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

   Parma Sausage


We proudly offer Parma Sausage Products, locally owned since 1954. Five generations have been producing the finest fresh sausages, cooked sausages, and dry-cured sausages, Prosciutto, and Pancetta found in the area. Each authentic Italian meat is made from family recipes that have been passed on from one generation to the next, right here in the Strip District of Pittsburgh.

Rina Edwards still makes Prosciutto the old-fashioned way. She takes her time and use the extra care and a commitment to the highest quality standards taught by her father Luigi Spinabelli. Rina’s family is originally forming Ranzano, a region of Parma, Italy.

Rina uses only select fresh hams, and monitors the Prosciutto from the first salting to the end of the long aging process. By never speeding up the aging process the result is an authentic old word taste. You can find Parma Prosciutto and other fine Parma products right on our deli. We slice each order fresh and to your specification.

   McGinnis Sisters Old Fashioned Ham


McGinnis Old Fashioned Ham - Our Father Elwood's Original recipe for a slow smoked - low salt, low water ham. Choose from whole or half bone in, spiral cut or boneless baby doll hams. Free from antibiotics and hormones, McGinnis Hams are fed a vegetarian diet with no animal by-products. Order here.
 
Our hams are perfect with Our Mother Rosella's Peach Glaze. Serving size is 1/2 - 1lb per person. We suggest using our Mother Rosella's special recipe. Find it in our recipe section.

   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.  

   Guide to Cooking Temperatures


Not sure how long to cook those pork chops or how to grill that New York Strip to medium? Use our easy temperature guide to ensure your food is cooked safely.
 
First, make sure you have an instant read thermometer on hand. Many are even pre-programmed with the temperatures for each type of protein.
 
For Beef:
Rare 120 to 125°F. Center is bright red, pinkish toward the exterior portion
Medium Rare 130 to 135°F. Center is very pink, slightly brown toward the exterior portion
Medium 140 to 145°F. Center is light pink, outer portion is brown
Medium Well 150 to 155°F. Very little pink if any.
Well Done 160°F. Uniformly brown throughout.
Ground Beef should always reach 165°F.
 
Fish - 145 °F
Pork - 160 °F
Chicken Breasts - 165 °F
Whole Poultry - 165 °F
Egg Dishes - 160 °F

   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.

   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.

   Don't forget the Parsnips


Root vegetable are often over looked but they taste great and are good for you! Parsnips might look like a creamed colored carrot but starchy parsnips can easy stand in for potatoes. 

Look for small to medium-sized parsnips with beige skin. You'll find them year-round, but peak season is from fall to spring. Like other root vegetables, parsnips store well. Wrap unwashed parsnips in a paper towel, place in a plastic zip-top bag, and store in the vegetable crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
 
To Use: Wash the exterior, and peel. Cut off the top and bottom, and slice or julienne, depending on the recipe's directions. Then steam, roast, or sauté for a hearty side dish. Add parsnips during the last 30 minutes of cooking when preparing stews and soups to keep them appealingly tasty. Search our Recipes section for more great ways to use parsnips.

   Rhubarb is here!


Anyone that has a rhubarb plant in their backyard knows the joy of seeing these cherry-red stalks and green leaves begin to come to life each spring. Peak season is from May to June. Because of its intense tartness, rhubarb is usually combined with a fair amount of sugar and used in everything from sauces to jams to desserts. A favorite flavor combination is rhubarb and strawberries that we feature in our Bakery encased in a flaky pastry crust. A dollop of whipped cream, crème frâiche or scoop of a good vanilla ice cream help tame down the tartness for a delicious dessert that heralds the coming of spring.

Follow these tips when selecting and preparing rhubarb and enjoy one of our recipes that showcase this popular local vegetable:

* Select deep red rhubarb with firm, crisp stalks. Oversized stalks are usually tough and stringy, so choose those that are neither too thin nor too thick.
* Allow one pound (4–8 stalks) for every two cups of cut rhubarb called for in your recipe.
* It takes 2 1/2 pounds of rhubarb to make a 9" pie.
* Rhubarb will keep for three to five days in a plastic bag in the refrigerator or can be cut and frozen for later use.
* The leaves are poisonous, so be sure to cut off the entire leaf.
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 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.

