Turkey Day S.O.S.! Solutions to Common Thanksgiving Kitchen Mishaps

So you volunteered to host Thanksgiving dinner this year, but you didn’t consider one very important detail: cooking the Thanksgiving turkey! If you’ve never prepared such a large bird before, it can be quite stressful to cook both the turkey and all of its corresponding sides. Here are a few smart tips to help prevent (or at least amend) a Turkey Day cooking emergency.

  1. Many turkey mishaps come from frozen meat, so be sure to leave at least one day of thawing for every four pounds of bird. If your turkey still isn’t thawed on the day of Thanksgiving, soak the whole thing in cold water for 30 minutes for every pound.
  2. Be sure to keep in mind that a turkey takes quite a long time to cook, so leave more than enough time before the meal. An 18 to 22-pound turkey takes approximately 3.5 to 4 hours to roast, so plan accordingly.
  3. Keep gravy from clumping by adding the flour very gradually to the base instead of adding it all at once.
  4. If your mashed potatoes are lumpy, it probably means that the potatoes are undercooked. Fix it by simply add some extra milk or water and cooking them a bit longer over low heat.
  5. To fix a burnt pie crust, simply take a fine-holed grater and run it gently across the burnt parts of the crust.

Avoid Common Thanksgiving Cooking Mishaps [SparkPeople]
Disaster? What Disaster? 5 Thanksgiving Day Fixes [Food Network]

Pomegranate Is the Not-So-Secret Ingredient in These Unique Recipes

You’ve likely never thought of incorporating pomegranate into your savory recipes, but the addition of these tart, sweet seeds could be just what you need to add a bit of excitement to your meals. Here are a few great recipes that use pomegranate as the not-so-secret ingredient.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Pomegranate and Hazelnuts [foodnetwork.com]
Brussels sprouts are certainly having a moment in the culinary world, but then again, so are pomegranates. Combine the two into one healthy, delicious side dish that is positively filled with flavor with this unexpected recipe.

Pomegranate Parfait [pomegranates.org]
Forgo the usual cake or pie for tonight’s dessert in favor of something a bit lighter and more refreshing. These pomegranate parfaits are equal parts fruity, fresh, and fluffy, and they’re topped with whipped cream and chopped pistachios for a bit of added richness and nutty flavor.

Black Bean, Pomegranate and Avocado Salsa [twopeasandtheirpod.com]
Serve this fun and festive salsa at your next party or gathering. It’s just as flavorful as a traditional salsa, but instead of using the usual tomatoes, it incorporates savory black beans with the cool taste of avocado and pomegranate seeds. Serve it with tortilla chips, pitas, or even as a garnish for a fish or chicken dish.

The 5 Kitchen Tools You Didn’t Know You Needed

Like preparing bread only to realize halfway through that you're out of yeast, nothing derails a cooking session faster than an inadequate arsenal of cooking tools. In many cases, a tool's importance is only realized when you reach for it and it's not there, so be sure to equip your kitchen before you start that recipe! Here are five multi-tasking kitchen gadgets you didn't know you needed—until now.

1. Microplane Zester: A super-sharp stainless steel zester makes zesting citrus and grating parmesan a breeze, much simpler than fumbling with a four-sided box grater.

2. Mortar and Pestle: From muddling mint for a cocktail to crushing dried herbs and spices, a mortar and pestle helps impart serious flavor to whatever you're preparing. Splurge for a marble pestle; they're more durable than stone or wood models.

3. Immersion Blender: An immersion blender is an affordable, portable tool for blending just about anything at warp speed, from soups and baby food purees to whipped cream and salad dressing.

4. Handheld Citrus Press: Forget those clunky citrus juicers that just eat up counter space; purchase a handheld citrus press that can be easily stored away in a drawer. To save even more space, purchase a press sized for a lemon, and buy an insert to accommodate a lime — without buying a second tool.

5. Tofu Press: Even if you're not a vegetarian, a tofu press can be used to press water out of frozen vegetables, homemade cheeses, and anything you need to be liquid-free.

Want to learn about another multi-tasking wonder? Visit The Kitchn to see "the Number 1 Multi-Tasking Gadget You Should Have In Your Kitchen." [The Kitchn]

How to Save Time and Money in the Kitchen

Between family, friends, work, and errands, there's often little time left in the day for cooking a wholesome, healthy meal. Whether you're cooking for one or preparing a feast for your entire extended family, these time-saving cooking tips can help you stretch those seconds in the kitchen.

1) Keep your cabinets well-stocked.
Before you make a trip to the grocery store, do a quick assessment of your cabinets. Are you low on essentials such as rice, flour, cooking stock, basic seasonings, and pasta? Keeping these kitchen staples on hand will prevent hiccups in your meal planning process down the line. Consider printing this handy grocery checklist from Martha Stewart.

2) Plan ahead.
Establishing a meal menu for the week will not only make dinner prep easier, it'll also help you save money. Scan the newspaper for coupons, then flip through your grocer's circular for any notable bargains. Afterwards, plan a menu based around the food that's on sale. For instance, if chicken is being offered at a discount, capitalize from the deal by creating a chicken-centric menu for the week. Assemble oven-ready dishes, such as casseroles and soup stock, that you can freeze and eat at a later date.

Menu Planning: Save Time In The Kitchen [Organized Home]
Save Time in the Kitchen [Martha Stewart]
5 best time-saving cooking tips [EatingWell]

Three Great Salad Recipe Websites

You might know how to prepare a basic Greek salad or a classic Caesar salad, but what about one with fried garbanzo beans? Have you ever thought of adding quinoa to your salad? If your salads need a bit of updating, these creative recipe websites can help.

