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11 Nov 2021

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Do you conduct background checks?

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How to Cook Meat Safely - CookinGenie blog

28 Sep 2021

There are many foods that can cause illness when handled incorrectly, but one of the most common instances of serious foodborne illness comes from the undercooking or mishandling of meat. Raw meat is often full of fecal matter from the animal, which can contain a host of bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens. Because of this, it is crucial to handle raw meat carefully and cook it to a safe temperature to kill as many pathogens as possible. If not, an undercooked piece of meat can easily get someone sick.

While this may sound simple, there are some intricacies to cooking meat safely, and not all meats are safe to eat at the same temperature. Here are some of the key things to remember when cooking meat and how some of the most popular meats need to be cooked in order to be safe to serve.

Keep raw meats separate from other foods—including other meats

It’s common sense that the juices from raw meat should stay away from fresh produce but it’s also good practice to keep raw meat away from other raw meat. As you’ll see with the minimum required internal temperatures, not all meats are safe at the same time. Chicken, for example, needs to be cooked more than steak. So, if you get the juices from raw chicken over your steak, the steak may be cooked all the way through, but the residual juice from the chicken may not be.

Also be sure to use separate cutting boards and utensils for different kinds of meat, wash your hands after handling raw meat, and disinfect any surfaces the meat may have come into contact with.

Minimum required internal temperatures

Poultry, like chicken and turkey requires the most cooking, while pork, beef, lamb, and seafood requires less. Note that ground meat of any kind requires more cooking than a whole piece of the same meat. This is because ground meat, with an increased surface area and the potential to come from more than one individual animal, has more exposure to bacteria. To take the temperature of a protein, insert a clean, sanitized thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and wait for the thermometer to read a temperature. For many meats, the meat needs to hold that temperature for a given period of time before it’s considered safe.

Also note that after you remove your meat from the heat, it will continue to cook for several more minutes in a process known as carry-over cooking, which will raise the internal temperature 5-10⁰F, so if your meat is a couple degrees under the minimum required internal temperature when you measure it, it’ll be safe to serve by the time you eat it.

The following are the minimum required internal temperatures for different proteins.

Poultry—Including whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck: 165⁰F for at least 15 seconds

This also includes any stuffing inside of a bird (think thanksgiving) as well as any casseroles, stuffed pastas, or stuffed chicken breasts. When temping whole birds, make sure to insert the thermometer underneath the thigh, which is the thickest part of the bird.

Ground meat—Including beef, pork, lamb, veal, and ground seafood: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Note that a medium burger is 140-145⁰F, and a well-done burger is 160⁰F.Eating a burger less than well-done could increase your chances of getting sick, which is why restaurants have the note at the bottom of their menus denoting the increased risk of foodborne illness from consuming undercooked meat.

Injected meat/brined meat—Including brined hams and roasts injected with flavor: 155⁰F for 15 seconds

Eggs that are meant to be held hot: 155⁰F for 15 seconds
Eggs that are to be served immediately: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

Chops/steaks of red meat—Including beef, lamb, veal, and pork: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

All of these meats will be a little pink at this temperature, but they’re safe to eat. A medium-rare steak is between 130-135⁰F, so there is a higher risk associated with eating steak under medium.

Whole roasts of pork, beef, veal, or lamb: 155⁰ for 4 minutes

Make sure to insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the roast. Because roasts are much bigger, the temperature needs to hold much longer to ensure it’s cooked through.

Whole seafood—Including whitefish, shellfish, and crustaceans: 145⁰F for 15 seconds

This applies to whole pieces of fish and shellfish/crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, and lobster. With bivalves such as mussels or clams, there is no need to measure temperature, they are safe when the shells open.

The bottom line

Overall, cooking meat to safe temperatures is a very simple, but very important task in the kitchen. Having a digital thermometer makes everything easier. If you’re unsure of how the meat needs to be cooked, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and slightly overcook a piece of meat than to get someone sick. When you book a chef from CookinGenie, you can trust that they’ll cook your meat so that it’s not only safe to eat, but also delicious.

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birthday party at home - CookinGenie

25 Oct 2021

Birthday parties are fun for young and old. However, having a birthday party at your house for your parents, children, yourself, or other loved ones may seem like a hassle, but you can plan a perfect birthday party for the next big occasion if you follow these tips.  

How To Plan a Birthday Party? 

It can seem overwhelming at first when planning a shindig at your home, even if it’s just a small intimate party for close family and friends. Here are some considerations to keep in mind during the planning process. 

Date and Time – 

One of the first things you should consider is when you should plan to have your party. It can be helpful to get in touch with family and friends you’re thinking of inviting to work on finding the perfect date and time. However, it may not be possible for larger parties to reach out to everyone personally to get everyone’s schedule. In these cases, you may want to send out a survey in an email to get an idea of when most of your guests will be able to attend. Ultimately, you may not be able to find a date and time that works for everyone. 

Tip: Setting an actual time for the start and end of the party can be helpful. Creating a start time makes it easier for everyone to know when the food will be served, while the end time can help you guide stragglers out at the end of the night. 

Guest List

Concurrently to determining the date and time, you’ll also want to consider your guest list. Even with small gatherings that only include family, it can be beneficial to get a headcount of who’s invited and who’s going to be able to attend. You’ll also want to determine if your guests can bring a plus one, which can dramatically impact your guest list. 

