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Get ready — get set — it’s grilling season! When planning your next outdoor menu, one item you’ll definitely want to leave off the plate is food borne illness — here’s how:

Wash everything – Before and after cooking, wash all indoor and outdoor surfaces that will come into contact with food. Be especially careful to wash everything that comes into contact with raw meat or poultry and wash your hands often to prevent contamination.

Marinate safely – If you plan on marinating raw meat, do so in a covered container in a refrigerator, not on the counter. This decreases the risk of bacteria.

Never use sauce that has marinated raw meat and poultry. Set aside an unused portion of the marinade to use as sauce on cooked food.

Never place cooked food on a plate that was used to hold raw meat, poultry or fish. Always have clean plates handy for cooked food. Or wash used plates with hot, soapy water.

Cook meat and poultry thoroughly – use a food thermometer to make sure that beef, pork and lamb have been cooked to at least 160°F and poultry to 165°F. Make sure you clean the thermometer with hot, soapy water between uses.

Keep everything covered – Cover all food with tin foil while outside. This keeps insects or bacteria from landing on and contaminating your food.

Keep hot foods hot – Grilled food that is finished cooking can be kept hot until serving by moving it to the side of the grill rack. This keeps the food from overcooking and prevents bacteria from forming.

Refrigerate foods – place perishables, cooked foods and leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer within 2 hours.

Here’s a great  recipe for  Cilantro-lime Shrimp Kebabs 

Celebrate the weather by dusting off your grill and cooking up these simple, delicious cilantro-lime shrimp kebabs.


16 large shrimp, uncooked, deveined

The juice of 3 large limes or about ¼ cup of juice

2 cloves of garlic, crushed and peeled

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, cleaned and chopped

10 medium cherry tomatoes, rinsed and dried

10 white button mushrooms, wiped clean and stems removed

Preparation and cooking:

In a glass measuring cup, add the lime juice, garlic, pepper, olive oil, and cilantro and stir. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl and pour the cilantro lime marinade over the shrimp. Let marinate for only 10 to 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Alternate cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and shrimp on four skewers. Grill the skewers over a medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until the shrimp are just cooked through.

Yield: Serves 2. Each serving provides 160 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrates, 95mg sodium and 4g fiber.