Wednesday, November 26, 2008

38 Cheap, Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Cheap Healthy Good will resume posting on Monday. Happy Thanksgiving!

Every year, I suspend my healthy diet for one heralded November day. No, not Election Day, during which I’m usually too queasy to eat – but that most glorious of bird-based holidays, Thanksgiving.

Then, 24 hours later, I enter an equally magical shame spiral, since I’ve just consumed enough calories to keep me alive for eight years without ever having to eat again.

This year, I’m going to desperately try to avoid all that, hopefully by using at least 25 of the following 38 inexpensive, frugal leftover recipes. (Well … okay, 24.) I found them via a thorough, highly scientific search-and-paste process, not unlike previous Beef, Party Food, and Salad Dressing searches. In this case, here’s what determined a dish’s appearance on the list:
  • As always, if the recipe comes from an aggregate site, the reviews must come in at 80% approval or above, or have no reviews at all (in which case, they must look really, really good).
  • It was a little difficult to find low-fat recipes, since stuffing and mashed potatoes aren’t exactly health foods (meaning: they don’t miraculously lose their calories on Black Friday). So, I attempted to keep each recipe NWR, or Nutritious Within Reason. There’s little added butter, oil, dairy, lard, mayo, or canned soup in each dish.
  • If possible, I included notes about lightening the dish under each title.
  • As for price, there aren’t any exotic ingredients included, so costs should be pretty low. Caveat: you might have to purchase a little ginger or a bunch of green onions or something.
  • There is no Turkey Tetrazzini. Because I hate it. Muahahahahahaha! (Also, it’s 4 billion calories.)
Readers, if you have suggestions, I love to hear. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving!

All Recipes: Apple Curry Turkey Pita
Use low-fat yogurt in place of regular to cut fat and calories.

All Recipes: Hearty Turkey Soup with Parsley Dumplings

All Recipes: Southwestern Turkey Soup

Bon Appetit: Asian Turkey-Noodle Soup with Ginger and Chiles

Bon Appetit: Cranberry Citrus Sorbet
This sounds AWESOME.

Bon Appetit: Pork Chops with Cranberry Port and Rosemary Sauce

CHG: Leftover Turkey Stew

CHG: Turkey Chili
Use turkey bits instead of ground turkey, add to pot with tomatoes

CHG: Turkey Noodle Soup
Sub in cooked turkey for chicken.

CHG: Turkey With Shallot Apricot Sauce
Sub in turkey for chicken, and use leftover warmed turkey

Chow: Turkey Pad See Ew
A little high in fat, but delicious-sounding just the same.

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom: Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole (scroll down)
Sub in fat-free evaporated milk and make sure you use 2% cheddar.

Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Mom: Turkey Stock

Cooking Light: Cold Soba Noodles with Turkey

Cooking Light: Fiery Turkey-Pâté Crostini

Cooking Light: Turkey Pizza

Cooking Light: White Turkey Chili

Epicurious: Turkey Burritos with Salsa and Cilantro

Epicurious: Turkey and Sweet Potato Sandwich

Fabulous Foods: Turkey Pasties

Fine Cooking: Turkey Soup with Ginger, Lemon, and Mint

Fine Cooking: Turkey and Sweet Potato Hash

Fine Cooking: Turkey Tortilla Soup

Food Network/Cathy Lowe: Turkey Soup with Rice

Food Network/Cathy Lowe: Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Food Network/Emeril Lagasse: Turkey and Vegetable Soup

Food Network/Michael Chiarella: Next Day Turkey Soup

Food Network/Ocean Spray: Smoked Turkey and Cranberry Gourmet Pizza

Food Network/Rachael Ray: Turkey Corn Chili

Food Network/Rachael Ray: Turkey and Stuffin’ Soup
Frankly, the picture kind of squicked me out here. But the reviewers (and there are quite a few) seem to LOVE it, so go nuts.

Food Network/Robin Miller: Turkey Soup with Egg Noodles and Vegetables
Looks like a good, quick recipe. Very well rated.

Food Network/Sunny Anderson: Second Day Turkey and String Bean Pot Pies

The Oregonian: Soba Noodle Salad With Cranberries and Apple
(Thanks to Slashfood for the link.)

The Oregonian: Turkey Picadillo
(Thanks to Slashfood for the link.)

The Oregonian: Turkey, White Bean, and Escarole Soup
(Thanks to Slashfood for the link.)

Seattle Times: Chili-Rubbed Turkey Sandwich With Red Onion Salsa

St. Louis Eats: Nigella Lawson’s Vietnamese Turkey Salad

Wise Bread: Turkey and Stuffing Casserole

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Megalinks

Lots of hypothetical questions today, along with a few extra Thanksgiving posts and a staggering four articles from Wise Bread. Really, it’s all a warmup to tomorrow’s piece, "Cheap Healthy Leftovers." But in the meantime…

Advertising Age: NIH - Banning Fast Food Ads Will Make Kids Less Fat
The National Institutes of Health is claiming that a “ban on fast-food advertising to children would cut the national obesity rate by as much as 18%.” EIGHTEEN PERCENT. Yeah, I think this needs to happen. But will cereal/candy/junk food companies comply?

Being Frugal: Reusing Storage Bags
I try to re-use these whenever possible (for vacations, makeup, etc.), unless the bag’s been holding meat. Because no one wants botchulism on their travel shampoo.

Casual Kitchen: How to Make a Simple Frittata
Inexpensive, quick, infinitely malleable, and all fancy-like, frittatas are the low-budget, high-quality indie movies in the Hollywood of food. I don’t know what that means either, but now I want eggs.

Consumerist: The Crappy Economy Means You’d Better Learn to Love Canned Soup
Does anyone know if Campbell’s is a publicly-owned company? Because if it is, we should all invest in their stock RIGHT NOW. We could build an empire on Chicken and Stars.

Eater: Hottest Chefs in NY Round 2 - Meet Your Chefs
Ladies, this is too fun to miss out on. Eater is conducting a tournament to determine the hottest chef in NYC. Voting for the first round’s over, but Round 2 begins this week. And not to play favorites or anything, but Akhtar Nawab of Eletteria is a stone hottie.

Elastic Waist: Can Your Weight Affect Your Paycheck?
Weetabix poses a great question here, and her first paragraph is equally provocative: “I often wonder how much I'm discriminated against at my day job. I am a great interviewee and have a reasonable amount of responsibility, but I also watched as a very slender peer was groomed for management and became my boss and then rose a tier above that. I strongly suspect that I'm not making as much money as my coworkers.” Readers, has this happened to you?

Endless Simmer: An Elitist Thanksgiving
If you’ve got a few thousand dollars hanging around, you might want to invest in this very very very upscale menu, which includes Capon (a type of poultry), fromage de Clon (cheese that costs more than your college education), ethical foie gras (like foie gras, but without the intense guilt), and a mixed drink featuring $6000 worth of Courvoisier. Or you could just get a Hungry Man. (Thanks to Slashfood for the link.)

