You can make your favorite recipes more healthful without sacrificing any convenience or taste by using different ingredients! Here are some examples:

• Decrease the amount of oil, butter and trans-fat-free margarine called for in a recipe by half, and replace it with pureed vegetables or fruits (such as canned pumpkin, mashed overripe banana, or unsweetened applesauce). Instead of basting a food in oil or drippings, use a small amount of fruit juice or a low-sodium vegetable broth.

• Use whole wheat flour for half of the white flour. Use brown rice instead of white rice.

• Use plain regular or Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise in cold sauces, dips and salad dressing. This will reduce the fat and increase the protein and calcium.

• Instead of fatty meats, use more cooked dry beans, fish, skinless poultry, and extra-lean cuts of meats (such as round or loin).

Source: Extension Human Nutrition, Kansas State University

For festive feasts and happy

holidays, keep food safety in mind

What is the most important ingredient in any holiday feast? Food safety! Babies, young children and older adults are especially prone to getting sick, or even dying, from food borne illnesses. Make your holiday meals and snacks as safe as possible by using these easy tips:

Clean. Wash hands, cooking equipment and work area often.

Separate raw foods and their juices from foods that won’t be cooked.

Thaw all perishable foods in the refrigerator, not at room temperature.

Do not rinse raw poultry or meats before cooking them.

Rinse fresh fruits and vegetables under cool running water before use.

Cook foods to the right temperature. Use a meat thermometer to be sure that they have reached a safe internal temperature. Color is not a good indicator of doneness.

Don’t have one? Buy yourself an early Christmas gift! Thermometers cost under $10. Find them at grocery stores and hardware or discount stores.

Cook all turkey and chicken, and reheat leftovers, to at least 165 degrees F.

Cook raw ground beef, pork and lamb to at least 160 degree F.

Cook roasts, steaks and chops to at least 145 degrees F., then let them rest for three minutes.

Cook fin fish and shell fish until the flesh is opaque.

Keep hot foods at 140 degrees F. or hotter. Keep cold foods at 40 degrees F. or colder.

If your serving times will be extended, serve small amounts and replenish them every hour with fresh platters of back-up foods that you have kept in the refrigerator or oven. Serve cold foods in bowls nestled into larger bowls of clean ice. Use slow cookers to keep your hot foods hot.

Chill perishable leftovers within two hours. Cover and refrigerate or freeze them in shallow containers so that they cool quickly.

Use or freeze refrigerated leftovers within four days.

Source: Holiday Food Safety, U.S. FDA

For more information, please contact Léhisa de Fornoza, Finney County Family and Consumer Sciences Agent at the Finney County Extension Office at (620) 272-3670.