Category Archives: Articles – Cooking Food At Home

UnMess Your Chili Dogs!

UnMess Your Chili Dogs!

It is certainly chili weather in Kansas and with the cold and blizzard conditions on the East coast right now, chili is being made by the gallons; tons if you will.  We all love chili here and make giant batches so we can have lots of leftovers.  Chili does get better with age in the refrigerator so huge batches are common.

But how many days can you eat chili and be be completely happy?  Actually a LOT of days! We smother enchiladas with chili sometimes and utilizing a side dish can make a difference too.

  • with salad and crackers
  • with fresh veggies and cheese bread
  • with tortilla chips and nacho cheese
  • with fries, ‘tater tots, ‘tater wedges, baked ‘taters with bacon and MORE cheese.

Just a few but of course there are so many variations to go with chili, straight from a bowl.

Chili Dogs a favorite for leftover Chili.

Oh YEAH!  Homemade chili dogs certainly makes the list of favorites at any household. Known as ‘fast food’,  fattening food,  artery cloggers and more, chili dogs have been given a really bad rap.  But how often do you eat a chili dog or two?  Once, twice or three times a year?  Well, then make up for it on other days with salad.  But enjoy the ones you do eat!

At our house ‘finger foods’ that are messy are simply not acceptable.  With handicapped folks and with kids, a chili mess with chili dogs does not make a happy dinnertime for Mom.  So to forgo that mess on faces, hands and clothes, here is a solution for when Dad and/or kids BEG for chili dogs.

How To UnMess Your Chili Dogs —

0-tp-unmess-your-chili-dogs-food-buddy-ks

How to UnMess Your Chili Dogs! 

Simply make layers —

  • toasted bread, cubed
  • sliced hot dogs or sausage, fried
  • fresh chopped onions, or green onions
  • cheese of your choice

Cheese in our infographic happens to be leftover Nacho Cheese.  It was what was available, at the time.  It was great too.

0-tp-chili-dog-plate-with-fries

Chili Dog plate with fries.

Enjoy your chili dog plate however you like it!  YUM!

— Eileen Brown, Derby KS

Pink Slaw For Breast Cancer Awareness Month #plfrecipe

Pink  Slaw For Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Blue is for boys and pink is for girls, usually. But Sunday football
has revealed an oxymoron of pink flashes donning professional
athletes. Why? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In 1943, Susan Goodman was born followed three years later by her
sister, Nancy. Did either of them realize the influence they would
have on professional football or even the impact they would have
on the world? Not likely. By age 33, Susan, now Mrs. Komen, was
diagnosed with breast cancer and died three years later in 1980.
Nancy, now Mrs. Brinker, felt the results might have been different
with better research and education. In 1982, to fulfill a promise to
her sister, Brinker founded the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer
Foundation in hopes to end the deadly disease. She was moved by
passion to take a step forward.

Nancy cared and acted. The world was changed.

The Susan G Komen for the Cure is the most widely known,
largest and best-funded breast cancer organization in the United States.
To date Komen has invested almost $2 billion in research, education,
advocacy, health services and social support programs in the
U.S., 100,000 volunteers and in partnership with 50 countries.

How will the world change because you care?

Is there something you have a passion about? Take your first
step if it has value and the world may be changed. Just do it! And,
keep doing it!

Now, on to the food! Pink, of course. Cole slaw.

In my new toy, the VitaMixer, I put 1/2 of a red cabbage
(chunked), 1/2 of a green cabbage (chunked), 1/2 onion and
water to cover all. On the #2 setting, pulse until the cabbage
is chopped to desired size. Drain off the water and place cabbage
mix in a glass bowl. (If you don’t have a VitaMixer, you can just
grate the cabbages and onion to desired size.)

Add 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, and 1/4 cup
granulated sugar (raw turbinado can be used). Sea salt and fresh
cracked pepper can be added to taste. Mix thoroughly, cover and
let it “marinate” in the refrigerator. (you might want to adjust the
amount of mayo, vinegar and sugar)

Share your story.

