BigOven Food Fight: Mac & Cheese – Gimme or Pass?

11.18 Mac n Cheese

It’s creamy. It’s comforting. It’s cheesy. It’s mac n cheese! A childhood favorite, mac n cheese is hard for just about anyone to resist. (If you’re lactose intolerant… please do resist and dig into some dairy-free mac instead.) The main question here revolves around mac n cheese’s place on the Thanksgiving table. Is it a must or absolutely unwelcome?

If you love it, then you should be able to enjoy it whenever you want, even on Thanksgiving. Your birthday only occurs once a year, and you need another holiday (yes, your birthday is considered a holiday) to dedicate to gorging on a golden brown hot cheesy pasta bake. Who cares about turkey anyway?

But… maybe it is all about that turkey. Thanksgiving should be about tradition. The Pilgrims and Indians probably didn’t enjoy a serving or three of cheesy baked pasta. Wait… did they even serve turkey back then? Hmmm.

Before you traditionalists start to panic, let’s bring our focus back to mac n cheese. Will this decadent dish appear on your Thanksgiving table?

BigOven Food Fight: Roast Turkey vs. Fried Fowl

Roast Turkey vs Fried Fowl 11.17

Much of Thanksgiving stress starts with the turkey itself. What size? Fresh or frozen? Organic or conventional? And most importantly, how are you going to cook the thing?

A tried and true method for preparing your Thanksgiving bird is to simply roast it in the oven. All you have to do is give it a good ole butter rub down then season with salt and pepper. Tent with foil, pop that sucker in the oven and you’re good to go. Just don’t forget it’s in there! Smokey Bear is an unwanted guest, particularly on this day.

If you’re feeling up to a challenge, you could consider deep frying your turkey in a vat of boiling oil. (Frying novices, please don’t get any ideas.) A crispy skin with a moist (and cooked) interior is what we’re going for here.

Vegetarians, don’t despair! Here’s a tasty tofurkey recipe for you.

 

BigOven Food Fight: Creamy & Plain vs. Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes 11.12

Do you like em creamy and plain, no-frills no-dill? Or perhaps you prefer them infused with garlic and laced with herbiness? You guessed it, we’re talking potatoes.

Some believe that Garlic Herb Mashed Potatoes have no place on the Thanksgiving table. Mellow potatoes should accompany your turkey and serve as a neutral note to balance that tart cranberry sauce. Plus, it’s the only thing your picky teen will eat.

Others argue that simple mashed potatoes are a bit too plain, maybe even a waste of time. Add some zing and bam! Your potatoes got a makeover… heads are turning.

So it all comes down to your objective: be a people pleaser or make a statement. It’s your call!

BigOven Food Fight: The Canned Stuff vs. Homemade Cranberry Sauce

1

Running low on time? Bust out a can of cranberry sauce that’s been sitting in your pantry since last Thanksgiving, scoop it into a nice bowl and serve. No one will ever know, right? Tangy and tart with a hint of sweetness, many Thanksgiving eaters can’t even tell the difference between homemade sauce and the canned variety. The turkey is supposed to take center stage anyway, so you might as well let that bird shine.

Perhaps you’re a perfectionist and serving anything out of a can is in no way acceptable. What would Beyonce do? She would whip up some homemade cranberry sauce, send that can “to the left to the left” and have everyone wondering how cranberries stole the show. So channel your inner diva and work that sauce.

Anyone still up for the can?

 

BigOven Food Fight: Your Mama’s Green Bean Casserole vs. Roasted Almond Green Beans

Green Beans 11.8

Comforting and familiar, your mama’s green bean casserole is the definition of Thanksgiving. It’s dependable and consistent. Crunchy and creamy. You can count on it to appear on the Thanksgiving table year after year. You might not know what exactly is in that bubbling casserole, but it doesn’t matter because mom made it and you can always trust mom… or can you?

How did it get so creamy, and why is it still bubbling!? Umm pass! How about some of your brother’s vegan girlfriend’s roasted almond green beans. Who cares about tradition anyway?

 

 

BigOven Food Fight: Round One Recap

Sweet Potatoes 11.1

Marshmallow Topped Sweet Potatoes vs. Naked Sweet Potatoes

The breakdown:

  • 61% bare naked
  • 39% gooey mallow

Conclusion: 

It’s safe to say that sweet potatoes should be enjoyed without those sugary, sticky mallows. Don’t worry, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth by eating an entire pie. (You have our permission.)

