Repurposing Beef Broth

Broths and stocks are absolute wonders for cooking with.  They can add amazing richness and flavor with almost no effort and are considered a staple by countless chefs and home cooks.  The other great thing about broths is their versatility and their ability to be reused.  Rich, dark, savory beef broth is one of the best broths you can repurpose due to the number of things you can use it for.

Different Forms

Beef brother can be store-bought or even homemade.  A broth made from roasted bones and vegetables is truly a delight due to the deep flavor and beautiful color you get from a homemade broth.  Yet many commercial options are available and at long last reduced sodium and even unsalted broths are on store shelves.  Canned/boxed broth and granules or cubes are convenient but they are often very high in sodium.  Beef broth base or starter can be used and since they are so concentrated a little goes a long way.  There are even unsalted and organic beef broth base products readily available which are great for cooking with.  Once you have found the product that is the most convenient and versatile for you it’s time to start cooking.

Repurposing Beef Broth

Different Foods

I don’t know how other people might prepare a corned beef brisket, but roasted for hours in a slow cooker surrounded by a liquid of beef broth and dark beer yields a succulent result.  Whatever you do keep that wonderful stock after you remove the brisket!  The flavors and juices from the meat plus the delicious spices have completely infused the broth and you have an invaluable cooking liquid.  This leftover broth makes a divine and uncommonly rich beef stew, a perfect repurposing of beef broth.

Some grains and vegetables are fantastic cooked in beef stock, particularly green beans and potatoes.  Other savory side dishes that cook up beautifully in the broth include rice or even a classic risotto Milanese.  If beef stroganoff is on the menu, cook the noodles in the beef broth and/or use it to make the sauce.  Not only will repurposing beef broth give you amazing flavors it will help out with your budget.

Soups

In addition to beef stew, leftover beef broth can be used as a base for other hearty soups.  Try it in a vegetable beef soup with or without barely.  You can even make a delicious steak and potato soup with chunks of stew meat and large chunks of potatoes.  Leftover beef broth also makes a wonderful chili that gives a depth of flavor guaranteed to please almost any palette.

Storage

If you have a lot of leftover beef broth but are unsure of what to do with it your freezer is your friend.  Broth freezes and reheats very well meaning it will be ready for use when you are.  Just pour it into a sealable bag, container, or even ice cube trays to freeze it until you need to use it.  Once you have started using beef broth instead of water you will most likely consider it you new “go-to” seasoning staple.

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Chocolate 101 – What You Need to Know

Who doesn't love chocolate? Do those people exist? In our experience, everyone in the world enjoys a good piece of chocolate (or two, or three...). We eat what we love, and sometimes we know very little about what we're actually consuming. Did you know that chocolate actually isn't bad for you when consumed in appropriate amounts? Learn a little about it, it might help ease your conscious the next time you're shoveling it in.

cacao seed

What is It?

Chocolate is a product of cacao seeds that originated in South and Central America. It's made when the seeds are fermented, roasted, ground and sometimes flavored; from there it can maintain a liquid form, or be made into a paste or a block. Chocolate in its original form is a tad bitter, and doesn't really become very sweet until we add cocoa butter, fat or sugar. When chocolate is sweetened in this way, milk chocolate is formed. White chocolate is simply milk chocolate without the cocoa solids.

Health Benefits

Cocoa solids (without the sweeteners) are one of the best sources of flavanol antioxidants to date. In addition, they contain alkaloids that have positive physiological effects on the body due to a link to serotonin levels in the brain. Studies show that chocolate, when eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure and is thought to possess properties that are beneficial for cardiac health and wellness. As a general rule of thumb, the more bitter the chocolate, the more likely it is to have a positive affect. Most candied chocolate that we purchase from the grocery store has very little, if any positive affect. If you're interested in consuming a little chocolate on a daily basis as a small treat and as a health benefit, only buy chocolate that is rich in cacao. How can you tell? The packaging will indicate a cacao percentage, and your chocolate should read at over 75% cacao to be beneficial for your health.

