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Denny Hopkins



Carlisle, PA

The holiday season is fast approaching and chances are you will be among the ninety percent of Americans enjoying turkey this Thanksgiving. While your Thanksgiving dinner probably won't last three days, like the first Thanksgiving in 1621, GIANT Food Stores wants to make sure your holiday feast goes smoothly.

GIANT reminds customers that safe food handling should be a priority, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. As families busily prepare their turkey feast, GIANT offers the following tips to keep consumers aware of the dangers of food-borne illness that are often overlooked during this hectic time.

Turkey Tips

It's time to select a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Whether to buy a fresh or frozen turkey is a personal preference, as both will make a delicious centerpiece for your holiday meal.

If you choose to buy a frozen bird, you may do so at any time. Make sure you have adequate storage space in your freezer. Allow enough time to defrost your turkey in the refrigerator; never thaw at room temperature. In the refrigerator a whole turkey will thaw in 1 to 5 days, depending on the size. A bird under 12 lbs. will take 1-2 days, but a large one of 20-24 lbs. will take 4-5 days. Immersing it in cold water can also thaw a turkey. Leave turkey in its original wrappings or place in a watertight bag. Change water every 30 minutes. Turkey will thaw in roughly 4 to 12 hours, depending on the size of the bird.

For quick thawing of raw or cooked turkey, use the microwave at Defrost or Medium-low setting according to the manufacturer's directions. Turn turkey as it thaws; take care the turkey does not begin to cook. Cook the turkey immediately after it is thawed.

If you choose to buy a fresh turkey, freeze it if you do not plan to cook it within 2 days of purchase. Follow these tips:

· Store fresh turkey in its original wrapping

· Have a good, cold refrigerator (40 degrees F)

· Purchase a turkey with a sell-by date of no more than two days before the day you plan to cook the bird.

How big of a turkey should you buy?

Plan on 1 1/4lb. per person or 1 1/2 lbs. per person if you plan to have leftovers. Leftover turkey can be kept for 3 to 4 days.

Preparing the bird

Wash turkey thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Turkey is thoroughly cooked when it is no longer pink inside. Turkey should always be cooked until well done. For best results, use a meat thermometer inserted in the meatiest part of the turkey.

Internal temperatures should be as follows when the turkey is done:

· Turkey breasts: 170 degrees F

· Ground turkey: 165 degrees F

· Whole turkey or other parts: 180 degrees F

To make a visual check to see if the turkey is done, pierce it with a fork. You should be able to insert the fork with ease, and the turkey juices should run clear.

If your bird is not served immediately, either keep cooked turkey hot, between 140 and 160 degrees F, or refrigerate it at 40 degrees F or lower. Do not travel long distances with hot turkey. When transporting cooked turkey to another dining site, place it in an insulated container or ice chest until ready to eat.

Tasty stuffing outside the bird:

Stuffing cooked inside a turkey is a great place to grow food-borne illness bacteria, so follow these steps for safety:

· Tasty stuffing can be cooked either inside or outside the bird. If you choose to stuff your bird, do it just before roasting. Don't give bacteria a chance to grow!

· You may mix dry ingredients ahead, but do not add liquids, vegetables or meats until just before roasting.

· Stuff the cavity loosely, and no more than two-thirds full.

· Check internal temperature with a quick response thermometer. It should be at least 165 degrees F.

· Always remove stuffing from the turkey immediately after cooking.

· Stuffing can also be cooked outside the bird, simply on a stovetop or baked in a casserole dish.

Have leftovers?

Remember the two-hour rule when serving your Thanksgiving dinner. Perishable foods need to be removed from the table and refrigerated promptly.

· Cut turkey into small pieces

· Refrigerate stuffing and turkey separately in shallow containers within 2 hours of cooking

· Use leftover turkey and stuffing within 3-4 days; gravy within 2 days. Or, you may freeze foods for later use. Cooked turkey, gravy and stuffing should be packaged separately and may be frozen in foil or freezer bags for up to 1 month.

· Reheat foods thoroughly to 165 degrees F.

For additional holiday food safety tips, visit the GIANT website,


As you prepare your bird this Thanksgiving, GIANT Food Stores offers some turkey facts and trivia to entertain your guests with during your feast.

Ø 90% of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. 50% eat turkey on Christmas.

Ø More than 45 million turkeys are cooked and 525 million pounds of turkey are eaten during Thanksgiving.

