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

   Holiday Leftover Guide


Leftovers should be stored as soon as possible in the refrigerator or freezer. Prepared foods left at room temperature for 2 hours or longer are not safe to eat and should be discarded.
 
Turkey, ham and beef leftovers may be refrigerated 3 to 4 days or frozen up to 4-6 months. Side dishes should be eaten within 2 days, or frozen up to 2-3 months.  Be sure to re-heat all of your left overs to 165F before eating.

   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.  

   McGinnis 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.

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.

   McGinnis Sisters Standing Rib Roast


McGinnis Sisters Standing Rib Roast - The standing rib roast is the center piece of a traditional holiday meal. We recommend the Club Cut which is more and juicy. Standing Rib Roasts are beautifully marbled and as the roast cooks, that marbling melts creating a tender and juicy roast.  A whole roast will contain 7 ribs. Our meat cutters detach the rib bones and hand-tie the meat and ribs back into position. Each rib will serve two guests.
 

We the following this simple recipe.

Produce

   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.

   McGinnis Sisters Holiday Rosemary Trees


Celebrate the Holidays with our beautiful Rosemary trees. Our Rosemary trees make a great addition to your holiday décor and a perfect gift for anyone on your list. A recipe book is included with the plant, along with care instructions. Why pay up to $40 when ordering online when McGinnis Sisters Rosemary trees are less than $17.

   Brussel Sprouts are in Season


Brussels sprouts, members of the cabbage family, are in season this winter. Americans tend to shy away from this great veggie because we don't know how to select, store and prepare healthy Brussels sprouts.  Look for small, firm sprouts with compact, bright green heads. Choose sprouts of similar size for even cooking and roasting. 
 
When preparing your Brussels sprouts for storage remove any loose leaves and seal the unwashed Brussels sprouts in an airtight plastic bag and place them in the refrigerator. Try to use your sprouts as quickly as possible, since their flavor will start to become strong after three or four days. When ready to use wash each Brussels sprout and pat dry, removing any loose leaves. Trim the stem ends and cut in half for easy cooking.  Brussels sprouts should be cooked only until tender but still slightly crisp. Their color should remain intense; olive colored sprouts are a sign of overcooked.  To check doneness, pierce the stem end with a fork, it should penetrate easily. Check our Recipes page for easy preparation tips!
 
Brussels sprouts also a good source of: Vitamins A and C.

   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.
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.

   Christmas Eve Baccala


For Italians and those who love traditional Italian cuisine, it is time to start thinking about Christmas Eve Baccala. Any Italian worth his or her salt knows that tradition states that you can't wait until the last minuted to start preparing the Baccala. Don't let modern day recipes fool you, Baccala must be soaked for three days. For tradition's sake of course!
 
Start by cutting your Baccala into larger pieces so they fit into a large baking dish or a large container that will keep the Baccala submerged under water.  Start the soaking process by first rinsing the fish and then soaking it in fresh cold water for three days.Be sure to change the water at least twice a day and keep your fish in a cool place. You will notice the fish will start to swell up as the cold fresh water is absorbed.
 
On Christmas Eve you will be ready to bake or pan fry your traditional Baccala. We have a great recipe to share from a long time Team Member Denise. Her husband, Alex, makes the Baccala every Christmas to celebrate his Italian heritage and to celebrate family tradition. Find Alex's recipe here.   Or try this traditional Salt Cod with Tomatoes and Capers

   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

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.

   Ines Rosales Tortas & Reserve Cheddar Cheese


Ines Rosales Sweet & Savory Olive Oil Tortas have been a traditional snack throughout Spain for 100 years. Handmade in a small village near Seville since 1910, each torta is flattened by local women and hand-wrapped in wax paper.
 
They are a round, four-inch, wheat flour and olive oil cracker that is thin, bubbly, brown in spots and highly irregular. The light sugar or savory coatings crackles in your mouth; and the olive oil slides between ultra-thin layers and pulls dough apart into small flaky miracles throughout. The taste is magnificent, with salt standing up to the sweet, savory flavor at every bite.
 
Ines Rosales Tortas make a great pair with Reserve Cheddar. Reserve Cheddar is naturally-aged, superbly sharp, yet smoother.
Bakery

   Traditional New Year's Pretzel


Do you know the story behind the New Year's Pretzel? New Year's Pretzels are said to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year and are to be eaten at midnight or before breakfast on New Year’s Day.

There are a few different stories about the origins of the New Years Pretzel. Some say that the New Year's Pretzels were fashioned after the way in which German monks prayed. By crossing arms across the chest in the traditional prayer style, the German monks would pray for peace, health and prosperity for everyone in the surrounding village.

Others say the the circular shaped pretzel is based on the old calendar sign for the winter solstice, which was a circle with a dot in its center. The central cross was added later to represent the four seasons.

Another story tells of German children parading through the streets with pretzels tied around their neck. The children would greet relatives and exchange pretzels for good luck in the new year.
 
No matter the story you favor, we can all agree that New Year's Pretzels are a tasty and fun way to celebrate old world traditions. Do the pretzels really bring good luck? If you believe in the power of positive thinking then we say...Yes!
 
We wish you a happiness, health and of course a little luck in the new year!
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.
 
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