Planning to cook a holiday roast this year? You'll first have to figure out how much to buy. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association suggests 6 ounces of cooked, trimmed beef per person.
Lean boneless roasts, such as tenderloin and eye of round, will yield two 6-ounce servings per pound before cooked. Rib-eye roasts, which have more trimmable fat, will yield one to two servings per pound before being cooked.
Here are other tips on selecting, storing and preparing roasts:
* Choose beef with a bright cherry-red color and make sure to check the "sell-by" date.
* Refrigerate or freeze as soon as possible after purchasing. Roasts wrapped in transparent film can be refrigerated three to four days or frozen up to two weeks without rewrapping.
* Be sure to use a meat thermometer to check doneness. To prevent overcooking, remove roast from the oven when thermometer registers 10 degrees below desired doneness.
* Do not cover or add water during roasting.
* Let roast stand for several minutes after removing from oven to make carving easier.
New picks for crab-cake fans
Chesapeake Bay Gourmet has introduced two new lines of crab cakes for those watching their diets.
The Heart Healthy Crab Cakes are made with pasteurized egg whites, margarine, no-salt-cracker crumbs, no-fat mayonnaise and no-salt Worcestershire sauce. A 3-ounce cake has 140 calories, 4 grams of fat, 450 milligrams of salt and 8 grams of carbohydrate. The cakes cost $43 for a half-dozen.
The Lower Carb Crab Cakes contain pasteurized eggs, cracker crumbs, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, margarine and baking powder. A 3-ounce cake contains 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 420 milligrams of sodium and 7 grams of carbohydrate. The cakes sell for $35 for a half-dozen.
To order, call 800-432-2722.
Here's how to fix the mix
Fifty years ago, the story goes, the wife of a Ralston Purina executive brought a mix of cereal to a social gathering, and a legend was born. For those nostalgic for the past, here's the original recipe for Chex Party Mix:
Heat oven to 250 degrees, melt 6 tablespoons of margarine or butter in a large roasting pan in the oven. Stir in 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt, 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder.
Gradually add 3 cups Corn Chex, 3 cups Rice Chex, 3 cups Wheat Chex, 1 cup mixed nuts, 1 cup pretzels and 1 cup of garlic-flavored bite-size bagel chips or regular-size-bagel chips broken into 1-inch pieces. Stir until evenly coated. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on paper towels to cool. Makes 12 cups.
If you're online this holiday shopping season, click over to www.equal.com to make a donation to fight diabetes. For every person who visits the Equal Sweetener Web site and hits "Clicking Equals Caring" box, the sugar-substitute maker will give $1 to the American Diabetes Association. See the Web site for details.
* Enjoy a holiday tea 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at the Carroll County Farm Museum, 500 S. Center St., Westminster. $10 per person includes sweets, tea and a guided tour of the farmhouse. To make a reservation, call 410-848-7775 or 410-876-2667.
* Discover Christmas as George Washington celebrated it now through Jan. 6 at Mount Vernon in Virginia. An elaborately re-created holiday dinner will be on display with Washington's famed "Christmas pye," an encrusted dish of fowl. $11 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 11. Call 703-780-2000 or visit www.mountvernon.org.
* Find out how to make last-minute food gifts 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17 at Donna's on Snowden River Parkway, Columbia. $25. Call 410-659-5248, Ext. 112.
* Learn to make New Year's Eve appetizers 7 p.m. Monday at For the Love of Food in Reisterstown. $45. Call 410-833-5579.
* Make gingerbread houses with the kids at Maja's Viennese Kitchen in Phoenix from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and Dec. 20 and 21. $55 for child and adult, $45 for an additional child. To make a reservation, call 410-561-1157.
The Dish welcomes food news and notes. Send to The Dish, Attn.: Liz Atwood, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278; fax to 410-783-2519; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.