How to Safely Defrost Meat

Dealing with Freezer Burn:

A proactive way to keep this from happening, is to wrap your meat with some cling-wrap and seal it in an air-tight bag before freezing it. I’ve found freezer burn only happens when I pop the meat in in the original package. Taking a few minutes to seal it up yourself relieves you from worrying about pesky freezer burn.

What it looks like is a bit of white or grey meat; what happened is freezer burn, trust me it’s not mold. I freaked out the first time it happened to me and threw away a whole package of lovely ground beef that was perfectly fine.

I’ve tried cooking the meat that suffered from freezer burn and unfortunately there’s no way to save it once it’s been burned. Simply remove the portion that suffered from freezer burn, and continue cooking your remaining beef as normal.

Defrosting Meat:

Some people defrost their meat out on the counter-top, but I always defrost my meat in the refrigerator. I never know exactly when I’m getting back from classes, and by having it in the fridge I never have to worry about it spoiling.

It takes about 12-24 hours for meat to defrost, depending on how large your portion is. If you’re simply defrosting a couple of pre-made burgers, it won’t take nearly as long as a whole package of ground beef or steak.

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Feature recipe: Homemade Chili-Spiced Tacos

Traditional Hot Dogs and Baked Beans

Category: Freshman Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  2 minutes
Cook-Time: 5 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Baked beans and hot dogs are usually a summer food, but when you have a microwave, you have access to summer comfort all year long. It’s as simple as pressing start on your microwave, and in minutes you have a lovely hot meal right in your room.

I love baked beans, and I always have the individual tins in my room for when I get a craving for hot dogs and beans.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of Baked Beans
  • 1-2 Hot Dogs

Step one: Warm your baked beans and sliced hot dog until they’re heated through and enjoy your hot meal

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Sheppard’s Pie

Category: Senior Year
Servings: 4-6 people
Prep-Time:  10 minutes 
Cook-Time: 30-35 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Making Sheppard’s pie is so easy and so delicious. My mom has been making this in our house for years and I loved learning how to make it for myself. If you don’t have time to make your own mashed potatoes, I sometimes use the instant mash and it;s just as good.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups of Mashed Potatoes
  • 1/4 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 cup of Frozen Peas
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

Step one: Season your beef with salt and pepper and brown fully on medium high heat.

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Step two: Preheat your oven to 35o; if your mashed potatoes aren’t made, do this now. (See Garlic “Smashed” Potatoes)

Step three: Pour in your can of cream of mushroom soup and your peas and cook until the soup is bubbling

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Step four: Pour in your hamburger mixture first; then scoop on your potatoes and flatten with the back of a spoon

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Step five: Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, and let rest for 5 minutes

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Step six: Dig in and enjoy your easy Sheppard’s pie

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Hot Dogs Steamed in Beer

Category: Senior Year
Servings: 1-2 People
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 10-15 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

After I purchased a steaming basket, I started steaming everything I ate. It’s much simpler to make than boiling them, and you don’t run the risk of over-cooking your hot dogs or splitting the skins in the hot water.

This recipe gives the hot dogs such a crisp and delicious texture and the flavor of the beer gets wonderfully infused in the hot dogs.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Hot Dogs, with casings
  • 1 bottle of Beer

Step one: Pour your beer into a shallow pot; place your steaming basket over the liquid and make sure it is not immersed in the beer

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Step two: Steam your hot dogs for about 15 minutes or until they are warmed and cooked through

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Step three: Plate your hot dogs and dig in!

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Traditional Deli Meat Sandwiches

Category: Freshman Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  2 minutes
Cook-Time: 2 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Traditional deli sandwiches are lovely, and a definite staple. You can prepare them the night before and then all you need to do is assemble them in the morning and you won’t have to worry about being starving during the middle of your classes.

I sometimes put them in tortilla wraps, and I always switch up my deli meat combos. My favorite sandwiches are buffalo chicken with honey mustard, roast beef with horseradish and cheese,  and of course, turkey, ham, and mortadella  just to name a few.

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of Bread
  • 2-3 slices of your favorite Deli Meat
  • 1-2 slices of Cheese
  • 1-2 tbsp of Mustard/Mayo/Dressing etc

Step one: Spread your spread over the bread; assemble your sandwich and enjoy.

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Bacon, Onion, and Cheese-Burgers

Category: Senior Year
Servings: 4-6 people
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 10 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Knowing how to make a good burger is essential. Fast food burgers are thin, unsatisfying and really not that great for you. Making your own burgers is so simple, and you can season them any way you like.

When I’m not using the soup mix, I heavily season with garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, black pepper, and the vegetable seasoning. Burgers can be prepped in advance, frozen, and then cooked off when you’re ready to eat them.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 2 slices Thick Cut Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 packet of Dry Onion Soup mix

Step one: Chop your bacon into bite sized pieces. (See: Crispy Mess-Free Baked Bacon)

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Step two: Pour your onion soup mix and your bacon into your ground beef and mix together until everything is evenly distributed.

