Frugal Recipes

Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey Mistakes

If you are up to your eyeballs in stuffing and cranberries and you’re not quite sure what to do to pull off one of the most celebrated meals of the year, don’t panic. We’ve got help for you.

The biggest flavor mistake you can make is overcooking the bird. If it’s done right, which is to 165 degrees F (considered safe by the USDA), then it should stay juicy and moist. Keep in mind if you want your meat to end up at 165, then you’ll need to pull the bird out of the oven when it hits between 155 and 160. The temperature will continue to rise 5 to 10 degrees as the bird rests. The problem is that the breast tends to cook faster than the thighs and legs, and also will naturally dry out more because it’s leaner. In order to protect the breast, cover it with foil. EatingWell.com suggests that after roasting for 45 minutes, you cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting the foil as necessary to conform to the breast.


Turkey too big for your oven? Cut it up but be prepared that it will cook a lot faster this way.

If your turkey is a little burned, you can try to peel off the burnt skin. Pouring turkey broth or chicken broth over it may also help to rehydrate the bird. Unfortunately if it is really overcooked, there isn’t a lot you can do.

Another mistake is opening the oven door too much when cooking the bird. If you need to baste, make sure you take the pan out of the oven and close the door quickly to keep the heat in the oven. Baste it and get that bird back in the oven. Opening and closing the door too much will significantly reduce the temperature and make it take a lot longer.

Make sure you let the bird sit for about half an hour before carving. This will allow the juices to lock in and you won’t lose them all when you cut into the turkey.

Make sure you remove the wishbone before carving. You can’t carve the white meat correctly if you don’t!

Turkey cooked way earlier than your dinner time? It’s okay. Put foil over that bird and it will stay hot and juicy for at least an hour until you’re ready to carve. Best option is to keep it somewhere warm and insulated and away from pets! (Oh yes I’ve had my cat and dog both attack a turkey before.)

But what if you go to start stuffing that bird and you discover it’s still frozen? Turkeys can also be thawed in the microwave. Here is a checklist from the USDA’s website on safely thawing your turkey in the microwave:

  • Check your owner’s manual for the size turkey that will fit in your microwave oven, the minutes per pound and power level to use for thawing.
  • Remove all outside wrapping.
  • Place on a microwave-safe dish to catch any juices that may leak.
  • Cook your turkey immediately. Do not refreeze or refrigerate your turkey after thawing in the microwave oven.

REMINDER: Remove the giblets from the turkey cavities after thawing. Cook separately.

I have never tried this myself and I think most chefs agree that thawing a turkey in the fridge ahead of time or in a sink of cold water is your best bet.

Now what about the lumpy or runny mashed potatoes? If your potatoes turn out a little gluey, try adding some instant potatoes to the pan to fluff it up. Or add a few more potatoes, mashed of course.

If they came out a little lumpy (hope my mother in law is reading this) add some milk or butter and stir it in with a fork, don’t go crazy with the mashing.

And last but not least, if you realize you’re missing an ingredient you need for one of your crowd pleasing dishes check out the Food Substitutions post!

I certainly hope you won’t run into any Thanksgiving emergencies today! But if you do, please make sure to comment below or share your tips for averting disaster in the kitchen today! Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo credit to Peripathetic on Flickr

Cooking Substitutions

Cooking Substitutions

If you are preparing holiday meals or baking you may find yourself mid-recipe without an ingredient, or you may not want to spend a lot of money on something that you only need a little and won’t use a lot in normal day-to-day cooking.

Here is a list of common cooking substitutions…

Allspice: 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves equals 1 teaspoon allspice.

Apple Pie Spice: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice and a dash of ground cloves or ginger = 1 teaspoon apple pie spice.

Baking Powder: ½ teaspoon cream of tartar plus ¼ teaspoon baking soda equals 1 teaspoon baking powder.

Brown Sugar: 1 Cup granulated sugar plus ¼ cup molasses equals 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar.

Buttermilk: 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar plus enough milk to equal 1 cup equals 1 cup of buttermilk; let stand for 5 minutes. Or use 1 cup plain yogurt.

Cake Flour: 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour equals 1 cup cake flour.