Jezebel: "Cooking For One" Is Kind Of Like, Well, Regular Cooking
Come for the post, stay for the 400+ comments, in which all the single ladies describe how they get by buying for one. I cooked for myself for a looooong time, and portions and leftovers can both be pretty serious issues. (Serious in the bank account sense - not serious in the natural disaster sense.)

The Kitchn: A Low-Stress Thanksgiving - Recipes, Tips, and Advice
Nice comp of all The Kitchn’s best Turkey Day tips.

New York Times: It’s a Hit - Breakfast in the Classroom
I love this story because it’s chock full of simple genius. Apparently, serving kids their morning meal in the classroom before class has made a huge impact on their attention spans, behavior, and nutrition. Really, here’s all you need to know: “‘It makes me full and happy,’ Carol Osseili, 8, said as she patted her stomach. ‘I’m ready to study and learn.’”

Simple Dollar: On Hosting a Dinner Party
Are you tired of expensive restaurant visits? Wanna see your friends without having to sell family heirlooms to pay for it? Do you like the warm, comforting glow of your kitchen light? Host a dinner party. Here, Trent tells you how.

Slashfood: Last Meals – What’s On Your Plate?
40 people chime in on their final dinners on Earth. Most popular: sushi, burgers, ice cream, steak, pizza. Mine: mac and cheese. Four pounds of it, maybe with a side of sweet potatoes and/or a last-minute court appeal. Mmm ... leniency.

Wise Bread: Alternative Thanksgiving Menus for Nearly Every Situation
Ideas for healthy, vegetarian, non-turkey, barbecue, non-traditional, and restaurant-based Thanksgivings. Good for brainstorming, with a few recipes.

Wise Bread: 10 Tasty Ideas for Leftover Turkey
Whether you have 50 pounds or 5 ounces of turkey sitting in your fridge come Friday morning, this post will tell you exactly what to do with it. My favorite: Turkey Cranberry Roll Ups. Nothing in that title is unappealing.

Wise Bread: 80% off Coupon Code with FatWallet 25% Cashback - $25 Gift Certificates for $1.50
This sounds like a great deal, and for some, it will be a Christmas goldmine. Just make sure to follow all the rules – there are a lot of them, and they preclude use of the certificates at certain times.

Wise Bread: Meat Money – Grocery Saving Tips for Carnivores
This headline makes me immediately picture a velociraptor, but I’m pretty sure they’re talking about humans who eat meat. PRETTY sure. You never know.

Zen Habits: How to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half
Leo presents some pretty basic rules for frugal food shopping, but man, the guy does it in style.

(Photos courtesy of Concierge, Classic Yacht Charters, and My Recipes.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar, Parmesan, Pine Nuts, and Apologies to Mr. Zimmerman

(It’s two Brussels sprouts recipes for the price of one today, everybody! Over at Serious Eats, I write about Golden-Crusted Brussels Sprouts from 101 Cookbooks, and here, it’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts from Kalyn’s Kitchen. The recipe is pasted below this stunning new song, crafted just in time for Thursday's high holiday.)

It’s Time For Some Thanksgiving
(to the tune of “The Times, They Are A-Changin’” by Bob Dylan)

Come gather 'round family
Friends, countrymen
And submit to the turkey
Thick with tryptophan
And accept it that soon
You'll be asleep in the den.
Hurry, they’ll be nothin’
Worth savin'
So you better start eatin’
Like a pig in a pen
‘Cause it’s time for some Thanksgiving.

Come cousins and uncles
Dig in, don’t be shy
There’s stuffing and taters
And sweet turkey thigh
And don't leave too soon
For you’ll miss all the pie
And I'm not listenin'
To any complainin'
So loosen your pants
And maybe your tie
‘Cause it’s time for some Thanksgiving.

Come brothers and sisters
Bring all your spawn
Emma, Jack, Sarah
Jake, Jalen, and Shaun.
I need someone here
To occupy Mom.
Dr. Phil said it
Would help me stop ragin’.
So clean up their faces
Hurry up and come on
‘Cause it’s time for some Thanksgiving.

Come mothers and fathers
From Jersey and Maine
California and Texas
And West Pennsylvain-
Your sons and your daughters
Are awaiting your train
Since your car
Has started breakin’
Please buy a new one
Or next time take a plane
‘Cause it’s time for some Thanksgiving.

The corn it is boiled
The bird it is roast
And after the dishes
I’m officially toast.
Next year, please
Someone else be the host
Cause my patience is
Rapidly fadin'.
Who am I kidding?
It’s my command post.
‘See you next year for some Thanksgiving.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts
Makes 3-4 servings
Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into quarters
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (preferably fresh grated)
1 tablespoon pine nuts (or another nut of your choice), toasted
Salt and pepper

1) Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, olive oil, and vinegar. Stir until sprouts are coated.

3) Pour sprouts on to prepped baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 20 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice, until veggies are golden browned and beautiful.

4) When sprouts are done, pour them in to a medium bowl. Add cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss to combine. Top with pine nuts. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
Three servings: 139 calories, 7.9 g fat, $0.92
Four servings: 104 calories, 6 g fat, $0.72

1 lb. brussels sprouts: 195 calories, 1.4 g fat, $1.71
1 T olive oil: 119 calories, 13.5 g fat, $0.12
1/2 T balsamic vinegar: 5 calories, 0 g fat, $0.05
1 1/2 T Parmesan cheese: 32 calories, 2.1 g fat, $0.25
1 T pine nuts: 67 calories, 6.8 g fat, $0.62
Salt and pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
TOTAL: 418 calories, 23.8 g fat, $2.86
PER SERVING (TOTAL/3): 139 calories, 7.9 g fat, $0.92
PER SERVING (TOTAL/4): 104 calories, 6 g fat, $0.72

Friday, November 21, 2008

Light Buttermilk Pancakes: The CHG Endgame

That’s it, folks. It's over. We found it. We’ve discovered the cheapest, leanest, most easily-prepared meal in the history of this blog – even moreso than Popovers, Light Banana Bread, and Leigh’s Chai Masala from yesterday. Seriously. It’s official. We can pack it in.

Oh, but I jest. We’re not really leaving (because I’d have no excuse to post random George Clooney pictures anymore), but I’m not sure where to go after Cooking Light’s Buttermilk Pancakes. In order, they are:
  • the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had. If society allowed, I would make a mattress out of them, and munch quietly on layer after delicious layer while The Boyfriend slept.
  • at 10 cents per pancake, I believe the cheapest food on CHG to date.
  • simple enough for even my sister to make. (Note: I realize I make L sound like a drooling, witless loony from time to time, but she’s really a very competent 8th grade teacher with a Masters in math. AND she has wonderful taste in sweaters. It’s a one-two geometry-cable-knit punch.)
Honestly, I was worried about these pancakes at first, because the batter seemed awfully thick, failing to spread in the pan like most other flapjacks. But eight minutes after pouring, there they were: 4” golden discs of spongy goodness, practically begging for maple syrup to soak up. Though the recipe could definitely feed three people, The Boyfriend and I polished off every last bite, and there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth when we realized there wouldn’t be anymore.

