Thanksgiving meals can be tough but if you are ready the meal will be tasty and memorable in good ways. While a safe Thanksgiving takes planning it is worth the effort. First decide on your menu. Choose a range of foods that include foods cooked on the stovetop or microwave and some foods that can be served at room temperature.

Then remember to clean, separate, cook, and chill properly. First clean your sink, counters, cutting boards, pans, knives, thermometers, and other utensils with hot water and soap. Then separate raw meats from fruits and vegetables during the preparation process. Cook foods to their appropriate internal temperatures. That means the turkey and stuffing to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Leftovers should also be reheated to 165 F and gravy brought to a boil before consumption. Finally, you can chill leftovers in labeled containers in the refrigerator within 2 hours of heating to reduce your risk of foodborne illness. When cooling leftovers it is a good idea to place food in shallow containers with lids. HELPFUL TIPS Thaw: Thaw frozen turkey in the bottom shelf of your refrigerator in a rimmed baking sheet allowing 24 hours for every 4 lbs. Temperature: Refrigerator 40 F or lower, freezer 0 F or lower, cook turkey 165 F minimum internal temperature and fruit/vegetable/grain dishes to 135 F. Clean: Wash hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds before handling food & wash fruits and vegetables even when you plan to peel the skins. Leftovers: Reheat leftovers to 165 F and eat within 3 to 4 days and gravy within 2 days.