Chili Sauce: 1 cup ketchup plus 1 to 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish.

Corn Syrup: 1 cup sugar plus ¼ cup of liquid (use whatever liquid is called for in the recipe) or use 1 cup honey equals 1 cup corn syrup.

Cornstarch: 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or 4-6 teaspoons quick cooking tapioca equals 1 tablespoon cornstarch.

Cream of tartar: 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar equals ½ teaspoon cream of tartar.

Dried Herb: ½ teaspoon ground herb equals 1 teaspoon dried herb.

Fresh Herb: ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of dried herb equals 1 tablespoon of fresh herb.

Half and Half or Light Cream: 1 tablespoon melted butter plus enough whole milk to equal one cup.

Miniature Marshmallows: 10 large marshmallows equal 1 cup mini marshmallows.

Pastry Flour: 7/8 cup all-purpose flour equals 1 cup pastry flour.

Poultry Seasoning: ¾ teaspoon dried sage (crushed) plus ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or marjoram (crushed) equals 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.

Pumpkin Pie Spice: ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon plus ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground allspice and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg equals 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice.

Rum: 1 tablespoon rum extract plus 3 tablespoons liquid (use whatever liquid called for in recipe) equals ¼ cup rum.

Self-Rising Flour: 1 cup of all-purpose flour plus 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda.

Shortening (for baking): 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons lard or 1 1/8 cup butter or margarine (reduce salt in recipe if using salted butter or margarine) equals 1 cup shortening.

Sour Cream: Substitute equal parts plain yogurt.

Tomato Sauce: ¾ cup tomato paste plus 1 cup water equals 2 cups tomato sauce.

Whole Milk: ½ cup evaporated milk plus ½ cup water or 1 cup water plus 1/8 cup nonfat dry milk powder.

Wine: 13 tablespoons water, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar equals 1 cup wine.

Photo credit

25 Awesome Sweet Potato Recipes {via HotCouponWorld.com} - This amazing collection of recipes has the best recipes for main dishes, side dishes, desserts, snacks and more!

25 Awesome Sweet Potato Recipes!

25 Awesome Sweet Potato Recipes

I don’t know why but whenever I think of sweet potatoes I always think of that traditional Thanksgiving side dish that my mom makes. Chunks of sweet potatoes, in a sweet brown sugar syrup and spiced up with cinnamon and perhaps a pinch of nutmeg. Then topped with miniature marshmallows and baked until hot and bubbly and the marshmallows are both melted and crispy browned.


But the funny thing is, you can buy sweet potatoes year-round and they are actually pretty inexpensive too. Fall is when they are in season though so this is the time of year to buy them at their lowest price point!

And boy are they healthy too! One cup of cubed sweet potato is only 114 calories and packs a whole lot of nutrients! There is 377% of your daily requirement for vitamin A which is the vitamin our bodies need for healthy eyes. Plus there is a nice healthy dose of 4 grams of fiber too.

Why not take advantage of the great prices on sweet potatoes and try and incorporate these tasty tubers in your meals? We have gathered 25 great recipes for you from some fabulous food bloggers. From breakfast, dinner, snacks, dessert and more you are sure to discover a couple new sweet potato recipes!

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Beef Stew

Beef Stew Recipe

This Oven Baked 4 Hour Beef Stew Recipe comes from member 3timesoccermom in the HotCouponWorld Recipe Forums.   She found a 4 Hour Beef Stew Recipe and “was skeptical” about trying the recipe since it isn’t the typical Stove-Top or Crock-Pot Beef Stew Recipe.  She adapted the recipe for the ingredients she had in her kitchen.  She was so glad she made this recipe and suggests you try it this Fall season.  I’m certainly adding this easy & frugal Beef Stew Recipe to my menu plan.

Check out 3timesoccermom’s Beef Stew Recipe below. [click to continue…]

Easy Caramel Apples Recipe

Easy Baked Caramel Apples

This is 100%, without a doubt my favorite time of the year. The weather gets crisp and cool, the leave turn orange, yellow and russet and we start making apple recipes. This recipe for Easy Baked Caramel Apples is perfect when you want a little something sweet and apple-y without going through a lot of trouble to bake a pie or a cake.

