Tag Archives: cooking tips

Freezer Meals Storage and Reheating Tips

Making and freezing meals ahead can be a real life saver! #realfood #freezermeals #homemade #homecooking

A photo posted by ✨ Melody Thacker ✨💖🌟💫 (@melody_thacker) on

I love freezer meals because they save me time and money. If you have always wanted to try your hand at freezer cooking but thought you’d have to purchase dozens of plastic food storage containers and freezer-safe casserole dishes you are in luck. As it turns out you only need a couple of casserole dishes and a few food storage containers! Here are some tips on how to freeze, store, and reheat all of your meals:

You will want to stock up on aluminum foil or parchment paper, both gallon and quart sized plastic freezer bags and some labels. Continue reading Freezer Meals Storage and Reheating Tips

Quick Breakfast Ideas To Fuel Your Family

waffles with berries for breakfastMornings can be pretty hectic for most people, all too often breakfast is skipped or it’s something unhealthy, eaten on the run. Adults are rushing off to work, children need to get to school and breakfast just doesn’t seem important at that time. Following are some quick breakfast ideas for you that are nutritious and quick.

But I don’t eat breakfast! I’m sure you have heard the saying, “Breakfast is the Most Important Meal of the Day” and it’s certainly true especially when it comes to children. Countless studies have shown that children who eat a balanced breakfast are more alert in school, perform better and in many cases are less prone to bad behavior than children who don’t eat breakfast. These are pretty good reasons why your kids should eat breakfast and you’ll enjoy the same benefits too.

Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas for you and your kids: Continue reading Quick Breakfast Ideas To Fuel Your Family

Cooking Quick Tips For Bacon

BaconWe love bacon, but unfortunately it’s not one of the healthiest foods and it can make a big mess in the kitchen that you have to clean up after wards. If you are a bacon lover too here are some quick tips for cooking bacon.

  • Precook the entire package or several packages at once, cook until almost done. Store the pre-cooked bacon in the freezer until needed. This way you can reheat just the amount you need with out all the grease and mess. Heat in the microwave or a fry pan.
  • Cook bacon in a counter top grill, this keeps all the grease and splatters to a minimum.
  • Cut bacon strips in half, they are easier to work with. Plus it looks like you have more pieces on your plate.  Great tip if you are watching your calorie or fat intake.
  • Drain cooked bacon on paper towel to remove excess fat. Pat with a fresh paper towel to remove more grease.

Cooking With Herbs And Spices

Cooking with herbs and spices is as Martha says, “It’s A Good Thing!” You can easily change the flavor of plain meat and potatoes into a completely new dish by simply changing the herbs, spices and seasonings used in the recipe. Here are a few tips on how to best use herbs and spices when cooking and preparing meals. Continue reading Cooking With Herbs And Spices

How to Cook Rice

Rice is one of the easiest things to cook but it can be one of the most challenging as well if you don’t know how. Rice is convenient, goes well with many dishes, tastes great and it’s good for you too, especially if you choose brown rice. It’s available in a wide number of varieties, you can choose white long grain, short grain, jasmine, red, whole grains and my personal favorite is basmati rice.

Here’s how to cook long grain rice:

rice1 cup white long grain rice
1 & 1/2 cups water

Place rice and water in a 1 quart sauce pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover with a light fitting lid and cook for twenty minutes. (see tips below)

If you prefer a healthier whole grain version, here’s how to cook brown rice: Continue reading How to Cook Rice

How To Sterilize Canning Jars

If you are making homemade jams, jellies or pickles you’ll need to sterilize your jars before you fill them with your preserves. To sterilize jars, place them in a large pot or canner, cover them with hot water, bring water to a boil and leave jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then, place jars upside down on a clean towel or rack to drain.

If you are sealing your preserves you’ll need to sterilize the lids as well. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for sterilizing these, they are usually placed in boiling water as well.

I also sterilize my utensils as well; this includes the ladle, spoon and funnel for filling jars and the tongs or magnetic wand used for picking up hot lids and jars out of the water.

Although this is no longer recommended, jars may also be sterilized in the oven. I prefer this method for jams and jellies as it ensures the jars are dry, so there is no added moisture. However please note, I sterilize everything in boiling water first so I’m basically just keeping the jars hot and sterile. I highly recommend that you do the same.

