Whether you're hosting a large dinner party or just having a meal at home with a few friends, it's important to follow proper food safety practices. This guide will help you understand some basic cooking tips that will reduce the risk of foodborne illness.
Cook Meat Thoroughly
If you're serving meat at your gathering, it's important that you cook it thoroughly. Some people are especially susceptible to foodborne illnesses, so cooking meat completely is especially important. You should confirm the meat's internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Raw beef, pork, lamb, or veal should be cooked to at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For ground beef, pork, veal, or lamb, a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is recommended. Poultry requires an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees. After the meat is removed from the heat source, it needs to rest for three minutes before serving.
Cross-contamination could increase the risk of food poisoning. To reduce this risk, store raw meat in sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent contact with other food. Always wash cooking utensils, cutting boards, and food preparation materials with warm, soapy water before you start cooking. You should use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meat, and it is important to use clean washcloths, dish towels, and sponges. Ensure that you clean any serving platters, and wash your hands before and after handling food. All utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and platters should be placed in the sink or dishwasher immediately once they have been used.
Store Food Safely
If food is expired or stored at the wrong temperature, you and your guests may become ill. Once you have opened a jar or food package, be sure to write the opening date on the container. Always store eggs, meat, cheese, and sliced fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator. Mayonnaise, ketchup, and opened jars of jelly need to be refrigerated as well. Pies, cakes, and baked goods can be stored at room temperature for up to two days, but they should be placed in the refrigerator after that. Food that has been purchased from the freezer section of the store should be placed in the freezer immediately. If you are serving salads or other foods that contain eggs, ensure that you keep these items chilled in the refrigerator until it is time to serve them. Food that contains eggs should not be left out on a serving platter for more than two hours. In temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, food with eggs should only be left at room temperature for one hour.
The tips in this guide are intended as a general overview of safe cooking and food storage. If you are unsure about how to store or prepare a particular food, research food-specific safety tips before making a purchase. Enjoy your meal!
Looking for some quick and healthy meals? Check out these two delicious options!
Whether you’re hosting a houseful of guests or simply keeping your family’s hunger at bay before dinner, appetizers can be a home chef’s best friend. Simple options like this Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus allow for personalization while keeping cook time to a minimum.
Help Yourself to Healthier Hummus
(Family Features) Whether you’re hosting a houseful of guests or simply keeping your family’s hunger at bay before dinner, appetizers can be a home chef’s best friend. Simple options like dips allow for personalization while keeping cook time to a minimum.
The next time you’re looking for a quick fix, consider this Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus recipe that’s ideal for pairing with pita bread, veggies or crackers. With the layered flavor, color and texture of onions serving as a key ingredient, it’s a nutritious substitute for less health-conscious appetizers and snacks.
In fact, onions can be called nature’s ninja because of their many “skills.” Onions add abundant flavor to a wide variety of foods with just 45 calories per serving as a source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and other key nutrients such as folate, calcium and iron. They are also rich in heart-healthy nutrients and have been shown to help prevent some cancers.
Find more recipe ideas at onions-usa.org.
Watch video to see how to make this recipe!
Caramelized Sweet Onion Hummus
Recipe courtesy of the National Onion Association
National Onion Association
Entertaining for a special occasion becomes less intimidating when you know exactly what to cook. Armed with knowledge of the numerous beef cuts and USDA grades, consumers can be prepared to host family or friends for an extraordinary evening in any occasion. This article will provide you with information to make you a smart beef shopper.
(BPT) - Hosting dinner for a special occasion can be stressful. Whether you’re gathering with family for the holidays or making something new for friends, you want to deliver an entertaining evening and impress your guests with a pristine meal that everyone enjoys. A delicious beef cut is the focal point of a dinner that will treat guests to a night they will remember.
Beef is a traditional choice for many special occasions, including preparing a nostalgic favorite for the family or creating a meal from one’s cultural heritage. Guests of all ages identify beef cuts as a delicacy.
