Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Simple Tip for Moister Meatballs

Do you like moist meatballs? I know I do. There is nothing worse than making meatballs for your spaghetti or for an appetizer and then they turn out dry. Well there is a simple solution to making moist meatballs every time.

The key to making moist meatballs every time is to add a small piece of ice into the center of each meatball. I know, it sounds funny, but it works. So right before you start to brown your meatballs insert a small piece of ice into the center of each meatball.

You may have to test a few first to determine your browning time, because you do not want the meatballs to end up raw in the middle. We are aiming for moister meatballs, not raw meatballs. It is a really simple tip for moister meatballs that is definitely worth trying.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Keep Your Roast from Sticking to the Pan

We have all had it happen before. You make a really nice roast in the oven and you go to take it out of the pan, but it sticks. You end up leaving a big chunk of the roast stuck to the bottom of your roasting pan. Not only are you losing out on a chunk of good roast, trying to clean up your roasting pan becomes a huge pain.

Here is a simple tip to keep your roast from sticking to the bottom of your roasting pans. Line the bottom of your roaster with a few stalks of fresh celery. The celery will keep your roast from sticking to your pan, plus you get the additional benefits of the aromatics from the celery. It works just as well for roasting chickens and turkeys too.

Color of Meat - The Sign of Freshness

If your meat is frozen it should always be thawed in the refrigerator. Do not leave it out on your counter to thaw. Once you have thawed your meat it should be cooked up right away. Do not let it sit in your refrigerator for another day or two like you can with fresh meats.

The color of fresh beef will be bright red. This comes from the beef muscle pigment. If it is not so bright and is more of a darker red, it is most likely an older cow. If your meat or the meat at the market is grayish in color it is usually from the oxidation of the muscle pigments. You can still eat it if it is graying, as it is perfectly safe.

When checking out the fat on your beef cuts, you should look closely at the color. Fresh beef fat will be white, not yellowing.

These are simple steps in knowing the freshness of your beef cuts. So, pay attention to the coloring of your meats.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Freeze Your Smaller Cuts of Meat

The smaller the cut of meat the more quickly it will spoil. Larger cuts of meat take longer to go bad. You should only store smaller cuts of meat in your refrigerator for a day or two at most. If you can't cook them in that time you need to put them in the freezer. Meats such as cubed meat, stir fry meat, or liver should be cooked within a day or else frozen.

So, freeze those small cuts of meat if you don't have the time to cook them right away.

USDA Meat Grading

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates the grading of meat. Usually the packaging of the meat you purchase will indicate the grade of meat it is. Here I will go over some of the grades of meat. The first three I outline here are grades that can be found at your local meat market.


Prime is very tender because of it's higher fat content. This meat tends to be well marbled, and very expensive. You will not find this at your local supermarket or Walmart, you would only find this in high-end restaurants and butcher shops.


Choice cuts are fairly expensive, but they are tender cuts of meat. You can find these cuts at your local supermarket, but you are more likely to find them at the butcher shop.


The Select cut of meat is pretty inexpensive and thus it is easier to find at your local supermarket. It is a tougher cut of meat, that will definitely need some tenderizing.

The next grades of meat you won't find in the butcher shops or in the meat case of your local supermarkets. These are Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner. Commercial are cuts from older cattle, thus it is tougher meat. It is usually used in frozen dinners and canned meat products. The Utility, Cutter, and Canner grades are the left over bits and pieces used in processed meat products. These grades can be really tough, and are of very low quality.

To find out more about the USDA meat grades visit >> The Grading of Beef

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grilling a Turkey

Grilling a turkey is a really simple process, a lot simpler than most people think. It is great anytime of year, and that goes for Thanksgiving too. It frees up you oven for all kinds of other cooking. A grilled turkey turns out beautiful, juicy, and delicious.

If you follow the simple steps I've going to give you, you will be grilling turkeys like a pro. Whether you use a gas grill or a charcoal grill, you can grill a turkey. When grilling a turkey, you must do it indirect. This basically means that you do not grill it right over the heat, you grill it to the side of the heat source.

Whether you are using a gas grill or charcoal grill you will need a drip pan. A simple aluminum pan will work for this. If using a charcoal grill build the charcoal along the sides of the drip pan. So, if you place the drip pan in the center under the turkey, build the hot coals along the sides of the drip pan. If you use a gas grill, check your owners manual on how to set up indirect grilling.

