How To Use A Vacuum Food Sealer

Now you have found a great vacuum food sealer, but you may not be sure how to use this nifty little thing. How do you use one of these things? Why should I use one?

You may have seen these vacuum food sealer machines in the stores and you might not be sure how to use them. You may also have tried in the past to use one, but were put off by the difficulty that you thought went into using them. They are really not as hard to use as you may think, you just have to give it a try.

A good place to start is with getting the items that you want to put into the vacuum sealed bag. This way you will have everything that you need in front of you and you won’t have to go looking for something when you are ready to start on your vacuum sealing. You can use the vacuum to seal more then one certain kind of food to put into a vacuum bag system. This way you will be able to get it all done at one time, instead of having to pull out the vacuum sealer more then one time.

The next thing that you will need to do is to start the machine up. This may seem like a big deal but it really isn’t. All you will need to do is to plug it into the wall or push the button on the machine. This may seem like it’s something that could be hard to do, but you will find that it’s not that hard at all in the end. You also will want to make sure that the food that you are using with your vacuum sealer is all there. There is nothing that is more of a pain, then having to go back and do it all over again.

When you get that great little vacuum sealing machine, don’t be scared of it and learn to use it. If you are not sure of what you are doing, then you can read the directions and find out what you need to do to make it work for what you are doing. This will help you to learn more about your machine and how you are supposed to use it. Bottom line is don’t be afraid of it and you will be able to harness all of the machines benefits.…

Tips on Foods to Dehydrate in a Food Dehydrator

Most foods are reasonably well suited for dehydrating in a food dehydrator. However, there are some that are either not recommended for drying or require special treatment prior to dehydrating because of their composition or content or their interior flesh or exterior skin. Below are some tips on dehydrating various items:

– Meats or foods that contain high levels of fat are not recommended for drying in a dehydrator. First, the fat will not properly dry and be removed like the foods’ water. Second, post dehydration, the fat in these foods and the oxygen in air will combine to cause the food to prematurely spoil. The foods’ water may be removed via dehydration, but the fat will not. Thus, high fat foods like avocado, high fat ground beef or fatty fish are not recommended for preserving via a food dehydrator.

– Fruits with thicker skins or wax coatings on their skins can be very difficult to dry unless certain pre-dehydration treatments are used. Prior to drying, fruits like blueberries, grapes or cranberries need to have their skins cracked or cut to create openings through which the foods’ water can escape during dehydration. These foods’ skins act as a moisture retention buffer. Cracking the skins will speed up the drying time and circumvent the foods’ defense mechanism.

– Blackberries and raspberries are fruits that are typically too seedy to dry on a stand alone basis. These fruits are best when used in combination with other fruits when making fruit leather.

– Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes and other food that you would not eat raw can be dehydrated. However, these foods require blanching or steaming as a pretreatment. Blanching is briefly precooking vegetables in boiling water or steam and it is used to shorten food drying time and kill organisms that could cause spoilage. Steaming is the preferred method as it is not nearly as damaging to the vegetables from a nutritional loss standpoint.…

Suadero Taco Recipe

History:

Tacos were around even before the Europeans arrived in Mexican. Early inhabitants of the Valley of Mexico are known to have stuffed Tacos with small, easily caught fish, and mix them with a variety of spices. Legend has it that the Spanish conquistador Bernal Diaz del Castillo shared the taco recipe with his soldiers when he arrived in Mexico, and they loved it.

Introduction:

Tacos are famous the world over, though they originally come from Mexico. Though most people refer to Tacos as the hard shells, this is just one type – they can also refer to those made with soft flour tortillas. The beauty of tacos is that you can really add anything you like, meat or vegetables – though of course there some traditional recipes that are popular in Mexico – like “Tacos de Cabeza” which is stuffed with the insides of a cow’s head – or “Tacos de Asador” which means “grilled” or “spit”, and generally comes with salsa and guacamole to dip. Today, I’d like to teach you how to make a traditional Suadero taco. Suadero is simply a word for the cut of beef we will be using, in this case from the breast of the cow. It tends to be smoother in texture than other beef. This is quite a big recipe as I generally make them for family parties and such, but you can easily scale it down if you’d just like to try. They do make great party food though!

Ingredients:

30 corn tortillas.

