Episode 121 Tips for Freezing Meat

Podcast about Freezing Meat

Why would you want to freeze meat?

There are two main reasons to freeze meat, price and convenience.

 

In Episode 120 I talked about shopping grocery sales. One of the biggest ways to make an impact on your grocery budget is to buy meat that is on sale. When you can buy meat on sale and freeze it you will get the best price but will still have a variety of types of meat to use in your meals

 

Convenience is another big reason to freeze meat. It is nice to make fewer trips to the grocery store. (Episode 119 dives deep into helping you make fewer grocery trips.) Having meat in the freezer is much easier than making several trips to the grocery store.

 

The best way to store frozen meat is in a deep freeze that is not frost-free. I have an Instagram highlight all about the different kinds of freezers and why you want one that gets frost.

 

Freezer Rule #1:

Air is the enemy of frozen food! Everything you do to prepare meat for the freezer needs to honor this rule. You should try to keep air away from the food as much as possible. You can do this by using a vacuum sealer. (I have not invested in a vacuum sealer, but if you have one, use it.)

 

Tips for freezing meat:

Remove the meat from the original packaging before freezing.

  • You want to take it out of the packaging for several reasons.
  • It is easier to thaw. (Large packages are difficult to put in a container to catch drips and take a long time to thaw.
  • It takes up less space in your freezer. The packaging can take up lots of unnecessary freezer space.
  • You can freeze the meat in portions that make sense for your family. You may want to make individual servings or pack it in a meal-size for your family.

Tips for Freezing Chicken

I personally treat chicken breasts and chicken thighs differently when I freeze them.

Chicken Breasts

I like to freeze them uncooked and wrapped individually. There are two ways to freeze them individually. You can put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet spaced out and freeze until solid or you can wrap each chicken breast in plastic wrap and freeze on a baking sheet until solid.

Once the chicken breasts are frozen solid, remove them from the baking sheet and place in a zip bag.

You can pull out the number of breasts you need for each meal.

In the summer, I like to butterfly the chicken breasts before freezing because I prefer to grill thinner pieces of meat. They cook more evenly on the grill. (You can see a video of how I butterfly and prepare chicken breasts for grilling here.)

Chicken Thighs

I like to cook chicken thighs before I freeze them.

I have two main recipes I use to cook chicken thighs for freezing, Instant Pot Chicken Tacos and Lemony Chicken. I use the lemony chicken in other recipes like chicken soup, chicken fried rice, and quesadillas.

 

Tips for Freezing Ground Meat (Like Hamburger or Ground Turkey)

I do three things with ground meat.

 

Tips for Thawing Frozen Meat

There are three safe ways to thaw frozen meat.

  • The best way is to thaw it in the refrigerator. Most frozen meat will thaw in 24-48 hours. If you have a large roast or whole chickens or turkeys you want to allow 1 day plus 24 hours for every 5 pounds of meat. (A 15-pound turkey would take 4 days.)
  • You can thaw meat in cold water. This takes several hours, but is faster than the refrigerator method. Place wrapped frozen meat in a bowl or sink of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Depending on the amount of meat, it may take 2-5 hours to thaw in the cool water.
  • The final safe way to thaw meat is in the microwave. This is the fastest method, but you often get uneven thawing. It is important to cook microwave-thawed meat immediately after it is thawed. It is not safe to use the microwave to thaw meat and then wait several hours to cook it.

You can also cook meat from frozen in the Instant Pot. I have a recipe for Chicken and Brown Rice that actually does better with frozen chicken breasts because they cook at roughly the same rate as the rice. Fresh chicken cooks too quickly and can end up overcooked.

 

A few more notes about frozen meat.

Use it. Make sure you are using your freezer stash. You don’t want to have meat sitting in your freezer for years.

You can thaw and re-freeze meat. You may lose a little of the original texture, but as long as it hasn’t been thawed for more than a day or two, you can safely re-freeze it and thaw to cook another time.

This post contains affiliate links.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

You can find a full transcript here

Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice

Sometimes you need a simple dinner made with frozen chicken breasts. When I don’t have thawed chicken, I often make this Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice.

Why do you use brown rice?

