The Perfect Stuffing

I just want to say that In yesterday’s post I mentioned how I will dedicate a blog post for all of my best/worst and horrible lists. In that post, I will continue to add updated links. I hope that makes sense?

Thanksgiving rolls around and you plan an impressive menu for your loved ones. Cooking the turkey requires scientific precision and a spreadsheet, and your cornucopia of sides is so bountiful that it could make the pilgrims cry. Your mashed potatoes are, quite simply, homemade heaven. So why, when it comes to stuffing, do so many of us bow out and reach for the Stove Top? It’s the most common chink in our armor.

For some of us, it’s a matter of cooking fatigue. If there’s a perfectly tasty—not to mention familiar—option, why put yourself out? At the end of the day does everything need to be made from scratch? While we’re all about hacks that make your time in the kitchen more treat than a chore, you may find that a DIY stuffing is an easy switch and one that elevates the whole meal.

Besides a fresh flavor and the pride of knowing your whole spread was made by you and yours with love, making your own means total control over the final product, and an opportunity to add your own expressive twist to an otherwise basic recipe.

We’ve rounded up the best tips for how to make stuffing, including tips for getting just the right texture, some fun flavor ideas, and hacks for keeping your stuffing stress-free.


Stick to Fresh Herbs

Got a pen ready? Here are your stuffing essentials grocery list: fresh sage, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, fresh parsley… Noticing a theme here? Getting your herbs fresh from the produce aisle or farmer’s market, rather than using dried herbs from the cabinet, will give you maximal flavor and fragrance. Be sure to cook your vegetables first, adding your herbs later in the game to avoid overcooking and losing that savory, aromatic profile.


But Not Fresh Bread

The one thing that shouldn’t be fresh in your stuffing is actually the main ingredient: your bread. Using a fresh loaf will inevitably become soggy in the cooking process, so it’s key to use stale bread that can stand up to the broth and the water released by your veggies as they simmer. You can ask your local bakery for yesterday’s bread to jumpstart the process, but should you find yourself in a pinch for time on the day of, you can always dry out your bread cubes in the oven to remove any extra moisture before you begin.


Add Fennel Sausage

Enhancing a standard stuffing recipe with pork or turkey sausage is a popular way to make a heartier, more meal-like dish. Choosing a fennel sausage has the additional benefit of adding a sweet, bitter flavor that can feel a bit more unique. Measuring by weight, use a 2:1 ratio of bread to sausage, sauteeing the meat separately until brown and mixing it in with your other ingredients just before baking.


Use a Sheet Pan

I’m sure you’re used to seeing stuffing served in a casserole dish fresh out of the oven, but I’m here to tell you that you have options! For a crispier texture, spread your ingredients out on a sheet pan, exposing more surface area directly to the oven’s heat. This is also a great time saver if your guests have arrived on time and hungry!


Stuff Your Turkey At The End

You’re just in time to learn the crucial difference between “stuffing” and “dressing” here in Turkey Terminology 101. While the two may look and taste quite similar and the terms are often used interchangeably, stuffing is cooked inside the turkey, while dressing is made in a separate casserole dish. Unless you’re an expert chef, it is much safer to make dressing on the side, to avoid contaminating it with undercooked poultry, or overcooking your turkey while trying to get your stuffing to cook inside. Like the final look of a stuffed turkey? Go ahead and stuff it at the last minute, once everything is cooked to code. After all, no one is thankful for Salmonella.


Go Beyond Celery

If it’s a subtle, classic stuffing you crave but have found the flavor a bit lacking, the simplest solution is to go beyond celery by adding celery leaves and celery root with this recipe from Martha Stewart. Chop one celery root into half-inch cubes and dice four celery stalks for every loaf of bread you use. Throw in a half cup of chopped celery leaves for enhanced flavor and texture. Leeks make a nice companion and can be included with garlic and freshly chopped sage for a bolder taste.