4.5 lbs of washed suadero.

4 cups of milk.

2 bay leaves.

5 peppercorns.

2 cloves of garlic.

1/2 onion.

4 cups of oil.

Pepper to taste.

Salt to taste.

Preparation

First, marinade the beef with the milk, 4 cups of water, some salt and pepper. A few hours should do the trick. When you’re ready to cook, heat the oil in a pressure cooker, drain the suadero and let it fry a little. If you don’t want to fry the meat like this because it’s too much hassle, just go ahead and fry it in a little oil in your fry pan instead. Then transfer everything to a frying pan. Add the onion, some water, peppercorns, garlic and other flavours and cook it covered for around 35 minutes, until the meat is soft. Remove it from the flame, let the pot cool and drain the beef. Chop the beef and serve it in the hot tortillas to form tacos. Now you can add your own twist to the recipe too, with your favorite salad leaves and peppers.

Check out this site if you’d like to try another traditional taco recipe.…

What Do Swans Eat – 4 Food Options If You Plan on Feeding Swan

Are you planning to raise some swans in your garden pond? In getting started, it is helpful to know first the basic details about swans so you can effectively raise and breed them successfully. For first time breeders or swan raisers, the food that swans mostly eat is a mystery for them. Some people are thinking that they feed on formulated feeds just like chickens and other birds. Actually, they are generally herbivorous, but there are some species that also eat insects and small aquatic animals. Being familiar with what do swans eat is crucial especially for people who plans to raise them in an artificial or man-made environment, as their usual foods are not naturally occurring.

So what do swans eat? The following are the common foods that most swans eat:

• Aquatic Plants – since swans spend most of their time in bodies of water like ponds and lakes, they also source out their food from here. They usually feed on stems, roots, leaves, tubers and other parts of any aquatic plants. This is not a problem for swan raised on natural bodies of water; however, people that raise their swans in man-made ponds or lakes must ensure that aquatic plants are present to serve as the swan’s food.

• Insects – swans also wander on land and they can eat whatever small insect that may come into their way. This includes snails, aquatic beetles and many more. This is the intriguing part about what do swans eat; at first people thought that swans are purely herbivorous but as time passes by, it was discovered that swans also feed on small insects.

• Small Aquatic Animals – this includes shrimps, small fishes and other small aquatic animals. These aquatic animals are eaten by fully mature swans living in a natural pond or lake.

• Grains and Vegetables – this is the usual food for domesticated swans, especially those that are raised on farms. Swans on captivity feed on corns and other grains as well as on left over vegetable scraps.

With the mentioned facts, you now have idea about what do swans eat. In raising swans, make sure to provide them with a continuous supply of food, as they may wander away if their needs are not sustained. Don’t be confused about what do swans eat; there are a variety of food options where you can choose from. Providing them food is also a way to tame them, so don’t forget to regularly assist them in their foods!…

Home Canning Equipment

The public outcry over the food practices in our country is spurring a renewed interest in home canning…and for good reason! Canning your food at home insures nothing toxic goes into the food you and your family consumes. And it also tastes better! That’s a win/win in my books.

Don’t let the thought of canning intimidate you. It’s not as hard as you may think. You also won’t have to invest your life savings to start a home canning operation in your home. In fact, most of the equipment you need you probably already own. Here’s a list of both the basic essentials as well as a few other things you might want to pick up as time goes by:

Essentials:

Mason Jars

You can often find these glass canning jars at garage sales for cheap. Run your finger around the rim of the jar (when buying used) to make sure you don’t feel any chips or dents. Even the slightest chip will keep your jars from sealing. Most grocery stores sell jars in various sizes by the case during the summer and fall canning seasons. (NOTE: Don’t use recycled mayonnaise and other condiment jars for canning–use only mason jars created for the purpose of canning.)

Seal able Jar Lids

While you can buy the jars used and re-use them over and over, jar lids need to be new. These little metal lids have a rubbery band around them that once hot, create the seal between the lid and the jar. If you’re buying new jars by the case, these lids will be included. If you’re re-using old jars, the lids can be purchased separately and are inexpensive.

