7 Mistakes People Make When Cooking Stuffing—and How To Avoid Them









Food & Recipes

Here’s how to avoid them.





Stuffing is a classic Thanksgiving side dish that’s a must for any holiday spread. You can take this comfort food staple in many directions, and while it can be argued that there’s no “wrong” way to make stuffing, there are some common missteps that can leave you a little underwhelmed with the results.

Here are seven mistakes people often make when preparing stuffing and how you can avoid them, guaranteeing you’ll make the perfect dish with which to wow your guests this Thanksgiving.

1. Not Drying Out The Bread

Starting your stuffing out with bread that’s completely dry is essential for your stuffing’s taste and texture. A lot of recipes recommend using stale bread for this reason, but you can actually oven-dry your bread for the same effect in a lot less time. Serious Eats recommends toasting a white sandwich-style loaf at 275 degrees for about 45 minutes.





white bread photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

2. Actually Stuffing The Bird

It’s called stuffing because you’re supposed to stuff the turkey with it, right? While that may be where the term comes from, it also makes it a lot more difficult to properly cook the turkey. Instead, just serve it on the side.

“So I always do it in buttered baked dishes and cover it with foil for most of the cooking … usually about 30 to 40 minutes until it’s warm, and then take off the foil so the top can crisp up, and it’s absolutely delicious,” Jack Bishop, editorial director of “America’s Test Kitchen,” told NPR of his method for making perfect stuffing.

stuffing photo
Flickr | NEPMET

3. Not Cooking Your Vegetables

There’s more to stuff besides bread. To really maximize the flavor of your stuffing, you should add aromatic vegetables like onions and celery. But don’t just add them in their raw state. Make sure to cook them in a bit of butter first.

cook onions photo
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

4. Soggy Stuffing

If you end up with soggy stuffing despite your best efforts, it may come down to your cooking method. A good way to end up with crispy stuffing every time is to turn your stuffing into muffins. Check out this recipe for make-ahead stuffing muffins from Chew Out Loud.

Chew Out Loud

5. Not Using Enough Butter

While cutting down on fat and calorie-laden ingredients like butter may seem like a great way to lighten up a recipe, when it comes to stuffing, skimping on butter may spell disaster. Using plenty of butter is the key to moist, yet crispy stuffing. Your diet can start on Friday.





Adobe

6. Overcooking It

Perfect stuffing needs to be cooked just right. Overcook it and your stuffing will be dry. Undercook it and it will be soggy. It can be difficult to get it just right, so if you’re bringing stuffing as part of a potluck, undercook it slightly at home so that when you arrive at your destination, you can finish it in the oven in just a few minutes.

thanksgiving stuffing photo
Flickr | danxoneil

7. Adding The Stock All At Once

If you haven’t learned this already, the key to perfect stuffing is a delicate balance. Adding the right amount of stock to the stuffing is essential to getting an ideal texture, but so is how and when you add it. Add about a half cup to a cup at a time to give the bread time to soak up the broth before you add more.

chicken stock photo
Getty Images | Monica Schipper

Time to get cooking!

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7 Easy Tricks To Make Store-bought Pasta Sauce Taste Like Homemade









Food & Recipes

Yum! We bet you already have all of these ingredients in your pantry.





Making a homemade dinner from scratch on a busy weeknight can be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are tricks of the trade that can make store-bought items taste a little more flavorful in a flash — because hey, there are hungry mouths to feed!

These easy tips will help you make a generic can of pasta sauce taste like you spent hours making it in the kitchen. You can combine these tips if you have time, or just do any one of them all their own to see a major difference in your spaghetti, lasagna, chicken parm and pasta dishes.

1. Don’t Forget to Heat It Up

Even if you’re going to be adding your sauce to noodles that are already cooked, take a few minutes to heat the sauce separately in a skillet before combining. The flavors will combine when heated together, so it’ll taste even better than if you poured it straight from the jar, according to Southern Living. You can multi-task and do this step as your noodles boil if you’re cooking on the stovetop or add the sauce to your dish while it’s still in the oven for those last couple moments of cook time.





pasta sauce photo
Flickr | Phil Denton

2. Chock It Full Of Tomato Flavor

It might sound obvious, but adding more tomatoes to your tomato sauce will really amp up the flavor! Food52 suggests you add some tomato paste. Another option is to roast fresh tomatoes and pop ’em in! Either method will go a long way to boosting sauce with even more of that authentic, made-from-scratch flavor with little extra work.

