HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Thanksgiving: something new that WORKED

I know there are a couple of other threads with discussions about how Thanksgiving went, but I thought it might be helpful to have one specifically to share tips that worked.

For me, it was using a stuffing bag. I happened upon an episode of America's Test Kitchen where they demonstrated putting the stuffing in cheese cloth in the cavity (I found out you can actually buy a cheese cloth bag specially made for stuffing; even better, I found it at the 99 cent store!). The idea at ATK was that you could take the stuffing out halfway through the cooking process, when it had already absorbed a good amount of drippings, then mix it with the stuffing that hadn't fit in the bird and finish it in the oven. Since they're way more paranoid about food safety than I am, they pointed out that this way the stuffing could be cooked to a safe temperature without overcooking the turkey. Plus, you can have moist stuffing with the flavor from the drippings and still have crusty bits: the best of both worlds! As a final bonus, you don't have to mess around with closing the cavity to keep the stuffing in (and not trussing the legs helps them cook faster). So win-win-win!

It became clear to me that taking the stuffing out of the partially cooked bird was going to be more trouble than it was worth (especially since, as I noted, I've never worried about the food safety issue). So I pulled it out as soon as the bird came out of the oven, mixed it up with the remaining stuffing and baked it while the turkey rested. Half an hour was plenty to cook it through, and it was delicious -- darn near perfect in fact. I will definitely do this again!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Thomas Keller has a killer chicken recipe in his "ad hoc at home" cookbook that we've replicated with great success. Deb cribbed the 12-hour brine technique for Thursday's turkey. The end result was well worth the modest time and effort.
    Here's a link I found on the interwebs:

    1. It's a very small something... but the last few years I've made cranberry apple sauce for Thanksgiving. This year they had crushed pineapple on sale and I grabbed a can and made cranberry pineapple sauce instead, with a few cloves for spice. Everyone loved it and it was no work whatsoever.

      The other thing I did different was that I only had an hour to make the sweet potato casserole from scratch, so I didn't have time to bake a proper streusal topping. I grabbed some gingersnaps from the cupboard, crushed them with the rolling pin, and sprinkled them on top of the marshmallows. It came out way better than I'd expected and everyone loved it.

      1. similar to Ruth's post, I made a batch of stuffing the night before and par baked it for 30 minutes. Then, when I removed the turkey from the pan to rest, I spooned off some of the turkey juice (and fat) and drizzled over the top of the stuffing for it's second bake. It deepened the flavor tremendously and I had a nice mix of moist and crusty bits in the baking dish.

        1. Last year I made a pumpkin cheesecake and got very good reviews on it so this year I decided to make one again. However, the last time I made it without a water bath and it was a bit too dry for me and the top cracked. So I decided to bake it with a water bath and on top of that, to not use a springform pan but instead follow Alton Brown's guidelines as far as lining the pan and flipping it later. I must say that I was extremely nervous about this! It did work though and I came out with a fantastic creamy cake with no cracks! This will be my go to method for making cheesecake from now on!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Redstickchef

            Mind sharing your recipe Redchef? I made this pumpkin cheesecake from Epicurious for the 1st time and got MAJOR cracks. It didn't call for a water bath although I use that method more often then not. It rose beautifully, and didn't fall while cooling. Maybe convection baking was the culprit? BTW taste wise it was delicious.


            1. re: letsindulge

              The recipe looks amazing! Sorry that it cracked though.

              I used the epicurious recipe for the Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel Swirl Recipe:


              But adjusted it according to Alton Brown's pan prep, water bath and flipping techniques, associated with his Sour Cream Cheesecake recipe here:


              Also, instead of refrigerating the cheesecake after putting the topping on I froze it to make sure that the sour cream caramel topping would not be destroyed in the flipping part of Alton's instructions. (Also, I froze it because I thought my chances of inverting it while frozen were better than when it was just refrigerated:) I hope this helps.