Incidentally, since my Pa is a great lover of pancakes the world over, I plan to make these for Thanksgiving breakfast. Hopefully, they’ll help me reclaim the coveted Favorite Child mantle, a designation bestowed to whichever spawn most endears him/herself to my parents. I haven’t had it since the summer, when L mowed their lawn without being asked. If you’re looking to assume Favorite Child status within your own family, these will definitely do the trick.

P.S. Calculations are provided by Cooking Light, so only the cash math is written out below.

Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes 8 – 10 pancakes
Adapted from Cooking Light.

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray

1) To a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. When finished, make an indentation/well in the middle.

2) In a small bowl or large Pyrex glass measuring cup, whisk together buttermilk, oil, and egg.  Pour buttermilk mixture into the flour indentation, and stir until batter is smooth.

3) Now, make those pancakes: pour 1/4 cup batter on a hot griddle or big skillet (nonstick or oiled up). Wait a few minutes. When the side facing up starts bubbling and the sides look set, flip the pancake. Cook until the second side is lightly browned. Serve to a standing O.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
99 calories, 2.9 g fat, $0.10

1 cup all-purpose flour: $0.09
2 tablespoons sugar: $0.04
1 teaspoon baking powder: $0.03
½ teaspoon baking soda: $0.01
1/4 teaspoon salt: $0.01
1 cup low-fat buttermilk: $0.49
1 teaspoon vegetable oil: $0.03
1 large egg, lightly beaten: $0.19
Cooking spray: $0.04
TOTAL: $0.93

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Veggie Might: Masala Chai of Gratitude

Written by the fabulous Leigh, Veggie Might is a regular Thursday feature about all things Vegetarian.

(Part three of three in a series of healthyish dessertish things for the impending holiday madness.)

"Part three?" you may be asking, "What more can I do for these lactose-intolerant, gluten-free vegans?" How about welcoming them into your home with a big steaming cuppa to thank them for A) being your awesome friends, 2) forcing you try new things, baking-wise, and M) just being the supafreaks they are.

With Thanksgiving around the bend, I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude. Sometimes it’s hard when I feel I’m constantly reminded of what’s missing from my life. The news reminds me daily, if not minutely, that the economy is on a barge to Fresh Kills, and that food prices are rising along with sea levels.

But this lean time is the perfect time to focus on bounty, to look around and say, "Hey Leigh. You’re doing pretty well: your brain works for the most part, you have a great family of friends and family types, and you are not starving." Or you could use your own name and circumstances.

The perfect accompaniment for Thanking and cold-weather gatherings: a cup of masala chai out of your favorite mug from your favorite late-night hangout in your college town that takes you back to a time when cares were scarce even though money was more so.

Masala chai is Hindi for spice tea. Chai derives from cha, the Chinese word for tea. At this point in the post, the grammar/word nerd in me must inform you that “chai tea” is a pleonasm, like ATM machine or A.M. in the morning. Don’t be that guy/gal. Chai means tea. If you say “I’ll have the chai tea, you’re saying “I’ll have the tea tea,” which could be horribly misconstrued.

I’m a tea person. Coffee just never did it for me. Believe me, I tried in college; I tried in summer stock. During my years as a waitron, I poured enough coffee on 2­ to 3 hours sleep that I’d do anything to make it through my shift. But when you’re having more milk and sugar than coffee, and oh yeah could I have a little ice cream with that?, it’s time to stop kidding yourself.

Over the years, I’ve been perfecting my masala blend. I like mine fiery-spicy, so I go heavy on the black pepper and ginger. Cardamom is also my best favorite spice friend. It tastes like warm. Sometimes I put it in my chai by itself.

There are hundreds of masala chai recipes on the Web if you want to experiment with different spices and quantities. Go crazy. The most common spices are cinnamon, cardamom, clove, black pepper, and fresh ginger. Optional, but also tasty additions can be nutmeg, allspice, fennel, bay leaf, and star anise. It’s best to use a hearty black tea like assam or keemun. Darjeeling is a bit too light to stand up to the flavors of the spices.

The only hard and fast rule is one held by tea drinkers the world around: Do not boil your tea leaves. The order of operations here is very important. To really get the flavor of the spices, they need to be boiled; but tea leaves are more delicate. Boiling causes the tea to become bitter.

Boil the spices first, turn of the heat, then add the tea leaves and brew. It’s that simple. Tea tip for the ages: Never boil tea leaves. Ever. Oversteeping is bad too. A friend who used to work in a tea shop once told me: Brew, don’t stew. Three to five minutes is the longest tea leaves should steep.

Before I started writing this, I started feeling a little insecure. Just how authentic was my masala? I asked my friend P, who is from Northern India. He told me I was off-base with the anise seed in my original recipe, so out it came. I couldn’t tell the difference when it was gone. We need never speak of it again.

This is a strong brew, just the way I like it. It’s also malleable; bend it, shape it any way you want it. It’s all right. The recipe is easily increased or decreased.

The traditional way to drink masala chai is with milk, but you can go skim or soy/rice if you’re cutting back on fat/calories/cholesterol. I made this recipe with soy because it’s a little heartier than rice milk and stands up better to the cooking. Of course, there is no rule that you have to have milk at all. But for a nice holiday treat, it is comforting and delicious.

Thank U, India; thank u cardamom, and thank u to all my spicy friends. Happy T day.

Masala Chai of Gratitude
Yields 4 cups

3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp cardamom pods (about 20 pods)
2 knobs fresh ginger (about 1/4 oz
3 tbsp loose black tea (i use keemun)
3 tbsp clover honey (sub turbinado sugar or agave nectar for a true vegan bev)
1 1/3 cup soy milk
3 cups water

1) Wrap cinnamon sticks in a kitchen towel and crush with hammer or rubber mallet.

2) In a coffee or spice grinder (or mortar and pestle if you’re old school), grind cloves, peppercorns, and cardamom pods for 10­ to 15 seconds.

3) Peel and dice ginger.

4) In a sauce pan, bring to a boil 3 cups of water and all spices. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

5) Add soy milk and honey, and bring back to a boil, stirring occasionally.

6) Turn off heat. Add tea leaves and cover.

7) Steep for 2-3 minutes.

8) Strain into teapot or mugs and serve hot.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price per Serving
94 calories, 1.8g fat, $.30

3 cinnamon sticks: negligible calories and fat, $.18
1/2 tsp cloves: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1/2 tbsp black peppercorns: negligible calories and fat, $.02
1 tsp cardamom pods: negligible calories and fat, $.04
1 knob fresh ginger: 45 calories, 0g fat, $.03
3 tbsp loose black tea: 18 calories, 0 g fat, $.12
3 tbsp clover honey:192 calories, 0g fat, $.38
1 1/3 cup soy milk: 120 calories, 4.7g fat, $.40
TOTALS: 375 calories, 4.7g fat, $1.19
PER SERVING: 94 calories, 1.8g fat, $.30

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Only Thanksgiving Post You’ll Ever Need: 100+ Links for Turkey Day

Thanksgiving is upon us, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve read approximately 40,000,000 blog posts and magazine articles dealing with next Thusrday's dinner. And that’s just today.

