LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- When you start cooking those delicious holiday meals for your work party or your family, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to make sure you and your guests remain healthy and happy during the most wonderful time of the year.
Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and green beans are some of my favorite holiday foods. And, we can’t forget about the pie. But Executive Chef for Comanche County Memorial Hospital Lindsey Jackson says there are some things to know when you’re preparing your food in the kitchen.
“Cross contamination is big. Make sure to keep your kitchen sanitized, your work area sanitized from one task to the next. You can even wear gloves if you’re handling raw turkey or any raw meats.”
Chef Lindsey says a good investment if you don’t already have one, is an internal probe or thermometer.
“You want to make sure that you’ve got your turkey or your chicken cooked to the proper temperature. Anything you’re going to cook in your oven protein wise, make sure you cook it to a safe temperature to eat.”
Also, it may not be the best time of year to be on a diet. But Chef Lindsey says if you are, make sure you have a balanced plate.
“You have your proteins, you have your carbs, your vegetables. I would stay close to the proteins and maybe the salads and not eat so much starches and carbs.”
She says instead of piling food on your plate, go for smaller portions of food.
“Eating a small snack or meal prior to going to one of your parties may help as well. That way you’re not eating huge portions once you get to your destination.”
And, after the feast is over, it’s important to note how long you leave your food sitting out.
“You may want to graze or have a snack a few hours after you’ve prepared your meal. But you do want to try to get your food put up within at least 3 1/2 to 4 hours after it’s been set out. You don’t want to give your food a chance to grow any potentially hazardous bacteria, or get somebody sick. ”
And, don’t worry, Chef Lindsey says you don’t have to skip out on Grandma’s apple pie, she just says moderation is key.
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