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Apr 5, 2008 10:31 AM

How long do things keep?

I normally don't prepare food in advance but with a busier schedule, I'd like to try doing most of my cooking on a Sunday for the rest of the week. The problem I'm having is I find that the chicken/beef/pork on a 2nd or 3rd day is pretty dry.

If i marinade everything in advance, is it still okay in the fridge (not the freezer) after 3 or 4 days? What is the general rule of thumb when it comes to keeping food (meat/poultry/fish).


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  1. Personally, I wouldn't keep fish or poultry more than overnight. Beef, maybe 2 days. If you are purchasing them fresh, you could freeze for use later in the week.

    1 Reply
    1. re: sarah galvin

      Fish, i normally buy the day I'm using but even chicken? You're talking raw, right?

    2. I try to buy fish and use it the same day. The next day may be OK, but after that I wouldn't push it. Chicken I try to use that day or the next -- otherwise, I freeze it and then thaw the day I plan to use. Meat, I treat like chicken.

      Veggies last longer, but don't eat them too past their prime. For example, some leafy greens can grow bacterias and such if left too long.

      1. wet marinades are a breeding ground for bacteria and also begin to break down the meat proteins after a certain point, destroying the texture and turning it mushy.

        your best bet is to cook the stuff, portion it out and freeze some for later use.

        for example, roast some chicken pieces. if you'd normally eat 2, cook 6 or 8. freeze some, then pick the meat off the remaining 2 or 3 to use for tacos, pasta or chicken salad later in the week. the cooked meat will easily last 4-5 days in the fridge if well-wrapped, and you've got back-up in the freezer for a rainy day. same for meats and pork.

        this won't work as well with fish. plan on eating that same day, or the next at the very latest.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          thanks guys. any suggestions on what i can make ahead that'll be good for a week besides chili and spaghetti sauce?

          1. re: hotsauce28

            --Pot roast is perfectly fine after a week, esp if you 1)don't preslice it and 2)refrig it covered in the pan juices. Eat it with mashed potatoes or rice for Sunday night supper, and slice it up for roast beef sandwiches later in the week.
            --bean dishes (creamy red beans, black beans, lentils/dal, white beans)
            --slow-cooked southern style veggies (green beans, okra & tomatoes, crowder peas, blackeyed peas); they're supposed to be soggy/soft textured, so they reheat just fine
            --non-cream soups

            "Pot cooking" dishes age really well....gumbos, thick stews & soups, smothered dishes like etouffee or smothered chicken. In other words, braised proteins with a sufficient amount of liquid to cover any slight dryness or loss of texture produced by several days in the fridge & a reheating.

            1. re: hotsauce28

              beef stew. I usually make a crock pot full on sunday and my husband has it for 4-5 days after he gets home from work. (he works 2nd shift) another idea is ghoulash. both actually taste better reheated.

            2. re: hotoynoodle

              i like hotoynoodle's approach - i use something one night and then use leftover the next - easist example is roast chicken - 1st night its roast chicken....2nd night pulled chicken in something.....last i get a soup or a stock from bones.
              Doesn't work as well with fish - they are right but still i get 2 days out of a lot of fish - by making a fish salad or a fish cake with any leftovers. Any meal that lends itself to freezing - i make in double portions if not more. Chicken Zingara, stewed items, meatloaf, enchiladas, lasgna, meatball, pulled pork.

            3. The only time a marinade something for several days is when I make saurbraten. It's a 5 day marinade in the bottom of the fridge and I use vinegar and red wine so it's more like curing the meat.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Paul Weller

                Paul, can you tell me more about this marinade?

              2. I sometimes cook on Sunday for Monday and Tuesday night.
                For example, I'll make a chicken dish like paprikash (using the epicurious recipe) in a crockpot. I will get everything ready on Sunday to the point where I turn on the crockpot and then put the crockpot interior in the refrigerator overnight. I also sometimes half prepare gumbo to the point where I add the shellfish. I cool it and refrigerate it (I think the recipe I use says it is okay for two days). Then on the night we are eating it, I reheat--add the shellfish and serve. I also prepare casseroles like moussaka and refrigerate for up to two nights. That only gets me dinner through Tuesday but it is a help.