Turkey Cooking Times

So, what is the cooking time for a turkey? This is a common holiday cooking question.

General Rule For Cooking A Turkey

As a guide, cook your thawed turkey 20 minutes per pound, but the actual cooking time will differ depending on whether your turkey is stuffed and the actual oven cooking temperature. 

Note:

  • For food safety reasons: It is strongly recommended that stuffing on the side and cook the turkey unstuffed.
  • Plus, you can actually cook more stuffing if you have a large enough dish and sufficient ingredients, than the inside of a turkey would have the capacity to hold.

How long to cook a turkey

  • The times on the chart below are based on the turkey being placed a preheated ( 350o F / 175o C) oven with the roasting pan on the center rack.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure your oven is maintaining the proper temperature, once preheated.
  • When roasting a turkey, always cook your turkey to a safe temperature (165o F / 74o C), use a meat thermometer, and check the thermometer often.

Turkey cooking times reference chart

Turkey WeightUnstuffed Roasting TimeStuffed Roasting Time
10 to 18 pounds3 to 3-1/2 hours3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds3-1/2 to 4 hours4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds4 to 4-1/2 hours5 to 5-1/2 hours
24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

Turkey Roasting Tips

  • Start with a completely thawed turkey; for food safety reasons, plan ahead and use the refrigerator to thaw the turkey.
  • Always Preheat your oven
  • Basting is optional if you want a browner and more even browning of the skin.
  • Cook the turkey uncovered until the skin is lightly golden and then cover loosely with a foil tent.
  • remove the foil tent for the last 45 minutes of baking to finish browning the skin.
  • The only safe test for turkey doneness is the temperature of the meat, and the turkey is cooked when the thigh meat has reached an internal temperature of (165o F / 74o C).  To get an accurate internal reading, be sure that your meat thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If you stuffed the turkey, the stuffing must reach the temperature of (165o F / 74o C), which can result in a drier and slightly overcooked turkey
  • When the turkey is cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow the turkey to rest for 20-30 minutes before carving. Resting the turkey allows the juices to redistribute throughout the turkey and makes for easier carving.

The Benefits of Eating Frozen Fruit and Vegetables

People usually eat fruits and vegetables for their nutritional values, but they cannot enjoy them when their season is over. When fruits and vegetables are out of season, cooks either have to adapt to eating the produce of the new season or depend on frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are used for various reasons like ease of using them and their nutritional benefits. Some of the benefits of eating frozen fruit and vegetables are:

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Full Of Nutrients

The nutritional value of fruits and vegetables starts lessening the minute they are picked. So, their nutritional value gets affected from the moment they are plucked and the time you take to eat them after harvesting them. But the nutritional value can be much more than fresh fruits and vegetables as they are frozen as soon as possible after harvesting them. Moreover, they are full of their nutritional elements, including minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins, when they are plucked after their full maturity. Freezing fruits and vegetables at this stage help in locking most of their nutrients in them. On the other hand, the fresh fruits and vegetables you get in the market have to travel a long way to reach you, and during that period, they get enough time to reap and get maturity. So they must be harvested when they could not get the maximum amount of natural nutritional elements. They get ripened artificially during their transit period. So, frozen fruits and vegetables have more nutritional value than their fresh counterparts.

The fact that frozen fruits and vegetables are more or equally nutritious to fresh fruits and vegetables can be proved on the basis of two studies performed independently. These studies were carried out by the scientists of Chester University and Leatherhead Food Research center. They have performed over 40 tests on frozen fruits and vegetables as well as on the products kept in a fridge for 3-4 days to measure and compare their nutritional values. They found that the level of nutrients found in the samples of frozen foods is more than in the comparatively fresher items. Actually, the level of antioxidants, like anthocyanins, lutein, beta-carotene, and polyphenols, found in some of the frozen vegetables and fruits, were higher than in fresh fruits and vegetables. The results of these researches have confirmed that the nutrients are not destroyed when the foods are frozen. It has been found that frozen broccoli lost 10% of its nutrients when preserved for one year, whereas fresh broccoli lost over 50% in just one week.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Free From Additive