If you are a Cancer Survivor or have a loved one who is, please
share your victory in the comments below. If you want to honor a lost
one, please do that. This is a battle we must win. Work for a cure.

~~ * ~~ * ~~ * ~~

This entry by Dea Irby is a guest post article and will be posted
at A Dollop and A Pinch – The Dea Irby Blog next week.

~~ * ~~ * ~~ * ~~

Pink Slaw for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

EB Signature

Keeping Your Berries Fresh

Keeping Your Berries Fresh

One of the Prairieland Food directors, June Glasgow found a great little gem of information on saving berries and we’d like to share that information as it is so welcome this time of year. Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are favorites at our home but many people really prefer raspberries when berry season rolls around.

Aside from the pure joy of being visually appealing and energizing our taste centers, berries are a heart healthy food. Whatever berry you like best, it is full of anti-inflammatories, which reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.

If you’re a berry lover too, you already know that berries don’t stay fresh long, and especially raspberries seem to grow mold overnight, even when just purchased. Whatever your favorite berries are, here is a great tip to keep them fresh longer when you get them home.

How to keep your berries fresh longer – a recipe for berry lovers!

Prepare in a large bowl
1 – 1 part vinegar – white or apple cider.
2 – 10 parts water and stir around until blended.
3 – Add berries and swirl in mixture.
4 – Drain, rinse if you want (however the mixture is so diluted you can’t taste the vinegar.)
5 – Place in container and keep in the fridge.

This would equate to —
5 cups of water and 1/2 cup vinegar or
10 cups water and 1 cup vinegar.

“The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they’ll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.”

All credit for this berry gem recipe information goes to:
Simply Living Smart – Food Storage Videos and Healthy Recipes.
You folks at SLS have made our berry season brighter.

Berry Much Thanks! 😀

~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~

Prairieland Food Strawberry Recipes

Strawberries and Cream  —  Strawberry Salsa

🙂

How To Frost A Cake

How To Frost A Cake

– Instructions From A Pro –

~~~  And Easter Recipes  ~~~

When we crave something sweet and there is nothing prepared already, I bake a cake.  Although there are only two of us in our household, I have relatives close by who can share with us, when the cake is still fresh and luscious.

I’m not the pro mentioned in the headline. Heh.

When I decided to write this article, I thought I’d check online and see how many articles like it there are. Turns out, there are not that many. Huh. There are tons of videos but not that many (really good) articles that give directions in writing.  Even with that, I read a few of the articles I did find and since they state exactly what I wanted to say, I thought I’d simply give you the best I found along with the link and credit to the website where it resides. AND who has the very best article? — (IMHO)

Paula Deen – People LOVE this southern bell.

We love her too, down to earth and gritty even, she is the epitome of the home based southern cook.  In her article on how to frost a cake, everything is in line and perfect.  Going by her directions at PaulaDeen.com you’ll be able to frost a beautiful home baked cake without any problems.  Nothing fancy, just reminds us of our own home kitchen and similar cake we like to make too.

More great finds at PaulaDeen.com

With Easter right around the corner here are a couple more things we found that we wanted to share with our baker friends.

Bunny Cupcakes – These are SO cute

Grandma Hieir’s Carrot Cake – Paula says “Not just any old carrot cake!” and from the photo it looks so unique I may be making this one for Easter dinner!

E is for EGGS and Eggs are for Easter 

Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs – I make some great deviled eggs but may have to try out Paula’s recipe as it is a tad different than my own.

Egg Casserole – A novel recipe and idea for Easter. The more eggs the better!  But best of all, with this recipe you have a way to use all the died eggs too.  Something to go with the leftover ham or lamb.

~~~~~  ~~~~~  ~~~~~ 

That’s not all I found great about PaulaDeen.com but you can find all the great, good and yummy recipe stuff there for yourself.  Starting out to write the simple instructions for icing a cake tuned into a fun morning spent with Paula Deen.  Although we all know these celebrity people are online, how often do we think to go to their individual websites and take the time to seriously look around?  It really is worth the effort and time spent.

