RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

How to Safely Handle Leftover Meals

November 24, 2014 1:34 am

Many families enjoy eating leftovers from dinners and dining out as a time-saving and budget-friendly meal. It is important to remember that leftovers need to be properly handled to help reduce the risk of food borne illness. Illness can be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

Handling leftovers

  • Wash your hands before and after handling leftovers. Wash all utensils, dishes and work surfaces with hot soapy water.
  • Keep foods out of the danger zone, between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Throw away any cooked food left in the danger zone for more than two hours.
  • Never rely on your nose, eyes or taste buds to judge the safety of food. You cannot tell if food is contaminated by its look, smell or taste. When in doubt, throw it out!
Cooling leftovers
  • Refrigerate or freeze all leftovers within two hours to minimize the chance of bacteria growing.
  • Refrigerate all hot leftovers promptly in uncovered, shallow containers so they cool quickly.
  • Very hot items can first be cooled at room temperature and then refrigerated once the steaming stops.
  • Leave the lid off or wrap loosely until the food is cooled to refrigeration temperature.
Storing leftovers
  • Always use a clean container or leak-proof plastic bag to store leftovers.
  • Meat from large cooked birds should be cut, deboned and stored refrigerated or frozen for safety.
  • Keep different types of leftovers separate to prevent cross contamination.
  • Don't overstock the refrigerator - allow cool air to circulate freely.
  • Eat refrigerated leftovers within 2 to 4 days, or freeze them for later use. The recommended refrigeration times may vary slightly, depending on the food. Follow these guidelines to be safe.
  • Label the leftovers so you can identify the contents and include the date, to make sure they aren't stored too long.
Defrosting leftovers
  • Thaw frozen leftovers in the refrigerator or using the "defrost" setting on your microwave. Make sure leftovers are completely defrosted before reheating.
  • Consume or cook the leftovers immediately after they have thawed.
Reheating leftovers
  • When reheating leftovers, cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use a digital food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
  • Bring gravies, soups and sauces to a full, rolling boil and stir during the process.
  • Discard uneaten leftovers after they have been reheated – don't reheat leftovers more than once.
Reheating in a microwave
  • Use only containers or plastic wrap designed for use in the microwave.
  • Loosen the lid or wrap to allow steam to escape.
  • Stop the microwave midway through reheating and stir the food so that the heat is evenly distributed. Rotate the plate several times during cooking if your microwave does not have a rotating tray.
Source: Health Canada

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Ceilings: Your Fifth Wall Has Design Potential

November 24, 2014 1:34 am

(BPT) - Many homeowners don't consider ceilings part of their interior design, and it shows. Most are expanses of bland white paint. But savvy do-it-yourselfers are converting these blank canvases into interesting and functional design elements that accent a room's decor, create a cozier space or disguise problems commonly found on this fifth wall.

Updating a ceiling is one of the easiest and budget-friendly ways to freshen a space. Dana Vento, DIY expert and popular home renovation blogger, recommends tackling a ceiling project that can be quickly and easily finished over the weekend. Here are her tips:

Warm up with wood. There's a reason wood flooring is so popular - it tends to warm up a room and add character. The same goes for ceilings. Real or engineered wood panels can extend your sense of style in any room. That's because they come in a wide range of tones, textures and patterns to suit any decorating style, from rustic to mid-century modern to contemporary.

Go beyond vanilla.
For those who want to add a splash of color, the ceiling holds special allure. Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls (or one shade lighter) can make a small room feel larger. A bright color, say yellow or pink, could enliven a child's room, while a sky blue ceiling creates a more soothing ambiance. Black ceilings have their own design advantages, dramatically defining a dining area in an open floor plan, for instance, or enhancing the enveloping atmosphere of a home theater.

Add shimmer. Love the look of metals? Consider today's pressed metal ceiling tiles. They're far easier to install than their antique ancestors, and the light-refracting properties of copper, brass and lacquered steel can help raise the ceiling visually in any room.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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