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

   McGinnis Sisters Fresh All Natural Turkey


We are pleased to offer our All Natural Whole Turkeys to your family. McGinnis Sisters Turkeys are all natural and fed a diet of all natural corn and grain. Our turkeys are never frozen or injected with preservatives and chemical solutions.

Our turkeys range in size from 12 lbs to 28 lbs. We recommend about 1 lb to 1 ½ lbs of turkey per adult. We will have cooking instructions ready for you when you pick up your turkey. All birds have a pop up timers, but we recommend that you have a meat thermometer one hand to ensure that your turkey has reached 165 degrees.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   Nantucket Island Scallops


McGinnis Sisters Special Food Stores is expecting our first shipment of Nantucket Island Scallops the week of November 4th. These sugar sweet scallops are a seasonal delicacy not to be missed. These jewels of the ocean are so rich that 3-4oz per person is more than enough to satisfy the pallet.

Once the season opens, the Nantucket Island Harbor Master will licensed each authorized both to harvest the maximum about of 5 bushels per day depending on the conditions and the catch.

   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

   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

Cheese

   Wensleydale with Cranberies


For a festive cheese selection at your holiday party, try Wensleydale with Cranberries. A real Yorkshire Wensleydale infused with Ocean Spray Cranberries! Made from only the finest quality milk and all natural ingredients, this cheese is mild and slightly sweet, with a hint of honey on the finish a sure holiday favorite.

   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

   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. 
 


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

View More Recipes
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