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Category: food storage

Quick Reference – Meat, Beans, Grains, and More

Quick Reference – Meat, Beans, Grains, and More

I get really tired of searching for basic information every time I make certain foods. So, I asked one of my cooking groups if anyone knew where to find all the info in one easy to use place, and got a couple of very helpful links.

Proportions and cooking times for beans and grains can be found at Vegetarians in Paradise.

This USDA Safe Food Handling Page has everything from doneness temperatures of meat to how long leftover pizza will keep when refrigerated or frozen. There is a lot of helpful information here. However, I must warn you, the doneness temperature information is incomplete. Roasts, whole birds, etc., raise in temperature by about 10 degrees after you take them out of the oven, so if you wait until they reach the desired doneness to remove them they will be overcooked. Also, they don’t list rare beef because it is not longer considered “safe”.

You can find more information on temperatures and times for roasting beef at What’s Cooking America? They explain the beef doneness issue –
“To satisfy government home economists, the Beef Council says rare beef means an internal temperature of 140 degrees F. Well, that is ok if you like well-done and dry meat. If you like moist, rosy meat (like I do), rare begins at 120 degrees F. and starts to become medium rare at 125 to 130 degrees F.”

There is a great article on the Mar Jennings Site that explains more about meat and your health. Here is an excerpt:

“While many people will eat red meat well-done, it is not the healthiest option. It destroys the enzymes and denatures the proteins. What does that mean? Raw food in its natural state contains enzymes which help you digest it. When you fiddle with the food by cooking it, you destroy the enzymes and make your body work harder to break it down so that you can utilize the nutrients. It’s the same for protein. When proteins are denatured, it means that the protein molecule structure has been altered from its original state. Combine this with a high saturated fat content and you don’t exactly have a health food. Therefore, I always recommend eating red meat rare or medium rare. Well done meat is dead food and is best avoided.”

Cooling Food Fast

Cooling Food Fast

There is nothing more frustrating than being dead tired, ready to go to bed, and having to wait for something to cool down enough to put it in the refrigerator, except having to wait hours to eat a chilled dish made with cooked foods.

You can’t put hot food in there; it raises the temperature and can spoil other foods. You can cool foods down quickly and avoid the wait.

It’s actually really easy. Just set the pan in some cold water. There are many ways to accomplish this.

I have a really big soup pot that actually plugs the sink when I set it on the drain. I put it in the sink with the lid on (so that no water gets in the food), fill the sink to just above the level of the soup, and then remove the lid to let the heat out. Typically I refresh the cold water a couple of times. The whole process takes just a few minutes and the soup is cooled.

For my crockpot crock it takes a little longer because the pot itself retains heat. I also have to plug the sink. Still it only takes a few minutes.

If you have smaller dishes to cool, you can put them in a bowl of ice water. You can also portion large amounts of food into smaller containers to get it to cool faster with or without using the cold water.