New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - October 1, 1997, New Braunfels, Texas
Herald-Zeitung Q Wednesday, October 1,1997 □ 9A
Too often one sees the headlines: “17 Sick After Church Dinner,” “Home for the Aged Stricken.” Outbreaks of foodbome illness often result from insufficient refrigeration of food. Many problems could be avoided if people would follow a few simple rules.
How can you keep bacterial contamination out of your group’s well-intentioned efforts?
Here are some answers to some group meal questions:
Q: I’m in charge of the lasagna supper for die Church Senior’s Night. A grocer and caterer are donating the food. I have IO helpers. What’s the best way to do this safely?
A: Presumably you’ll be getting the ground beef, cheese, canned and fresh vegetables. Ask your donors to freeze the meat in IO packets for your volunteers, the cheese should just be kept refrigerated.
Suggest to your cooks that they make the trays of lasagna a day or so before the event and freeze them. They can defrost die casseroles in the refrigerator the afternoon before the
dinner and you Can heat them for serving that night. Make sure the casseroles are heated so the juice is bubbling through.
Q: My men’s group is baking Chicken parts for a homeless shelter. The shelter can’t take the food until late in the day, but people drop the prepared chicken on their way to work in the morning. Our refrigerator is often too full to hold everything. What can I do?
A: This is a common problem. Any cooked perishable food should only remain at room temperature two hours; one hour in hot weather.
Q: My women’s circle is doing a cookbook to raise money for the new day-care center. Many of our favorite recipes use raw eggs. How. can we update them?
A: You are right to be concerned. The bacteria Salmonella enteritidis can make you sick if you use a contaminated raw egg. Generally, we advise people now to use a cooked base for ice creams and custards. The base should reach 160 degrees and coat a spoon. You can substitute commercial pasteurized egg mixes or egg substitutes in recipes where cooking won’t work. Always keep egg refrigerated and cook eggs until both yolk and white are firm.
Q: Our Neighborhood Watch group throws an annual chili supper. We code the chili the day before and refrigerate it overnight in the aluminum cooking pots. What about Alzheimer’s and aluminum?
A: There is no proof that aluminum cookware contributes to Alzheimer’s disease, but unpleasant taste changes can occur when food is stored in metal cookware. Plus, there is the real safety problem of slow cool-down when food is refrigerated in over-large containers. Large portions of food should be divided into smaller containers for quick cooling.
Q: What about the raw vegetables for salads and desserts drat sit out?
A: Good question. Many people who are concerned about raw meat and poultry today forget that everything in the kitchen must be handled properly to avoid foodbome illness. While some harmful organisms occasionally show up on produce in this country, most of the problems occur when foodbome bacteria from raw meat, poultry or fish are unintentionally spread to food served uncooked — like salad.
There’s a simple solution. Wash your hands and utensils in hot, soapy water after handling raw meats, and wash the cutting board and knife after preparing raw meat and before chopping salad items. You might also consider getting a second cutting board just for salads or chopping your salad items first.
Cooked vegetables, too, are perishable and should never sit out longer than two hours.
Most fruit pies can sit at room temperature for several hours. Custard, cream or meringue-topped desserts,
Get it to the church on time!
— Make sure bulk food supplies are safe when you get them. When possible, ask suppliers to send you raw meats and poultry already frozen. Distribute them to volunteer cooks frozen.
2. Keep perishables refrigerated before use. Normally, perishables are only safe off refrigeration up to two hours. After use, put unused leftovers in small containers. Most perishable leftovers last only a few days.
3. Use meat thermometers when you cook. Red meat should reach 160 degrees and poultry 180 degrees. When you can only "eyeball* it, red meat should be cooked thoroughly, poultry juices should run clear and fish should flake to the fork.
4. Keep everything as clean as possible. Remind helpers to wash their hands in hot. soapy water before starting
preparation. Hands, and cutting boards
should also be washed between raw meat and fish preparation and preparing other foods.
S. -Ask volunteer cooks to freeze feed prepared at home before dropping it off at the community kitchen. This is especially important if they drop things off a bit early. Then defrost casseroles in the microwave just before popping them in the oven.