Go Gluten-free with Cornbread

While most recipes call for rustic french bread, these will certainly exclude any gluten-free guests. For a satisfying swap that everyone can enjoy, opt instead for a cornbread as your base. Though you can always begin with a store-bought cornbread, these can sometimes make the recipe overpoweringly sweet, not to mention less healthy. For more control, try making it yourself with the help of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Mix or another organic blend from your local health food store or aisle. Be sure to bake it a few days ahead of time so that it has time to dry out, and crumble it into your favorite recipe for a touch of southern flair!


Make it Vegetarian

Depending on how you cook, a Thanksgiving meal can either be a minefield or a masterpiece for a vegetarian. Sure, the turkey is off-limits, but if prepared thoughtfully, the side dishes can be all the meal they’ll need. Make sure the dressing is on the list of things they can eat by swapping out the standard turkey or chicken broth for a vegetarian chicken broth or vegetable broth with natural (MSG-free) vegan bouillon cubes.


Go Spicy with Chorizo

Say adios to bland stuffing by adding chorizo in this bold recipe! In a nonstick pan, saute your onions, celery, chorizo, and some poultry seasoning. Top it off with some jalapeno to turn up the heat, and swap out the standard herb selection (sage, rosemary, and thyme) with cilantro. Add it to your bread with chicken or turkey broth and you’ve got a spicy new twist on an old favorite. Trader Joe’s also offers a tasty vegan chorizo that could fool most meat-eaters.


Swap Bread with Wild Rice

Most recipes rely on bread to do the heavy lifting, but if you’re looking for an alternative, rice can do the trick! Some people like to do a combination of the two, while others stick to an all-rice version that, admittedly, can feel less like a stuffing and more like a casserole. Choose a long grain, wild rice—preferably a colorful mix like the one found in this delicious recipe from Epicurious—and consider keeping the flavors more traditional so that it still tastes, recognizably, like stuffing.


Add Eggs to Make it Drier

If you’re after a drier stuffing consistency, try adding one to three eggs into your recipe. Though stuffing can be perfectly delicious without them, eggs help your stuffing to keep its shape, so the more eggs you include, the sturdier your stuffing will be. Simply whisk them into your broth and pour the mixture over your bread before baking.


Try Oyster Dressing

Oyster dressing is a New England classic that dates back to the 1600’s. As its name suggests, it really must be served as a side—not cooked inside the turkey—for food safety reasons. For a more southern take, this can be made with cornbread and paired with cured, thick-cut bacon for a rich, smoky flavor. New Englanders and Southerners agree that the key to this recipe is adding reserved oyster liquor for enhanced flavor.


Coordinate with Cranberry

Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving treasure, so why not make you’re stuffing an homage to everyone’s favorite side dish? Subtle coordination will go a long way.


Pancetta

For a protein-rich alternative to your standard sausage stuffing, try adding two cups of finely diced pancetta to your basic mix of onion, celery, and herbs. Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis, This is a great ingredient to pair with a flavorful and herby Italian bread, like focaccia or ciabatta. Be sure to add a few cloves of garlic and to lean in a bit more heavily on the rosemary to really bring out the flavors.


Caramelize Your Onions

For any recipe that needs subtle enhancement, caramelizing your onions is a simple way to turn up the contrast on your salty-yet-sweet dial. Instead of cooking your onions with your herbs or other veggies, this means singling them out for some special treatment before you begin. Using one teaspoon of olive oil or butter per onion, lightly stir your sliced onions in a nonstick pan on low heat for 15-20 minutes until they release their sugars and lightly brown.


Combine Prosciutto with Pear

For another option that plays up the savory-sweet contrast, try EatingWell’s recipe that pears, ahem, pairs prosciutto and pear. Considering how strong these salty and saccharine flavors can be, they also maintain a lightness that feels elegant and balanced. For additional texture (and protein!) try adding a cup of walnuts to your recipe.


Remove the Crust

For a stuffing that soaks up the broth and herb flavor into every last corner and crevasse, try removing the crust and tearing your bread instead of cubing it. Besides avoiding any overly dry, crusty bites, your finished product will also have a more rustic look so your guests will recognize immediately that this is no boring old boxed stuffing.


