Tips & techniques----let's start a new thread!!

yellowhairNovember 23, 2003

For newbies like me. Here's just a couple from me from my first little cooking session----probably have 30 meals in the freezer right now.


Another poster's tip about cooking meatballs on a rack--GREAT!!!! Worked really well---no turning! And they were yummy (I used some Italian seasoning)---bread crumbs, egg. Warmed some up a few nights ago---tasted great!

Next time I think I'll put wax paper down on my counters and just toss it when I'm thru. Although I used hot soapy water with a little clorox, I still worry about bacteria from meats.

I also want to try using a tray for prep work. We did this in dietary at a nursing home-----then we ran the trays thru the dishwasher. It keeps the counter tops less messy.

PS I said I used clorox in my dishwater, the State Dept. recommends using this to kill germs. I worked in the dietary dept. of a nursing home. We even used some in the rinse water for pots and pans----regular "cooking" dishes that didn't go to the dish room.

Anybody else got some tips? I hope.

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I can't believe nobody ever posted to this, I just found this forum, believe it or not. I saw a couple tips on tv I think it was. putting dawn dish soap in the blender, turn it on and it washes the blender, then just rinse it out and your done. and putting lemon slices in some water and putting them in the microwave and cook for a min or so, leave it there and in a while come back and wipe it clean, the stuck on stuff comes right off. I know these aren't that great, I thought the lemon thing was neat. LOL

anybody else out there want to keep this thread going?


    Bookmark   January 2, 2004 at 1:04AM
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Just wanted to add that the tray that I bought for kitchen prep is great! At Thanksgiving and Christmas, my DH helped me with a few things and since he has a bad back he carried all of this items on the tray over to the coffee table (I don't have a fancy house, just a cottage that I attempt to fancy-up---lol) and worked on his meal there.

I'm getting ready to do another "bake day" and I'll be fixing meatballs (baked on the rack) and mini meatloaves again for sure. Also, the barbequed chicken.

Also, I did the boiled hamburger the last time and divided it up, put it in baggies, then into a large plastic butter container. DH did not notice that it had been boiled!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 6:31PM
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My second attempt at once-a month cooking. Actually, it's once a month shopping for me. I still cook every night. Just me and DH. Not too bad.

Anyhoo, I have found that it's easier for me to keep one week's meats in one section of the freezer----for instance---I have one container with 7 days of meats. I have 4 containers. One for each week. I don't have to search thru my freezer each night for the pork chops or chicken-------it's in my container for that week.

Hope this is making sense.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 9:01PM
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Sue, what type of containers do you use in the freezer? I really like that idea!
I would really like to start OAWC but unfortunately, I can't find many ideas floating around. Plus, DH doesn't like tomato sauce so that omits a lot of recipes.
I really wish this forum would gather some speed. Too bad I can't contribute much!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2004 at 7:04AM
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Hi MoAtWork,
I'm fairly new at this so right now I'm using the containers from the large pkgs. of meat, also some from the large containers of butter, ice cream, cottage cheese, etc.

Also, I had bought a large box of hamburgers, so I'm using that box as one of my "weekly" containers. Along with all of these, I use Saran wrap to flash freeze items, then put them in a ziploc freezer bag. Then, this all goes into my weekly container.

I have a side-by-side refrigerator with 4 main shelves in the freezer and 2 of my weekly containers is on one shelf. Tomorrow I'm having beef stew----I'm putting it in the crockpot tonight and it will be ready by lunch----when I went to the freezer to get out my meat----it was so easy just getting it out of my weekly box.

It's so simple-----4 containers---4 weeks!!

Hope this helps some. And, yes, I understand your situation with your DH, mine has acid reflux quite often, think he has a hiatal hernia---so, I have to keep spices down to a minimum (this looks mispelled).

I'm just starting meal planning---right now I have on my Master chart--lol--Fish about twice a week, Pork Chops, Chicken, Taco Salad, Steak, Hot Dogs (very easy), Spaghetti & Meatballs, Meatloaf, and a few other entrees. I think I have too much red meat in this, but I plan to adjust it each month and add some healthier meals.

DH is a meat & Potatoes kinda guy, but I think I can incorporate some casseroles into the plan. My *Big Goal* is to have 15 different entrees----then have them twice a month.

Hope this helps.

PS For small amounts of foods, I just use the yogurt containers, put some saran wrap on top, then put the lid on. I've never had freezer burn on anything.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2004 at 6:22PM
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PS Need to clarify my "weekly" containers. These are just the large containers that meat come in. Anything could be used----a box, a basket, even a plastic bag----whatever will FIT in the freezer space. It just keeps the weeks of meals separated. Four weeks----4 containers.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 7:15PM
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I use containers too...I use them in my refrigerators on the shelves...makes using the ref so know how every thing you need from the frig is on the shelf but way behind everything else..well mine is also in a plastic container and I just slide that container out like a drawer and select what ever I need.I got the idea because I loved the one drawer in my fridge.....I guess it is for cheese or maybe meat ...but it makes storing so easy to do it with the containers...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2004 at 8:42AM
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I love using containers as dividers in the fridge! I have a couple in there for yogurt and the other one has lunch meat and cheese.

