine and Lemon.

     

    Herbs de Provence Chicken: A Culinary Journey to the French Mediterranean

    What’s not to like about a dish that is simple to make yet tastes sophisticated.

    That is the story of herbs de Provence chicken.

    Herbs de Provence is a seasoning blend that will whisk away your senses to the herbaceous landscapes of southeast France.

    This harmonious blend is a traditional mixture that includes a variety of dried herbs typically found in the Mediterranean landscape, including rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, savory, and bay leaf.

    Lavender, which adds a modern floral note is often included in this blend, but mostly outside of France as its not considered a traditional addition.

     

    The Magic of Using Chicken Thighs in Herbs de Provence Chicken

    Chicken thighs are the perfect canvas for our flavor ensemble in this simple dish.

    Often undervalued by the home cook, chicken thighs deserve an elevated place on the dinner plate for their flavor, versatility, and value.

    They have a robust flavor with succulent meat, and are always less expensive than chicken breast.

    And they are forgiving in the kitchen. It’s easy to dry out a chicken breast, it’s a lot harder to do that with a chicken thigh.

     

    Cooking Herbs de Provence Chicken with Confidence

    This recipe is simple and straightforward.

    To infuse the herbs de Provence flavor into the chicken, rub one teaspoon of the seasoning underneath the skin of each thigh, season the thighs, then brown them in a small dutch oven.

    The rest of the dish is easily composed with garlic, shallots, and lemon creating a vibrant aromatic base to this dish with the lemon also adding the benefit of an acidic nuance to the dish along with the white wine.

    All of these ingredients are nestled into the dutch oven along with the chicken broth and only needs 30-40 minutes in the oven, just until the thighs reach 165˚F.

    Make a simple gravy from the liquid or just spoon the liquid as is over mashed potatoes or rice.

    Herbs de Provence with white wine and lemon is a star dish that will shine on any dinner table, whether you’re looking for an elegant meal for guests or an easy weeknight dinner.

    Give it a try today.

    Check out my Top 3 Tips for Buying Chicken.

    *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

     

    • 2 min
    How To Make Risotto

    How To Make Risotto

    Ah, risotto!

    It’s that creamy, comforting dish that’s the culinary equivalent of a warm hug from an Italian grandmother.

     

    The Delightful World of Risotto

    And it’s a dish with a long history.

    The transformation of rice from simple grain to exquisite risotto is attributed to a family in Milan during the Renaissance.

    A young apprentice using saffron as a coloring agent for a stained glass project in the Milan Cathedral and one of the most expensive spices in the world, also added saffron to a rice dish at his own wedding feast.

    Thus was born Risotto alla Milanese from which over the centuries other versions of this scrumptious dish sprang.

    My version of risotto is topped with sautéed mushrooms and pan-seared scallops, no saffron needed.

    Five Tips for Making Risotto

    Fast forward to modern day.

    Don’t be intimidated. You can master this somewhat mysterious and scrumptious dish even on a busy weeknight.

    Here are my five tips for the perfect Risotto.



    Toast to Perfection: Begin by toasting your rice in a blend of butter and olive oil. This step creates a nutty flavor, toasts the outside of the rice grain and prepares it to receive the broth without breaking the grain.

    Warm Broth is Key: Always add warm stock to your rice. Cool or room temperature broth will slow the cooking process.

    Stir with Love: Regular stirring is essential to encourage each grain of rice to release its starch. There is no cream in risotto. The creaminess is produced from the starch released from the rice.

    Patience is a Virtue: Risotto is a 16-20 minute labor of love. Adding stock gradually and allowing the rice to absorb it slowly before adding more is key to achieving the perfect consistency.

    The Mantecatura Magic: The final step, known as “mantecatura,” involves vigorously stirring in a generous knob of butter and finely grated Parmesan cheese off the heat adding a luxurious, creamy finish that’s simply irresistible.



     

    How To Make Risotto on a Weeknight

    Can this creamy, one pot dish that dances gracefully between a simple rice dish and a gourmet delight be a reality in your kitchen on a weeknight?

    Absolutely!

    Think about it this way: In 17  minutes, the average cook tiem for risotto, you have a dish worthy of high praise that you would pay high-dollar for at a restaurant.

    So, prep your ingredients the day before or several days before; measure, assemble, and wrap them up on a sheet tray and store it in the fridge.

    Pull that sheet tray out and voila, in less than 1/2-hour later you have a creamy, dreamy bowl of risotto.

    It’s an impressive and delicious dinner ready in no time flat so you can do what’s most important in life – spend time at the table with your family and friends.

    Other dishes you may be interested in exploring: Pan-Seared Scallops with a Ginger and Garlic Rice Noodle Salad Wild Rice with Butternut Squash and Leeks *As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.*

    • 3 min
    Crawfish Dip

    Crawfish Dip

     

    You may know them as crawfish, crayfish, or crawdads.

    My question to you is how can you easily enjoy these mysterious and tasty, fresh-water crustaceans?

    My answer, crawfish dip.

    If you don’t know this, small yet tasty acquatic species, yet, it’s time to take your tastebuds on a culinary adventure.

     

    What’s a Crawfish?

    Louisiana is the epicenter of crawfish production and provides 90% of the domestic crawfish, either farmed or wild-caught.