Get Your Ratios Right

Not sure how much stuffing to make, and want to make sure everyone gets their fill? The rule of thumb is to make one cup of stuffing per pound of turkey, then add an extra serving or two on top of that, assuming you’d like leftovers. With those portions everyone should be, as they say, stuffed.


Use Buttermilk Biscuits

Biscuits and gravy will likely already be a fixture on your table, so why not try Clinton Kelly’s recipe that includes some of that buttery goodness in your stuffing? For a decidedly southern take on the dish, simply cut twelve buttermilk biscuits into cubes and gently mix them together with your other ingredients in the place of regular bread, taking care not to let them crumble and dissolve from overmixing!


Use Cake or Cupcake Tins

Everyone knows that gorgeous plating and presentation are half the battle when it comes to Thanksgiving. You want your family and friends to see just how much love and effort you put into this meal—after all, you’ve just spent hours in the kitchen! Try portioning out and baking your stuffing in cupcake tins to make individual “biscuits”, or using a bundt cake tin to give your dressing an elegant shape before serving your guests a slice!


Try Mushrooms

For a hearty, protein-like texture that skips the meat, try using mushrooms in your dressing! Epicurious also adds leeks and parmesan cheese to create a savory, umami profile that still feels reasonably healthy without all that pork sausage to slow you down. Though white button mushrooms will do the trick, a melange of wild mushrooms will create a more colorful, rustic look and varied texture.


Brave the Giblets

This one is not for the faint of heart. While many stuffing recipes call for turkey drippings, this one calls for every last part of the turkey, including the neck, heart, liver, and gizzard. Simply chop these parts into small cubes and simmer on low heat along with your onions and celery until the meat browns. Add the liver last along with your broth, and allow it to simmer for another 25 minutes or so. Pour the mixture over your bread, and pat yourself on the back for a zero-waste Thanksgiving.


‘Sweat’ Your Veggies

One common mistake people make out of habit is browning their vegetables before adding them to their bread. The whole dish will continue to cook once it’s in the baking pan, so it’s better to “sweat” your vegetables instead, cooking them lightly enough that they release their moisture and aromas but do not reach the point of browning.


Pair With a Chutney

If you’ve gone entirely savory for your stuffing recipe, try preparing a chutney on the side to add a touch of sweetness. Figs, prunes, dates, or apricots offer complimentary flavors that can add a new dimension to your dish, without requiring much-added sugar! Never made chutney before? Try this delicious fig chutney recipe from Food Network


Roast Butternut Squash

No Autumn meal is complete without a helping of butternut squash, and luckily, it makes an excellent addition to stuffing. Lending a moist, fluffy texture and a sweet, rich flavor, butternut squash has the added benefit of being filling without all of the carbs of an all-breed recipe. Don’t be shy with your chopped garlic, rosemary, and sage, and top it off with a cup of crushed nuts! Get started with this simple and healthy recipe from Lemon Tree Dwelling.


Use a Slow Cooker

Want to make stuffing, but avoid the logistical nightmare of adding even one more dish into your oven rotation? Try cooking it in a slow cooker. Besides the fact that it frees up crucial oven space, you can also prep and cook this way in advance, letting it sit on low heat virtually all day without the risk of burning it.


Swap Bread for Quinoa

Okay, so it’s not what your grandma made growing up, but quinoa is a superfood and it ticks a lot of boxes: it’s highly nutritious, vegan, gluten-free, hearty, and my goodness if it isn’t tasty… Try it in the place of bread, using the broth, veggies, herbs, and eggs to bind it with that familiar stuffing flavor. This squash and quinoa recipe from The New York Times is a great place to begin.


Go Mediterranean

If the standard menu of turkey, stuffing, potatoes and string beans has begun to feel a bit drab and predictable, it may be time to transport your Thanksgiving table to a sunnier destination. Try a Mediterranean-inspired take on stuffing, using chopped artichokes, lemon, and sun-dried tomatoes. These flavors nicely complement the rosemary and sage already present in your tried and true stuffing but shift the flavor profile to something a bit brighter and tangier.


