Monday, November 24, 2014

Turkey Anytime: A Recipe for Turning Leftovers into Planned-Overs

Part of the pleasure of a Thanksgiving or other holiday meal is the aroma of a turkey baking in your oven.  Continue that great feeling by planning a variety of pleasing post-holiday meals with leftover turkey.
Turkey makes a great first meal plus delicious leftovers that are easy to combine into a variety of scrumptious future meals. Try turkey year round and think “planned-overs” rather than “leftovers.”
Follow these food safety guidelines for handling your turkey leftovers safely:
         Debone turkey and refrigerate all leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking.

         Use leftover turkey within 3 to 4 days and stuffing and gravy within 1 to 2 days, or freeze these foods. Be aware if you freeze leftover gravy, it may tend to separate when it thaws. Stirring gravy — especially with a whisk — during reheating will help it recombine. In general, gravy made with flour may reheat better than gravy made with cornstarch. Gravy made with cornstarch is translucent in appearance while gravy made with flour is more opaque. If you're new to gravy-making try one of the quick dissolving flours advertised for gravy making in the flour section of your store.

         When reheating turkey, reheat thoroughly to a temperature of 165 F until hot and steaming.   

Try the following recipes from our Extension friends at the University of Nebraska or use them as an inspiration for your own!
Turkey and Cranberry Salad

1 ½ cups turkey, cooked and diced
¼ cup vinaigrette dressing
1 cup dried cranberries or cherries
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Lettuce leaves

Toss turkey, cranberries, and almonds with dressing. Serve on a lettuce leaf or mound of chopped lettuce.
(4 servings)

Turkey Vegetable Soup

1 cup chopped, cooked turkey
dash of pepper
1/4 chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
2 thinly chopped carrots
1/4 teaspoon thyme
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked pasta (such as bowtie, shells, macaroni, etc.) or 1 cup cooked rice

Add all ingredients, except pasta or rice to pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until vegetables are tender crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Add cooked pasta or cooked rice and cook a few more minutes until pasta or rice is heated.
(2 servings)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Let's Talk Turkey!

It’s almost time to give thanks and feast on turkey with family and friends.  Texas AgriLife Extension, Wise County wants to make sure that the turkey you serve produces only compliments, and not complaints, by encouraging you to follow four simple steps to food safety: clean, separate, cook, and chill.

Before you begin working with poultry, or any potentially hazardous food item, one of the primary rules of food safety is to keep everything CLEAN by washing hands with warm/hot soapy water before preparing food, and after your hands have come in contact with raw turkey.

After purchasing, take your turkey home and store it in the freezer or the refrigerator.  Never store the turkey on the counter top, or any other place where the temperature reaches above 40 degrees F.

The safest place to thaw a turkey is in the refrigerator.  Depending upon the size of your turkey, it may take up to 2-5 days to thaw in the refrigerator.  Place your turkey on a tray in the refrigerator to prevent its juices from dripping on other foods.   
As a rule of thumb, it takes approximately 24 hours to thaw every 5 pounds of turkey in the refrigerator.  If the turkey is thawed in the microwave, it should be cooked immediately because areas of the turkey may become warm and begin to cook.  Follow the instructions on the package for thawing.
A turkey that is 8-12 pounds will take approximately 3 hours to cook.  12-14 pounds will take 3 to 3.75 hours, 14-18 pounds will take 3.75 to 4.25 hours, 18-20 pounds will take 4.25 to 4.5 hours, and 20-24 pounds will take 4.5 to 5 hours to cook.
To safely cook the thawed turkey, tuck the wing tips under the shoulders of the turkey and place in a roasting pan with ½ cup water.  For safety, stuffing should be cooked separate from the turkey.  A tent of foil can be loosely laid over the turkey for the first 1 to 1.5 hours and removed for browning.  Place the turkey in an oven set no lower than 325 degrees F.
Turkey meat will be safely cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F; however, the meat may still be slightly pink. Some people prefer cooking turkey to a higher temperature (whole turkey to 180°F in the innermost part of the thigh; turkey breasts to 170 degrees F in the thickest part). For quality, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving.

