Tag Archives: cooking

Thanksgiving Showdowns

25 Oct

What’s the difference between brining and marinating or mashing and whipping? Find out the answers to all of your Thanksgiving dinner questions.

Written and researched by Meaghan Cameron and Amy Zerello

In or Out? Stuffing vs. Dressing

For those who believe the conventional wisdom, stuffing is the stuff that is cooked inside the bird while dressing is baked on the outside. But Chow notes that both are actually the same thing, according to the National Turkey Federation, which states, “Both terms are used interchangeably.” Since this side dish is most often discussed at Thanksgiving, we think the turkey experts at the NTF may know best. If you do choose to stuff your turkey remember that it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees! Sources: Chow.com, usda.gov

Sweet Debate: Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Don’t lose your potatoes over this, but these two spuds are not related botanically. Now that you’ve digested that bombshell, here are a few more potato particulars: Sweet potatoes come in several varieties, classified as either firm or soft. Firm varieties remain firm after they’re cooked, while the soft varieties get moist and soft. The Library of Congress says these soft types are often labeled “yams,” but adds that true yams are native to Africa and it is unlikely you’ll find them at your local grocery store. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, though they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Sources: loc.gov, rd.com

Turkey Bath: Brined vs. Marinated

Every year on Thanksgiving you hear about people brining a turkey, but not marinating it. Why is that? The difference has to do with acidic marinades versus salty brines. Acid, a strong component of marinades, tenderizes only the surface of meats, thus they are not the best way to add flavor to your large turkey. Brining is a longer, deeper process. The salty nature of the brine “adds moisture to the meat through osmosis.” The salt draws the water inside the meat out while the brine flows into the meat, adding extra water and juiciness. Want to do both? Try this Citrus Marinated Turkey recipe from Iron Chef Jose Garces, in which he first brines and then marinates the meat. Source: exploratorium.edu Continue reading

Homemade healthy sides are best served… disguised

1 Feb

With about an hour to pull together dinner last night I certainly ended up bowling myself over with the help of Green Giant’s newer line of frozen vegetables, Health Blends. Toss these packets with whole wheat pasta or rice and you have a quick, tasteful way to bring color and nutrition to the table — of course that’s  if you don’t have time to throw a salad together. And no one really needs to learn you were not the creative genius behind these flavorful combinations of vegetables, do they?

Health Blends by Green Giant

img via bettycrocker.com

The Healthy Weight blend I mixed with bow-tie pasta got great reviews, save for the kind tip that I add some salt. I swear I am the only person in this house who pays any attention to sodium! The medley includes sliced carrots, snow peas, black beans, and edamame in a light butter sauce — with just 90 calories and 240 mg sodium per 2/3 cup serving.

Learn more about the health benefits of frozen vegetables.