Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts from Emergency Physicians

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WASHINGTON — The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) urges everyone to be safe this holiday season. A few safety tips will go a long way toward making sure your holiday is safe and fun.  

“Preparation, organization and common sense are the most important ingredients in the recipe for a safe and fun Thanksgiving,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Do your part to make sure you can spend the holiday with friends and loved ones instead of the emergency department. But, rest assured that an emergency physician will be there for you anytime an emergency occurs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on holidays.”

Practice safe cooking techniques. Watch temperature levels, read instructions, make sure ovens are functioning properly. Unsafe handling or undercooking food can lead to illness, such as salmonella. Thaw turkey properly before cooking at a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discourages thawing turkey by leaving it on the countertop, which can cause bacteria growth. If thawing by leaving the turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every five pounds of weight. The US Department of Agriculture says that leftovers are good for three to four days, if refrigerated. Make sure you wash your hands, cook on a clean surface and avoid cross-contamination with raw meats or other food that requires safe handling.

Supervise children in the kitchen. Accidents happen when kids can grab sharp knives or touch hot pots on the stove. Every day 300 children are treated in emergency departments for burn-related injuries, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Burns and scalds remain the number one cause of unintentional injury in children ages 0-5.

Don’t leave food cooking unattended, home fires often start in the kitchen. Take your time to avoid slips or falls and reduce the number of safety hazards in crowded areas. Don’t leave candles burning if you are not in the room and don’t light candles near open windows. 

Celebrate responsibly. Enjoy the festivities in moderation. Overeating can cause stomach issues or more serious health problems for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes. If alcohol is being served, please do not drink and drive. Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest traffic days of the year. If weather is bad, allow plenty of travel time. Make sure your vehicle has an up-to-date safety kit. And, try to stay calm.

More information about holiday safety is available at

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit

Source: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

A Chef’s Advice for Stress-Free Holiday Cooking

MISSION, Kan. — (Family Features) How many times have you heard someone say they’ve slaved away in the kitchen all day? Stress in the kitchen can easily arise for a variety of reasons, especially when you’re strapped for time and have a never-ending to-do list.

As a survivor of Gordon Ramsay’s MasterChef competition, Caitlin Meade – a top 4 finalist on season 8 – understands the pressure all too well. To decrease the stress and make your hosting experience more enjoyable, consider putting these tips from Chef Meade into practice.

Prep Before You Begin
Practice the “mise en place” method – a French term alluding to having everything in place before cooking. Measure ingredients, chop vegetables and prepare utensils to create a steady workflow.

Plan in Advance – Like a Chef
Prep the main dish the night before, have easy appetizers assembled ahead of guests’ arrival and outsource sides to family and friends.

Save Money by Getting Spicy
Before it’s time to cook, pre-make spices. Since many store-bought blends can be overpriced, this is a way to save both time and money while personalizing your own flavors.

Save Table Wine for Drinking & Use Cooking Wine
A secret ingredient and important pantry staple for Chef Meade, cooking wine is perfect for when she needs to make a pan sauce or add flavor. It’s even saved her from having to open a nice bottle of table wine, as most recipes call for less than a cup. An option like Holland House Cooking Wines delivers consistent, bold flavor while standing up to high temperatures. Available in Sherry, Marsala, Red and White, there are plenty of flavor-boosting options that will have your friends and family wondering what your secret ingredient is.

Create Your Own Stock
Many recipes call for chicken stock. One way to save money and time at the store is to create your own. Save any leftover poultry carcasses, wing tips, neck and bones. Add onion peels, celery tips, carrot tops and other vegetable scraps in the freezer. When you’re ready to make a batch, fill a large pot with the leftovers, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 1-2 hours for stock that can last up to one year.

For more stress-free holiday recipes, visit

Spinach Feta and Artichoke Dip
Recipe courtesy of Cate Meade
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours
Servings: 10-12

Nonstick cooking spray
3cloves garlic, minced
1package (12 ounces) frozen spinach, thawed and excess liquid drained
2cans (14 ounces each) whole artichokes, drained and chopped
1can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 1/4cups low-fat mozzarella cheese
3/4cup feta cheese, crumbled, plus additional for garnish
1 1/4cups low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
1package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste

Garnishes (optional): feta cheese, roasted red peppers


  1. Grease 6-8-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In slow cooker, mix garlic, spinach, artichokes, water chestnuts, mozzarella, feta, yogurt and red pepper flakes.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer cooking wine 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese and turn off heat.
  4. Transfer cream cheese and wine mixture to slow cooker; add salt and pepper, to taste, and stir to combine ingredients.
  5. Cook on low for two hours.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with feta and roasted red peppers, if desired.

White Hominy Chicken Chili
Recipe courtesy of Cate Meade
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
Servings: 8

2tablespoons olive or avocado oil
2medium yellow onions, diced
1 1/4pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1packet of white chili seasoning
1cup Holland House White Cooking Wine
1jar (16 ounces) chunky salsa verde
4cups unsalted vegetable stock
1can (16 ounces) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1large poblano or green pepper, diced
1bag (10 ounces) frozen fire-roasted corn
1can (29 ounces) white hominy, drained and rinsed
3tablespoons cornmeal (optional)

Toppings recommendations: Lime wedgesavocadocilantro, sour cream, cheesetortilla chipsjalapenos


  1. Turn slow cooker on low; add oil, onions and chicken. Distribute chili seasoning evenly over chicken and onions.
  2. Add cooking wine, salsa verde and chicken stock.
  3. Cover and cook 3 hours.
  4. Remove chicken and allow to rest, covered, for 15 minutes before shredding.
  5. Add beans, peppers, corn and hominy to slow cooker. For thicker consistency, add cornmeal, if desired. Cook on high 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and serve with lime wedges, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, cheese, tortilla chips and jalapenos, if desired.

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Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate

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