BigOven Food Fight – Gravy: Dump It on Everything vs. For the Bird & Potatoes Only



Pouring gravy: the ceremonial christening of Thanksgiving dinner, and often times a difficult task to navigate.

Unless you’re a structural engineer, gravy overflow is inevitable. Ladles aren’t the most precise of kitchen instruments, and let’s be honest, at this point, your accuracy has likely been obscured by one or two spiked ciders. Shouldn’t we just save ourselves the struggle and slop the gravy on everything?

But then again, no matter the number of spiked ciders, sensibility has to kick in—few things are more resoundingly godawful than eating sliced fruit that’s coated in gravy. Why not set up a careful perimeter around the turkey ‘n taters? Despite popular belief, not all whirlpools of flavor are appetizing.

With that in mind, how will you handle your gravy?

Will you be letting the sauce flow free or reserving gravy for the bird and potatoes only?



Get some gravy recipe ideas here.

BigOven Food Fight – Turkey Meat: Dark & Moist vs. Just White



Turkey is the unquestionable bigwig of Thanksgiving dinner and prized possession that likely receives more attention than your middle child. But what portion of the bird do you prefer?

Restricting yourself is utterly boring. Some of the most uninspired people exclusively gobble up white meat on Turkey Day. Dark meat offers up an exciting alternative… it’s succulent in taste and rich with flavor.

On the flip side, white turkey meat is a Thanksgiving staple. Comparable to re-watching Home Alone, you know what you’re getting yourself into—no surprises, no setbacks. Just simple, delicious carvings that pair nicely with all dishes.

Then again, who’s to say we can’t enjoy both? Don’t they each offer something terrific and tasty? And wouldn’t eating both be the socially-conscious choice? Two races of flavor existing side-by-side, in one delicious bite.

This Thanksgiving, will you be chowing down on dark meat or polishing off the white meat?



See more turkey recipes here.

BigOven Food Fight – Stuffing Stuff: All Up in the Bird vs. Leave It Out Out Out


Let’s talk stuffing.

Stuffing your bird presents a lively union, a fusion of Thanksgiving’s most celebrated dishes: turkey and stuffing. On top of the dynamic taste, stuffing the turkey saves oven space. Why waste precious oven real estate by preparing each dish individually? Go for the gusto, make off with the kitchen and the sink.

On the contrary, baking the stuffing in the bird greatly increases the risk of a kitchen catastrophe. If done incorrectly, stuffing can become your biggest adversary—mushy and undercooked, the bready disaster might just send your guests (and you) to bed earlier than expected. Taint my turkey? I don’t think so.

Will you be stuffing your bird this holiday season or cooking the stuffing separately?


Get more stuffing recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Brussels Sprouts: Best Thing Ever vs. Vom



Brussels sprouts: revered cabbage, or just another gross vegetable?

On the one hand, they’re trendy. Partly the reason why people obsess over Brussels sprouts is because they’re so darn cute, like budding aliens. Eating or mentioning sprouts nearly guarantees entry into the Cool Club. And beyond the facet of popularity, they’re dynamic—Brussels sprouts can be roasted, baked, sautéed, and/or masterfully crafted into almost any dish.

For some, this hotly contested debate has one, clear verdict: barf-worthy. In addition to the bitterly unpleasant taste, the smell of Brussels sprouts is overpowering. No taste in the world could compensate for the ungodly funk of steamed Brussels sprouts, and for those reasons, many remain skewed towards the vom end of the spectrum.

What do you think? Are Brussels sprouts the greatest or totes overrated?



See more vegetable sides.

BigOven Food Fight – Appetizers: Save Room vs. Bring It On



It’s the night before Thanksgiving. You lay awake in bed, jitters shooting through your body like a teenage boy on prom night… and then the daunting realization hits you: how do I approach Turkey Day? What Xs and Os strategy will allow me to fill every last chasm in my stomach, and then some? This isn’t some simple, stupid task. No, this is General Patton preparing for Normandy.

One likely stratagem is to ditch the apps. Waive the opener for the main act. Put all of your money on black. A no-nonsense policy that places emphasis on what truly matters: platefuls of turkey, ham, and delicious fixins’.

On the contrary, Thanksgiving appetizers are arguably better than the dinner itself. Foregoing appetizers means foregoing carrots and ranch, and boy, carrots and ranch simply cannot be missed. And not just three or four carrots and a dollop of ranch, but fistfuls of carrots and heaps of ranch. There’s also the social aspect–appetizers are conducive to conversation. Snubbing the apps is as good as writing yourself off in exile.

But don’t overthink it too much. Either way, we all have the same Thanksgiving fate: five pounds heavier and asleep by eight.

So, will you be holding out for the main attraction or gorging on apps this Thanksgiving?



See Thanksgiving appetizers.

8 Apple Cooking Tips and Tricks


Fall is upon us. And that means one thing: pie. Lots. Of. Apple. Pie.

