Tag Archives: cooking

Food safety guide for leftovers

I love leftovers!

When a restaurant portion is too big for me to finish in one sitting, you know I’m eyeballing it and figuring out how many more meals I can get out of it! Your big plate of too-much-pasta will serve as lunch at work tomorrow, and possibly dinner tomorrow night! Not only are you eating less per meal, you are stretching the value of your dining-out

Cooking in large batches and freezing it for future meals is also a great way of saving time and money.

All that said, I’m actually pretty squeamish about leftovers. Friends say I’m a germophobe, and maybe I am. But if it’s a personality flaw to not want e. coli in my system, then I’m as flawed as can be!

Paying attention to food safety  couldn’t be more important today! I’m very cautious about how long I keep leftovers around in the refrigerator. For dishes I’ve cooked myself, 4-5 days has always been the maximum refrigerator time. Restaurant leftovers, generally 2-3 days tops.

I just found a super resource from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It shows the recommended guidelines for how long food can be safely kept in the refrigerator and freezer.

Food Safety Education: Cold Storage Chart

My personal guidelines came mostly from instinct, and are not too far off from the recommendations. I may adjust my leftover management schedule slightly. I am a germophobe, after all.

More food safety information

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, food, frugal

Salvaging kitchen blunders

This past weekend, I whipped up three pans of cornbread for a cookout.

Somehow, instead of tripling the recipe, I guess I only doubled it. This resulted in three very hard, thin pans of cornbread. I couldn’t serve this dry crummy mess to humans.

Luckily, I had enough ingredients on hand to re-do it correctly. The second time was a charm, with three pans of big thick moist cornbread.

But what to do with the failed batch? It was really inedible, but I couldn’t bear throwing it away. How wasteful. At the very least, I figured  I could feed it to the birds and squirrels.

But wait. I did a quick google search for “hard stale cornbread recipes”… and eventually came up with a recipe for banana-caramel cornbread pudding. Score!

I made it tonight (omitting the bananas because I’m not a fan), and it is fabulous.

“Waste not, want not,” as my dear old mom used to say. It’s amazing what you can do with leftovers and outright blunders when you use a little ingenuity.

————————————

If you enjoyed this post, please contribute to my virtual tip jar

1 Comment

Filed under cheap fun, cooking, food, frugal

The vague gourmet: Lentil-veggie burgers

I made the absolutely yummiest veggie burgers last night!

Of course I wanted to share the recipe– it’s a super-tasty, inexpensive, low-fat alternative to prepared veggie burgers. Unfortunately, I cook by the “little of this, little of that” method and lost track of the actual amounts. I tried to trace my steps as carefully as possible.

LENTIL-VEGGIE BURGERS

1 cup of granular TVP (textured vegetable protein)

1 cup dry red lentils, sorted and rinsed

2-3/4 cups of water

1 vegetable boullion cube

2 eggs, well-beaten

3/4 (?) cup of bread crumbs

onion powder

garlic powder

salt and pepper

1.  PREHEAT OVEN TO 375 degrees.

2.  Put TVP, lentils, boullion and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat, then lower heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until most of water is absorbed.

3.  Let TVP-lentil mixture cool to room temperature and place in a large mixing bowl. This will keep the eggs from starting to cook in step 4. (If you’re in a hurry,  dump the whole mess into a fine-mesh sieve. Run cold water over TVP-lentil mix and drain well before putting it in the mixing bowl. You’ll need to add extra seasoning in step 5).

4.   Stir beaten eggs into the TVP-lentil mix.

5.   Add seasonings, mix well.

6.   Mix in breadcrumbs. Start with 3/4 cup, and add more as needed. Shouldn’t need more than one cup. It should be a very moist and sticky mixture– not too dense, not too loose.

7.   Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Form about 10 good-sized burgers, about 3/4 of an inch thick and 3 inches across. Carefully place burgers on baking sheet as you form them. Spritz the top-sides of the burgesr with more cooking spray. The uncooked burgers will be pretty moist and gooey, but the burgers will firm up a bit while baking.

8.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. Turn them over, and bake for another 15-20 minutes. They’ll be nicely browned and crispy on the outside, but wonderfully moist on the inside. Makes about 10 generous-sized burgers.

Serve on a hamburger bun with all the fixings. Or you can serve them with the dipping condiments of your choice– ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, etc. Even with brown gravy and mashed potatoes, this can be salisbury-steak type dish!

Summary:

  • High-protein
  • High-fiber
  • Low-fat
  • Low-cost
  • Highly delicious

What more could you want?

OPTIONS:

  • For color and variety, throw in some finely-chopped vegetables, such as onions, peppers or mushrooms.
  • Any special seasonings or spices you like can be used. There are no real rules.
  • In step 2, stir in half a capful of Gravy Master for a darker, more authentic meat-like color.

——————————-

If you enjoyed this post, please contribute to my virtual tip jar

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, food, groceries, Uncategorized

Refresh your cookies

No, not the “cookies” on your computer… the cookies in your kitchen!

I baked some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last week, and they were a little crunchier than I would have liked. My oven tends to run hot, so things often bake faster than recipes state. I always subtract a few minutes from the baking time, but occasionally don’t get it quite right.

Not a problem.

Whether you’ve made the same mistake as I did… or you don’t want to waste cookies that have gone hard…. here’s how to soften up cookies to perfection:

  1. Keep the cookies in a storage container that has a tightly-fitting lid.
  2. Place one slice of fresh bread on top of the cookies and seal the lid.
  3. Let it sit overnight.

In the morning, you will have one very dry piece of bread and some deliciously soft chewy cookies. The cookies will have absorbed all the moisture from the bread. (Discard the bread.)

Don’t let those cookies go to waste!

Leave a comment

Filed under cooking, food, frugal, saving