Once your grill is ready, set the turkey on the grate over the drip pan. Make sure the turkey breast is facing up when grilling. You can now place the cover on the grill. It will take around 2 to 3 hours for a 15 pound turkey to cook. You will want to check the coals from time to time as you may need to add more to keep the heat up.

You will want to check the internal temperature of the turkey often to see how it is cooking. Pull the turkey off the grill when the thigh temperature reads approximately 180 degrees. Once it is off the grill, let is rest for around 15 - 20 minutes before carving it up.

For more information on grill a turkey visit >> How to Grill a Turkey

Monday, January 21, 2013

How to Buy Good Fish

I'm going to show you how to buy good fish, because it can be so easy to get a fish that won't turn out how you like. If you follow the simple tips I'm going to give you, you will start to purchase fish with confidence.

The best thing you can do in order to get great fish is go to a place that specializes in fish. If you have a local fish market, go to that. You just want to make sure you go to a place that has high turnover, you don't want to go somewhere that the fish has been sitting for too long. When you do decide on a place to buy your fish, make sure to ask questions. You will want to know if the fish has been frozen or if it really is fresh.

When buying a fresh fish there are several things you need to look for. Check out the smell of the fish. Does is smell fresh, and ocean-like, or does it have a really "fishy" smell. If it smells too fishy it is best to skip that fish. Check out the eyes on the fish, they should be clear. If they are not clear, or are sunken in, that is a sign of an old fish. Also check out the skin and the gills. The skin should still be shiny and the gills should be red if the fish is still fresh.

When buying frozen fish there are other things you need to look for. Look at the packaging and make sure it isn't damaged in any way. Look at the fishes color; it shouldn't be discolored at all. Also check for freezer burn, and make sure there aren't any ice crystals forming on the fish.

Finally eat your fish the same day you buy it. It will taste a lot better the fresher it is. If you cannot eat it the same day it can be stored in your refrigerator for a day or two at most.

With these simple tips on how to buy good fish, you will never purchase a bad fish again. If you would like more information on buying good fish visit >> 6 Tips on How to Purchase the Best Fish

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Deep Frying a Turkey

Deep frying a turkey is a quick and delicious way to cook up a turkey. It makes them super moist and not at all grease as some people think. I'm going to cover the simple process of how to deep fry a turkey.

First and foremost you are going to need all the necessary equipment, and of course a turkey. Your best best is to pick up a turkey fryer kit. These kits contain most of the necessary equipment to fry your turkey. You will also need a thermometer to measure the oil temperature. Peanut oil is the best oil for deep frying a turkey because I believe it gives the best flavor. You'll need about 3 gallons of it. And you will also need a propane tank. Make sure your propane tank is pretty full, you don't want to run out in the middle of frying your turkey.

>>Tips on Buying a Turkey<<

Once you have your turkey and all you equipment set up make sure you follow all the safety directions for your deep fryer kit. Fire and oil can be a dangerous combination. And of course this should all be done outdoors.

Once you've added your oil to the proper level for your size of turkey heat the oil to approximately 350 degrees. Once the oil is heated to the proper level, lower your thawed turkey slowly into the oil using the hanger from your turkey fryer kit. It is going to take right around 3 minutes per pound to deep fry your turkey. Once it is complete slowly lift the turkey out using the hanger once again.

Once you have it out, let it rest for around 15 - 20 minutes before carving it up. There you go, a simple, delicious way to cook up a turkey. If you would like more information on deep frying a turkey visit >> How to Deep Fry a Turkey

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Grilling Fish with Skin

Grilling fish with skin sound like a difficult task because fish is so delicate and tends to stick, however it really isn't as hard as it seems. Yes, your first time out with out the simple tips I'm going to show you, you may have had problems, but you won't anymore.

One of the most important things you can do to grill fish with skin is having a clean grill grate. So make sure it is clean before placing you fish on it. When grilling fish with the skin on you want the the heat level at a medium-high. So set up your charcoal or gas grill for a medium-high heat level. You are going to grill the fish directly over the heat source as well.

To help prevent you fish from sticking, brush the skin side of the fish with a bit of melted butter, olive oil, or canola oil. Once the skin is brushed with a bit of oil or butter and the grill is heated, place the fish on the grill skin side down directly over the heat. Now place the lid on your charcoal grill or shut the lid on your gas grill. Keeping the lid closed with help with cooking your fish evenly and quickly.

It will only take around 10 minutes or so to cook your fish, so you will want to check on it once in awhile. When you check on your fish ensure that the skin isn't burn, but just crisping up a bit. If it looks like it is burning, slide some aluminum foil under the fish. Cooking the fish skin side down does not require you to flip it.