tomato photo
Getty Images | Ben Pruchnie

3. Season With Fresh Basil

While your sauce is heating up, go ahead and add a few sprigs of fresh basil. That’s a flavor that would definitely go in your homemade sauce! Once basil is in the mix, your guests won’t be able to tell the difference. (And here are some other delicious basil recipes to put those leftover herbs to use!)

basil photo
Flickr | matsuyuki

4. Add Butter

Famous Italian chef Marcella Hazan used butter as one of the main ingredients in her popular pasta sauce recipe — and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for the rest of us. So, go ahead and add some butter to the skillet before heating up your sauce.

butter photo
Flickr | maira.gall

5. Reuse Pasta Water

If you’re preparing noodles with your dish, don’t just discard that pasta water! According to Cooking Light, pasta water soaks up some of the starch from the noodles as it cooks and it is also usually filled with salt. So, if you add a couple spoonfuls of the liquid to your sauce, it’ll taste extra-delicious. (Tip: This is also why you use pasta water when making cacio e pepe!)





pasta water photo
Getty Images | David Ramos

6. Toss In Sauteed Veggies

There’s hardly any vegetable that doesn’t work with pasta sauce, so chop up whatever you’ve got on hand and give it a quick sauté. Bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and broccoli can all make great additions to sauce straight from the jar. Fresh vegetables are fine, but don’t be afraid of raiding your freezer for frozen veggies, too!

Adobe

7. Put That Wine To Use

If you’re having pasta for dinner, you’ve likely already cracked open a bottle of red wine. If that’s the case, go ahead and add a pour or two to your pasta sauce, according to Taste of Home. The red wine will help with added taste, as well as scraping up the browned bits from the pan to make sure they make their way into the sauce, too. If alcohol is not your thing, consider adding a couple teaspoons of balsamic vinegar for extra flavor.

red wine pasta sauce photo
Flickr | docbaty

With a few added ingredients, your jarred pasta sauce could taste homemade in no time! So get ready for a quick, easy and delicious dinner!

10 Different Types Of Onions And When To Use Them









Find out the best ones for making onion rings!





Onions are essential to delicious-tasting food. They add incredible flavor, and can either be sweet or savory. Grilled, caramelized, deep-fried or thinly sliced, the onion is an extremely versatile allium. (This family also includes garlic and chives!)

The problem for many home cooks? There are so many different types of onions that deciding which one is best to use can be tricky. Which onions are the spiciest? Which are the best raw? Which are the kinds you put in martinis?

These are all excellent questions that we’re going to finally put to rest! Here are 10 different types of onions and how best to use them in your cooking:

Shallots

Shallots are not actually onions, although they are from the allium family. Think of them like onion cousins! These small, pale purple vegetables offer a slightly garlicky flavor and are used vinaigrettes, dressings and sauces, as well as in Asian dishes such as curries and noodle dishes. Shallots are also ideal when roasted under whole chickens or hunks of meat.





shallots photo
Flickr | DBduo Photography

Scallions

Also known as green onions, these long, thin veggies are sold in bunches. Sweet and mild, they can be left raw or cooked, depending on the usage, and can also be used as a garnish when chopped. They are best used in Asian dishes, such as stir fries, grilled teriyaki meats, ramen or any savory or braised dish that needs a hint of freshness to it. Scallion pancakes are also a tasty meal!

scallions photo
Flickr | Rusty Clark ~ 100K Photos

Sweet onions

This sweet onion is crispy and mild, despite making your eyes tear up like none other. Vidalia onions, for example, are great raw, chopped up in tomato salads or in rings on your burger. If you’re looking to add sweetness to a dish, caramelize them. These bad boys are also idea for making onion rings.

onion rings photo
Flickr | Southern Foodways Alliance

Leeks

Leeks may look like overgrown scallions, but they’re totally different plants. Don’t eat them raw — rather, cook them down in soups or in a stir fry. You can also cream them once cooked, which provides a nice side dish to a protein.

leeks photo
Flickr | sanickels

Maui onions

This sweet variety is similar to Vidalias and hail from the Hawaiian island of Maui — hence the name. They are water-filled and juicy, garnering their flavor from Maui’s red volcanic soil. They taste great raw in salads, relishes or caramelized. They can also be used as onion rings, marinated or grilled.

maui onions photo
Flickr | Starr Environmental

Pearl onions

This mild, sweet onion is excellent for pickling. After they’re pickled, place them in your martini or Gibson cocktail (a more savory version of a martini) for a treat. Pearl onions also good for roasting or added whole to a stew, casserole or gravy as it cooks.