Keep it Casual with a New York Theme

Nothing says New York like soft pretzels and bagels, and both have a perfect consistency for an extra-hearty stuffing recipe, like this one from The Chew‘s Carla Hall! If you happen to actually live in New York City, these things are also very easy to acquire on short notice, and are the perfect addition to the casual, city-dweller’s “friends-giving.” For a classic and unmistakably “New York” flavor, grab some everything bagels and enjoy that salty, onion-and-garlic-y goodness. Kids will also approve!


Experiment with Broths

Sure, the bread takes up the most space, and the fresh herbs are often heralded as the star of the show, but the true, unsung hero of a good stuffing is a rich, flavorful broth. Everyone’s taste here is different, but the key is to remember that you have choices! Bone broths, low sodium broths, chicken broths, turkey broths, veggie broths, homemade giblet broths! Go forth, and discover your own signature taste. Your new tradition starts now.


Final Thoughts

I  hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can contact me through all the links in the sections I mentioned above and the links I have under this section.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

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Microwaveable Thanksgiving Sides

If you’re new to my blog hello how are you and welcome back if you’ve been with me for a while. I’ve done a series called the best and worst of something or sometimes I use the word horrible. When I do those type of posts I always link them at the end of those type posts. I realize not everyone may read that far down. So what I am going to do Is I will be posting just the bad and worst of something so that way If you are curious about something you can use that posts as a reference and as I continue the series I will continue to add the new best and worst of posts to that specific post I will keep you all updated as I update It I hope all of this makes sense?


The typical American spends nearly quadruple more time sweating in the kitchen on Thanksgiving compared to a typical weekend day, according to the USDA. Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas, I get it: the roasted centerpiece takes long enough. So save time ( I know that you know that I know that you do)—and oven space—by hitting the “easy button” with these showy side dishes that can be cooked completely in your microwave.

I will cover everything from soups and salads to bread and dips, these microwave recipes will make your holidays far less stressful.


Paleo Pumpkin English Muffins

Paleo pumpkin muffinsSteering clear of wheat or maybe you or someone you know Is gluten-free? Bake a batch of these quick pumpkin English muffins. Made with coconut flour and cashew flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour, these muffins are gluten-free and Paleo-friendly. And the pumpkin puree and pie spice make them tender and tasty, too. Running to the Kitchen’s base recipe is for one, so simply multiply by the number of people sharing your table and cook each in a separate ramekin.

Get the recipe from Running to the Kitchen.


Microwave Cheddar and Herb Biscuit in a Mug

Microwave cheddar muffin

If you have 60 seconds, then you have all the time you need to “bake” Bigger Bolder Baking’s savory muffins in your microwave. A pat of butter and a couple spoonfuls of cheddar cheese lend a crumbly, rich texture worthy of your holiday menu. Present them in an eclectic array of microwave-safe mugs to fit the party vibe.

Get the recipe from Bigger Bolder Baking.


Low-Carb Keto Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Mashed cauliflowerCourtesy of Wholesome Yum

Instead of serving your go-to mashed potatoes, why not swap the carby side for mashed cauliflower? Wholesome Yum recommends using the veggie’s florets, microwaving them until fully cooked, and squeezing out all of the water after microwaving. These three secrets to success will leave you with a creamy, keto-friendly spud swap that’s perfect for pairing with any entrée.

Get the recipe from Wholesome Yum


2-Ingredient Queso Dip

Queso dipCourtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Cheese, please! Gimme Some Oven’s queso is ideal for casual holiday parties. Cream cheese and salsa verde make snack magic once warmed together in the microwave. Serve this dunkable side dish with a platter of crudites and multicolored whole grain tortilla chips.

Get the recipe from Gimme Some Oven


Grape and Bacon Goat Cheese Pops

Grape bacon cheese popsCourtesy of That’s So Michelle

Savory, sweet, salty, and tart all at once, a platter of these bite-sized snacks will disappear quicker than the last glass of eggnog. The only cooking required is crisping up the bacon in the microwave for the crumbly coating that surrounds the goat cheese-wrapped grapes. We’re not forgetting about the entrée!

