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

Released: November 9, 2006

Briefly . . .

This week's news briefs from Kansas State University Research and Extension:

1)  Snow in the Rockies Signals Time for Emergency Car Kits
2)  Is It Stuffing or Dressing? Cooked in or out of the Bird?
3)  Forestland Health, Profitability Focus for ‘06 Environmental Quality Incentives ‘Grants’
4)  Kids a Cookin’ – Pyramid Pizza Snacks
5)  Kids a Cookin’ - Tool Kit



1)  Snow in the Rockies Signals Time for Emergency Car Kits

MANHATTAN, Kan. – When the nation’s upper elevations start getting snow in late fall, that’s a clear signal that “lowlanders” should start assembling a winter weather kit for their car, according to State of Kansas Climatologist Marry Knapp.

She recommends that once liquids start freezing in the garage, travelers also take a fresh water supply along on each trip.

“Melting the rock-solid bottle of water stored in your trunk isn’t a pleasant task – especially if you’re stressed and stranded,” said Knapp, who maintains the official Kansas Weather Data Library, housed with Kansas State University Research and Extension.

The climatologist recommends that everyone’s kit includes the items the Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests: a shovel, ice scraper, flashlight, battery-powered radio, extra batteries, water, snack food, extra hats and mittens, blanket, tow chain or rope, road salt and sand, booster/jumper cables, emergency flares and fluorescent distress flags. 

“As you’re getting ready for a long trip or travel in a remote area, you might want to add a cache of money or a credit card. You also should consider carrying along a several-days supply of medications you must take regularly – in case you don’t get back home as soon as you planned,” Knapp said.

Other good ideas are candles, an empty coffee can and matches.

“They can serve as an alternate heat source, if you’re stuck and your engine won’t run,” she explained. “You won’t want to build up an unsafe level of smoke and carbon monoxide, so should open a window a bit while the candles burn – just as you do when you run the engine in a stalled car. But, the can will still emit heat for a while after you blow out its candle and shut the window again.”



2) Is It Stuffing or Dressing? Cooked in or out of the Bird?

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The name may be a matter of preference, as either “stuffing” or “dressing” which usually refers to a combination of bread crumbs or cubes mixed with seasonings and other ingredients, such as chopped apples, cranberries, sausage, or cooked and chopped giblets, said Karen Blakeslee, Kansas State University Research and Extension food scientist.

Generations of holiday cooks have prepared this mixture by placing it in the turkey cavity to bake as the bird roasted, she said.   

Food scientists now know, however, that because it’s moist and dark, a turkey cavity is a perfect place for potentially harmful foodborne microorganisms to grow. So, today’s best recommendation is to bake dressing in a shallow baking dish for 45 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 degrees when tested with a food thermometer. 

“If you believe you must stuff a turkey, use cold ingredients and stuff the cavity loosely, “Blakeslee advised. “Then make sure that stuffing reaches 165 degrees, measured with a food thermometer.”

She provided these additional safety tips: Cover and refrigerate leftovers within two hours of a meal. Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees before eating. Discard any leftover stuffing (dressing) remaining after two days.            

More information on food, food safety, nutrition, health is available at county and district K-State Research and Extension offices and on the Web at  and


3) Forestland Health, Profitability Focus for ‘06 Environmental Quality Incentives ‘Grants’

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Mother Nature periodically gives Kansans a “shock and awe” lesson in tree value. The Dust Bowl was a big one. The flood of 1993 was the most recent, when it picked up a witch’s brew of ground-based pollutants and tore away tons of soil from treeless river and stream banks.

Even so, many landowners still view their forests as wasted acreage – as a potentially useful resource they’re being forced to sacrifice, just in case Mother Nature decides to act up again.

And, in turn, they soon may miss out on backing for making the acres into even more of a benefit.

“In this case, you could say those landowners aren’t seeing the forest for its trees, rather than for its land. The 2005 inventory of the state’s forest resources suggests a high percentage of Kansas woodlands are currently going unmanaged for any profit-related purpose,” said Bob Atchison, rural forestry coordinator for the Kansas Forest Service.

The clearest indicator, Atchison said, was the fact that 47 percent of the deciduous trees in the inventory were culls, due to species or defects, and thus unfit for becoming wood products.

But $100,000 is now available to Kansans in the eastern one-third of the state to help them improve the health and profitability of forestlands. Called the EQIP program (Environmental Quality Incentives Program for Forestland Health), the funding will be administered through the Natural Resource Conservation Service, which has an office in each local U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center.

“For landowners who qualify, EQIP can repay up to 50 percent of their costs for thinning, site preparation with heavy equipment, tree and nut planting, weed and grass herbicide applications, fencing, and protectors to defend young trees from weed competition or animal browsing,” the forester said.

Landowners need to start immediately, however, to have any hope of meeting the Dec. 15 deadline to apply for 2006’s funds, Atchison said. The first step is to contact the local NRCS office.



4) Kids a Cookin’ – Pyramid Pizza Snacks

Pizza is a perennial favorite among young and old alike. What makes this pizza special, however, is that its ingredients come from five of the recommended food groups. The recipe comes from Kansas State University’s Family Nutrition Program and makes 10 snacks.


  • 1 package (7.5-ounce) refrigerated biscuit dough

  • 1/4 cup pizza sauce

  • 2/3 cup diced ham

  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

  • 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

To obtain a higher resolution photo of this recipe go to:




1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Wash your hands.

3. Coat baking sheet with nonstick vegetable spray.

4. Separate biscuits and flatten on baking sheet, spacing so biscuits edges don’t touch.

5. Spread 1 teaspoon pizza sauce on each biscuit.

6. Top each biscuit with 1 tablespoon diced ham, 2 teaspoons pineapple, and 1 tablespoon shredded cheese.

7. Bake 8-10 minutes or until biscuits are light brown and cheese is melted.

Helpful Hints:

Substitute chopped green pepper, turkey pepperoni, or cooked ground beef for the basic ingredients, as desired.

Kids like to “personalize” their pizza by choosing toppings. Set out bowls of vegetables, cooked meat, cheese and even fruit and let kids build their own.

Safety Tip: 

Use only dry hot pads to take a baking sheet from the oven. Water conducts heat.


Per serving: 120 calories, 6 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 15 mg  cholesterol, 6 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams dietary fiber, 300 milligrams sodium.


Kids a Cookin’ is an educational program produced by Kansas State University Research and Extension’s Family Nutrition Program. 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


5) Kids a Cookin’ - Tool Kit

  • Knife

  • Cutting board

  • Measuring cup

  • Measuring spoons

  • Baking sheet

  • Cooking spray

  • Spatula

  • Hot pads


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,
and Kathleen Ward

K-State Research and Extension