Yeah, Turkey Day can overwhelming, and with so many experts on the subject, sometimes it’s difficult to find information on any single aspect the holiday. And that’s where CHG comes in. What follows are more than 100 links, organized by the following subjects:
  • Appetizers
  • Turkey
  • Sides
  • Stuffing
  • Pies & Desserts
  • Drinks
  • General Menu Planning
  • Affordable Thanksgivings
  • Healthy Thanksgivings
  • Vegetarian Thanksgivings
  • Seating & Tablesetting
  • Troubleshooting
  • Leftovers
  • CHG Recipes
With the exception of the CHG section, each link contains several recipes and/or tips about preparing for the day. Sources include All Recipes, Being Frugal, Bon Appetit, Chow, Cooking Light, Culinate, Epicurious, Fine Cooking, Food and Wine, Food Network, Frugal Upstate, The Kitchn, Martha Stewart/Everyday Food, Money Saving Mom, O Magazine, Real Simple, Saveur, Serious Eats, and Squawkfox.

(It should be noted that Cooks Illustrated has a gloriously extensive Thanksgiving guide, as well, but it’s a subscription site, so you can’t get to it without being a member. HOWEVER, they’re offering a 14-day free trial membership for prospective customers. Check out the sign-up sheet here. Same goes for their partner magazine, Cooks Country. That form is here.)

Readers, if you have any ideas, I’d love to see them in the comments section. In the meantime, hope this helps and happy Thanksgiving!


Food Network: Thanksgiving Appetizers
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 100 appetizer recipes.

The Kitchn: Holiday Appetizers from The Kitchn
“Are you thinking about your Thanksgiving meal yet? We are! We'll be pulling together some of our favorite Thanksgiving and holiday recipes from the archives this week, and we're starting with appetizers.”


All Recipes: Turkey 101

Bon Appetit: Best Turkeys Slideshow
“Salted, brined, stuffed, or simply roasted, any of these eighteen turkeys will make a perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal.”

Bon Appetit: Turkey Buying Guide
Including posts called At the Market, Home from the Market, Turkey Prep, In the Oven, and Out of the Oven.

Chow: How to Carve a Turkey with Mark Dommen (video)
“Hacking is for hacks.”

Cooking Light: All About Turkey
“With a few basic guidelines, you can choose from several methods for a tender, juicy bird that will highlight your holiday meal.”

Cooking Light: Turkey School
“Everything you need to pull off a perfect Turkey Day.”

Culinate: How to Brine and Roast a Turkey
“Whether your turkey this Thanksgiving season is small (8 pounds) or enormous (20 pounds), there are plenty of ways to take it from raw to succulent.”

Epicurious: Turkey 101
“Confused about natural versus organic? Wondering whether to try brining? Our complete guide demystifies the process to help you roast the perfect bird”

Fine Cooking: How to Cook a Turkey
“The essential Thanksgiving guide.”

Food Network: Turkey
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 100 turkey recipes.

Gourmet: Expert Advice - Let’s Talk Turkey
“Of all the dishes that make up the Thanksgiving feast, the big bird demands the most attention. But how best to achieve turkey perfection—golden-brown skin with moist, tender white and dark meat? We roasted our way through more than 40 turkeys and found a method that’s so free of fuss and gets results so delicious, we can’t quite believe it ourselves.”

Real Simple: How to Carve a Chicken or Turkey

Real Simple: What You Need to Know Before Roasting a Turkey
“How to buy, thaw, and roast the main attraction.”

Serious Eats: How to Read Turkey Labels

Serious Eats: Turkey Recipes

Serious Eats: Turkey Talk
Discussions with Ruth Reichl of Gourmet, Barbara Fairchild of Bon Appetit, and Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated.


All Recipes: Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Potatoes Slideshow
“One of these easy, homey potato recipes is sure to earn a permanent spot on your holiday table.”

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Sides Slideshow
25 Thanksgiving sides.

Cooking Light: Lighten Up – Holiday Classics
“We lightened seven seasonal favorites for a good-for-you holiday spread.”

Fine Cooking: Vegetable Sides

Food and Wine: Thanksgiving Vegetables
“15 Thanksgiving side dishes, like roasted vegetables with pine-nut pesto.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving Side Dishes
“Make your Thanksgiving feast memorable with spectacular side dishes. The hardest part about these recipes will be figuring out which ones to make.”

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Sides
“For many, the real star of a Thanksgiving dinner is the assemblage of side dishes, not the turkey. To help you put together a showstopping selection for your table, we’ve rounded up our favorites.”

Serious Eats: Side Dish Recipes


All Recipes: Get Stuffed
“Options for preparing flavorful and interesting stuffings are virtually endless. From the recipes below, try anything from a traditional style to a southern cornbread dressing. Add richly flavored meats, or get creative this holiday by incorporating fruits or herbs. Whatever your desire, you'll find a recipe to satisfy any dressing or stuffing craving.”

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Stuffing Slideshow
15 stuffing recipes.

Fine Cooking: Stuffing and Dressing

Food Network: Thanksgiving Stuffing & Dressing
Tips, tricks, techniques, and 51 stuffing recipes.

The Kitchn: Recipe Roundup - Thanksgiving Stuffing
“According to a survey we took last year, stuffing is by far your favorite Thanksgiving side dish. But when it comes to what type of stuffing, there's a lot of variation out there: cornbread, herb, oyster, sausage, apple, chestnut... We put together a list of 14 recipes to get you started.”

Real Simple: The Best Boxed Stuffings
“Three packaged brands that taste closest to Mom's”

Serious Eats: Store-Bought Stuffing Mix Showdown
‘After the jump, the results of the Serious Eats taste test of eight packaged stuffing mixes, along with some suggestions on jazzing up your store-bought stuffing.”

Serious Eats: Stuffing and Dressing Recipes


All Recipes: Pies & Desserts
Millions of Turkey Day suggestions.

Bon Appetit: Top 20 Thanksgiving Desserts
“Pies, crisps, tarts, and cheesecake: luscious ways to finish the feast.”

Culinate: Pumpkin pies - Three recipes for Thanksgiving

Fine Cooking: Pies and Tarts

Food Network: Thanksgiving Desserts
100 Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes.

Gourmet: Twelve Thanksgiving Pies
‘No matter how much turkey you’ve eaten, there’s always room for at least a sliver of pie—and these delicious options may have you going back for seconds.”

The Kitchn: Best Pie Bakeoff
“Have you ever made a pie? We were intimidated by pies for a long time, but now they're one of our favorite desserts. We hope to make some converts, discover new recipes, and find the truly best versions of classic pies.

Martha Stewart: Holiday Pies
“We’ve rounded up our favorite pies – both the tried-and-true holiday staples as well as some modern variations that, for us, have become classics in their own right.”

Real Simple: Four Pie Myths Debunked
“Why you don't have to bake a homemade crust, use fresh fruit for the filling, and more.”

Serious Eats: Dessert Recipes


Bon Appetit: Red, White, and Relax
We have some practical advice about what to drink with Thanksgiving dinner: Serve a few crowd-pleasing American wines.

