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Forgot to Defrost? How to Thaw a Turkey Quickly

Today is Thanksgiving – did you forget to take the turkey out of the freezer early enough?  Is your turkey still frozen?  Don’t worry!  We’ll help you learn how to thaw a turkey fast so you can still cook it for Thanksgiving dinner! 

The video below demonstrates how to thaw a turkey quickly.

(Subscribers will need to click through to this article to watch the video.)

Want more? We’ve got enough How To videos and instructions to keep you busy all day!

How Can I Tell if My Turkey is Done? [Video]

This short video shows how to tell if your turkey is done.  This is a MUST for Thanksgiving and Christmas, since you don’t want to serve an undercooked turkey to your holiday guests!

Make sure you also read our article on How to Cook a Turkey in case this is your first Thanksgiving being in charge of the bird.  We won’t leave you on your own to figure it out!  You can cook a prize-winning turkey dinner with no experience at all.

Want more? We’ve got lots of How To videos and instructions.

How to Cook Asparagus: The Complete Guide

The Complete Guide to Cooking Asparagus

It doesn’t take a master chef at a fine restaurant to produce a delicious side of asparagus. Don’t be fooled by the fancy appearance of this luxury vegetable, it can be prepared with minimal effort in the comfort of your own kitchen. Even if you don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you can learn how to cook asparagus in no time.

Asparagus is considered a super-food, high in antioxidants and loaded with folate, vitamin C and vitamin B6. In addition to the well known green variety, asparagus is available in shades of white and purple, with either thick or thin spears. All offer the same nutritional benefits and share the same taste.

How to Choose Asparagus

Fresh asparagus is at the height of it’s flavor during the months of April and May, but will begin to pop up in produce aisles by late February.

When choosing asparagus, keep in mind that the different size and color varieties are not indicative of quality. If you want to decrease preparation time, opt for the thin spears to avoid having to trim down off the tough ends on the thicker spears.

Regardless of the size you choose, be sure to select spears that are firm and straight with unopened tips.

How to Store Asparagus Prior to Cooking

Asparagus deteriorates quickly, so to preserve freshness and maintain high antioxidant levels it is important to keep spears refrigerated and use within 2 days. By placing the spears in a bowl filled with cold water in an upright position, you will help to keep the stems hydrated and prevent drying.

How to Cook Asparagus

Always begin by washing the spears in cool water. Asparagus is versatile and can be cooked in a variety of ways.

Steaming Asparagus.  Steaming is a popular choice for traditionalists that enjoy their spears with a simple drizzle of olive oil. Start with a piece of kitchen string to tie the asparagus spears together at both the bottom and just below the tip. Add the bunch to 2 inches of boiling water in a large pot. Cover the pot and steam for 4-8 minutes. The bottoms of the asparagus will boil while the tips are steamed, resulting in crispy green spears.

Boiling Asparagus.  For more tender spears, asparagus can be placed lengthwise in a large skillet and boiled for 5 minutes in an inch of water.

Blanching Asparagus.  For dishes that call for cold asparagus, you can blanch the spears by placing them in iced water immediately after removing from hot water to halt the cooking process.

Cooking Asparagus in a Microwave.  If you are wondering how to cook asparagus in a microwave, you should know that it will take the same amount of time as steaming or boiling.

  • Place asparagus lengthwise in a microwave-safe baking dish.
  • Angle the spears so that the tips face the center of the dish and cover with ¼ cup of water.
  • Cover the dish and microwave on medium for 4-5 minutes.

Baking Asparagus.  For crispy, baked asparagus, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place asparagus lengthwise on a nonstick baking sheet and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil across the spears. Roast in center of oven for 8-10 minutes.

Sautéeing Asparagus.  Asparagus works well in sautéed and stir-fried dishes.  Cut spears into 2 inch diagonal pieces and add to skillet or wok with one teaspoon of olive oil. Sautee for 3 minutes.

Barbecuing Asparagus.  Asparagus can be an addition to any backyard barbeque. Preheat your grill and spray with olive oil spray. Add spears to center rack and grill for 5-8 minutes or until tender. For best results, turn spears every 2 minutes.

Cooking with Toddlers: Making Jello Jigglers

Nothing makes a toddler feel more important and grown up than to cook with mom or dad.  However, toddlers’ motor skills and patience level make a lot of recipes out of the question!  Cooking with a toddler is fun, but must be strategically planned. 

Luckily, I stumbled upon one of the best foods to cook with a toddler: Jello jigglers!  Not only is Jello easy and fast to make, but cutting the shapes out with cookie cutters is fun enough to keep your little one interested until you’re all finished.

Jello Jigglers (2)Here is Truett in his apron and chef hat.  He was excited to make Jello jigglers, but he didn’t really understand what they were or what he would be doing.  We used sugar free Jello, because that’s how we like it!

 

 

 

 

 

Jello Jigglers (3)After letting the Jello cool in the refrigerator to set, I showed Truett how to press a cookie cutter into the Jello. 