😀

Sunday Dinner From Prairieland Food #plfrecipe

Sunday Dinner From Prairieland Food

It dawned on me while preparing our Sunday dinner that almost all ingredients in this meal are from our Prairieland Food Prairie Paks or specials. What better time to snap a few pictures and show you the incredible value you may glean by turning in your volunteer hours (to any entity) for about half off grocery store prices utilizing monthly discounted food packages from Prairieland Food.

This was not intentional but since most all our meats come from Prairieland Food and many of our fresh fruits and vegetables too, it seemed like a no brainer to make this meal a good example of the great food and magnificent price breaks we receive.

First off, we purchase a minimum of two (2) prairie paks each month and usually a special or two (sometimes more). Our freezer is almost always full with good meats and veggies from Prairieland Food so actually, for people who have to budget for everything, we eat really well.

Today’s menu consisted of:  6 stuffed pork chops – baked potato casserole – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots – sliced kiwis and garlic potato bread. OH! We had company coming.  Enough food for six hearty appetites.

Total Cost is at the end of this article. Guess (go ahead!) how much this meal would cost if you prepared it from scratch by purchasing all the ingredients at the grocery store.  Guess now, but don’t peak down there!  You need to understand what a great meal this was before you find out the final, actual cost.

~~~~~ 

The Potatoes – (we love ’em) – Eileen’s Baked Potato Casserole with Cheddar Cheese.

My baked potato casserole consisted of 8 baked potatoes (not baked) (from January 2012 Prairie Pak), peeled, quartered and cut into 1/2 cubes. Steamed ’till cooked well – 1/2 stick of real butter and about 1 cup of sour cream.  Tossed up together with a little basil salt, pepper and chopped chives, as shown below:

Eileen's Baked Potato Casserole

OOps! I decided I wanted to go a little further and add some of the cheddar cheese (December 2011 Prairieland Food Special) so I shredded a pile to mix in the casserole:

Eileen's Baked Potato Casserole with Cheddar Cheese

Topped it all off with more shredded cheddar cheese. Then it was time to heat it all up in the oven and melt the cheese on top a little. about 15 minutes at 300 degrees.  Because the cheese is real, hard sharp cheddar, it does not melt like soft cheeses do and I did not want to scorch my casserole on the bottom!  It was lovely and my grand-sugar liked this the best, well, except for the kiwis! She loves those.

Eileen's Baked Potato Casserole with Melted Cheddar Cheese

SO, for this dish the two main ingredients, potatoes and cheddar cheese came from Prairieland Food at a cost of  $7.41. This price includes $2.00 for ingredients not provided by Prairieland Food.

Mixed Vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots – ALL fresh from Prairieland Food.

In December we received 2 bags of baby carrots with our 2 Prairie Paks ordered. We used one but kept the other in the refrigerator crisper. The Broccoli and Cauliflower came in our Prairie Paks for January. We just chopped it all up; steamed in a large steamer pot, and added a little chopped chives along with a bit of butter. My DIL remarked she could sure tell the difference of my fresh veggies as compared to the frozen kind she usually buys.

Steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.

The cost of the vegetables total comes in at — (drum roll please!)  $6.24 (this includes the butter and chives too).  We still have some fresh left for another meal on some other day.

The Fruit – Kiwis! Always yummy.

We peeled and sliced all 10 kiwi’s we received by way of the two January Prairie Paks. A lovely side dish of fruit for everyone:

Sliced Kiwi Fruit.

Yikes! Blurry picture, but the only one I took, so blurry it has to be.  Our kiwi’s came in at a cost for 10 at $4.16 through Prairieland Food. Perfectly ripe and delicious.  Try getting 10 kiwis at the grocery store for that price!

The MEAT! Six (6) Stuffed Pork Chops.

I cooked these on top of the stove with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Glass lid on with about 1/4 heat on electric stove top. Cooked about 30 minutes, turned, cooked another 30 minutes (covered).  This cooks them through, but I wanted a grilled look so I drained the pan of all juices, added a bit of olive oil again, turned the heat up to medium to brown both sides.

Stuffed Pork Chops

The pan I used is a chicken fryer so is bigger than a normal frying pan – It’s 11 inches wide with straight sides and is 3″ deep. These pork chops completely filled the space when I put them in the pan, but of course, shrank a tad with cooking.  Still, one is all anyone could eat.  This is the priciest part of our meal.  The stuffing was generous and delicious.

And this was a price we don’t usually pay for meat with Prairieland Food.  It was a January 2012 Special coming in at $21.00 for the six. I choose these this month as we thought:  #1, we could actually afford it for a change, and #2 it has been awhile since we bought something of this quality.

So that’s our Sunday Dinner from Prairieland Food and it come in at a mere $38.81.  UNDER $40.00 for a meal, for six people. When was the last time you were able to do this?

I thank my lucky stars each day when I am preparing our meals here at home that we have a program like Prairieland Food in Kansas.  I truly don’t know what we’d do without the discounted food packages.

SO, how was your Sunday Dinner?

🙂

Money Saving Tips for Food Shopping

Money Saving Tips for Food Shopping

Guest Post: This post was written and provided by guest post writer, James Lander. Lander is a regular contributor for couponing and deals site, Couponing. Turn to this website for top-retailer coupon information, couponing etiquette and more.