Jar Bands or Rings

These metal rings screw down on the jar to create a snug fit between the jar and the lid. They can be re-used and don’t have to be purchased new each time. If you find your running short on rings, you can take them off totally cool jars that have already been canned and sealed. You don’t have to store them with the bands screwed on. Again, if you’re buying new jars by the case, the rings will be included in the package, but you can purchase them separately as well.

Boiling Water Canner

This doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds…you can use a big stockpot or other large, deep sauce pot you already own. I canned my own jams and jellies for YEARS before I invested in a water canner (that I found at a yard sale for $5!) The pot you use needs to be large enough to have the jars you’re canning completely submerged (with about 2 inches or more of water above the jar tops) and with enough room around the jars that water can move freely).

If you’re using a saucepot from your kitchen, it needs to have a properly fitting lid to go with it. You will also need to either buy a wire rack (you can buy them …

Make Creamy Chicken Pot Pie – Recipe and Cooking Tips

Chicken Pies are feel-good food. This Chicken Pot Pie Recipe is just the thing for rich and flavorful dinner idea. The perfect home-cooked meal for your family. The wine adds an amazing flavor to the pie filling. Using ready-made puff pastry will help you save time.

You can make the whole thing ahead of time and bake it just before serving. A really great idea and time saver, is to make a double portion of the pie filling and then freeze it for when you need a meal in a hurry. You can try tasty variations once you've mastered the basics. Not exactly low-fat diet friendly but perfectly served with buttery mash and baby peas.

Some Chicken Pie Baking Tips

  • You can make the chicken pie ahead of time and bake it just before serving.
  • Make a double portion of the pie filling and then freeze it for when you need a meal in a hurry.
  • Always have a ready-made roll of puff pastry in the freezer for when you feel like pie.
  • Be sure to make a few small slits in the top of the pastry so that the steam can escape during the baking time.
  • Use left-over chicken or ready-cooked chicken if you want to save time.
  • Use vegetables in season as these will be cheaper and readily available.
  • Adjust the seasoning in the filling to suit your own taste.
  • Wine adds amazing depth to the flavor of the filling so if possible do not leave it out.

Chicken Pot Pie Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive oil and butter, for frying
  • Salt and milled pepper
  • 500g deboned chicken thighs, diced
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 pack (250g) white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
  • 1 cup (250ml) chicken stock
  • 1 tub (250ml) cream
  • 1 small packet (80g) baby spinach, blanched and chopped or frozen vegetable mix
  • 1 cup (250ml) fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 roll puff pastry, defrosted, divided into 4
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, beaten

Cooking Instructions For Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pies

  1. Preheat oven to 220 C.
  2. Heat the oil and butter in pan and lightly saute the season chicken until browned. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside.
  3. Fry the leeks, celery and mushrooms until soft but be careful not to brown too much. Add the chopped garlic and fry for another minute.
  4. Toss in the thyme leaves, wine, chicken stock, cream and browned chicken. Let this simmer for 25 minutes – the liquid should reduced by about half. Stir through wilted spinach and peas.
  5. Spoon filling into 4 ramekins / small pie dishes and cover each with pastry. Crimp edges with a fork and make a few slits in the pastry to allow steam to escape from the chicken pies while they are baking.
  6. Brush the tops of the pies with egg yolk and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry has gone that delicious golden color.

How Long To Bake – Chicken

Today, chickens are cooked and prepared in so many ways. Fast food chickens have been one of our favorites but it's not that healthy. Usually, we buy them for the taste and for convenience when we lack time to cook but fast food chickens are mostly fried containing a lot of cholesterol. Let us remember that we should still be conscious of our health and it's better to prepare the food ourselves.

One healthy option is baking a chicken; You can just use little olive oil to cook it. It does not require a huge amount of oil to cook you can less the cholesterol going into your body. Another advantage of preparing the chicken yourself is that you are sure of sanitation when it comes to food preparation. It will not just be quite enjoyable to make but a family bonding as well. So here is how to bake a chicken:

Required Ingredients:
• About 2 to 3 lb. Chicken cut up
• Freshly ground salt and pepper
• Dried or fresh herbs such as rosemary, tarragon, thyme, or oregano
• Marinade (optional)
• Olive oil or nonstick cooking spray

Equipment Needed:
• Baking dish
• Meat thermometer
• Kitchen oven
• Sharp kitchen knife
• Roasting pan

Baking A Chicken 101:

Step 1- Preparation

The first and very important thing before before baking a chicken is to wash the chicken thoroughly and pat the chicken dry gently. If you want to use marinade, marinate your chicken overnight for the flavors and juices to be fully absorbed. This will not just soften your chicken but will add aroma and flavor when it's baked. There are already prepared marinades like the Italian dressing. It's convenient because it's already prepared for you. You only need to put the marinade into a zip lock and place the chicken inside, mix it well through the chicken's body by turning. Close it tightly and place it overnight inside the refrigerator.

