BigOven Food Fight – Linner or Dinner: Gorge Early vs. Build Some Anticipation



There are a plethora of activities to fit into Thanksgiving day. Drinks, appetizers, football, board games, dinner, half-falling asleep on the couch, dessert, attempting to chat with family members while really wanting to crawl into bed, picking at leftovers, actually falling asleep on the couch, then hauling yourself home to FINALLY crawl in bed with a very full tummy.

So much to do, so little time. Linner (Lunch-Dinner) is the sensible option here. Let’s give guests maximum hours to digest and a fighting chance to fend off that inevitable Turkey Day snoozer.

But maybe you’re just not the Linner type. If your tummy isn’t growling at 3 pm, why would you eat? Better stick to a normal schedule. You’ll eat when the sun goes down, thank-you-very-much.

This Thanksgiving, will you be stuffing turkey in your face ASAP or practicing patience?



See Thanksgiving recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Turkey Prep: Brine It Good vs. Brine’s a Waste of Time



The day before Thanksgiving home cooks will be in a wrestling match… with their turkeys, that is.

Let’s talk about the goodness of that brine first. Brine turns dry, boring turkey into a succulent feast fit for the Pilgrims. Make that turkey plump with salt water and it’s a whole different ballgame. The wrestling match might even be worth it.

But getting a 10 to 20 pound turkey hoisted into a tub or cooler before giving it a good salt rubdown is not for the faint of heart. Forcing the turkey into submission is one big exercise in Thanksgiving weightlifting. Not to mention, the salt rubdown is a bit too much on the massaging-dead-animals front for many of us.

That being said, will you be brining your turkey or taking the quick and easy route?



See more turkey recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Drinks: Alcohol Is Encouraged vs. Keep It G-Rated



On Thanksgiving, we face a strange conundrum: too much food and too little plate real estate. How to fit it all?

We rationalize odd choices like “Should I skip the Brussels sprouts? I can have those anytime. The mashed potatoes are hardly optional on Thanksgiving though, right?” The struggle is real.

It’s only an hour into the festivities and your relatives are already driving you bonkers. Time to lubricate the evening with some boozy goodness. Spiked apple cider or a festive fall cocktail are Thanksgiving best bets. These sweet sensations have just enough sugar to combat the turkey tryptophan food coma.

Although with the abundance of food and lack of stomach and plate space, drinking hardly seems practical. Gotta save room for the solids, you know.

Will you being saying “cheers” or staying sober this Thanksgiving?



See all Holiday Beverages.

BigOven Food Fight – Gravy Composition: Use Those Turkey Drippings vs. Veg Out



Gravy. Another necessary component of Thanksgiving dinner.

A robustly flavored gravy, slowly simmering away on the stove, creating the perfect alchemy of savory, rich flavors, has true “labor of love” status. Thrifty cooks of the non-vegetarian variety would argue that a turkey gravy isn’t a true gravy without turkey drippings (heck, many consider the giblets a must as well)! After all, what will better mask the turkey’s dryness than the turkey’s moister parts?

EW. That’s what many cooks have to say about gravy, particularly when drippings and giblets are involved. What is the appeal of a concoction containing gross, unidentifiable animal parts? One can whip up a perfectly lovely vegetarian gravy with mushrooms, spices or even nutritional yeast. No need to do it like Grandma did in this case.

Will you be pouring on the turkey gravy or choosing a safe veggie option?



See more gravy recipes.

BigOven Food Fight – Green Beans: Casserole Time vs. Simply Healthy



For most families, the green bean casserole makes its appearance once yearly, much like the long-lost family members gathered around the Thanksgiving table. A quirky combination of personalities swirl together—the subtle green beans dwarfed by the loud personalities of the creamy soup and crunchy onions. To many Thanksgiving eaters, the delightful decadence of the GBC is the perfect accompaniment to the blandness of the turkey.

For others, it’s just one big pile of creamy, salty mush. They’ll stick to roasted green beans, thank-you-very-much. Let those crisp-tender veggies shine in their own right. A little salt and pepper is all these little guys need.

Will your green beans be dressed up casserole-style or rockin’ it simple and healthy this Thanksgiving?



See more vegetable sides.

Next-Level S’mores

S’mores are easily the best part of camping. Gooey marshmallows cushioned between slightly melted chocolate, oozing out of graham crackers – what’s not to love? Get creative with these five twists on the tried-and-true.

Create Your Own S’mores Bar

Ready to take things to the next level? Host a “S’mores Bar” at your next campfire by adding some of these ingredients to your repertoire.

The Outside: Graham crackers aren’t the only way to sandwich your s’more. Try cookies like snickerdoodles, chocolate chip or Oreos. Pack thin-sliced brownies or magic bars for yummy open-faced s’mores.

