How Many Times Can You Re-Freeze that Steak?

Nothing is more frustrating than when good meat goes bad. You drop a pretty penny on some finely cut steaks, only to throw it in the freezer when you don't use it on time. You thaw it the night before you feel sure you'll use it, and get an invitation to get dine with some friends. Can you throw it back in, or is it too late? Many people just don't know the rules and boundaries with freezing steaks, so we'll enlighten you.

Is Re-Freezing Unsafe?        

Theoretically, refreezing that steak a few times is completely safe. In the best of circumstances, throwing it right back in the freezer won't affect the beef health-wise, although there are certain things to consider before you toss it back in. We'll go into the circumstantial things to consider for safety in just a bit, but first – we'll fill you in on what you can expect when you re-freeze the meat, and why many people just don't do it.

How Many Times Can You Re-Freeze that Steak?

Re-Freezing Steak Will Alter Taste and Texture

Re-freezing steak is more of a question of taste and texture than anything else. Simply stated, the drastic change in temperature in going from frozen to thawed is always going to alter the quality of the meat as far as consumption. It'll become tough, chewy, and a little more bland, so you'll want to consider what you're using it for before you toss it back in the freezer. If you're planning on grilling it and eating it with a side of potatoes, it's probably best just to eat when it's been fresh or thawed once. If you're planning on tossing it in with a pot of soup, or cutting it up and adding to some eggs or a salad... toss it back in, you won't really notice enough of a difference for it to matter.

When You Shouldn't Do it

Getting back to what you should consider in order to determine if re-freezing the meat is safe: how long (total) has it been sitting in temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit? This total hour count is from the time the meat is butchered to the time it's sitting on your countertop thawed, even if there's been some freezing in between. In other words, if the butcher wraps it up after an hour and sticks it in the freezer, you'll count that hour; if you buy it and take it home to freeze it, you'll count the time it was in transit. If you let it sit at room temperature to thaw for a few hours, you'll count that time as well.

Anything over 4-5 hours at the aforementioned temperature is a risk for health and safety, so should always be considered before re-freezing. In other words, refreezing thawed meat that has been exposed to warmer temperatures for a longer period of time won't help the meat recover from any sort of potential dangerous bacteria. Bear that in mind when you continue to thaw and re-freeze your meat!

All in all – it's probably not a huge deal as far as health goes to throw the beef back in the freezer, but you will notice a huge difference taste-wise.

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5 Foods that Freeze Well

One of the most frustrating things is buying groceries and then not using them in time. You have the best of intentions when you purchase that on-sale 3 pound pack of chicken breasts, but you feel an unwavering sense of shame and regret when you toss it in the garbage after it's gone bad; it's like you're tossing money in the trash. The freezer can be a major cost saver in terms of preserving food for a later date, but many people just don't have a good idea of what's freezable and how long it'll keep in frigid temperatures. Allow us to enlighten you as we share five foods that freeze really well.

Bacon

Who doesn't love bacon? The problem is that it only lasts about a week (tops) in your refrigerator, so you're required to eat a pound in a week or eat a healthier amount and then toss the rest. You'll be thrilled to learn that bacon freezes really well – it'll last up to three months in there. You won't be able to fry it up in slices unless you thaw it all at one time, but cooking with it has never been easier: simply break off little pieces of the frozen meat and toss into soups, salads, and casseroles for that brilliant bacon flavor that you're looking for.

Fish

We all know that fresh fish won't last long in the refrigerator, so many don't even consider putting it in the freezer. They assume there's no point – that even if it lasts, it won't maintain it's fresh factor. That's a myth, actually; fish does, in fact, freeze well. The key is keeping it in an air tight container; freezer zip lock vacuum suction bags work great, as does a good, old fashioned block of ice. Fish will last anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on the type.

5 Foods that Freeze Well

Avocados

Never toss an over-ripened avocado again. Simply puree it up in a food processor, store it in a freezer bag, and put it in the freezer until you need some avocado topping for your next taco night. Take the bag out of the freezer, thaw it (either in the microwave or for several hours in the refrigerator), and then cut a corner of the bag. Squeeze out the avocado puree (like guacamole) to top any dish requiring the beloved veggie.