Get the recipe from That’s So Michelle.


Healthy Russian Olivier Salad

Russian saladCourtesy of Wholesome Yum

Wholesome Yum’s twist in the classic Russian Olivier salad is a mainstay at holiday gatherings. And after skimming the easy instructions, we can understand why. The cauliflower and carrots are the only micro-cooked components, which get tossed with pickles, eggs (pro tip: buy them hard-boiled), peas, and a mayo-based dressing. The result is an upgrade on the picnic favorite potato salad in a dinner party-worthy package.

Get the recipe from Wholesome Yum


Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Kale Salad

Strawberry kale saladCourtesy of One Ingredient Chef

Come holiday season, it’s fitting to serve a salad inspired by dessert! Sure, you could just sprinkle a handful of candied pecans over romaine but we know you’d rather plate this red and green recipe from One Ingredient Chef. The kale, strawberries, and mint are refreshing and raw—and serve as a nice complement to the cocoa-powder-infused balsamic dressing. Microwave the vinegar, maple syrup, and cocoa for a few seconds to help them incorporate easily.

Get the recipe from One Ingredient Chef.


Microwave Pizza Dip

Microwave pizza dipCourtesy of The Seasoned Mom

Since three kinds of cheese are better than one, this kid-friendly side dish dreamed up by The Seasoned Mom features cream cheese on the bottom as well as mozzarella and Parmesan on top. In between the two, layer marinara sauce, turkey pepperoni, and your go-to veggie toppings. Then, microwave it for two minutes and pair with a “crust” of toasted baguette slices or warm breadsticks.

Get the recipe from The Seasoned Mom.


Roasted Butternut Squash Carrot Soup

Squash carrot soupCourtesy of Blender Happy

Blender Happy proves that you can use your blender for more than just smoothies with this winter squash and carrot soup. Start with leftover roasted vegetables from last night’s dinner and blend with broth and garlic for a bisque-like bowl. For those who own a blender without a built-in cooking function, microwave each bowl before serving for one minute or until warm.

Get the recipe from Blender Happy.


Edamame Avocado Hummus

Edamame avocado hummusCourtesy of Well Plated

Get your greens with Well Plated’s guacamole-inspired hummus. First, microwave thawed edamame (which adds protein and thickens the texture), then blend with avocado, cilantro, and other healthy holiday ingredients. The result is packed with healthy, satisfying fats that will keep you from reaching for a second slice of pie.

Get the recipe from Well Plated.


One-Minute Brown Rice Risotto

Brown rice risottoCourtesy of Dinner Then Dessert

Normally, risotto requires many minutes of repetitive stirring and sweating over the stove—but this 60-second side requires just the opposite. Ready-to-serve brown rice, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese help it taste like you spent hours in the kitchen. You’re the only one who needs to know it was done quicker than a Christmas carol.

Get the recipe from Dinner Then Dessert.


Crunchy Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Cous cous saladCourtesy of Laughing Spatula

After microwaving the grains for Laughing Spatula’s veggie-centric couscous and chickpea salad, fold them together with the fiber-rich legume, plus broccoli, cucumber, tomato, and red bell pepper. Add a handful of feta for a salty kick and a splash of lemon vinaigrette for salad guests will reach to for seconds.

Get the recipe from Laughing Spatula.


Holiday Crab Dip

Crab dipCourtesy of Flour on My Face

 Okay, seafood, with Flour on My Face’s Old-Bay-seasoned crab dip. Cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo join forces in the decadent base while canned crab makes it a cinch to stir together in a flash. Warm your bones by serving this creamy side dish straight from the microwave and pair it with a basket of crackers or old bay-dusted buttery biscuits. Because cheat meals don’t count during the holidays, right?

Get the recipe from Flour on My Face.


Broccoli Salad

Broccoli saladCourtesy of Mama Loves Food

Since everything is better with bacon, add Mama Loves Food’s festively-hued salad to your holiday spread. Hot-from-the-microwave bacon lends savory, salty goodness into each and every bite. Sunflower seeds, carrots, dried cranberries, and a mayo-based dressing help this taste just like the broccoli salad of your childhood potluck memories.

