Weekly Bits: Thanksgiving Prep

Thanksgiving is just a few days away! This week's list of reader comments has two Turkey Day favorites -- mashed potatoes and gravy -- covered. Plus, an idea for the vegetarians and vegans. How are you keeping the holiday healthy?

"When boiling potatoes for mashed potatoes, add a couple cut-up parsnips and mash them right in with the butter and sour cream. Very good!" --Brian, via Facebook

"Tip: Nonstick pans seem to be gravy's evil foe. They just don't collect good 'golden brown and delicious' bits to flavor the gravy well. If you're having trouble getting flavorful gravy, consider whether your baking pan is working against you." --Julie

"I like the taste of flour, lightly browned, like my mom always made with her gravy, but I love the silky texture that cornstarch lends. So I start with a flour and butter roux, add hot broth and then season with dry thyme, black pepper and chicken bouillon granules. Stir and bring to a boil, then mix a corn starch and cold water slurry, which you add while whisking. You will never have a lump or a complaint, and it will be done in less than ten minutes." --Beth

"To add extra flavor to your gravy, add a bouillon cube. I thicken mine with flour mixed (very well) with water." --Jane

"My secret, if you will, to delicious gravy is to brown the flour before adding it to the drippings. Put several tablespoonfuls of regular flour in a dry skillet, and let it get to a medium brown color. (You have to keep a close eye on it so that it does not burn.) Using a regular table fork, stir the flour around in the pan as it browns using a kind of scraping motion to make sure all the flour is coming off the bottom of the skillet. When it has gotten to the desired medium brown color, remove it from the pan and set it aside in a small bowl. Then when you are ready to make the gravy, start with a cooled skillet--the one you used to brown the flour--and start with the flour that you have browned FIRST. The browning of the flour gives the gravy a wonderful nutty flavor as opposed to a sometimes gummy flavor you get using only white flour." --Melody

"My wife makes a mean stuffed acorn squash with basmati rice, pecans and cranberries, and a delicious vegan pumpkin pie that we top with Purely Decadent coconut milk ice cream. All to the delight of our omnivorous family and friends!" --Mike

TELL US: Have a food tip or creative cooking idea? Share it on the blog, Twitter or our Facebook page.

Keep Reading

Next Up

8 Healthy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving isn't all about the bird, make sure there are plenty of meatless options at your table for vegetarian guests.

Welcoming Vegetarians to Your Thanksgiving Table

You've got vegetarians coming over for Thanksgiving dinner -- what should you serve them?

The Veggie Table: Thanksgiving Tips for the Vegetarian

When you're the cook, you can make sure to serve options that fit your vegetarian diet, but if your host isn't serving a vegetarian Thanksgiving, don't despair. Here are some tips on how to navigate -- and still enjoy -- the feast.

The Veggie Table: Navigating Thanksgiving

Just because the traditional turkey tends to take center stage, it doesn't mean there can't be delicious plant-based options for main dishes and sides.

What's Cooking on Thanksgiving Live!

Get all of the recipes from your favorite Food Network stars featured on Food Network's Thanksgiving Live!

10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Armed with our top 10 turkey tips, you'll come out looking like a pro on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you're hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner or your fiftieth, these indispensable tips will help you turn out a terrific turkey.

"It's My Favorite Cooking Holiday" — Alex Shares Her Thanksgiving Traditions and Tips

Read an exclusive interview with Alex Guarnaschelli as the Iron Chef shares her take on the Thanksgiving feast.

Spatchcocking: Tyler Florence's Revolutionary Technique for Cooking Your Thanksgiving Turkey in 90 Minutes

Cook your Thanksgiving turkey in 90 minutes this year with Tyler Florence’s spatchcocking technique.

On TV

The Pioneer Woman

9:30am | 8:30c

Cupcake Wars

10am | 9c

Cake Wars

11am | 10c

Cake Wars

12pm | 11c

The Pioneer Woman

1:30pm | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30pm | 1:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

3:30pm | 2:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

4:30pm | 3:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

5:30pm | 4:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

6:30pm | 5:30c

Chopped

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

9pm | 8c

Beat Bobby Flay

10:30pm | 9:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

11:30pm | 10:30c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Beat Bobby Flay

1:30am | 12:30c

Beat Bobby Flay

2:30am | 1:30c

Mystery Diners

4:30am | 3:30c

Food Network Apps

In the Kitchen

Get over 70,000 FN recipes on all your mobile devices.

Facebook Messenger

Ask our bot for recipes, meal ideas and daily food trivia.

Amazon Echo

Just say "Alexa, enable Food Network skill" to get started.