Tips

In The Sisters’ Kitchen By now you know that we love fresh food and we love to cook. We just can’t help ourselves and are always on the look out for exciting new products, cooking techniques or tricks to make our tasks a little easier.

We hope these ideas will help make your cooking go more smoothly and keep you exploring new flavors in the wonderful world of food. If you have a tip or recipe that you'd love to share please let us know. Email us at mary@mcginnis-sisters.com with your ideas.
Meat

   Grilling Tips from the Sisters


Start with careful preparation by brushing your cold grill with oil to prevent sticking. If you are going to marinate beef or chicken, using a one-gallon zip-lock plastic bag will cut your clean up time in half. Marinate 1 pound of meat or vegetables in 2 to 3 cups of marinade. Seal the bag or cover, be sure to remove as much air as possible. Place in refrigerator and turn occasionally.
 
Fill a plant mister with 7 parts water and 1 part vinegar; use to spray grill when flames flare up. Preheat gas grills at least 15 minutes; for charcoal grills, light at least 45 minutes before, and let burn to hot embers, coated with ash. Begin grilling when grill temperature stabilizes at 300 Fahrenheit.
 

For K-Bobs: grease flat, narrow metal skewers or soak bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes. For small, delicate items such as fish, shrimp or asparagus use an oiled grill basket for easy turning. For long-cooking vegetables or fruits (such as potatoes, whole heads of garlic or apples) cut a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, oil well, fill with sliced vegetables or fruit and seasonings, drizzle with oil, seal and place on hot grill. Use long-handled tools and tongs-not forks-to turn meat to avoid piercing and releasing juices.

   Aged American Angus Whole Beef Tenderloin


McGinnis Sisters Aged American Angus Whole Beef Tenderloin - The prized center section of the whole, trimmed tenderloin with the sirloin and tip ends removed. This center-cut section is of a single cut of beef that is perfect when you use Bonnie's No Fail recipe! Plan on about 1/2 lbs per guest.  

   How to Build A Better Burger


How do you build a better burger? Start with the very best ingredients. We have been making our own grinds since our store opened in 1946. Our father Elwood had very strict standards about the grinds and we have been following his recipe ever since. Unlike most stores, we do not receive large shipments of tubes containing meat that has already been ground. We use Elwood's original recipe to make our Special Ground Meat, Ground Meat made with Chuck, Sirloin, Round and our Beef Pork and Veal Blend. We make our Ground Beef from whole cuts of beef. This old fashioned method allows us to continue our commitment to quality and freshness.
 
For juicy burgers start with our Beef, Pork and Veal Blend (90% lean). If you are striving to eat more healthfully this year try using Ground Sirloin (98% lean) or Ground Chuck (92% lean).  Check out our recipes section of our web site for a variety of burgers that you can easily make at home.
 
Short on time? Then let us help! We make all of our burgers in house from scratch. Each burger starts with our freshly ground beef and is made by our Team Members, not made at some factory miles away.  No matter your taste we have the burger for you. We rotate our recipes each week so you never get bored but if there is a flavor you love, just call our meat department and we will be happy to make a special order for you.
 
All Natural Beef Burgers - All of our Beef Burgers start with our freshly ground beef, ground in our stores several times a day. Each is made from our all natural, hormone and antibiotic free American Angus. Our flavors include:
  • Classic American Burger
  • Black & Blue Burger - Freshly cracked black pepper and crumbled blue cheese
  • Greek Feta Burger
  • Bacon Cheddar Burger - Made with our own slab bacon
  • Montreal Steak Burger
  • Sweet Onion Burger
  • Monterey Jack Cheese Burger
  • American Mesquite Burger
  • Chili Cheese Burger
  • Cajun Blue Burger
All Natural Chicken and Turkey Burgers - Our Chicken and Turkey Burgers start with our Pennsylvania all natural chicken. Our chicken and turkey is hormone and antibiotic free and Turkey Burgers are made from turkey breasts.
  • Buffalo Chicken Burger
  • Classic Gourmet Turkey Burger
  • Turkey Artichoke Burger
  • Turkey Bacon Burger - Made with our own slab bacon
We also make sausage burgers from our Father Elwood's original recipe sausage. Look for our Hot Sausage and Sweet Italian Sausage burgers. 
 
Grill your burgers and temp to at least 155F on an instant read thermometer for beef and 165F for poultry. Server with our freshly baked hamburger buns and one of Mother Rosella's homemade salads!
Produce

   Leafy Green Vegetables


According to the Harvard School of Public Heath there is evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The higher the average daily intake of fruits and vegetables, the lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease. Compared with those in the lowest category of fruit and vegetable intake (less than 1.5 servings a day), those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30% less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.

