When is it OK to Eat Food With Mold On It?

In this season of food gifts and party leftovers, this article, previously published by My Recipes, is particularly important and worth sharing & re-sharing. #ThisGirlLovesToEat

“We’ve all let something languish in the fridge a bit longer than we realized. It’s not unreasonable to look at a single patch of mold on a strawberry and wonder if the whole lot has to be tossed. But what about a block of cheese with a quarter-sized fuzzy spot? Is that safe to trim and eat? Or does it have to go, too?

Fortunately, this handy guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture can have the final say on what stays and what goes when you spot mold on your food.

4 Moldy Foods You Can Eat:

Hard salami or dry-cured country ham

It’s A-OK for hard salamis to have a thin white coating on the outside of the meat. This mold is put there on purpose: to produce flavor and protect the cured meat from bacteria. It’s safe to consume, as is any mold that grows on dry-cured country ham. Large slabs of the super salty pork are often used in restaurants as part decor, part conversation starter (and also a tangy topper to everything from pasta to avocado toast). If you buy one of these delicacies, don’t fear a little mold growth on the crust. Scrub it off (be sure to dry the ham well) before eating. 

Cheeses made with mold

The mold in blue, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Brie, and Camembert is to be expected. After all, these cheeses are injected with mold before they ripen—that’s why they’re so funky and delicious. But not all molds are made to eat, so you can’t assume all molds on cheese get the approval. Hard cheeses, like Gorgonzola and Stilton, aren’t harmed by a little extra mold. Cut the spot away—half an inch to one inch all the way around—and enjoy. Softer cheeses, like Brie and Camembert, have to go if you spot mold growing on them. The fingerlike organisms of mold can reach deep into these softer cheeses and may develop into toxic substances.

Hard cheeses

Even cheeses that aren’t made with mold veins are safe to eat if you spot a speck of mold growing on them. Cheddar, for example, just requires you to trim an inch around the moldy spot (some experts argue you only need a half-inch buffer; do what feels safest for you) and toss that before diving in. Be sure to use a clean knife, and keep the blade away from the mold to prevent cross-contamination. When you’re finished slicing for your sandwich or burger, be sure to rewrap the cheese in a fresh covering so you don’t reinfect with mold spores.

Firm fruits and vegetables

Tough vegetables and fruit, like carrots, potatoes, and turnips can take the mold in stride. The mold threads have a hard time penetrating deep into these dense plant foods. Trim off an inch around the mold, and eat or cook as you planned. Softer fruits and vegetables, like cherries, strawberries, and corn, should be tossed. Mold can easily spread to nearby areas, even if you can’t see the spores with your naked eye.

When can molds be toxic? 

All molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. That doesn’t mean they’re toxic. However, in the right conditions, some molds can turn into mycotoxins, poisonous substances that can make people physically sick. These substances are produced by certain molds that are most commonly found in grain and nut crops. However, they’ve also been known to show up in apples, grape juice, celery, and other fresh produce. That’s why, when in doubt, throw the moldy foods out.

Which moldy foods should I always toss? 

The USDA says these foods are no good when you spot mold. Their high moisture content or porous nature makes them prime for rapid mold development. Don’t risk getting sick just to finish up Tuesday night’s pot roast. Toss it, and fry up a grilled cheese instead.

Foods you should always toss:

  • Luncheon meats, bacon, and hot dogs
  • Cooked leftover meat and poultry
  • Cooked casseroles
  • Cooked grains and pasta
  • Soft cheeses, like cottage cheese, chevre, cream cheese, and Neufchatel
  • Yogurt and sour cream
  • Jams and jellies — Mycotoxins can spread in these foods easily, so it’s not enough to scoop out a mold part and keep going deeper into the jar.l
  • Soft fruits and vegetables — They’re porous, which means mold can spread rapidly, even if you can’t spot the spores.
  • Baked goods and bread
  • Peanut butter, legumes, and nuts — Any foods processed without preservatives are at a high risk of developing mold spores. Be extra cautious and keep them stored appropriately.”