The Kitchn: Thanksgiving Wine

O Magazine: Cocktails, Anyone?
Steamy Passion. Pink Halo. Dark and Stormy. No, we're not talking romance novels, but the glorious technicolor cocktail. In a flute or on the rocks. With a twist or with a shout. Bottoms up, darling.

Serious Eats: Thanksgiving Wine, a Guide for Hosts and Guests
“Every year, I'm struck all over again by how completely stressed out people get about what wine they should pour to go with the turkey. It is worth mentioning at the outset that traditional Thanksgiving fare goes with pretty much everything—sparkling wines, rosés, whites, and even reds.”


All Recipes: Thanksgiving Menus
Includes Make-Ahead, Stress-Free, Traditional, Small-Scale, and Last-Minute Menus.

Bon Appetit: Top 20 Thanksgiving Menus
“Traditional, modern, big, small, or somewhere in between, there's a menu here for Turkey Day your way.” Including menus for: Country Style, Heritage Feast, Vegetarian Feast, A Little Bit Fancy, A Small Gathering, Healthy Thanksgiving, Southern Comforts, Great for a Crowd, A Make-it Buy-it, Green Party, The Weekenders, Small and Sophisticated, Italian-Infused, Big Thanksgiving, New American Feast, Quick Dinner, (Meat)less is More, The Smaller Thanksgiving, Pilgrims Progress, Crowd-Pleasing Turkey Day.

Chow: Start to Finish – Thanksgiving Meal for Six (video)
“Behind the scenes of a meal in progress.”

Cooking Light: Ultimate Holiday Cookbook
“If you're like most people, you cook more during the holidays than any other time of the year. That's why we've put together these slideshows of some of our best holiday recipes. Whether you're seeking recipes for a quick mid-November family dinner or a black-tie New Year's Eve buffet, you're sure to find inspiration here.”

Culinate: Classic Thanksgiving - All the turkey-day basics
“Here’s our roundup of the classic Thanksgiving basics, by dish. Pick a few to try and assemble your own turkey-day menu.”

Epicurious: A First-Timer’s Feast
“An indispensable Thanksgiving guide for the novice, with recipes and tips even an expert will love.”

Epicurious: The Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
“Make Turkey Day easy and stress-free with our delicious recipes and menus, entertaining tips from the pros, tools, and how-to videos.” Master page includes menus for: An Inexpensive Feast, Thanksgiving in an Hour, A Global Menu, plus options for large group, small group, formal, casual, traditional, modern, regional, global flavors, quick and easy, healthy, and vegetarian diners.

Food and Wine: Three Amazing Thanksgiving Menus
“Tina Ujlaki, F&W’s executive food editor, put together these three incredible web-exclusive menus. She created a classic menu (pumpkin soup, bread stuffing with sausage and a deep-dish apple pie), an elegant menu (sparkling punch, a gorgonzola terrine and a chocolate macadamia tart) and an easy ethnic menu with flavors from around the world. All of them center around a turkey, and include drinks, appetizers, soup, sides and desserts.”

Food and Wine: Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide
“With F&W’s amazing recipes, practical tips, festive menus and wine recommendations, this ultimate Thanksgiving guide is the perfect resource to help you welcome family and friends to the table this year.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving Menus
Classic Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving with a Twist, and Thanksgiving Made Easy.

Gourmet: Five All-American Thanksgiving Menus
Inspired by this country’s diverse culinary traditions, these classic Thanksgiving meals represent regions from New England to the West Coast, the North to the Deep South.

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Menus
Master page includes menus for: Easy Thanksgiving Dinner, Thanksgiving with Italian Flavors, An Effortless Thanksgiving, A Holiday Buffet for Everyone, Thanksgiving: An All-Day Affair, A Classic Thanksgiving Menu, No-Fuss Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Made Easy, Thanksgiving 1-2-3, A Hill Country Thanksgiving, A Southern-Style Feast, A Down Home Thanksgiving.

Martha Stewart: Martha’s Ultimate Thanksgiving

O Magazine: O's All-Time Favorite Thanksgiving Menus
“Looking to do something a little different this Thanksgiving? Let us help! O turns to an all-star cast of chefs for their most delectable holiday menus.” Page includes: Thanksgiving Miracle, Colin Cowie’s Incredible Thanksgiving Feast, Gobble Gobble: A Light Thanksgiving Menu, Dinner for 20 With the Greatest of Ease, Duck! Here Comes Thanksgiving, The Party Season Starts Here, Holiday Recipe Kit.

Real Simple: The Best Thanksgiving Shortcuts
“Everyone needs a little help on Turkey Day. Make these six tasty convenience products—from cranberry sauce to piecrust—part of your holiday arsenal.”

Real Simple: No-Stress Thanksgiving Menus
“Whether you’re looking for easy basics, regional favorites, or classic dishes with a twist, find recipes for your Thanksgiving meal.” Page includes: Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Meal, Streamlined Thanksgiving Menu, Quick Prep Thanksgiving Recipes, A Southern Thanksgiving Menu, 50+ Thanksgiving Recipes, Pies Made Easy, Easy Desserts, Portable Side Dishes and Desserts, and Lose Your Leftovers.

Real Simple: Your Fastest, Easiest, Tastiest Thanksgiving Ever
“It’s possible for even a kitchen rookie to prepare a full spread—dessert included—in just a few hours.”

Saveur: Thanksgiving Recipes
A complete guide to preparing perfect turkey, stuffing, sides, and pies.

Serious Eats: Thanksgiving Menus
Classic, Easy, and Healthy Thanksgiving Menus.


Being Frugal: A Memorable, Yet Frugal, Thanksgiving
“I love hosting Thanksgiving dinner, but if I don’t watch it, the expenses quickly add up. Here are some tips for a frugal, relaxed, and memorable Thanksgiving.”

Cooking Light: No-Fail Potluck
“Spruce up your holiday party dish repertoire with road-tested dishes that stay the course.”

Epicurious: A Potluck Planner
“Giving or going to a Thanksgiving dinner? You'll give thanks for these tips from this pro.”

Frugal Upstate: Frugal Thanksgiving Mini Series

Money Saving Mom: Thanksgiving on a Budget
Erin from 5DollarDinners and I will be teaming up to share some of our favorite frugal Thanksgiving recipes. Whether you're an experienced cook or a novice in the kitchen, we hope that our recipes, tips, and photo tutorials will inspire you to pull off your own "Thanksgiving on a Budget.”

Real Simple: 40 Ways to Simplify Thanksgiving
“Whether you want to introduce new traditions or perfect old ones, make this Thanksgiving the happiest one yet.”


All Recipes: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
“Thanksgiving dinner is all about feasting and family, but it doesn't have to weigh you down.”

Bon Appetit: A Healthy Thanksgiving Menu for 6

Epicurious: Thanksgiving Menus
Includes A Healthy Thanksgiving Menu, Light Thanksgiving for Four, Light Maryland Thanksgiving, and A Turkey-less Thanksgiving.