So, after you remove your jars from the boiling water… Place the jars in the oven, I put them on a clean cookie sheet, turn the heat to 200 deg. F, once the oven has reached temperature, heat jars for 10 minutes. Then, turn off the oven leaving the jars inside until ready to fill.

Kitchen Safety

Cooking can be a relaxing and enjoyable pastime. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also the most common room in the home where accidents occur. These kitchen safety tips will help keep you and others safe while you’re cooking and eating.

Hot pots and appliances, boiling water, splattering grease and oil, sharp knives; all these things are common in a kitchen. They can also be the things that make working in a kitchen a dangerous place. Keeping your kitchen clean to avoid contaminating the food is also important.

Watkins Lemon All Purpose CleanerFirst of all, make sure that your kitchen is clean from top to bottom, inside and out, this will prevent cross-contamination of dirt, bacteria and germs.

  • Get in the habit of washing your hands before handling foods and after handling raw meat.
  • Keep raw meat in a separate area of your refrigerator. Keep it tightly wrapped or place it in a leak proof container so juices can’t contaminate other foods.
  • Wash the counter top or cutting board with hot, soapy water after you’ve finished handling raw meat.
  • It’s best to use separate cutting boards, one for raw meats and another for vegetables. Tip: color code your cutting boards or use a plastic one for meat and a wooden one for other foods, this way you won’t forget which to use.

Meats should be cooked to recommended internal temperatures as determined by the United States Dietary Association:

  • Steaks and Roasts – 145 degrees F
  • Egg dishes – 160 degrees F
  • Fish – 145 degrees F
  • Chicken breasts – 165 degrees F
  • Pork – 160 degrees F
  • Whole poultry – 165 degrees F
  • Ground beef – 160 degrees F

To keep food fresh longer, keep your refrigerator temperature set below 41 degrees F and your freezer should be kept at 0 degrees F. Date each item before it is placed in your freezer so that you can use it before it gets too old.

Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator overnight, in the microwave oven, or submerged in a bowl of cold water. Place the package in a watertight plastic bag, submerge in cold water, then change the water every 30 minutes until item is thawed. Don’t just leave the meat on the counter or in the sink to thaw as bacteria in the food can multiply and cause someone to get sick.

Preventing burns:

  • Teach your child which items might be hot and not to touch them with out your permission.
  • Invest in good quality, heat resistant pot holders and oven mitts. Don’t use a tea towel or dish cloth for this purpose, especially damp ones as the moisture can create a steam burn.
  • Keep pot handles turned so they are over the stove or counter top so someone walking by can’t accidentally knock them and their hot contents over.
  • Cover pans that contain hot grease or oil with a lid or splatter screen.

Knife safety:

  • Keep your knives sharp, believe it or not cuts happen less often and are less damaging with sharp knives.
  • Always cut away from yourself, never toward yourself.
  • Always use a cutting board, don’t place the food in your hand to cut it.
  • Don’t leave knives in the sink, especially in dish water where they can’t be seen.
  • Store knives point down in a butcher’s block or in some other special holder. This keeps them sharp longer and prevents cuts.

Last but not least, if you sample food as you cook use a clean spoon or fork each time. Taste testing just once can transfer germs from your mouth to the food.

Cooking can be hazardous, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Simply follow the precautions mentioned above, then you will be cooking with confidence and the knowledge that you’re doing it in a safe, healthy manner.

New To Cooking? Try These Quick Tips!

new cooks Are you new to cooking or need some help? I’ve been cooking for years so am fairly experienced with it and thought I’d give you some quick tips:

  • Taste as you cook, after all taste is what good food is all about! Taste and add more seasonings as you go, remember you can always add more but if you add too much there’s not much you can do about it.
  • Do not use high! High heat is for boiling water, use medium to medium high heat for frying, or sauteing to avoid burning your food. You do not need to preheat your pan on high either.
  • Gather all your ingredients before you start cooking, then as you use them put any remaining away. This will ensure you don’t forget anything or add it twice!
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative, if you are out of an ingredient the recipe may taste fine with out it or if there is a spice you love, feel free to add more!
  • Try to clean as you go, this will prevent you from having to face a big mess with piles of dishes, pots and pans to clean up after your lovely meal.

I hope these five tips help you with your cooking adventures.