Cargill surveyed consumers to learn more about their perceptions of beef and when beef is on their plate. Among American beef shoppers who were asked about beef cuts (such as steaks, roasts, etc.):
Consumers view beef cuts as a savory entrée and want that luxury on their plate at special occasions. Selecting the perfect cut for a specific occasion can be a challenge, though.
Sterling Silver Premium Meats outlines the wide variety of beef cuts and details what each one brings to the table. Tenderloin steak is lean, yet succulent, with a fine buttery texture. Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin and serves as a stellar main course, perhaps as a mushroom filet, at a small gathering. Tenderloin can also be incorporated into a sophisticated mac and cheese recipe or a petite tender flatbread.
Ribeye is one of the best-known steaks and a favorite at steakhouses everywhere for being rich, juicy and full-flavored. Prime rib steak comes from the same section as ribeye, but the cuts are larger since they include the ribeye and the bone.
If you want a portion friendly entrée, short ribs are rich in tenderness and flavor, and are easily divvied up among the guests at a party. There are tons of recipes for short rib meals and appetizers including: smoky tomato braised short ribs with polenta, chipotle-braised short rib tacos, mini ancho short rib tamales and short rib sliders.
Skirt steak is tender and flavorful too, and it’s perfect for the grill. An indulgence that’s just as enjoyable as an individual steak as it is in stir-fry or fajitas, skirt cuts can create many different delectable dinners.
For a more affordable meal, ideal for large gatherings with families and friends, serve brisket or roast beef. Brisket incorporates some variety into the eating experience and is best when roasted slowly at a lower temperature. Add a puree to your plate for a complete slow braised brisket meal. Pot roast is economical and versatile. It can be tenderized by cooking in liquid for hours or cut into cubes for stew that can be shared by a big group.
Most consumers responding to the Cargill survey also said that USDA grades are important to them, but many shoppers lack an understanding of how to use the USDA grading system as a guide when purchasing beef.
While surveying the meat case at the grocery store, consumers can scan for the USDA grades on packaging. For a high-quality cut of meat for a special occasion, shoppers should grab a Prime cut, which has amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. USDA Select grade beef offers a leaner protein source with slight amounts of fat and marbling. The Choice grade features moderate marbling and flavor and is a little less lean than Select cuts.
Entertaining for a special occasion becomes less intimidating when you know exactly what to cook. Armed with knowledge of the numerous beef cuts and USDA grades, consumers can be prepared to host family or friends for an extraordinary evening in any occasion.
Wondering what to cook for an upcoming holiday gathering - or just a family meal? A beautiful beef roast is a feast for the eyes and the stomach, sure to impress guests of all ages. With a few expert tips and tricks, you'll be sure to serve a perfectly cooked roast packed full of flavor. Here's a "how to" guide to make you a roast expert!
(BPT) - Wondering what to cook for an upcoming holiday gathering? A beautiful beef roast is a feast for the eyes and the stomach, sure to impress guests of all ages. With a few expert tips and tricks, you'll be sure to serve a perfectly cooked roast packed full of flavor.
Roasting tips from the pros
No matter which cut of beef you select to serve, there are some tried-and-true tricks chefs use to get the juiciest, most delicious results. The pros from Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. and the Beef Checkoff are the experts on all things beef and offer these tips for the perfect holiday roast.
Step 1: Use tools of the trade
Before you start, consider investing in an ovenproof meat thermometer. This is particularly important when roasting larger cuts. Unlike an instant-read thermometer, an ovenproof meat thermometer stays in the roast while cooking. This helps you avoid opening the oven unnecessarily and poking multiple holes in the roast, causing you to lose some of the juices.
Step 2: Select your cut
When cooking for four people or fewer, it is best to purchase a steak. For larger parties, a traditional bone-in roast is a popular option. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a roast that has one rib for every two people. To save time in the store, you can even call your meat counter in advance to order the exact size roast you need.
Step 3: Preheat and prep
It’s important to set your oven to the appropriate temperature for your roast. For a bone-in Ribeye roast, 350 F is generally recommended, but make sure to check your recipe for specifics. While your oven preheats, season the roast according to your recipe, then sear. While it's possible to develop a crust on your roast through slow roasting, you may get tastier results by searing it over high heat at either the beginning or the end of the roasting time. Most recipes will specify whether and when to brown the meat, but when in doubt, a quick sear before popping the roast into the oven won't hurt.
