The biggest thing to remember when buying fresh produce is what you’re actually going to use right away. I’ve been guilty of buying fresh produce and letting it go bad right before my eyes, because I simply buy too much.
The thing to remember is that you can pick and choose exactly how much you want. You don’t have to buy the whole bunch of bananas or grapes or tomatoes. It’s completely in your control, and if you’ve got green bags, you’ve got a longer life for your produce.
These are products I always buy fresh:
Other than these beauties, I run right over to the frozen section and stock up my freezer with delicious fruits and veggies.
Buying Frozen Produce:
Frozen produce is a great money saver, and they are almost always on sale. I always buy the store-brand, because there’s truly no difference except in the price. I use frozen veggies all the time, and frozen fruits are incredible in smoothies.
Your baked goods all depend on your delicious spices. There are really only a few spices utilized in the delicious desserts seen in this cookbook, and really they’re all you need for decadent desserts. You won’t be breaking the bank stocking up on any of these spices, but your dessert will be rich and delicious.
Using spices in cooking is imperative to your dish’s success and succulent flavor. Just because you’re working with the same ingredients, doesn’t mean you’re eating the same meals. Spices are the key to paradise of cooking; you don’t need a full spice cabinet but you do need some basics to get your started on your culinary journey in college.
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.
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.
First of all, you never, ever defrost poultry under warm water. It is dangerous, and will just absolutely ruin your product. I always buy my poultry in bulk and stick most of it directly in the freezer. This means I really only need to buy poultry once every six months or so, and it really cuts down on my food bill.
The trick to buying in bulk is not to freezein bulk. Before you pop your poultry into the freezer, separate your portions in freezer-safe bags squeezing the extra air out. This way you won’t have to defrost an entire 24-breast package when you just want one for dinner.
If you know you’re going to be working with poultry a few days in advance, take out your poultry and put it in the fridge to let it defrost naturally. Breasts, wings, and thighs generally take 24 hours to defrost, but a whole chicken will take anywhere between 1 and 3 days depending on the size.
After you’ve defrosted your poultry, rinse off the ice and any other juices that may have melted along with your ice. Pat the poultry dry and make sure your surface and your hands are clean to avoid and encounters with salmonella.
Unless it’s a special occasion, when I buy seafood I generally buy it frozen. Storing it is actually quite simple: the fillets are usually prepackaged and then grouped together in a larger bag. To defrost them, all you need to do is take out the number of individual fillets that you want to cook with that evening.
If you know that you’re having fish the day before, take out your frozen fillet and let it naturally defrost in your refrigerator. Keep it in the package and wait about 12-24 hours for it to fully de-frost.
If you decide to have fish on a whim, all you need to do is fully submerge your fillet, still in the bag, in a bowl of cold water for about half an hour. The cold water will melt the ice and then you’ll be able to work with your fillet. Never use warm water. It will ruin your fish fillet.
Either way you decide defrost your fish, make sure that after it is fully defrosted you rinse your fish well to help lessen the intensity of the fishy flavor. This taste becomes enhanced during the freezing process, but is easily rinsed away with water and some lemon juice.
Rubbing fish with spices, lemon juice, or even crusting them with breadcrumbs or cheese gets you a flavor you’ll never believe was previously frozen.
Category: Freshman Year Servings: 1 person Prep-Time: 3 minutes Cook-Time: 2 minutes
Why is this a survival recipe?
Nachos in the microwave give you a nice, indulgent, and cheesy meal in about 45 seconds. I always have cooked chicken in my fridge, shredded cheese, and salsa, so I figured that combining them would only lead to goodness. I eat this when I don’t feel like making a big elaborate dinner, or when I’m having friends over.
1-2 handfuls of Tortilla Chips
1/2 cup of Shredded Cheese
2-3 tsp of Hot Salsa
1/2 cup of Cooked Chicken
Step one: Arrange your chicken over your tortilla chips
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.
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.
Step one: Preheat your oven to 400; squeeze half of your lemon over your fillet and cover it liberally
Step two: Make your rub and massage it into the salmon fillet
Step three: In a baking dish, roast your salmon for 15-20 minutes, depending on how you like your fish. 15 minutes will be medium, 20 minutes will be well done. Saute your vegetables while your salmon is cooking.
Step four: Let your salmon rest covered for 5 minutes.
Step five: Plate and squeeze the second half of your lemon over your fish and enjoy
Shrimp and rice are another classic combination that is surprisingly filling. White Basmati rice cooks insanely quickly; it’s finished in about 15 minutes, and is perfectly light and well matched with the lightness of the shrimp.
If you have a Gluten Allergy, make sure all of your products and brands are gluten free.
1 cup of Basmati rice, cooked
Salt/Pepper to taste
Butter to taste
Step one: Put on your rice and cook according to the directions on the package
Step two: 5 minutes into your rice, preheat your oven to 400 and devain your shrimp
Step three: Season your shrimp with EVOO, salt and pepper and lay them on a lined cookie sheet
Step four: Roast your shrimp for 5-8 minutes
Step six: Melt a bit of butter over your rice, place your shrimp on the rice and enjoy!