Country Cook News – November 25, 2014

Hi Everyone!


Did the Pilgrims brine their turkeys? Send your answer to

Congratulations to Pat Williams of Kingwood, Texas. She correctly answered October’s question: Is the pumpkin a fruit or vegetable? The answer: pumpkin is a fruit, not a vegetable, as many might think. Pat chose Pork Chops & Applesauce: A Collection of Recipes and Reflections as her prize.

Answer the CONTEST QUESTION OF THE MONTH and win a signed copy of any one of my books. Here’s a link to my Books page to choose the books you can win (scroll down to see the complete selection).



Beginning Wednesday, November 26 through Monday, December 1, I’m offering 3 books for $40 with free shipping.

Pork Chops & Applesauce, Sweet Apple Temptations and all eight of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books apply in this offer. Have any combination of books signed and sent to your door with no shipping charges. Check out the 10 different book choices. Note: Seasons of Our Lives, The Adventures of Lily and Leon and Bumper Crop do not apply to this offer.

Send your orders to Only order books through the above e-mail address because this special does not apply to books ordered through Amazon.




Everyone has their own theory on what works best for cooking the Thanksgiving bird, and I’ve tried most preparation methods. Frankly, I prefer to keep things simple and I’ve found that brining the turkey prior to roasting has put the most succulent and flavorful turkeys on our holiday table.

In our Recipe of the Month I’m sharing my brine recipe, and I’ll take you through the few easy steps brining requires. It’s really much simpler than it might sound and well worth the extra time spent to ensure a roasted turkey that tastes heavenly.



From Aggie’s Kitchen comes 50 Thanksgiving Side Dishes that will please the most discriminating crowd. Choose from 10 each of cranberry sauces, vegetables, stuffing, potatoes and breads. There’s something for everyone in this savory collection.



Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, Mini Florentine Cups, Hard Salami Wrapped Mozzarella Cheese with assorted pickles and olives, Herb Roasted Boneless Turkey Breasts, Cranberry Orange Conserve, Spinach Mandarin Salad, Twice Baked Potatoes, Sausage Stuffed Stuffing Puffs, Apricot and Ginger-Glazed Sweet Potatoes, Bacon Wrapped Asparagus, Artisan Dinner Rolls and Pumpkin Fluff for dessert.

If you’d like any of these recipes, with the exception of the wine, just send your request to and I’ll send the recipe to you in attachment form.


THANKSGIVING DAY MEAL IN A CUPCAKE from Our Mini Family looks interesting but it’s definitely for those who aren’t roasting a turkey or bringing dessert. Check it out…it’s a cupcake with the Thanksgiving meal all condensed into one cupcake. It’s a clever creation, but how many would I have to eat to equal a full holiday meal? Ha Ha



‘If this gravy doesn’t knock your sock off then we don’t know what will!’ from Kitchen Daily. 5 tips that really work for making perfect gravy.



Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They’re consumed in twelve minutes. Halftimes take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence. ~Erma Bombeck




To keep stuffing from falling out of turkey while it’s baking, cover the stuffed cavity with a heel from a loaf of bread. This seals stuffing in and juices won’t drip out.



50+ Awesome Thanksgiving Side Dishes that will dazzle everyone who’s gathered around your Thanksgiving table. The bacon wrapped asparagus will appear as part of our daily fare; my tip with this asparagus is to use pre-cooked bacon.



Some interesting Thanksgiving facts from the History Channel; things we didn’t learn in grade school about the first Thanksgiving.



Family Fresh Cooking by Marla Meridith has more than a few tantalizing ideas about what to do with leftovers in 50 Totally Awesome Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes. Marla compiled a listing of the best chefs who share creative ways to make leftovers disappear without anyone being the wiser.


ASK CYNTHIA A QUESTION – November 25, 2014

Samantha asked:  What do you think is the best way to prepare/cook a turkey?

My answer: Brining has resulted in my most succulent turkeys.

Everyone has their theory on what works best for cooking the Thanksgiving bird, and throughout the years, I’ve tried my share of methods. Here’s an article, Take it easy, the Pilgrims didn’t Brine they’re Turkey, that I found amusing because it reflects some of what I’ve done and how I feel about the different processes.

I’ve brined turkeys that came from the freezer case and those that were fresh without noticing any difference in the final result. Frozen or fresh, I do think it’s best to buy a good quality bird, and I always check the “Sell By” date to make sure it’s as fresh as possible. The brand name I look for in the freezer section is “Honeysuckle White” but I’m not sure that brand is available nationwide.

Please refer to the Recipe of the Month for more details on brining a turkey, if that’s what you choose to do. I’ve found the few extra steps it takes to brine is well worth it to ensure a moist and flavorful turkey.

I generally roast the bird on a bed of vegetables and herbs. To the cavity, I add some of the vegetable/herb mixture along with cut-up lemons and roast it in a large roasting pan with a lid, which I remove about halfway through the roasting process. I’ve also had great success using the roasting bags; I don’t stuff the bird, the dressing is baked separately.

Sometimes it takes a while to get comfortable roasting a turkey, but my advice is to relax and enjoy creating a masterpiece.  Read a story about the year I roasted my first Thanksgiving turkey. If you scroll down below the story, you’ll find some of my standby side dishes: Cranberry Orange Conserve, John’s Mashed Potato Casserole, Baked Broccoli & Cheese, Linda’s Pumpkin Cookies and Turkey Crepes. I figure if the side dishes are memorably delicious then my guests won’t notice as much if the turkey isn’t so hotsy totsy. Wink, wink, it works every time! Thanks for your question, Samantha, good luck with your turkey!


Happy Thanksgiving!


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