Archive for November, 2014

thanksgivingtools

It’s already time to start prepping your kitchen for the holidays! Whether you’re making a huge meal for friends and family, or paring down the traditional dinner for two, you’re going to need a few kitchen basics.

There’s nothing worse than starting your cooking on a holiday, and realizing you don’t have the right tools for the job. Off go the slippers! Off you go to a grocery store! There’s not a quicker way to ruin the relaxing magic of a slow and simmery Thanksgiving day than having to rush-rush-rush last minute.

We’re here to help! We’ve created an entire Thanksgiving menu of all-new recipes. Overnight Turkey, Twice Baked Smashed Potatoes, Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake, and Spicy Sriracha Cranberry Sauce! Every classic, updated with delicious twists you’ll love. While you’re at the grocery store, we also wanted to offer a quick-reference checklist so you can grab any of the tools you need to update, repurchase, or newly acquire. Some of the necessary Thanksgiving Kitchen tools will sit dormant all year, so it’s a great idea to double-check your cupboards and shelves with our checklist, and confirm any of the tools you’ll need that may be broken or missing.

The great news? While you’re shopping for your Thanksgiving menu at the grocery store, you can find Good Cook kitchen tools right in the baking aisle! No need to make a second trip, no need to go to a specialty store, look for our kitchen tools in your favorite local grocery stores and get everything you need for Thanksgiving…while you shop for Thanksgiving ingredients!

2014-11Thanksgiving PRINTABLE

To print off the above checklist, simply click on the photo and right-mouse click to print.

Thanksgiving Essentials

Poultry Twine
Most turkey’s come with plastic pieces tying their legs together, which you’ll remove before cooking. Use poultry or kitchen twine to re-tie the turkey legs before cooking, which will ensure your bird is evenly roasted, doesn’t dry out, and yield a beautifully shaped bird.

Turkey Roasting Pan
Don’t get stuck cooking your Turkey in a tiny pan! Grab a Good Cook roasting pan so you’ll have ample space to cook that bird, without any juices dripping onto the bottom of your stove—which can burn and stain the stove for good.

Turkey Baster
The Good Cook Turkey Baster makes it easy to suck up those delicious juices on the bottom of a turkey pan, drizzling them over the top of your baking turkey, where they can baste your bird moist and tender. With a long handle and easy-squeeze bulb, you never have to worry about burning yourself as you baste.

Digital Thermometer
Turkey can be finicky when it cooks, so you’ll want to get a digital thermometer on hand, to ensure you’re getting fully-cooked meat. A precise thermometer will also help you keep from overcooking your turkey, since you can see the exact moment when your inner breast meat reaches the ideal 170 degrees.

Fat Separator
To make a good gravy, you want all the turkey drippings and none of the fat. The Good Cook fat separator makes this task easy. You simply drizzle the drippings into the strained cup, let the fat rise to the top, and pour out the juices into your gravy pot. The fat will be left behind!

Kitchen Timer
With multiple pots bubbling away, you’ll want to keep track of the cook time on several dishes at once. While you may already have a cell phone alarm, and stove timer, stocking up with an additional kitchen timer makes it easy to coordinate several cook times at once.

Also Nice to Have

A 9×13 Pan
If you’re making any sort of cake, crumble, or casserole for Thanksgiving this year, you’ll need a 9×13” pan. In fact, you’ll likely need several! The perfect size for feeding a crowd, check your cupboards to ensure you have enough 9×13 pans for each of the bulk recipes you’ll be baking this year`.

Santoku Knife
You’ll likely need a whole set of knives (sitting down to the dinner table with a butter knife can make for some tough turkey eating!) but make sure you at least have one top-quality sharp all-around chef’s knife. Our favorite? The Good Cook 7” Santoku knife, which is perfect for chopping, dicing, and slicing tender pieces of turkey. It works great in the kitchen, and looks nice on a serving platter, too!

Large Mixing Bowls
Whether you’re stirring up batters, or need a few extra bowls for serving, make sure you have enough at least one mixing bowl for each dish you’ll be making this Thanksgiving. Since every dish needs to be coordinated at the same time, not having to juggling a single bowl to mix multiple dishes will be a total lifesaver.

Measuring Cups
If you’re baking anything at all this Thanksgiving, be sure you’ve got a full set of measuring cups. If your current set is dented, melted, or has lost parts, it may be time to donate the old to a local thrift shop and buy yourself a shiny new set.

Measuring Spoons
Just like measuring cups, a full set of measuring spoons makes it easy to bake up perfect recipes every time. Don’t leave yourself wondering what a teaspoon of baking soda looks like, get a new set of measuring spoons in your kitchen this year, so you don’t have to do the guess test.

Tongs
The Good Cook tongs are handy in the kitchen, making it simple to transfer hot potatoes from pot to bowl. But, they also look good as a serving implement on a dinner table. Perfect for pinching slices of turkey, you’ll use tongs for several steps on Thanksgiving day. Make sure you have a set!

Spatula
A metal spatula (or two or three) is a must-have for Thanksgiving Dinner. The easiest way to serve up Sweet Potato Pie, cornbread, and cake, metal spatulas make for mess-free transferring from dish to dining plate.

Potato Masher
Thanksgiving dinner making usually means a complicated game of baking-roulette. You have to pull out the turkey to bake the dinner rolls. Coordinate burners so everything gets cooked on time. And, use the stand mixer to make everything from batters to mashed potatoes. Make your life a little bit easier this year by buying a basic potato masher. You can toss those tender tots in a bowl, and invite your favorite sous chef to mash them in any corner of the kitchen. It makes life simple, and the Good Cook potato masher is beyond budget-friendly. Plus, if all that baking overrides your electrical circuit…at least you’ll have mashed potatoes to eat!

