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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Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Root Vegetables

Category: Senior Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 3-4 people
Prep-Time:  3 hours
Cook-Time: 35-40 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Pork tenderloin is extremely affordable and can be prepared in so many different ways, but my favorite is the marinade with this lovely dijon mustard sauce. It’s so simple to make, and it makes for a delicious entree and an even better leftover meal.

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

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin
  • 1 clove of Garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup of EVOO
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Potato, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced
  • 2 Carrots, sliced

Step one: Combine your garlic, olive oil, lemon, and mustard into a freezer bag; add  your pork tenderloin and marinate for at least three hours in the fridge

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Step two: Slice your root vegetables and cover them with EVOO, salt and pepper; coat the vegetables evenly

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Step three: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; lay your tenderloin over the vegetables and cook for 35-40 minutes

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Step four: Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes, slice your pork and serve

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Chicken Sausages with Mushroom Spiced Couscous

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

Why is this a survival recipe?

I love sausages and couscous, and since the box of couscous makes about 5 servings, I thought I would switch up my traditional vegetarian combination and add in some yummy cooked chicken sausages. This recipe is outrageously easy and even easier to store, re-heat, and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cooked Sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup of Couscous, prepared

Step one: Prepare your couscous according to the box and transfer it into a bowl

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Step two: Warm up your sausage and slice it into bite-sized pieces.

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Step three: Mix the two together and enjoy

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*this post originally stated this recipe was gluten free. it has since been updated.

Ham, Tomato, and Cheese Griller

Category: Sophomore Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  5 minutes
Cook-Time: 10 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

Grilled cheese is an awesome base for so many delicious sandwiches. I love stopping in at the deli counter at the supermarket, because their selection is so much greater, fresher, and more enticing then what’s packaged in the refrigerated isle.

You can also choose how you want them to slice your product, which means you can get thick, hearty cuts of meat perfect for substantial sandwiches.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 slices of Ham
  • 2 slices of Tomato
  • 1 slice of Cheese
  • 2 slices of Bread
  • Butter

Step one: Butter the outside of your bread; lay your ham on the opposing side

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Step two: Slice your tomato and put it over the ham; lay your cheese over the tomato

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Step three: Grill your sandwich until both sides are golden brown and the cheese is melted

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Step four: Slice your griller and dig in

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5 Minute Cheesy Scrambled Eggs with Crispy Bacon

Category: Freshman Year/Gluten Free
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  1 minutes
Cook-Time: 4 minutes

Why is this  a survival recipe?

Making scrambled eggs and bacon in five minutes used to be nothing but a dream. When I figured out how to make scrambled eggs in a cup and gained the courage to try out pre-cooked bacon, I was so excited.

They taste amazing and you have a delicious breakfast in five minutes that you’ll never believe came out of a microwave.

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

Ingredients

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp of Milk
  • 1 tsp of Shredded Cheese
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 slices of Pre-Cooked Bacon

Step one: Whisk together your egg, milk, and cheese together in a cup

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Step two: Heat for 1 and a half minutes on high, and scramble with a fork.

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Step three: Return to the microwave for another minute and a half and let rest for 4 minutes

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Step four: While your eggs are resting, heat up your pre-cooked bacon in the microwave. Blot out the excess grease.

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Step five: Break up your eggs and enjoy your hot breakfast

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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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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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Easy Cheesy Ball-Park Style Hot Dogs

Category: Freshman Year
Servings: 1 person
Prep-Time:  3 minutes
Cook-Time: 30 seconds

Why is this a survival recipe?

Easy cheesy dogs have been made in my family for years. I love hot dogs, and stuffing them with cheese gives you the feeling of indulging in a ball-park cheese dog that’s made in three minutes in the comfort of your dorm room.

The ingredients are simple and always in your fridge, and it’s a great way to spice up a plain, boring hot dog.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Hot Dog
  • 1 Slice of Cheese
  • 1 Slice of Bread
  • Condiments of your choosing

Step one: Slice open your hot dog, but don’t cut all the way through

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Step two: Break up your cheese and stuff the hot dog

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Step three: Microwave your hot dog for about 30 seconds

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Step four: Put your condiments on your bread, roll up your hot dog and dig in

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Creamy Bacon and Peas Mac and Cheese

Category: Sophomore Year
Servings: 3 people
Prep-Time:  9-12 minutes
Cook-Time: 20-25 minutes

Why is this a survival recipe?

This recipe makes creamy macaroni and gets you your veggies for the day. I make this on days where I’ve already bacon in the morning so that step is eliminated.

I am a mac and cheese addict; it was actually the only thing I would eat for a year when I was 7.

Now at 21, I run a health and fitness blog in my spare time, and pictures of creamy delicious macaroni and cheese popped up so often that I decided to re-live my childhood and make my own.

If you don’t have time to make this on the stove top, you can also put all of the ingredients into a casserole dish and cook at 375 for 25 minutes. Just make sure you’ve stirred in the cheeses evenly. I recommend topping it lightly with breadcrumbs if you use this method.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 slices of cooked Bacon, shredded
  • 1-1.5 cups of frozen Peas
  • 2 oz (1/2 cup dry) of Elbow macaroni
  • 1/8 cup of Milk (a few splashes)
  • 1/2 cup of Shredded Cheese
  • 1 triangle of Creamy Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Step one: Prepare your elbow macaroni to aldente in salted water; when you drain your macaroni, pour the water into the bowl of frozen peas to defrost them.

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Step two: Return your macaroni to the pot and pour in the peas. Reduce the heat to medium low.

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Step three: Add in your milk and stir; add in half of your shredded cheese and stir until it is completely melted

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Step four: Stir in the second half of your cheese. Splitting it up is important; if you put too much in at once it will clump up and be useless.

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Step five: Add in your wedge of creamy cheese and stir until it is melted. At this point, the milk should be fairly reduced. 

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Step six: Stir in your crumbled bacon and continue cooking if there is still too much milk. Adjust your seasonings according to taste.

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Step seven: Dig in! This recipe makes two portions, and it reheats beautifully. 

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