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

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Ground chicken breast is one of my favorite ways to build a base for a #Keto meal!  It’s so versatile, mixes so well with most of my favorite ingredients, and is so easy to meal prep for the week ahead, that it’s become my go-to for creating new #KetoRecipes

This recipe for #ChickenBaconRanchMeatballs is fun because you can eat them all alone or pop them on a skewer between a piece of lettuce and 1/2 a plum or cherry tomato and drizzle with some ranch dressing for a fun lunch, light dinner, or appetizer.  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Chicken Bacon Ranch Meatballs

  • 2 Pounds Ground Chicken Breast
  • 4 Pieces Thick Cut Bacon
  • 3 Pieces Thick Cut Peppered Bacon
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 1 TBLS Olive Oil
  • 4 TBLS Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 Cup Panko
  • Olive Oil Spray

 

Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well mixed.

Spray the basket in your air fryer lightly with olive oil spray, place a layer of meatballs, with space between for the air to flow around, set the temperature to 380° F, and set the timer for 8 minutes. Cook the meatballs, shaking them to turn them about halfway through so they brown evenly.

Quick, easy and oh so tasty!

 

Turkey Day Prep: Pumpkin Hummus

You know you need something to let people snack on before the big meal, but you don’t want them to be too full to eat the meal you’ve been slaving over for days…

This recipe, from November 2015’s Food & Wine Magazine, takes the edge off but won’t ruin anyone’s dinner! #ThisGirlLovesToEat

How to Make It

In a food processor (I used my Vitamix), combine the chickpeas with the pumpkin, lemon juice, garlic, cayenne and 1/3 cup of water and puree until smooth. Season the hummus with salt and pepper and serve with pita chips or crudités.

Make Ahead

The pumpkin hummus can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

The Best and Worst Alcohol for the Keto Diet

Today, for my alcohol enjoying #Keto followers, I’m sharing an excerpt from an article in #HealthMagazine from November of 2018. #ThisGirlLovesHerDrinks

The best (and worst) alcohol for the keto diet

No matter what proof (80 through 100), gin, rum, vodka, and whiskey all have 0 grams of carbohydrate in a jigger (or 1.5 ounces). Have your drink neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of plain soda water. And it’s best to pour your own rather than cracking open one of those pre-made spiked seltzers; one can deliver anywhere from 1 to 5 grams carbohydrate.

If you’re craving a glass of wine, budget for it, and keep the pour size in mind. A glass of white wine ranges from 3 to 6 grams of carbohydrate per five ounces. (The sweeter whites—think riesling versus chardonnay—typically have more carbohydrates.) At home, you’re likely to pour more than five ounces, especially if you have larger wine glasses. And a standard restaurant pour is six ounces. Red wine has a tighter range of carbohydrates, at 2.5 to 4 grams per 5-ounce pour, with little variation between varieties.

Skip beer: It’s essentially bread in a bottle. A can of beer has around 12 grams of carbs. Though if you must have a beer, seek out a light beer, which comes in at around half that carb load per can.

Two other no-nos: mixers (they’re all pretty much sugar-laden) and sake. A 6-ounce pour is fairly common for sake, and it delivers nearly 9 grams of carbohydrate.

An unexpected perk of going keto

In any trendy diet, there are always nuggets of wisdom buried somewhere—and keto is no exception. Because it involves such a tight carb budget, the diet doesn’t leave much room for regular alcohol consumption. And when you do imbibe, quantity is limited, so you’re likely to stay within the recommended limit. (That’s one drink per day for women, and two for men.) Considering that more and more research suggests moderate drinking may be more detrimental to our health than experts previously thought, the keto diet’s booze restrictions could be a really good thing in the long run.

Mushroom Soup 3 Ways

There’s nothing else like a hearty mushroom soup to make my tummy super happy. #ThisGirlLovesToEat. Thankfully, mushroom soup is easy to make, and can be #KetoFriendly, as these three recipes, adapted from #RecipeIdeas, prove!

Basic Mushroom Soup 

Ingredients 

8 ounces of mushroom
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 tbsp of onion (chopped)
4 cups of milk
½ tsp of salt
2 cups of boiling water
¼ tsp of pepper
3 tbsp of flour

Instructions

Put the mushrooms in a saucepan. Pour in the bouillon and water. Add the onion. Boil this and let it simmer for half an hour. Melt the butter in a separate saucepan. Stir in the flour and add the milk. Cook and stir this simple mushroom soup recipe mix until the sauce gets thick. Pour this in the mushrooms. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Mushroom Soup with Sausages 

Ingredients 

16 ounces of sausages (cut thin)
4 TBSP of flour (reduced to make this #KetoFriendly)
4 tbsp of butter
10 ounces of cheddar cheese (grated)
1 clove garlic (minced)
4 green onions (sliced)
16 ounces of mushrooms (sliced)
1 tbsp of vegetable oil
1/8 tsp pf ground black pepper
½ tsp of parsley
1 cup of heavy cream
½ tsp of onion tops

Instructions 

Begin by cooking the sausages at medium heat. Set the sausages on a plate. Toss the mushrooms in the pot where the sausages were cooked. Keep stirring until the mushrooms become tender. Toss in the garlic and onions.

