BigOven Food Fight – Bread with Dinner: Gimme Some vs. No Thanks

Bread--11.7

 

It’s hard to beat warm, homemade bread.

You tear off a fluffy piece of carb heaven, slather on the butter or gravy (or both) and let it melt onto your tongue as you savor it ever so slowly. Biscuits, crescent rollsa rustic loaf… it’s all good and all welcome onto your Thanksgiving plate. Bread and stuffing? Bring it on! You know what they say, go big or go home.

Just wait a minute. You can devour a basket of bread any ole day. Thanksgiving is dedicated to the turkey. Plus the stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, cranberries, gravy and pie. There’s simply no room in your belly for more food. It would be physically impossible to fit even one buttermilk biscuit into your stomach after going back for seconds… er fourths. And come on, pie > bread.

Or is it?

Will you be noshing on some extra carbs or kicking bread to the curb this Thanksgiving?

 

 

See more bread recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Stuffing Composition: Oysters for Days vs. No Shellfish in My Dish

Stuffing-Composition--11.5

 

Who doesn’t love stuffing? It’s another vehicle for gravy and makes the best leftovers.

Some may argue that oysters are necessary when it comes to cooking up the most delicious stuffing. They add that something something that you just can’t get otherwise. You know, that je ne sais quoi.

If you’re all “je ne sais what?!” and gag when you hear the word “oysters” you’ll probably be leaving these sea creatures out of your Thanksgiving stuffing. Oysters may be considered a delicacy by some, but no way will you be convinced. Never.

Although… if you chop them up real small, it’s like they’re not even there, right?

Are oysters allowed in your Thanksgiving stuffing or out of the question?

 

 

See more stuffing recipes here.

BigOven Food Fight – Cranberries: Canned Crans vs. From Scratch

Cranberries--11.3

 

Ahh cranberries. They’re the perfect amount of sweet, tart and tangy. Plus they cut the richness of all that turkey and gravy.

Perhaps you’re the type that reaches for a can or two of the stuff without thinking twice. Why dirty more pots and pans making dish number 14 when you can simply whip out your can opener then spoon some awesomeness into a bowl and call it good. If anyone asks, yes, they are indeed homemade.

But maybe the thought of plopping a gelatinous cran mass onto a plate makes you cringe just a little. If you’re already spending 49 hours preparing Thanksgiving dinner, what’s another 17 minutes? Besides, your daughter-in-law would shake her head in dismay if she found out you took the easy route, and you’re never one to disappoint. Homemade it is.

Or not?

When Turkey Day rolls around, will you be saying “yes” to the can or whipping up your own batch of crans?

 

 

See more cranberry recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Food Touching: Encouraged vs. Not Okay

Food-Touching--11.2

 

Thanksgiving means lots and lots of food. Plate real estate becomes rather valuable so you have to formulate your plan of attack with careful consideration.

One route is to just pile it on. Think Leaning Tower of Pisa in turkey dinner form. Who cares if everything touches? At the end of the day, it all ends up in the same place anyway. Plus a mouthful of cranberries, potatoes, gravy and turkey is probably the best combo of flavors known to mankind.

However, the mere thought of different foods touching might make some folks start to panic and sweat. No no no! The mashed potatoes and candied sweet potatoes are not allowed to mingle! Flavors are meant to be enjoyed one at a time. Human taste buds simply cannot handle so much stimulation. Neat, separate piles of each Thanksgiving dish is the only (and correct) way to go.

But is it?

This Thanksgiving, will you be casually cramming or deliberately dividing?

 

 

See all Thanksgiving recipes.

BigOven Food Fight Turkey Edition 2015

Main-Dish--11.12

BigOven Food Fight Turkey Edition 2015 is here!

What Thanksgiving debate rages each year in your household? We’re bringing back some popular topics from last year, and introducing some new ones too! Join in the fun on our blog, FacebookTwitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram.

No matter the results, we’ll be serving up tasty Thanksgiving recipes, ideas and tips.

Check our blog daily and cast your vote!

 

See all Thanksgiving recipes.

3-Ingredient Cocktails

 

Maybe it’s the weekend.

Or maybe you’re having a few (ahem, all your) friends over.