Good choices are green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens. Try cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit also make important contributions to your health.

Try to eat more fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 5 -9 servings (4½ cups) a day. Choose a variety of different fruits and vegetables. It's easy to get into a rut when it comes to the food you eat. Break out and try a wider variety - include dark-green, leafy vegetables; yellow, orange, and red fruits and vegetables; cooked tomatoes; and citrus fruits.

   Pennsylvania Farm Apples


Pennsylvania apple season is here!  Typically between twelve and seventeen varieties of apples are grown in Pennsylvania. We have been working with a few Pennsylvania orchards to source the very best local apples.
These orchards uses the Integrated Pest Management approach suggested by Penn State University to support sustainable farming. This method combines orchard monitoring, horticultural controls and judicious use of pesticides to produce the very best apples. This method has enjoyed success by using hand applied pheromone dispensers to disrupt mating of certain insects, eliminating the need for most sprays.
 
Our favorite apple is the Honeycrip which is known for being sweet, crunchy and juicy.

   Buy Fresh Buy Local


You may be surprised to learn that McGinnis Sisters was the first retail supporter of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) and their Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign.  McGinnis Sisters signed on early to help promote the benefits of supporting local farms and local producers. We worked with PASA to help the organization better understand customer needs and questions surrounding local products. Since then the movement has received a lot of attention as families and individuals learn what makes a Pennsylvania strawberry or the home grown corn so special.

   Make Healthy Choices for your Halloween Party


Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests? Don't forget to focus on health!  Select healthier treats for trick-or-treaters, like individual packed raisins, trail mix, pretzels or fruits.  For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. Red and green grapes can pose as "eyeballs" while baby carrots with green and black olives on the end make healthy monster fingers.
Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get some exercise.  Spooky Musical Chairs or a Monster Dance Party will keep your guest moving.  Extend your normal trick-or-treat route by 5-10 minutes so the whole family can get get in some extra activity on Halloween.      
 
If you expect trick-or-treaters be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and clear.  Keep candle-lit jack-o’-lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps and consider using LED lights instead of candles.  If you chose to use candles make sure your jack-o'-lanterns are on a sturdy surface and hard to knock over.

   Honeycrip Apples are Here!


Honeycrisp apples are here! Originally developed in Minnesota, Honeycrisp apples were created by crossing the Macoun and Honeygold apple varieties. Honeycrisp apples grow very well in Pennsylvania and we are so happy to have these sweet juicy apples in our home state. Honeycrisp apples are great for baking, go well in salads and make a great healthy snack. If you are trying to get your child to eat more healthfully, try packing a honeycrisp in their lunch.  Apple season doesn’t last long, so don’t miss it!

   Butternut Squash perfect for fall and winter


Butternut squash is in season right now and make a great addition to lunch and dinner.  Look for a squash that has no cracks or soft spots and is heavy for its size.  Butternut squash will keep for months in a cool, dry place, so pick out ones you like and store until ready to use. 
If making a recipe that calls for mashed squash, the easiest way to prepare it is to cut the squash in half vertically, and remove the seeds and fibers with a spoon. Place the halves, cut sides down, in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add water to a depth of 1 inch, and bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender-when you can pierce the squash easily with a small knife.  Let the squash cool, then scoop the pulp out with a spoon, and mash the pulp with a potato masher.
 
Other Tips and Tricks: One pound uncooked butternut squash will yield about 1 cup mashed. When the recipe calls for chopped, peeled squash (uncooked) Cut the squash in half and remove its seeds and fibers with a spoon.Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, cut it in cubes, and proceed with your recipe.
Seafood

   Foley Unsoaked Sea Scallops


Foley' Fresh Unsoaked Sea Scallops are a year round staple at McGinnis Sisters. Our sea scallops are from the Georges Bank off of the coast of Nova Scotia and have never been soaked in a brine or solution. Our Foley scallops are sugar sweet, naturally, with a firm texture unlike processed scallops which tend to be jelly-like and have a chemical aftertaste.

Many customers ask us the difference between our scallops and others they have seen marked as dry. Unfortunately “dry” scallops are soaked up to 8% of their body weight in brine or other solution. McGinnis Sisters sea scallops have never been soaked in brine or treated with chemicals. This natural treatment allows our scallops to maintain their sweet ocean taste. Our Foley scallops will caramelize perfectly for a stunning plate presentation

   Foley Fresh Salmon


Many people assume that all farm raised Atlantic salmon are the same quality and flavor. Foley's has "gone to school" on Atlantic salmon to provide the very highest quality, firmest textured, freshest and most flavorful Atlantic salmon produced anywhere.
 