Serious Eats: Healthy Thanksgiving Menu

Squawkfox: Recipes - Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Ideas


Bon Appetit: Vegetarian Thanksgiving for 8
“This delicious meat-less meal includes a cornucopia of side dishes and a spicy fruit crisp dessert.”

Cooking Light: Vegetarian Thanksgiving
“Here's a meat-free feast that can take center stage at any celebration.”

Gourmet: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
“With these rich and hearty meatless menus, you won’t even miss the big bird.”

Epicurious: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menus
Includes Autumn's Savory Vegetarian Supper For Eight, Harvest's Home, The Vegetarian's Dilemma, Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast, Rustic French Vegetarian Thanksgiving, Vegetarian Mexican Buffet, Thanks For the Memory, Vegetarian Mediterranean Thanksgiving Menu, A Peaceable Feast, and Green Party. (Some may be repeated in the Gourmet & Bon Appetit posts.)


Epicurious: A Feast for the Eyes
“Easy do-it-yourself centerpieces, place cards, and napkin holders to complete your Thanksgiving table.”

Food and Wine: Set a Beautiful Holiday Table
Eight ideas for Turkey Day place settings.

Martha Stewart: Thanksgiving Table Settings

Real Simple: 60-Second Centerpieces
“Transform your table with these simple yet beautiful arrangements.”

Real Simple: Thanksgiving Dinner Seating Strategies
“Host a lively holiday dinner with these simple rules for placing different personality types around your table.”


All Recipes: Thanksgiving Disaster-Savers
“It's 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving and you've got a house full of guests. What's the worst thing that could happen?”

All Recipes: Pie Troubleshooting Guide
“Unworkable dough? Soggy crust? Learn how to prevent common pie problems.”

Food Network: Thanksgiving SOS
A series of troubleshooting videos.

Real Simple: How to Fix 10 Common Thanksgiving Problems
“Stuck with a bird that's slow to defrost? Or too few burners? Here's a guide to get you over some of the most common hurdles.”

Real Simple: A Trouble-Free Thanksgiving
These quick fixes for 10 common cooking crises—from an overflowing refrigerator to an undercooked bird—will guarantee a terrific meal


All Recipes: Turkey Leftovers
A TON of recipes.

Bon Appetit: Thanksgiving Leftovers Slideshow
“Leftover turkey goes upscale—and global—in these recipes for the day after the Thanksgiving feast. Plus, recipes for leftover cranberry sauce and potatoes.”

Cooking Light: Tomorrow’s Turkey
“Everybody likes turkey for the main event. Loving it comes the next day.”

Fine Cooking: Leftovers

Real Simple: The Right Way to Store Leftovers
“Decay, mold, and odors can spread among foods in the refrigerator. Follow these rules to keep foods fresher longer and reduce the risk of contamination.”


Baked Apples
Broccoli With Parmesan and Lemon
Cranberry Relish With Grapefruit and Mint
Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots
Maple Walnut Apple Crisp
Mashed Potatoes With Leeks and Sour Cream
Mostly Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Peach-Blueberry Cobbler
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Root Vegetables
Spiced Slow Cooker Applesauce
Stewed Pears
Wild Berry Betty

Readers – ideas? I’d love to hear.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

City Kitchen Chronicles: Of Risk and Celebration

City Kitchen Chronicles is a bi-weekly column about living frugally in Manhattan. It's penned by the lovely Jaime.

Last winter I was at the very beginning of my quest to get my finances seriously under control. This mostly manifested as me constantly feeling broke.

One of the worst ways that constant sense of brokenness (different from actual plain cash-strappedness in that it’s all you can think about) infected my life and psyche was in spending time with friends. It was around this time that I started turning down invitations to restaurants, hanging out at bars with a water in my hand, meeting my friends at the theatre before a play rather than for dinner beforehand. Sure, I was saving money, but I was also miserable.

It was my first year living on my own – before, with roommates, I had a built-in social life, even if it was just watching the 1am reruns of “Will & Grace.” But now, unless I made plans, it was just me and my cats. And plans cost money.

No movies. No restaurants. No bars. No ice skating.

And miserable Jaime.

I made it through the winter, and once the weather warmed up it was much easier. A stroll around the farmers market or an afternoon reading in the park was a perfect way to catch up with a friend and enjoy the city, without spending a dime. It also helped, hugely, that, even though I didn’t really have more money, I got in control of it, on a dept-demolishing plan, with some semblance of a budget. If every day wasn’t an epic struggle to not spend, but rather just another day on my long-term plan, life just felt less awful.

(And with that organization, I was able to scrape together pennies for, say, fireworks night at the Coney Island Cyclones, one of the city’s minor league baseball games. And if I really had my stuff together, I could afford a cup of Dippin’ Dots. The ice cream of the future!)

I got to thinking about last winters antisocial miseryfest this weekend when my friend J. and I braved a totally whacked-out subway system to visit our friends A. and B. in Queens. A. and B. recently got engaged, and J’s idea was to celebrate with an epic game of Risk.

(The backstory, aside from us being total nerds, is that J., A. and I have been friends since college. J. and I love B., but it’s hard to get him to go out and socialize. This summer we went to their apartment for Risk, and it was a great way to get to see him. This is also where the one-letter pseudonyms get confusing, huh.)

Anyway, J’s brilliant idea: Risk and celebration.

So A. cooked a winter vegetable stew in her slow cooker, and I brought some nice chocolate bars for dessert. We played Risk, and ate, and played some more, and after I lost I played Risk on J’s iPhone while the world domination finished up. (iPhone Risk is not so great, in case you were wondering.)

And there it was, a fantastic day with friends and a delicious meal, all for the cost of a few chocolate bars and some patience with the subway. Last time we got together for Risk, A. made chili and I brought a version of this. A fantastic deal.

It got me thinking about this winter, and my still-stringent finances. I’ve got to have a plan in place, whether it’s budgeting for social spending, or making sure I can see my friends and have fun without going broke. Or broker.

There’s hanging out at friends’ apartments, cooking dinner and playing Mario Kart. There are museums that have suggested donations, which, as a former employee of one such institution, I happily take advantage of. There are discount-ticket services like Goldstar, that can turn up a $7 ticket to a $25 event, but that’s still money, and sometimes money I just don’t have.

So what else is there to do that’s free and fun?

Tuesday Megalinks

Sweet readers! Be sure to come back here tomorrow for CHG’s Ultimate Thanksgiving Resource post. It’ll be everything you ever need to know about Turkey Day (plus lots of terrible stuffing jokes), all in one convenient place. But first…

Almost Frugal: Losing Weight - Pure Vanity or Money Saver?
Guest poster Nicole is a victim of weight creep: she’s gained a few pounds over a few years, without it ever presenting a gigantic problem. Now, her clothes are way tight, and she’s changing some old habits. While her musings hit some old themes (the relationship between fat and finance, etc.), I highlighted this post because it addresses the slow build of extra poundage: it’s insidious, and needs just as much attention as Biggest Loser-style gains.

