Enjoy The Restaurant Experience At Home

When spending time with loved ones or friends, a night on the town often includes a meal at a favorite restaurant. Tablecloths, candles, music-these details and more-combine to make dining out more memorable.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend lots of money or time, brave traffic or venture out in the elements to have a restaurant-quality experience. Whether you're planning a date night or entertaining friends, consider "dining out" at home.

Think of the things you like about dining out and then try these tips to re-create the experience at home:

• Set the table. It only takes a minute to put on a tablecloth and light candles for an attractive centerpiece, but the effect makes dinner feel more like an occasion.

• Serve three courses. Nothing says dining out like a tasty appetizer and decadent dessert, so plan a simple menu that includes both.

• Many people go to restaurants to try things they don't usually cook at home. Try a new recipe that's delicious, yet simple to prepare.

For example, a new cookbook from The Pampered Chef ®, "Cooking for Two & More," offers contemporary upscale recipes to help you discover-or rediscover-the pleasures of fine cooking without the hassle. The Horseradish-Crusted Cod is one gourmet entrée that is quick and simple to prepare. The horseradish topping keeps the cod moist and contributes a zesty flavor. Other mild white fish, such as tilapia, are also delicious prepared this way:

Horseradish-Crusted Cod

Prep time: 15 min.

Total time: About 30 min.

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon snipped fresh parsley

2 slices French bread, coarsely chopped into 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

2 boneless, skinless center-cut cod fillets (4-6 ounces each), 1 inch thick

Salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 450° F. Combine mayonnaise, horseradish, parsley and 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs in a small bowl. Season cod evenly with salt and black pepper. Place cod on pan with small sides; top evenly with horseradish mixture. Combine butter and remaining bread crumbs in microwave-safe bowl; microwave on HIGH 1 minute or until golden brown and crisp, stirring once. Sprinkle toasted crumbs evenly over top of horseradish mixture. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cod flakes easily with a fork. Remove from oven; serve immediately. Serves 2.

Chef's Corner Tips

Because cod cooks quickly, pre-toasting the bread crumb topping results in a crunchy, golden brown crust.

For restaurant-style presentation, serve on a bed of sautéed sugar snap peas or fresh greens.

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About The Author, Stacey Moore
For information on "Cooking for Two & More" and innovative products that make meals and entertaining quick, easy and fun, visit www.pamperedchef.com.Horseradish-crusted cod is moist and flavorful. Toast the breadcrumbs beforehand for a crunchy, golden brown crust.