Beans

We all know you can save a fortune on beans when you buy the dried beans in a bag (as opposed to canned beans that are already cooked). Not many of us actually do that, though, because it's such a hassle to deal with cooking beans every single time you want them. However, when you consider that you can cook a huge batch at one time, freezing what you don't use and preserving them for next time, things change a little. Make it a 2-3 times a year thing: cook dried beans in bulk and store them in cup sized quantities in the freezer.

Baked Goods

No, you don't have to eat that whole batch of cookies before they become stale. In fact, you may want to save yourself some time and money and go ahead and double the recipe, preparing to save the majority of it for your freezer and another day. Whether it's cookies, muffins, pancakes, cupcakes or any other type of baked goods, they're all easy to pop in the microwave to thaw for a quick little dessert or snack.

Letting food go to waste simply isn't necessary when you consider just how useful that freezer is – so double your recipe and use it for good!

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How to Freeze Fresh Green Beans

How to Freeze Fresh Green BeansMany people are resistant to freeze foods because they believe they will lose their freshness and will not be as good later. However, when frozen, green beans will last several months and they will not lose their amazing flavor. Here are some tips to freezing fresh green beans so that they can be used in any meal—and be full of crisp flavor!

 

Purchase Fresh Green Beans During Their Peak Season

You will want to purchase your green beans during the summer through the early fall seasons. This is when green beans taste the best and are known for their great flavor.

How to Select the Right Green Beans

You want to choose green beans that are brightly colored. The more colorful, the better! These green beans will, ideally, be blemish free, where they are not limp or shriveled. You want them firm and bright green.   

How to Freeze Green Beans

One of the most important things to remember when freezing green beans is to trim them before hand. Grab a handful of green beans and, using a sharp knife, cut off the stems. Do this for all of the green beans you want to freeze. Some people will also cut the tapered ends, this is completely up to you.

Remove the Fiber

Some beans will feature a stringy sort of fiber within the bean, located in the bean pod, that should be removed. However, if you do not see one, this means that your type of beans do not have this and you do not have to worry about removing it.

Cut into Small Pieces

Next, you should cut the green beans into small and bite sized pieces. This works out great because most recipes that feature green beans, such as a stew or casserole. You will want to cut the beans into 1 ½ inch pieces. If you know that you will not be needing the green beans to be in small pieces when you want to cook them in the future, you can choose to skip this step.

Blanching the Beans

The next step is to blanch the beans.  To do this, you will need to boil a pot of water. You will need 1 gallon of water for every pound of green beans. Boil the beans for approximately 2 minutes. If you did not cut them into small 1 ½ inch pieces, then you should boil them for approximately 4 minutes.

Freeze

After they are boiled, you want to immediately cool the beans by using ice water. Once cooled, drain beans from ice water.

Next, start putting the green beans into your freezer bags. You want the beans to be as compact as possible but still leaving about ½ inch to close the bag. Seal the bags and place in the freezer for freezing.

For those looking to preserve the freshness, or if you are using a lower quality freezer bag, you may consider using freezer tape on the seal to make sure the air is locked out.

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Basic, Great Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

choclate chip cookies

There is nothing better than warm, gooey chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. As kids, we couldn’t wait until they were cool enough to eat and usually burned our fingers trying to eat them as soon as possible. You can easily find refrigerated cookie dough or a box mix for decent chocolate chip cookies, but here is a basic, great chocolate chip cookies recipe where you can whip up delicious homemade cookies with ease! Homemade makes all the difference when these delicious cookies come out of the oven and the scent permeates that entire house. The kids (and adults) will come running!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour / all-purpose
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter (not margarine)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar / packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated white sugar
  • 2 eggs / large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Dry ingredients: Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and whisk to mix well. Do not pack your flour. Spoon the flour into a measuring cup and level the top with a straight edge.
  • Set aside dry ingredients.
  • In a mixing bowl, blend the two sugars and the butter with a hand mixer until they are creamy. Make sure the butter is at room temperature to get a smooth mixture, and use the low to medium setting on a hand mixer.
  • Add the eggs one at a time and incorporate well.
  • Add the vanilla extract and blend.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients and blend until just moistened by the wet mixture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.

