Freezing meat with options

Freezer full of real food ingredients
Freezer full of real food ingredients
With a selection of single serving meats in the freezer, cooking real food becomes quick and easy.

Freezing meat allows you to keep real ingredients on hand. You can save plenty of money when buying in bulk quantities, or stocking up at special prices. Purchase extra amounts of specialty or hard-to-find cuts and save time and travel costs.

But how do you know what portion of any one item you will need? Small families sometimes have guests, and even large families can need just a bit of a frozen meat.

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Spice control for real cooking

Real food spices in a market

Real food spices in a marketYou can’t make real food without spices. Period! Real food ingredients come in a naked state. That’s what makes them perfect. A blank canvas to paint your next meal, reflect your mood and custom-tease your senses. But you need a good method to store and use spices to unlock the full potential of spices in your cooking.

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Roasted peppers are worth the work

Roasted red pepper in a sandwich image
Roasted red peppers add substance and exciting taste to a simple sandwich with cream cheese, zucchini slices and shredded Swiss cheese.

Warning! This is not one of my simple tips. Making roasted peppers takes time. It’s fiddly. It’s also worth it. I’ve tried bottled roasted red pepper, and while I don’t know exactly how they make them, I taste a chemical undertone every time. The version you can buy at an olive bar in an upscale supermarket is often great, but very, very costly.

Once in a while, when I find a really good price on red pepper, I will buy a few and commit the time to roasting and freezing a supply.

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Real food variety: Around the world with a pot of stew

One of the best parts about cooking real food, is that you can change your mind in an instant. You might feel like Thai food on Saturday when you are shopping, but on Wednesday, you are leaning to Mexican. I’m spoiled, but I am spoiled because I have those choices. This article illustrates the freedom of real food with total transformations of basic crock-pot stew.

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Quick and easy separate freezing

Real food freezing: ground chicken patties ready for the freezer.

Quick and easy separate freezing

I outlined the process for freezing individual portions of meat after a major shopping trip, but this is an everyday alternative.

Real food freezing: ground chicken patties ready for the freezer.
Three ground chicken patties on a plate, using the original packaging to protect the meat.

I used one quarter pound of ground chicken, which left three portions. I simply formed  three patties (wet your hands so the chicken does not stick), and placed them on a plate lined with the plastic from the chicken container.

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Keeping bean sprouts fresh

Bean sprouts in water and lemon photo
Storing bean sprouts in a covered container, with water and lemon juice keeps them fresh for a long time.

I love bean sprouts. I love them in sandwiches, soup, salads and stir fries, of course. Trouble is, they last about 20 minutes in the fridge before they turn into a soggy, slimy mess.

Store them in a covered container filled with fresh water and a lemon slice, and you will find that your bean sprouts will stay fresh, white and crisp for a week or more. Trust me … it works.

Hint: Find a place that offers bean sprouts in bulk.

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Healthy, buttery, sauteed mushrooms

Real food sauteed msuhrooms photo
Real food sauteed msuhrooms photo
Rich, buttery mushrooms with almost no fat

Who doesn’t love rich, buttery mushrooms? But mushroom are world-champion butter-sponges. In my endless quest to have the foods I love without the heavy fat burden, I tackled the mushroom many years ago. It took some experimentation, but this method delivers all the taste, no extra work, and ends with about ½ teaspoon of butter per serving. The trick? Add the butter when it counts.

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Healthy Cream of Anything Soup

It’s June, but it’s also a blustery. and cold. Soup required. There is nothing faster, or more comforting than a bowl of hot soup. Good pre-made soup is very expensive. Cheap soup is not good. All but the premium-priced, organic, canned or packaged soups have an ingredients list that would test a professional chemist’s knowledge. And if you think you are doing yourself a favor to buy a ready-made version from a large grocery store, really do yourself a favor and request a nutrition statement.

There is a real-food option. In fact, homemade soup is a very simple meal. This post will just cover my cream soup method, but just increase the broth, and you have a non-cream version.

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Real food Eggs Bendict (not necessarily authentic)

Easy recipe for eggs benedict photo
A version of Eggs Benedict anyone can make -- healthier, too.

Have you ever noticed that Eggs Benedict is expensive, even in restaurants that specialize in cheap, hearty breakfasts? And it’s not a dish that most people make at home. Hollandaise Sauce, the heavenly topping that turns poached eggs into Benedict, is a royal pain to make. It’s one of those sauces that involves plenty of stirring over a hot water bath, and has 17 different ways to fail. OK, there are probably fewer than 17 ways to mess up this sauce, but one recipe comes with its own “fix the sauce” page. See here — I am not joking. However, I have a “faux” Hollandaise sauce that is healthier and works every time. Even better, you make it in the microwave.

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Chicken stock the easy way

You can buy good chicken stock today. If you are willing to pony up some serious money, you can buy great chicken stock. However, I have never seen honest-to-goodness stock in a tetra pack. Homemade stock is thick, often solid when cold from the gelatin released from the bones.

My secret for making stock easily comes from being lazy. I hated making stock, but the only tough part was stripping the carcass. I no longer do that. I remember the last time — a turkey. I spent a long time with my fingers covered in juice and bits of meat, two bowls going — one for the meat, one for the bones. In the end, I had a very small pile of saturated meat. I decided on the spot it was not worth it.

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