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(To view a pictures of the Kids a Cookin' recipes, go to

Released: April 20, 2006

Briefly . . .

This week's news briefs . . .

1) Recommendations for Cooking Chicken Change
2) Mole Controls Remain Problematic
3) Wildlife Babies Part of Circle of Life
4) Distillers Grain Boosts Stocker Cattle Gains
5) Cheyenne County to Join Sunflower Extension District
6) Kids a Cookin’ - Fiesta Dip
7) Kids a Cookin’ - Tool Kit




1) Recommendations for Cooking Chicken Change

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- To simplify cooking, yet still keep chicken safe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is advising cooking chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees F to kill foodborne pathogens and viruses, such as Salmonella or Campylobacter.

The new recommendation specifies one minimum internal cooked temperature for chicken, rather than previous recommendations that specified 170 degrees F for breasts and 180 degrees F for thighs and wings, said Fadi Aramouni, with Kansas State University’s Food Science Institute.

The recommendation is to use a food thermometer to measure the internal cooked temperatures, said Aramouni, who is a K-State Research and Extension food scientist.

Following general food safety recommendations for handling raw poultry – washing hands and surfaces often, keeping raw foods separate from cooked foods, and chilling or freezing foods promptly – is also advisable, Aramouni said.

Food thermometers typically are available in the housewares department in supermarkets and in hardware, discount, department and kitchen supply stores. Costs vary, but dependable thermometers can sell for $10 or less.

More information on food safety is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and on Extension’s Web site:



2) Mole Controls Remain Problematic

MANHATTAN, Kan. – They love worms and grubs, and that’s why tunnel-digging moles can be such a problem in parks and home landscapes.

Stopping their damage can be a problem, too, said Charlie Lee, wildlife damage control specialist with Kansas State University.

So, Lee has been testing a new product this year with Bruce Chladny, Douglas County’s K-State Research and Extension horticulturist.

No research supports the effectiveness of the many folk remedies that are popularly supposed to kill or repel moles, Chladny explained. These so-called remedies can include putting sheep dip, razor blades, thorny rose stems and/or chewing gum in a mole’s burrow.

None of the products sold to frighten or repel moles works, either. They include sonic devices, pin wheels, windmills, and mole plants (Euphorbia latharis) to put on top of a mole’s territory.

"Most toxicants that are labeled for mole control will kill moles," Lee said. "The problem has always been making a bait that moles find palatable enough that they’ll actually eat it."

He and Chladny are testing a product called Talprid, a plastic earthworm, but instead of juicy innards, it carries a dose of the chemical bromethalin. In the first round of trials, it brought a 7 percent decline in mole activity within 14 days and a 14 percent decline within 21 days.

"Most folks wouldn’t find that level acceptable," Lee said. "We’re going to continue evaluating the product, though, to determine why we’re not getting better results."

Until they do, trapping remains the best proven mole control, Chladny said. But, because moles spend their lives underground – often far under the noticeable burrows on the soil surface – even that can require professional-level skill and lots of patience.


3) Wildlife Babies Part of Circle of Life

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Springtime brings many of Mother Nature’s babies, who soon will be on their own in a world where only the strong survive.

"Too often, humans try to relate to wildlife on a human level. This seems particularly true when people find what looks like an abandoned wildlife baby. Trying to help may feel noble at the time, but usually it’s not the best idea," said Bruce Chladny, horticulturist with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

One factor that humans often forget, for example, is that wildlife can be infested with fleas, ticks and other disease-carrying organisms. Handling a wildlife baby can be hazardous to human health.

"Besides, if an out-of-place baby doesn’t seem to be physically injured, it may just be trying to learn how to grow up," Chladny said. "Many bird species, for example, will leave the nest before they can fly – even before they have all of their feathers. If you put one of those fledglings back in the nest, it will simply jump out again."

If a wild baby has suffered major physical harm, however, humanely ending its pain may be the best course, he said. Whether alive or dead, it soon will become food for a more dominant species.

"This part of the circle of life can seem harsh. But, it ensures the survival of all life – yours, mine and the wild creatures’," Chladny said.


4) Distillers Grain Boosts Stocker Cattle Gains

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Feeding a dried distillers grain (DDG) supplement to stocker cattle grazing Flint Hills pasture boosted daily rates of gain by about .2 pound per day last year in a Kansas State University grazing trial.

"With ethanol production growing, the increasing availability of distillers grains – a byproduct that results from the process of converting feed grains into ethanol – has many producers asking where DGG can fit into various cattle production environments," said K-State Research and Extension animal scientist Dale Blasi.