You want to use brown rice because it takes much longer to cook than white rice. If you used white rice, it would be overcooked by the time the chicken breasts are cooked.

What kinds of brown rice?

I have used several different kinds of brown rice including long grain, short grain, brown basmati, and brown jasmine rice. They all work well, but my favorite is short grain brown rice because I like the slightly creamy and chewy texture you get.

Why do you use frozen chicken breasts?

I like to use frozen chicken breasts because they take longer than fresh chicken breasts to cook and they don’t get overcooked in the instant pot.

How do you freeze chicken breasts?

I like to take the breasts out of the package and put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. I separate them slightly so they freeze as individual breasts. I place the sheet in the freezer overnight and the next day I take the solid individual frozen chicken breasts and put them in a zip bag for longer storage. 

It is nice to have individual breasts because I can pull out the amount I need for a recipe without thawing a large clump of chicken.

Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice

Instant Pot Chicken and Brown Rice

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes

This is a great dinner for busy nights. Everything goes into the Instant Pot and is ready to serve 35-45 minutes later.

It uses frozen chicken breasts which makes it great for days when you forgot to thaw the meat.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Brown Rice (See Note)
  • 1 Pound Frozen Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Tablespoon Coarse Sea Salt
  • 3 1/2 Cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth

Instructions

Place the rice in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool water for one minute to remove excess starch.

Place rinsed rice in the bottom of the instant pot.

Place the frozen chicken breasts on top of the rice in the instant pot.

Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of coarse sea salt over the chicken breasts in the instant pot.

Pour the chicken broth into the instant pot.

Check the sealing ring, place the lid on the instant pot.

Cook on manual setting for 22 minutes.

Let pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes. (You can let it totally release naturally if you wish.)

After 10 minutes, you can manually release the pressure.

Using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-size chunks. Mix with the rice, and serve.

Notes

I tested this recipe using a 6 quart instant pot. If you are using a different size you may need to adjust the amount of broth.

I have also tested it in the Cuisinart electric pressure cooker.

You can use any type of brown rice you prefer. I have used long grain, short grain, basmati, and jasmine. They all work well, but you do not want to use white rice. It will be overcooked following the recipe.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 1438mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 2gSugar: 0gProtein: 28g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

Episode 120 How to Shop Grocery Sale Ads

Title of Episode is How to Shop Grocery Sales Ads

There are three kinds of people when it comes to shopping grocery sales.

  1. Doesn’t pay attention to the sales. If something is on sale it is just a bonus.
  2. Shops several stores each week and aims to get the lowest price on everything they purchase.
  3. Somewhere in the middle. Pays attention to the sales, but does not worry if they don’t get the best price on every item.

I am the third type of sale shopper. Growing up my mother was much closer to the second type of shopper. I learned a lot about maximizing grocery sales from her.

 

You want to create your own personal grocery sales strategy. You want to consider your season of life and your budget. There are times in my life where the final prices were most important and times when I couldn’t shop at several stores each week and convenience was more important.

 

Start by getting to know the stores you frequent. I follow the sales of three stores. Get to know their sales cycles and the everyday prices of the items you frequently purchase. Episode 115 talks about base ingredients.

  •                 Stores like Walmart and ALDI have an everyday low-price strategy
  •                 Stores like Sprouts have great sale prices but many of their other items are more expensive.
  •                 Stores like Kroger are middle of the road. They will not have the most or least expensive items.
  •                 One store’s “sale” price may be more expensive than another store’s every day price.

The easiest way to simply sale shopping is to focus on the price of meat and produce. Because I buy most of my staples during deep dive quarterly shopping (episode 99) I am mostly purchasing meat and produce weekly.

Meat and produce are often “loss leaders” in grocery ads. This means the store sells the item at or below cost to get you in the store and purchase other more profitable items.

To maximize your savings, you need to be flexible in your meal planning.

  • Plan your meals around the protein and produce that is on sale.
  • Buy in-season produce for the highest quality and best price.

Some items only come on sale once or twice a year. You may want to stock up.

