I have taken a large piece of white tag board and placed it behind my place setting to help bring out the color of the plates I design. It's kind a like what people who photograph stuff to sell on E-Bay do. Also using plain colored plates helps bring out the colors of the food better.
If you have a tripod, it will come in very handy. Here are some good tips for lighting and photographing food:
Use as much natural light as possible. Open the blinds and get near a window -- do not use your on-camera flash if at all possible.
Grab a tri-fold presentation/poster board from Office Depot and use this to bounce light onto your dish.
Excellent suggestion for the 5000K color temperature CFL bulbs -- these approximate the color of natural daylight.
Ideally, you want a bit more light coming from the back. This creates subtle shadows, adding depth and texture to your dish.
If your camera has a "P" setting, change it to that and set the Aperture as low as possible (e.g. 1.8, 2.8, 4, etc).
Get out the tripod and shoot from "fork view." Get in low and close -- people always look at their food from above, use an interesting perspective.
Get in close... a bit closer. Just a tiny bit more. Now, take one more step. Fill the frame with your subject. The close distance and the low aperture will give you that "tiny bit in focus and a blurry background" look to the photo.
If you're looking to get a product shot, use an aperture of f/8 or f/11 and shoot top-down for a soup or at a less extreme "fork view" to include all of the ingredients.