In 2005, Blasi studied 346 steer calves that weighed approximately 575 pounds each at the beginning of the trial. The calves were early-intensive grazed on burned Flint Hills pasture. The DDG they got originated from sorghum grain, pelleted to facilitate delivery and minimize waste. The grazing season started May 1 and ended Aug. 3, 2005.

The tentative results from the trial suggest that providing DDG at a supplementation level of .3 percent of body weight translated into about a .2 pound per day increase over the average daily gains registered by non-supplemented cattle, Blasi said.

Feeding at higher levels increased the daily gains more. That may mean producers can achieve higher stocking density rates by substituting a higher intake of DDG for grass consumption.

Further budget analyses with DDG and delivery costs will be necessary to determine whether this management strategy is financially feasible, the researcher said.


5) Cheyenne County to Join Sunflower Extension District

COLBY, Kan. – The Cheyenne County Extension Council plans to join Sunflower Extension District No. 6 on July 1, according to Dan O’Brien, the northwest area Extension director for Kansas State University Research and Extension.

The Sunflower Extension District was formed July 1, 2005. It currently includes Wallace and Sherman counties.

On July 1, the district will have three K-State Research and Extension agents -- Melinda Dailey, Dana Belshe, and Tye Faulkender – as well as a multi-county crops and soils specialist, Jeanne Falk. Their areas of expertise cover family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, crop and livestock production, horticulture, and community development.

The expanded district will have the resources to provide comprehensive Extension educational programs for the people of all three counties, O’Brien said.

"The goal of the Sunflower Extension District Board and of K-State Research and Extension is to provide services that will help improve the quality of life and livelihoods of the people and communities in these counties," he said.



6) Kids a Cookin’ - Fiesta Dip

The Spanish word for "party" is "fiesta," and this Fiesta Dip lives up to the name. The recipe – from Kansas State University Research and Extension’s Family Nutrition Program – has obvious south-of-the-border origins. Kids of any age can help prepare it, and the tangy taste goes well with a range of dippers: whole wheat crackers, veggies and homemade tortilla chips. A serving of the dip is 3 tablespoons, and the recipe makes 12 servings.


  • 1/2 cup fat-free refried beans (about 1/2 of a 16-ounce can)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon dry taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup picante sauce
  • 2 or 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives, drained
  • 1 cup low fat shredded cheese (cheddar or co-jack)
To obtain a higher resolution photo of this recipe go to:




1. Wash your hands.

2. Spread refried beans in a glass pie plate.3. Mix sour cream and taco seasoning in a small bowl.

4. Spread sour cream mixture over refried beans.

5. Pour picante sauce on top of sour cream mixture.

6. Sprinkle onions, tomato, black olives and cheese on top.

Helpful Hints:

Try snipping green onions with clean kitchen shears. This may be easier for young cooks than using a knife.

Dice most of the fresh, green part of the onions for the dip. If quality green onions aren’t available, substitute a like amount of scallions or diced onions.

Double this recipe and use the whole can of beans and black olives. Make the dip in two glass pie plates, and freeze one for a quick snack another day.

Choose favorite toppings for the dip. Try Mexican blend cheese for this recipe and other favorite dishes that can use an extra zip. Try adding green and red pepper or avocado for a special twist.

Safety Tips:

Remember to wash the tomato and onions before dicing.

Green onions need special attention. First, trim off the root end and thin outer layer and throw them away. Then thoroughly wash the remaining green and white parts of the onion. Let clean water actually run through the onion tops to wash away all dirt and germs.

Food safety is important with this layered dip. Beans are a protein food and must be refrigerated after opening. If you let the dip sit out at room temperature for more than two hours, discard what remains.


Per serving: 45 calories, 1 gram fat (0 grams saturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 3 grams protein, 6 grams carbohydrate, less than 1gram dietary fiber, 310 milligrams sodium.


Kids a Cookin' is an educational program produced by Kansas State University Research and Extension's Family Nutrition Program and funded by USDA's Food Stamp Program through a contract with Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS). More information, more recipes and cooking tips, and a link to a Spanish version are available on the Kids a Cookin' Web site:

Source: Kathy Walsten, Family Nutrition Program, K-State Research and Extension


7) Kids a Cookin’
- Tool Kit

  • Glass pie plate or platter
  • Can opener
  • Rubber spatula
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Strainer
  • Grater


K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a program designed to generate and distribute useful knowledge for the well-being of Kansans. Supported by county, state, federal and private funds, the program has county Extension offices, experiment fields, area Extension offices and research centers statewide. Its headquarters is on the K-State campus in Manhattan.

For more information:
K-State Research and Extension - News
Mary Lou Peter-Blecha, News Coordinator

Contributing writers: 
Mary Lou Peter-Blecha, Nancy Peterson,
Kathleen Ward and Leah Bond

K-State Research and Extension