If you are stumped on the best way to thaw, prepare or cook a turkey, concerned about food safety, you can call the USDA Meat & Poultry Hotline toll free at 1-888-674-6854 or send an Email to: web page link for Hotline. The hotline will be staffed with food safety specialists on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Central Time to answer your turkey questions. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Pesticide Applicator 5 Hr. CEU Program

All TDA Pesticide Applicator license holders who need to obtain CEU’s for their Applicator license need to be at the Decatur Civic Center, Thursday, December 11, 2014.  Participants will receive 5 hours of CEU’s consisting of 1 hour of Laws and Regulations, 1 hour of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and 3 hours of general.  The program will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will run until 3:00 p.m.

This year we will have high quality speakers and diverse topics:

 · Fly Control in Cattle - Dr. Sonja Swiger, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Entomologist
· Pond Management - Ricky Linex, USDA, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Weatherford, TX
· Laws and Regulations - Dr. Janis Reed, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
· New Technology in Pasture Weed Control -  Todd Baughman, Ph.D.  -  Program Support Leader, Oklahoma State University, Institute for Agricultural Biosciences
· Tree Dying  - Disease or Droughts? -  Renee Burks, Texas A&M Forest Service, Staff Forester III

The registration fee for the program is $45, due no later than Friday, December 5, 2014.  Lunch included.  Checks need to be payable to: Extension Livestock Committee and sent to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, 206 S. State Street, Decatur, 76234. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pecan Management School 101

Most Wise County residents have a pecan tree in there yard or even a small orchard, and some of you may have a potential commercial orchard or a native creek bottom that needs improvement.  If that is the case for you then you will not want to miss the Pecan Management School 101 hosted by the Wise County  Extension Livestock and Forage Committee to be held Tuesday, December 2, 2014 at the Wise County Fair Grounds, Women’s Building.  The cost for the program will be $15.00, which includes lunch.  Lunch is sponsored by Decatur Garden Center. 

Featured speaker for the Pecan School will be Charles Rohla, PH.D., Pecan Specialist with Noble Foundation.  The topics for the school will include: Pecan Overview, Management Tips for Successful Pecan Plantings, Native Pecan Production, Nutrition Management, Pest Management and Crop Load Management and Alternate Bearing.

There will be 2 CEU’s offered for TDA Pesticide Applicators.  To register for the Pecan School please do so by November 25 by contacting the Wise County Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 206 S. State Street, Decatur, Texas or call 940-627-3341.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Festive Foods Can Fit in Diabetic Menu Plans

Special occasions are made more special by the foods served. For those persons with diabetes, making wise menu choices can be a challenge and sometimes keep you from enjoying these festive occasions. Healthy eating can be part of party menus too. 
            The following recipe will make a great contribution to any holiday meal as well as fitting into the meal plan of a person with diabetes.

Healthy Holidays Layered Salad

1 bag salad greens
1 16 oz. bag of frozen green peas
2 large tomatoes
½ cup red onion (chopped)
1 bunch of broccoli (coarsely chopped into salad size pieces)
2 cups grated cheese
1 small can of sliced black olives

¾ cup light mayonnaise
½ cup low fat sour cream
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 packets artificial sweetener

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing. Chill while assembling the salad. Thaw the green peas under hot water in a colander. To assemble the salad, arrange the greens in an oblong dish. Layer the peas evenly over the salad. Spread the salad dressing over the peas like icing on a cake. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the salad dressing. Top this with the onion, broccoli, tomatoes and olives. Cover tightly with plastic wrap until serving.  Makes 10 servings.

Nutrients per serving: Calories: 197; sodium: 275 mg; carbohydrates: 20 grams; protein: 9 grams; fat: 10 grams

For those who want to find out more about being able to enjoy those special-occasion meals while keeping blood glucose levels in check, contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at 940/627-3341.