Mary’s Memo #2123


This may surprise you, but I've never had a doggie bag of food that I liked reheated. In my opinion, the best meal at The Olive Garden is breadsticks, salad and soup, especially the breadsticks. I liked them so much that I bought some one time to take home. But reheated, they were not as good as when I ate them in the restaurant. I'm convinced that their appeal at the restaurant is because they're fresh from the oven. That said I do see a lot of people leaving restaurants with doggie bags so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Citizens Information Center have a free Eating Out Safely package of publications, whether you're picking up sandwiches at the corner deli, sitting down for a fancy meal or reheating leftovers in the microwave. Eating Out Safely also offers a guide that answers questions about how long doggie bags can be kept and how to safely reheat meals. It suggests storing cold foods at 40o F or lower and warming hot foods to 145o F before eating them. The package also offers tips for ordering food in restaurants, such as avoiding uncooked selections and making sure meats are cooked thoroughly.

To help keep foodbourne illnesses off your table, call toll-free 1-888-878-3256, weekdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time and ask for free the Eating Out Safely package.


I answer many food questions but when it comes to a dietetic one I ask a registered dietician for the answer. Last week a friend who was told not to eat any foods with seeds asked me if that would include blueberries. Blueberries do have miniscule seeds in the center and although I didn't think they would be a problem, I told her to talk to her doctor or the dietician at the hospital. Since blueberries are one of the most highly toted foods today I also wanted to know if blueberries should be avoided by people on a seedless regimen. Dinah Dalder, MS RD, and Dietetics Program Assistant in the College of Consumer and Family Science at Purdue University had this to say on the subject: "Blueberries should be okay if the concern is avoidance of seeds due to a history of diverticulitis, and the individual is currently not having an acute attack of diverticulitis. If the person is worried about eating blueberries, eat in small quantities and monitor what happens." Dalder said more information about seeded foods and diverticulosis is available from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House at


I am already setting aside recipes for the annual holiday sheet and Hot Tomato Grits from Southern Living magazine would be a perfect choice. However, it's even better tasting made with homegrown tomatoes so this is one recipe we're not reserving! I did cut the amount of salt in half, used reduced fat sharp Cheddar cheese, my Cheddar-of-choice in recipes, and "kicked it up a notch" with a drop or two of Tabasco. And it's true, I had it for breakfast, lunch and dinner but not on the same day!


2 slices lean bacon, chopped
2 14 1/2 ounce cans Swanson chicken broth without MSG
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
2 large tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained on paper towels
2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles (freeze rest for another time)
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco
1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
Chopped parsley and additional shredded Cheddar for garnish

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan. Drain bacon on paper towels. Gradually add chicken broth and salt to hot drippings in pan; bring to a boil. Stir in grits, tomatoes, green chiles and Tabasco; return to boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in Cheddar cheese until melted. Spoon into serving dish and top with reserved bacon, chopped parsley and additional Cheddar cheese (about 2 tablespoons). Serve immediately. Recipe makes 6 servings.

Source: Adapted from recipe in Southern Living, December 2008.


Recently a friend requested a recipe for Lemonade Cheesecake from an old memo. It's made with white cake mix and frozen lemonade concentrate and anything lemon-flavored tastes good to me in the summertime.


1 2-layer white cake mix
1 cup dairy sour cream
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
6 ounces frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed
3 eggs

1 cup dairy sour cream
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. In large bowl combine cake mix, first cup of sour cream, lemonade concentrate, cream cheese and eggs. Blend on low speed until moistened; beat at high speed 4 minutes. Spoon into prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. In small bowl combine remaining cup of sour cream with sugar; spread evenly over cake. Refrigerate. Cut into 15 to 18 squares. Refrigerate leftovers. Download PDF of Memo #2123

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