          2. This was my first year baking a pumpkin pie from purée that I had made myself. I roasted a pumpkin and puréed the flesh until very smooth, then froze it until the day before Thanksgiving, whereupon I thawed it, drained it overnight in a colander lined with cheesecloth. I then proceeded as normal, making Chow's pumpkin pie with spiced crust. Everyone agreed it was the best pie they had ever tasted! It was lighter than normal, both in flavor and texture, and was absolutely delicious!

            1. This year I made a spatchcocked turkey (yanking the backbone out and butterflying it to rest flat in the roasting pan). Roasted it at 450 degrees for 20 min. without disturbing, basting it, and then lowering the temp. to 400 for another 45 min. I hadn't brined it because I don't like the resulting salty wet texture . It came out wonderfully moist and a beautiful golden color. That will be my method from hereon.

              1. This pie was great! No corn syrup! I know not everyone can get local cane syrup like we can, though.


                8 Replies
                1. re: loraxc

                  Forgive this ignorant Yankee question, but what is the difference between cane syrup and molasses?

                  1. re: Stein the Fine

                    Hmmm. It's not an ignorant question. I believe cane syrup is made from directly pressing the cane and then boiling, whereas molasses is some kind of byproduct of sugar refining. Cane syrup is much lighter and less intense, while still possessing a lovely smoky-caramel taste. Around here, people have "cane boils" as a kind of living history event and sell the products of the boil.
                    --loraxc, former Yankee

                    1. re: Stein the Fine

                      according to this page:

                      " Molasses is a by-product of the sugar-making process. The syrupy residue is left behind after the sugar crystals are extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets during the boiling process. Cane syrup, however, is made from sugar cane juice. The juice is boiled down and evaporated to create cane syrup."

                      It may seem subtle, but they really do have a different taste. Cane syrup is also thinner.

                      1. re: loraxc

                        Aah. That sounds a lot like what they call "golden syrup" in the UK or using the brand name generically, Lyle's syrup. I remember once trying to find that (can't remember for what), when all the time I probably could have gotten cane syrup from a small outfit in the U.S. south. I did try sorghum syrup, but that was too molassesy tasting for what I'd planned, as I recall. Since sorghum juice is not naturally acidic, I think they have to get out a lot of the water to avoid quick spoilage..

                        Anywhoo, thanks for the 411 on cane syrup. And that pie looks mighty tempting.

                        1. re: Stein the Fine

                          Steen's is "the" brand of cane syrup in the US. not easy to find unless you're in the South but you can buy it online...or Lyle's would be a fine substitute in this recipe.

                          1. re: Stein the Fine

                            My $0.02 on cane syrup and Golden Syrup.

                            if you've ever tried chewing on sugar cane, cane syrup taste like concentrated sugar cane juice. Golden syrup, to me, has a definite caramel flavor in the syrup.

                            For making caramels, I use golden syrup as a cheat instead of corn syrup/invert sugar syrups.

                            1. re: dave_c

                              I imagine that would improve the caramels.

                              After I started this cane syrup digression, I went back to read up on it, and saw that golden syrup IS partially invert sugar syrup. The sugar is partly broken down by an acid according to the Lyle's site.

                      2. re: loraxc

                        Maple syrup makes a great pie as well.