Or maybe you just want to relax after a long day… the dog had an accident in the house (again), you forgot to sign your child’s permission slip (again) and that slow cooker chicken chili you tried to throw together that morning in a mere 1.7 minutes just isn’t tasting right come dinner time.

No matter the scenario, it’s always a good idea to have a few basic cocktails ready to go. Leave out the alcohol and you’ve got some kid-friendly beverages.

Gin: Gin & Tonic

Perhaps fruity and sweet just isn’t your thing. We understand. Simply pour yourself a gin and tonic. If only everything in life was this easy.

Vodka: Rose Kennedy

Because bubbles = happiness, and vodka crans (aka Cape Cods) are a little too standard. You deserve something special after all. We like using lemon-lime soda but club soda works too.

Tequila: Paloma

Margaritas are good, but Palomas really get the party started. Sparkling grapefruit juice and tequila are meant to be together. Don’t forget the lime! And a side of warm tortilla chips for munching. Plus some salsa and guac.

Rum: Piña Colada

Feeling tropical? Sip on a sweet piña colada. It’s like pineapple coconut dessert in a glass. Who can complain?

 

Tip: Ice and chilled glasses are your best friends.

3-Ingredient Snack Mixes

3-Ingredient Snack Mixes

 

Who doesn’t love a good snack?

 

There are definitely mediocre snacks out there. (Limp celery, we’re talking about you.)

 

But when snack time rolls around, you want to be equipped with the best of the best.

 

All you really need to know is sweet + salty. Yep! That’s the secret to an awesome, satisfying snack.

 

Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

 

Peanuts with Raisins & Pretzels

Salty peanuts and sweet raisins are basically best friends. Throw some crisp pretzels in there and your snackage game will be on point.

 

Cashews with Cherries & Chocolate

Nutty cashews pair with tart dried cherries beautifully. Semisweet chocolate makes everything better. Try to get one of each in every bite!

 

Almonds with Apricots & White Chocolate

Tangy dried apricots are amazing as is, but the party really gets going when you extend an invite to crunchy almonds and sweet white chocolate.

 

Pumpkin Seeds with Cranberries & Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Toasted pumpkin seeds. Sweet-tart dried cranberries. Irresistible yogurt covered pretzels. Need we say more?

 

Easy, right?

 

The next time you have a few spare moments, mix together a healthy snack that tastes like a treat. Your taste buds and stomach will thank you.

Build a Perfect Sandwich

Build a Perfect Sandwich

 

A soggy sandwich will surely put a damper on anyone’s day…

You slapped together a sandwich in the wee hours of the morning, and when it finally came time to devour your masterpiece for lunch, those juicy tomatoes turned that once fluffy bread into a wet, mushy mess. And the sharp cheddar cheese became nothing less than waterlogged.

Yum.

Alas, it is possible to avoid this sort of lunchtime tragedy in the future.

All you need to do is layer it right.

1. Start with the bread.

Hearty fillings require hearty slices of bread. Ciabatta, focaccia and whole grain breads are best. Flimsy slices of white bread don’t stand a chance against a killer smoked turkey situation with major veggie action and condiment heaven. Leave thin slices of bread for simple PB&J’s please.

2. Now think fat-based spreads.

It’s time to lather one side of both slices of your bread with mayo, butter, nut butter and/or pesto. This layer will act as a buffer between filling juiciness and that defenseless bread.

3. Next up, cheese.

Cheddar, Swiss, Havarti, mozzarella, feta, provolone, muenster, (we can go on). Cheese and bread are best of friends. Cheese and juicy fillings… not so much.

4. And now for the protein.

Whether you prefer turkey, ham, chicken, roast beef, salmon, tuna or tofu, your protein will help keep all of the lovely produce juices in the middle of your sandwich and prevent those juices from mingling with the bread.

5. It’s time for wet spreads.

Mustard, ranch, BBQ sauce and/or jam go best right on top of your protein. The flavors will be evenly dispersed and your sandwich will stay nice and edible.

6. Tomatoes, it’s your turn.

That’s right, those juicy veggies and fruits (think tomatoes, cucumbers, peaches, berries) do deserve a place in your sandwich, and this is where they belong–far away from the bread and cheese.