                At Thanksgiving time, you will see these items on sale:   

  • Turkey Breast
  • Butter
  • Stuffing Mix

                At back-to-school time you will see these items on sale:

  • Granola Bars
  • Dry Cereal

A few red flags to watch for:

You cannot “spend yourself rich.” If you don’t need or use the item don’t buy it just because it is a great deal.

                Watch out for buy 5 get $5.00 off or buy 10 get $10 off deals.

  • If you don’t need 5 of the item it is not a deal.
  •  Sometimes you can mix and match items. Look for non-food items to fill out the number requirement like dish soap.

                Watch out for buy one, get one free sales.

  • Sometimes the items will ring at 50% off. You only need to buy one.
  • Sometimes the “free” item is a lesser value.
  • Read the fine print to maximize savings.

 

In the end, shopping sales can be very personal. For some people it is worth the time and effort to go to several stores to get the best price. For others, it is more important to focus on a few key items and plan your meals around sale meat and produce.

 

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

For a full transcript click here

Garlic and Cheese Beer Bread

This simple quick bread is easy to make and full of flavor.  It is similar to by regular Beer Bread that you can make from Beer Bread Mix. I add garlic powder and cheddar to make this a perfect savory side to a soup, stew, or chili.

I have made it with different kinds of beer, but I find that an American-style lager works best. If you do not buy alcohol, you can use seltzer water, but you will miss the yeasty flavor the beer provides.

 

Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread

Garlic Cheddar Beer Bread

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 58 minutes

This simple quick bread is easy to make and full of flavor. I have made it with different kinds of beer, but I find that an American-style lager works best. If you do not buy alcohol, you can use seltzer water, but you will miss the yeasty flavor the beer provides.

Ingredients

  • 3 Cups Flour (I have used all-purpose flour and white whole wheat flour.)
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 4 teaspoons Garlic Powder (divided)
  • 1 Cup (4 ounces) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 12 ounce Beer
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter, melted
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Prepare the bread pan. Spray an 8 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper the width of the loaf pan. (I like it to be long enough to fit down the middle of the pan, and up the sides with a little extra on each side. See Video.) Spay over the parchment paper with cooking spray.
    Mix the bread. In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, 2 teaspoons of the garlic powder, and cheese. Add the beer and mix until combined. You do not want to over mix the dough.
    Add the dough to the prepared bread pan. You may need to gently push it to the edges of the pan. The top does not need to be smooth.
    Mix remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic powder with the melted butter. Pour melted butter mixture over the dough.
    Bake for 45-50 minutes. The top will be barely turning brown. You can stick a toothpick in the center of the bread to test doneness. If the toothpick is dry or only has a few moist crumbs the bread is done.
    Using the excess parchment, gently lift the bread from the pan. Slice and serve.

Notes

I have made this with seltzer water instead of beer. It works, but you will miss the deep yeasty flavor the beer provides.

American-Style lagers like Budweiser or Coors work best, but you can use any beer you prefer.

This is great toasted the next day.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 396mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

 

Episode 119 How to Avoid Multiple Grocery Trips

How many times do you go to the grocery store each week? My goal is to go twice a week. I like to do a big shopping trip at the beginning of the week and a small trip for more produce and sometimes fresh fish at the end of the week.

But in reality, I can often go to the store many times a week.

Part of that is because I live five minutes from 9 grocery stores and it is just too easy to get to the store.

I also have to manage more than just the food for my family of six. I have to manage the food for the recipe testing, photos, and video production for the website.

 

Today I have 2 big tips to help you make fewer trips to the grocery store.

1- Keep a well-stocked pantry.

  • Having a well-stocked pantry means you don’t need to run to the store for staples. It also helps you make substitutions in recipes. If you don’t have penne pasta, you can substitute rotini or another shape from the pantry.
  • In episode 108 I talked about how I like to do a deep-dive shopping trip once a quarter to stock my pantry with basics.
  • If you have a tight budget, you may want to do this once a month rather than once a quarter.
  • Have a system for keeping track of items that are getting low.
  • Have a system for rotating pantry basics so items don’t get stuck in the back of the pantry unused.