Now, I don't have to chase after those small containers of yogurt. lol---It just looks so much better to have them organized. I'm also using a large plastic meat container in the freezer with "BREAKFAST" written on it for items such as frozed sausages, hash browns, and biscuits.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2004 at 12:14PM
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Don;t know if this is the kind of tip you are looking for, but this one makes your chicken recipes turn out great.

Marinate your uncooked chicken overnight in buttermilk. It makes the chicken remain tender and juicy for casseroles, sauteeing, baking, frying, whatever.

This was given to me by a friend who owned a chain of restaurants and everyone loved his chicken dishes. He marinated chicken strips in buttermilk and lemon pepper before he battered and fried.

Hope some of you will try it. I NEVER cook chicken any more unless it has been swimming in the buttermilk overnight.

Something in buttermilk breaks down the fibers in the meat and allows it to stay tender and juicy while it cooks instead of drying out and become tough. I beleive that I saw Alton Brown 'splain this on Good Eats one day.

Don't forget to wash the buttermilk off the chicken before you prepare your dish.

Love Y'all! Billie

    Bookmark   February 7, 2008 at 1:48PM
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Billie - how interesting, that tip on the buttermilk!

A few days after my MIL died (she was a great cook) my BIL said out of the blue, "I wonder if anyone got Ma's secret for her great fried chicken!" It was a light-hearted moment during a somber time. I believe one of the SIL's said the secret was that she put the spices directly on the raw chicken before flouring and dredging, etc. I don't know, I never bother frying chicken myself! But I may use the buttermilk hint for the many baked casserole recipes I have. You have me convinced!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 3:26PM
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Thanks for the tips, everybody. I'm going to try the buttermilk and spices. I hadn't been back to this thread for a while. I went back to read the old posts that I had made --- well, I'm sorry to say that I haven't been cooking like I first started.

About a year and a half go, my Dad got sick and I spent about 2 months with him before he died ---- then I came home and the acid reflux that my husband had in one of my posts -----turned out it was really blockage in his arteries and had to have emergency open-heart surgery. He's doing okay now, much better in fact, but has numbness in one of his legs where they took a vein out (I think). Please, if you have someone who has a lot of acid reflux, make them go and get checked for heart blockage. The Dr. said that acid reflux masks a lot of heart problems.

But, anyhow, I got away from the once-a-week, or once-a-month cooking. And I went back to work and, so---I've let a lot of things in the kitchen slide. I would really like to get back into it.

When I was cooking large portions -- I found that the chicken legs and all of the turkey froze well. Once, I used the containers that you buy the frozen meals in---for my meal container and just put that in a zip-lock bag. Now, if I can collect 30 or so of them---well---

One of my biggest obstacles is gettin DH to try these meals. Funny, he buys the ones at the grocery and eats that rubber-looking chicken! haha And some of those green beans are horrible in those meals.

Keep up the good tips. Yes, the economy seems to be taking a downturn. I'm just thankful that I have money to buy food. I know that people with large families must spend a small fortune at the grocery.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 8:50AM
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Yellowhair, I'm so very sorry to hear about your Dad's passing and your husband's health issues. I am fairly new to this forum but I would like to extend a sincere "welcome back."

I enjoyed your hints about the freezer containers and also the refrigerator containers. Funny how I like to organize my kitchen but my refrigerator/freezer can be a mess! The only organized thing I had going in there was a lazy susan with a one inch lip that holds mayo and other condiments. I am going to try containers for some of the smaller items like yogurt.

I'm glad you're going to jump back into the habit of getting some meals prepared ahead of time. It not only saves money but valuable family time and we all know how important that is!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:30PM
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pathfinder, the buttermilk marinate is interesting. An friend who is a plain, old fashioned southern cook told me about marinating fish in buttermilk. Takes the 'fishy' taste and smell away (she said.) I don't like buttermilk so I never have it on hand. Wonder if regular milk that you can buy in small pint size containers would work?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2008 at 10:14AM
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bean counter, I have thawed fish fillets in milk many times. I never heard of doing it in buttermilk! I heard that it takes the "frozen" taste out of it. Maybe milk has some secret property in general?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Tip for crockpot meals:

I buy a bunch of meats at the store, rub them in different seasonings (taco or bbq rub, many more) and wrap the rubbed meat in tin foil. I then freeze it. I later take the frozen tin foil wrapped package out of the freezer and place it straight in the crockpot (yes, with the tinfoil) Put it on low for 6-8 hours and you have perfectly seasoned and moist meat.

1 recipe I love to use:

-2 boneless pork picnic roasts
-BBQ rub (garlic salt, pepper, salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, brown sugar and whatever else sounds good)

Coat both roasts with seasoning and individually wrap each roast with aluminum foil. Place both roasts with tin foil into crock pot and cook on low for 6 hours or so. Pork will be very moist and will fall apart when you put a fork in it. Any leftovers you can add bbq sauce to and have pulled pork sandwiches for lunch.

I also like to rub taco seasoning on chicken breasts (fresh or frozen) and add lime juice and cook in crockpot in foil. The result is great shredded mexican chicken perfect for tamales, enchiladas, tacos, etc.

Hope this message wasn't too long.
Happy cooking!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:05PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

OK here's the deal with fish. Just thaw it out it in the fridg with ice water. Be sure you put ice cubes in there. The ice water takes the "fishy" out of the fish. No need for buttermilk.......

Aside from that, I love buttermilk!! Love it in pancakes and to marinate chicken!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 3:57PM
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