Several major factors differentiate one farmed raised Atlantic salmon from another including gene pool, farming practices, harvest and travel time. Attention to detail at each step along the way, from the hatchery to the final shipping determines the overall quality and flavor of the salmon that we offer our customers.
 
In addition, Foley salmon farms test their salmon regularly at the parts per trillion levels for PCB's which is significantly higher than current government standards. Foley stands behind the healthfulness and quality of each fish.
 
Foley Fish also partners with farms who raise their fish with good husbandry. For example, all of our Foley Farmed Salmon is fed an all natural feed. Further, they cover their pens with polar twine tops to prevent fish escape. They feature underwater cameras to monitor feed and stop adding feed once the fish stop eating. They also allow pens to lay fallow and rotate pens as a farmer would his fields.

   Foley Fresh Captain’s Cod


McGinnis Sisters is the exclusive provider of Foley Fish in Pittsburgh. Foley Fish buyers source their groundfish, like Captain’s Cod, from boats fishing on Georges Bank. The fishermen from this area describe the benefits of the Georges Bank as a habitat where the fish eat healthy and live clean.

The Georges Bank runs from the Northern tip of Cape Cod to the southern tip of Nova Scotia. The distance from shore make the waters of the Georges Bake exceptionally clean. Fish thrive in this pollutant free environment. Cod also thrives because the Georges Banks are very rich in nutrients. Two ocean currents converge at the banks providing Georges Bank fish with a superior diet. The relatively shallow water of this are allows the fish to better see and capture its foods. The end result is fish that are meaty and delicious to eat.

   Foley Fish Commitment to Sustainable Seafood


Unlike other companies who merely join associations, Foley Fish actively participates in fishery management with a representative on both the National Marine Fisheries Northeast Groundfish Advisory Panel and the Highly Migratory Species Panel. Foley's direct involvement in fishery management allows us to steer our customers to well managed, sustainable species. McGinnis Sisters is the exclusive retail provider of Foley Fish in Pittsburgh.

   Guide to Sustainable Seafood from New England


Do you need a little help selecting the right seafood for your family? Foley Fish has published the New England Sustainable Seafood Guide to showcase the health of the New England fishing stocks, the management measures in place to protect these stocks and the current growth of the biomass of stocks in New England waters.

This guide is by no means a comprehensive look at the oceans of the world but rather a snapshot of what is going on in New England where we source the majority of our seafood. Foley is helping to illuminate the good news about New England fisheries. Foley used the National Marine Fisheries Service for their information and vetted the guide with two leading fishery management scientists.

We encourage you to print the guide and share it with your friends. The guide is designed to be folded into a wallet sized pocket guide so you can bring it to the store on your next shopping trip. Foley Fish New England Sustainable Seafood Guide

Cheese

   Timid about building a cheese plate?


Use our fool proof method and think of your cheese plate as a clock.
 
Place the mildest cheese in the Noon position. Try Brie, Havarti, or Erin Gold. Next at Three o'clock stir things up a bit with Parrano or Champagne Cheddar. At Six o'clock start rockin' the platter with a two year old Black Diamond or Tillamook Cheddar, Manchego or Fontiago. Nine o'clock bring your platter full circle with Beemster Classic, award winning Sartori Gold or invite Old Brugge and see what happens.
 
Now the fun begins, fill in the gaps with honeyed nuts, fresh dates, dried fruit and fresh from the oven breads. Plan to purchase about 2oz of cheese per person.

   What to do with Crème Fraîche


So what exactly is Crème Fraîche? After you milk the cows, set the fresh cream aside. Let the natural lactic bacteria take over — creating a thick, smooth, tart result known as crème fraîche.
When Bob Reese and Allison co-founded Vermont Butter & Cheese Company in 1984, their first product was Vermont Chèvre, the company’s signature goats’ milk cheese. Vermont Crème Fraîche, their first cows’ milk creation — and another perfect combination of modern technology and time-honored European methods — followed close on its heels.
A staple of French cuisine, Crème Fraîche is exquisitely rich, with the cultured, nutty flavor and creamy texture. Crème Fraîche will add a richness to sauces, stews, and soups. Mix with fresh ripe berries for a refreshing summer inspired dessert. Or try this velvety Crème Fraîche and Chive Mashed Potatoes dish, a great compliment to any meal.