While apples can be purchased in the grocery store, and are usually priced affordably year round, late summer and early autumn is the prime season for fresh apples and this is when the price is a bit lower and the variety is a bit wider. If you have local pick your own apple farms even better!
Try other great tasting recipes!

To begin cut your apples in half and scoop out the middle with a melon baller or the tip of a vegetable peeler.

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Caramel Apple Recipes

21 Fall Caramel Apple Recipes!

Carmel Apple Recipes

Did You Know that the word ‘Caramel’ is one of the words linguists use to determine where you are from? Folks say it differently depending on what area of country they are from. How do YOU say the word Caramel?
For me fall is all about the food! And nothing says fall to me like a caramel apple. Oh sure you can melt some caramels and dip some apples in it, maybe toss some nuts or sprinkles on to make it fancy. But that get’s sort of boring after a while. So check out these 21 Fall Caramel Apple Recipes that we rounded up for you from across the web.
See other great easy-to-make recipes here!


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Layered Chicken Taco Salad

Layered Chicken Taco Salad Recipe

This is a great frugal recipe that has that “wow” factor all layered up in a large glass bowl. Use up leftover cooked chicken (rotisserie chicken from the grocery store works!) and start layering your ingredients. Our family loves salads and while the weather is cooling down a little bit I want to take advantage of fresh garden veggies as much as I can!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 3 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 cup cooked chicken, shredded or diced
  • 2 can (11oz each) Mexicorn, whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
  • 3 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
  • 2 green onions, chopped (tops too)
  • 1 1/2 cup southwest tortilla strips (or chips)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 3/4 cup French dressing

Thanks to Shugary Sweets for the pictures and recipe!  For the full recipe and directions please head on over to Shugary Sweets. Plus, don’t miss out on many other delicious recipes!

What is on your menu plan for dinner tonight? Leave us a comment below and share. Links to yummy recipes are welcome too!

22 Recipes to Dress Up Store Bought Pretzels

22 Recipes to Dress Up Store Bought Pretzels {via HotCouponWorld.com} - A curated collection of the best recipes from our favorite bloggers. From seasoned and chocolate covered to cookies, bars and more! Weather you crave salty and sweet or savory and spicy there is sure to be something here to whet your appetite.



My family loves just snacking on pretzels plain, right out of the bag. But then I got to thinking that I needed to find a few recipes that I can use to dress up store bought pretzels and turn them into something fabulous… And so, this collection was born…22 amazing recipes that will turn those bags of pretzels into fun snacks, desserts and even crusting some chicken fingers for the kids! I hope you enjoy!
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15 Awesome Hard Boiled Egg Recipes

15 Awesome Hard Boiled Egg Recipes - Eggs are a great and inexpensive source of protein. If you find yourself with a few hard boiled eggs check out this great collection of recipes that all use hard boiled eggs. From salads to breakfasts and everything in between!

Hard Boiled Egg Recipes

Eggs are always an inexpensive source of protein. And thus, they are always one of my favorite frugal ways to save money. I like to cook up hard boiled eggs all year round (see my foolproof method).


I went on a hunt, an egg hunt if you will, for the best recipes around the internet from some of my favorite food blogs and websites that use hard boiled eggs. From salads, deviled eggs to breakfast  and more all these recipes are amazing and will get you cooking with hard boiled eggs!
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10 Healthy Halloween Treats

10 Healthy Halloween Treats

Healthy Halloween Treats

I am slowly getting prepared for Halloween, at least in my mind. As I mentioned in the 15 Frugal Halloween Wreaths post I did a few weeks back, my twins Liam & Carly happen to be Halloween babies and it is SO much fun. But it also puts me in a quandary when it comes to finding treats for their class that are not full of sugar. Our schools are pretty strict with their rules on no sugary treats. I got away with mini caramel apples last year because they were at least partially healthy and I did up really small apples. Plus I timed bringing treats to share with the classes at the end of the school day so the teachers were not left with kids strung out on sugar.

So in my quest for healthy, kid friendly and school approved snacks I present you with these 10 Healthy Halloween Treats! [click to continue…]

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