Step 4: Go low and slow
When placing the roast in your roasting pan, preferably on a roasting rack, you want to place the beef on the rack fat-side-up and bone side down (if your cut has bones). Using a rack improves air circulation and promotes even cooking. Once your roast is in the pan, you’ll want to insert your ovenproof meat thermometer with the tip centered in the thickest part of the roast, avoiding the bone, if the cut you select has one. Cook as recommended, being sure not to overshoot your target temperature as it will continue to rise after pulling the roast from the oven.
Cooking times vary depending on both the cut of meat and your desired doneness. For example, if you're cooking a bone-in Ribeye Roast for four to six people at 350 F, you can plan for a cook time as short as 1 hr 45 min for medium rare, targeting an internal temperature of 135 F, or as long as 2 hr 45 min for medium, with an internal temperature of 145 F. For specific roasting time guidelines for a bone-in Ribeye Roast, as well as other cuts, you can visit www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.
Step 5: Let it rest
Once you pull the roast from the oven, transfer it to a carving board and cover it loosely with aluminum foil (this is called tenting) and let it rest. It is important to let your roast rest so the juices have time to re-absorb into the meat ensuring a tender, juicy roast. Larger roasts need more time to rest, often as long as 15–20 minutes. Those few extra minutes provide a great opportunity to make an au jus from the reserved beef drippings and plate side dishes.
Step 6: Carve and serve
The most important tool for properly carving your roast is a sharp knife. And, if you're using a meat fork to help carve, try not to pierce the roast to hold it in place. If you want to avoid this risk altogether, you can use the back of the fork instead or simply opt for tongs. If you have a rib roast, cut each slice along the rib bone. And remember to always cut across the grain for maximum tenderness.
Over time, many families tend to return to the same holiday favorites, from ham and mashed potatoes to pies and cookie classics. This season, you can add a twist to tradition with these globally inspired desserts: Rugelach or Mexican Wedding Cookies.
Holiday Desserts from Around the Globe
(Family Features) Over time, many families tend to return to the same holiday favorites, from ham and mashed potatoes to pies and cookie classics. This season, you can add a twist to tradition with these globally inspired desserts.
Rugelach, for instance, is like a cross between a croissant and a cookie featuring walnuts for a nutty flavor and crunch with ties to Greece, Turkey and the Middle East. If you’re looking to steal the show at cookie exchanges, Mexican Wedding Cookies provide a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture perfect for dipping in hot chocolate.
Both treats include California walnuts, which have an agricultural history deeply rooted in tradition and can stand alone as a tasty snack or offer an opportunity to level up dishes from appetizers to desserts.
Find more holiday dessert ideas at walnuts.org/holiday.
Recipe courtesy of California Walnuts
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Recipe courtesy of California Walnuts
Building out a full menu to please your brunch guests with simple, tasty recipes like Apple Strudel Pancakes, Mini Hash Brown Casseroles and Watermelon Bloody Mary can help create a fun, flavorful atmosphere when it’s time for a morning bite.
Go Big on Brunch
(Family Features) Building out a full menu to please your brunch guests with simple, tasty recipes can help create a fun, flavorful atmosphere when it’s time for a morning bite.
By making a variety of dishes to accommodate an array of personal tastes, you can give friends and family the flavors they desire. With choices like Apple Strudel Pancakes and Mini Hash Brown Casseroles, you can fulfill a multitude of food groups from grains and fruits to dairy and meat. Allow the adults at your gathering to top off the meal with a spicy take on this Watermelon Bloody Mary, featuring simple preparation and a handful of garnish options.
Find more brunch recipes at Culinary.net.
Add Apples to Your Brunch Buffet
As part of a balanced brunch, these Apple Strudel Pancakes feature whole grains rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins to provide energy for you and your guests. With a rich, nutty flavor, buckwheat flour complements the sweet taste of apples and maple syrup for a twist on traditional pancakes. Find more nutritious recipes at aicr.org.