See how easy grilling fish with skin is. For more information on grilling fish with skin visit >> How to Grill Fish on the Skin

Friday, January 18, 2013

Roasted Peppers on the Grill

Roasted peppers on the grill are absolutely fabulous. They turn out sweet and soft, and have a bit of smokiness to them as well. They are great to eat on their own, or to add to salads and other dishes. Grilling peppers is actually really fast and easy to. I'm going to show you how.

You are going to want to roast your peppers directly over the heat. So whether your using a charcoal or a gas grill set it up so you are able to place the peppers right over the heat. As far as heat goes, you are going to want it high. So, get those coals red hot if you are using a charcoal grill.

If you are grilling larger peppers you can cut them in half to make roasting them quicker, but you do not have to. Place the peppers on the grate directly over the heat. At a high level of heat, right over the heat source it will take approximately 5 minutes per side to roast.

Flip the peppers at about the 5 minute mark. You should start to see some charring. This is a good thing. It will give your peppers a good flavor. Once your peppers are done, pull them off the grill and place them in a bowl. Cover the bowel with plastic wrap. What you are doing here is steaming of the tough skins. After about 20 minutes you should be able to peel the skins off.

You don't have to get all the skin off, a bit of char will add some flavor. All that is left is just to cut off the stems and scrap out the seeds. It is really that simple. Roasted peppers on the grill are just awesome. Try out some of the different variety and color of peppers out there, you're bound to find some really great flavors. To learn more about roasting peppers visit >> How to Grill Peppers in 6 Easy Steps

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How to Grill Asparagus

I love asparagus. It is such a delicious healthy food. Here I am going to show you how to grill asparagus. Most people when preparing asparagus just steam it or microwave it. However it can be so much more delicious when done on the grill. It is the perfect side dish for any cookout.

Grilling asparagus brings out so much more flavor than steaming it, that is why I prefer to grill it any chance I get. One of the big problems with grilling asparagus is that it can fall through the grill grates. This is easily fixed by using toothpicks or skewers. You can find both bamboo and metal skewers that will work perfectly, but if you don't have any on hand toothpicks work just fine.

The get the asparagus ready to grill, wash it up good and break off the end piece where it starts to get woody. It will naturally snap at the right spot once you start bending it. At this point you want to toss a little olive oil and seasonings on them. I like a little sesame oil and seed on mine. You can experiment and see what you prefer.

Before grilling your asparagus you will need to either skewer them, or you can through them in a vegetable grill basket, or even place them on aluminum foil. You will want to place the asparagus directly over the coals, or heat source if using a gas grill. If you are using skewers, it is only going to take around 2 - 3 minutes per side to cook. Keep a close on on them. With a vegetable grill basket or aluminum foil, the cook time will be a bit longer; more like 4 minutes per side.

There you have it, grilled asparagus. It is such a quick and easy way to gill asparagus, and the flavor is fantastic. For more information on how to grill asparagus visit >> Grilled Asparagus

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What are Baby Back Ribs?

Baby back ribs sometime referred to back ribs or loin ribs are cut from tops of the pig's rib cage between the spine and spare ribs. These type of ribs are cut from the loin section of the hog making them really tender in comparison to your spare ribs.

A typical rack of baby back ribs will have between 10-13 ribs. The ribs get short toward one end do to the tapering of the pig's rib cage. Being that these ribs are shorter and more tender they are the most popular choice when it comes to ribs.

People often wonder why they call them baby back ribs. The reason they get the name baby is because they ribs are cut from market weight hogs which usually fall between 240-270 lbs, instead of adult hogs which are usually 500-650 lbs.

If you are looking to barbecue up a rack of ribs, baby back ribs are an excellent choice. For more information on baby back ribs visit >> Baby Back Ribs vs. Spare Ribs

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What are Spare Ribs?

Spare ribs or spareribs are a cut of pork ribs from the bottom section of the pigs ribs. They are basically cut from the belly side of the pigs rib cage. Spare ribs are a large cut of rib that is more meatier than your baby back ribs. However this cut of ribs is also a lot tougher.

The slabs of spareribs being larger usually need to be cut to a more manageable size for ease of cooking and handling. When it comes to cooking these ribs you will want to barbecue them a lot longer. This is because they are a tougher rack of ribs compared to baby backs. The longer cooking session will help make these spare ribs more tender and delicious.