                      3. I've been cooking for more years than I can remember and this thanksgiving I wanted to try something new and (for me) creative in preparing the turkey. It was a 14 pound bird, plenty for the six of us at the table.
                        After removing the giblet packet (for use in the dressing) and washing the bird inside and out I sprinkled it rather liberally, inside and out, with kosher salt and covered it with stretch wrap. Then I let it rest in the refrigerator for about 18 - 20 hours.
                        Removed it from the fridge and wiped it dry. Cut 1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 2 apple, and one orange into six pieces and stuffed all of that into the cavity. Tied the cavity closed and spread melted butter with thyme, oregano and basil under the skin (over the entire breast area) and more on top of the skin. Also dumped some of the herb butter mixture into the cavity. Let it rest in the fridge for about an hour, then covered with cheese cloth and loaded it onto the backing rack in my roaster pan with a digital thermometer probe in the breast. Started it in a preheated 500 degree oven, then reduced heat to 350 in about twenty minutes.
                        When the breast temp. reached 160 degrees, I relocated the thermometer probe into the leg joint area (where the temp. was 140 degrees) and turned the bird over so the breast was down. Put it back into the oven until the thermometer once more registered 160 degrees.
                        Took it out of the oven, covered with foil and rested for 40 - 45 minutes.
                        Dumped the "stuffing" out of the cavity (it had done its job) then carved and served.
                        Perhaps the best turkey I've ever cooked.

                        1. I have two new things that worked. Parker House Pull Apart Rolls and Pineapple Turkey Brine

                          Up until the day before Thanksgiving I wasn't sure what kind of dinner rolls I wanted to serve. I had already decided to make banana bread and pumpkin bread because both are also great the next day for breakfast and snacks. My husband kept saying just buy some rolls from the store or Pillsbury crescent rolls.

                          But no, I did not want to do that. Googling on the net I came across a recipe for Parker House Pull Apart rolls. I already had all the ingredients I would need - flour, milk, eggs, butter, yeast, salt. So Thanksgiving morning I made them and wow, they came out great. Soft and flavorful. The recipe made 24 rolls and I didn't have a single one leftover.

                          I sometimes brine my turkey, sometimes I don't. I read about a Hawaiian Pineapple Brine with pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce and salt which sounded good. I tried it and the turkey came out juicy and delicious. The skin got dark in spots because of the soy sauce, but it was not overcooked and tasted very good.

                          Below: One of the rolls on a plate, my husband carving the turkey.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: TrishUntrapped

                            I have a bunch of recipes for Parker House rolls and I didn't get around to trying one for T Day.

                            What recipe did you use?

                            1. re: walker

                              I used this recipe. Found it to be quite easy. No rolling involved. The only thing I noticed is the dough took about an hour longer to rise than printed. But based on readers' comments I expected that and gave myself extra time. By the way, just so it is clear, use one package of yeast. It's worded funny. Also, I was careful to make sure my eggs and milk were room temperature, and my melted butter was warmish but not hot.


                              1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                TrishUntrapped, I read not sure where, might of been here..anyway, that if you are baking something that calls for eggs at room temp, to warm them in warm water for 10 mins. I've been doing this with most my things now, and the difference is quite nice. I made a pound cake last week that I noticed the texture was just beautiful and moist. There are a few other things, that I notice a huge difference. In the past some recipes that called for butter and eggs, tended to be heavier and I wonder now if the cold eggs might of been the reason, again not sure, but as far as the pound cake, that's my best description. Love that little tip. Remember those farm eggs, they came straight from the nest! Might be why grandma's baked items are sometimes unsurpassed. You also make a great point about using warm milk, especially when yeast is involved. Important to keep the yeast active. Thanks for the link, I look forward to some nice dinner rolls!

                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                  I agree chicklet. Room temp eggs do make a difference. I notice it a lot when I make Pizelles Italian cookies. If the eggs aren't room temp, the dough is denser. For the rolls, I left mine out in a bowl overnight (in their shells) so they were at the right temperature in the morning.

                                  The warm water bath works well as long as it isn't too warm and cooks the egg... in a pinch my husband has even warmed eggs in his hand for me (in their shells of course!).

                                  1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                    You better keep that guy! Yes warm water, not hot and only about 10 mins. I am convinced, I've seen it now in several of my most recent baked goods, so much my husband has commented. Makes sense though doesn't it?
                                    I'm so glad you brought this up about room temperature eggs. I noticed it right away when I cut into the pound cake, I kept thinking the texture is beautifully light and moist- did I somehow for once get lucky? lol!