Apple Strudel Pancakes
Reprinted with permission from the American Institute for Cancer Research
Apple Strudel Mixture:
A Small Brunch Bite
A full brunch menu calls for small bites on the side to complement the multitude of flavors brought on by a variety of brunch dishes.
For a clever option that’s quick to make, these Mini Hash Brown Casseroles provide a morsel bursting with flavor to pair with just about any morning meal. Made with refrigerated Simply Potatoes Shredded Hash Browns, which are pre-shredded for a faster fridge to fork kitchen experience, you can make a batch of the tasty cups in less than an hour.
Find more brunch solutions and recipes at simplypotatoes.com.
Mini Hash Brown Casseroles
Prep time: 10 minutes
Sipping on Sweet and Spicy
Take your brunch the extra mile with a twist on the traditional mid-morning beverage. By adding jalapeno and horseradish to this Watermelon Bloody Mary, you’ll have a spicy, tasty version of a traditional brunch drink ready for your guests.
With watermelon balancing out the jalapeno, it’s an ideal balance of spicy and sweet with just the right amount of kick. Find more brunch recipes at watermelon.org.
Watermelon Bloody Mary
Recipe courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion BoardYield: 4 cocktails
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pancakes)SOURCE:
American Institute for Cancer Research
National Watermelon Promotion Board
The “classic” deviled egg includes a mixture of mustard and mayonnaise, sprinkled with paprika. However, chefs and home cooks alike are experimenting with various flavor twists for recipes like Easy Deviled Eggs, Smoky Deviled Eggs, Fiery Deviled Eggs, Avocado Deviled Eggs, Mediterranean Deviled Eggs and French’s Party Deviled Eggs.
6 Deviled Eggs Recipes Perfect for Easter and Beyond
(Family Features) Deviled eggs, also known as stuffed eggs, first appeared in American cookbooks in the mid-19th century, but the origin can be traced back to ancient Rome where eggs were boiled and seasoned with spicy sauces, according to the History Channel. Today, deviled eggs are a staple during Easter, and according to the American Egg Board, more than 100 million dozen eggs were sold last year during the week of Easter alone.
The “classic” deviled egg includes a mixture of mustard and mayonnaise, sprinkled with paprika. However, chefs and home cooks alike are experimenting with various flavor twists, including ingredients like seeds, bacon, hot sauce, avocado, pickles, dill, crab meat and more.
Celebrate this classic Easter recipe along with five new flavor variations from the experts at McCormick and French’s. For more deviled egg recipes and Easter inspiration, visit McCormick.com and Frenchs.com.
Toast is a versatile option for nearly anyone seeking a bite for breakfast, especially those eaters looking for both nutrition and flavor. Hummus Toast with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Parmesan brings with it the extra nutritional value of veggies, while Hummus Toast with Soft-Boiled Egg and Spinach packs ample protein for an ideal way to start the day.
A Tasty Take on Trendy Toast
(Family Features) While many food trends come and go, some desired food traits seemingly never go out of style. For example, dishes that provide nutritional benefits will pretty much always be popular, along with types of foods that can be customized to match personalized preferences and tastes.
Toast is a versatile option for nearly anyone seeking a bite for breakfast, especially those eaters looking for both nutrition and flavor. Because you can add a variety of toppings to your toast, it can be a simple way to add a healthy element to your morning routine.
These recipes, for example, include Sabra Hummus as a base spread, which adds protein and fiber perfect for breakfast, brunch or a mid-morning snack. Hummus Toast with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Parmesan brings with it the extra nutritional value of veggies, while Hummus Toast with Soft-Boiled Egg and Spinach packs ample protein for an ideal way to start the day.
Plus, because these quick-to-make recipes involve short amounts of time spent on preparation, you’re able to enjoy a nutritious treat even on the busiest of days.
Find more ways to take trendy toast to the next level at Sabra.com.
Hummus Toast with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Parmesan
Hummus Toast with Soft-Boiled Egg and Spinach
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