5/31/21

From my Instagram - Grinding and Packaging Beef Today! (Grinding chuck roast into ground beef for your home freezer - easy, quick and affordable)

Regular readers know we grind our own beef, as well as chicken and pork but for those new to the site or saw this on my Instagram account, this post is in regards to that!


I am not sure how many years ago I started to grind our own beef here at home and make packages of 'ground beef' for our freezer; but it was long enough ago that I don't remember the last time I bought ground beef in a store.  

I didn't plan to go into reasons in this post, but I suppose I should touch on them briefly because I'm sure someone out there is asking themselves why I would even think to do such a thing?

Many reasons actually.

I like knowing our ground beef comes from one cut of beef.

Depending on where your ground beef comes from, it could have up to 1000 different cows contributing to it.  On average it will have at least 100 at minimum.  

The more cuts of beef from various animals you have going into it, the more likely you are to have harmful bacteria - like the ones that cause E. Coli.  I'm not overly concerned because we cook our ground beef and patties well done, which kills the bacteria, but for elderly and young children e. coli can harm the kidney's and ultimately, cause death.  So it's something that has always been in the back of mind - even before I started to grind our own meat.

"..... It is not uncommon for a single ground beef patty to contain the meat of over 1,000 different animals. Only 10% of Americans correctly answered that a single patty will likely come from more than 100 different animals."*

The most common way to get an E. coli infection is by eating contaminated food, such as:

  • Ground beef. When cattle are slaughtered and processed, E. coli bacteria in their intestines can get on the meat. Ground beef combines meat from many different animals, increasing the risk of contamination.

Not only do I like knowing our ground beef is coming from one cut of beef, but I know what is in our meat.  Pure 100% meat, no fillers.

Lastly, I found the flavor of our home-ground meat to be superior to the store bought mish-mash.  I honestly hadn't thought about this when we started to grind our own beef but it quickly becomes obvious when you grow used to the taste of a taco or burger made with your beef and then eat the same elsewhere with store bought beef of multiple animals and cuts of meat.

Even if I'm grinding 4 or 5 roasts that day I still keep them separate for the most part

Having explained a bit about why we grind our own beef - I have to add that I totally, 100% don't expect anyone else to do and there is zero judgement from us if you don't! MOST people don't - and we are totally cool with that!

But we LOVE it and I can't imagine EVER going back to store bought ground beef.  I also grind our own pork and chicken as well; and make our own sausage and chicken feta spinach sausage too - which I have posted about all of this a few times previously here on An American Housewife (housewifebarbie.com) so I'm sure it's old news to many of my regular readers.

*IF* you are interested in grinding your own beef, it is SO EASY!!!!   

It's relatively fast too.  And you don't need huge expensive appliances/machines to get started.  My meat grinder is a pretty cheap 'household' model we got on clearance for about $50-60 about 9 years ago.  

Really all you need to get started is one item.   

 

A meat grinder

(...almost any kind, brand; even a manual hand grinder like our great grandparents or grandparents use/used - although that is a lot of cranking!)

You buy your roast (chuck roast is good and typically affordable).  Partially freeze it for easier cutting if you wish.  I cut ours into chunks about 1-2 inches.  Feed them into your machine per your appliances' directions.

At this point you can use the meat or put it in a container to store in the refrigerator or the freezer.

I freeze ours in food sealer bags with a food sealer and pop them into the deep freeze.  I do some as ground beef, some I form and freeze as hamburger patties and some I keep in chunks to use as "stew meat" and shish-ka-bobs.  (Is that how you spell that? LOL).

If you already own a food sealer - awesome!  You're one step ahead of the game.  I own two now.  My first was a Weston that we got on clearance at the same time we found the meat grinder on clearance. Again, it was a cheap $50-60 one but it's worked great for the almost 9? years we've had it.  Recently it's started to need a new heating element but I ended up buying a new machine with a couple more options (like moist sealing and double sealing) and I'm SMITTEN WITH IT.....  seriously.  It's a Nesco and I love love love it.  I bought mine from Amazon and I have zero regrets. 

So, there ya go.

An unintended post really.  LOL.  It was supposed to be a short 15 second 'fly by' post but turned into a short novel.

PS:  you can use the search engine to find numerous times I've mentioned and posted photos of grinding beef, chicken and pork here on An American Housewife if you want to see more photos of the actual process.











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5/28/21

Homemade Keto Mozzarella Sticks and Breaded, Fried Shrimp

When I was looking through previous posts on my site, I saw this one listed and thought for sure it was posted last year (2020) - perhaps even in the Fall.  When I looked at the date, I couldn't believe it.  I posted this in July of 2019!  That is almost TWO YEARS AGO.

