I paged through a grocery store ad the other day as I wrote my grocery shopping list. The ad featured all the ingredients to prepare a sumptuous Thanksgiving meal.
I recall being tempted by an ad one year. The entire prepared Thanksgiving meal was available. I could place my order a week in advance, and the store would not only roast a 12-pound turkey, but someone also would mash the potatoes, prepare gravy, make green-bean casserole and cranberry salad, and bake the pie and rolls.
This was tempting.
I looked around my kitchen and imagined not having a heaping sink of bowls and pans on Thanksgiving Day. I guess I could opt for disposable dishes, I thought to myself. The price for this “meal deal” was pretty good, too.
I thought a bit, but then I kept writing my list. Part of our Thanksgiving tradition has been the time spent with family in preparing the meal and ending with a messy kitchen filled with the pleasant aroma of cooking food.
Maybe next year I’ll start a new tradition. For now, I’ll be cooking.
Are you ready for the holidays? Here are some questions to review the basics of safe Thanksgiving food handling.
1. When thawing a turkey under cold water, how often should the water be changed?
a. Every 10 minutes
b. Every 30 minutes
c. Every two hours
2. If you’d like some leftovers, about how much turkey (including bone weight) should you allow per person?
a. 0.5 pound
b. 1 to 1 1/2 pounds
c. 3 to 4 pounds
3. True or False. “Dressing” and “stuffing” are interchangeable terms that relate to the bread mixture served with turkey.
4. How many turkeys are pardoned annually by the U.S. president?
5. How long can leftover turkey be stored safely in the refrigerator?
a. Three to four days
b. Five to six days
c. Seven to 10 days
6. True or False: Reheating a whole turkey on the carcass is not recommended.
7. Which is lowest in fat and calories?
a. Dark meat without skin
b. Dark meat with skin
c. White meat without skin
8. To what internal temperature should a whole turkey be cooked?
a. 120 F
b. 165 F
c. 220 F
9. True or False: Sometimes pop-up thermometers prematurely pop up before a turkey has reached a safe internal temperature.
10. How many turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.?
a. 77 million
b. 61 million
c. 46 million
Here are the answers: 1. b; 2. b; 3. True; 4. a; 5. a; 6. True; 7. c; 8. b; 9. True; 10. c.
Visit the National Turkey Federation website at www.eatturkey.com for more information about turkey preparation.
Here’s a recipe from the Minnesota Turkey Research and Promotion Council in St. Paul. It makes a tasty side dish year-round.
Wild Rice Dressing
4 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 lb. mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 4-oz. pkg. wild rice, cooked according to package directions
2 c. fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 lb. turkey breakfast sausage, cooked and drained
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried sage
Salt and pepper to taste
In medium-size skillet over medium heat, sauté bacon until almost crisp. Add onion, celery and mushrooms. Continue cooking until vegetables are tender.
In a large bowl, combine the bacon mixture, cooked wild rice, breadcrumbs, cooked sausage, oregano and sage. Season if desired with salt and pepper. Spoon dressing into lightly greased 2-quart casserole dish. Bake covered, in a preheated 325-degree oven, for 35 to 40 minutes.
Makes eight servings. Each serving has 224 calories, 9 grams of fat and 26 grams of carbohydrate.