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.
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
Big-game watch parties call for big-game snacks, but that doesn’t have to mean complicated recipes or hours spent in the kitchen. Prepare a double serving of guacamole and split it in two. Keep one as-is for an easy and healthy vegan option, and make BLT Guacamole with the rest.
A Winning Spread for the Big Game
(Family Features) Big-game watch parties call for big-game snacks, but that doesn’t have to mean complicated recipes or hours spent in the kitchen. Small bites and hearty dips made with real ingredients can be easy to prepare, and make an impressive spread that guests can enjoy from opening kickoff to the final whistle.
To avoid the classic snacking fumble of having your guests’ chips crumbling in your dips, choose an option like Garden of Eatin’ Blue Tortilla Chips, the mother of all chips, made with organic whole blue corn kernels that are stone ground to perfection for thick, tasty and hearty chips that stand up to any dip.
To prepare for fellow viewers with other lifestyle or dietary needs, plan to offer snacks and dips that satisfy even the most finicky of fans. Prepare a double serving of guacamole and split it in two. Keep one as-is for an easy and healthy vegan option, and make BLT Guacamole with the rest.
Serve with Garden of Eatin’ Grain Free Cassava Chips, which are made with organic cassava, sunflower and chia seeds. Crafted to perfection, these gluten-free, grain-free, vegan, paleo-approved chips provide a tasty touchdown for the whole team.
If you’re looking to bring the heat with bold taste and just enough spice in each bite, go for a warm option like Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso. To save time, you can assemble it a few hours before kickoff or even a day ahead of the game then bake just prior to guests arriving. An easy way to make this recipe stretch is to make a portion without meat so you have a vegetarian option as well.
Find more recipes to bring victory to your game-day spread at gardenofeatin.com.
Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking
Tex-Mex Enchilada Queso
Recipe courtesy of Gaby Dalkin of What’s Gaby Cooking
Garden of Eatin’
When bringing your friends and family together to watch the game, you’ll likely want to avoid any fumbles in the kitchen. Fret not and opt for a big batch of easy-to-make Crispy Baked Wings with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or Nashville-Style Sauce while incorporating these stress-free tips into your game plan to help ensure a resounding success.
Wing It for Game Day
(Family Features) When bringing your friends and family together to watch the game, you’ll likely want to avoid any fumbles in the kitchen. Fret not and opt for a big batch of easy-to-make wings while incorporating these stress-free tips into your game plan to help ensure a resounding success:
Find more flavorful recipes and game day tips at Tabasco.com/wings.
Crispy Baked Wings with Chipotle Barbecue Sauce or Nashville-Style Sauce
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chipotle Barbecue Sauce:
No matter what kind of events you have on your social calendar, you can pop up delicious treats that are sure to be a hit.
Perfect Pops for Every Occasion
(Family Features) No matter what kind of events you have on your social calendar, you can pop up delicious treats that are sure to be a hit.
Whether hosting a get-together for the guys and tuning into the game or having a night in with the girls, freshly popped popcorn, which is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO and gluten free, can help you please every palate.
Sweet, spicy, salty or served in more non-traditional ways, the possibilities are endless, and perfect for everything from date night to a family movie night or even a sleepover or kids’ party. And since it’s healthy and whole grain, popcorn is a satisfying snack suitable for every occasion that you can feel good about serving.
Find more versatile, nutritious recipes for your next event at popcorn.org.
Cookies ’N Cream Popcorn
Popcorn Party Pizza
Popcorn and Peanut Truffles
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Truffles can be stored in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Toasted Coconut and Chocolate Popcorn
Cheesy Pepperoni Popcorn
(BPT) - What makes a great party on a big awards night so much fun? It probably has something to do with why we still go to packed movie theaters: We love a shared experience.
This March 4, make your red carpet viewing experience one to remember for you and your friends, and host a bash that celebrates our decades-long fascination with movie magic, celebrities and Hollywood mystique. To make it special, try some of these tips when planning your awards night viewing party.
Set a dress code: Let your friends know they’re in for a special night, and make it a dress-up affair. Or for something both glam and comfy, invite everyone to come in their fanciest lounge wear. (Think slippers, smoking jackets, dressing gowns and satin pajamas.)
Kick it off with red carpet glam: Build a red-carpet photo booth in your entryway, complete with red fabric, gold stars and topiaries and urge your guests to work it for the camera. To make it more fun, have photo-ready props handy, like oversized sunglasses, wigs and feather boas, and they’ll do the rest!
Make it interesting: During the big event, bring the spirit of competition into your living room and hand out ballots, asking your guests to predict who's taking home the gold statue. To enjoy the unpredictable fun of live TV, make up some bingo cards. Up the stakes and prepare a few swag bags for the winners. Some ideas: DVDs with winning movie titles of yore, movie theater passes, gourmet popcorn and locally made candies.
Get bubbly: Champagne is always in style with the rich and famous. Popping open some chilled bottles of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut will make your guests feel like A-listers, because this year, special edition bottles from the famed champagne maker will be also poured at the ceremony and after-party. To learn more, visit piper-heidsieck.com.
Serve delicious, sophisticated bites: Serving up platters of tasty hors d’oeuvres is always a simple but classy way to feed your stylish guests because it lets everyone eat, mingle and watch the show. This year, let your menu be inspired by Wolfgang Puck, the creator of the luxurious, over-the-top feast served at the awards show after-party. Try his recipe for Gougères with gruyere, and your guests will give you a standing ovation. (Find the recipe below.)
Makes about 75 bite-sized puffs
Gougères are savory puffs flavored with cheese and served hot from the oven as a quick hors d’oeuvres.
Source: Wolfgang Puck.
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