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Tips for Proper Food Safety and Storage

Tips for food safety and storageOne of the most common subscriber questions at Prep Dish goes something like this- “I love the idea of meal prep, but will the food stay fresh? Is it safe to eat?”

Food safety is top of mind for me when creating the dishes for each week’s menu. I put the dishes in the order I recommend consuming so they stay fresh for you. This is why when we have a fish dish on the menu, it is usually first. And then the other meals are scheduled appropriately. I’ve used the same Prep Day method with my personal chef clients for over 7 years now. I promise it works!

Also rest assured that I personally test all of the meal plans to make sure all of the menu items stay fresh. But of course, use your judgement and be sure to cook everything to a proper temperature. If you feel like you might be pushing it (the store didn’t have fresh meat or you’re pushing Day 1 back a few days) then stick the meat in the freezer and defrost it the night before.

Having good containers (I prefer glass) is also key to proper food safety and storage! They make such a difference in keeping food fresh. I love using these snap ware glass lock containers and buy them for all of my personal chef clients. Bonus: they are freezer friendly as well!

Lastly, I highly recommend getting to know your meat & fish guys. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about what you are buying. The chicken you buy on Wednesday could be the same chicken they brought into the store the past Sunday. Had you purchased that chicken on Sunday, it easily could have lasted 5 days, but when you purchase it on Wednesday, it may only have a few more days of freshness.  Keep this in mind with the days listed below, as I find some of these numbers to be overly conservative if you are buying the freshest meat.

I hope this answers your questions about food safety and storage, and puts your mind at ease.

Recommended storage times:

Fresh Beef: 3-5 days (freeze up to 1 year)

Fresh Chicken: 2 days (freeze up to 1 year)

Fresh Pork: 3-5 days (freeze up to 1 year)

Fresh Seafood: 2 days (freeze 3-4 months)

Ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey): 1-2 days (freeze up to 4 months)
-“packaged” ground meats may be good for up to 1-2 weeks, reference “best by” date

Pre-Chopped Veggies: 3-6+ days

Pre-Cut Fruit: 3-5+ days

Marinades, Sauces & Dips: 7 days
Try my Romesco Sauce , Cilantro Pesto, BBQ Sauce or Tomatillo Avocado Salsa

Salad Dressings: 7 days up to 2 months (depending on dressing)
Try my Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed dressing or Greek vinaigrette.

Soups & Stews: 4-5 days (or freeze up to 3 months)
Try my Pizza Soup, Mexican Pork Stew, 3 Bean Kale & Ancho Chili, or Gumbo.

Casseroles, Frittatas & Breakfast Hash: 4-5 days (or freeze up to 3 months)
Try my  Lasagna, Asparagus + Bacon Frittata, or Sweets, Beets & Kale Hash

Source: foodsafety.gov (visit this site for more details on food safety guidelines)

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20150217Allison025Prep Dish is a gluten-free & paleo meal planning website. Celebrity personal chef & dietitian Allison Schaaf thoughtfully crafts each plan using her own well-tested recipes.  Each meal plan allows you, the home cook, to spend only 2-3 hours preparing a week’s worth of crave-worthy, gluten-free, healthy meals using seasonal, whole foods (nothing processed!). We aim to save you time while keeping your family’s taste buds happy.

 Along with a weekly menu, you’ll get a printable grocery list and recipes for prep day — just one day of preparation yields scrumptious, good-for-you dishes all week long. Click to start

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