Oprah’s wonderful website is packed full of delicious recipes, but the salad tips are truly one-of-a-kind. Browse 45 fresh and healthy salad recipes for every occasion, from hearty, main course salad dishes to appetizer salads for summer gatherings. The Shaved Fennel and Grapefruit Salad is tangy and tart, while the salad with prosciutto and goat cheese perfectly complements Italian food.

101 Cookbooks
This stylish website offers a number of unique salad recipes for inspired lunches or dinners. The Avocado Salad doesn’t seem like much of a salad at all, with sliced, buttery avocados arranged over a bed of lentils, but its abundance of nutrients and low calorie content make it just as healthy. 101 Cookbooks features a variety of other bowls, dinner salads and side salads with ingredients that are much more creative than your usual lettuce.

Better Homes and Gardens
If you’re looking for modern updates to your favorite salad recipes, Better Homes and Gardens is just the place to look. They feature the very best ways to prepare herb salads, pasta salads and steak salads, and they’re so delicious that they might even feel new again.

5 Appetizing Apple Crisp Recipes

From the cold winter months to hot summer days, apple crisp is a sweet, rustic treat that makes a perfect dessert any time of the year. The sweet apples and gooey cinnamon sauce complement the crunchy crust, and apple crisp tastes even more wonderful when topped with cold vanilla ice cream.

There are a number of different ways to make this delicious dish, from quick, simple recipes to elegant creations ideal for dinner parties. Here are some favorite apple crisp recipes that you can make right in your own kitchen.

Apple Crisp II [All Recipes]

Betty Crocker’s Apple Crisp [Betty Crocker]

Easy Apple Crisp with Oatmeal Streusel [Chow]

Apple Crisp with Oat Topping [Southern Food]

The Divinest Apple Crisp Ever [Architect Mom]

These Recipes Make It Easy to Cook Gourmet Meals for Two

Looking for recipes perfect for two people? Sourced from the stylish web magazine The Kitchn, these three dishes look—and taste!—like they took all day to prepare, when, in fact, they're quite simple.

Thai Red Curry Mussels
Fit for a Friday night of lounging in front of the TV, this recipe swaps utensils for pieces of crusty bread, which is ideal for sopping up the mussels' coconut milk-curry broth.

Penne alla Vodka
With just a hint of vodka, a creamy tomato sauce coats penne pasta in this easy recipe. Red pepper flakes, salty parmesan cheese, and fresh basil provide the garnish. Because this recipe serves four to six people, you'll likely have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

30-Minute Coq Au Vin
This recipe for coq au vin can rival that of any fancy French restaurant, and it can go from start to finish in under an hour. Serve this one-pot meal with crusty French bread, egg noodles, roasted potatoes, and, of course, a glass of red wine.

How to Find Find Farmers’ Markets Near You

If you strive to include local, organic produce in your diet, this post is for you! The following two websites make it easy to track down farmers' markets near you, so you can continue to stock your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.

USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory [USDA]
Listing more than 8,200 markets across the U.S., the USDA's farmers' market directory makes it easy to find exactly what you're looking for. You can search by zip code, available products, accepted payment, and location (e.g. farm or closed-off street). Making this tool even more convenient, results can be exported to a spreadsheet or viewed in map form.

Farmers' Markets [Local Harvest]
This website displays local farmers' markets in map form with a directory of market names listed underneath. Simply type your zip code at the top of the webpage, then click the results for more information and product highlights of each farmers' market.

Five Brunch Recipes to Try This Weekend

If you’re planning a mid-day brunch for friends or family this weekend, these creative recipes might give you a bit of inspiration. Just add some fresh-squeezed orange juice, a pot of hot coffee and maybe a basket of pastries to complete the perfect brunch menu.

Chicken Breakfast Burritos
Full of protein and deliciously savory flavor, these breakfast burritos use chicken instead of the traditional sausage for a truly unique taste. Simply add hash browns, eggs, and melted cheese for a hearty center of any Southwestern-inspired brunch.

Breakfast Casserole
If you need to feed a whole lot of people in one meal, a casserole is an easy and versatile option. For this breakfast casserole, simply add your favorite ingredients and pop it in the oven.

Berry Breakfast Pizzas
Even the youngest brunch guests will simply adore this sweet, fun take on breakfast pizza.

Orange Popovers
Everyone loves a good pastry at brunch, and these simple popovers are a much easier way to make these sometimes-tricky baked goods.

Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Breakfast Bake
Make a large batch of these breakfast classics all in one glass dish to make serving brunch convenient and relaxing.

Public Domain/Public Domain

Great Websites for Unique Sandwich Recipes

You use a recipe for pastas, soups and cakes, but you probably wouldn’t think of looking up a recipe for a sandwich. These helpful websites feature sandwich recipes that are much more elaborate than your usual grilled cheese, and you’ll certainly notice the difference in taste.

Food Network
The Food Network is home to some wonderful shows about sandwiches, and now you can learn to make them yourself. Their Top Sandwich Recipes page features everything from grown-up turkey sandwiches to hot, gravy-covered sandwiches that are more dinner than lunch. The Mahi Mahi Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich that you might not have heard of, while the French Dip recipe will show you how to make this diner favorite right at home.

101 Cookbooks
Instead of updating the sandwiches you already love, try something completely new with the unique recipes on 101 Cookbooks. This beautifully-designed website is easy to navigate, and it makes for hours of inspiration for your next sandwich. 101 Cookbooks features an Avocado Asparagus Tartine, Vegetarian Lentil Burgers, and even an Egg Salad Sandwich with Greek yogurt instead of the usual mayonnaise.

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