Step 2- Getting Ready

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F. Get your roasting pan and coat lightly with olive oil or spray with a little amount of non-stick cooking spray. If you have marinated it, take the chicken out from the marinade and place the chicken skin side up in the roasting pan. If you have not used marinade, sprinkle a little salt and pepper and other herbs as you desire. If you have used marinade, you do not have to season it that much because the flavor is already there.

Step 3- Cooking The Chicken

Place the chicken inside the oven and bake for 50 minutes. Do not cover it and check whether it is done using a meat thermometer to ascertain the temperature. Always make sure to place the thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken to get accurate readings and avoiding uncooked or overcooked chicken.

Step 4- Making Sure The Chicken is Ready To Eat

When the chicken is still pink, it is not yet fully cooked and not …

Slow Cooker Method Ideal for Freezer Burned Flank Steak

When meat goes on sale I stock up for the weeks ahead. We have a chest freezer and food items at the bottom can be forgotten. The other day I found a flank steak, (a pricey cut of meat) and saw, to my dismay, that it had freezer burn.

What is freezer burn anyway? It happens after food has been frozen for a long time. Meat develops white spots and the texture and flavor are changed. In fact, red meat may look gray or pale brown. These discolored areas are dry and one of the best ways to cook the meat is with a method that adds moisture — braising or using a slow cooker.

Seeing dry, discolored meat may make you worry about food safety. Don’t worry. According to the USDA, freezer-urned meat is still safe to eat. One edge of the flank steak was burned, but it was such a small area that I left it alone. But the USDA recommends cutting away badly burned sections. “Heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded for quality reasons,” notes the USDA.

Though I had stored the steak i a heavy plastic bag with a zipper closing, over time, it had still developed freezer burn. To add moisture, I decided to cook the steak in seasoned broth. I defrosted the steak in the microwave and cut it in half to fit in my slow cooker. (I have the smallest size.) As it cooks the steak shrinks a bit, so you need to keep this in mind when you plan your meal.

A few hours later, my husband and I were feasting on some of the tastiest steaks we have ever eaten. The slow cooker method will work with balltips, round steak, and other tougher cuts of meat. Usually flank steak is sliced across the grain. With the slow cooking method, however, you cut with the grain or shred the meat. Everyone in the family will enjoy this flavorful recipe.

Ingredients

1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups no-salt beef stock

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tomato, chopped

3-4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup gravy flour (approximate – you may need more)

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepared mashed potatoes

Method

Place cooking bag in slow cooker. Stir ketchup into beef stock. Lay flank steak in cooker. Pour stock mixture over meat and scatter vegetables on top. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 1/2 hours on low or 5 hours on high setting. Remove meat and set on cutting board. Whisk water into flour to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps. With cooker in high, stir slurry into liquid, and cook until sauce thickens. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Put lid back on slow cooker to keep sauce hot. Shred meat and lay on top of mashed potatoes. Top each serving with a generous amount of sauce. Serve with a green …

How to Cook Chestnuts

Wondering how to cook chestnuts? It’s not so mysterious or difficult as you may think and even if you don’t decide to cook them yourself, there are several wonderful chestnut products that make it even easier to enjoy this fabulous nugget of nutrition.

Selecting and Preparing Chestnuts

  • If you wish to cook chestnuts yourself, be sure that you buy only very fresh chestnuts. They should feel heavy in your hand and not rattle about in their shell. Chestnuts tend to go bad – rapidly growing moldy and wormy.
  • Chestnuts have a hard outer shell and a thin inner skin, both of which you need to remove in order to eat them. It is easier to remove these when the chestnuts are hot.
  • You always need to pierce the shell before cooking, otherwise pressure will build up in the nut and they will explode.