Tip: Respectfully request an RSVP by a particular date before your party. You’ll be able to finalize your headcount better for how many people are planning on coming.  

Budget

Another essential factor you’ll need to consider early on in the planning stages is your budget. You’ll want to sit down and think about how much you’re willing to spend for the party and then look at the different options available to you to fit your set budget best. There are some great options at every budget level for planning a birthday party at your home.  

Break down your budget by the different things you want to offer at your party, such as food, party bags, entertainment, decorations, and so on. The great thing about having a party at home is that venue is one of the costs you don’t have to think about when deciding how much you want your budget to be overall. Plus, think outside of the box. For example, you can save by picking up your party decorations at a dollar store while spending more money on wow items like the cake. 

Tip: Get an idea for your budget by multiplying how much you want to spend per person by how many people you’re inviting.   

Theme

Themes are a fun idea for parties of any age. Of course, it can be fun to create a theme on your own, but if you are worried about the celebrated person not liking the theme, you may want to consider letting them help brainstorm a theme.  

Tip: Pinterest can be a great place to get ideas for themes if you’re stuck. 

Invitations 

Once you’ve picked out a theme and got your guest list together, it’s time to create the invitations. You can go old school and pick up paper invites that fit the theme you picked to mail out or hand deliver to your guest list. Paper invitations can be fun to introduce some potential themes, such as a murder mystery birthday party. 

Electronic invites can also be fun, and they are often the easiest way to get an accurate headcount since it’s straightforward to click whether or not the person will attend the party. Some electronic invitation sites even send reminders out to get any straggler RSVPs. 

Tip: Be clear on your invites about the details, such as the RSVP deadline and if guests can have a plus one.  

Food

Food is often the centerpiece of the occasion. No birthday party, or really any kind of party, is complete without food. An option that you should explore is CookinGenie for your next birthday party. It’s easy to set a menu, figure out how many portions you need to order for your guest list, and have a personal chef handle the cooking in your kitchen. Then you have no worries about the food getting cold as the catering company brings it to your home. 

Tip: Explore CookinGenie.com to learn more about the different offerings that you can have for your party. 

Party Bags

Goodie bags are a great touch no matter the age of the person you’re celebrating. Giving out party bags is often associated with children’s birthday parties as a fun way to end the event. A small bag with toys, stickers, candy, and other little items is given out as the kids leave to thank them for coming. The same can be done for adults with a fun token of appreciation that commemorates the event.  

Tip: Have these waiting at the door for when your guests leave.   

After the Party

Yes! You had a successful birthday party for one of your favorite people. Everyone had an excellent time at the party you planned. Once the party is over, that means it’s time to clean and organize. Did you know that by utilizing CookinGenie, you’ll save yourself some time? Not only does your personal chef for the birthday party prepare a fantastic menu, but they also clean up the cooking area, getting it back to how it was before they arrived. That means you can focus on tackling cleaning up elsewhere. 

Check out CookinGenie today while planning your next birthday party or other home events. See what loyal CookinGenie clients already know: affordable personal chefs coming to your home has never been easier. 

 

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30 Oct 2019

A friend of mine recently ordered delivery of groceries to her home. The person delivering presented her a business card and offered his services as a home cook. Not only was he willing to purchase her groceries, but he was also willing to prepare her food. Talk about full service! We wanted to applaud this gentleman for combining his talents with a secondary service that his customer base would benefit from. Not only can he expand the services he offers, but he can also reach a wider base of people who could benefit from his services.

The gig economy is growing with no signs of slowing down. We think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of crossover opportunity. It makes sense to diversify. By offering more than one service you become more valuable to your customers, and your service becomes even more individualized and personal based on your knowledge of their preferences. It also opens the door to additional profits. It allows you to offer a secondary service to the families that you cook for already and creates an endless stream of new individuals who might be looking for a home cook but never considered one before.

Maybe you’re working as an Uber Driver or a Task Rabbit already and you have a dream of becoming a cook. But the enormous amount of training or investment to open your own business is daunting. Alternatively, starting from the ground up with an entry level job at a restaurant usually means years of hard work & inflexible hours just to gain a base level of knowledge. But becoming a home cook is a new emerging opportunity that is gaining in popularity each year. Just as people are willing to outsource their cleaning, or their grocery shopping many busy families and professionals don’t have the time or expertise to cook quality meals each day.

Many home cooks start small, by apprenticing with an experienced cook. Going with them to jobs teaches them how to speak to clients, plan menus, and execute dishes in a time efficient manner. It can also teach them how to overcome some of the common quirks that come with cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Some start by portion sharing with friends and family. Meaning just preparing a double batch of whatever you cook for your own family and selling the bonus portion to friends and family. Some start by delivering meals or offering pick up services with a set menu and build a clientele with a Facebook group.

Then there are businesses like ours. We take experienced cooks and home cooks alike and introduce them to the world of being a home cook. We can help you with advertising, building a clientele, and growing your business. We can help you build your own reputation, while earning a decent wage.. The possibilities are endless in a gig economy, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you want to cook fresh meals to help out busy folks who want to eat food made in their own kitchens, send us a note. We are here to help!

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