•. Sefe serving — When replenishing food served family style, use medium-sized clean bowls filled with piping hot food. Discard any food left in previous bowls. Too many people may have had their hands in it, or sneezed or coughed over it.
7. Csrry-out meals — Meals taken to shut-ins or taken home by people should be either piping hot or refrigerator cold. Piping hot dinners should be eaten within two hours. Refrigerator-cold food, of course, should be
Mss Bacon Onion Cornbread tabla fen of horn ani ado caaasrolas.
Photo submitted an appaaHng accompaniment to a
Swiss Bacon Onion Cornbread
4 slices bacon
1 large onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 cups Martha White Self-Rising Com Meal Mix
6 ounces shredded Swiss cheese Heat oven to 425-degrees. Grease 13-hyh-by-$fiaC% baking pai^ ;
In large skHfet, cook onion in no
more than 1/4 cup of the bacon drippings until tender. In large bowl, combine eggs, milk, com meal and cheese; stir until smooth.Add crumbled bacon and onion; stir..Pour into greased pan. Bake at 425-degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 to 15 .....a fji I
(From the Martha White Kitchen)
Forget leftovers with these classics
By JULIE SALZMAN
Special to the Herald-Zeitung
CHICKEN DIVAN CASSEROLE I pound fresh broccoli (cut into one-inch pieces)
1 pound carrots (peeled and quartered lengthwise into 2-inch pieces)
4 cups cooked chicken (cut into 1-inch pieces)
2 cans “Healthy Request” cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice I 1/2 to 2 cups chicken broth I 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese I tablespoon melted butter 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Microwave broccoli and carrots about 2 to 3 minutes to partially cook them.
Combine soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice and chicken broth.
Spray 9-by-13-inch or 11-by-14-inch casserole dish with vegetable spray or butter the (hah.
Place chicken in casserole dish. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Place vegetables on top. Cover with sauce.
Top with cheese, melted butter and almonds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a 10-by-10-inch or 7-by-11-inch baking dish.
Use the stalks of broccoli by peeling them. Whole carrots or baby carrots may be used
The “Healthy Request” soups are preferable to regular canned soups because of the reduced fat content, but “real” sour cream, butter, cheese and lemon juice are even better. Serve over rice.
CREAMY HOMEMADE MACARONI AND CHEESE
Scratch macaroni and cheese vs. boxed? — no comparison!
Cook I 1/2 cups of elbow
macaroni in boiling water until tender, drain.
In saucepan, over medium low heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter; whisk in I tablespoon of flour, then whisk in 2 1/4 cups milk as you pour it slowly.
Cook until slightly thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add 8 ounces grated American cheese, combine well with whisk until melted.
Remove from heat. Add cooked macaroni to sauce and combine well. Add more milk if needed for creamy consistency.
(The sauce will thicken and start to set up as it cools.)
Makes 6 servings.
(Julie Salzman is a home economist.)
For tho frostiest coffee
Expert opinions vary, but here s the latest: Because roasted coffee loses freshness with exposure to air and moisture, always store in a cool, dry place. For longer periods, freeze up to three months. Brew frozen coffee immediately, because thawing adds unwanted moisture. Few combinations are more satisfying than fresh coffee and good friends
however, should never be off refrigeration longer than two hours.
Q: I have to roast several turkeys in cooking bags to take to church tomorrow. To save time, can I partially cook the birds today and refrigerate them overnight in the bags? I could finish cooking them and take them to church warm tomorrow.
A: No, it’s never safe to partially cook anything. Any bacteria present will just warm up to temperatures where they can start growing. They may not be killed by partial cooking.
Second, refrigerating die whole birds — especially since the bags would
insulate and cause diem to take longer to cool down — gives bacteria another period in which to grow. Completing die cooking the next day might not kill the total bacteria or bacterial poisons then present. Many common foodbome bacteria can double in number every 20 minutes at temperatures between 40 degrees and 140 degrees.
Completely cook the turkeys in the bags. Debone them and refrigerate the meat overnight in smaller containers. Reheat for serving the following day.
(Patricia Anderson Rasor is an agent with the Comal County Agricultural Extension Service Office.)
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