Very smart move. And that brings us to our first kitchen basic.
If you're freezing meat for more than five or six days, don't freeze it in the package it came in. What generally happens is that moisture gets inside the packing but what's more upsetting is that the plastic around the meat comes loose. So you want to put it in freezer bags and do it when you come home, not after you've left it in the freezer.
Second point, Megan says there are 8 and 12 porkchops in a package and that they're "big." I would not throw those in one freezer bag. If I were fixing dinner for just my husband and myself, I'd know I'd eat one and he'd eat two. So I would freeze the chops in threes per bag. Figure out your number. (And it may be 12.) Freeze according to that. Why? Let's say I did 8 chops to a package and it's just my husband and me. That means I'm defrosting 8 pork chops to get my three or defrosting long enough for me to be able to rip three off the 8. Now if 2 or more neighbors come over, I can always grab more bags of three to defrost.
Third point. Cooking them.
Megan used a marinade -- she thought.
It was advertised as one, it's not her fault. A marinade is a mix -- either already mixed or one you mix yourself -- that you soak the meat in. Now if I'm marinating, I'm not doing for an hour or two. I do it overnight. That's really the best way. Second best way, start it Saturday morning when you wake up and let it marinate until dinner.
A marinate is wet.
Megan had a rub.
A rub is something dry you pull the meat through to get it on both sides. Some rubs are already mixed -- I have some from Kroger that are in spice bottles -- bought that way, Kroger brand, so less than two bucks -- and I just add them to the meat. In fact, I don't dredge meat through those. I really just sprinkle both sides with it. Then drop it in the skillet, pop it in the overn or use the grill.
But most rubs require you to pull the meat through them. Some require you to add flour. Rubs are easy and not overnights. So if you're suddenly learning you're having a meat for a meal in an hour or so and you hadn't planned it, go with a rub because they need no marinating (soaking).
Megan's pork chops turned out wet, like they were boiled. I couldn't understand that. We exchanged e-mails and at some point she explained that, per the directions on a rub, she put the pork chops in a plastic bag, added one cup of water, tied off the bag and popped it into a 350 degree oven.
They were boiled.
That's what happens when you do that.
Some people like boiled pork chops. I don't. And I won't order them at a cafeteria or a diner unless I know they're cooked in a skillet. I also avoid the meat loaf that some diners keep sitting in water until a customer orders it. (If you ever have meat loaf that's soggy on the bottom, that's what's happened.)
I use those bags with chicken and vegetables or meat in vegetables. The one Megan used told her to put the pork chops in the bag (after the rub was applied) and then add 1 cup of water. That's boiling them in the oven. When she took them out of the oven and cut the top of the bag like the instructions said, she couldn't believe how much steam came out. That's why.
You can cook those in a dish that you cover with foil or a glass cover. If you do, don't add a cup of water. You might use olive oil or butter or a butter substitute but you would use that sparingly.
I hope that helps. I also hope you remember that you can bake or cook pork chops in a skillet without a rub or marinade.
So those are our kitchen basics. Today a few e-mails came in complaining about no Barbie post. I'm sorry, I hadn't planned on one. I was covering the bad economy all week. But Dot who's been reading since 2006 is someone I exchange e-mails with. And she's trying to get a Barbie home for her granddaughter. She was going to spend $60 on a Barbie house on Ebay plus $49 to ship it. She wrote me to ask if we had that one because the stairs looked a little weird to her. They were pink and she wasn't sure how sturdy they were.
I immediately e-mailed back and made my title "9-11 Don't Bid!"
Here's what she was looking at.
Are the stairs that bad? No, they're actually fine. But I think Mattel has overpriced that doll house. And I think the person selling it on Ebay was flat out trying to cheat people. This isn't a discontinued item. This is Barbie Beach House that you can get at Toys R Us and other places or click here and order it direct from Mattel for $39.99. If you have a Toys R Us, I would suggest you get it there. (If they don't have it in the store -- call and ask if you're not sure -- they can help you order and pick up at their store thereby saving shipping & handling charges.) But Mattel's still only charging you about $5.99 for shipping and handling. So you can get it for about $45 dollars from Mattel (plus sales tax is that's an issue in your state). But some woman on Ebay wanted to charge Dot $49 to ship it and $60 to buy it ($60 was the "but it now" price if you didn't want to bid on it). Like many grandmothers, Dot didn't put a price on her grandchild's happiness and was willing to pay $109 for the Barbie beach house that Mattel would only charge her about $45 to ship to her home.
By the way, we're thinking of doing a Barbie article at Third: Rebecca, Dona, Betty, Marcia, Ann, Mike, Ava, C.I. and I. Mike and Elaine adopted a young girl so now, like any good Daddy, he's all into figuring out the world of Barbies. So he's asking questions and at some point said, "We should do an article on this." And we'd like to. So maybe we can do that on Sunday.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday: