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Enjoy Some Quick Dinner Solutions

 

Sometimes you just don’t feel like turning on the oven, but still want to make a satisfying meal.  With this challenge in mind, here are a few creations that range from basic to elegant, depending on current appetite cravings!

There are many advantages to using a grilling machine, including the ability to sear both sides simultaneously.  In addition to being wonderfully easy to use, the grill also offers the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of foods and cuisines. 

This panini sandwich is ideal for a grilling machine throughout the various stages of preparation, from grilling the chicken to cooking the final sandwich.  For this recipe, pre-grilled and marinated peppers were used but the grill can also handle that part too – although you’ll have to take care of the marinade yourself. 

Paninis have become very popular recently.  Use your creativity and imagination to grill up gourmet delights to please every palate!

 

Grilled chicken and red pepper panini


Marinade

  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1tsp dried oregano or Italian herb mixture
  • salt and coarse ground pepper (to taste)

Filling

  • 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • marinated sweet red peppers cut in slices (if desired)
  • sliced Provolone cheese ( allow 2-4 slices per panini)
  • red onion – thinly sliced
  • 2 panini-style buns (or Italian style loaf cut into sandwich-size pieces)
  • dried oregano
  • olive oil


  1. Mix marinated ingredients in a small bowl.  Pour half over chicken breasts.  Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours
  2. Preheat grill (on high).  Grill chicken breasts until meat is white throughout.  Wipe off grill.  Slice buns on horizontal.  Open carefully and drizzle inside surface of buns with olive oil.  Grill bread until golden brown. 
  3. Remove buns from grill and assemble sandwiches; layer chicken breasts (slice if too thick), peppers and onion slices on base of each bun.  Top with cheese slices and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Replace top section of buns and return to grill.
  4. Grill until sandwiches are warm and cheese has melted.
  5. Place on plates, open sandwiches and drizzle with remaining marinade (and/or drizzle with balsamic vinegar).

Makes 2 sandwiches.

 

Fast food processor pizza dough


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (1Tbsp)
  • 2 ½ - 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt

  1. Combine the water, yeast and 1 ½ cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well, and then add the oil, salt and remaining flour and place in food processor.  Process dough until 1 or 2 balls form on top of the blades (use regular metal mixing blades).
  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured board and knead until it is smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes).  If the dough becomes too sticky, sprinkle a bit more flour over it. 
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel and let rest in a warm spot for about an hour until dough has doubled in size.
  4. When dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured board, divide into 2 or more pieces and roll them into balls.  Cover them with a towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes while you prepare meat and chop vegetables for topping.  The dough is now ready to be shaped, topped and baked.

Makes 2 12-inch pizzas.

 

Crepes

Crepes are versatile, readily adapting themselves to a wide variety of sweet or savory fillings.  For savory, use buckwheat flour.  For sweet, use chestnut or regular flour.  This recipe is for a sweet and savory filling, but with crepes, almost anything goes. From shaved ham with cheese sauce to strawberries and ice cream.


  • 2/3 cup flour (for savory fillings, make up the 2/3 amount with a scant ¼ cup regular flour and the rest buckwheat for sweet, use all chestnut or regular flour)
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter


  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk or beat with a hand mixer the the flour, eggs and salt until smooth.  Slowly add milk and melted butter.  Cover and refigierate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Preheat a 10-inch crepe pan over medium high heat.  If you are using a Teflon® pan, you only need to oil the surface at the start of the process.
  3. Transfer mixture to a container with pouring spout, such as a large measuring cup.  Whisk mixture thoroughly before each pour to ensure that the batter remains blended.  Use just enough batter to thinly cover the surface, tilting the pan to ensure complete coverage.  Cook until the bottom is golden and the edges are curling.  Flip carefully and lightly cook the second side. 
  4. Transfer to plate and fill, if serving immediately, or onto a sheet of waxed paper, if you are preparing them in advance.

Note:  Keep a damp, clean cloth handy to wipe out any batter bits after cooking and removing each crepe.
Makes 8-10 crepes

 

Sweet… apple filling


  • 3 medium apples
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon or cardamom
  • pinch of cloves and nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange or lemon rind
  • whipped or ice cream
  • toasted sliced almonds and icing sugar (for garnish)

  1. Clean, peel, quarter and core the apples. Slice thinly.
  2. In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Sauté apples until soft.
  3. Add sugar, spices and grated rind.  Stir mixture.
  4. Place two heaping tablespoons of apple mixture in the center and roll up the crepe.  Top with whipped cream or ice cream and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds.  Dust with sifted icing sugar.

Allow 2 crepes per person.

 

Savory…  curried chicken filling


  • 3 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • fresh chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2+ tsp curry powder or curry paste (adjust according to taste – this amount is mild)
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger root
  • 1 cup broth (vegetable or chicken)
  • 3 cups diced cooked chicken (great for leftover roast chicken)
  • ½ cup sour cream, yogurt, or nondairy substitute

  1. Melt butter in large frying pan.  Add onion, garlic, and sauté until soft.  Add flour, salt, curry and ginger root, blending with a whisk. Cook for a few minutes then slowly add broth, whisking continuously.  Let simmer until thickened.  Add chicken, sour cream and cilantro, stir and remove from heat.
  2. Place 2 – 3 tablespoons of the curry mixture in the center of each crepe, roll up and place seam side on serving plate.

Allow 3-4 crepes per person for main course served with salad.

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