The Ground Pork Substitute

Tacos are one of the favorite fun time foods around our house here. In the past we often just use simple ground beef to make our tacos. In the last few years I’ve been deciding to try to use a few different kinds of meats mainly chicken and pork.

I found the ground pork is an excellent substitute when you’re looking for a perfect protein for tacos. One of the ways that I like to prepare my ground pork is exactly like I’ve done with hamburger so many other times before. Simply take a one and a half pound package and either defrost it or let it thaw at room temperature. After you fry it up I like to add seasonings like salt and pepper and lots of garlic powder. One way to season it simply is just to get a taco pack season mix and add that to your pork.

The reason I like to use ground pork over beef at times is because the price per pound for pork is significantly cheaper. I also enjoy the flavor as it is a very light flavor and carries the seasoning well. Combining this with sauteed onions, green and red peppers with a bit of cilantro, and corn tortilla is an absolute treat for the family. You’ll stretch your dollar and add more food to your table by using the simple solution.

Making the Perfect Family Personal Pizza

Making the perfect pizza crust can be quite difficult for you and your family baking in a conventional oven at home. This is a classic favorite for my family and on Friday nights we like to make our own personal size pizzas. Half the fun is getting to create your pizza the way that you want. One of the things that my family likes to do is create their own small personal pan pizzas. Often what we will do is prepare a ball of dough ahead of time and then roll them out. You can roll these out to about 12 inches the way you get the best pizza crust is by using durum flour with about two parts water. Allowing you go to rest for at least an hour and a half before working it is absolutely the key to the perfect crust.

After it has had a chance to rest partaking in that means making it gets 350 degrees for 4 minutes will help give your crust the furnace and texture it needs to take on the toppings that your family desires.

When we make a large batch of pizza dough it is more time and cost effective to roll out several days and then freeze them in freezer bags for future use. This is a great way to save on prep time for future meals. I often like to think about putting those fresh crusts in the freezer like I would as if I were going to the grocery store and purchasing frozen pizzas on sale. The trick with bringing your frozen pizza crust back to life is allowing it time to prove at room temperature. After your pizza crust that’s on the counter for at least a couple of hours to prove or get to room temperature the items that you place on top of the pizza will cook evenly and at the same pace as the unfrozen dough. Fresh mozzarella and excellent pizza sauce make this a special treat and Friday nights are so much more fun when you get to have what you want made just for you. We call this our family signature pizza.


Perfect Rice

Growing up in the Midwest rice was not consistently a part of our diet every single day. Often in the Midwest you hear people talk about the meat and potatoes diet. I was no exception to that rule and enjoyed that most evenings in our home in Illinois. So the challenge of finding good rice is a challenge that spread over 5 years through my college career. It wasn’t until I had an Asian professor directly from China that I really learned to appreciate rice at its very basic level.

I was introduced to a race called Nishiki rice. It’s a longer grain white rice that is perfectly symmetric. This particular rice when cooked correctly has an unbelievable stickiness to it that remind you of the type of rice that you would get from a sushi bar. What I learned from this very simple style cooking and rice appreciation was that simple ethnic food cooked correctly can be absolutely amazing.

It is not uncommon for us to have a rice cooker on our counter and rice in it. Nowadays I enjoy rice for breakfast lunch and dinner. For the first few years of my life being married, rice was unusual to some of her family members as well. The idea of me eating rice in the morning seemed to be somewhat foreign and I’m sure that it is. A majority of the world enjoys rice three times a day. Having some type of protein in that rice is often very rare for some countries. I have learned to appreciate the simple ethnic foods that are around me. It helps me really appreciate the more complex flavors that I’ve also enjoyed through ethnic dining.


Sweet and Sour Hawaiian Pork Chops

This is a meal with my family that I have enjoyed for years. Super easy to make, super cost-effective, and super tasty! This is another crock pot home run. Start with four center cut pork chops, you could do as many as six to eight even. Just depends on the amount of people you need to feed and the amount of time you have. For best results I always try to cook eight pork chops and give myself a full six and a half to seven hours for them to cook.

The first thing you need to do is take all of your pork chops and place them inside of the crock pot. After you have arranged them neatly in the crock pot the next thing you do is take one and a half to two cups of brown sugar and pour that in the bottom of the crockpot. The next step is take one bottle of soy sauce and add it to the crock pot. At this point the sugar and the soy sauce should be well incorporated and mixed together. For final touches what I like to do is take a simple can of pineapple and pour it over the top of the pork chops. The acid in the pineapple will help break down and make the pork chops extremely tender. This is a home run, it’s a sweet and sour thing, and adding white rice makes it another grand slam. What my family likes to do is have a side of white rice in our rice cooker ready to go 30 minutes before dinner. Try this super economical meal that tastes great and looks awesome too.