~~~~~

Every year Americans spend an impressive 478 billion on groceries alone. The average household stuffs at least 100 dollars a week into the cavernous pocket of their local store – relying on them for everything from diapers to midnight snacks. When it comes to the relationship between grocer and consumer, we are the embarrassingly dependent partner. It’s safe to say that if our local grocery store were our significant other, our friends would tell us to leave it. There are ways, however, to ensure you are not taken advantage of. You just need to commit to a bit more work than you may be used to. Nevertheless, when you realize that you could be saving up to three thousand dollars per year by shopping smart, you’ll probably change your tune.

Don’t go in half-prepared.

You know the flyers you wrinkle your nose up at and toss away? The grocery advertisements you line your birdcage with? If you are seriously interested in saving money on food, these previously ignored papers need to become your study material. You simply won’t be able to save money if you don’t know how much your products are worth. Reading these flyers will give you a clear idea of how much your chosen items are retailing for across the board and prepare you to recognize when it’s really a sale, not a scam.

Arm yourself with lists.

Before you go through those glass doors, before you are assaulted by pretty displays and delicious smells – know what you really need. As soon as you set foot in the store, you are at the mercy of in-store marketing and manipulation. Don’t let advertising erode your resolve. Having a carefully planned list, detailing the things you actually need and will use, has been proven to help curb your spending. It is so easy to fill your cart with things you ‘didn’t realize you need’ only to come home with a grocery bill almost double what you had budgeted for.

Attack with Coupons.

The use of coupons has reached an unheard of level of popularity due to an odd mix of the current financial crisis and TLC’s half hour of ‘Extreme Couponing’ hysteria. People are realizing that the little papers they had shunned previously can save significant amounts of money when used properly. Many consumers are ‘stacking’ their coupons by waiting for the product to go on sale in the store and then combining the sale price with a manufacturer’s coupon. This can result in savings of 80% or more for seasoned couponers. As you are perusing the flyers, take the time to clip any coupons that are relevant to your lifestyle.

Hit them where they’re weakest

Although you may be disturbed by the idea of a ‘discount’ grocer, there is no need to turn your nose up and spend the extra money for status. Discount grocery stores such as Grocery Outlet, Food Basics and Price Chopper offer the same food you’d purchase at mainstream stores with a 30% discount or more. The product is still perfectly fine, but may have been overstocked by other stores or slightly damaged in transit (it’s like the Nordstrom Rack of grocery stores!). When the produce is in season it is just as lovely as in other establishments and if you don’t mind a cheaper cut of meat, you can enjoy massive savings on your protein portion.