When fruits and vegetables are frozen, no unwanted additives are used while packing them in bags. On the other hand, canned fruits and vegetables have a number of additives in them, even if no sugar or salt is used while preserving them. You can find these additives from fresh fruits and vegetables if you check them minutely, but you cannot find any added material on the fruits and vegetables preserved in freezers.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Are Very Easy To Use

If you like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables then you can visit a local market of farmers to get the produce of that season, but in the long run, you will find that it would have been better if you have bought frozen foods. Along with preserving the nutritional values, the frozen foods are easy to use as you need not wash, chop, or peel them. And for that reason, you can pour them directly on your plate to eat them instantly after taking them out of the freezer. The ease of using frozen vegetables and fruits has also been proved through a study on working women. According to this study, on average, almost one hour is spent every day by working woman for preparing, serving and eating the food and cleaning up afterward when she uses frozen fruits and vegetables. But when they use fresh fruits and vegetables then they have to spend at least one hour for preparing, serving and eating each meal. Actually, they save a lot of time to reach and prepare meals with frozen ingredients than fresh ingredients.

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Can Be Used Flexibly

You can use frozen fruits and vegetables stocked in your freezer in different ways as necessary. You can spread them on the whole-grain toast with butter or use them as a topping on your oatmeal recipe. You can also sauté them with some garlic, herbs, and extra virgin olive oil and add some brown rice pasta or a bit of quinoa or add them in your stir fry dishes as the main ingredient to make delicious recipes of your choice very quickly. Moreover, you can use frozen ingredients throughout the year even when their season is off. Fresh fruits and vegetables, you cannot use them in their offseason, unless they are imported from elsewhere.  

Frozen Fruit And Vegetables Take More Care Of Your Health

Though buying fresh fruits and vegetables is the best way to get nutrition, but it is not necessary. Nutritionists usually suggest eating 4-5 servings of vegetables and fruits every day to remain healthy.  According to a recent study, it has been proven that fruits and more vegetables and fruit are consumed by the people who buy frozen produce than those who buy fresh ones. It makes people eating frozen produce healthier than those using fresh produce as their intake of vitamins and minerals is higher.

There are a number of benefits of eating frozen vegetables and fruits, but that does not mean that you should avoid eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

How to Freeze Bake Ahead Homemade Pies

Some traditions are passed on to you, and then there are traditions you create. A tradition I have created is organizing a Thanksgiving dinner each year for my closest friends and relatives. I have done this for the last 18 years, and I have enjoyed every Thanksgiving dinner more than the one before. It is because I have become something of an expert over the years. I understand the importance of planning and organizing things in advance.

The holiday season is around the corner, and most of you will be welcoming guests into your house. No holidays are complete without a good pie. This blog is dedicated to all those house chefs who are worried about how they will manage to make a pie while entertaining all the guests. Read on to know how you can make your life easier by freezing and baking pies in advance.

How to Freeze a Homemade Pie

If you are planning to make a homemade pie in advance and freeze it, follow these simple steps.

Pick a Fruit-Based Pie Recipe

If you are going to make and freeze pie weeks or months in advance, I recommend you to pick a fruit-based pie recipe. While fruit-based pie recipes freeze well and retain the texture and flavor of the ingredients used, custard pies become soggy and lose their flavor if frozen and stored for long. Apart from fresh fruit pies, chocolate and mince pies also freeze well. Another thing that you must remember is: always use quality ingredients if you plan to freeze the cake you are making as excellent quality ingredients do not lose their flavor over time.

Assemble and Wrap The Pie

Once you have decided on the recipe and have all the ingredients, it’s time to assemble the pie and make it ready for freezing. Take a pie pan (aluminum or disposable are recommend) and cover it with the pie crust dough. Once done, add the filling and the thickener to the bottom crust of the pie. Next, place another layer of the dough and top it with another layer of the filling. Fold the edges of the pie into whatever shape you want to give it. Once your pie is assembled, you must wrap it properly. This is the area where many people make mistakes. Before freezing, the pie must be wrapped in at least two layers of plastic wrap, and any air present between the pie and wrapping must be diffused out. Add another layer of aluminum foil wrap on top. Creating a double-layered wrapping is vital to protect your pie from any moisture present. Freeze the pie. Your frozen pie will stay good for up to three months.