   McGinnis Sisters Shrimp Trays


Everyone loves shrimp at tailgate and holiday parties! McGinnis Sisters makes it easy with our shrimp trays. We offer both Jumbo and Extra Large size shrimp and shrimp trays that serve 10-15 guests or 20-25 guests. Complete with lemons and our own cocktail sauce, McGinnis Sisters shrimp trays are great tasting and easy. Your guests will surely be impressed!
  • Jumbo Size Shrimp, Serves 10-15 - $59.95
  • Jumbo Size Shrimp, Serves 20-25 - $79.95
  • Extra Large Size Shrimp, Serves 10-15 - $54.95
  • Extra Large Size Shrimp, Serves 20-25 - $69.95
Need more or less shrimp for your party or meeting. No problem we can custom make a shrimp tray to meet your needs.
 
 
 
Pre-order at any location:
Adams Twp/Cranberry Area - 724-779-1212
Brentwood/South Hills Area - 412-882-6400
Monroeville/East Area - 412-858-7000
Holidays & Parties

   McGinnis Sisters Holiday Sides


Let the Sisters do the work for you. We have a variety of sides to feed a crowd or a small gathering. Pre-orders strongly encouraged. Availability varies per location. Please call our store and speak with a Deli Team Member regarding the selection at your neighborhood store.

   McGinnis Sisters Easter Dinner Items


The perfect holiday meal always begins with the very best ingredients from a partner you can trust. McGinnis Sisters has the finest quality specialty meat items to make your holiday celebration great tasting and stress free! No matter the centerpiece of your holiday meal, we will help you create a truly unforgettable holiday meal. Online ordering is now available and creating the perfect holiday meal is easier than ever.
Cheese

   Beemster Cheese


Our Cheese Shoppe is very excited about Beemster cheese. We have five different types of Beemster, which come from the quiet canal lined pastures of North Holland. This remarkable landscape, located 20 feet below sea level, was reclaimed from the sea in the year 1612. In search of better pastures, Dutch farmers moved north and found a lagoon stretching out to the sea. Using dykes and 106 windmills, this area referred to in Dutch as a Polder, was drained and soon became inhabited by lucky dairy cows.

The lush pastures are filled with minerals and it is against the law to use any chemicals or pesticides. Can you imagine how rich the milk is, one taste of Beemster cheese and you will. Beemster Classic is aged 18 months and is a 'Royal cheese'. To achieve this honor and be served at Court, a cheese must be made for 100 years with no mistakes.

   Easter Basket Cheese


As the name cheese suggests, Basket Cheese is a white, soft cheese that is formed in a basket. This traditional cheese has a circular shape and a slightly salty taste. This cheese has been especially popular as part of an Italian Easter Celebration.
 
Our Easter Basket Cheese comes in a 1.5lb container that leaves enough for a second recipe!

   How do I store my cheese properly?


Cheese is an investment in good taste and proper storage helps preserve the purity of its flavor. Plastic wrap, foil and other non porous materials suffocate and kill cheese, altering its flavor and accelerating spoilage.
Formaticum's two-ply Cheese Paper simulates the cave envireonment where cheese is traditionally aged. It allows the cheese to breathe while maintaining optimal humidity. Formaticum Cheese Paper is a small investment to keep your cheese fresher longer.
 
Here's how: Remove store wrap and put cheese in Formaticum Paper, placing the wrapped cheese in high humidity bin or a sealed container in your fridge. Use the enclosed adhesive labels to identify your cheese and ensure a proper wrap. Package contains 15 sheets of 11-14 cheese paper, enough to wrap 30 medium pieces of cheese for only $6.99. Now you can feel secure about your cheese investment and keep it optimally fresh so that each bite tastes as great as the day it was cut.

   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.
 
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.

   Bob’s Red Mill


Bob’s Red Mill offers a wide variety of whole grain products including whole grain flower, hot cereal and baking mixes to make incorporating whole grains into your diet easier. Bob’s Red Mill is the nation’s leader in stone milling and offers the widest diversity of whole grains found anywhere.

For those suffering from Celiac disease Bob’s Red Mill has become a leader in producing high quality Gluten Free products. McGinnis Sisters is a leader among those offering Gluten Free products. In 2001 we started carrying Gluten Free essential and hosting classes and informational sessions. Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods creates several of our favorite Gluten Free products including brownie and bread mixes.

Be sure to check for the Gluten Free symbol on all certified gluten free products. This symbol informs those following a gluten free diet that the product is produced in a dedicated facility free from wheat and other gluten-containing grains or derivatives.