Take no prisoners.

If you don’t fancy the idea of cheap meat and produce, you can always ‘work the system’ at a conventional or high-end grocery store. Most meat is still fresh and edible for up to five days after the expiry date listed on the package. If you purchase the discounted meats, there’s an excellent chance that with a quick freeze, it will still be delectable a few weeks down the line. If you choose to take advantage of these steep discounts, be sure you transfer your meat into a freezer bag before storing it away. Actually handling (and smelling) your purchase is the best indication of whether your dinner needs to be fried up right away or if it can last for a few extra days.

Unless you are one of the lucky (and industrious) few with a vegetable garden in your backyard and a barn full of animals, you are largely at the mercy of the grocery store. If they were to close their doors, the majority of us would eventually starve. If they were to raise their prices to a ridiculous amount, the majority of us would eventually pay it. More and more, consumers are learning the importance of being proactive when it comes to shopping. After all, if saving 50 a week eventually puts 2600 back in your wallet, is there really another option?

~~~~~

Thank you James Lander and Couponing.com.  Great tips to remember! Don’t forget, if you are a volunteer (in Kansas, Nebraska or Oklahoma), in any respect, you qualify for The Prairieland Food Discount Food Program.  Happy Couponing!

😀

Thanksgiving Day – Joyous Work!

Thanksgiving Day – The Joyous Work Web Log!

A dialog for this joyous family day; as much as there is time for.

Giving thanks for another Thanksgiving with family.

5:00 am – turkey out of frig and prepared for microwave and returned to frig.  Yes, I cook mine in the microwave.  Once you learn that cooking can be made easier utilizing the most amazing microwave, your life as a cook, will be happier.  The microwave turkey has always been moist, and done to perfection.  Directions on how to do this at another time. I don’t just “heat” things up in mine.  I really cook in it.

6:00 am – cleaning house – the last minute touches.

7:00 am – wrote an article for this blog!  Where did the mind set for this come from?  Dunno, just did it as it was nice to set down for awhile.  My back need this break. Here is the article: Teaching Charity to Children Through Volunteerism.

8:00 am – chopping onions and celery for the two dressings.

9:00 am – Made a very light brunch of egg, pastrami, havarti cheese, tomatoes and lettuce on swedish rye bread for both of us – no more food until the Thanksgiving appetizers come out in a few hours.  Russ had strawberry soda with his instead of milk. Like a kid, it was a real treat for him. He had a choice and that’s what he chose.  Go figure.

10:00 am – Writing this post but leaving off here to go cook!  Back later when I need to sit a bit again.  🙂

~~~~~

12 Noon – well, 4 minutes till anyhowsen.  Stuffing is on it’s way to a plug in appliance.  I never put it in the oven anymore.  Once it’s done on the stove top I add a little more juice and add it to a big flat (about 6 inches deep tho’) covered appliance on low.  With two kinds of dressing this year I’ll make a tin foil divider to keep the herb dressing separate from the cornbread stuffing.  Our cornbread stuffing gets boiled eggs chopped in it (along with the chopped onions and celery of course) and the herb dressing get the usual treatment, plus a LOT of extra sage.

