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Makeover Your Holiday Meals with MyPlate! – Week 2

MyPlate Holiday Makeover: Green Mashed Potatoes

MyPlate Holiday Makeover: Green Mashed Potatoes

The MyPlate Team continues to share “Makeover Monday” recipes each week on the USDA blog and the MyPlate Facebook page through January 6th.

This recipe was originally created for another festive day.  But everyone loved “green-mash” potatoes so much that this family favorite became part of our Thanksgiving Feast.

Since my family has an Irish ancestry, we first started making this Green-Mash Potatoes Recipe for St. Patrick’s Day.  Green peas add a slightly sweet flavor, and the garlic and pepper gives it some zip.  The white pepper is optional, especially if serving to little kids.  A sprinkle of Kosher salt on top brings out the flavors, yet the sodium is much lower than traditional mashed potatoes.  And also, kids think the chartreuse-green color is fun! Read more »

Hay Más Que Una Manera de Cocinar el Pavo

La necesidad de velocidad. Carencia de espacio de horno. Tradiciones de familia. Cortes de corriente. Todos son motivos por cual muchos cocineros podrían buscar nuevos modos de asar el pavo entero fuera del horno. Considere los métodos siguientes sugeridos por la Línea de Información Sobre Carnes y Aves.

Pero primero, un mensaje sobre la inocuidad de los alimentos. Cualquier método que usted use para traer su pavo a la mesa, tenga un termómetro de alimento al alcance. Con el termómetro usted puede asegurar que el pavo ha alcanzado la temperatura interna mínima de 165 °F en la parte íntima del muslo, ala y la parte más gruesa del pecho. Si su pavo esta rellenado, el centro del relleno también debería alcanzar 165 °F. Después de cocinar,  permita un tiempo de reposo de 20 minutos antes de rebanar el pavo. Read more »

There’s More than One Way to Cook a Turkey

The need for speed. Lack of oven space. Family traditions. Power outages. All are reasons many cooks might look for ways to roast a whole turkey outside the usual oven. Consider the following methods suggested by the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline.

But first, a message about food safety. No matter which method you choose to get your turkey to the table, have a food thermometer handy so you can make sure the turkey has reached the safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F in the innermost part of the thigh, wing and the thickest part of the breast.  If your turkey is stuffed, the center of the stuffing should also reach 165 °F. After cooking, let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving. Read more »

USDA Funding Provides a Broadband Lift to Part of Rural Oklahoma

Oklahoma Rural Development State Director Ryan McMullen  joins project representatives, elected officials, and community representatives to cut a ribbon officially declaring the completion of the 1st of 30 towers, comprising the new broadband network. USDA photo.

Oklahoma Rural Development State Director Ryan McMullen joins project representatives, elected officials, and community representatives to cut a ribbon officially declaring the completion of the 1st of 30 towers, comprising the new broadband network. USDA photo.

Reinforcing USDA’s commitment to connecting rural America to the global economy, Oklahoma USDA Rural Development State Director Ryan McMullen, cut the ribbon on a new high-speed internet network, projected to serve more than 4,000 rural Oklahoma residents, many of them Native American, and 1,400 businesses.

The Oklahoma-owned company, @Atlink, that secured the funding for the project, hosted the event at the site of the completion of their first of thirty towers.   The new, vast network will span from I-35 near Ardmore, to the northeast to Sapulpa, while covering sprawling areas between Pauls Valley and Muskogee.  @Atlink secured $8 million for this project through the USDA Broadband Initiatives Program.  The funding for their loan/grant combination was provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Read more »

I was Local When Local Wasn’t Cool

Under Secretary Avalos with fresh apples from the USDA Farmers Market.  Share your favorite local ingredients by mentioning @AMS_USDA and using the #LocalisCool hashtag.

Under Secretary Avalos with fresh apples from the USDA Farmers Market. Share your favorite local ingredients by mentioning @AMS_USDA and using the #LocalisCool hashtag.

No one would ever accuse me of being a trend-setter—especially my kids.  But I’m proud to say that I’ve been part of the local food movement my whole life. I grew up on a family farm in New Mexico.  For us, local food wasn’t really a trend or a movement.  It was how we made our living.  By growing, raising and selling our food throughout the year, we connected to other farmers, ranchers and our neighbors.

More American families are making a conscious decision to eat healthier and buy local foods.  Many farmers and producers are combining their hard work with innovative practices like hoop houses and new marketing opportunities like food hubs.  These are two examples of modern approaches that are helping extend growing and selling seasons and bringing farmers and suppliers together to meet the increasing demand for local foods. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A New White House Report Highlights the Need for a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

This week, the White House released a new report showing the critical need for Congressional passage of a new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. This comprehensive report highlights how the thriving business of agriculture is a cornerstone of America’s economy, creating jobs and boosting opportunity.

Agricultural production and its related sectors contributed $743 billion to U.S. GDP in 2011, accounting for nearly 5 percent of economic output. Today about one out of every 12 jobs in the United States are connected in some way to agriculture.

Meanwhile, driven by the productivity of our farmers and ranchers, agricultural exports reached their highest mark ever in 2013 at more than $140 billion. Due in part to trade promotion programs in the Farm Bill, the five-year period from 2009-2013 is the strongest in history for agricultural exports. Compared to the previous five-year period, the U.S. is exporting an average of four million tons more bulk commodities each year. These exports alone support more than a million jobs. Read more »