For more information on spare ribs visit >> Baby Back Ribs vs. Spare Ribs

Monday, January 14, 2013

St. Louis Style Ribs

St. Louis style ribs are actually a cutting style from a rack of spare ribs. The spare ribs are cut to make it more of a rectangular rack. Trimming up the spare ribs in to St. Louis Style ribs will make the rack of ribs a lot more easier to cook and also serve. If you have ever looked at a rack of spare ribs you can see how awkward the shape is for cooking; cutting them up St. Louis Style help to get the rack more uniform.

To cut St. Louis Style ribs form spare ribs you need to cut the cartilage at the ends of the ribs. What you get when you do this trimming is what is called rib tips. You will want to keep those as they can be cooked up too. They are delicious. You will also notice some loose meat that runs along the slab of ribs, this is called the skirt and should also be removed.

The final step in trimming spare ribs into St. Louis Style ribs is removing the membrane. This is a tough membrane and to remove it you will want to slide a knife under it and pry it up. Once you get is pried up a bit you can grab the membrane and peel it off.

The finished ribs are now cut St. Louis Style and are ready to hit the barbecue. If you would like more information check out >> What are St. Louis Style Ribs?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

How to Microwave Corn on the Cob

If you want some delicious corn on the cob but don't want to wait for the time it takes to boil it or grill it you can microwave it. Microwaved corn on the cob is quick and easy and can turn out just as good as if you were to boil it.

You can microwave your corn on the cob a couple ways. You can do it with the husk on, or remove the husk. To microwave corn on the cob with the husk on, trim the ends, excess silk, and any loose or dry leaves. Place the ears of corn in your microwave so they are not touching one another. Depending upon the wattage of your microwave it will take about 2 to 4 minutes per ear of corn.

Once it is done let the corn sit for a minute or so in the husks, as it will continue to steam and cook. Check to see if the corn on the cob is done by peeling back the husks a bit.You can feel the kernels and taste them to ensure that they are done. If they are not yet finished just lay the husk back down and put back into the microwave for a minute or so more.

The other method to cook corn on the cob in the microwave is to shuck the corn before cooking. Completely shuck the ears of corn removing all the leaves and silk. Place the ears of corn in a microwave safe dish or on a plate. At this point you can add seasoning if you would like. Cover the corn on the cob with a microwave safe lid, plastic wrap, or even a paper towel. Again depending upon the wattage of your microwave it will take around 2 to 4 minutes per ear of corn.

That is it, a fast and easy way to cooking corn on the cob in the microwave. If you have ever wanted to try to make grilled corn on the cob, check out this article >> How to Grill Corn

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Perfect Scrambled Eggs Every Time

Scrambled eggs are one of my favorite meals for breakfast, and even sometimes dinner. There a such a quick and easy meal, but a lot of people seem to have a problem making them just right. Here are some tips to make perfect scrambled eggs every time.

If you want really good scrambled eggs, you are going to have to not worry about extra fat. Adding extra fat to your eggs is going to give the eggs a better texture and keep them from getting tough. To get more fat into your scrambled eggs add another yolk or two and also some 2% or whole milk. You could even add some half and half.

When scrambling your eggs, do not over do it. A nice light scrambling with the eggs completely combined with the milk is enough. Also use a smaller stainless steel saute pan. Using a smaller pan makes for a thicker layer of eggs, which in turn is hard to overcook.

When cooking your scrambled eggs start them off on a medium-high heated saute pan, which will create the nice fluffy, large scrambled eggs. Once they started to set, you will want to cut the heat so as not to overcook them. There is nothing worse than overcooked scrambled eggs.

If you wanted to add some other things to your scrambled eggs make sure to keep away from ingredients that are really moist such as tomatoes. Moist ingredients such as these will end up giving you watery eggs. It is best to stick with saute vegetables like peppers and onions. You can of course add cheeses and pre-cooked meats to your scrambled eggs as well, just add them in once the eggs are finished.

They few simple steps will help you make some really good scrambled eggs every time.

>>How to Grill Corn

Is Cured Ham Already Cooked?

Is cured ham already cooked? This is a question a lot of people ask when looking to buy a ham. This is especially true around the holiday season when more and more people are looking to get a ham. It is a very valid question for someone who has never purchased a ham before.

Cured ham is pork that has gone through a curing process to preserve the meat. There are many ways of curing meat, but for the most part the ham you purchase at your local grocery store is more than likely wet cured and smoked. The ham is soaked in a salt water brine as well as being injected with other ingredients such as sugar and sodium nitrate. Often times they are smoked as well.

Most of these cured hams are ready to eat and will be prominently label as such. They will have the cooking instructions right on the packaging as well. To prepare your cured ham you will just want to add a glaze and heat it up to 140 degrees.