Double “O” 7 Style

So this is a different kind of food because most of the time I talk about food that you cook at home. This review is a type of review that you only want to do if you want to have a really fun night out and drop a few bucks. If you ever find yourself in Milwaukee Wisconsin I would highly encourage you to try this adventure. There is a place called specialty imports and it is very hard to find. I would highly suggest that if you’re going to do this night out, that renting a limo from someone like Limos of Madison would be the ideal way to encounter the James Bondish feel that you will experience at extreme imports

So first of all to find this place again I mentioned is important to hire somebody or a taxi or to have that experience in a limo but it’s very difficult to find if you’re not used to Milwaukee. The first time we went to this place we were dropped off by the Limo just down a dark long alley. The driver pointed out that down the road or down the alley way we would find a red door to the left nearly 150 yards away from the limo.

So this experience really was something that got me going, I’ve been a James Bond fan ever since I was 10 years old. When you initially get into the building you are asked for a password or to do something silly and there’s a secret door that opens into a restaurant. It has all kinds of memorabilia from all of the James Bond movies. No one is dissatisfied when it comes to food because they have all kinds of fare from all over the world. You could be really experimental and try all kinds of different things but as this was my first time there I wanted to try something that was known as a staple. What was hilarious is that, here I am at a restaurant that’s themed about James Bond and, the best thing on the menu yet this is a giant half pound prime cut beef burger. Sirloin tips around perfection. I gotta tell you some things, if you’re a James Bond fan and you like beef you have got to go there. Look at the whole experience like this, act like you’re James Bond, ride like your James Bond, and get a limo and just have a blast.


Making Naan Bread

If you’re looking for a super easy recipe to make a super tasty bread this is exactly what you need. One of my very favorite types of bread is called naan bread it’s an Eastern style non-leavened bread that is completely flat. This particular bread has a taste like I’ve never had before. It has an elasticity that allows it to be the perfect thread for wrapping any kind of sandwich in as well.

Typically, I first start with is 4 – 6 cups of water and a half pint of yogurt. The best thing to do is to incorporate the flour and the yogurt until it is very elastic. Adding a little bit of salt is always a preferred thing. 1 teaspoon for all of that flower should be just perfect. After you had a chance to incorporate the flour and the yogurt you might need a little bit of water. One thing that I like to do is add in at least one tablespoon of olive oil as well, this seems to help and keep it nice and moist before you bake it on your stove top.

One of the most important things you need to remember when making naan bread is giving it time to relax. After you had an opportunity to combine all of the ingredients, letting your bread rest for at least one and a half hours is preferred. During that time it is it an opportunity for it to become more incorporated.

The best way to use this naan bread is to cut it off in small three inch round balls. After you create these round balls begin rolling them out to the size of a tortilla, that’s the ideal size. Rolling it out and then placing it on a hot griddle or pan will give you a cooking time of about one and a half minutes per side. You will know when it’s done because the bubbles will start popping up on the opposite side of the bread. Flip the bread over and repeat this this process. After the opposite side starts to bubble and boil your bread is done. For best results pull it right off and brush it with a little olive oil, it tastes fantastic this way.


Indoor Grillin’

During the winter months I’m always looking for a way to get the taste of summer in my food. Nothing says that better than stovetop grilling hamburgers or steaks. One of the family’s favorite treats is when I make our famous grilled burgers on the stove top.

This recipe that I use starts with about one and a half to two pounds of lean ground beef. I then use about a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce and thoroughly mix it in with the beef. After I thoroughly incorporated that into the beef – will crack one egg into the raw meat. I will then add salt and pepper to taste as well as some garlic. This is a simple, easy to please, meal for the entire family after I have a good mixture of all of my spices I will portion the burgers out – quarter pound patties. It’s important not to overcook your burgers on the grill and leave them just a little bit pink.

Of course a safe grilling temperature must reach 165 degrees. I prefer to keep mine right on the pink side as to not lose flavor by overcooking. One other way to ensure even extra flavor is by adding small bits of bacon.

One word of safety about grilling indoors. Your hamburger is on a grill top oven or stove so make sure that it is very lean and most of the fat has been trimmed off. Cooking indoors with lots of fat or oils could cause flare ups that could become dangerous in an enclosed space.

Make these burgers for your family and hit a home run tonight. The only thing that could make it an over-the-top Grand Slam is by toasting a kaiser bun with a little bit of butter. For food reviews, great recipes and awesome treats stay tuned to this food blog


Saving Time with Crock Pot Cooking

If you have been following my food review blog you will have noticed that I am someone that lives with 3 kids and a wife so larger meals are important to us to sit down to have together. But time is always of the essence and having enough time to prepare a good tasty and healthy meal can be a challenge for all.