The important thing in making Jello jigglers turn out is to follow the recipe for jigglers, not the recipe for regular Jello.  Jigglers have a thicker, chewier consistency that make it possible to cut out shapes with cookie cutters. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jello Jigglers (6)

 

 

When I handed him the first shape, he finally realized that making jigglers was super fun!  He was eager to try his own next.

 

 

 

Jello Jigglers (7)Jello Jigglers (9)

When making Jello jigglers with a toddler, remember these tips:

  1. Start with a simple shape without a lot of turns and lines to make the jiggler easier to remove from the pan.  Our first shapes were a triangle and a square.Jello Jigglers (10)
  2. While it’s okay to let your toddler press the shapes into the Jello, it’s probably a better idea for mom or dad to take the jiggler out of the pan.  Sometimes they don’t come out in one piece. Jello Jigglers (13)
  3. Save the difficult cookie cutters for the end.  Below, you can see our gingerbread man jiggler.  He was very difficult to get out of the pan with all his limbs intact, but was the most in-demand jiggler when it came time to eat them!

    Jello Jigglers (17)

  4. Remember to soak the bottom of the pan long enough to make the Jello soft, but not long enough to make the Jello start melting.

Have fun making Jello jigglers with your little aspiring chef!  the most fun part of the whole project, of course, is eating them together!   Cooking with Toddlers: Making Jello Jigglers is linked to Tempt my Tummy Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Kitchen Tip Tuesday, and 11th Heaven.

An Enormous Care Package of Kraft Foods From Delicious Byte

Truett Ice-Simmons Oreo BagI’m one of the founding members of Delicious Byte, a private blogger-only community built by Kraft Foods.  Their new community gives me stuff to bring to you, like coupons, recipes, giveaways and more. 

I’m actually going to the Kraft Kitchens again, in Chicago this time, next week to celebrate the opening of Delicious Byte. Remember when I went to Kraft Kitchens in Wisconsin last year to be videotaped cooking a zesty sandwich recipe?  I get to cook again while I’m at Kraft this time– how cool is that?! 

Kraft is always generous with the food goodies (as you can expect from a food company that makes just about every kind of food there is), and they sent me a huge box of Kraft products as a thank you present for being a founding member of Delicious Byte.  Being a problogger really is the best job!  Seven Ice-Simmons Kraft Foods

The box included an Oreo shopping bag, Ritz crackers, Kraft macaroni & cheese, Velveeta rotini & cheese, Kraft bbq sauce, Planters Daybreak mix, Swedish Fish, Cadbury dairy milk chocolate bar, Planters big nut bar, Ritz Crackerfuls, Crystal Light pure fitness drink mixes, Tuscan House Italian dressing, Jell-O pudding, 2 Jell-O gelatins, Halloween Oreos, Trident white gum, Toblerone candy, Maxwell House coffee, Starbucks Espresso Roast coffee, Bakers dipping chocolate, Kool-Aid drink mix, Kraft Sandwich Shop mayo, mayo with olive oil, Planters sunflower kernels, Philadelphia cream cheese cookbook, and flavor grove almonds. 

I bet you had no idea Kraft made so many of those foods- neither did I (although I’m still not sure about the Starbucks…)!  My favorite item is the giant Oreo reusable shopping bag, which you can see my son, Truett, holding in my office.  Please excuse the packing materials and boxes in the photos; we’re packing to move in just a few weeks.

The kids had a great time playing in the “groceries” and we all had a great time eating them!  Truett’s favorite was definitely the Halloween Oreos with orange icing, especially since we don’t normally have sugary foods in the house.  I’m sure you’re wondering if the orange icing tasted like oranges, just like my daughter asked me.  No, they tasted just like regular Oreos!

I loved the candies and chocolates that were in the box.  We cooked the whole grain Velveeta pasta right away and that was a huge hit with the whole family.  And my husband was especially appreciative for the Starbucks Coffee!  The Crystal Light Pure Fitness is another one of my treats- it helps me to drink more water without adding extra calories.

The care package they sent also effectively got my family hooked on sugar free Jell-O now.  We even made Jell-O jigglers last week, and will have some pictures of the process coming up soon.   

Be on the lookout for all the coupon savings and other items on the way from Home Ever After, Kraft and Delicious Byte!

Kraft Foods Delicious ByteTruett & Seven Ice-Simmons Kraft Foods

Truett Ice-Simmons Kraft FoodsKraft Foods Delicious Byte

Disclaimer:  In compliance with the FTC Guides, updated 10/5/09, this article has material connections.  IS World Media (ISWM) received no fees for the writing or publication.  This article is an informative public relations post written by Danelle Ice about Kraft Foods’ Delicious Byte community.  A box of Kraft Foods items was provided to ISWM by Kraft Foods as a free gift for joining the community.  ISWM does not endorse the company mentioned above.