 

2- Plan

  • When you plan your meals at the beginning of the week, you know the ingredients you need to buy at the store. There is less guessing at the grocery store and you can purchase exactly what you need.
  • Get the free Weekly Meal Planning Sheet
  • I understand if you like to go to the store to get inspired or to shop sales. That is okay, but make a plan first. You can adapt your plan if you find a good deal in the store.
  • If you don’t have a plan when you go to the store you will likely end up making the same foods over and over and you will need to go back to the store to get extra items to complete recipes.

 

Extra trips to the grocery store waste time. Even when you are close to the store, you have to get in the car, drive there, park, and drive back home. A “quick run” to the store takes more time than you think. These tips will help you be more prepared and make fewer trips to the store each week.

Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

Click here for a transcript. 

Easy Berry and Cheese Danish

These pastries look fancy but are relatively simple to make and are a fun treat for a special morning. I like to make them for my kids on Valentines Day.

What ingredients are in Berry and Cheese Danish?

There are three parts to the Berry and Cheese Danish.

  1. Frozen Puff Pastry
  2. Berry Mixture
  3. Cream Cheese Mixture

The berry mixture is made from frozen berries. I like to use strawberries or raspberries, but mixed berries or blueberries would work great. The berries are cooked with a little sugar and then thickened with a cornstarch and water slurry.

The cream cheese mixture is made with room-temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk.

Easy Berry and Cheese Danish

Easy Berry and Cheese Danish

Yield: 12
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Puff Pastry is filled with a berry and cream cheese filling. It makes a simple and delicious pastry.

Ingredients

Berry Mixture

  • 1/2 pound frozen berries (I like strawberries or raspberries but mixed berries and blueberries work too.)
  • 3 Tablespoons water (divided)
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Cream Cheese Mixture

  • 4 ounces Cream Cheese at room temperature
  • 3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons egg yolk (from one egg, see note)

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg (less 1 1/2 teaspoons yolk, see note)
  • 1 Tablespoon Water
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 9 x 9 inch sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
      Prepare Berry Mixture
      In a medium saucepan, mix frozen berries with 2 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bring to a boil (about 8 minutes,)
      If the berries are large, mash them with a fork or potato masher to break down into smaller pieces.
      Mix remaining tablespoon of water with cornstarch and add the the berry mixture. Cook for one minute then remove from heat.
      This can be made up to two days in advance.
        Prepare Cream Cheese Mixture
        In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese with powdered sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk. I like to use an electric mixer, but you can do this by hand,
          Prepare Puff Pastry and Shape Danish
          On a piece of parchment paper, roll the puff pastry sheet to a 10 x 14 inch rectangle.
          Cut into 12 pieces.
          Place heaping teaspoons of the cream cheese and berry mixture in the center of each piece of puff pastry.
          Take 2 diagonal corners of each pastry square and pinch them together over the filling in the center. (see video)
          Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
            Egg Wash and Garnish
            In a small bowl, mix the egg white and what is left of the yolk with 1 tablespoon of water.
            Use a pastry brush to paint the egg wash on the outside of each Danish.
            Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar over the egg-washed Danishes.
            Bake at 400 for 15 minutes until puffed and the edges are golden brown.
            Serve.

          Notes

          • To get 1 1/2 teaspoons of egg yolk, crack the egg into a small bowl. Use a measuring spoon to scoop out 1 1/2 teaspoons of yolk.
          • For the egg wash, just use the egg white and the part of the yolk not needed for the cream cheese mixture.
          • This recipe works well with almost any kind of frozen or fresh berry.

          Nutrition Information:
          Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
          Amount Per Serving: Calories: 188Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g

          Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

          This post contains affiliate links.

          Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

           

           

           

           

           

          Episode 118 4 Reasons You Aren’t Sticking to Your Meal Plan and How to Get Back on Track

          How many times have you made a meal plan and then didn’t follow it? Maybe you got busy, or maybe your kids ate one of the main ingredients. This week’s podcast is all about helping you stick with your meal plan.

           

          Know that you are not alone. I know in my house that I change from my original plan once a week. It’s okay, I expect it and it doesn’t mean food is going to waste. I just make small tweaks.

           

          Here are the four reasons you may not be sticking with your meal plan and how to get back on track.

          1-  You have unrealistic expectations.