                            2. re: TrishUntrapped

                              When in Boston, visit the Omni Parker House, home of the original *Parker* rolls. The lobby also showcases a lot of Kennedy family memorabilia....fyi.

                            3. Oh, I forgot the other new thing: a new cornbread recipe. I have horrible luck with cornbread: it's usually too dry and rises unevenly. But I tried this one: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/homestea... and it came out perfectly! It's a moist, dense cornbread, but it was perfect for stuffing.

                              1. Something new that worked for me this year was what I DIDN'T make... I made less of everything. The menu was same as usual, but I made a smaller bird, about 30% less of all the sides, and only 1 type of pie.
                                Now it's Sunday night, all the leftovers are gone, and no one is moaning about eating turkey for a week straight. I saved $$, time and cleanup.

                                1. Actually I was so amazed that everything came out so good. Might have something to do with making a time table, and actually using it this year. Someone suggested a way to keep the mashed potatoes warm by buttering the bottom and sides of the crock pot and then adding some cream to the bottom. We tried this, it WORKS. I didn't have to keep checking them, stirring them, adding more etc,, we just left them alone. Perfect potatoes, and my kids were saying how good an idea it was (don't worry I gave ya'll credit!) Then the other surprise was a box mix of cranberry bread that I bought last year for Christmas. OMG. I am so mad at myself. The bread is better than anything I could of made. The mix has dry orange so you get that, it suggested fresh cranberries, I'd used mine so I opted to soak some dry ones, and use them. I love this bread and so does my dh, and everyone that ate it. Instead of one loaf, I made three little ones, sliced them and they were so moist and flavorful. Just yum.
                                  The turkey took five hours, I stuffed it with my mom's stuffing, I didn't baste it, only added some broth to the pan to keep it from getting too dark. The giblet gravy I made the stock the day before with turkey necks and tails - made the best gravy. I actually made a roux, and went dark blonde, perfect perfect gravy. Oh and the kicker again, was that I made a sweet potato soufflee like thing with marshmallows. Say what you want, but the kid that hates sweet potatoes, ate it and wanted to take it home. Success~

                                  1. mashed potatoes in the crock pot! I've been reading about this on the boards and decided to give it a try. I refrigerated them, and then put them on low around noon for a 4om dinner. I buttered the dish and added some extra cream just in case. Stirred it every hour or so and they came out beautifully!

                                    Browned my roux a bit more then usual for the gravy and got a nice golden brown color to the gravy rather then a pasty whitish brown I had last year. Make ahead gravy and potatoes were a winner for me!

                                    1. Count me in the make ahead mashed potatoes club. Made the potatoes on Wednesday, with just a bit less butter than I would normally put in. Refrigerated in the crock overnight, then placed in crock pot on Thursday with a stick of butter cut up on top. Set the pot to warm and it slowly warmed up over the course of a few hours. Gave it a stir to mix in the melted butter right before serving. It was so easy and so convenient, and the quality of the potatoes was excellent. It was great not to have to make the potatoes on Thursday!

                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: TorontoJo

                                        This is my favorite trick this year, or possibly ever. And used the ricer I got years ago for the first time doing a meal for company. There's no going back on either front.

                                        1. re: coll

                                          Do we know who is the originator of the mashed potatoes in the crock pot idea?
                                          Because I think they should get the *Chow Hound Best 2011 Holiday Cooking Tip Award.*

                                          Buttering the sides and bottom well, then adding the cream to the bottom, the cream actually comes up to the sides keeping the potatoes from getting crispy-so I didn't disturb them. I only stirred and added more butter right before they were served. Piping hot, super light and creamy-well seasoned mashed/riced potatoes. The kids all asked how to do it, so they could make them. One son is sharing this tip with his church group. There are numerous dinners and potlucks and they use pots on the cook top (like I've done) and they often end up serving overcooked dried out mashed potatoes. I can relate.

                                          1. re: chef chicklet

                                            I found references to this approach in a bunch of old threads here, as well as elsewhere on the internet. It is definitely my favorite holiday tip in recent memory!