Biblical Womanhood: Getting creative in the kitchen
Crystal’s been swapping oil out of her baked goods for juice, applesauce, and just about any other kitchen liquid (save dish soap) she can get her hands on. It’s healthier and she’s not noticing too much of a flavor difference. Go forth and experiment, young explorers!

Casual Kitchen: Ten Tips on How to Cut Your Food Budget Using the 80/20 Rule
Daniel focuses his Gladwellian 80/20 theory to address increases in grocery expenditures. His neato ideas about pairing down are well worth a read.

Chow: Dinner Parties on the (Ultra) Cheap - Three multicourse bashes for eight
Extensive, fancy, fairly frugal menus for Indian, Italian, and Southern blowouts, complete with an extra special bonus page of tips and tricks. My favorite: “Look to the East. Countries with long vegetarian or semivegetarian traditions like India, Thailand, and Japan offer tons of budget-friendly nonmeat recipes.” Word.

Eggbeater: Testing Recipes
Wonderful, offbeat post that could be called “12 Things to Always, Always Remember About Cooking Instructions.” Like: what works in one geographic region won’t necessarily work in another, there’s no one recipe for ANYTHING, and my personal favorite, “A recipe is not out to get you.” (It’s hard to remember sometimes.)

Frugal Upstate: Best Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes (Frugal Thanksgiving Mini Series)
Jen’s compiling a master list of potatoes, stuffings, sauces, and casseroles for the big day (Thanksgiving, not the Super Bowl). Take a look at her readers’ offerings, and add your own if you get the chance. The result could be STUPENDOUS.

Jezebel: In Which I Wish Barack Obama Wasn’t Such a Picky Eater
It seems our president-elect might have some texture issues. Michelle, thankfully, does not. But hear this, citizens: if we pull together as a nation, we will be overcome. (Hope! Change!)

The Kitchn: Ten Tips for Buying Everyday Wines
Stellar post for pairing vino with informal meals. Because sometimes? You need a glass of Pinot with your spaghetti and meatballs. (Note: for me, this is every night.)

Money Saving Mom: Guest Post - Using Your Freezer and Cooking from Scratch to Save Money
Epic treatise on the longterm icing of pre-made food. If I can convince my roommate to extricate one of his bottles of vodka from our Frigidaire, this will be put to good use.

New York Times: Europe Relaxes Rules on Sale of Ugly Fruits and Vegetables
In the mellifluous utterances of Mariann Fischer Boel, European commissioner for agriculture, “This marks a new dawn for the curvy cucumber and the knobbly carrot.” You got that right.

New Yorker: The Perils of Efficiency
To sum: while the global food crisis has been temporarily averted, it’s exposed just how much trouble the world’s food supply is in. Essentially, some countries have been planting cash crops instead of food crops, figuring that the money raised could buy them sustenance from other places. Sadly, bureaucracy and politics often interfere, meaning those nations still can’t get their nourishment. What to do?

The Oregonian: Classic Baking Apples Face Off
In a stunning smackdown, Braeburn and Pinova (or Pinata) apples absolutely crush the competition. Gala and Honeycrisp varietals fare okay, while Granny Smith, Cameo, and Rome bite the proverbial big one. Surprising! (Thanks to Slashfood for the link.)

Value for Your Life: 8 Reasons I Will Always Cook at Home
Yup, this about sums it up. I especially dig #8: “I know that my cooking is the way to my husband’s and family’s hearts.” In other words: food makes people like you. It's true. Ask Julia Child.

Wise Bread: Going Back to the Root Cellar
WB gets down to the nitty gritty details of how to construct and maintain a root cellar. Good accompaniment piece to the recent New York Times’ article.

Zap2It: Top TV and Movie Chefs (and Cooks)
From Monica Gellar to Babette Hersant to the Swedish Chef himself, this faboo gallery of fictional foodmakers will keep you occupied for a minimum of ten minutes. And when things are slow at work, can you ask for anything more?

CHG was also included in two blog carnivals this week:

Monday, November 17, 2008

The SATs of Cranberry Zinger Muffins

For the following quiz, use a No. 2 pencil and a soft eraser. Do not use a pen or mechanical pencil. An essay written in pen will not scan and receives a score of zero. Cell phone use is prohibited.

Sentence Completion

Boy, I’ve been on a _____ kick lately. They’re ____ to make and the cost is ____.

A) baby … fun … a bottle of wine and a Barry White CD
B) muffin … simple … nominal
C) pants … sew easy (har har) … $19

D) magic mushroom … trippy … I’m not sure because the walls are melting

If you’re looking to serve a ___ of something for ____ breakfast, you could do worse than ____.

A) billion … your mom’s … many bowls of rice
B) gram … Boxing Day … hard drugs
C) butt … Butt Day … butts
D) basket … Thanksgiving Cranberry Zinger Muffins from Cooking With Amy

In this recipe, _______ are largely replaced by ______ juice, making the ____ very light.

A) puppy hearts … cat knees … evil
B) oil and eggs … lemon and orange … muffins
C) Maxwell House coffees … another brand … beatings
D) Tom Cruise’s armpits … Hugh Jackman eyeball … Zac Efron gaze

Passage-based Reading

In her description of Cranberry Zinger Muffins, Amy writes, “It's Spring and I am craving mouth-watering tangy flavors. I find most muffins are too sweet for breakfast. This muffin recipe combines lots of tangy flavors that I love, especially lemon but also orange, cranberries and ginger. You can leave out the ginger if it's too zingy for you or your family.”

The “flavors” Amy refers to are:

A) sweet
B) tangy
C) the embodiment of all that is wrong with the world
D) What flavors? Where the hell am I?

What is the difference between Cranberry Zinger Muffins and most other muffins?

A) They are rainbow-colored and filled with bison meat.
B) They aren’t too sweet.
C) They won’t make you pregnant.
D) They won’t try to hit on your dad.

In this context, Amy’s use of “zingy” means:

A) punchliney
B) tart
C) pseudoantidisestablishmentarianism
D) the adorable hilarity of Paul Rudd mixed with the testosterone-fueled machismo of Vin Diesel, with a little smattering of Phyllis Diller on the side


If one muffin costs $0.34, how much will it take to ultimately bail out insurance giant AIG?

A) $0.34
B) A trillion dollars.
C) More money than I can possibly conceive of, paid off exclusively by future generations.
D) No money, but a lot of crystal meth.

If each muffin has 177 calories and less than five grams of fat, what is the probability George Clooney will show up at my house tomorrow and make me breakfast?

A) 1/2
B) 3/4000000000000
C) Π
D) Trick question. This is obviously an imaginary number.

If the recipe makes 12 muffins, and you eat nine of them in two days, what should you never, ever do again?

A) Weigh yourself.
B) Pretend to write a blog about healthy eating.
C) Try to brush your teeth with mint toothpaste the morning after drinking eight shots of Rumpleminze on your roommate’s 19th birthday. (Um … this was possibly a leftover answer from another SAT question.)
D) Eat the remaining three muffins.

Thank you for completing this test. The answer to every question was B.

Cranberry Zinger Muffins
12 muffins
Adapted from Cooking With Amy.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Rind of one lemon grated
Rind of one orange, grated
3/4 cup citrus juice (combined juice of 2 lemons and 2 oranges)
1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
2 tablespoon sugar

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.

