Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Freezing Ground Meats

I am going to share with you my tips for freezing ground meats, quickly and efficiently.

I repackage the meat as soon as I bring it home from the store. The packaging, from the store, is not meant for long term storage. We can do better than that! I start by keeping the meat in it's package. The grocery bag will help to keep things tidy in the kitchen, and avoid contaminating the counters. I also like to use rubber gloves when cooking. It's my personal preference. Gather your supplies. The fastest way to do this is to have a large ice cream scoop at the ready.
Just scoop the meat onto a smooth baking sheet. This scoop yields 4 ounces of meat. I am using ground chicken. Other options would be: turkey, pork, beef or sausage.
If you have a burger press, use it! It is a great time saver. If you don't have one, no worries, just form each scoop of meat into a patty.
Freeze patties overnight. Then lift them from the baking sheet, using a spatula. This is why the baking sheet has to be smooth.
Shrink wrap the individually frozen pieces of meat. When you are ready to use, just take out what you need.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Happy Valentine's Day! I have an easy recipe that you can make for your loved one. No need to pay Sherri for her berries. You can make a batch for just a few bucks!

Let's start by picking the ripest berries you can find this time of year. Look for berries that have the leaves or stems attached. To clean, just wipe with a dry paper towel. Then place on a baking tray, or drying rack, lined with waxed paper.

You'll need to temper some chocolate. I used miniature chocolate chips, because that's what I had on hand. I only used 3/4 of a cup, along with 3/4 teaspoon crisco. To temper: Place chocolate chips and crisco in a sauce pan. Melt chocolate under low heat. The setting on my stove knob was at 1. That is about as low as you can go!

When the chips are half way melted, remove from the heat.

Continue stirring until smooth. That's all there is to tempering chocolate. The key is LOW heat and crisco!

Assembly time! This will go fast so you want everything ready.

Dip the strawberry in chocolate.

Then roll it in coconut. Other options could be: miniature chocolate chips, crushed candy, graham cracker crumbs or crushed cookies.

You can melt a contrasting chocolate, to drizzle over the chocolate covered berries.

Whatever you decide. Chocolate Covered Strawberries make a great Valentine's Day gift.

12 Ripe strawberries, with leaves or stems attached
3/4 Cup chocolate chips
3/4 Teaspoon crisco
1/2 Cup each of your choice: flaked coconut, miniature chocolate chips, crushed candy, graham cracker crumbs, cookie crumbs
Clean berries by wiping with a dry paper towel. Place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place chocolate chips and crisco in a small sauce pan. Melt chocolate on the lowest heat setting of your stove. Stir chocolate until half way melted. Remove from heat. Continue stirring until chocolate is completely smooth. Transfer to a small bowl. Place other toppings in small bowls: flaked coconut, miniature chocolate chips, crushed candy, graham cracker crumbs, cookie crumbs are good choices. Dip strawberry in melted chocolate. Roll in your choice of toppings. If you want to drizzle dipped strawberries, make a second batch of tempered chocolate. Place on waxed paper to cool. Makes 12 berries.