Home or Away?

The breakdown:

  • 58% host the feast
  • 42% rather attend

Conclusion:

A majority prefers to stress out in the kitchen rather than on the road. You can always hide in your room if things get too out of hand.

Pumpkin Soup or Any Ole Squash Soup?

The breakdown:

  • 63% prefers another squash
  • 37% faithful to pumpkin

Conclusion:

We’re sorry Mr. Pumpkin, looks like you are a bit too boring on the palate. Might we suggest you stick to pie? Fresh whipped cream and a buttery crust will console you.

Color Orange – Hot or Not?

The breakdown:

  • 61% include orange in the festivities
  • 39% avoid it like the plague

Conclusion:

Whip out your festive orange sweater, this loud color is apparently in. But please, keep that orange tablecloth in the closet… too much of a good thing can actually be bad.

Brussels Sprouts – Stinky or Delicious?

The breakdown:

  • 75% devour them yourself
  • 25% feed them to Fido

Conclusion:

Fido won’t be getting lucky this year, since you stingy Thanksgiving feasters will actually be eating your stinky sprouts.

Fresh or Frozen?

The breakdown:

  • 55% fresh and flavorful
  • 45% frozen and fabulous

Conclusion:

Perhaps frozen is really not that fabulous, especially if you forget to pull that ice block of a bird out of your freezer on time. Whoops!

Well that wraps up week one of our BigOven Food Fight! Check back on our blog every day for a fun, new topic. We want to hear from you! Things are about to get interesting…

 

 

BigOven Food Fight: Brussels Sprouts – Stinky or Delicious?

Brussels Sprouts 11.5

Brussels sprouts. These fall vegetables are both healthy and cute. How can you say no to a veggie that looks like a baby cabbage? Coat the cherubs in olive oil and roast ‘em until they are tender and golden brown. Green beans step aside! Chubby sprouts are taking over Thanksgiving feasts around America.

Despite their angelic gaze, Brussels sprouts fail to win over some folks, who see right past those puppy dog eyes. Alas, sprouts can be real stinkers. Who wants to eat something that smells like Grandpa’s socks? Perhaps the family dog, sure to receive some smelly green handouts under the Thanksgiving table this year (and for years to come).

BigOven Food Fight: Color Orange – Hot or Not?

Orange 11.4

Orange could be considered one of the more polarizing colors. Some people love its brightness and association with fall. (Pumpkin lovers, we’re talking about you.) While others find it obnoxious and meant for Halloween décor only.

If you choose to incorporate orange into your Thanksgiving, there are a few rules you must keep in mind, that is, if you want to avoid burning your guests’ eyeballs out before they even get a glimpse of Cousin Jo’s scorched tartlet appetizer.

Rule number one

If you decide to wear an orange garment, make sure that your entire outfit is not orange. You don’t want your senile great-aunt mistaking you for the large bottle of Cointreau you purchased for the festivities.

Rule number two

Make sure your table setting is composed primarily of neutral colors, with subtle pops of orange. Less is definitely more here. You want your guests buzzed off of the delicious wine you’re serving, not dizzy from that garish orange tablecloth.

Rule number three (the final rule)

If you’re going to pair orange with green, do so with caution! No one wants moldy Cheetos to come to mind… ever.

Orange you glad we gave you that advice? Now you decide…

BigOven Food Fight: Pumpkin Soup or Any Ole Squash Soup?

Pumpkin or Squash 11.3

It’s a bit chilly outside and your festive sweater just isn’t cutting it. A warm bowl of comforting fall soup will solve this dilemma, heating up your body and soul, as well as your Thanksgiving guests’. Is your soup comprised of trustworthy pumpkin, or will a different squash grace your bowl this year?

Some are enthralled with everything-pumpkin and simply horrified at the thought of replacing this squash. There is no other way… it must be pumpkin!

Others may choose to cut ties with tried and true Mr. Pumpkin (he was getting a little too predictable *ahem* boring) and begin a relationship with nutty Mr. Butternut, or possibly sweet Mr. Kabocha.