                                            Interesting about the cream bubbling up! I'll have to try that. I didn't have any issue with crispy or dry sides, so I probably won't bothering buttering the crock. But I also just used the "warm" setting, not the "low" cook setting. Do you think the cream would bubble up on just the warm setting?

                                            1. re: TorontoJo

                                              I think newer crock pots only have one higher setting. I am glad I have one from the 70s that has a variable control, there was no problem whatsoever and I only checked it once in 5 or 6 hours.

                                            2. re: chef chicklet

                                              It's a great tip but not new. We've discussed this many times on previous threads.

                                              1. re: chef chicklet

                                                I was just thinking the same thing earlier. Who could it be? Let yourself be known so we can thank you for this breakthrough in Thanksgiving dining.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  Well, here are a couple of threads I remember reading:


                                                  But I know somewhere I read about the method I used, which was to just put a stick of butter on the top. Though that may have been elsewhere online.

                                                  Regardless of source -- awesome tip!

                                            3. re: TorontoJo

                                              I don't get to make any part of Thanksgiving dinner when I'm at my family's house, which is a shame because no one knows the first thing about cooking! I would have loved to used the crockpot trick.

                                              I attempted to save the mashed potatoes...first, I was rebuffed when I tried to put salt and herbs in the cooking water. THEN, I noticed they would be done way too early and expressed my concern...the response? Oh, you don't have to worry about them. We can keep them on low heat for an hour or two! ARGH. No surprise that the mashed potatoes were flavorless, gummy, and generally unpleasant. I think I used 1/4 of a stick of butter to make my small portion palatable.

                                              1. re: tazia

                                                tazia, I too encountered that same bowl of yuky potatoes that would not have made good wall paper paste. But when you are at someone else's house, suggestions can sometimes be taken as being a "know it all". I have learned to keep peace in the family & put a little pile of the stuff on my plate & mutter something about being on a diet. In fact, my plate this year was very small, due to overcooked, undercooked & downright tasteless food. But lucklily, that was Thanksgiving #1, the next visit & get together turned out delish.

                                            4. I made stuffins--(stuffin' muffins) from my favorite stuffing. Brushed silicone baking cups generously with butter, tops, too--of course--and baked at 400 degrees F. Such a smart idea, stuffins!

                                              Oh, and from some of my leftover turkey, I made a delicious creamy chicken/turkey soup with wild rice. I am sufficiently all set with turkey for a while, but having it repurposed as soup at least made it seem like something different.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                Kattyeyes, I do love your stuffin' muffins idea, I'm stealing it!

                                                1. re: chef chicklet

                                                  Chef Chicklet and rworange, to be clear, it was just new to me--not my original idea. Only thing unique to me was to use my heart-shaped baking cups! :) I read of it first here:

                                                  Then saw it featured in a stuffing contest on the Today show (stuffins won, btw).
                                                  2011: The Year of the Stuffin!

                                                2. re: kattyeyes

                                                  That sounds brilliant. I have some leftover stuffing that was too much for the bird and I'm giving this a try tommorrow.

                                                  Walker posted this recipe from a long closed SF market

                                                  Petrini's Ultimate Turkey Recipe

                                                  There is this paste to rub on the bird
                                                  2 oz. Olive Oil
                                                  2 Tablespoons Butter (soft)
                                                  2 Tablespoons Salt
                                                  2 Tablespoons Paprika
                                                  2 Tablespoons White Pepper

                                                  It is brilliant. That was the most beautiful bird I've ever seen anywere. The color was a beautiful copper bronze. It truley impressed everyone with a lot of aahhhs.

                                                  My own great idea ... why I never thought of it before ... I bought gravy. No more last minute freak-out and lumpy gravy ... all that grief all these years. I don't mean the canned junk, but a deli container from a good market. Yes, I know lots of people do this but when I was thinking premade gravy I only thought of canned.