Tips on How to Freeze Homemade Pie and Mistakes to Avoid

If you are planning to host a large gathering, it is a good idea to make a pie in advance and freeze it. Here are a few tips to make your pie taste good and the mistakes to avoid while freezing it.

  • It is possible to freeze both baked as well as unbaked pies. While unbaked pies stay good for up to three months, baked pies can be used for up to four months. However, pies that are first baked and frozen often lose their authentic taste. Thus, it is always a better idea to freeze an unbaked pie.
  • Remove the pie from the freezer, take off all the wrappings, and place the pie directly into the preheated oven. For best taste, line the baking dish with some egg wash and sprinkle raw sugar on the top of the pie. The egg wash will give your pie a beautiful brownish golden color, and the sugar will add to its rich flavor.
  • Depending on the kind of pie you are making, add 20 to 25 minutes to the baking time given in the recipe. Since the pie is frozen, you will have to provide it with some extra time to bake.
  • Sometimes people freeze their pie with the icing on top. If you are planning to add any icing or decorations, do not add them while freezing. The best time to add these is right before you bake your pie.

Freezing pie and storing it is any day a good idea. Many chefs do it. If you are going to freeze your pie, be careful about the ingredients you are using. Also, make sure you have wrapped your pie well, and it is guarded well against any moisture in the surrounding air.

How to freeze homemade cookies

When you freeze cookies and dough for your holiday baking, you can enjoy stress-free schedules. These come in handy during holiday periods when you need a lot of time for activities such as buy, travel, and celebrate. Our easy-to-follow steps on how to freeze cookies and cookie dough and bake later help you freeze and bake when you are in a time crunch.

1. What type of cookies to freeze?

You can freeze almost every type of cookies cutouts, slice-bake, biscotti, and drop cookies. Avoid freezing cookies such as meringues that are decorated, filled, or have a delicate structure. You should also avoid freezing cookies that are coated with chocolate. A chocolate-coated cookie tends to form a boom, which is a white-colored layer on the surface when you freeze it.

2. How to freeze cookies?

After you bake your cookies, allow them to cool completely in the room temperature. Place these cooled cookies in a single line on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. You can stack multiple layers of cookies provided they are separated by parchment or wax paper. Store the lined up cookies in a freezer friendly zip lock storage bag. Before you close the bag, squeeze out any extra air in the bag and place it in the freezer. You can also label these bags with a name and date when you have many different types of cookies to freeze.

Whenever you like to taste the cookie, grab the cookies from the freezer and place it outside the freezer for a while to get rid of the coldness in the cookies. Allow it to attain the room temperature before you eat. You can also heat the frozen cookies in a microwave in a 10-second interval. You need to avoid heating decorated cookies.

3. How to freeze a cookie dough?

It is preferable to freeze a cookie dough instead of freezing the baked cookies. Frozen cookie dough allows you to make fresh homemade soft cookies with a nice smell, any time you need it. You can place the baked cookies or roll or cut the cookie dough in paper sheets lined with wax and place them in the freezer. You need to freeze them for an hour or so until it becomes firm hard. You can then transfer the frozen unbaked cookies or cookie dough in an airtight container or storage bag and freeze it. You can label this cookie dough or cookies when you have many doughs that look similar. You can store cookies or cookie dough in the freezer for up to 6 months, provided they are wrapped and stored properly.

However, if you need to complete the entire task of baking cookies in one shot, you need to bake the cookies and freeze them.

6 mistakes to avoid when freezing cookie dough.

1. Freezing a wrong cookie dough.

You can freeze all types of cookie dough except thin and delicate cookies such as lace, Florentines, pizzelle. The doughs for these cookies have watery batters and do not freeze well, whether they are baked or unbaked. It is preferable to make fresh batters for these types of cookies.

2. Not freezing cookie dough in the right method.

Depending upon the kind of cookie dough, you need to follow a different method to freeze it.

Drop cookie doughs should be rolled into balls on a baking sheet and frozen until it is firm and transfer it to an airtight container or a freezer bag.

Slice and bake doughs should be rolled into logs, tightly wrapped in waxed sheets, and placed in the freezer.

Cut out doughs can be shaped into discs, layered one upon the other, and separated by wax sheets. You can place these stacked discs in a plastic wrap and transfer to an airtight container.