Baking:

  • Prepare a large cookie sheet by lining it with parchment paper or using a light non-stick spray.
  • Make sure your hands are clean or wear food safe gloves.
  • Keeping your hands or gloves slightly damp, spoon about a tablespoon of the cookie mixture into the palm of your hand and shape into a ball.
  • Place the balls of batter on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Place on the middle rack in a pre-heated 375 degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • If you want chewy cookies, check the cookies at 11 or 12 minutes. For crisper cookies, bake them the entire 15 minutes. The longer you bake the cookies, the more firm they will be.
  • You will have to do two rounds of baking or use two large cookie sheets.
  • If you use two sheets, rotate from top to bottom racks half way through cooking time.

This basic, great chocolate chip cookies recipe will make about 30 cookies. Allow them to cool for about five minutes and then transfer them to a plate or rack to finish cooling. They should be completely cool in about an hour (if you can keep hungry hands away from them for that long). These cookies can be frozen in an air tight container for up to eight weeks.

Reference website: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/simple-chocolate-chip-cookies.html

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Five Killer Ice Cream Sandwich Combos

One of the best memories of childhood summers is the chocolaty goodness of the classic ice cream sandwich sticking to your fingers as you tried to eat it fast enough for the ice cream not to melt. The classic ice cream sandwich was so delicious and cool. Ice cream sandwiches are still a great summertime treat, but no longer are we limited to the classic grocery store or ice cream truck variety. The only limit to scrumptious ice cream sandwiches is your imagination. Here are five killer ice cream sandwich combos to jumpstart your imagination as we heat up for the summer.

ice cream sandwich

  1. Brownies: Make a pan of brownies in a slightly larger pan than the recipe calls for and cook for five less minutes. When cool, cut the brownies into good size squares. Let some chocolate chunk ice cream soften and spoon between two brownies. Place the sandwiches on a cookie sheet and pop them in the freezer long enough for the ice cream to firm up well. You will have amazing, double chocolate brownie ice cream sandwiches that will instantly disappear.
  2. Vanilla Wafers: Vanilla Wafers are a great way to make mini-ice cream sandwiches for little hands. As your ice cream softens slightly, pour some colorful candy sprinkles in a saucer or shallow bowl. Place one good spoonful of vanilla ice cream between two vanilla wafers. Immediately roll the edges around in the sprinkles. Place the vanilla wafer ice cream sandwiches on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer for at least a half hour. Your little ones will love the simple goodness of vanilla wafers and ice cream.
  3. Ginger Snaps: You will need some ginger snap The ones from the dollar store work great. Use any type of caramel or caramel swirl vanilla ice cream to make the sandwiches. These little sandwiches mix sweet and tangy in a perfect combination. Don’t forget to place them in freezer to firm up before serving.
  4. Sherbet: You can also make fabulous ice cream sandwiches with refreshing sherbet! Either make or buy some large sugar cookies. Pepperidge Farm sugar cookies work really well. Spoon any flavor sherbet in between two cookies and place in the freezer for about an hour. With sherbet flavors as varied as raspberry and pineapple, the possibilities are endless. Another nice touch to this sandwich is to top it with a scoop of whipped topping when it’s served. Yummy!
  5. Chocolate chip: Pick up some chewy chocolate chip cookies, cookie dough ice cream and mini chocolate chips for a triple delight of chocolate chip Place the chips in a saucer or shallow bowl. Place softened ice cream between two cookies and immediately roll the edges around in the chips. Place on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. In about an hour you will have triple chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches to die for!

These are just five killer ice cream sandwich combos. The possibilities are endless! Use your imagination to come up with even more delicious combinations that your family will love!

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