- Be sure any meat you cook reaches a core temperature of 180ºF.
This is done with the use of a meat thermometer pierced in the thickest part, away from the bone, and left for at least two minutes, or until the needle tapers off.
- Chicken is done when you pierce the thigh and the juices run clear.
- Ground beef should always be well-done.
However, this doesn't mean your hamburger needs to be dry!
Try using 75-80% lean beef instead of a higher grade.
It may cook down a little more, but the fat from the meat will retain the beef's moisture.
- Hot foods stay hot, cold foods stay cold.
When eating outdoors, such as a picnic, be sure to wrap and store or discard any food that has been sitting for more than an hour.
- Stock up on sales, and freeze when you can.
I find almost anything can be frozen without the worry of freezer burn, as long as you use plastic bags intended for the freezer.
Be sure you press firmly on the bag to remove as much air as possible.
- To roast chicken without a rotisserie, use both racks in the oven, just one level apart.
The lower rack should have a wide roasting pan nearly filled with water, and the upper rack is for the chicken.
This collects the fat from the chicken as well as maintains the chicken's moistness.
- Avoid canned products as much as possible.
They tend to leave a "tinny" taste to linger in your meals.
Also, they're usually loaded with unnecessary salt, and vegetables are "mushy" (a big no-no for finicky kids!).
- I cannot stress enough the importance of an open box of baking soda in the refridgerator and the freezer.
It is not expensive, and it keeps "funny" smells and tastes out of your food!
Be sure to change the boxes every three months.
- Nuke your bacon!
On a microwave-safe plate, place 4-5 strips of bacon between a few paper towels.
Heat on HIGH 4 minutes, flip and heat another 3-4 minutes.
The paper towels absorb all that grease, so you don't have to worry about draining it and figuring out what to do with it.
You can also relax about the grease popping on you or starting a fire!
The best part is, your bacon will always come out flat and not curled up - picture-perfect.
- Trying to avoid heartburn?
Do like the Sicilians do!
Add a ¼ cup milk to any tomato-based sauce.
Not only will it take the "bite" out of the tomato, but it will bring out some of the natural sweetness!
- It is nearly impossible to fix an over-seasoning!
Remember: if you are unsure about a spice or herb, just add a pinch, stir well and taste.
Repeat until you are satisfied with the results.
Special attention should be applied to salt, garlic, ginger, sugar, and anything you and your children consider "hot" .