7. Last but not least, dry veggies and fruit.

Top your sandwich off with greens, bell peppers, sprouts, avocado, apple slices, banana and/or crisp pear. These veg and fruits will act as a buffer between the more water-packed produce and the bread. Of course, use your best judgement. Some pears are juicy and some cukes are on the dry side. (You get the point.)

Finally place the other slice of bread on top (dry side out) and you can say goodbye to soggy sandwiches forever.

Looking for more sandwich ideas? Browse through BigOven’s vast collection of Sandwiches and Wraps.

Foods That Pack Well

Foods-That-Pack-Well_April-2015Most everyone has been caught off guard by a sudden snack attack before.

Think violently growling stomach mid-meeting. Lightheadedness during the overly competitive annual neighborhood badminton match. Floating cream-filled doughnuts suddenly appearing above your math teacher’s head. Or maybe you just got a little hungry and simply needed something to munch on.

Keep a handful of these snacks on hand, and you can say adios to hangry outbursts forever. (Plus these durable snacks won’t get completely obliterated at the bottom of your bag.)

Nuts

These protein-packed gems will keep you going for a couple hours, or at least until you can get your hands on some post-mega-hike deep dish pizza. Enjoy your favorite, or take along a mix.

Granola Bars

No, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg stocking up your pantry with these convenient treats. Throw together a homemade batch and you’ll be set for a couple weeks.

Dried Fruit

Sweet and almost like dessert, dried fruit will satisfy your sugary cravings and prevent you from diving face-first into that tempting tupperwareful of cupcakes your coworker just brought in. We like apricots, mangoes, cherries and figs!

Cheese

Standard low-fat mozzarella sticks are always a good choice. But get your hands on some cheddar cheese sticks if you can and your taste buds will thank you. So much more flavor!

Trail Mix

Combine some nuts and dried fruit and you’ve got yourself a power snack! Chocolate is always a must. (Just try to get some nuts and fruit in there too.)

Fig Bars

Aka healthy cookies. Oh yeah, you can get away with savoring a couple of these at a time. Bonus! You can make some at home.

Whole Apples

Because slices of browning apples are not the most appetizing. To avoid annoying everyone and their mom with your munching and crunching, slice it up right before enjoying. Or just practice your ninja-quiet eating skills.

Oranges

No need to wash this juicy fruit. Simply peel and enjoy. P.S. Your hands will smell amazing.

Cherry Tomatoes

The tomato: is it a fruit or a vegetable? Who cares because cherry tomatoes are perfect for snacking. Whip out your cheese stick and you’ve got a snack worth bragging about.

Baby Carrots

They’re cute. They’re healthy. And how could anyone not love a baby?

Grapes

Whether you’re on team green or team red, grapes will solve your inner snackage fiend issues. Please refrain from asking a random stranger to fan you with palm leaves while plopping grapes in your mouth.

Snap Peas 

Your new favorite vegetable. And your new favorite snack. Maybe your new favorite food? (We won’t push it, chocolate does exist after all.)

Whether you’re out camping in the wilderness, stuck in class all day, chained to your desk or just find yourself getting a little hungry between meals, it’s always a good idea to keep some nutritious snacks on hand. And no, potato chip dust doesn’t count.

Looking for more ideas? Browse through BigOven’s vast collection of snacks.

3-Ingredient Milkshakes

3-Ingredient Milkshakes

 

Cool down and satisfy your sweet tooth with one of these 3-Ingredient Milkshakes.

 

We won’t judge if you try them all in one sitting.

 

Peanut Butter Heaven:

Peanut butter lovers rejoice. This creamy, nutty shake is just for you. There’s protein and calcium involved, so it’s totally acceptable to gulp down both servings and lick the blender clean. (Just be careful of that blade.)

 

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate:

WARNING: This shake is not for the faint of heart. Couldn’t pack in more chocolate if you tried. Kids and adults alike will be bouncing off the walls after consuming this indulgent treat.

 

Very Strawberry:

We know some of you out there are suckers for all things fruity. No this is not a daiquiri, but who needs a cocktail when you can chug (ahem sip) a refreshing strawberry shake?

 

Just Cookies: 

Comforting and simply tasty, cookies make every aspect of life 100 times better… including shakes. This kid understands.

 

Life is too short not to whip up a milkshake every once in a while. Don’t forget to share!