It's no wonder that chocolate is actually a $50 billion a year industry; it's one of the tastiest food and flavor items in the world. And doesn't it make you happy to know that if you consume it appropriately it can be great for your health? That's just the chocolate icing on the chocolate cake.

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Summer Grilling Recipes: Burgers, Chicken and more

It’s summer time! Finally time to get out the grill for awesomely good outdoor feasts. Grilling has wonderful benefits for health and fun with family and friends! Nothing says summertime like calling all your friends and telling them to bring some meat to throw on the grill and having an impromptu and inexpensive party! Health wise, grilling is great because you eliminate much of the fat that is associated with frying your food. Grilling your food also eliminates heating up the house by taking the bulk of the cooking outside. Win, win! Here are some summer grilling recipes: burgers, chicken and more that are quick and easy for that tasty summertime meal.

summer grilled recipes

  1. Burgers: Mix two pounds of ground meat (beef, chicken or turkey) with one package of onion soup mix, ¼ cup egg substitute, 2 teaspoons hot sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ cup of Italian bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Form the meat into burger patties and place them on the grill. Cook the burgers to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees and enjoy!
  2. Chicken: The secret to great grilled chicken is evenly sized meat portions and a great brine mixture. For boneless chicken, place the pieces in a sealed zipper bag and use a rolling pin or a meat pounder to pound the meat into an even pieces about ¾ inch thick. Make brine by combining one gallon of warm water with ¼ cup of salt, ¾ cup of sugar, ½ cup of soy sauce and ¼ cup of olive or vegetable oil. Place the pounded chicken or other pieces in the brine for at least 30 minutes. Add the chicken to the grill and cook until the internal temperature is 170 degrees. It is very important that chicken be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
  3. Veggie Mix: You can make a very tasty veggie mix on the grill that will satisfy everyone. Slice mushrooms, onions, carrots, and potatoes (very thin) and place in individual sized tin foil packets. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce to each packet. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may also want to add a sprinkle of garlic powder. Fold the packets up and place them at the corner of the grilling surface. Let the veggies cook while you prepare and cook the meat.
  4. Fruit: Grilled fruit is very good and not many people think of it. However, dessert on the grill is very tasty and enhances the flavor of the fruit. Some very easy fruits to try are apples, apricots and watermelon! Yes, watermelon! Slice the fruit to an inch thickness or for the apricots, cut them in half and remove the pit. Place them on the grill for just a minute or so (until score marks are apparent) and remove! That’s it! Yummy!

These easy summer grilling recipes: burgers, chicken and more will get you started on a great grilling season. Enjoy!

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Four Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Mayonnaise

Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do With Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is a staple around the world. Mayonnaise is popular on sandwiches, in salads and as a base for many sauces. Mayonnaise is simply an emulsion of eggs, oil and either lemon juice or vinegar with a few spices added in. However, did you know that mayonnaise has many uses other than food? Here are four things you didn’t know you could do with mayonnaise.

  • Hair Conditioner: Mayonnaise makes a fantastic hair conditioner because of the protein in the eggs and the moisturizing element of the oils. To use mayonnaise as hair conditioner, wash and towel dry your hair first. Apply mayonnaise to your hair and massage it into the roots and pull down through the ends of the hair. Wrap your hair in some plastic wrap or a warm towel, and leave the mayonnaise on your hair for about an hour. Wash your hair with some mild shampoo and style as usual. Your hair will be soft, smooth and manageable.
  • Household Cleaner: There are several uses for mayonnaise as a household cleaner. Mayonnaise can clean ivory piano keys. Rub them down and leave the mayonnaise on for five minutes. Rub it off with a damp cloth and buff with a dry cloth until the keys shine. You can also use mayonnaise to remove crayon marks from walls and remove ring stains from wood. Rub a good amount of mayonnaise onto the stains, and let it sit for five to ten minutes. Using a damp cloth, wipe off the mayonnaise. Stubborn stains may need a second application. Strangely enough, mayonnaise can also be used to shine the leaves of household plants with large leaves. Put a small amount of mayonnaise on a damp paper towel and start wiping the leaves. They will take on a new, healthy looking shine.
  • Gunk Remover: It seems like you never have a bottle of Goo Gone when you need it, but mayonnaise is a great gunk remover in a pinch. Whether you are removing bumper stickers from your car or removing labels from jars for a craft, a little mayonnaise can dissolve the glue that remains behind. Slather on a good amount and let it sit for about 15 – 20 minutes. Wipe off with a damp cloth. You may need to repeat the process a couple of times, but it will get the gunk off.
  • Manicure Cream: Mayonnaise makes a great manicure cream. Soak your nails in a bowl of mayonnaise for five to ten minutes. It will strengthen your nails and soften your cuticles. After you finish soaking, wash your hands in mild hand soap, and use a cuticle tool to push your cuticles back. Finally, complete your manicure as usual! As an added bonus, mayonnaise is also good for preventing hangnails, and if you get a hangnail, you can treat it with a drop of mayonnaise to soften it and relieve pain.

