By Shelly Detwiler
What’s in your fridge? Just in time for the holidays, it’s time to find out. Nov. 15 is National Clean Out Your Fridge Day. We lead such busy lives that this task is often procrastinated, avoided, dreaded and maybe never done by many. Leaks, mold and expired condiments are just a few surprises in store! I’m sure I’ll find things that have been forgotten about and are hiding and even, unreachable. Pauuuul! Refrigerators these days are pricey and necessities that everyone needs. Routine maintenance such as vacuuming parts we never see will help extend the life of a fridge.
In the world of food policy these days food waste is one hot topic. The Institute for food safety and health in Illinois states that confusion over “sell-by,” “use-by” and “best-by” leads to billions of pounds of food waste each year. These are important terms to know as we clean out our fridges this year.
Use-by: This date is basically a goal to eat by date. It may not necessarily make us sick but the quality will start to diminish and safety could be lessened.
Sell-by: This label is primarily for retailers. They should sell or remove from the shelf by this date. We don’t need to eat it by this date!!! It is interesting to know that at least a third more of its eatable life is to come. Sounds like a great way to get a deal on meat and other perishable foods that we can eat or freeze for later!
Best-by: This is the consumer date to consume for best quality of this product.
Not sure when you opened your condiments? Just guess for now. After cleaning and reorganizing your fridge, one great way to keep track of your food is to mark with a sharpie the date you opened it. Check out what eatbydate.com says how long you can keep these common products past their printed date (if opened and kept at appropriate temps).
- Eggs: a month
- Butter: at least a month
- Ketchup/ BBQ/Mustard: at least one year
- Mayonnaise/Miracle Whip: 1 week
- Ranch/Blue Cheese/Caesar/Thousand Island: 1 to 2 months
- Italian/Balsamic vinaigrette: 3 to 4 months
- Soy sauce: 2 to 3 years
- Worcestershire: 3 to 4 years
Jam/Jelly: 1 year (homemade 6 months)
Grab your soapy water, disinfectant, sponge, trash can and accept this challenge! Empty each shelf and completely wash down the inside and underneath drawers and shelves. Throw out all that moldy, expired and stuff you don’t use. Don’t forget about the routine maintenance of vacuuming condenser cords and underneath your fridge. Before you know it, your fridge will be sparkly clean and ready to be restocked and organized with healthy foods, leaving plenty of room for all those holiday leftovers!
Eat well & healthy!
What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Check out these new twists on the staff’s favorites!
Matt Reese…Turkey with Cranberry Sauce
Wayne’s Cranberry Sauce pauladeen.com
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 (16 oz) bag fresh cranberries
1 cup apple, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup orange liqueur
1/2 orange, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
Combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries and return to a boil, then lower the heat so that the liquid simmers. Add the apples, walnuts, raisins, orange liqueur, orange and lemon juices, cinnamon and nutmeg, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the sauce cool. Serves 6. Serve in a side bowl with turkey or any preferred holiday dish.
Basic Thanksgiving Dressing pioneerwoman.com
1 loaf Cornbread (see My Skillet Cornbread Recipe)
1 loaf Italian Bread, Such As Ciabatta
1 loaf French Bread
1 whole Large Onion Or 2 Medium Onions, Diced
5 stalks Celery, Diced
1/2 bunch Parsley, Chopped
1/2 cup (1 Stick) Butter
6 cups Low-sodium Chicken Broth, More If Needed For Moisture
1/2 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Ground Thyme
1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, Finely Minced
Salt And Pepper
Cut all the bread into 1-inch cubes and lay them out on sheet pans. Cover with a dish towel and let them dry out for 24-48 hours until they’re dry and crisp.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onions and celery and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the broth, parsley, rosemary, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper and stir.
Put all the bread cubes in a large bowl and slowly ladle in the broth mixture, tossing as you go until the dressing has the moisture level you want. Taste and add more seasonings as needed.
Pour the dressing into a large casserole pan and/or the turkey cavity. Bake the casserole for 20 to 30 minutes at 375 degrees until golden and crisp on top. Serve piping hot with a turkey and gravy!
Skillet Cornbread pioneerwoman.com
1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Milk
1 whole Egg
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 cup Shortening
2 Tablespoons Shortening
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Stir together.
Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.
In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat.
Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle.) Cook on stovetop for 1 minute, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Edges should be crispy!
Dale Minyo…Thick Noodles and Stuffing
Homemade Egg Noodles kingarthur.com
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs, whisked well
1/2 cup milk
Place the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to aerate and combine.
With the machine running, drizzle in the eggs. Process for 20 seconds, or until the mixture looks like fine cornmeal.
Turn the machine on again, and drizzle in the milk. You may not need all of it, so hold back on the last tablespoon or two, adding only if needed to make a smooth, firm dough.
Remove the dough from the processor and knead it briefly by hand to smooth it out. Wrap in plastic wrap, and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes at room temperature. At this point you can place the dough in the fridge for up to 24 hours; longer than that, though, and the dough will oxidize, turning an unattractive gray color.
With a large rolling pin or your pasta machine, roll the pasta about 1/16″ thick. Cut long strips 1/2″ wide, then cut those strips into 3″ pieces. Dust with a touch of extra flour and let dry at room temperature while you bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil.
Drop the noodles into the boiling water by the handful. Be sure to stir the water to keep the strands separated. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Test a noodle every minute or so until done. Drain the noodles, and serve them hot, with butter, salt, and pepper. Yield: 4 to 6 servings. Fast and Easy version…Try Reames frozen egg noodles. Use 16 oz. package. Cook according to directions. After draining stir in can of cream of chicken soup. Stir in chicken broth until desired creamy version!
Joel Penhorwood…Honey Glazed Ham and all of the above!
Baked Ham with brown sugar honey glaze Trisha Yearwood
1 10-pound bone-in smoked ham (with water added)
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
½ c clover honey
- Adjust the oven racks to accommodate a large roasting pan. Fit the pan with a shallow roasting rack. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Unwrap the ham and rinse it under cold water. Place it on the rack in the roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour 40 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the brown sugar and honey in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture is smooth and the sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the brown sugar glaze over the ham and continue roasting1 hour 40 minutes more, basting at least twice with the drippings in the roaster. (To adjust the total roasting time for a smaller or larger ham, calculate 20 minutes per pound.) Check for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer into a meaty spot (not into fat or touching the bone)-it should register 160 degrees F.
- Let the ham stand 15 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to set. (You can make the ham up to 2 hours ahead; tent with foil and serve at room temperature.)