Thanksgiving dinner, for most families, is all about tradition. They never would consider using any other stuffing recipe except grandma's or serving lemon meringue pie instead of pumpkin.
But when it comes to holiday entertaining and Christmas and New Year's meals, many cooks are willing to try something new, a different seasoning for the roast, a spectacular dessert.
Paging though cookbooks with their glossy photos can be mouthwatering and fun, but it's hard to beat the internet for quick searches. And some recipe sites even will scale recipes up and down -- increasing and decreasing servings -- for you in seconds.
Be sure to check each site for manufacturers' coupons. We all like to stretch our grocery dollars as far as possible.
Here are some of my favorites:
-- Campbell's -- www.campbellskitchen.com/?pd=yes
-- McCormick -- www.mccormick.com/Recipes.aspx
-- Reynolds Kitchens -- www.reynoldskitchens.com
-- Betty Crocker -- www.bettycrocker.com
-- Butterball -- www.butterball.com
-- Land O'Lakes -- www.landolakes.com
-- Washington State Beef Commission -- www.wabeef.org
-- American Egg Board -- www.aeb.org
Best flash frozen
When comes to canned foods vs. frozen, which is better? According to the American Dietetic Association, it's frozen. Flash-freezing technology has become so advanced that many fresh and frozen items are basically the same. The freezing process doesn't dilute the food's nutritional value.
In fact, when vegetables are "picked at their ripest ... you have maximum nutrient strength" because they're in the environment longer and can absorb more nutrients from the soil.
That beats canned produce, which may include extra sodium and foods shipped from far away and picked when not fully ripe.
For those trying to improve their health, the ADA recommends keeping a couple of bags of frozen fruit and veggies handy for cooking or snacking on them when they are tempted by junk foods.
The book: The Great Ceviche Book, revised, by Douglas Rodriguez.
Best for: Anyone who likes ceviche -- fresh seafood "cooked" in acidic citrus juice -- will enjoy these 40 recipes from Rodriguez, an award-winning Latin chef. He's included easy-to-understand instructions, including food safety tips, advice on choosing the freshest seafood and suggestions on presentation.
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