Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cookbook Review: 'Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook'

✰✰✰✰ The season of autumn features all of my favorite holidays including Thanksgiving, a time to celebrate family, friends, and food. With Thanksgiving being just around the corner, now is the time to start planning.

For tried and true recipes, I often turn to Betty Crocker cookbooks. Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook includes just about everything you ever wanted to know about cooking the perfect Thanksgiving dinner. The book begins with a Q&A section, where the editors at Betty Crocker have answered questions that readers most frequently ask.

Recipes begin with a chapter about turkey, of course. There is also a chapter devoted just to gravies, sauces and stuffing which is helpful for the novice cook. Those with more experience looking to supplement their usual fare will want to take a look at the chapters dedicated to side dishes, breads, soups, salads, and desserts. The editors have also included additional main dishes like Baked Ham with Zesty Cranberry Sauce, Roast Goose with Apple Stuffing, and Roasted-Vegetable Lasagna. Most of the ingredients are easily found at your local grocery store. I also appreciated the helpful tips for substitutions, do-aheads, and special touches. Finally, recipes include nutritional information, and there is an index at the end.

Taste Test Notes: I was looking for something that I could serve on Thanksgiving morning for breakfast. I found this quick and easy recipe for Surprise Pumpkin Muffins and decided to give it a try. I had everything I needed in my pantry, except for one ingredient. Therefore, while the recipe calls for chopped nuts, I substituted mini chocolate chips instead. Here's the result:
Surprise Pumpkin Muffins are quick and easy to bake.
The muffins were a perfect treat to serve with scrambled eggs and sausage for a quick holiday breakfast. Yum! You can even bake these a day or two early and freeze them. Just take them out of the freezer 15 minutes before serving. Nana's Baking Tip: If using paper liners like I did, let the muffins cool 15 - 20 minutes before removing them. Otherwise, the liners will stick.

The Bottom Line: Preparing a Thanksgiving feast doesn't have to be stressful. Whether you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time or the thirtieth, you'll find something helpful in this book. The numbered, step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and the tips are helpful. Also, be sure to take a look at the count down menus including the Super-Simple Menu or My First Thanksgiving Dinner. The addition of full-color photographs and the use of black ink rather than maroon would have made this a 5 star book. Highly recommended for both beginning and experienced cooks. Even experienced cooks will find something to add to their holiday table.

Details: Betty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook: All You Need to Cook a Foolproof Dinner by the Betty Crocker editors. Paperback published by Betty Crocker (an imprint of Wiley) in 2003. 192 p. ISBN: 0-7645-2574-3

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