I suppose it's just another 2020 thing... the year that messed up all sense of time.  But either way, I'm posting again because they are THAT good and it deserves to be reposted.



I've posted the recipe for mozzarella sticks before but the reason I'm posting again is two-fold.  The first, because I've mentioned in the past that it's awesome to make a double batch so you can put on in the freezer for later and second, that you could use the breading for other items like chicken or shrimp.  I buy the peeled with tail on style personally.   Just make them the same way you make the mozzarella sticks.  Serve with your favorite sugar free condiments or as low sugar (like 1 gram) as you can find or make yourself.


Low Carb Mozzarella Sticks


2 eggs, beaten
1 c almond flour
scant 1 c powdered Parmesan cheese
optional:  1/2 c wheat resistant starch 75
optional:  1/2 c ground pork rinds
(If you don't use the wheat resistant starch 75 or pork rinds just use more Parmesan or almond flour)
Approximately 20 sticks string cheese
2-3 T Italian Seasoning
1 t garlic salt

Cut the string cheese in half.
Lightly beat the eggs and pour into a small shallow dish.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large Ziploc baggy.
Roll the cheese stick halves in the egg and dip in the dry mix. Press lightly to help it adhere.
Place the breaded cheese sticks on a baking sheet and freeze at least 2 hours or up to 3 months.
When you want to make them, heat about 2 inches of oil in a pan and fry the sticks for 1-2 minutes. Do not crowd the pan.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.  You can salt them if you wish for more salt.  Serve hot with low or no sugar marinara sauce or ketchup. 



The shrimp I breaded last month and put into the deep freeze for 'another day'.  Here they are right out of the freezer and waiting to jump into the pan of hot grease.



Made a double batch of mozzarella sticks last month and popped them into the freezer.  Here they are still frozen.


 Mmmm my dinner is waiting for me.... but I remembered to take a picture this time.


Snapped a photo quickly on my cellphone so I could hurry and EAT them while they were hot.  Oh so good.





If you enjoy visiting An American Housewife, please consider using this affiliate link if you are planning to shop for anything (seriously, anything!) at Amazon - An American Housewife at Amazon


If you want to purchase almond flour and not pay 'local' prices (it's often cheaper online than it is in your local regular grocery store) you can find it online at my favorite low carb and workout proteins source, Netrition.com  
Almond Meal/Flour
Bob's Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour
)

Or if you prefer to use your Amazon account, you might be interested in some of these products related to the recipe.  (Some of you have Amazon Prime so it will be cheap and fast... I don't have Prime but I always qualify for free shipping with a minimum $25 purchase anyway!)

NOW Foods Almond Flour, Raw, 22-Ounce
Almond Flour Blanched (2lb) by Anthony's, Batch Tested Gluten-Free
Bob's Red Mill Super-Fine Gluten Free Almond Flour, 3 Pound

         



Also - I like to use wheat resistant starch but you certainly don't have to if you won't wish to.  Here is the kind I buy and where I buy it: (Netrition)


Resistant Wheat Starch 75
LifeSource Foods Resistant Wheat Starch 75



 

 

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5/23/21

Flashback Post from 2017 - HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY AND RHUBARB PIE

I have been craving rhubarb... rhubarb pie, rhubarb bars, rhubarb crisp... anything.  I just want rhubarb!  The thing is, it doesn't grow well where we currently live so it's not easily found.  I haven't seen or found rhubarb in any form since we moved here a few years ago.

This morning I was looking over my photo files of An American Housewife and saw this one - Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie.   

Wait... what!?  I don't remember making that!?  When did I post this!?  And more importantly, WHERE and WHEN did I find rhubarb?  And if I found frozen rhubarb at some point since moving here, why haven't I been able to find it in years?  I had to click on the 'old' post to see if I happened to mention WHERE I found this elusive rhubarb because I literally would go to that store THIS MORNING if I happened to say in the post where I got it....

So I found my old post - which was from November of 2017.  That made me even more curious as to where I found rhubarb as it wasn't all that long ago.  

Link to the original post:  Strawberry and Rhubarb Pie - 2017 post

Ahhh. Mystery solved.

I made this pie (and the post) from another state.  I was staying with a family member while I helped them out with emergency childcare and I had made the pie for dessert that evening.  You can buy rhubarb where they live so she had a couple packages of it in her freezer.  Mystery solved.

In honor of my rhubarb pie craving....  I'm reposting this yummy strawberry and rhubarb pie.




