Most conscientious cooks use common sense when preparing or storing food. But common sense in food preparation doesn't just happen -it is learned. This learning happens and when we forget where we learned it, we call it common sense.
Here are just a few pointers to refresh and reinforce your common sense as you are preparing your current meal or storing it for future use.
- Food safety actually starts with your excursion to the supermarket. Pick up the packaged or canned foods. Do the cans have dents? Don't buy them. Is the jar cracked? Leave it. Does the lid seem loose or bulging? Pick up another. Look for any expiration dates on the labels -they are there for a reason. Never buy outdated food. Check the "use by" or "sell by" date on dairy products and pick the ones that will stay fresh the longest.
- After grocery shopping, put food into the refrigerator or freezer right away. Make sure to set the refrigerator temperature is set to 40 deg F and the freezer is set to 0 F. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared foods, and leftovers within 2 hours. Raw meat, poultry, and seafood should be placed in containers to prevent their juices from dripping on other foods. Raw juices could possibly harbor harmful bacteria. Eggs always go in the refrigerator.
- Always cook food thoroughly until it is done. Red meat should turn brown inside. Chicken, when poked with a fork, should have clear juices. Fish, on the other hand, when poked with a fork, should flake. Cooked egg whites and yolks should be firm and not run. Be sure to use a food thermometer to check the internal temperatures of your poultry, meat, and other foods. Leave it in long enough to ensure an accurate reading.
- Wash your hands and cooking surfaces frequently. Bacteria can be spread quickly so this will ensure that it will not take hold and grow onto your food. A solution of one teaspoon of bleach in one quart of water is all that is needed to sanitize washed surfaces and utensils.
- Cooked foods should definitely not be left standing in the kitchen counter or table for more than two hours. Bacteria tends to grow in temperatures between 40 and 140 deg F.
- Foods that have been cooked ahead and cooled should be reheated to at least 165 deg F. (This just so happens to be one of the most overlooked areas in food prep).
- Chill Leftover Food Promptly. Place food in the refrigerator and don't overfill. The cold air needs to circulate freely to keep food safe. Divide the food and place in shallow containers. Think about labeling some of these containers so you don't lose track of how long they've been refrigerating.
These are just a few pointers that you already know, but need to keep remembering. If you follow these basics you will avoid most of the 'disasters in waiting'!
We all love spicy chicken; except if you are allergic or you just can't love spicy food. Being a chicken lover myself, I have collected 3 hot n' spicy recipes for you to try out in your chicken today or anytime you would like to treat yourself for a deelicious meal; they make good family specials as well! Although they have similar names, they are very different. Perhaps their origins differ.
Hot N' Spicy Chicken Recipe
#1. Spicy Chicken Wings
- 1 lg. can Parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. oregano
- 4 tbsp. parsley
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 stick margarine
- 4-5 lbs. chicken wings
Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Melt margarine in small pan. Cut up chicken wings. Discard tips. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl. Dunk chicken wings in margarine and roll in cheese mixture. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Serve warm.
#2. Hot Chicken Wings
1/2 stick margarine
1 bottle Durkee hot sauce
2 tbsp. honey
10 shakes Tabasco
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Deep fry wings for 20 minutes. Drain and dip and let set in sauce. Take out to dry and then serve.
#3. Hot-N-Spicy Chicken Wings
5 lbs. bag chicken wings (drumettes)
12 fl. oz. Louisiana Pre Crystal Hot Sauce
1-2 sticks butter
Fry chicken wings until golden brown and drain on paper towel. Mix hot sauce and melted butter and pour into deep pan or crock pot. Add chicken wings to sauce and heat thoroughly.
Since Americans in the South began roasting pigs publicly, Barbecues have been a staple of North American living. For many, grilling becomes a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties. But grillers do not have to choose between boring repetition and outrageous get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event. Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience:
1) Who said you have to stick to meat? Much can be done with bread and fruits over an open flame. To make this into a fun activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like “animals” and “letters” or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit.
2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Children will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas.
3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old beef burgers and pork wieners, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa instead. Look online where you’ll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces.
4) Barbecues don’t have to be rushed. In fact, barbecue devotees will tell you that today’s quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many slow cooker recipes online, and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends. Entertaining backyard activities include creating an outdoor canvas to paint on or playing backyard bowling with household items.
5) Mom said not to play with your food, but there’s always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game Glutton, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize!
Finally, don’t fret! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food. So kick back, bask in the relaxing sun and prepare for a summer of unforgettable barbecues!
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