Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chicken Brine Recipe- Make Your Next Rosted Chicken Something to Rave About!

Frugal cooks have long known that brining chicken, turkey, beef and fish is an inexpensive way to add big flavor to roasted and grilled meats. At Use Supermarket Coupons, we are big fans of brining techniques.


Simply put, brining is a cheap way to both tenderize and add a flavorful gourmet touch to inexpensive cuts of meat.

While the brine recipe below is intended for chicken and poultry, the technique works well for all types and cuts of meat and fish.

What You Should Know About Brining

1. Brine is little more that a salt solution, with optional sugar, and herbs. The process allows for fluids infused with spices to enter the meat through a simple process of osmosis.

2. The technique of brining has been around for years, but is only now gaining popularity with home cooks.

3. Brining helps to keep meats moist while cooking. Meats that are brined first are juicy, tender and packed with flavor.

4. Basic brine recipes are only the beginning. Add any herbs, spices or flavorings that you like. You are only limited by your own creativity.

Basic Brining Techniques

Basic brining is easy, with only a few steps:

1. Start with a clean and dried, large, food quality plastic container with a lid.

2. Mix the brine and season according to the recipe below.

3. Thoroughly rinse and pat dry meat.

4. Completely submerge meat in brine.

5. Cover the brine bowl or bucket and seal tightly.

6. Refrigerate while completing the brining process. Allow 1 hour per pound of meat. Any longer and the meat may become too salty.

7. When brining is completed, remove the meat from the brine and rinse well. Pat rinsed meat dry and cook as usual.

8. Discard brine, and clean and sanitize your brine bucket or bowl.

Basic Brine Recipe for Chicken and Poultry

1 gallon water

3/4 cup salt

1/4 cup sugar (cuts the salty taste and helps to blend the herbs)

Herbs to taste (good choices for poultry are rosemary, tarragon, pepper, sage, and thyme, garlic, onion and celery)Aim for 1 1/2 tsp to 1 T per gallon of brine depending on how strong you like your seasonings.

In a heavy stock pot or large pan bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Be sure all of the salt and sugar are completely dissolved.

Allow brine to cool completely to room temperature. Pour the cooled brine into the prepared container and add meat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour per pound of meat.

Remove meat from brine, rinse and pat dry. Cook meat as desired.

Try it the next time you are planning on roasting a chicken or turkey. Brined meat is a juicy and delicious change from the ordinary.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deal Alert: What You Should Know About Grocery Shopping Around Major Holidays

Have you ever wondered if there is a best time to use supermarket grocery coupons?

The answer is YES.

I always allow nearly double my usual food budget the week before major holidays. Why? The deals are just too good to pass up! Stock up when the price is right and save.

You can expect the coupon inserts to be heavy in the two or three weeks leading up to a major holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4th and Labor day have some of the greatest savings of the year on groceries.

How should you maximize your savings on nonperishables? Buy multiples of the same item, using a double manufacterer coupon for each item you purchase. In the weeks leading up to the holiday week, you can obtain multiple manufacterer coupons either buy purchasing more than one Sunday paper, or using a coupon clipping service.

Don't want to go to the hassle of a coupon service due to the minimum order requirements? Here's another can always find the coupons you are looking for on Ebay! The best time to look is the Sunday the coupon is published. Don't wait, the selection can get a litte scant within a few days on the best offer.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

Fast Food- How You Can Eat Better and Spend Less!

So what do you think, does fast food come only from the fast food place on the corner? If you said yes, I'm about to let you in on a little secret...

Fast food also comes from your own kitchen! Nope, I'm not talking about pulling TV dinners from the freezer. I'm talking about home cooked, nutritious, delicious dinners from your own kitchen, ready to serve in 15 minutes or less.

Yep, I said 15 minutes from prep to table.

How is it possible to have dinner ready almost before you have time to set you things down and change clothes after a long day at work? The answer's all in the prep. Simple organization saves you hours of time, tons of stress and lots of cash.

4 Ways to Become a Fast Food Gourmet

1. Use the Crockpot- I love crockpots and slow cookers! Just a few minutes prep in the morning and dinner is ready to serve as soon as you get home. Very little mess, next to no fuss, and the meat is always tender.

2. Prep it Ahead- When I go to the supermarket every week, I spend an hour processing fresh produce for the week as soon as I get home. Chop it once, clean it up once, take out the trash once, and save time during your work week.

3. Plan Ahead- The true secret to getting dinner on the table fast? Have the side dishes done ahead. Every week I make giant bowls of green salad, fruit salad and then prepare a jello salad or dessert on Sundays. Just add a main dish and side like rice or potatoes and dinner is ready. Having the extras done ahead makes dinner prep next to nothing.

4. Grilling Isn't Just for Summer- Grilling marinated meats is a quick, no fuss way to get dinner on the table fast. Light up the grill, toss the meat on and turn it a time or two...that's it. Be sure to cook enough meat for leftovers in a main dish salad, or soup the next day. Having the meat cooked ahead makes tomorrows main dishes cook up in minutes.

There you have it, 4 ways to become a speed demon in the kitchen. They secret really is to plan ahead. If you have your side dishes done, all you really need to do is choose either a main dish that cooks quickly like a broiled or grilled marinated meat or fish, or a crockpot meal. Dinner will be on the table with little fuss at the end of your day.