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Step three: Mold your patties and press your thumbs into the center to make a divot  this makes sure your burgers don’t pouf up when you’re cooking them. 

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Step four: In a pan over medium high heat, cook the patties until the juices start to come up on the top. Then flip them and cook until the juices rise again.

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Step five: Remove the patties from the pan onto a plate and cover with tin foil; let rest for five minutes

Step six: Assemble your burger and enjoy!

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Broccoli and Cheese Baked Casserole

Category: Sophomore Year/Gluten Free
Servings: Varies, 2-4 people
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15-20 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Casseroles are an essential survival dish to know how to make. The following recipe is one of my all time favorites, and I make it at least once a month.

Some ideas for other casseroles are to add cooked chicken, cooked steak, cooked pork, cooked bacon, spinach, cauliflour, or by spicing it up with cayenne pepper or other spices.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of Rice Pilaf
  • 1 16oz package of frozen broccoli, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese
  • 1 dash of Poultry Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup of Italian Seasoning Breadcrumbs

Step one: At the same time, cook your broccoli and prepare your rice pilaf as directed on the package; set aside to cool

Step two: Preheat your oven to 350; Combine your egg, cream of mushroom soup, and poultry seasoning together

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Step three: Stir in your cheese

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Step four: Stir in your broccoli and rice pilaf; smooth out the top and sprinkle with Italian seasoning breadcrumbs.

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Step five: Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbling

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Step six: Serve and enjoy!

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Homemade Chili-Spiced Tacos

Category: Senior Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 15 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Earlier this year, I tried my hand at making my own tacos and I will never buy the boxed stuff again. Being able to make tacos was a dream of mine since I was little.

I used to buy the packaged taco shells that came with special sauce and I would sit and eat the whole package (NOT a healthy choice), but this recipe is definitely better for you than a box.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound of Ground Beef
  • 1/2 of a Tomato, chopped
  • 1/8 cup of Lettuce
  • 1/8 cup of shredded Cheese
  • 1 tbsp of Salsa
  • 1 Tortilla
  • 1 big tbsp of Chili Powder
  • To taste: Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Step one: Cook your ground beef thoroughly in a medium pan on medium high heat and season

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Step two: Chop your tomato and stir them into the ground beef

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Step three: Place your cheese, salsa and lettuce onto your tortilla

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Step four: Using a slotted spoon, ladle your meat onto your tortilla. Roll up and dig in 🙂

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Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers

Category: Junior Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5-10 minutes
Cook-Time: 1 hour

Why is this a survival recipe?

A sausage stuffed bell pepper is one of the easiest dinners I know how to make. I use red bell peppers when I want something sweeter, and green when I want a bite to my meal.

This is a great way to use leftover rice, meats, and sauces. This is a perfect leftovers dish and it’s so easy to take for lunch the next day. In this recipe I use sausage, but I’ve also made this recipe with ground beef, ground turkey, and an Alfredo sauce instead of a red sauce.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Bell Pepper, hollowed out
  • 1/4 cup prepared Rice
  • 1 cooked Sausage
  • 2 tbsp Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/8 cup of Parmesan Cheese

Step one: Preheat your oven to 350; break up your sausage and mix together with your leftover rice and sauce in a medium pan until warmed through

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Step two: Stuff your pepper and add your Parmesan cheese to the top; cook for 1 hour or until pepper is tender

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Step three: Dig in and enjoy!

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Grandma’s Hearty Beef Stew

Category: Stove-top Soups/Gluten Free
Servings: 6-8 people
Prep-Time:  15 minutes
Cook-Time: 2 hours

Why is this a survival recipe?

I don’t know about your school, but in the winter mine becomes a wind tunnel and a tundra. There’s nothing better than eating a hearty stew on a cold winter day, and thanks to my Grandma who gave me this recipe, you too can eat warm, lovely stew every day for the whole week.

It is a bit of a long cook time, but the time makes the beef tender and the flavors of the wine and stock bloom to perfection. There is absolutely no comparison between a soup in a can and this delicious, comforting stew.

If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of Stew Beef
  • 1 can of Beef Broth
  • A few tbsp of your favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1/2 cup of Burgundy Wine
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 package of sliced White Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 cup String Beans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Celery, chopped
  • 1 Baking Potato, chopped
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Step one: Brown your stew beef on all sides in a large dutch oven; set aside

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Step two: In the dutch oven, saute your onions and garlic until tender, then add in your chopped mushrooms

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Step three: Pour in your beef broth

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Step four: Return your browned beef to the dutch oven

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Step five: Pour in your Red Wine, and stir

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Step six: Add in a few tbsp of your favorite sauce

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Step seven: Pour in enough water to cover the beef and bring the stew to a simmer

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Step eight: Add in your string beans, carrots and celery, and simmer for an hour partially covered

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Step nine: Add in your chopped potatoes and simmer for another hour partially covered

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Step ten: Season to taste, and dig in!

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