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Mistakes you should avoid when cooking potatoes

Potato problems? Potatoes may seem basic, but there are a lot of ways to mess them up. Whether they come out partly raw, mushy, or generally flavorless, the good news is there is usually a simple solution. Read on and see what you might do differently next time to achieve those perfectly tender, flavorful spuds you salivate over. You don’t choose the right potato for the job. You’ll come across more than a dozen different kinds of potatoes at the grocery store, so how do you know which will work best for your recipe? Well, a good rule of thumb is to use russet potatoes for baking or steaming, and use red or gold potatoes for roasting or sautéing. Russets and yellow potatoes are best for mashing. Round red potatoes and fingerling potatoes are best for boiling. Not sure what to use? Those round white potatoes that you see at…

21 restaurants open on Thanksgiving 2019

It might be the season for roast turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, but if preparing all of that sounds more distressing than it does a blessing, you might just want to eat out. Thankfully, lots of restaurants are staying open on Thanksgiving so you’ll have your choice of places to dine. Just be sure to call ahead (and make a reservation when possible!), as some locations may have altered hours. Put the “Happy” back in “Thanksgiving” and get to any one of these restaurants on November 28 (or considering picking up a side or two for take-out to save time at home): Applebee’s All Applebee’s locations will be open on Thanksgiving Eve, and lots will be open on Thanksgiving Day, too. Be sure to call ahead if Applebee’s is your choice. Bahama Breeze If drinking a Mai Tai with your turkey sounds more your speed, enjoy Thanksgiving at…

What’s the difference between stock and broth?

For most of my cooking life, I thought “stock” and “broth” were just two different terms for the same thing. (Perhaps one was old-timey and the other new age.) I didn’t really think much about those savory meat-flavored liquids beyond the occasion I wanted to make soup. But as it turns out there are actually significant differences between the two. The differences between stock and broth It would be easy to assume stock and broth are the same thing, after all, they’re both liquids flavored from simmering various meat scraps and vegetables. But there are three things that set the two apart: the cook time, the ingredients used, and the seasoning (or lack of seasoning). What is stock? Stock is made by simmering animal bones (and sometimes, but not always, small scraps of meat) with onions, carrots, and celery in a large pot of water. The bones may or may…

Pumpkin pie with a pecan sandy crust

How do you make a Thanksgiving classic pumpkin pie even better? Replace your basic pie crust with this delicious pecan sandy cookie crust instead! Pecan candies bring a delicious buttery, nutty goodness to everyone’s all-time favorite holiday pie. The unexpected twist adds some mild fun without upsetting the pumpkin pie purists. Note: Process cookies in a food processor or place cookies in a  zip-top bag and crush with a heavy rolling pin.  Pumpkin pie with a pecan sandy crust For the crust:  2 cups pecan shortbread cookie crumbs (about 1 package of Keeblers Pecan Sandies or 20 cookies) 5 tbsp melted butter 1/4 tsp salt For the pie: 3/4 cup sugar 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp ground cloves 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp ground ginger 2 large eggs 1 can (15 ounce) pure pumpkin puree (Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin is my favorite) 1 can (12 fl. ounce) Evaporated Milk…

Why you shouldn’t stuff your turkey the traditional way

The idea of a juicy, stuffed turkey serving as the centerpiece to Thanksgiving feast can get just about any of us drooling. So I hate to be the bearer of bad news. But cooking your stuffing inside the bird might not be the best idea. It sure is delicious, but you could end up with dry meat or worse — foodborne illness that will definitely leave your holiday less than merry. Here’s what the experts say, as well as a few alternatives for stuffing that bird: Why you shouldn’t cook stuffing inside a turkey The most important rule to follow when cooking a turkey is that the bird — and anything inside — reach a safe temperature. The USDA has instructed that both bird and stuffing need to reach 165ºF or your meal poses the risk of carrying harmful bacterial like salmonella or E. coli. Of course, you might just…

Does pumpkin pie have to be refrigerated?