My brother in MN called to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving just before I needed to sit down again.  I told him,  “I cannot believe how HOT that kitchen gets when cooking this much food!” And it’s the truth too. Yikes.

~~~~~

8:55 pm – Once the party here was rolling, there was not any way to get back here to update.  That is good news for our family though.  Dear DIL showed up on time to help me de-bone the turkey which was falling off the bone tender by 2:00 pm.  Wonderful and juicy the bird is always center stage.

What can I say?  We had a grand time, overate, and almost cleaned up everything. There are still some dishes sitting with water in them, ready to be washed and put away.

I send enough dressing and turkey home with the kids for their families that we don’t have to have it for weeks.   But I bet we do have a good weeks worth of food, without doing anything but heating a plateful in the microwave. I like it like that too.  I need a few days rest after the push to get this giant meal ready on time.  It was worth it though, as it always is.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Menu

Thanksgiving Menu

Our menu this year is not any longer than any other year.   Like many households we cook too much food.  Likewise, we eat way too much food. It’s only once a year and over-eating is a given.  Here is what we finally put together just this past week as a final menu for our 2011 Thanksgiving Meal Menu:

Relish & Cheese Tray
Beefy Cream Cheese Dip & Crackers
Deviled Eggs

Roasted Turkey & Turkey Gravy
Country Cornbread Dressing
Country Herb Dressing
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
Macaroni and Cheese
Green Bean Casserole
California Blend Veggies w/Butter Sauce
Nutty Cranberry Sauce
Hawaiian Dinner Rolls
Cheese and Herb Biscuits

Plump Pumpkin Pie
Southern Pecan Pie


We feel privileged to be able to have what we want at this very important family meal.  So many folks don’t have this choice.

When you give your “Thanksgiving Prayer” don’t forget to ask for bounty for all citizens of the earth and of course – Be truly thankful.

Horn of Plenty

🙂

How To Handle A Turkey (Thanksgiving)

How To Handle A Turkey

I cook the big bird each year and even though I’ve cooked an untold amount of turkeys, I look this information up almost every year.  Luckily, all you need to know can be found online.  But to make sure we get the right scoop and handle those turkeys in a safe manner here is what the real experts have to tell us.

Let’s Talk Turkey

Frozen Turkeys
1 – Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.
2 – Keep frozen until you’re ready to thaw it.
3 – Turkeys can be kept frozen in the freezer indefinitely;
however, cook within 1 year for best quality.
4 – See “Thawing Your Turkey” for thawing instructions.

Thawing Your Turkey

There are three ways to thaw your turkey safely —
1 – in the refrigerator,
2 – in cold water,
3 – in the microwave oven.

1 - In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
 04 to 12 pounds - 1 to 3 days
 12 to 16 pounds - 3 to 4 days
 16 to 20 pounds - 4 to 5 days
 20 to 24 pounds - 5 to 6 days
1 - Keep the turkey in its original wrapper.
2 - Place it on a tray or in a pan to catch any juices that may leak.
3 - A thawed turkey can remain in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
4 - If necessary, a turkey that has been properly thawed in the
refrigerator may be re-frozen.

2 - In Cold Water
Allow approximately 30 minutes per pound
 4 to 12 pounds - 2 to 6 hours
 12 to 16 pounds - 6 to 8 hours
 16 to 20 pounds - 8 to 10 hours
 20 to 24 pounds - 10 to 12 hours
1 - Wrap your turkey securely, making sure the water is not able
to leak through the wrapping.
2 - Submerge your wrapped turkey in cold tap water.
3 - Change the water every 30 minutes.
4 - Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.
5 - Do not re-freeze.

3 - In the Microwave Oven
1 - Check your owner's manual for the size turkey that will fit
in your microwave oven.
2 - Likewise, the minutes per pound and power level to use
for thawing.
3 - Remove all outside wrapping.
4 - Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that
may leak.
5 - Cook your turkey immediately.
6 - Do not re-freeze or refrigerate your turkey after
thawing in the microwave oven.

REMINDER:
Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing.
Cook separately.

Roasting Your Turkey

  • Set your oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
  • Place your turkey or turkey breast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
