Have a safe, healthy Thanksgiving

Keeping your family safe from foodborne illness is more important than ever. With the healthcare system fully employed to help people who have serious health issues, it is important to stay healthy and stay out of the hospital emergency room.

For your household-only Thanksgiving meal, here are a few ideas for keeping it simple and setting yourself up for success:

Prepare a smaller traditional turkey:

• A small turkey of eight pounds will feed eight people and take two and a half hours to roast. Remember, a food thermometer is essential to successful turkey roasting. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it does, remove it from the oven, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

• A bone-turkey breast of four to six pounds is a great option for a household meal and can feed up to six people. It will take between one and a half to two hours to roast and — again — it is only done when your thermometer reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Focus on favorite side dishes:

• Choose your two favorite sides to prepare. Keep things simple, and set yourself up for success by limiting the number of side dishes you make.

• When using delicious frozen options, remember to serve them safely by following package and preparation instructions.

Follow the Core Four practices for safety:

Clean: Every recipe begins with hand-washing before starting food prep.

Separate: Prevent cross-contamination from harmful bacteria by separating raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs from other foods in your grocery shopping cart, grocery bags and in your refrigerator. Use one cutting board for fresh produce/cooked meats and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood.

Cook: Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause food borne illness. Use a food thermometer to make sure your food is thoroughly cooked.

Chill: Refrigerate foods quickly because cold temperatures slow the growth of harmful bacteria. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is one of the more effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.


Cindy Williams46 Posts

Cindy Williams is the Meadowlark Extension District agent in the areas of food and nutrition.


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