Deft Defrosting

You just realized that it is almost time for dinner and you don’t have anything defrosted.  You peek in the freezer and pick out a cut of meat, now to get it defrosted…..

Place the meat into a tightly sealed bag and place in a large bowl or pan of warm water.  Start preparing your meal and turn it occasionally.

Depending on the cut of meat it should be mostly defrosted and ready for use in 10-20 minutes.

Freezing Meat

I love buying meat in bulk.  On shopping days if I spend a few extra minutes with preparation, I can save a lot of time on a hectic work night.

After I get home from shopping I will break the meat down into serving size packages.  I like to use my food sealer to prepare them for freezing.  Before I seal the package I will add any seasoning that I might use for the final preparation.

After it is sealed I indicate the type of meat and the date that I froze it.  If I plan on it being in the freezer for longer than 2-3 months, I will also wrap it in freezer paper to protect it.  Once again I indicate the type of meat and date frozen.

 

Browning Beef

You have always heard that browning the outside of beef before preparing roasts or stews will help hold in juices. Does it really work?

Actually, that is not what the process is for. A recipe that has pre-browned meat will be no juicier than one that is not pre-browned.

The process of browning the meat is actually to develop a deeper level of flavor.

If you want to try this out for yourself, cook the same recipe on different occasions, one that has been browned and one that has not. You will find that the recipe that was browned will have a richer beef flavor, especially if the pan juices are used.

Cooking a Stuffed Turkey

Cooking a stuffed turkey can be a bit tricky. No matter what method you choose, you will need to make sure that you bake your bird to an internal meat temperature of 165ºf in an oven no less than 325ºf.

If you cook the turkey at any temperature less than that the stuffing will not cook thoroughly. The stuffing internal temperature needs to be more than 140ºf to kill any bacteria.

Using a slow cooking method with a stuffed bird has been known to cause numerous food poisening cases.

To prevent this, you can put some stuffing into your bird, but cook the remainder in a pan in the oven. When you serve the bird, do not serve the stuffing inside the bird.

Another option is to bake the stuffing in another pan in the oven, then stuff the bird just before serving.

Stir Fry Meat Hint

When preparing meat for a stir-fry you find that you are having a hard time cutting up the meat into thin slices.

You will find that you can cut the meat easier if you freeze the meat for 20-35 minutes before cutting.

Now you will get thinner more uniform slices.

Stewing Over Stew

You want to make a stew but you don’t have any beef stew meat ready to go.

You can sometimes save some money by making your own. The best cut for stew meat is usually a roast or round steak. When you go shopping browse the sales and see what is available.

When you get it home simply cut off any extra fat or marbling and cut the meat into 1 inch squares. I will place appropriate servings into tightly sealed bags and freeze. Now when I am ready to make up a stew, I just grab a bag and it is ready to go.

Fortunately you can use almost any cut of beef, chicken or pork for a stew. If you have unexpected company it is a great meal to serve as it tastes great and it extends supplies that you already have.

For an even more impressing meal, locate some bread bowls or “cannon ball” style bread. Cut out off the top 1/4 of the bread, hollow it out, serving the bread that you remove from the bowl with spinache dip as an appetizer. When ready to serve, just spoon stew into the bowl and serve piping hot.

BUYING BEEF

Type of Meat Servings
Boneless Beef – To include Ground Beef, Roasts, Steaks and Variety Beef 3-5 Servings per Pound depending on usage
Cuts with a little bones – This would be steaks with small bones 3 –4 Servings per Pound
Cuts with medium bones – This would include bone in roasts, chuck roasts and larger steaks 2 – 3 Servings per Pound
Cuts with large bones – Ribs and short ribs 1 – 2 Servings per Pound

It is always hard to tell how much beef to buy. When making your purchase you do need to remember that the amount of servings per person is greatly affected by how much fat or bone is in the cut of meat. This is just a general rule of thumb for helping you get the correct amount.

Freezing Tips III

When you are preparing your meat for freezing, you want to make sure that you get the best kind of freezer paper as possible.

The kind that you can get in the grocery store is adequate for short term freezing.  If you want better quality paper check your local warehouse stores and see if they have any large rolls available. These rolls will be quite large and cost between $20-$50.

If you do not have access to any, just wander down to your local butcher and ask if you could purchase a roll or section of their paper.

Defrosting Meat

Frozen meat should be defrosted in the refrigerator not on a counter top.  Place the meat in your refrigerator on a platter or in a bowl to catch any juices that may leak from the package.

For a large cut of meat allow 4-7 hours per pound, for a small cut of meat allow 3-5 hours per pound, for Steaks allow 12 – 14 hours.

You can also defrost meat during cooking time; just increase your cooking time to 1 ½ of the original cooking time to the recipe time.

You will want to monitor the cooking process closely to make sure that it is cooking according to your schedule.

Freezing Meat I

When you are freezing meat, make sure that it is wrapped securely in freezer paper.

The easiest way to wrap it is to cut out a piece of butcher paper 3x larger than your cut of meat in a square.

Place the meat at one of the points.

Holding the point to your meat, roll the meat toward the center of your paper.

Once you have reached the center of the paper, take the 2 opposing sides and fold them tightly over your meat.

Continue to roll the meat toward the last point and tape securely.

When you place the package in the freezer place it so that the seam is facing the top of the freezer.

If you do this then you have less chance of excess blood leaking out of the package and making a mess in your freezer.