Weekly Food for Thought with items on grilling safety tips, “Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Reicpes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue” by Myron Mixon, Kelly Alexander and foreword by Paula Deen and more.

Nothing beats that first smell of summer when the neighbor lights up the charcoal grill. Of course, an invitation would be nice.


Jenna Hogan, University of Illinois Extension nutrition and wellness educator, offers these grilling and safety tips.




Place the grill away from buildings, bushes and dry leaves. Also, make sure it is sitting on a level surface.

Keep a spray bottle of water handy to extinguish any flare-ups and prevent burning the food.

You should clean the grill after each use, and if you are using charcoal, remember to empty the ashes to allow air to flow. Good care will extend the lifetime of your grill.

If you use charcoal briquettes, saturate them with lighter fluid, and let them sit for about five minutes before starting the fire. Leave the lid off, and allow the briquettes to burn until they are covered with gray ash, up to 30 minutes. Then, spread the briquettes in a layer so the heat will be distributed evenly. Place the grill rack 4 to 6 inches above the coals, and begin grilling.


Hogan says to always marinate food in the refrigerator. In general, most meat and poultry need to be marinated for one to three hours, and seafood needs 15 to 30 minutes. If you need part of the marinade for a sauce, be sure to reserve some before placing it with raw meat. Never reuse marinade from raw meat or poultry to use on cooked food.


Use a meat thermometer to ensure the proper food temperatures are reached to protect against food borne illness:




Ground beef: 160 degrees

Poultry: 165 degrees

Beef, veal and lamb (chops, steaks and roasts): at least 145 degrees

Pork: 160 degrees

Tip of the Week: Store cheese in freezer


Cheese is best when served at room temperature, but if you want to store cheese for the future, simply wrap it tightly and put it in the freezer. When ready, thaw out cheese slowly in refrigerator for 24 hours. To melt cheese, bring it to room temperature and slowly melt over low heat to prevent toughening and separation of oils and liquid.


-- Foodies.com


Easy recipe: Banana Boats




4 medium bananas, unpeeled

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butterscotch or peanut butter chips (careful of food allergies)

1/4 cup miniature marshmallows

Cut alongside inside curve of each banana; press ends of peel to open. Fill each banana evenly with chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter chips and marshmallows. Wrap each banana in foil. Place over heat, and cook for about 5 minutes until bananas are heated through and chips and marshmallows are melted. Yield: 4 to 8 servings.


-- University of Illinois Extension


Did You Know?


Five seafood options that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.


-- FoodSafety.gov


Would You Buy It? Romano’s Macaroni Grill frozen entrees


Details: The Italian meals-in-a-bag go from freezer to table in 12 minutes. There are four varieties: Basil Parmesan Chicken, Chicken Florentine, Garlic Shrimp Scampi and Italian Sausage Pomodoro.


More information: (800) 754-3381 or www.MacaroniGrillAtHome.com


Availability: In supermarket freezer cases, including Walmart


Comments: We microwaved the Basil Parmesan Chicken, a blend of white meat chicken, broccoli florets, tomatoes, cavatappi pasta and a basil-parm sauce. “The chicken chunks are big and plentiful.” “The pasta is al dente. Hard to believe they were microwaved.” “The sauce could use more flavor.”


Would you buy it? Yes, if it were on sale. We thought the price per serving was too high.


-- State Journal-Register


Food Quiz


True or false: Authentic cheddar cheese can only be orange in color.


A. True


B. False


-- funtrivia.com


Answer is at bottom of column


Wise to the Word: Cutlet


1. A thin, tender cut of meat (usually from lamb, pork or veal) taken from the leg or rib section. Cutlets are best when quickly cooked, such as sauteed or grilled. 2. A mixture of finely chopped meat, fish or poultry that's bound with a sauce or egg mixture and formed into the shape of a cutlet. It is often dipped into beaten egg and then into bread crumbs before being fried.


-- epicurious.com


Number to Know


50: A tablespoon of Smucker’s strawberry jam is 50 calories.


 – calorieking.com


The Dish On …


“Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Reicpes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue” by Myron Mixon, Kelly Alexander and foreword by Paula Deen


The secret to the best barbecue from the man who barbecues the best: Keep it simple! Myron Mixon’s stepping out from behind his rig to teach you how he does it. Rule number one: People always try to overthink barbecue and make it complicated. Don’t do it! Mixon will show you how you can apply his “keep it simple” mantra in your own backyard. You’ll learn to cook like Mixon does when he’s on the road competing and when he’s at home, with great tips on:


• the basics, from choosing the right wood to getting the best smoker or grill.


• formulas for marinades, rubs, injections, and sauces you’ll need.


• the perfect ways to cook up hog, ribs, brisket and chicken.


-- Random House Publishing Group


From the Beer Nut’s Blog: Shock Top Belgian now sold in cans


Anheuser-Busch has announced it’s going to start canning it’s popular summer beer, Shock Top. Here are all the details from the press release:


Beginning June 13, Shock Top Belgian White will be available for the first time in aluminum cans. The bright, eye-catching orange can with corresponding orange pull tab will be sold nationwide in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans.


“We know fans of this Belgian-style wheat ale have a wide range of interests, and now they have an easy-to-transport package they can bring anywhere life takes them,"  said Andy Goeler, vice president of import, craft and specialty brands for Anheuser-Busch.


Shock Top Belgian White is an unfiltered wheat ale with a naturally cloudy and light golden color. It is brewed with orange, lemon and lime peels and coriander, giving it a refreshing, smooth taste and a citrusy aroma.


To read more from the Beer Nut, visit http://blogs.townonline.com/beernut/.


Food Quiz Answer


A. False


GateHouse News Service