                                                3. the turnip souffle i cobbled together after Mom said it was the one thing she really wanted for Thanksgiving dinner:

                                                  GHG’s Turnip Soufflé
                                                  Serves 4-6

                                                  2 lbs turnips (to yield 3½ - 4 cups cooked & mashed)
                                                  3 Tbsp butter
                                                  3 Tbsp flour (i used a GF blend but AP is fine)
                                                  1/3 cup low fat or fat free evaporated milk (you can also use cream or half & half)
                                                  4 large eggs, separated
                                                  [up to 2 Tbsp brown sugar if turnips are bitter, omit it if they're sweet]
                                                  Kosher or sea salt
                                                  Freshly ground white pepper
                                                  Freshly grated nutmeg

                                                  [Ingredient note: I didn't include cheese as the person who requested the dish didn't want it, but you can absolutely add some - for this recipe I'd use Gruyere, Fontina or Asiago. Just stir it into the turnips along with the egg yolks.]

                                                  Preheat oven to 350.

                                                  Grease a 6-cup soufflé dish with butter and dust with flour (or fine bread or cracker crumbs), rotating the dish to coat thoroughly. Tap out the excess and set aside.

                                                  Peel and trim turnips, cut into large chunks, and boil in salted water until tender. Drain turnips, mash or puree until smooth, and set aside.

                                                  Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat, stir in flour, and cook for about 2 minutes until smooth and just beginning to color slightly.

                                                  Stir in evaporated milk, turnips, and sugar if using, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until mixture becomes thick.

                                                  Season to taste with salt, white pepper and nutmeg, and remove from heat.

                                                  Slowly add egg yolks and combine thoroughly. Set aside.

                                                  In large bowl, whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the turnip mixture and combine just to ensure no large streaks of egg white.

                                                  Pour the mixture into the prepared soufflé dish, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until puffed and nicely golden on top.

                                                  Serve immediately.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    Saved this recipe! I had a clear winner with a recipe I believe you posted. Brussels Sprouts Two Ways with a lemony anchovy sauce. Everybody loved it but my family is not afraid of anchovies!

                                                    1. re: KateBChi

                                                      yes, that was my brussels sprouts recipe :) i'm so glad your family enjoyed it!

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Could you repost the sprout recipe, I have developed a love for anchovies! Thanks

                                                        1. re: geminigirl

                                                          geminigirl, that is goodhealthgourmet's recipe...just go back & look through her replies. Thanks

                                                    2. My hostess made something akin to baked pumpkin cheesecake pudding with leftover pumpkin pie filling, cream cheese, extra spice in a graham crust and sweetened sour cream on top. It was heavier with pumpkin than a traditional cheesecake, and totally delicious I asked her if she'd be able to replicate the recipe next year, but she couldn't remember what she did, and didn't measure any ingredients anyway. It was a happy accident.

                                                      1. Something new for Thanksgiving: Fly to NYC with spouse and daughter. Stay in nice hotel. Eat lots of good food that someone else has cooked. See the parade, the tree at Rockefeller Center, go the zoo. Do a little shopping. Walk miles in gorgeous weather. A perfect long weekend, and no travel problems, at all.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. I boiled the giblets and neck from my bird to make a turkey broth and then used the broth as my stuffing liquid. Didn't bother to stuff the bird and the cooking time was less and no chance of food safety issue.

                                                          I also made the stuffing the night before and baked the next day, great time saver.

                                                          1. The new thing I tried was an adaption on Michael Symon's Brussels sprouts. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fr...
                                                            I'm from Cleveland and that recipe is pretty sacred around here so I was pretty nervous to try to change it up. However, the deep fried sprouts just don't hold very well and I was worried it would be too finicky to get the timing right.