One of my family’s tried and true ways of making a good healthy meal is by the usage of our crock pot. This allows you to slow roast leave for several hours and when you get home the meal is prepared and ready to eat. One of my favorite meals to prepare in a crock pot is a pork loin. Take 3 and a half pounds of pork loin still frozen. Set it into the crock pot and add potatoes and any seasonal vegetables that you might enjoy. By slow roasting this for 8 to 10 hours you’re able to come home to a deliciously prepared pork loin. One of the added benefits of slow roasting is the meat falls apart in your mouth. One way that my family enjoys our pork loin is my adding French onion soup to the crock pot. It gives it a bit more essence and flavor. I will be adding several other simple recipes that you can rely on.

There’s nothing quite like coming home to a meal that is prepared for you and you haven’t spent a lot of time working on it. The crock pot has been a game changer for our family. One of the things that you must think about when preparing with a crock pot is do you have a large enough crockpot. Also another consideration that I take to mind is how I initially prepare a piece of protein could make a difference on how I use those leftovers. Being smart about how you prepare your protein and a crock pot will help you stretch your grocery dollars long term. This simple trick has helped me and my family save thousands of dollars in groceries by simply preplanning our meals.

Buying in Bulk for a Family

As I mentioned in my previous blog, my biography, a bit of who I am; a male, 40 years old, married, with 3 kids.

So staying on a budget is a real thing for our family. One of the ways that I have found to save over 30% on my grocery bill is by purchasing beef and pork in larger quantities. One trick to saving that kind of money is locating an excellent local farmer that only raises small herds of cattle and hogs.

If you’re not motivated yet to go out and make that connection or find that farmer then, next time you go to the grocery store start looking at what you’re paying for protein. Keep the grocery bill on hand now for the next month of your spend. And then over the next 12 months imagine what that might be. Initially, the purchase of a hog or a side of beef or even a quarter side of beef is cost prohibitive. Really if you want to know what the price of pork or beef is take a look online because it is traded on the New York Stock Exchange daily. The only cost that has a fluctuation per pound would be your processing and so here is something to consider.

If you have a family that eats beef or pork decide on whether you need a whole hog or half hog. Know one thing, the total weight on the hook is about 40% less off the hook in total yielded. So if you get a dog that weighs 100 pounds on the hook you can expect about 60% of that or 60 pounds of that to be true pure protein.

Beef yields are about the same so it’s important to kind of look at the trajectory of how your family uses beef and pork in its daily, weekly, and monthly routine in the recipes or family routines. It’s also important to take into consideration how you have that beef or pork processed. Here is a stopping point that you will want to take a few minutes to get some advice from someone. Because we have 3 kids, it was important to me that we had more ground beef to be used for hamburgers or skillet type meals that it could be a great base for. So I decided to ground more top sirloin, giving me a lower percentage in fat and a higher end product. The other thing that was important is how to decide you want it packaged. I decided with 3 kids, my wife, and me that of one and a half pound package would be ideal when I would be preparing meals. Anything more than that, for instance two pounds, I found was just too much and even wasteful.

Family Dinners on the Go

My name is Dan Dingmore and I am from northeastern Iowa. My family and I also we live in an area that is highly prized for beef and pork still somewhat live on a food island.

So what is a food island? Where we live in northeast Iowa has some of the best grain producing property per square inch in the world. With that comes all the other animals that come in a large stable of the farm.

However the old school small mom and pop farm are a dying breed. With that has come the industrialization of the food that we eat. The small farmers markets are far and few between. So when I say, food island, I’m talking about a place where very few choices are offered with the highest quality of inspection in mind.

Luckily however, living and growing up in northeastern Iowa I have still been able to stay connected with some deep roots in the farm community. This has offered my family a true taste of simple and healthy living through being able to purchase pork in small lots as well as Black Angus beef, free of the hormones from feedlots.

I think it’s important for you to know that the type of blogger that I am comes from somebody that is deep seated in Midwestern roots and values. And has seen much change, in their 40 years in the Midwest, since I grew up to where now my children, their choices, and their children’s choices will be affected by the decisions that we make today.

Food is life! So if I seemed a little passionate about it, it’s because I have seen how it can change lives. Not only the people around us but also feeding hungry and needy people around the world.

In this blog I will attempt to answer a variety of types of scenarios and questions that many of us go through on a daily basis. For instance how do you cook for a family that’s always on the run? So today while I’m writing this blog is important that you know I’m a man, I’m 40 years old, I’m married, and I have 3 kids. So when I think about food I’m thinking about saving money and I’m thinking about providing good high quality proteins and a well-balanced diet to my family at a good budget.

Now that I’ve been able to introduce myself, in my next blog I will attempt to go over a couple of simple tricks that help me and my family save money and get healthier with the types of food by buying them in bulk.