Tip of the Week
May is National Barbecue Month and the beginning of the season for families to gather and enjoy more memorable meals together outside.
Across the nation, from the Carolinas to the California coast, barbecue has never been bigger. As you begin planning your summer get-togethers, whether it’s a casual afternoon barbecue or a more elaborate evening feast, here are some fun and easy ways families can enjoy their time together without a lot of stress - or mess.
Keep the kids occupied - If you’re using a smoker or grill for your gathering, or if you have lots of activity happening in the kitchen around a hot stove, let the kids help out and teach them fire safety as they prepare and cook food. Head to your local discount store and purchase some simple yard games to keep them entertained such as bean bag tosses and sidewalk art.
Make cleanup a breeze - Be sure to have plenty of napkins handy. To help cut down on traffic in the house, set up buckets of water in the yard with soap for a quick cleanup. Use sturdy paper plates and plastic utensils and cups so guests can toss them in trash or recycling bins you’ve stationed around the yard.
Beau Coffron, who writes about family and food at LunchBoxDad, says that planning healthy, tasty meals for active families in the summer months doesn’t need to take a lot of time.
“Making salads and cutting up fruit and vegetables a day or two ahead of time can help reduce meal planning stress. We also sometimes use a pre-prepared main item, which gives us the time to sit down together, enjoy a meal and then head out for the rest of our activities,” Coffron says.
Number to Know
14 million: Barbecue products and flavors line grocery store shelves, and shipments of grills and smokers reached 14 million last year, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association.
Applewood Honey Chicken Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Makes 4 sandwiches, serves 4
1 (20 ounce) package Farm Rich Smokehouse Applewood Honey Chicken BBQ
8 (1/4 to 1/2-inch) slices of a whole grain bread loaf
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 stick butter, melted
Spicy mustard for dipping (optional)
Prepare BBQ according to package directions. Brush a large non-stick skillet with butter and place over medium-low heat. Working with two sandwiches at a time, brush one side of two pieces of bread with butter. Spread 1 ounce of cream cheese on the other side of each piece of bread. Place the two pieces of bread (butter side down) in the pan. Top each with BBQ, cheese, tomato slices and more cheese. Butter two more slices of bread and place them over each sandwich (butter side up). Use a spatula to smash the sandwiches just a bit. Flip the sandwiches over after about 2-4 minutes or until the bottom pieces of bread are dark brown. Cook until the other side of the bread is dark brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and repeat process with the remaining slices of bread and ingredients to make two more sandwiches. Serve with spicy mustard for dipping.
You want to make sure that the hamburgers you serve your guests are safe! How should you determine when they are cooked enough to be safe to eat?
A. They’re brown all the way through.
B. Center of meat is no longer pink.
C. Thermometer inserted into the center of the burger reads at least 160 degrees F.
Answer at bottom of rail.
Wise to the Word
Barbacoa: A form of cooking meat that originated in the Caribbean with the Taíno people, from which the term “barbecue” derives.
The Dish On...
“Guy on Fire: 130 Recipes for Adventures in Outdoor Cooking,” by Guy Fieri
In this rollicking cookbook, Guy Fieri shares his favorite tips, techniques and recipes for outdoor cooking all through the year, whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, relaxing around the campfire or tailgating on game day.
Food Quiz answer
C. Because the pathogen E.coli is present in raw meat, ground beef hamburgers should be cooked until the temperature at the center reaches 160 degrees. The interior of the meat may turn brown before this temperature is reached, making it look like the hamburger is done, but you cannot assure its safety until the temperature reaches 160 degrees.
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Tip of the Week