The Sauces: Amp up the flavor by spreading hot fudge, butterscotch, nutella, pumpkin butter, salted caramel, raspberry jam or even lemon curd on the graham crackers.

Fancy Up Your Chocolate: Hershey’s isn’t the only choice here. Try caramel or raspberry Ghirardelli squares, Peppermint Patties, Rolos, Reese’s or your dark chocolate bar of choice.

Add Some Fruit: Strawberries and bananas are the obvious choices here. For an unexpected boost of smokiness, add grilled peaches or pineapple.

Flavor Your ‘Mallows: With a bit of advanced planning, you can make delicious homemade marshmallows to put in your s’mores. We like these Peppermint Marshmallows, these Vanilla Marshmallows and this recipe for Chai or Coffee Marshmallows.

It might sound a bit crazy…These ideas are for the more adventurous. For a sweet and spicy combo, try sprinkling chili or chipotle powder on the chocolate before adding to your s’more. Add pretzels, candied bacon, chopped peanuts or cashews for a salty twist.

Feeling inspired? See more Camping Recipes.


BigOven Food Fight: Fam Only vs. Including Friends & Randos


There are always at least one or two “strays” at our Thanksgiving table. They usually come with some long-winded explanation about where my mother found them – (“did you know Harry is actually cousin Janice’s neighbor’s best friend?”) They tentatively step inside, unaware of the boisterous, energy-filled (pre-turkey, of course) Thanksgiving experience that will ensue that evening.

For my mother, Thanksgiving is a time of gathering. She takes this as a challenge of sorts, gathering family, friends and strays alike, filling them up with rum-spiked cider, succulent turkey, a medley of sides and a severe food coma it may take them days to come out of.

Who joins your family for Thanksgiving? Do you strive for a mix of family, friends and whatever stragglers everyone brings along? The more the merrier or sacred family time?

BigOven Food Fight: Squash – Overload or Keep it Coming?

11.16 Squash

Let’s talk about squash. With over ten common varieties of winter squash, the options are endless. Soups, stews, baked sides, roasted mains – you name it, you can probably cook it with squash. With the colder weather comes a more limited selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, but squash is here, summer and winter, rain or shine. He’s a steady friend, there in whatever capacity we need him.

The thing is, he’s gotten a bit trendy lately. Suddenly he’s snuck his way into every soup, salad and side dish. Everywhere we look, there he is, dressed up in a new outfit, looking a whole lot more flashy than he used to. At first, it was a good look for him. But it’s November and we miss avocados and tomatoes and we’re starting to wonder if we’re ready to squash the squash.

Tell us, are you?

BigOven Food Fight: Cook Does it All or Passes Off the Cleaning Duty?

Cooking vs Cleaning 11.15

There’s little debate that preparing the Thanksgiving feast takes a fierce and not-easily-intimidated cook. After all, Thanksgiving is primarily about food (okay, and the pilgrims, I guess). We look forward to this meal – when else do we roast an entire bird or make homemade gravy?

Coupling high expectations with coordinating cooking times, oven space and guests’ dietary restrictions would make many a cook’s head spin. By the end of the meal, the cook may be ready for an extended period of (well-deserved) couch time. Time to pass off that cleaning duty – let others scrub while you veg out and chat with guests.

For the ultimate host(ess), perhaps Thanksgiving duties extend beyond the meal. After all, there are so many dishes and it’s easier for the person who knows where they all go to head off the cleaning.

Looking for a Ziplist Alternative?

On December 10th, Ziplist will close its doors. Cooks will need to transfer their recipes and grocery list from the Ziplist platform before this date.

(Are you a food blogger? Read about our new plugin for WordPress here!)

BigOven’s mission is to help home cooks get inspired and organized, in the kitchen and on-the-go.  We provide the same features as Ziplist, plus a host of other useful tools for the home cook on our website and top-rated mobile apps, all for free. See the short video below to learn more.

So, how does BigOven stack up? Like Ziplist, BigOven has a grocery list with mobile syncing, a recipe clipper and mobile apps.  You can add an unlimited number of grocery items to your grocery list via the clipper.

In addition, BigOven helps you get inspired with 350,000+ recipes reviewed by other home cooks and curated recipe collections and menus. Store your recipes on BigOven – type them in, clip from your favorite sites, or take pictures and we’ll transcribe them for you. Membership to our site and mobile apps is FREE.

We’ve provided a handy feature comparison chart below.

BigOven-Ziplist Comparison

Free membership allows you to add an unlimited number of grocery items, and save up to 50 recipes (we’ve just moved it up!)  Do you have special dietary needs or a large recipe collection? BigOven Pro, our paid membership program, may be of interest. Learn more and try it out free for two weeks here.

Screencast Walkthrough of BigOven’s Grocery List

Questions about BigOven as a Ziplist alternative? Get in touch here.