    Crawfish thrive in aquatic environments like rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds and range in size from 2-6 inches in length.

    In Louisiana they are often farmed as a rotating crop with rice.

    Also known as mudbugs, these delicious creatures play a crucial role in maintaining clean water. Crawfish are also an important food source for other fish, birds, and mammals.

    As a kid, I remember seeing these mysterious critters in the creeks close to my house where I played. With no knowledge of their culinary delights, I mostly stayed away after eyeing their powerful pinchers.

    Crawfish are a big deal in the South where they have turned the crawfish into a culinary art form, called a crawfish boil which is a lot of work.

    But there’s a simpler way to enjoy crawfish without the mess and fuss – crawfish dip.

     

    Cooking Up Fun with Crawfish Dip

    Crawfish dip is a creamy, dreamy delight; it’s a celebration in a bowl.

    Picture this: succulent crawfish meat, a kick of Cajun spices, green bell pepper, a bit of garlic, in an easy to make sauce.

    It comes together super fast.

    And here’s the key to making it lightning quick: buy a bag of crawfish meat straight from your grocery store’s freezer. They’ve done the hard part for you; the meat has been peeled, and deveined.

    And you can enjoy it year round. There’s no need to wait for official crawfish season which typically runs from November to July, depending on the region they’re being harvested from.

     

    The Simplicity of Crawfish Dip

    So there’s no excuse for not making this adventurous dip.

    The meat is readily available and the process for making this dip is just as simple.

    Begin by sautéing the crawfish tails with some butter and Cajun seasonings.

    Separately sauté green onions, green bell pepper, garlic, Cajun seasoning, and melt in a block of cream cheese.

    Add in the crawfish tails, smooth out the sauce with a bit of half & half, season and finish on a bright note with lemon juice. And voila, you have crawfish dip. Serve it with crostini or crackers for a crunch as an appetizer or on a brunch buffet.

    Invite your friends and family over, crank up some New Orleans jazz, and let the good times roll.

     

    • 3 min
    Chocolate Fondue

    Chocolate Fondue

    What beloved food grows on a tree that a scientist affectionately named theobroma or “food of the Gods” in 1753?

    It’s chocolate!

    And it’s time to unleash your inner chocoholic and your childlike enjoyment for whimsy and fun at the table with a chocolate fondue.

     

    Brief History of Fondue

    First let’s talk fondue.

    The word “fondue” is derived from a French verb which means to melt.

    Fondue’s roots trace back to Switzerland in the 18th century. Originally it was a way for farm families to use aged, hard cheese and hardened breads during the winter months when food was scarce.

    It was a practical and delicious transformation of food.

    Enter modern times when fondue was all the craze during the 1970s. A Swiss restaurateur added a dessert course to his menu – voila! Chocolate fondue was born.

     

    A Bit of Chocolate History

    Let’s take a moment to consider that chocolate has a long and ancient history.

    It was so revered by the ancient Mayan culture, that they used cacao beans as currency. Talk about a rich economy.

    And thousands of years before it evolved into the sweet treat we swoon over today, chocolate started as a bitter brew which they praised as the drink of Gods.

    It wasn’t until the 19th century that chocolate was transformed into solid form which paved the way for the creation of all forms of chocolatey goodness since then, including chocolate fondue.

     

     

    The Chocolate Fondue Experience

    Imagine a bowl filled with smooth, melted chocolate; this luscious chocolate pool is the centerpiece of a shared communal culinary experience that you will share with your friends and family.

    Accompanying the pot of melted chocolate is an assortment of dipper – various items that you skewer on a stick or long fork to dip into the chocolate.

    Think strawberries, bananas, apple slices, pound cake, marshmallows, pretzels, even bacon. Yes, the salty and sweet combination absolutely works.

    This experience is simple happiness at its best.

     

    Tips for Enjoying Chocolate Fondue

    Chocolate fondue is one of the easiest recipes you’ll ever make.

    Gently melt a combination of milk and dark chocolate on the stovetop with the cream and the butter, and add a pinch of salt.

    Done.

    Arrange your dipping items on a platter.

    Enjoy.

    Want to keep your chocolate fondue warm? Set it on an electric warming tray. Just be careful not to get it too hot. Chocolate scorches easily.

    You can always gently reheat your chocolate fondue in the microwave if it firms up. Store any unused fondue in the refrigerator and reheat it slowly.

    But, honestly, why would a bowl of the food of the gods last that long?

    Invite your friends and family over for a chocolate fondue experience today.

    Check out these additional chocolate recipes:

    Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies

    A Hot Chocolate Recipe To Warm The Soul

    Want to learn how to make chocolate chip cookies? Check out this virtual class:

    Off-The-Chain Chocolate Chip Cookies Virtual Cooking Class



     

     

    • 3 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

Reed 56 ,

Great!!

Chef Sandra Lewis really does inspire you to cook! Great recipe ideas and very interesting to listen to!!

RossSivertsen ,

Great Healthy Cooking Insight

Chef Sandra has a wonderful demeanor and such a passion for cooking, the culinary arts, and teaching. The common link that ties humanity together regardless of culture, creed, and geography is sitting down and breaking bread together at the table. Chef Sandra has managed, through her recipies, speaking, workshops to bring us all a little closer together. Nothing is better to have at your side than a friend and mentor, and Chef Sandra is both.

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