We traditionally eat ham for Christmas dinner in our house, but I know there are many American families who have turkey on Christmas instead, which is why I wanted to clue you in on this awesome Thanksgiving app that helped me and my family cook a fabulous turkey dinner recently and with very little stress. And hopefully, it’ll make your Christmas dinner planning just as elegant and easy.
In our family, it’s tradition to test out new Turkey menus each year to spice up the Thanksgiving holiday. Since Thanksgiving is usually our holiday to host, I normally plan the menu and the rest of my family members graciously play guinea pigs and help make side dishes and desserts to bring over for dinner. The last few years we tried Thanksgiving Paula Deen style, another year it was a totally healthy and organic menu with everything being low sugar and low salt. And another year, we went off the deep end doing deep-fried turkey. It’s always a lot of fun to see what everybody likes or doesn’t like, but I can honestly say that thanks to the Thanksgiving Menu Maker From Fine Cooking app, this year’s turkey dinner was the very best one we’ve ever had.
The whole menu came from this free Food & Drink app by Taunton Interactive, and I’m happy to say that we discovered all kinds of great tasting dishes that everybody loved. And the nicest thing for me (besides not having to cook everything myself) was the meal planner part that let me quickly choose great food dishes, create an automatic grocery list, and have access to a nice and easy food schedule that kept me on course with day-by-day tasks leading up to the big day. My early tasks included things like brining a turkey, making cranberry sauce and Spicy Maple Walnuts, among other things. Doing a little bit over a few days really made the actual Thanksgiving day much more relaxing.
This Thanksgiving app will take the stress out of hosting your Thanksgiving meal “thanks” to its tempting (91 holiday) recipes ranging from appetizers to desserts, easy Menu creator, automatic Shopping List maker, detailed timeline Schedule for food preparation, helpful Tips, and more that’ll have you pulling your Thanksgiving meal together like an old pro.
My initial impression of this Thanksgiving app is that it’s warm, appealing, clean, and easy to use. You start out browsing the recipes, which are placed into main categories that run along the top: Starters (has 16 recipes), Main Dish (has 17 recipes), Sides (has 35), and Dessert (has 23). All the included recipes range from traditional to a little unconventional. There are even recipes for vegetarians as well with dishes like Butternut Squash Lasagne with Goat Cheese, Sage, and Breadcrumbs.
But, for the turkey lovers, there are 12 turkey choices (grilled, smoked, brined, dry brined, roasted, and etc.). The included recipes come with 3 convenient icons (where applicable) to indicate whether or not the dish can be made ahead of time, is vegetarian, or takes less than 30 minutes to make. Sides include a variety of sweet potato, potato, stuffing, cranberry dishes, and much more.
We chose the Herb-Butter Roasted Turkey with Pinot Noir Gravy. This was the first year I ever brined a turkey. If you haven’t done this before, try it because the added flavor is worth the extra prep time. One word of caution on the Pinot Noir Gravy, we didn’t follow the recipe as closely as we should have and it ended up being too salty. And although there are a handful of elegant green bean recipes to choose from, green bean casserole was noticeably missing, which is a favorite in our household. However, I settled with Green Beans with Toasted Slivered Almonds as my backup choice, and it was a very nice dish by the way.
As far as desserts, the Dessert section (of course) has traditional favorites, but also includes some interesting and tantalizing recipes for Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust, Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake, and Double-Ginger Pumpkin Tart. Every recipe throughout this application gives simple step-by-step instructions covering all aspects of that specific dish. The recipes even include the per serving nutrition information, as well as a share function to email yourself the recipe or others who may be contributing to the overall meal too.
Along the bottom navigation of this Thanksgiving app is the rest of its functionality: Recipes, Menu, Shopping List, Schedule, and Tips. The really fun part comes from choosing the dishes you’d like to make and then creating your own menu plan, which then creates an automatic shopping list conveniently broken down into 4 parts (Fresh Produce, Meat, Eggs, Dairy, Pantry Staples, and Other Groceries). You’ll need to pay close attention to serving sizes when creating your own custom menu because the serving amounts vary greatly in this Thanksgiving app (from 2-16 people), so you could have plenty of something and not enough of another.
A handy feature I’d like to see in this Thanksgiving app is the ability to quickly and easily change portion/serving number so as not to miss out on any of these great recipes for the above reason. On the flip side, there is a nice Schedule function that clues you in on what food prep should be done and how far in advance (from 1 week ahead to just before serving dessert).
The Tips part of this Thanksgiving app has a ton of great information. Tips will also take you to a “The Complete Guide to Thanksgiving” for 10 pre-made Thanksgiving Menus that’ll make your life much easier. You’ll also find a rescue plan for the top 10 Thanksgiving disasters and “Leftovers You’ll Love” as well as other topics. The Tips portion of the Thanksgiving Menu Maker From Fine Cooking (app) takes you out of the application and into the Fine Cooking website where you can explore further, view more recipes, and how-to videos. And to get back to where you came from in the app, you’ll have to re-enter the app again.
One other thing to point out in this Free Food & Drink application is that you can get the “Fine Cooking Magazine app” which gives you 1 free issue: Cook Fresh. And if interested, the other monthly issues are $6.99 each, $9.99 for the Thanksgiving Cookbook, or $29.99 for a whole year subscription.
Overall, Thanksgiving Menu Maker From Fine Cooking is an great free Thanksgiving app that’ll help you easily plan, create and present an elegant and delicious turkey meal any time of year with hardly any effort at all.