  • For optimum safety, stuffing a turkey is not recommended. For more even cooking, it is recommended you cook your stuffing outside the bird in a casserole. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the stuffing. The stuffing must reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • If you choose to stuff your turkey, the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time; however, keep wet and dry ingredients separate. Chill all of the wet ingredients (butter/margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.). Mix wet and dry ingredients just before filling the turkey cavities. Fill the cavities loosely. Cook the turkey immediately. Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F.
  • A whole turkey is safe when cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. Check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook turkey to higher temperatures.
  • If your turkey has a “pop-up” temperature indicator, it is recommended that you also check the internal temperature of the turkey in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. The minimum internal temperature should reach 165 °F for safety.
  • For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving to allow juices to set. The turkey will carve more easily.
  • Remove all stuffing from the turkey cavities.

Timetables for Turkey Roasting
(325 °F oven temperature)

Use the timetables below to determine how long to cook your turkey. These times are approximate. Always use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of your turkey and stuffing.

Unstuffed

4 to 8 pounds (breast)

1½ to 3¼ hours

8 to 12 pounds

2¾ to 3 hours

12 to 14 pounds

3 to 3¾ hours

14 to 18 pounds

3¾ to 4¼ hours

18 to 20 pounds

4¼ to 4½ hours

20 to 24 pounds

4½ to 5 hours

It is safe to cook a turkey from the frozen state. The cooking time will take at least 50 percent longer than recommended for a fully thawed turkey. Remember to remove the giblet packages during the cooking time. Remove carefully with tongs or a fork.

Optional Cooking Hints

  • Tuck wing tips under the shoulders of the bird for more even cooking. This is referred to as “akimbo.”
  • Add ½ cup of water to the bottom of the pan.
  • If your roasting pan does not have a lid, you may place a tent of heavy-duty aluminum foil over the turkey for the first 1 to 1 ½ hours. This allows for maximum heat circulation, keeps the turkey moist, and reduces oven splatter. To prevent over browning, foil may also be placed over the turkey after it reaches the desired color.
  • If using an oven-proof food thermometer, place it in the turkey at the start of the cooking cycle. It will allow you to check the internal temperature of the turkey while it is cooking. For turkey breasts, place thermometer in the thickest part. For whole turkeys, place in the thickest part of the inner thigh. Once the thigh has reached 165 °F, check the wing and the thickest part of the breast to ensure the turkey has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product.
  • If using an oven cooking bag, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the package.

REMEMBER! Always wash hands, utensils, the sink, and anything else that comes in contact with raw turkey and its juices with soap and water.

For information on other methods for cooking a turkey, call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline
1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854)
www.fsis.usda.gov

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Happy Thanksgiving Week!



I Save Pickle Jars

…Olive jars too.  These are great storage devices that I come by, for free and with no dangers of bleeding toxins into the food I store in the refrigerator or freezer.  You can freeze in glass jars if you don’t fill them full.  I don’t do this much though as it defeats the purpose of having a freezer in the basement (or other, probably better location) because if you don’t fill them they take up space that is only full of air.

We all know the dangers of storing food in some plastic containers, right?  Many of those containers have certain symbols and numbers on the bottom that tell us that they can store liquids or they should only store solid foods.  Who knows all those number and symbols?  I do, but mix them up in my head sometimes so, to be absolutely safe, I store liquids in pickle and olive glass jars that I have thoroughly cleaned and run through the dishwasher too.

Pickle and Olive Jars

I store my leftover broth, soups, chiles, and other one pot meals in these jars from time to time.  And also entree’s like chicken alfredo with fettuccine noodles when there is a good quantity left over.  I always store broth in these jars.

Also sausage drippings has a jar with it’s name on it in the refrigerator, and likewise a jar for bacon fat.  These are in smaller glass jars that fit in the door nicely along side the ketchup and other condiments. Wide mouth jars allow for scooping out a teaspoon of bacon fat (which is about all you need in a recipe, right?) or sausage drippings when needed.

