Some may not, but most will, serve up a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving this Thursday. It's the traditional Thanksgiving meal. A word or two of caution about preparing your feast is in order, and if you don't want to spend hours in the kitchen, we have some other suggestions.
Just when you're getting ready to enjoy that big Thanksgiving meal, the
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and its partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products. This outbreak is a reminder that raw turkey products can have germs that spread around food preparation areas and can make you sick.
Food handling errors and inadequate cooking are the most common problems that lead to poultry-associated foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States. If you handle turkey (and other meats) properly, you don't have to worry about enjoying your meal. Just follow these four food safety tips to help you safely prepare your Thanksgiving feast.
1. Safely Thaw Your Turkey
Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator in a container, or in a leak-proof plastic bag in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes. When thawing a turkey in the microwave, follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instructions.
Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the "danger zone" between 40 degrees F and 140 degrees F.
2. Safely Handle Your Turkey
Raw poultry can contaminate anything it touches with harmful bacteria. Follow the four steps to food safety - cook, clean, chill, and separate(https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/groups/consumers.html) - to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.
Take Care with Leftovers --- Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that grow in cooked foods left at room temperature. It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. The major symptoms are vomiting and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours after eating.
Clostridium perfringens outbreaks occur most often in November and December. Many of these outbreaks have been linked to foods commonly served during the holidays, such as turkey and roast beef. Refrigerate leftovers at 40 degrees F or colder as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning. Use a food thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature.
3. Safely Prepare Stuffing
Cooking stuffing in a casserole dish makes it easy to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you put stuffing in the turkey, do so just before cooking. Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing's center reaches 165 degrees F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165 degrees F and may then cause food poisoning.
Wait for 20 minutes after removing the bird from the oven before removing the stuffing from the turkey's cavity; this allows it to cook a little more.
4. Safely Cook Your Turkey
Set the oven temperature to at least 325 degrees F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey.
To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint.
Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.
Most people have family get-togethers for Thanksgiving, but if it's just you individually or a couple (or perhaps your immediate family including your children living at home), you may want to avoid the trouble of preparing the meal and all those left-overs you're likely to have.
Besides the fast food places that are open on Thanksgiving, there are at least a couple of restaurants in the Lincolnton area (and some others in cities nearby) that will be serving up a Thanksgiving meal.
Fatz Cafe (1430 E. Main St.) will be open 11 AM - 11 PM.
At Fatz, you can have turkey with cornbread dressing, rice or mashed potatoes with giblet gravy, sauteed green beans and cranberry relish served with a slice of pumpkin pie for 12.99. Or enjoy Virginia ham with a sweet tea glaze, served with macaroni & cheese, A broccoli casserole and a slice of pumpkin pie for 11.99. Add three deviled eggs topped with bacon to either for 2.99 more.
If you prefer, you can also have a sirloin steak with baked potato and your choice of a Caesar or house salad. The 6-oz size is 12.99, or choose a 10-oz steak for 17.49 or a 12-oz steak for 19.49. If you prefer, a 12-oz ribeye with crispy onion straws, a baked potato & salad is 21.49.
You can also have Calabash chicken tenders with Vidalia onion coleslaw, steak fries and a baked potato soup for 12.99.
Fairways & Greens at Lincoln Country Club will be open 11 AM - 7 PM serving a Thanksgiving meal. You can choose ham or turkey breast, the salad bar, and a buffet of multiple vegetables and side dishes for $18.99 for adults, $12.99 for children 10 and under--or get a 'to go' box for $12.99. If you plan to eat at Fairways & Greens on Thanksgiving, reservations are required. Call 704-732-4662.
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