Check out the dos and don’ts on how to approach apple season:

1. Firm, sturdy apples are best used for baking. Apples like Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp maintain their shape and texture while in the oven, perfect for pies, muffins, and tarts.

2. Soft, easily broken down apples—like Fuji and Gala—are best used for cooking. These quickly smooth out in texture, an ideal outcome for butters, sauces, and soups.

3. Bruised and unusable? I don’t think so. Make the most of your batch by cutting up and cooking the mealy, but still delicious apples—a sure-fire approach to smart, economical cooking.

4. Mix it up. For a complex taste explosion, use an assortment of tart and sweet apples in your recipes.

5. Fridge me! Apples are best stored in cold temperatures and away from their enemies—ethylene-sensitive fruits and veggies that are prone to spoiling, such as asparagus, blackberries, carrots, strawberries, and spinach.

6. Get the most out of our little, red friend by using a vegetable peeler instead of a paring knife. On top of being fast and efficient, it spares large chunks of apple from being taken off. And in the words of Grandma, “Remember to pull towards, not away!”

7. Keep the peels! Apple peels can be used in smoothies, oatmeal, tea, and jelly. Toss them in the freezer and have them on-hand for later.

8. Sliced, STILL FRESH apples in your sack lunch? Yes, it’s possible. Slice the apple and bind it back together using a rubber band.

Learn baskets of delicious uses for apples on BigOven.


BigOven Food Fight: Festive Spiked Cider or Good Ole Beer?


Largely forgotten in the bevy of turkey preparations is the Thanksgiving beverage of choice, and among the two most popular are spiked cider and beer. But how do you decide?

This highly anticipated bout hinges on one question: How annoying are your relatives? If the answer is “Not very,” then predicating your night around one or two flavorful ciders is an ideal strategy. In doses, spiked cider is an excellent accompaniment to a meal, especially one that is particularly heavy in starchy foods.

But what if you need to break the ice with some socially awkward family members, or numb the pain of repeatedly being asked “What’s new?” and “What have you been up to?” In this case, I would recommend six or seven beers. But drink cautiously, winter ales can just as easily become your most threatening adversary.

BigOven Food Fight: Post Feast – Food Coma vs. “Fun” Activity


As much as we’d like Thanksgiving Day to revolve entirely around food, our bellies can only withstand so much roasted turkey. Thus, the fraction of time not spent stuffing our faces is dedicated towards something else. But what is this something else?

Did you grow up in a family of ardent runners? Is your younger brother constantly pestering you to bust open the container of Legos? If so, you might find yourself in a friendly (or unnecessarily competitive) game of kickball or Monopoly following Thanksgiving dinner.

But what if punting a rubber playground ball isn’t your family’s cup of tea? Well, the only other logical alternative is surrendering to the couch, a wildly popular post-dinner activity (especially with Grandma and Grandpa) . Embracing this food coma involves awkwardly drifting in-and-out of consciousness, only to awake six hours later having produced a massive snow angel in the couch cushions.

Or maybe your family is like most, and finds a balance between the two: enthusiastically discussing activities to do later, only to succumb to the black hole that is the living room sofa.

Either way, the question remains: How do you spend your downtime on Thanksgiving Day?

BigOven Food Fight: Host Keeps the Goodies or Shares the Leftover Bounty?

Leftovers 11.14

Greed: an unavoidable emotion when leftover turkey, stuffing, and apple pie are on the line. But whose greed will ultimately prevail?

Most would say that the host, the almighty creator of Thanksgiving dinner, is automatically entitled to the leftovers. He or she did, in fact, slave over the kitchen stove while the remaining partygoers huddled around the television set and beer cooler. It’s only right that the Thanksgiving salvage belongs to the one that produced it? Isn’t it?

But what about this whole being a gracious host thing? Didn’t the host sign up for this gig in the first place? Graciousness is clearly defined in the dictionary as a Thanksgiving host that provides his/her guests with stowaways for the ride home. If this wasn’t the case, no one would come back.

Some will advocate compromise, the truly Thanksgiving thing to do. But bear in mind, compromise can be messy—there’s always a better piece of pie.

BigOven Food Fight: Telly – On or Not?

TV 11.9

Context is everything.

If you’re like me, and your roommates are your parents, the TV is a must. It acts to supplement dinnertime conversation—conversation that would otherwise morph into what my high school exes are up to. You can always divert your attention to the tube, an admirable tactic when seated next to an awkward stranger. And if you are that awkward stranger? Even better.

Oh wait, Grandpa just made a terrible joke about Aunt Jillian’s new haircut? Great news: no one heard because they were too focused on the game.

On the other hand, isn’t Thanksgiving a time meant for laughter and renewed relationships? Aren’t we here to spend time with each other and not the TV? From this perspective, television can most definitely counteract the would-be special moments. Thanksgiving should be dedicated to the family and friends around us, not a 60-inch flat screen.

With each argument in mind, how will you set the mood during Thanksgiving?