3. Freezing cookies rolled in granulated or powdered sugar.

Freezing cookies that are rolled in sugar or granules make the sugar to clump. It forms an unpleasant coating on the cookies and an eyesore. To prevent this, you can roll your cookies on powdered sugar right before you pick them to eat.

4. Not baking for additional time.

Though you can bake frozen balls of drop cookies, slice and bake and cutout cookie doughs need to be placed outside the room temperature for a short while before you bake. Colder doughs need more time to bake, and you need to allow it to bake for few more minutes than the suggested baking time. Warming the dough helps you to get better-baked cookies when you use cold doughs.

5. Not freezing doughs first.

You need to freeze your baked cookies or cookie dough until it is firm using a baking sheet wax before you transfer them to a freezer bag or an airtight container. Otherwise, it might end up in a block of stuck cookies or cookie dough when you grab them out.

6. Thawing baked cookies in the same frozen containers.

When you thaw the baked cookies in the same container, you froze them, the lingering condensation from the frozen containers deposits on cookies, and make them soggy. You need to take out frozen baked cookies containers to separate plates lined with paper towels and place them at room temperature.

These simple tips enable you to create great homemade cookies and give you a lot of time for other holiday activities. You can grab out your cookies any time you need a variety of cookies within minutes.

Good Reasons To Eat Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a very healthy vegetable, packed with vitamins and fiber. It has a neutral taste so that it can be combined with almost all other types of food. It is low in calories, which makes it perfect for people who are on a food regime. Moreover, it is really easy to prepare, even if you are a complete beginner. Here are the biggest benefits of spaghetti squash:

Spaghetti squash is a great source of vitamins

It is loaded with vitamins! One cup of spaghetti squash contains 9% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Do we even need to mention vitamin C? It is crucial for our immune system, it is a great antioxidant, and it is great for skin as it prevents premature aging. One cup of spaghetti squash has 8% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the proper functioning of our brain and nervous system. Moreover, it activates some of the hormones responsible for our happiness level, and it can improve our mood and reduce the risk of depression. Spaghetti squash also contains other important nutrients such as manganese, potassium, niacin, and magnesium.

Spaghetti squash is low in calories

Spaghetti squash is perfect for people who want to lose weight or to eat healthily. This watery food is really low in calories but very rich in nutrients. It is difficult to say how many calories one spaghetti squash contains because they come in different sizes and shapes. But we can say how many calories there are in one cup of cooked spaghetti squash: it contains only 42 calories! On the other hand, one cup of traditional spaghetti (without any sauce) contains from 180 up to 220 calories. Now it is clear why more and more people opt for spaghetti squash, as a healthier alternative to spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash contains a lot of fiber

It is a great source of fiber. One cup of spaghetti squash has as much as 9% of the daily dose of fiber. It means that regular consumption of this vegetable can improve your digestive system, eliminate potential problems and lower your blood sugar level. Fiber also helps people who are trying to lose weight, and that’s one of the biggest benefits of this vegetable.

Spaghetti squash is easy to prepare

It is one of the easiest dishes to prepare, and it does not require advanced cooking skills. All you have to do is cut it in half and remove the seeds. Then you should add a little olive oil, salt, and spices and roast it in the oven at 400 F for about 45 minutes. As you can see, it is not time-consuming because while it is roasting you have time to do whatever you want. Once it is roasted, use a fork to make strands that look like spaghetti.

Spaghetti squash can be prepared in many different ways

Above we have described the easiest way to prepare spaghetti squash. You can also use it in various meals that require spaghetti or noodles as one of the ingredients. Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for both of them, and it does not change the flavor or consistency of the dish – it only lowers calorie intake. Spaghetti squash is the perfect solution for people who want to lower calorie intake without having to give up on their favorite meals. It is worth mentioning that it has a very mild flavor so that it can be combined or topped with various ingredients. That way, you can prepare it often, but it will not bore you. Some of the most popular toppings include cheese, veggies, and meatballs. But you can be creative and combine it with any other food that you like. You can not go wrong, and you may end up discovering a great new combination!

Now you should understand with more clarity why many doctors recommend spaghetti squash as a healthier substitute to spaghetti. It has a lot of benefits for your overall health, as well as the digestive system, weight loss, and youthful looks. Once when you try it and see how easy it is to prepare and combine with other food, you would wish you have tried it earlier!