If you only eat pumpkin pie in the fall, it’s easy to forget the rules of safely storing them. You may wonder if pumpkin and other custard-style pies can be left on the counter overnight or if you need to clear space in your fridge. And now that we’re on the topic, can pumpkin pie be frozen? Here are the answers to all your pumpkin pie problems: How to store pumpkin pie from a store This time of year you’re likely to see pumpkin pies at the grocery store sitting out on a table, rather than stacked in the fridge or freezer sections. Store-bought pumpkin pies are loaded with enough shelf-stable preservatives that they can sit out. Rule of thumb: if you purchased a pie that’s been sitting out, it can continue to sit out on your kitchen counter for a few days (or until its expiration date, if it…

What is the difference between white and dark turkey meat?

It seems at Thanksgiving there are two distinct teams — those who dig deep on the serving platter for the white meat, and those who fight for the drumstick. It’s really a battle of white meat versus dark meat. But aside from the color, what really is the difference? It all comes down to what a particular muscle, aka meat, is used for. Turkeys aren’t known for their flying abilities. They typically only take off for short distances — say, from the ground to a perch (Fun fact: Wild turkeys spend the night in trees, preferably oak trees). This means they rely on their legs to get them around all day. All of that walking and running means the muscles in their legs and thighs are full of blood vessels. These blood vessels contain myoglobin (or muscle hemoglobin), which delivers tons of rich oxygen to the muscles. The more myoglobin…

The first TV dinner was a Thanksgiving feast

While you may not think America’s most celebrated homemade holiday feast has anything to do with a modest frozen TV dinner, the two forever share a slice of history. The first mass produced TV dinner was, in fact, literally made from Thanksgiving leftovers. As the story goes, in 1952, someone in charge of purchasing at Omaha-based C.A. Swanson & Sons seriously overestimated how much turkey Americans would consume that Thanksgiving. With 520,000 pounds of frozen turkey to unload, a company salesman named Gerry Thomas had a light bulb idea. Thomas, having been inspired by the neatly packaged Pan Am Airlines airplane food, ordered 5,000 aluminum trays. He recruited women, armed with scoops and spatulas, to run his culinary assembly line, and work began making mini Thanksgiving feasts full of turkey, corn-bread dressing, peas, and sweet potatoes, thus creating the first-ever TV dinner. The original TV Dinners  sold for 98 cents…

This turkey-shaped butter will be the talk of the table

If you’ve ever gazed at your Thanksgiving table and thought the butter dish looked a little boring, apparently you’re not alone. One company is churning out turkey-shaped butter sculptures, and they’re flying off the shelves. The Philadelphia-based Keller’s Creamery is making seasonally-shaped half pound butter sculptures for $3.99-$7.99 each. The architectural achievement is the perfect depiction of a plump, Thanksgiving turkey, with textured feathers, wattle, and tail all made from creamy salted butter. Most big box stores and supermarkets are be stocking the designer dairy item. Gristedes in NYC, Walmart, Whole Foods, and Wegmans are all confirmed carriers. As an East Coast brand, the birds are more commonly found in nearby states. If you can’t find one where you live, you could always buy a mold on Amazon and make your own. It’s recommended that you keep the butter cold until serving, so all your guests can enjoy your delightful…

The most-Googled Thanksgiving recipe in every state

Every November novice cooks start to search for the recipes they’ll whip up in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. While it’s no surprise that the turkey itself actually got the award for most-Googled Thanksgiving dish in America, not every home cook ended his or her search there. According to Satellite internet.com’s new analysis of food-related Google searches, there is plenty of regional variation to what type of Thanksgiving day kitchen help we’re looking for — as the map below shows. Green bean casserole takes the crown for most-searched recipe, after clearly, having a massive Midwest following. Corn casserole also sneaks its way into the middle of green bean territory — maybe we’re witnessing a takeover? Massachusetts and Oregon seem to have a problem making cranberry sauce, while New Mexico, Alabama, Tennessee, and Kentucky are all about the sweet potatoes. Maryland, Virginia, Mississippi, and Illinois want to know how to…