          • -Are you too aspirational in your meal choices?
          • -Maybe your season of life doesn’t have room for making a recipe that takes all day and a sink full of dishes to execute.
          • -Maybe your family’s pallets are not ready for new flavors and textures.
          • -Be realistic in your expectations for “healthy” meals. Change takes time and is best received when it is gradual.
          • Episode 115 talks about “Base Ingredients” and how you can use them to add variety to your meals without as many complaints from your family.

           

          2-   Your family eats the ingredients you planned to use for dinner.

          •  -Use a bin to hold ingredients like the “Blue Bin” I talk about in episode 12.
          •  -Use a sharpie or wet erase marker to label food you plan to use for dinner. 
          •  -Buy some stickers to put on food to signal to your family that you plan to use that ingredient.
          •  -The key is to be clear. Tell your family how you are marking foods to save.

          3-    The meal you planned doesn’t sound good anymore.

          •  -This is often why I change meals at least once a week.
          •  -I try to keep the same “Base Ingredients” and shift the recipe in small ways to make something that sounds better to me or my kids.
          •  -Look at the weather when you make your meal plans.
          •  -If it is going to be rainy or cold, plan meals like soup or stew.
          •  -If it is going to be warm and sunny on the weekend, plan really simple meals because you will likely spend the day outside or tackle a big project and you won’t want to cook.

          4- The ingredients go bad before you make the meal.

          • -Did you plan your meals around your grocery shopping?
          • -Plan meals with highly perishable meals close to your grocery trips.
          •  -Shop more than once a week for fresh ingredients.
          • -Be realistic about the amount of effort you will put into cooking, and consider quicker prep options like bagged coleslaw or pre-cut meat.

          This post contains affiliate links.

          Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

          For a transcript click here

          Roast Beef and Cheddar Pinwheels

          One of my favorite parts of Super Bowl Sunday is the food! I love to make all kinds of appetizers. This year I will be serving Roast Beef and Cheddar Pinwheels. They are not complicated and are oh so good.

          Deli roast beef is cut into small pieces and mixed with cream cheese and cheddar. The mixture is spread over a sheet of puff pastry and rolled into a log. You can make this ahead and refrigerate or freeze it. The chilled log is cut into pinwheels and baked until golden brown.

          The flaky puff pastry and the gooey cheese are warm and bubbly but sturdy enough to eat with your hand. 

          Horseradish

          Horseradish is traditionally served with roast beef. It gives a slight peppery bite that balances well with the roast beef and cheddar. Horseradish is a root vegetable that is traditionally grated and mixed with other ingredients. Prepared horseradish (which is what I recommend for this recipe) is mixed with vinegar, salt and sugar and sometimes other stabilizers. Horseradish sauce is usually horseradish mixed with mayonnaise. You can also find horseradish sauces that are prepared horseradish mixed with sour cream, heavy cream, or mayo. 

          If you love the taste of horseradish, add a full three tablespoons of prepared horseradish to the cream cheese mixture. If you like just a little peppery bite, use one tablespoon of horseradish. If you really dislike horseradish, you can leave it out of the recipe.

          Roast Beef and Cheddar Pinwheels

          Roast Beef and Cheddar Pinwheels

          Yield: 20
          Prep Time: 5 minutes
          Cook Time: 22 minutes
          Additional Time: 5 minutes
          Total Time: 32 minutes

          Puff pastry is rolled with a mixture of deli roast beef, cheddar cheese and horseradish. It is a perfect warm and flaky appetizer.

          Ingredients

          • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
          • 7 oz Deli Roast Beef cut into 1 inch pieces.
          • 1 Cup (4 oz ) Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
          • 1-3 Tablespoons Prepared Horseradish (Optional, see note)
          • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse Sea Salt
          • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
          • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
          • 1 (8.1 oz) Sheet of Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed. (see note)

          Instructions

            In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with roast beef, cheddar cheese, horseradish, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. I like to use an electric mixer, but if the cream cheese is soft enough you can do this by hand.
            Roll the puff pastry into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle.
            Spread the roast beef and cheese mixture over the puff pastry leaving a 1/2 inch boarder of puff pastry on one long side.
            Roll the puff pastry into a log starting with the long end without the boarder. Using the small boarder, pinch the dough together so the log stays together.
            Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can make this in advance (see note.)
            While the log is chilling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
            Slice the log into 1/2 inch rolls and place them on two parchment lined baking sheets. You want plenty of space between each pinwheel for the pastry to puff and get golden brown.
            Bake one sheet at a time for 18-22 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
            Serve.