2) In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk it all together. Set aside.

3) In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, cream the sugar and butter together. (You can use the stand mixer paddle, a hand mixer, a pastry cutter, or if you're a little masochistic, two forks.) Add egg. Stir in. Add ginger, lemon zest, orange zest, and citrus juice. Stir. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until the batter is just moist. Gently stir in cranberries.

4) Split batter among the muffin tins. Top every one with a little sugar. Bake 15 to 20 minutes. Muffins should be golden brown and pass the toothpick test when finished. (Stick toothpick in center. If it comes out clean, you're good to go.) Remove pans from oven and let muffins cool in tin for a few minutes. Then, pry the muffins out and eat immediately, or let them come all the way down to room temperature.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
177 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.34

2 c flour: 910 calories, 2.5 g fat, $0.18
1 T baking powder: 7 calories, 0 g fat, $0.10
1/2 t baking soda: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1/4 t salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
1 large egg: 74 calories, 5 g fat, $0.17
3/4 c sugar: 581 calories, 0 g fat, $0.24
1/4 c unsalted butter, softened but not melted: 407 calories, 46.1 g fat, $0.25
1/2 t grated fresh ginger: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, $0.07
Rind of one lemon grated: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, Free
Rind of one orange, grated: 1 calorie, 0 g fat, Free
3/4 c citrus juice (combined juice of 2 lemon and 2 orange): 85 calories, 0 g fat, $2.00
1 1/4 c fresh or frozen cranberries: 55 calories, 0.2 g fat, $1.04
2 T sugar: 93 calories, 0 g fat, $0.04
TOTAL: 2122 calories, 53.8 g fat, $4.11
PER SERVING (TOTAL/12): 177 calories, 4.5 g fat, $0.34

Friday, November 14, 2008

Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili: A Play in Two Acts

When: Fall, 1986

Where: A small suburban kitchen in Long Island, New York.


  • Kris, a precocious, bespectacled eight-year-old who is already four feet taller than every single one of her peers.
  • L, a Barbie-loving, bespectacled seven-year-old who is already much, much better at sports than her sister Kris.
  • E, a somewhat adorable five-year-old who is already becoming the terror of his sisters and the neighborhood bullfrogs alike.
  • Pa, a bearded, loving 37-year-old who’s already running out of culinary options, having been left to feed his children while his wife is stuck at work.
The kids are scattered all over the house. Pa calls them to dinner.

PA: Kids! Dinner!

KRIS: Coming!

L: Coming!

E: *mmph*

PA: E, please get He-Man out of your mouth and come to dinner.

E: Okay.

The kids assume their regular seats at the table. Pa places the evening’s meal in front of them.

L: What is this?

PA: It’s spaghetti squash and Texas Chainsaw Chili. Try it. You’ll like it.

KRIS: Are there hot dogs in it?

PA: No.

KRIS: Macaroni and cheese?

PA: No.

KRIS: But it’s SPAGHETTI squash?

PA: Yes.


PA: It’s a vegetable, Kris. It’s not really … Okay. Let’s move on. Take a bite of the chili, everybody.

L: I don’t wanna. It looks like guts.

KRIS: Yeah. Bug guts.

E: I’m scared Daddy.


Each kid spoons a microscopic smattering of chili into their reluctant mouths. Each reacts with the same level of consummate revulsion.

KRIS: I want hot dogs.

L: I want Mommy.

E: I want He-Man.

PA: Okay, look. Nobody leaves the table until your plate is CLEARED.

L: What if we have to go to the bathroom?


E takes a few hesitant bites, then wolfs the remaining vittles. A similar plate-clearing takes L over an hour.

L: Done! Bye.

Three hours pass. Kris remains at the table, food untouched.

PA: Kris, it’s time for bed.

KRIS: But … but …

PA: It won’t kill you, my child. I promise. Eat it.

KRIS: Nooooooo.

PA: Okay then. Bedtime.

KRIS: (makes sure Pa’s back is turned, then whispers to still-full bowl) Never again, chili. Henceforth, you are my one true foe. Your evil shalt not pass these lips for the rest of time.

PA: Huh?

KRIS: Nothing. G’night, Pa!

Cut to 22 years later. Kris is sitting with The Boyfriend on their couch, watching The Biggest Loser
and hoping – nay, praying – that Vicky falls into a vat of 80-calorie Banana Fudge Sundae pudding, never to return. Both Kris and TB are eating Cook’s Illustrated’s Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili.

KRIS: You know, I used to hate this stuff.

TB: What, reality TV?

KRIS: Well, that too. But mostly chili.

TB: Really? It runs through my veins. Like chunky, delicious blood.

KRIS: Once, I sat at a table for an entire night because I wouldn’t touch it.

TB: You’re weird.

KRIS: Thanks.

They resume eating the chili, and Kris wonders how she could have ever been so thick. As if to punctuate her deep, dark thoughts, The Boyfriend lets out a long, low fart. They both smile happily, thankful that life can be so good.


Easy Vegetarian Bean Chili
Serves 4 – 6
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Best 30-Minute Recipe.

CI Note: A combination of beans is better in this (kidney, black, pinto, whatever). Also, don't sub in anything for the pureed diced tomatoes, as the consistency is vital.

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 (15-ounce) cans beans (see note), rinsed
2-3 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

1) Pour tomatoes and the accompanying juices in a food processor. Pulse 4 or 5 times, until it's kinda chunky.

2) In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, beans, chipotles, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir and cover. Heat over high until it starts boiling. Drop heat to medium-low and simmer for the time being.

3) In a different large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. When very hot, add onion, chili powder, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir. Saute until onions are soft and a little translucent, around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic. Stir. Saute until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. 

4) Pour tomato mixture into onion pot. Scrape browned bits with the back of your spoon, if you have 'em. Drop heat to medium-low and cook about 15 minutes, until chili has a more chili-like consistency. Stir occasionally.

5) After 15 minutes, add corn and cilantro. Stir. Heat until corn is warmed through. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
For five servings: 292 calories, 7.9 g fat, $1.08

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes: 163 calories, 0 g fat, $1.89
2 (15-ounce) cans beans (see note), rinsed: ~680 calories, ~6 g fat, $1.50
2-3 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce: 6 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.30
2 teaspoons sugar: 33 calories, 0 g fat, $0.02
salt and ground black pepper: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2 tablespoons vegetable oil: 247 calories, 28 g fat, $0.18
1 onion, minced: 46 calories, 0.1 g fat, $0.30
3 tablespoons chili powder: 71 calories, 3.8 g fat, $0.12
2 teaspoons ground cumin: negligible calories and fat, $0.02
3 garlic cloves, minced: 13 calories, 0 g fat, $0.12
1-1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed: 199 calories, 1.6 g fat, $0.60
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro: negligible calories and fat, $0.33
TOTAL: 1458 calories, 39.6 g fat, $5.39
PER SERVING (TOTAL/5): 292 calories, 7.9 g fat, $1.08

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