How to Freeze a Homemade Pie: A Guide on Freezing Homemade Pies

One of the frequently asked questions is, “Can homemade pies be frozen? Well, the appropriate answer is Yes! Pies made at home can freeze wonderfully. There are several reasons to freeze your pies; for instance, you could be preparing pies in advance for a family dinner, an upcoming holiday, or looking to store some to eat later on. Regardless of the reason, the guide below is a recipe for enthralling freezing results.

we use the same baking method and ingredients most people use at home to roast our pies. Therefore, the steps below can apply for all our pies, and those baked similarly.

Freezing

  • Make and bake your pie in using disposal/recyclable pies pans.
  • After baking the until the pie is completely done, remove the pie from the oven and cool on a rack. Please ensure that the pie cools completely before proceeding.
  • Using an airtight freezer bag or plastic wrap, wrap and seal the cooled pie.
  • Place the wrapped pie in a freezer. To freeze thoroughly may take 24 hours or a little longer to freeze the pie fully.

Cook’s Note:

  • Pies take approximately 8 hours to cool fully. Checking on cool time guidelines is essential for the best results.

Storage Half-Life

When it comes to the storage half-life, you will get different estimates on how long the frozen pies can last. However, from our vast experience, we recommend the following time limits. Note that we have estimated the shortest period. Therefore, you can leave it for quite a little longer without worrying about its safety for consumption.

  • Frozen fruit pies are best served within six months.
  • Custard based pies should be served within three months once frozen.

Defrosting and Serving

If you check various sources, two main methods can be used to defrost and serve frozen homemade pies. Both methods work exceptionally well, but we like one of the methods since it is relatively convenient.

First Defrosting Method

  • Pre-warm the oven to more than 300.
  • Remove the pie from the freezer and unwrap the pie.
  • Remove any accumulated frost common on the top side of the pie.
  • Place the frozen pie in a baking sheet and place it in the preheated oven.

The baking times vary, so verifying doneness is essential. An easy way to check whether or not a pie is ready is to insert a knife to the center, remove and feel the temperature of the knife tip using your finger. If the knife is warm, your pie is ready for consumption. That said, the various baking times include;

  • 5” pie takes between 15 to 30 minutes
  • 7” pie takes between 30 to 50 minutes
  • 10” pie takes between 40 to 70 minutes.

Let the pie cool then serve.

Second Defrosting Method

This method takes much more time compared to the first method.

  • As usual, take out the frozen pie from the freezer and leave it for at least 5 to 6 hours
  • Unlike the first method, don’t remove the plastic wraps or airtight freezer bag. Defrost the pie with the wraps on it for approximately 4 to 5 hours or to room temperature. Doing this allows condensation to occur outside the plastic wrap instead of forming on the pie’s crust.
  • Once condensed, unwrap the pie and put it on a baking sheet.
  • Place the pie to heat in the oven for 30 minutes at 300. Note that the timing applies to all pies regardless of the size.
  • Remove the pie from the oven, place on a rack, and let the pie cool and serve.

Pie Freezing Do’s and Don’ts

Freezing pies can be as simple as the guide outlines above. However, there are some things to note when freezing your pie. Below are common dos and don’ts when freezing a pie.

  • Do label the pies with descriptions and dates of placing them in the freezer.
  • Do store the pies together and with other similar foods in the freezer.
  • Do freeze pies in individual portions, which makes it easy to thaw only what you need and shortens thawing time.
  • Do leave some air between the wrapped pies, which allows air to circulate freely.
  • Don’t freeze the pies while hot. Make sure that they cool before putting them in a freezer.
  • Don’t use extra-large containers.
  • Do squeeze all the extra air from freezer bags used to wrap the pie before sealing.

There you have it. We hope this guide will help you achieve better-frozen homemade pies. Observe the dos and don’ts for better results.

Yogurt making – temperature

When fermenting, yogurt must be kept around 110o F(43 o C). A cooler environment will not facilitate fermentation, and higher temperatures will kill the bacteria needed for fermentation.  Also, the maintenance of a consistent safe temperature keeps your yogurt safe to eat once finished. The best results are usually assured by the use of an incubator.