Strawberry & Rhubarb Pie

3 c frozen rhubarb pieces (the whole bag)
3 c frozen strawberries, whole (the whole bag)
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c white sugar
1/4 c cornstarch
1/4 c flour (I used this in addition to the corn starch since it was frozen fruit)
3/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/2 t lemon juice
1/2 t vanilla
egg white
sugar

Mix all but the egg white and extra sugar into a bowl.  Stir and blend well.  Pour into a prepared deep dish pie crust.  You can choose to prick it ahead of time and brush with a beaten egg white or not.  Totally up to you.  Fill the pie crust and use an additional bit of pie crust dough or a second frozen pie crust to roll out on a lightly floured surface.

Cut strips about 3/4 of an inch wide.  Use these to make a lattice top on your pie OR use the 2nd crust to cover the fruit filling without bothering with a lattice.  Seal the edges in your favorite way (finger seal or fork). Place the pie on a baking sheet (foil lined baking sheet if you hate scrubbing pans like I do!)  Beat the egg white with about a teaspoon of water and brush it on the top and sides of your pie and then sprinkle with a bit of sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, reduce heat to 350 and bake an additional 1 1/2 hours.  Turn off oven and let it sit in the hot oven for another 15 minutes if you feel it needs a bit more time.  Remove and cool completely before slicing.


The fruit, sugars and spices all mixed in a bowl


I pricked and brushed the bottom crust but it's totally optional


After filling the pie dish, either top with a second crust or cut strips to make a lattice crust


Trim if you have excess on the edges


Seal either with fingers or fork.  I had extra dough so I laid a small rope around the entire edge and pressed it down and then sealed.


Brush the top with beaten egg white and sprinkle with additional cinnamon and sugar


Cool completely before slicing so it's allowed to 'set up' - you can also chill it or just let it set out on the counter until the next day before slicing so it will set up nice.  When  a fruit pie is sliced too soon or when warm, it's quite liquidy.  Not a bad thing at all - especially if you serve the pie with ice cream!






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Products related to this post available through Amazon include:


CorningWare Etch 9.5 Inch Pie Plate in Brick
Pyrex 2-Pack Easy Grab Glass Pie Plate, 9.5-Inch
OvenStuff Non-Stick Pie Pan 2 Piece Set, 9"

   









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5/22/21

Flashback Recipe: My favorite Greek Style Pizza (Spinach, feta, kalamata olives... and made low carb by using my 'fathead' keto dough)

I like to go 'back' to my post history and see what I was posting on a certain day in any given year.  This morning I was looking at May 2011 and saw one I've posted many, many times....  it's one of my favorite kinds of pizzas.

I'm thinking I may make it tonight but will use a keto 'fathead' dough instead of the regular crust, to keep the carbs down. 




Greek Style Pizza

Prepare basic pizza dough or a keto version if you are low carb. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

1/2 c mayonnaise
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1 12 inch pre baked crust
1/2 c oil packed sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped plus 1 T of the oil
1/4 c pitted Kalamata Olives, chopped
1 t dried oregano
2 c baby spinach leaves
1/2 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 450. Mix mayonnaise, garlic and 1/2 c feta in bowl. Place pizza crust on cookie sheet and spread the mayonnaise mixture over. Top with tomatoes, olives and oregano. Bake 10 minutes. Toss spinach and onion with 1 T tomato oil. Top the hot pizza with this mixture and the remaining feta. Return to oven, bake 2-3 minutes longer. Cut and serve.



(I don't like sun dried tomatoes so unless I know others are here for dinner who like them, I leave those off!  I also just put all the toppings on at once - even the spinach and onion - and bake it all at the same time.)



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5/20/21

Homemade Fondant - quick and easy (no, really! QUICK AND EASY and it tastes good too!)


 

Although I know I posted a recipe for homemade fondant back around 2008 (?) or 2009 (?), I also posted in 2011 and 2012... but I need to repost because it was so long ago, even I forgot I posted it.  My son plans to make the Monster's Inc cake (or one similar) that I made last weekend and I want to make sure he can see the fondant recipe quickly - so... reposting!

Originally I greased the bowl I was melting the marshmallows in (link to 2012 post) but the last 5 batches I made were in a plastic mixing bowl, I was in a hurry and skipped the greasing of the bowl.  I'd say the fondant/marshmallow mixture that stuck to the sides was probably about a tablespoon or so - so if you are ok with that, you can skip the greasing of the bowl.  If every bit of fondant counts, then grease it.