Yes, I have a lot of glass containers with plastic lids too, but sometimes there are just not enough of these to go around so my pickle and olive jars sit in the mud room and wait for me to need them.  After all, they are free, clean, non-toxic and reusable.  Recycling at it’s best. OH, you didn’t know this was about recycling?  Maybe, in a sneaky way, it is.  Heh.

But really, mostly it’s about safe food handling.  We can follow all the rules while cooking but if we store our foods improperly, we may be harming our families, in the long run.

So, be safe, and if you, like me, mix up some of those symbols and numbers for plastic containers, just save a few pickle and olive jars and put those plastic containers in the recycle bin.

🙂

The Many Uses of Celery

What to do with all that celery…

Celery

Celery from 2011 Prairieland Food Prairie Pak

At our house we almost always buy two Prairie Paks,
( yes, PLF says "Pak" instead of "Pack" so we do too! )
and sometimes three full packs.  Can you dig how much
fresh celery that amounts to when celery is on the menu?

Celery, with all it's wonderful flavor is a staple in many
homes where Mom's truly like to cook. The reason is clear:
versatility. A few reasons why...

First, you can dip it - when fresh it's crunchy texture makes
it a flash to upload a wad of your favorite dip. The bigger
the wad, the better, eh?

Second, you can stuff it - with velveeta, pimento cheese, cream
cheese, peanut butter and uh, what else can we think of folks?
The only reason we do not "stuff" more often at our house is I
am not crazy about de-stringing the celery. If I'm going to take
the time to stuff it, I feel like de-stringing is a also a must.  
We "stuff" when company is coming, mostly.

Third, cooking it in your favorite recipes - celery, without a
doubt is the best accompaniment flavor when cooking chicken
for casseroles and soups. And some of the very best flavor is to
be had in the leaves.  Yep, that's right.  Chop and put some
celery tops in your pot of chicken when pre-cooking to prepare
a dish from a recipe.

Fourth, add to fresh salads. Celery adds a bit of crunch to 
chicken and tuna salads as well as any vegatable salad you 
prepare for your family or friends.

Fifth, chop celery to freeze for later use in your own recipes.
Celery is basically water. When freezing it you are going to cause
the water in the cells to expand and turn it quite soft upon thawing.
Use frozen celery for soups, casseroles, sauces and stock only.  
If your celery has become limp, chop it and freeze it!  It will 
still be good to cook with.
A pile of celery is only 200 calories.

Eat it raw with a little salt, chop it and freeze it too!

You may think I found all this on the web.  Well, you'd be wrong
on that score.  My Mom (R.I.P.) taught me more about cooking,
just off-handedly in her kitchen or mine, that I can hardly imagine
what kind of cook I'd be without all those comments, thrown out
with no more thought than if she was talking to herself.

Thanks to my Mom, I can make the best southern cornbread from scratch,
dumplings from scratch, and banana pudding, (and more) you ever wrapped
your lips around.  Did you know there is a certain type of potato for 
creamed and another type for mashed that tastes best?  And do you know 
how to pick the best onions for sweet or hot flavor?  My Mom taught 
me all that, and so much more.  (back to celery...)

Celery, in all it's different ways of pleasing us should be a summer
and winter staple in kitchens everywhere. Oops! Almost forgot this! 

Sixth, you can dehydrate celery. The flavor intensifies and in this 
form is very handy, as it may take less to garner more flavor. 
I have a dehydrator I bought about 15 years ago, when making jerky 
was a fad around here.  I have found that it really comes in handy 
for more than just jerky tho'.
Celery with Chicken and Celery chopped to freeze.

Chicken drums cooking with celery and chopped celery to freeze.

Celery is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol.
It is also a good source of Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid,
Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary
Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Celery - nutritional facts.

Celery - Good for ya' too, eh?

Celery and chicken drumsticks pictured are both from Prairieland 
Food Discount Food Packages Program. Whew, that can be a mouthful.

:)

Food Buddy Ks

As a “Food Enthusiast,” as many of us are, the world is just too big to know, and be able to mix ingredients for all of everywhere.  But if you like quick AND delicious, take some tips from cooks who do cook at home.  Sometimes the very best is made from natural, whole ingredients and sometimes mixes are thrown in to make a long task shorter and more pleasant all the way around.

Most of the time, we love cooking and hope to share some of the best, old fashioned and new, recipes for new cooks to learn, improve upon and share themselves.

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