Ø Until 1863, Thanksgiving Day had not been celebrated annually since the first feast in 1621. This changed in 1863 when Sarah Josepha Hale encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer".

Ø Turkeys are the only breed of poultry native to the Western Hemisphere.

Ø The average American consumes over 15 pounds of turkey a year.

Ø Ben Franklin thought the turkey was so American, it should be chosen as our national symbol rather than the bald eagle.

Ø The good old-fashioned turkey sandwich is the most popular way for Americans to prepare the fowl, accounting for 44% of consumption.

Ø Californians are the biggest turkey eaters in the country. They eat three pounds more turkey than the average American consumer.

Ø North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.

Ø When U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin sat down to eat their first meal on the moon in their historic 1969 voyage, their foil packets contained roasted turkey and all the trimmings.




· 4 cups (about 6 to 8 ounces) herb-seasoned stuffing cubes, divided

· 2 cups (one 10-ounce package) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

· 1 cup diced cooked turkey

· 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

· 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions with tops

· 6 eggs

· 1 1/2 cups milk

· 2 tablespoons sliced blanched almonds

· sliced green onions for garnish, optional

All of the ingredients in this recipe are available at GIANT Food Stores.


· Sprinkle 2 cups of the stuffing cubes over bottom of greased 8-inch square baking dish or casserole.

· Sprinkle broccoli, turkey or chicken, cheese, and onions over cubes.

· Sprinkle with remaining stuffing cubes.

· Whisk together eggs and milk. Pour over stuffing mixture. Sprinkle with almonds; cover.

· Refrigerate several hours or overnight.

· Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until golden brown, about 50 to 60 minutes.

· Garnish turkey casserole with additional green onions, if desired.

· Makes 6 servings.




· 1 cup chopped green bell pepper

· 1 1/4 cups chopped onion

· 2 cloves garlic, minced

· 3 tablespoons oil

· 2 cans (15 1/2 oz each) kidney beans, drained

· 1 can (28 ounces) stewed tomatoes, crushed

· 1 cup red wine

· 3 cups cooked turkey, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

· 1 tablespoon chili powder

· 1 tablespoon cilantro or 1 teaspoon dried

· 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

· 1/2 teaspoon salt All of the ingredients in this recipe are available at GIANT Food Stores.


· In 3-quart saucepan over medium high heat, saute bell pepper, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender-crisp.

· Add beans, tomatoes, wine, turkey, chili powder, cilantro, red pepper and salt.

· Increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer mixture, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

· To serve, garnish with additional chopped onion or cilantro, if desired.

· Makes 6 servings.




· 1/4 cup chopped onion

· 1/4 cup fresh mushrooms

· 1/4 cup each flour & margarine

· 1 cup milk

· 1 cup chicken broth

· 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

· 1 tsp dried whole tarragon

· 1/8 tsp pepper

· 1 dash of ground nutmeg

· 2-1/2 cups cooked spaghetti

· 1-1/2 cups turkey, cooked/chopped

· 1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese divided

· chopped parsley

· lemon slice halves

· red pepper strips

All of the ingredients in this recipe are available at GIANT Food Stores.


· Saute onion and mushrooms in margarine in a large, heavy saucepan until just tender.

· Add flour, stirring well. Cook one minute, stirring constantly.

· Gradually add milk and chicken broth; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly.

· Stir in parsley, tarragon, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in spaghetti, turkey, and half of the cheese, mixing well.

· Pour into a greased 1-1/2 quart casserole bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

· Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top and bake an additional 5 minutes.

· Garnish with parsley, lemon slices, and pepper strips.

· Makes 4 servings.




· 2 1/2 cups cooked rice

· 2 eggs, beaten

· 2 tablespoons margarine, melted

· 2 cups cooked turkey, shredded

· 1/2 cup onion, thinly sliced

· 1 (16 ounce) jar chunky salsa, mild

· 1 (4 ounce) jar black olives, drained

· 1 cup non-fat Cheddar cheese, grated

· 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped All of the ingredients in this recipe are available at GIANT Food Stores.


· In a medium bowl, combine rice, eggs, and margarine.

· In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, over medium-high heat, cook mixture 2-3 minutes or until mixture starts to set. Do not stir. · Reduce heat to low and cook 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture looks dry over the top.

· Over top of egg mixture, layer turkey, onion, salsa, olives, cheese and cilantro.

· Cover skillet and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until cheese has melted.

· Makes 6 servings.


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