            Notes

            Horseradish-

            You want to use "prepared horseradish" not "horseradish sauce." Horseradish sauce usually has mayonnaise and is not as strong as prepared horseradish.

            If you do not love the flavor of horseradish you can use just one Tablespoon or omit it completely.

            Puff Pastry-

            It is best to thaw puff pastry in the refrigerator overnight. You can "quick thaw" at room temperature, but I find it is better to thaw in the refrigerator.

            Make Ahead-

            You can form the log ahead of time. It will keep in the refrigerator for two days wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. You can also freeze the wrapped log for up to two week. If you freeze it you want to thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before baking.

            Slicing the Pinwheels-

            I like to use unflavored dental floss to cut the pinwheels. Use a 12 inch piece of floss to slice the pinwheels. (See Video.)

            You can use a serrated knife, but I find dental floss works much better.

            Nutrition Information:
            Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
            Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 195mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g

            Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

            This post contains affiliate links.

            Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.

             

            Chocolate Covered Trail Mix Clusters

            Everyone knows the best part of trail mix is the chocolate. Let’s just make the chocolate the star and coat the trail mix in chocolate.

            I found that just trail mix and chocolate can be a little dense so I added some crispy rice cereal (Rice Krispies) to lighten it up and add some extra crunch.

            This is a perfect salty and sweet snack!

            What kind of chocolate?

            I like to use semi-sweet chocolate chips, but you can use milk chocolate or bittersweet chocolate if you prefer. In one of my tests I did half semisweet chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips. My kids loved this combination, but I found it a little too sweet. 

            What kind of trail mix?

            I used a standard trail mix from the store that had nuts, raisins, and candy coated chocolate. I have also used a tropical mixed fruit and nut trail mix.

            Any combination of nuts or seeds, dried fruit, and chocolate works really well.

            Why do you add rice cereal?

            I like the crispy rice cereal because it adds texture, crunch, and lightens up the clusters.

            Chocolate Covered Trail Mix Clusters

            Chocolate Covered Trail Mix Clusters

            Yield: 22
            Prep Time: 8 minutes
            Cook Time: 2 minutes
            Additional Time: 1 hour
            Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

            The best part of trail mix is the chocolate. These clusters are coated in chocolate and lightened up with crispy rice cereal for a perfect salty and sweet treat.

            Ingredients

            • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (See Note for Substitutions.)
            • 2 Cups Trail Mix
            • 1 Cup Crispy Rice Cereal (Rice Krispies)

            Instructions

              In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on high for 2 minutes. Stir well. If all the chips are not melted you can microwave in 20 second intervals stirring well after each 20 seconds until the chocolate is all melted.
              Add the trail mix an crispy rice cereal to the melted chocolate chips.
              Stir well to coat all the trail mix and cereal.
              Using a spoon or #40 cookie scoop, scoop the mixture into 2 Tablespoon mounds on a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. (See Note)
              Let mixture set at room temperature to solidify for one hour.
              Store Chocolate Covered Trail Mix Clusters in a zip bag or air-tight container for up to two weeks.

            Notes

            About the Chocolate: I prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can use milk chocolate or bittersweet. In one testing I did half semi-sweet chips and half butterscotch chips. My kids loved them, but I found them to be too sweet for my tastes.

            Notes on shaping the clusters: I like the clusters to be about 2 Tablespoons. If you use a #40 cookie scoop, you will want to overfill the scoop a little to get the full 2 Tablespoons.

            They do not have to be perfect in size or shape.

            Nutrition Information:
            Yield: 22 Serving Size: 1
            Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g

            Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and may not be completely accurate.

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            Marie Fiebach is a married mother of four active kids. She helps busy families plan and execute weeknight dinner so they can recapture a little calm in the crazy. You can see her every week on KAKE TV’s Good Morning Kakeland or listen to the Feed Your Family Tonight Podcast.