Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Homemade French fries

I don’t make homemade French fries that often. Frankly, I’m perfectly content with Ore-Ida. However, every time I make these I think, Why don’t I make them more?
Tonight, I had a potato that needed to be cooked (I’m guessing it was only a couple of days before reaching that stage where it transitions from pantry item to fun science project) so I decided it was the perfect time to fry it up and share my technique on the blog.
1 baking potato
Vegetable oil
Sea salt
Coarse ground pepper
Fill a heavy skillet about 1/3 of the way with vegetable oil. Turn on medium heat, much lower than where you’d normally set it for frying.
Slice a potato up to your liking. Want extra crispy pieces? Cut them thinner. Want skins? Leave them on. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. I like to cut mine a little unevenly. I’m not sure if this makes them rustic or me lazy.
Once the oil is warm but not super hot, add the potatoes for their first fry. There will be very little, if any, sizzling going on. Let them cook in the oil for 5-7 minutes and then remove onto paper towels.
Turn the oil up to medium high and let it get good and warm for about 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to go if you drop a French fry in and it rises quickly to the top. (Note: If you aren’t ready to finish your fries yet, you can turn the oil off until you are ready. It won’t hurt to wait an hour or more.)
Add the French fries carefully and cook 10-12 minutes or until desired crispiness.
Drain on paper towels and season generously with sea salt and coarse pepper. Serve with ketchup.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

3 things you should know about leftovers

I’ll admit, since marrying and moving in with the Mr., I don’t have nearly as many leftovers to worry about. My extra steak that used to be saved for the next day’s salad or sandwich often ends up on his plate, and he can always make room for 1 more taco.
But, sometimes, I intentionally make extra food for the sole purpose of leftovers (and wrap it up as soon as I fix our plates). I love having some extra meat for the next day’s lunch — after all, since I work from home and the Mr. works 3 minutes from home, we eat lunch at home quite a bit. (Though it’s important to note we don’t do this every day. I require a couple of midday outings a week and strongly recommend at least weekly lunches out for other telecommuters. It’s good for your sanity and productivity to be amongst the 3-dimensional people on a regular basis.)
Since leftovers save time and money (and who doesn’t want more of both?), I thought I’d share a few tips for making the most of them in tonight’s blog post.
No. 1: You don’t have to eat the same way twice.
Leftover steak can be added to salads, sandwiches, tacos, nachos, quesadillas or breakfast burritos. Leftover ground beef from last night’s crispy tacos? Make soft tacos, burritos or nachos the next day. Leftover brisket can top baked potatoes, leftover chili can top Frito pies…the possibilities are endless.
No. 2: Put extras in the fridge immediately.
As soon as your meal is over (or even as soon as you plate your meal), wrap leftover meats up and put in the fridge. There’s no need to let them cool to room temperature first — that’s an old wives’ tale.
No. 3: Don’t hang on to them too long.
Eat leftovers within 3 days (or 3 months if you put them in the freezer). And, if you have any doubt they may no longer be good before then, please throw them out. If it doesn’t look, smell or taste good, there’s no need to eat it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

New ways to follow Make Mine Beef

Who says procrastination doesn’t pay off?
Because instead of doing Zumba for Wii or tackling another load of laundry, I decided to expand the blog’s social media presence tonight. That’s right, you can now follow Make Mine Beef on Twitter (@MakeMineBeef) or on Pinterest (
So, go ahead, and click the blue or red buttons on the right-hand side of the page and start following along. It’s good for my self-esteem, and you might just find some beefy goodness to retweet or repin.

Monday, January 9, 2012

4 ways to get a head start

I’m all about things you can make or do ahead of time, especially in the kitchen. Because, while I love to cook, I also really love to save time. You know, time I could spend catching up on the DVR or perusing Pinterest.
Tonight, I not only saved time in the kitchen but also had fewer dishes to wash, thanks to a trick I learned from The Pioneer Woman. I share it and 3 other time savers below.
Mashed potatoes
Did you know you can cook and mash potatoes up to 3 days in advance? I didn’t either, until I saw The Pioneer Woman herself do it. Here’s what you do: Prepare the potatoes as normal. Butter an 8x8 pan. (I used disposable because that’s how I roll. I dream of someday owning a fully-disposable kitchen.) Spread the potatoes into the pan and add a few thin slices of unsalted butter to the top. Cover in foil and refrigerate. About an hour before cooking, set the potatoes out. Preheat oven to 350 and then cook, covered, for about 30 minutes.
Twice-baked potatoes
I also learned this one from The Pioneer Woman. After baking and assembling your potatoes, put them on a baking sheet and pop them in the fridge up to 3 days. (If you’re going to cook them in an hour or 2, don’t bother covering them. If it’ll be a day or longer, go ahead and cover them in foil or plastic wrap. Remove and cook at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed.
Salads and veggies
I almost always make my salads ahead of time — just don’t add any dressing or croutons until time to serve. Need veggies cut up for a stir fry, kabobs or queso? Cut them up and put them in Ziploc bags until you’re ready for them.
Want a main dish you can make a couple of days ahead of time (or longer if you freeze it)? Lasagna is perfect. If we have a crowd coming over, I always make it earlier in the day or the night before so I can get the clean up out of the way. Just add a few minutes to the cooking time and you’re all set.
What are some of your favorite items you can make or prep ahead of time?

Monday, January 2, 2012

WebLove: Meet 1 family behind McDonald's beef

I knew I wanted this, my 100th post on Make Mine Beef, to be special. And while it's not an inventive recipe or invaluable beef buying tip, I think it's pretty great. In fact, you might just say I'm lovin' it.