July is National Grilling Month!

The summer months are a busy time for hosting barbecues and grilling up your favorite foods.  However, there are some very important food safety tips to keep in mind when planning your next get-together.

When food shopping for your event, be sure to buy perishable foods last to reduce the amount of time they sit at room temperature. After purchase, always keep raw meat from other items by bagging them separately to protect against cross-contamination. When you get home, be sure to portion out the meat that you intend to cook that evening and freeze the rest if you do not plan on cooking poultry and ground meat in 1 or 2 days and all other meats within 4 to 5 days.

Always marinade your food in the refrigerator, not on a countertop. Never marinade anything longer than 24 hours and discard excess marinade. Make sure your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces are freshly washed and cleaned before you begin to prepare any food. To prevent foodborne illness, never use the same plate/platter or utensils for raw and cooked meats. Also, do not use the same cutting board for raw meats and other food items, such as fruits or vegetables, without cleaning with warm, soapy water.

Make sure to cook foods to their respective temperatures to eliminate harmful bacteria (beef, pork, lamb, veal, chops, and roasts = 150˚ F. Ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal = 160˚F. Poultry = 165˚). The best way to test the temperature is to use a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat.  Only serve the meat when it has reached its proper cooking temperature.  After all of the food is prepared and set out for guests, make sure that it does not sit out for longer than two hours and, once it reaches that two hour time period, place it in the fridge as leftovers or discard the food.

By following these food safety grilling tips, you will ensure that you and your guests will have delicious and safe grilling experience.


Healthy Grilled Chicken-and-Rice Foil Packs

Total: 40 min

Yield: 4 servings

Level: Easy


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup converted rice
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapeno slices, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


  • Special equipment: Four 8-inch disposable foil pie pans and heavy duty foil
  • Prepare a grill for medium heat.
  • Put the chicken, beans, rice, salsa, pickled jalapenos, tomato paste, chili powder, turmeric and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Divide the chicken-rice mixture evenly among the pie pans, spreading it out in an even layer. Pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth into each pie pan.
  • Cover each pan tightly with foil. Put the pans on the grill, close the grill lid and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes.
  • Carefully remove the foil from each pan (hot steam will escape). The liquid should be absorbed, the rice tender and the chicken cooked through. Sprinkle each with some scallions.