Three Methods for How to Cook Chestnuts

  1. Roasting chestnuts – Just like in the Christmas song, learn how to cook chestnuts over an open fire for a fun family activity. You will need a special long handled chestnut roasting pan or popcorn popper to do this. Using a sharp knife, cut an X through the shell of each chestnut. Place in the pan and roast for about 20 minutes, tossing and turning the pan occasionally.
  2. Baking chestnuts – This gives similar results to roasting but requires no special equipment. Simply slit the shells with an X and place on baking tray. Bake at 375° F for about 20 minutes. If you wrap the chestnuts in a dishtowel while they are still hot, this can make shelling them easier.
  3. Boiling chestnuts – Boiling chestnuts is a good option if you are planning on using them in a recipe. You can cut the chestnuts in two and make sure they are good before boiling. Place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes or until the chestnuts are done as you wish (this depends somewhat on the size and what recipe you are using them in). Shell and peel the chestnuts under cold running water while they are still hot (you may want to wear gloves).

Chestnut Products

Chestnuts are very nutritious, low fat, and can be employed in a variety of ways. Even if you don’t learn how to cook chestnuts, do try using some of the great chestnut products available on the market to add this interesting food to your life.

  • Roasted chestnuts – You can buy jars of roasted chestnuts ready to use. Add these to soups, stews, steamed vegetables, or just enjoy them straight from the jar.
  • Chestnut puree – This comes in both sweetened and unsweetened preparations depending on how you would like to use it.
  • Chestnut flour – This is an excellent product for people on gluten free diets. Adds an interesting dimension to cakes, breads, crepes, and other baked goods.

Guide to Standardized Recipe

Standardized Recipe Ideology

A standardized recipe refers to a particular standard-of-use of certain metrics in cooking – Standard sizes, time, temperature, amount, etc. Abiding by this rule creates uniformity in kitchen produce, whether or not it is tangible or intangible.

The idea of a standardized recipe is definitely not alien to many of us anymore. In fact, it has been very widely used around the globe and there are certain metrics to a standardized recipe that we must follow. In the kitchen, a standardized recipe is a crucial part of standardizing dishes, ingredients and elements in a restaurant that might lead to gain or loss during operational hours. Certain restaurants benchmark standardized recipes in their kitchen, some do not. There are pros and cons of using standardized recipes.

Benefits of having a Standardized Recipe

  1. Creates an absolute standard in kitchen produce and cooking activities.
  2. Allows smooth transition between different kitchen staffs.
  3. Maintains food quality and food standards during kitchen operational hours.
  4. Guiding tool for newcomers to the kitchen.
  5. Refresh minds of kitchen staff after some time. (Eliminating guesswork)
  6. Referral material should there be any disputes.
  7. Base for costing when kitchen costs are calculated.
  8. Be a great guide to implementing a new menu should there be any need.
  9. Planning and costing purposes when a particular event needs accounting/kitchen control auditing.
  10. Prevents raw food leftovers (with good Kitchen Control)

Cons of having a Standardized Recipe

  1. Inconvenient – This can be from the Head Chef keeping the list of standardized recipe in his room and had it locked or having three big books of standardized recipe and need kitchen staff to flip over one by one to get everything done. Inconvenience is the number ONE factor that led to kitchen staff not using standardized recipes.
  2. Time consuming – This is also one of the reasons why standardized recipe are not followed. During peak hours, a kitchen do not have time to waste, and every second counts.
  3. Better variations – Some Chefs prefer to follow their centric of taste, some are just worship their own believes. This could cause a problem when there is no proper training provided and Kitchen Control.
  4. Rules are meant to be broken – There are always different people/consumers around your restaurant. What’s important, the customers. When standardized recipes are not tested regularly on the restaurant, inaccurate information may be provided in the standardized recipe. Solution: Leave room or space for food/cooking variation. This usually happen when the Head Chef is not properly organized or trained well for his position.
  5. A secret no more – Some restaurateurs or Chefs frown on making a book of standardized recipe because they want to protect their food knowledge. This is a classic perception: Someone comes by, takes all the recipe and leave the restaurant after a month.
  6. When it’s gone, it’s really gone – At certain times in a restaurant, a piece of recipe sheet can get lost. When it’s lost, there will be a slight havoc in understanding as the