These four things you didn’t know you could do with mayonnaise are pretty neat ways to extend the use of that mayonnaise in your fridge and maybe save on other products you may not need very often. Substitute mayonnaise instead!

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Running a Tight but Sweet Kitchen: Baking on a Budget

Baking on a Budget

The sweet tooth in every family member will know you did it all from scratch. Some of the best baking items that you can make should come from fresh fruit. In fact, one of the best places to shop for fresh fruit for your baked goods is at your local Farmer’s Market.  You’ll be supporting your local farmers and you’ll save on your fruit and necessities for baking. If you’re pinching pennies, it doesn’t have to show in your baked goods.  If you are trying to save, save on buying your fruit during season such as apples during the winter and peaches in spring and freezing if needed will help you save in your apple pies and peach cobblers.

 

Buying Bulk Items to Bake

Baked goods begin by the baker buying in bulk.  Some of these bulk items are your cocoa powder, flour, sugar and baking powder. These will come out a lot cheaper by the pound.  Other ingredients depending on your grocery store may have bulk items but the main essentials such mentioned above will be sufficient.

Butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, extracts, salt, flour, baking powder are the main ingredients bakers should have in their pantry at all times. These are the basics for any baking junkie in order to make sweet baked goods.

 

Budget Baker’s Tools to the Trade

The budget baker’s tools besides hands alone need the basic essentials.  When it comes to utensils and cookware, the necessities such as pans, whisks, rolling pin, cookie cutters, measuring spoons and cups are all needed. In addition,  cooking sheets (pie, cakes, loaf styles), 2 bowls to mix, cooling racks, rubber spatulas, and oven mitts are other utensils that a baker needs in the kitchen at all times. Using your toaster also is more efficient than the oven so whenever possible if you can, cookies thinly sliced work well in toaster ovens.  Also, washing your utensils immediately after use and baking is a good habit to keep so as to prevent from buying or replacing them every so often.  A budget baker’s buying habits doesn’t always have to come premade.  Instead of breads/rolls and pie crusts premade, make it from scratch;  it is quite cheaper this way.

 

Nothing will go to Waste!

Another tip is baking by the batch comes out to be cheaper than baking a little here, a little there, and doing it all at once, then,  freeze the rest, is okay.  Cookies are great for freezing and you’ll save on time and energy.

Also, bananas, peaches, oranges, …etc. that are too ripe for use in your baking recipes before they get “squishy” bad can be frozen or used in other ways.  Check out these essential ways to use over-riped fruit so they won’t go to waste. Also, if you made too much white rice for dinner, save the leftovers and use it for sweet rice pudding.

Finally, a nice baking mix that can be stored for up to 6 months will most definitely save you time and money:

9 cups all-purpose flour*

1/3 cup baking powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups shortening

*(substitute up to half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour or pastry flour, or use your choice of bleached or unbleached flour)
To make: combine baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, sugar, and flour and stir until combined thoroughly.  Shortening cut into mixture with a pastry blender until it becomes coarse crumbs.  Place mix in a sealed container in a dry place and store. (Clabbergirl.com/2014)

These are all tips and tools of the baker’s trade that will help you and your family stretch a dollar or two when it comes to baking on a budget.

 

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