Q: What is the safest way to defrost frozen meat? I like to leave it out on the counter to defrost while we're away at work but my wife wants to defrost it in the refrigerator, which takes several days.
Lynne: Bad bacteria multiplies like rabbits between 40 and 140 degrees. If you leave meat out on the counter it can spoil very quickly. If you have a microwave, check its manual for instructions on defrosting food in the microwave. Another way to defrost when you're in a hurry is to put the food - which is wrapped airtight, of course - in a big bowl or sink filled with ice water. Make sure the water stays cold, but you should be able to defrost a 3- to 4-pound chicken in a couple hours. Do it the night before then stick it in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook.