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Frequently Asked Questions about Main Dishes

Every day, we receive lots of emails from people asking for answers to general questions. For a glimpse of this dynamic exchange of ideas and tips, and for answers to questions about food that you may have had yourself, please have a look at this FAQ! You can also browse other answers at other FAQs pages or look for answers in articles in the services page.

If you still have questions, post it in the recipe forum where other visitors may respond to your request.


Q.  Is it safe to freeze leftover meatloaf?

A.  It is possible to freeze leftover meatloaf. However, don't wait until all the after-dinner dishes are done before you wrap it up and place it in the freezer -- make plans to freeze the leftovers as soon as possible. Place the meatloaf, uncovered, in the refrigerator until it is completely cool. Then, wrap tightly, and use airtight containers or bags made especially for freezing to ensure the quality of your foods. Foods frozen in inferior packaging run the risk of leaking or absorbing smells from other foods in the freezer. Once frozen, meatloaf can be stored up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, oven or microwave, never at room temperature.

Q. I see a lot of recipes for grilling. We don't have a grill, so can I use the broiler instead?

A. Yes, you can use the broiler for recipes that call for grilling. Grilling and broiling are basically the same cooking method - cooking within several inches of a heat source. However, keep in mind your broiler is probably not capable of attaining the heat of a hot grill. The food will need to be placed closer to the heat source when broiling, usually within 1 to 3 inches.

Q. What is a marinade?

A. Marinades are sauces in which meats and fish may be soaked to give them added flavor and tenderness. Marinating should always be done in the refrigerator.

Q.  How do I make homemade stock?

A.  Your choices for flavor are limited only by the contents of your vegetable crisper, your leftovers and your imagination. Stock provides a background to soup, so the ingredients you choose should be supportive, not overwhelming. Our Cooking Basics section Stocks Skills provides step-by-step instructions for producing good, basic chicken, beef and vegetable stocks.

Q.  I often find myself adjusting recipes in order to make enough for my family, but it doesn't quite work for some recipes. Do you have any advice for me?

Changing recipes in order to make more or less servings is called "recipe scaling." Whenever you alter the amounts of ingredients for a given recipe, you may also need to adjust the cooking temperature, cooking time, pan size and seasonings. But for food chemistry reasons, recipe scaling simply does not work well for some dishes: delicate foods such as soufflés, baked items requiring yeast such as breads, and recipes for a single large item that is meant to be later divided into smaller portions such as cakes, pies, breads and whole turkey.

Our Recipe Scaling Page will give you a reliable framework for successful recipe scaling: It offers detailed guidelines for recipe scaling.


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