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Love Food Friday Tip #4: The Freezer Is Your Friend!

Love Food Friday

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Food Waste Elimination Tip #4: The Freezer Is Your Friend!

Chef Christopher Gigiel

Don’t Waste it, Freeze it!

I like soup, chili, stew, and casseroles. I’m also single and making any one of those meals means that there are a lot of leftovers because I haven’t mastered the art of cooking smaller amounts in my personal life after cooking for large groups of people in my professional life. But, I don’t waste it, I freezer leftovers in single-serving size containers so that I can pop them out of the freezer and reheat them for a quick dinner, or pack it for a homemade lunch.

I use inexpensive “disposable” type plastic storage containers that you can find at the grocery store so that it’s not a large expenditure to have a plethora of them on hand when things need to be stored. I also label and date leftovers on the front edge so that I can easily find what I’m looking for in the freezer and know how long it’s been in there. This lets me use up the things that have been there for a while.

This is a great tip if you’ve made a large amount of something and you don’t want to eat it all week. Portion it and freezer it. It also gives you choices for quick meal options or lunch on the go. Additionally, you can freezer an excess of produce before it spoils. Particularly good for fruit for smoothies. If it’s more than you can eat before it spoils, chop it and freeze it and you’ll have delicious fruit on hand for that morning smoothie. Also works great for veggies from the garden or farmers market – freeze them and pop them out and into that stir fry.

Love Food Friday Recipe Share #4: Albondigas In Spicy Tomato Sauce

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Football, Beef Brisket, and a Happy New Year…

My favorite farmer got a Traeger Grill for Christmas.  I am a huge fan of grilling as it makes for fewer dishes and messes in the kitchen.  However, charcoal grilling creates very late dinners after long days on the farm.

The big Christmas gift!

The big Christmas gift!

Matt and I are hoping that the new wood pellet grill will provide a practical and efficient way to get a diverse variety of dinners on the table at a decent hour.  Our girls are dreaming of fewer kitchen clean up chores!

My favorite farmer, just a few years ago...

My favorite farmer, a few years ago…

As a retired college football player, Matt tries to devote some quality time to bowl games during the holiday season.  He cooked his first beef brisket today in addition to cheering the Nebraska Cornhuskers to victory in the Gator Bowl.

Beef, It's What's For Dinner at our house tonight!

Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner at our house tonight!

Smoked beef brisket is one of my favorites.  It is a cut of meat that needs to be cooked with patience to ensure tenderness.  Every brisket is unique, but choosing a brisket with a cap of fat at lease 1/4″ thick and then cooking the meat to an internal temperature of 190-195 degrees will grant you the ultimate eating experience.

Ingredients: Beef Brisket (approximately 6#’s), Beef rub spices or your favorite barbecue rub, 2 cups beer (or beef broth), 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and your favorite barbecue sauce.

  • Season the brisket on both sides with the beef rub.
  • Make the mop sauce:  in a clean spray bottle or container combine the beer (or beef broth) with the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4-5 minutes).  Arrange the brisket fat-side up on the grill grate and smoke for 3-4 hours with the lid closed.  Spray or spread the mop sauce over the meat every hour.
  • After smoking, set the grill temperature to 225 degrees F and continue to cook the brisket–basting with the mop sauce periodically–until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 190-195 degrees.  This will likely take 4-6 hours, so be patient!
  • Wrap the cooked meat in foil and let it rest for 30 minutes (preferably in an insulated container so that the meat stays hot).
  • Slice the meat with a sharp knife across the grain into pencil-width slices.
  • Serve with your choice of barbecue sauce, or eat it plain like I do!

    Delicious!

    Delicious!

I served our brisket with home made macaroni and cheese and green peas.  The girls topped off the meal with their beautifully decorated Christmas cookies.

Making Christmas cookies is a fun family tradition...

An entertaining tradition with a house full of budding engineers at the helm…

It was a great way to celebrate the New Year!

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Anne’s Summer Time Meatloaf…

One of my favorite summer time dishes is meatloaf made with garden fresh tomatoes.  I never seem to make it exactly the same twice, but it seems to always taste fabulous!IMG_3943

Needs: Sliced tomatoes, ground beef, one egg, stove top stuffing, shake and bake parmesan crusted seasoning

IMG_3930Slice the tomatoes, then blend the egg with the hamburger and shake and bake seasoning

IMG_3934Layer half of the hamburger, a first layer of stuffing, the tomatoes, a second layer of stuffing, and then the rest of the hamburger. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour

IMG_3947I served it with fresh sweet corn from one of our fields.

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It was almost as awesome as the double rainbow that appeared over the feed yard recently!

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Megan’s Fantastic Flat Irons!

The Flat Iron steak is a portion of the chuck roast (shoulder roast).  Dr. Chris Calkins at the University of Nebraska discovered the “Flat Iron” doing tenderness tests on cuts of beef.  It is one of the most tender cuts of beef and is one of Megan’s favorite steaks!

It's one of her favorite meals...

It’s one of her favorite meals…

During the summer months, we cook our Flat Iron steaks on an outside grill.  When the temperatures are holding in the single digits during January, we cook our Flat Iron steaks on Matt’s grandmother’s Farberware inside grill.  They take longer to cook on the Farberware grill than our charcoal grill, but you stay much warmer cooking them inside!

The type of grill will determine the cooking time.  Flat Irons are meant to be served medium rare to medium in doneness.

The type of grill will determine the cooking time. Flat Irons are meant to be served medium rare to medium in doneness.

Needs: Flat Iron Steaks, Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing, a container or plastic bag to marinate the meat, a grill.

Marinate the meat with the salad dressing and let sit covered in the refrigerator for several hours.

Marinate the meat with the salad dressing and let it sit covered in the refrigerator for several hours.

Cook on the grill.  It takes 10-12 minutes on our fiber wear grill, but only about 7 on an outside charcoal grill.  You will need to experiment with the cooking time depending on your choice of grill.

Cook on the grill. It takes 10-12 minutes on our inside grill, but only about 7 on an outside charcoal grill. You will need to experiment with the cooking time depending on your choice of grill, the thickness of the meat and how hot the grill is.

Feel free to use a knife to determine whether or not the steak is finished to your taste.

Feel free to use a knife to determine whether or not the steak is finished to your taste.

Megan also make Chocolate Crinkle cookies to serve for dessert.  They were almost as good as the Flat Irons!

The cookies turned out to be "super sized"---I am still trying to get her to super size her vegetables just like her cookies!

The cookies turned out to be “super sized”—I am still trying to get her to super size her vegetables just like her cookies!

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