So, for the most part, cured hams are pre-cooked and just need to be heated to 140 degrees, if they are not pre-cooked they will be label stating "cook before eating".

>>What are St. Louis Style Ribs?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Cooking Up Vegetables It's Never Been Easier

Your mother probably always told you to eat your vegetables. Here are some really simple ways to cook up your veggies to get more of them in your diet.

Of course there is always just eating them raw. Some vegetable are just fantastic raw. Fresh from your garden your the farmers market. Radishes, carrots, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, etc. These are perfect for tossing together for a fresh snack or to add to a salad.

A simple way to prepare some vegetables is to boil them. It isn't as popular as it once was, but it is an effective method of cooking up those veggies. Potatoes are the main one that comes to mind for boiling. Who does like some fresh mashed potatoes. Just cover the vegetables with water, bring to a boil, then slow the boil to just a simmer. The veggies are done once they are tender.

Steaming is a perfect way to cook up your vegetables. You can use a vegetable steamer or just a pan with a good fitting lid. Steaming with soften up the veggies, but won't over do it like boiling can. Plus it will leave all the nice color that your veggies have. You can steam all sort of vegetables from broccoli and cauliflower, to asparagus and sweet peas.

Who doesn't like a stir fry. Stir frying veggies into an Asian dish is absolutely fantastic and easy too. It is a really quick way of cooking your vegetables and when mixed with some of the different sauces available today it can be really good. You will want to chop your vegetables into smaller chunks and piece for quicker cooking.

Grilled vegetables are absolutely fantastic. It is the perfect side dish to any barbecued meal. There are several ways to grill up your vegetables that will leave them tasting really delicious. The grill imparts so much flavor to your meals. Once you try it you will never go back to cooking your veggies inside during the summer.

>>Tips for Great Grilled Vegetables

Of course there is always baked vegetables. It is an easy way of cooking veggies like potatoes and carrots. Who hasn't had a baked potatoes, they are really delicious. And so are cooked carrots in a pot roast. Boy does that bring back memories.

The simplest way to cook up some veggies is just using your microwave. It is super simple and extremely fast. If don't have much time and want to get more vegetables in your diet, the microwave is a great way to do it.

See, it can really be simple to get more vegetables in your diet with the variety of different ways of preparing them. So, pick up some veggies and see which cooking method you prefer.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spice Up Your Foods with Peppercorns

There is no need to be using your old pre-ground black pepper in a tin, you can get so much more flavor in you foods by using peppercorns. When you make the switch, you can tell the difference it makes in you meals right away. It adds so much more flavor.

There are several different varieties of peppercorns available to the home cook. You can use them to provide unique flavors to meals. Use them in sauces, dressings, rubs, marinades are just right on you foods for and exciting flavor explosion. Let's cover a few of the different peppercorns that are available.

Black peppercorns are the most common. This is basically like the pre-ground stuff your mom used from the tin. It does however have a lot more flavor than the pre-ground pepper. If you don't grind it right away, black peppercorns will retain there flavor for some time.

Green peppercorns are harder to find. These are immature peppercorns,and they have a very fresh flavor. This type of peppercorn is perfect for use in salad dressings, sauces, or for using on your vegetables.

Pink peppercorns are one of the rarest. They have a really unique flavor. It is somewhat spicy and sweet. It is a really fragrant variety of peppercorn. It goes really well with light sauces and vinaigrettes.

White peppercorns have a potent spicy flavor like your black pepper. It works great in foods in which you do not want to have the black specks showing. It is perfect for your lighter color sauces too.

There are many other varieties of peppercorns available, but these are a great start and a significant step up from your pre-ground pepper in a tin. Give some peppercorns a try and see how much more flavorful you dishes can be.

>>Smoked Salt

Half the World's Food is Thrown Away

A report called Global Food; Waste Not, Want Not is claiming that half the world's food is just thrown away. That is extremely staggering if you ask me. If that is actually the case it is really said since so many hungry people could be fed.

The waste is said to be caused by poor storage facilities and infrastructure, consumers being way to picky, and also overly strict sell-by dates.This is according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Every year countries produce four billion tons of food, but between 30 percent and 50 percent of it never gets eaten.

The report also states that half the food purchased in Europe and the US is thrown away after it is purchased. It is also stated that in the food production process large amounts of water are wasted.

I see a lot of food waste around me, and just multiply what I see on a global level. It has to be staggering. Things may only get worse as the world population grows.

>>How to grill asparagus