Sauté this for a minute. Transfer this mushroom soup recipe mix in a bowl. Put butter in the pot. Add the flour and stir until the concoction turns bubbly. Add the broth and keep stirring. Toss in the cheese and heavy cream.

Pour the mushrooms and sausages in the pot. Add some pepper. Heat it. Serve with the parsley and some onions.

Mushroom Soup with Tomato Paste 

Ingredients 

4 cups of water
2 cans of condensed beef broth
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1 lb of mushrooms (fresh)
6 tbsp of butter
2 celery leaves
1 cup of onion (chopped)
4 sprigs celery
1 ½ cups of carrots (chopped)
2 cups of celery (chopped)
1/8 tsp of ground black pepper
4 tbsp of dry sherry
½ cup of sour cream

Instructions

Start this mushroom soup recipe by chopping the mushrooms and set them aside. Melt the butter (4 tbsp) in a saucepan. Throw in half the mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes. Place it in the cooker. Add the tomato paste, celery and broth.

Pour in the water and pepper. Add the celery and bay leaf. Cook for 4 hours. Take out the celery, bay leaf and parsley. Puree the mix in a blender.

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the other half of the mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Put this on the soup. Add sherry on top. Serve with the sour cream.

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

Today I found this great recipe for Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs on #SweetCsDesigns.
Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs are the most delicious, juicy, and super crunchy chicken thighs you’ll ever make!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat 

Buttery Crackle Chicken Thighs

  • 1.5 lbs chicken, medium-large bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 tbsp butter, ghee/clarified
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Lay chicken thighs out on a cutting board, and using sharp kitchen scissors, cut out bone from thigh.
  2. Remove bones (save them for chicken stock if you make your own!)
  3. Pound chicken flat and make sure they are very dry, pat with paper towel if needed.
  4. Generously salt and pepper meat side of chicken (don’t salt fat side, as it can easily burn).
  5. Heat a cast iron (or heavy) pan on high heat, so it is scorching hot (but not smoking).
  6. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  7. Add ghee/butter to pan, and let melt.
  8. Add chicken to pan, starting with the fat side down.
  9. Let fat crisp and chicken brown, about 7 minutes.
  10. Flip chicken and cook until 165 degrees internal temp – about 6 minutes.
  11. Let rest 2-5 minutes and pat off any excess butter softly with a paper towel.
  12. If desired, cut chicken into strips.

NUTRITION INFORMATION

Amount Per Serving

Calories277 Fat7g Cholesterol95mg Sodium113mg Protein21g

What’s the White Stuff on Cooked Salmon?

The white stuff on salmon is called albumin. Albumin is a protein that exists in the fish in liquid form when it’s raw that coagulates and becomes semi-solid when you subject the salmon to heat when cooking. As the meat cooks, the coagulated albumin gets squeezed out and becomes a white coating.
The more aggressively you cook your salmon the more albumin will appear on its surface.

Think of what happens when you wring out a wet towel. The water inside the fibers of the cloth is pushed out as you squeeze the fibers closer together. The same principle applies to salmon. As salmon cooks, the flesh contracts, pushing out albumin to the fillet’s surface. The higher the heat, the more quickly the flesh contracts, and the more albumin becomes visible.

To have as little albumin as possible visible on your finished dish, follow these guidelines:

  • Cook your salmon at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time. It’s gentler on the fillet, resulting in a super-tender piece of fish with less nasty white stuff.
  • If you are searing salmon (and fish in general), always do so with the skin side down. The skin acts as a protective barrier between the fish and the hot metal pan. **TIP: Even if you plan on taking the skin off, cook your fish skin-side down for 90% of the way, turn off the heat, and then flip the fish so the skinless side cooks on the pan’s residual heat.
  • Don’t overcook your salmon. You want it medium to medium-rare in the center, still a bit translucent. Overcooking salmon is the easiest way to get albumin everywhere. **TIP: When you can push on the top of your salmon with a fork, and the the layers of flesh separate easily and seem moist, your fish is finished cooking.

Thanks to my friends at Epicurious for the cooking tips! #ThisGirlLovesToEat