I also posted a recipe for faux fondant made with melted candy wafers in 2011 - which I noted at the time, I had never personally tried.  I still haven't.  The only kind I've ever made is with mini marshmallows.  But it's here for those interested - http://www.housewifebarbie.com/2011/01/faux-fondant.html

Lastly - a link to my Grandmothers fondant covered cake (original post was when I made it in 2008 - so, 13 years ago!!)  because the photos show how easy it was to work with.  I think I had only made fondant cake once before that - in December of 2007.  Here is the 2008 FLASHBACK I posted in 2019 with photos:   http://www.housewifebarbie.com/2019/06/photos-how-i-made-fondant-covered-white.html 

I don't actually measure anything, but here are the measurements you are going for.

HOMEMADE FONDANT

8 oz. (about) mini marshmallows
2 T water
4 c powdered sugar
extract or flavoring if  you wish
food coloring if you wish

In a microwaveable bowl, pour in about 3/4 of a package of 10 oz. of mini marshmallows.  Add about 2 tablespoons water.  If you wish you can grease or spray the bowl first or the mixture will stick as you mix it.  About a tablespoon worth of fondant may stick to the bowl if you don't grease/spray it first.  Your call.  Heat the marshmallows in the microwave for a minute or two (depending on your microwave) until they are tall and puffy.  Take it out, stir in the extract/flavor if you are using any - and start to add the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time. 

As it gets stiff and you can't really stir anymore, dump it out onto a lightly dusted powdered sugar surface and start to knead it like bread dough.  Sprinkle more powdered sugar as you go to keep it from sticking to the surface or your hands.  When it's pliable, soft and not sticky, it's ready to use.  

At this point you can color it.  Rip off a bit of fondant and mix in the food colors you wish.  Now take that small sized colored fondant and start to knead and twist it into the larger fondant.  For best results on mixing it in, I like to roll 'ropes' or 'snakes' and twist and knead.  When there are no more color streaks left, roll out your fondant to use on your cake or cake decorations as you wish.





   

 

Gel food color - from Amazon 


Powdered Sugar (any brand will do)

 
If you don't want to make it yourself, you can always buy fondant as well.

 
  Large and small sizes of pre-made fondant available of course!







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5/18/21

3 Tiered Monster's Inc Cake - Mike Wazowski, Sulley and Boo's door (and 7 other doors too)

 (Name edited out of photo)

 

The height of the bottom layer was about 6 inches tall by 11 inches across.  Boo's door was 4.25 inches and then I used fondant to make the outside of the door and the red light.  So my concern was that the bottom layer had to be tall enough for the door and the gray 'scare factory' door frame that collected the screams; and that Sulley and the characters were the correct heights.

The second layer was a couple 8 inch cakes - and the furry frosting makes them about an inch wider on each side so that was perfect.  The top is a couple 6 inch cakes baked in small round Wilton pans.

The Disney Pixar Monster's Inc figures all came in a set (available here) -  

 

For Boo's door I ordered a fondant/cookie cutter from JB's Cookie Cutters (I ordered from their website - I don't think they sell on Amazon?)


Sulley's fur was done with this large size 'grass' and 'fur' frosting tip:  

 

 

 

I already had a bunch of Wilton gel food color pastes but I also bought this set just in case I needed/wanted more colors to work with.  I ended up using them the most for Sulley's cake.  I used the Grape Purple, the Violet and the Pink to make the lighter colors in his fur.  I also used the greens for Mike's fondant and the sky blue in Sulley's fur along with the gel paste.  Lastly - I used one or two little drops of the Sunset yellow and the red when I was making the doors and flowers.  These really came in handy!

 

 

 

 


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5/16/21

A peek into my kitchen this week: My Monster's Inc. 3 tiered cake - Mike Wazowski, Sulley and a base of Boo's door

A peek into my world this week....
 
Honestly I've been cooking and baking as usual - every meal (since 'home' is our favorite restaurant - we almost never, ever eat out and never have) but I've been uninspired to post anything for quite a while.  Hopefully I'll get my motivation for posting back but until then, there are about 2600 recipes in my files since 2006 or whenever it was I started this blog!  Ha ha.
 
In the meantime here is a sneak peek into my kitchen this week.   I think you can tell what I've been working on!
The Sulley cake - furry blue/tealish and purple/pinkish cake yumminess!)
Mike Wazowski and Sulley look over my work and cheer me on....
This was some swirled cake batter
Fondant.  Lots and lots of fondant and buttercreme frosting was made this week
Playing around with door ideas
Boo's door... (with a shadow on it - it doesn't really have a blue cast in the corner - that's my hand!)
Designing some eyes for Mike Wazowski - from fondant
Getting ideas for Mike Wazowski eyes... I made a ton of them hoping I'd be happy with at least one!

 


Finished product photos coming soon as well as some Monster's Inc cake  links to some decor and items I used!Print Friendly and PDF

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