   How to select the perfect Brie


Brie cheese is a wonderful soft-ripened cow's milk cheese that is off-white or light grey in color. This creamy cheese is covered by a semi-soft white edible rind.
 
Fresh Brie should have a slightly acidic odor and a buttery, salty flavor. Double and triple cream Brie's are the most popular amount the imported Fresh Brie cheeses. In order for a cheese to be called triple cream the butterfat content must be at least 75%. Double cream cheese only needs to have a butterfat content of 60%. In general triple cream cheeses are going to be smoother, richer, and more complex with a texture closer to butter (which is 100% butterfat) than a double cream cheese. It is almost always worth the splurge for a triple cream Brie but when hosting a party, a double cream Brie will help your dollars stretch without sacrificing flavor.
 
Store Brie cheese in the refrigerator in the vegetable or high humidity drawer. When selecting Brie, always check the expiration date on the package to ensure the product won’t spoil within a few days. When you get home re-wrap your Brie tightly in wax paper and then in foil. We also suggest using the cheese papers sold in our cheese dept as they are created specifically to increase the life of your cheese. The cheese papers simulate a cheese cave right in your own refrigerator.
 
Brie is excellent served on its own with a variety of nuts, fresh and dried fruits, preserves, chutneys, crackers and breads. The rind of the cheese, although slightly bitter, is also edible. Brie can also be wrapped in puff pastry and baked for Brie en croute. Brie is also great in fondue, sauces, paté, on baked potatoes and in soups and sandwiches.
 

   Graskaas has arrived


Beemster Graskaas cheese from Holland has arrived. This magnificent cheese comes in once a year and has to be pre-ordered in the winter. Each cheese shop that carries it can only receive an allotted number of wheels so you’ve got to get it while you can. This year we will received about 100lbs of Graskaas for all three of our stores.
 
Imagine the cows, eating hay in their barns all winter, anxiously awaiting the arrival of fresh spring grass. When spring rolls around, the barn door is opened to sunshine and rich green grass peeking through the snow. The voracious cows can’t wait to get a bite. The milk that evening is rich and golden from the fresh spring grass. The cows feed on the spring grass for a month or two and this is the only milk used in Graskaas Cheese. To get an idea of the excitement watch this Beemster Spring Video
 
The Beemster family of cheeses are produced in the Polder region of Holland. Once under sea level, the lush grasses are rich in minerals and flavors that are infused into each cheese. It is against the law in Holland to use chemicals or pesticides and each year the grass changes just as other crops do. Graskaas 2014 will taste a bit different than Graskaas 2013 to reflect the changes in the climate and grass each season. Once the milk is harvested Graskaas is made using techniques that date back to 1901, the cheese is then aged one month before released to the public.
Other

   Brunton’s Dairy


McGinnis Sisters proudly offers Brunton Dairy products. Brunton Dairy is a family farm located in Independence Township, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Seven generations work together to provide great tasting milk and what most people agree is the best tasting chocolate milk anywhere! All the Brunton Dairy milk is bottled in half gallon glass bottles right on the farm. Brunton does not use supplemental hormones and are committed to providing a wholesome product for the community.

Milk is packed with nutrients such as calcium, protein, potassium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, phosphorus, niacin, and vitamin A. These are critical to good health and the prevention of chronic disease. 3 - 8oz. glasses can supply most adults with the daily requirement for calcium, which supports strong bones and teeth.

Milk needs to be stored at a temperature of 38 to 40 degrees. Your refrigerator may "feel cold", but proper temperature is important. Remember to protect milk from sunlight. Ultraviolet rays will alter the taste.

   Stonewall Kitchen


The Stonewall Kitchen dream began 21 years ago with a few jams displayed on a three foot card table at a farmers market in Maine. Since then this dynamic company has been driven by a passion for food and a knack for creativity.
We visited Jonathan King and James Scoot in Maine for a full tour of the Stonewall Kitchen facilities. We were among the lucky few who have ever gotten a rare behind the scenes look into their word of jellies, jams, sauces and mixes. We spent time in the company stores, the factory, and the test kitchen to get an up-close look at this award winning line. After dinner at their home we could not agree more that life with Stonewall Kitchen is always delicious.


Enjoy this collection of our family’s favorite tried and true recipes.

View More Recipes
Our Favorite Customers enjoy benefits such as e-mailed weekly specials, newsletters, recipes and more.

Become A Favorite Customer