Tips for Cooking meat

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Let’s face it, planning out and cooking meat can be frustrating. 

Who’s experienced the feeling when you decide ‘hey let’s cook chicken tonight’, but it’s frozen, so you need to thaw it, and then to make it taste good it needs marinating, so you mix that up, but now it needs to sit for a while. So now tonight’s chicken dinner is getting turned into tomorrow’s dinner. 

With a little planning and the right tools it can be easier. I’ll go over my favorite ways to cook meat and some tips to plan out meals. You don’t have to add high calorie sauces to make your meat taste good. With the right methods and seasoning you can have easy tasty meat for dinner. 

Cooking Methods

Oven

I like the oven best for fish, whole chicken and smaller pieces of chicken. 

  • Other than fish, cooking in the oven can make your meat dry easily. Unless you bake it in a sauce or with other foods it can lack flavor. 
  • You can make a one-pan meal and cook your veggies on the same pan as the meat. 

Instant Pot/CrockPot

If you have the time this can be a great method. I like this for roasts, chicken that will be shredded, (like this salsa chicken) and pork shoulder (for pulled pork). 

  • Because it needs liquid to cook, this is best for meats that will be cooked in a sauce or with broth. It helps the meat stay moist, especially when it’s a large piece of meat like a roast. 
  • Because it’s cooked in the sauce most of the time you don’t have to marinate before, saving time. 
  • It’s a great method if you have limited time in the evening, you can start it earlier and it will be ready to go for dinner.

Stove

This is my go to for ground meats like turkey, beef or sausage. 

  • If you are going to cook chicken, I suggest using thin/smaller pieces and cooking them in a sauce such as soy sauce
  • This is a good method if you’re going to add other ingredients after, such as soups, spaghetti sauce etc. 
  • Cooking ground turkey for meal prep is quick and easy. Get this meal prep food list here.
easy meal prep with chicken ground turkey and vegetables

BBQ

This is one of my favorite methods for steak, hamburgers, sausage and chicken breast/thighs. 

  • Chicken is best marinated before, but steak, sausage and hamburgers can go straight on. 
  • If you are using a gas BBQ it doesn’t take very long to cook. 

Sous Vide

This is a lesser known method, you have the meat and seasoning in a ziplock or vacuum sealed bag, and you put the bag in hot water. It works best for steaks, chicken breasts, pork chop and fish.

  • Because it’s being cooked in the bag, it stays moist and becomes very flavorful. You can also pan sear the meat afterwards. 
  • It does take longer to cook, more along the lines of a crockpot cooking length. There are appliances that heat the water for you, so you don’t use your stove.  

Planning Tips 

  • I like to buy meat in bulk (thank you Costco), so I always have frozen meat. I like to plan a day or two ahead and put those meats in the fridge to thaw. Then the next day they’re ready to cook or be marinated. 
  • When you buy chicken breasts, package them in bags with the marinades before storing in fridge/freezer. It will be ready to go when you are going to cook them.
  • I like having a few frozen pre cooked meats that I can use for last minute meals. My favorite right now is a chicken sausage I can have with eggs or roasted veggies.
  • Cook a larger amount of meat that you can meat prep with, ground turkey can be used for tacos and spaghetti and keeps the kitchen cleaner. 
  • Buy pre frozen fish that are individually vacuum sealed. It makes it easy if you only want to cook one you two without having all the leftovers. 
  • If you need to thaw the meat quicker, put the meat in its package in a bowl and put running cold water over it. You can also microwave, but be cafe because it can start cooking the outside pieces. 
  • You can cook some frozen meat. Ground meats and sausage work best, just keep flipping the chunk and scrap off the cooked part.
  • Chicken is better if you marinate fresh instead of frozen. 
  • Marinades and sauces can be low calorie, don’t use as much oil, but depending on the meat add spices, herbs, onions, garlic, lemon, worcheshire sauce, soy sauce, chili paste, mustard etc.   
  • And the most important, use a thermometer. You’ll never over cook your meat again, or be worried it’s unsafe to eat. There are some cheaper ones out there that still work great. 

Cooking meat doesn’t have to be a pain. Keep it simple. With a little planning and picking the right method you’ll have tasty meat for your next meal. What are some of your favorite methods to cook meat?

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