Parchment Paper
Save yourself hours of cleanup by lining your baking dishes with parchment before preparing!

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crockpotheader

The season of Thanksgiving is here, and you’ve likely got a mile long grocery list of things to grab before the big day. While most of us set aside a full day to cook and bake anywhere from 6-12 side dishes and desserts, that doesn’t mean we have to be in the kitchen all day!

Slow cookers and crockpots are a great way to shortcut several classic Thankgiving dishes, offering an easy way to “Set it and forget it.” Rather than slaving over the stove with boiling pots and bubbling pans, why not tap into a few of our favorite slow cooker Thanksgiving tricks and turn your day into a relaxing affair that has you hardly lifting a finger?

Here’s 5 of the easiest ways to shortcut your Thanksgiving cooking in the crockpot. If you have a Slow Cooker Secret of your own, leave a comment! We’d love to hear how you make quick work of Thanksgiving day….by adding in a little slow cooking genius!

  1. Make Mashed Potatoes

potatoesWash red potatoes, toss them in a crockpot with two cups of broth, and set them on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-7 hours. You’ll get incredibly tender potatoes, ready for mashing. And even more ready for making into our original recipe for Twice-Baked Garlic Smashed Potatoes.

  1. Slow Cook Your Stuffing

Boxed stuffing mix can be stirred together, stuffed into a crockpot, and set aside. No baking needed! You’ll get a tender, moist stuffing without needing to steal the oven from the turkey. Simply follow the instructions on the back of the box, then place in a crocpot, cover, and cook for 2 hours on high, or 3-4 hours on low. For a slightly crispier crust, remove the crockpot lid 1 hour before serving, and let the stuffing cook with the top open to the air.

  1. Prep your gravy.

If you pull your turkey from the oven a half-hour or more before dinner, it’s easy to drain the hot juices into a crockpot, whisk in some cornstarch, and allow your gravy to thicken in a slow cooker while you finished prepping your final meal. Follow your favorite gravy recipe, just whisk it all together, pour it into your crockpot, then cover and set on high for 30+ minutes and you’ll have hot, steamy gravy ready to serve in no time at all!

  1. Cook Your Cranberry Sauce

cranberryHomemade cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to any Thanksgiving menu. And, making it fresh in your slow cooker is so simple! Find a recipe online for homemade cranberry sauce (there are dozens of versions!) then mix it all together, cover, and cook in a small crockpot on high for 3-4 hours (or on low 4-5 hours). Stir every hour or so, and add a bit of water if the mixture seems to be sticking or burning on the bottom. Unplug up to an hour before serving and keep covered until ready to dish up at Thanksgiving dinner!

  1. Make Simple Sweet Potatoes

Whether your family loves marshmallow-topped Sweet Potato casserole, or begs for brown-sugar cooked Sweet Potato pie, you can prep yams with no muss and no fuss right in the crockpot! Simply peel and dice into 1” pieces. Place in the crockpot with a ½ cup or so of orange juice, apple juice, OR veggie broth, and cook on low for 5-6 hours (or high 2-4) until they’re tender. Remove, mash into your favorite recipe, and enjoy! For quick and delicious Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes, peel, dice, and place 3-4 sweet potatoes in a slow cooker with 1 stick of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup orange juice, and ½ tablespoon of cinnamon. Cover and cook 5-6 hours on low (or 2-4 hours on high) until tender. Spoon, serve, and enjoy!

How do you use your crockpot over the holidays? Chime in the comments section below and tell us your Slow Cooker Sneaks! Or, if you used one of our secrets, let us know. We love to hear how you’re Good Cooking at home!

 

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2014-09 Blog Post- Savory Snacks HEADER

Walk the aisles of the grocery store, and you’ll have hundreds of snack companies wanting to steal your money. From potato chips to popcorn, pretzels to pizza, you could spend more money each month on savory snacks than you do on mealtime groceries!

Instead of handing your hard-earned pennies over to the clerk, why not save a few bucks and make your own savory snacks at home? This month, we’re using our bakeware to turn our quick-and-easy Basic Pizza Dough recipe into all sorts of delicious snack pizzas.

Mini Pizza Snacks

Personal-sized pizzas are a great way to serve up a quick afterschool snack, Game Day treat, or Cocktail appetizer. They can be made medium, small, or mini, depending on what you need them for, and can be topped in a variety of delicious ways—in flavors ranging from Italian to Mexican, Asian to American.

Grab our starter recipe HERE, then scroll down for three delicious ideas to kickstart your savory snack tastebuds!

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Gourmet Asparagus Chicken
Top pizza dough with parmesan, asparagus spears, tomatoes, and chicken. A quick drizzle of olive oil, and a smattering of salt and pepper makes this a totally gourmet treat!

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White Out
Try rolling pizza dough into football shapes, then topping with mozzarella, parm, sundried tomatoes, and basil for a basic white pizza that’s out of this world!

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Taco Pizza
Pizza dough is perfect when paired with salsa, topped with cheddar and taco meat, then sprinkled with cilantro hot out of the oven. This idea is a great way to serve taco night leftovers!

Other Fun Simple Savory Topping Ideas

  • BBQ Chicken Pizza: BBQ Sauce + Jack Cheese + Chicken + Cilantro
  • Pepperoni Mushroom: Marinara + Mozzarella + Pepperoni + Mushroom
  • Caesar Salad Pizza: Parmesan + Chicken, Once Baked Top with Caesar Salad
  • Breakfast Pizza: Ham + Cheddar + Egg Cracked on Top Before Baking
  • Thai Pizza: Peanut Sauce + Chicken + Jack Cheese, Topped with Bean Sprouts and Cilantro

How Do You Top Your Pizza?

We’d love to roundup your ideas! What simple, savory toppings do you love putting on your pizza? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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