                                                            The major change I made was to roast the sprouts. I roasted them until very dark with olive oil and salt early in the day. I put them in the fridge and booby trapped to bowl to keep people form eating them. Later that day I chopped up some bacon (just 2 slices for a pound of sprouts), and cooked it until very crispy (this is the other change, the original recipe doesn't call for bacon). I then added in the walnuts and capers that the recipe calls for. I let them toast for a minute and then added in the sprouts and cooked them until warmed through. Then I popped everything in a bowl and tossed with the dressing from the recipe (I put the parsley from the recipe in the dressing instead of frying it).

                                                            It was AWESOME. Just enough bacon to not dominate, and even though it wasn't deep fried, it tasted JUST like you get at Lolita. A hit of the night, and easy enough to do on a weekend night or a quiet weekday. If you roasted and reserved the sprouts ahead of time you could make it in 5 mins flat. Can't wait to make again.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: luciaannek

                                                              i believe Iron Chef Symon would approve of your adaptability ;) they sound really delicious.

                                                            2. Gluten-free pumpkin pie! I started with a recipe from glutenfreegirl.com and made a bunch of substitutions and tweaks . . . and it was awesome. Nobody could tell it was GF. Huge hit.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: operagirl

                                                                love to hear that :) pumpkin pie is great because the custard is naturally GF, and you have some tasty and not-too-tricky crust options. my default is an almond meal & coconut oil crust, but when i'm in the mood to wrestle with something more traditional i often add a little mesquite flour to a basic GF pastry crust - the flavor complements the pumpkin and spices beautifully.

                                                              2. Pecan pie without a drop of corn syrup, per Cooks Illustrated. Even the people who dislike pecan pie raved.

                                                                1. This is very simple, but it saved me some headache: I made a crumb-crust pie in my springform pan and lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. This avoided problems I've had in the past where the bottom crust is accidentally left stuck to the bottom of the pan when a slice is lifted out. I just peeled the paper back before transferring to my cake stand.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: ChristinaMason

                                                                    You know, I finally got a springform tart pan? I can't wait for a walnut crumb crust opportunity.. or for time to pretend I didn't just manufacture an opportunity. Glad to hear this works, it's kind of why I bought a pan for myself.

                                                                  2. A few things.

                                                                    Turkey related - My aunt (who was in charge of the turkey) decided to save time and buy a pre-cooked turkey from Whole Foods. We made a rub with sage, thyme, pepper and orange rind and a little EVOO. We reheated the turkey according to directions (excepted I tented it with foil for the first half hour). The turkey came out PERFECTLY. Also, I took the turkey out a full hour before serving it. It rested for half an hour then I carve it, put it on a platter, pour a bit of turkey stock on top, covered with foil and kept warm in a 300 degree oven until ready to serve. It turned out perfectly and piping hot.

                                                                    Martha Stewart's pumpkin mousse recipe - It was SOOO light and flavorful. I made mine sugar free for myself and everyone in my family wanted some.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. my new experiment that worked amazingly well was Turchetta with Cornbread-Chorizo stuffing. turned out awesome and made great leftovers!!

                                                                      1. It's not THIS year's success, but it's worth repeating:

                                                                        I can't be bothered to stuff and then unstuff the turkey -- so I make my dressing in the crockpot. An hour on high, then 4-5 hours on low (until it reaches 160F).

                                                                        Nice crust on the outside, nice and moist inside, and doesn't play havoc with my oven timings for other dishes (and it stays hot on the buffet table, too, as I just keep it on warm)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Where is the "like" button?! I do the same thing sunshine842, and it cooks on the counter - out of the way.......

                                                                          1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                                                                            Oh so now I need 2 crockpots? Thrift shops here I come!

                                                                          2. re: sunshine842

                                                                            I'm actually going to suggest this to my mom for our Dec. 24 dinner -- she has a crock, and definitely lacks for oven space when there are 10 people about. Well done :)

                                                                            1. re: megjp

                                                                              I have a 6-quart model, and it holds enough dressing for 25 people, with enough left over to keep me happy (I LOVE leftover oyster dressing with gravy for lunch)