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Holiday safe food handling

By Staff | Nov 22, 2013

Always wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling food. Use soap and scrub for 20 seconds.

Be careful not to cross-contaminate. Use clean dishcloths, cutting boards, utensils and plates when preparing and serving food.

Thaw the turkey in the refrigerator or under cold water.

Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature and use a food thermometer to check if foods are “done.” Cook turkey, chicken and stuffing to an internal temperature of at least 165 F.

If you cook food ahead of time to reheat later, be sure to cook it until it is “done,” then refrigerate it in shallow pans. Before serving, reheat it to 165 F.

Cook stuffing in a casserole dish separate from the turkey.

Don’t give bacteria the opportunity to grow and possibly make people sick. Perishable food should not sit at room temperature for more than two hours.

Arrange and serve food on several small platters rather than on one large platter. Refill as needed.

Keep hot foods hot in the oven set at 200 to 250 F, or in a slow cooker set on low.

Keep cold foods cold. Keep food such as salads, cut-up fruit or vegetables in the refrigerator until serving time.

From: NDSU Food Wise, Julie Garden-Robinson, Food & Nutrition Specialist

Common turkey question:

I bought a turkey with a pop-up thermometer. Do I still need to use a regular thermometer?

Yes. That’s because the thermometer sometimes pops out before the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature. Use a food thermometer to ensure that the turkey reaches 165 F. Measure the temperature in the thickest areas of the meat, away from the bone.

Turkey Tostadas

2 c. cooked turkey, cut into bite-size pieces

2 Tbsp. taco seasoning

1 c. water

4 corn tortillas

c. refried beans, low-fat or fat-free

c. cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, low-fat

c. tomatoes, chopped

c. lettuce, shredded

2 Tbsp. onions, chopped

c. taco sauce

Optional toppings:low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt or guacamole

Wash and prepare the vegetables. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine turkey, taco seasoning and water. Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Place tortillas on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 F for four to seven minutes or until tortillas are crispy. Spread tortillas with a tablespoon of beans. Top with one-quarter of the meat mixture and cheese. Return tortillas to oven to cook for two to three minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with tomatoes, lettuce, onions and taco sauce. Garnish with yogurt and guacamole, if desired.

Makes four servings. Each serving has 240 calories, 4 grams (g) of fat, 21 g of carbohydrate and 420 milligrams of sodium.

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