Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quick Meals - No Time to Defrost

Tip #8 - Forgot to defrost something for dinner?  This is a common problem at our house.  We get so busy, no one remembers to get food out of the freezer.  Defrosting takes time we often don't have, so we would end up going out.  

To save your budget and have a healthier meal, experiment with cooking food directly from a frozen state.  Many foods can be cooked this way with a delicious outcome.  We have been trying these ideas with great success.

Utilize your oven to cook fish or chicken breasts from frozen.  Place the pieces in a baking pan with a little margarine, to start.  Place in your oven and turn it to 350 degrees.  After about 30 minutes, remove from the oven and season as you would like and finish cooking.  This usually takes about 45 minutes for thick pieces, but be sure to check with a thermometer to make sure they are done.  Depending on the thickness of the fish, it may cook much faster.

Ground beef can be browned in a pan over low heat with some water which produces steam and helps it thaw faster.  Use about 1/2 cup of water and be sure to break up the big pieces as you can.  This is great for a quick taco or burrito meal, spaghetti, or a skillet meal.

Roasts can be cooked from frozen in your oven as well.  Set your oven to 325 degrees and put the roast in a roaster pan with a liquid of your choice and your favorite herbs.  The roast will be done in a couple of hours, but if it is a tough roast, turn the oven down to 225 degrees after the two hours and slow cook it for several hours.

A great appliance to have for quick meals, is a pressure cooker or one of the new multi-cookers.  There are many varieties, so be sure to read the directions.   Some go from slow cook to fry, these work similar to a slow cooker.  If you are going to cook from a frozen state in one of these be sure to use a bake or roast setting.  The pressure cooker is an excellent way to quickly defrost and cook meat.  Be sure to follow the directions that come with your appliance for proper times.  Products from the pressure cookers are usually tender and moist.  The pressure cooker cooks by raising the cooking temperature above boiling, so food defrosts and cooks quickly.

It is not safe to defrost food in a slow cooker or crock pot.  Bacteria grows quickly when food is between the temperatures of 40 to 140 degrees for more than 2 hours.  Crockpots or Slow cookers do not get hot enough to defrost and heat the food to safe levels and keep the out of the danger zone for less than two hours.

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