   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.

   Stay Healthy This Flu Season


The flu season is fast approaching so be sure your family is prepared and takes steps to stay healthy!

Stay informed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has developed a comprehensive Web site for higher education institutions, including fraternities and sororities, and preparing for the flu. Visit the site at www.flu.gov for more information.
 
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcoholbased hands cleaners are also effective.Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
 
Try to get plenty of rest (7 hours sleep recommended).  Eat regularly and don’t skip meals. Choose variety, including fruits and vegetables, and proteins, low fat milk and milk products, healthy grains, plenty of water daily.Staying hydrated is very important. Stay active. The balance between rest and activity is a critical one for all of use in building and maintaining a healthy body and immune system, which we depend on when the body is stressed with illness. 
 
Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. 
 

   Strive for Heart Health


Even though we have more options and choices for healthy living, heart disease is still the number one cause of death in the United States.  A recent study by the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association found that less than one-third of Americans follow a heart-healthy diet and that 70% of those interviewed felt they are setting a bad example for their children.

It is important to eat a varied and balanced diet full of healthy foods.  Most habits formed during childhood and our habits don't change much as we age. Research shows that educating children about healthy habits will help them be successful later in life.

Here are some heart healthy tips that can benefit your family:
  • High Fat diets are not good, but don't pass up healthy fats.  Nuts, seeds, fish and olive oils are an important source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and cod contain high levels of Omega-3 fats, which are known to reduce triglycerides in the blood.
  • Walnuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil and almonds in their correct portions also contain heart healthy fats, which can help reduce LDL cholesterol. Flax seeds do not keep long so buy a small amount and try to use each day. Grind flax seeds and sprinkle on cereal or yogurt.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables, especially dark leafy greens.
  • Be mindful of added sodium and sugars.  Be sure to read labels so that afternoon snack does not add sodium and sugar into your diet.
  • Tomatoes, onions and cranberries are great choices because they contain antioxidants and other bioactive compounds associated with a healthy heart.
  • Add more Seafood to your diet each week.
  • Try to have one Meat Free or Animal Free day each week.
  • Avoid saturated fats and trans fats that can be found in some plant products including palm oil, coconut oil and cocoa butter.

For more heart-healthy information visit the American Heart Association at www.Americanheart.org 

   Ten Tips for a Healthy Diet


By following a few simple tips you can transform healthy food choices into even greater nutritional superstars.
  • Steam or blanch fresh vegetables instead of boiling them to prevent leaching out water-soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C.
  • Fresh is always best, but when you are pressed for time frozen vegetables to the trick.
  • Peels on fruits and vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals and are a natural barrier against nutrient loss. Whenever possible, keep the peel on.
  • Make snacking healthy with dried fruits. Some dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, apricots and cranberries contain even more disease-preventing antioxidants than their fresh fruit counterparts
  • Your body needs fat to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Low fat cheese, nuts, seeds or avocado, or a little olive oil are healthy fats to choose.
  • If you crush garlic cloves 10 minutes before using them, you will activate and preserve garlic’s heart protective compounds.
  • When tomatoes, apples or lemons are cooked in iron cookware, you can add energy-boosting iron to these acidic foods. You can also increase the iron you absorb from plant-based foods by eating them with vitamin C rich foods such as orange juice, strawberries and sweet peppers.
  • Cut fruit into large pieces and cook as soon as possible to decrease exposure to nutrient-leaching oxygen and light. Season your food with herbs and spices instead of salt to lower your sodium intake.
  • Cancer-causing compounds form when fatty meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as grilling over an open flame. Healthier options include oven roasting, stewing, poaching and boiling. If you do grill meat, remove visible fat, cut away charred or burned areas or marinate to form a protective barrier.
  • Drink lots of water. Your body needs at least eight glasses a day, and if you exercise vigorously, you may need more. To remind yourself, carry a water bottle along and keep it handy throughout the day.

   Easter Morning Breakfast


Make things easy on your self this Easter morning with a McGinnis Sisters homemade quiche. Made right in our stores all you need to do is warm and serve. Chose from Ham & Cheese, Lorraine, Spinach Ricotta, and Tomato Basil. Only $10.99 and each quiche serves 6 guests.
 
To satisfy your sweet tooth try our French Toast casserole.
 
 
What can you do that is easy yet tasty on Easter morning?

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