pearl onions photo
Flickr | julesjulesjules m

Ramps

Ramps are wild onions with a very short harvest season, making them more costly than other onions. They are one of the earliest vegetables to pop up at the beginning of spring and fans have “a Gold Rush mentality” about scooping them up before they sell out. With a garlicky taste, ramps are popular choices for pesto and soups, but are also delicious when simply grilled.

ramps vegetables photo
Flickr | justgrimes

Cipollini onions

Small and disk-shaped, cipollini onions are extra sweet, making them perfect for caramelizing. They can be roasted for a lovely, buttery side dish or sautéed with other vegetables, such as green beans.

Cipollini Onions photo
Flickr | Me in ME

White onions

Crisp, mild white onions have a sharp taste, but can be eaten raw. They’re a solid choice to top your sandwich or salads, or to garnish Mexican dishes, such as huevos rancheros. White onions are also flavorful when chopped up in guacamole, chutney or salsa.

disk onions photo
Flickr | wuestenigel

Red onions

These deep magenta-colored onions are pungent, crunchy and deliver a spicy kick when raw. They’re best when chopped and added raw to salads or garnishing burgers. If you would prefer your red onions cooked, they pick up balsamic flavor well and are popular as a side dish or in soups.

red onions photo
Flickr | wuestenigel

Now that you’re an expert on onion varieties, the good news for us all is that most are cheap and ubiquitous. I dare you to find a cuisine that doesn’t use them!

8 Genius Egg Shortcuts To Make Any Meal Easier And More Delicious









Food & Recipes

These tips are eggs-cellent!





Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, if you have a carton of eggs in the fridge then you have a meal. And it’s a healthy one to boot! You might think you know everything there is to know about the various ways to cook eggs, but we found eight genius ways to make eggs even easier and more delicious. From proper preparation to time-saving tricks and make-ahead recipes, these ideas will take your eggs from ordinary to eggs-traordinary.

1. Crack eggs on a flat surface.

Instead of cracking an egg on the edge of a bowl, crack on the counter or other flat surface. “This will prevent eggshells from landing in your food,” Claudia Sidoti, Head Chef and Recipe Developer at HelloFresh, told Simplemost.

Additionally, crack eggs into a small bowl before adding them to whatever you’re cooking in order to more easily scoop out any misplaced shell.





crack egg photo
Getty Images | Adam Berry

2. Whip eggs with water.

To make sure your omelet is as light and fluffy as possible, Sidoti recommended adding a bit of water as you beat the eggs. And while you’re at it, don’t overbeat them, either!

Hello Fresh

3. Cook with nonstick pans.

“Nonstick pans are the ultimate cooking tool when making eggs in order to avoid the egg sticking to the pan,” said Sidoti. If you use other cookware, the eggs are more likely to burn or brown too quickly.

Hello Fresh

4. Warm up your eggs to room temperature.

Yes, eggs need to be refrigerated long-term. But if you let eggs sit at room temperature before adding them to recipes, they will disperse more evenly into the batter. According to Sidoti, the batter will also cook more evenly, which leads to a lighter texture in cakes.

cake photo
Getty Images | WPA Pool

5. Bake your hard-boiled eggs instead of boiling them.

If you’re feeding a crowd, or planning ahead for the week, it’s easier to prep hard-boiled eggs by baking them in the oven. Zested Lemon shared her fool-proof technique for making batches of hard-boiled eggs in a cupcake or individual brownie pan.

Zested Lemon

6. Great creative with your omelets by cooking them in bread.

Why make toast and eggs separately when you can bake them together in one delicious dish? This recipe for Baked Egg Boats from Spoon Fork Bacon is a perfect way to switch up how you usually eat eggs. The finished product is like an omelet tucked into crunchy bread.





Spoon Fork Bacon

7. Or use veggies as your vessel!

This quick recipe from Brooklyn Supper packs a balanced meal into an adorable fresh tomato. It’s equally delicious as an afternoon snack or a breakfast side dish.

For another tasty recipe, try baking your eggs in acorn squash.

Brooklyn Supper

8. Make the world’s easiest pancake recipe.

If you have one egg and one banana, then you have a recipe for pancakes. Yes, seriously. There are many variations on this simple theme — some add a little flour, protein powder, or other ingredients — but this basic recipe from Gimme Delicious is hard to beat.

Gimme Delicious

Time to get cracking!

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