Get the recipe from Mama Loves Food.


BBQ Bacon Ranch Football Cheese Ball

Football bacon cheese dipCourtesy of Julie’s Eats and Treats

This cheesy side is a surefire trophy-winner if you’re hosting a squad of sports fans to watch the on-field action during your holiday gathering. Inspired by the winning combination of bacon (the only microwaved ingredient) and ranch, this cheese ball recipe combines a barbecue-flavored cream cheese, a pecan-studded coating, and string cheese “laces” for extra points.

Get the recipe from Julie’s Eats and Treats.


Microwave Hot Cross Bun

Hot cross buns

Yes, hot cross buns exist beyond the song you learned on the piano in music class! Big Man’s World’s hot cross buns are remarkably versatile with Paleo, gluten-free, and vegan variations. They’re also appropriate parallel to dinner or even as a sweet dessert. Microwave the dried-fruit-flecked buns in mugs or bowls and finish with a cross of protein-packed frosting.

Get the recipe from Big Man’s World.


Final  Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can ALWAYS find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you may know is looking for one on one coaching you can always contact me from the mentioned links in the above section. If you just have some general questions you can always comment on the said post or you can contact me whichever you feel comfortable.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

Why You Should Eat Spaghetti Squash And How To Cook It

We’ve all been there: You see the giant yellow squash in the store and are instantly reminded of all the low-carb meals you came across on Pinterest, but you’ve never actually mustered the courage to tackle the sought-after veggie. To help you finally sub your go-to box of noodles with this low-calorie alternative. Not only is it a delicious low-carb alternative to your favorite pastas, but it’s also jam-packed with skin-healing vitamin A, energizing B vitamins, flu-fighting vitamin C, and bone-protecting calcium.


How to cook spaghetti squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all seeds, being careful not to remove the flesh.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place cut side down on baking sheet and into the oven for one hour.
  5. With a fork, gently remove the flesh of the squash, almost fluffing it. Try not to go at it too hard—you want to keep all the strands intact to give it that spaghetti look.

 Tip: If you leave the skin intact, you can put squash back in and use that skin to hold it as a vessel, and it also makes for nice plating.

Now that the squash strands are removed from the skin, you can use them in any way that you would use spaghetti! The options are truly endless. Seeking a keto-friendly spaghetti squash dinner? Just mix the “noodles” or also called “zoodles” with marinated Cabecou cheese and a spicy pesto—you can even add an extra protein punch to the dish by tossing it with sliced grilled chicken or roasted salmon.


Should you replace wheat pasta with spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squashBesides for the plethora of vitamins and nutrients that the winter veggie provides, swapping a two-ounce serving of conventional wheat-based spaghetti for the same size serving of spaghetti squash will save you over 180 calories. That means you’ll have more room to pile the spaghetti squash high (it’s less calorie-dense than traditional pasta) and make more room for fun sauces and toppings. If you’re not too keen on giving up your tried-and-true carb altogether, opt for experimenting with mixing a half serving of regular noodles with a few handfuls of spaghetti squash—you’ll get the best of both worlds!


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. You can always email me you can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you know is looking for one on one coaching you can reach me at all the links that I mentioned above.


 Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂

The Best Pies Around

We Taste Tested 5 Store-Bought Pie Crusts, and This Is the Best One

Is there anything better than a piece of pie? Sure, cake has its moments, but there’s something about a decadent pie that really feels rustic and homemade. I know not everyone has time to bake a pie from scratch or who just don’t feel like baking pies from scratch because Ingredients could cost a lot of money? (or Is it just me that baking ingredients from scratch cost a lot of money), so why not take a few shortcuts (nothing wrong with some shortcuts here and there)? With a store-bought frozen pie crust, you’ll have a pastry that’s ready in less than 15 minutes so you can focus your time on the star of the show: the filling. Gone are the days when you have to make your dough by hand. With the right pick, you can have that homemade taste you want in less time. But how do you find the best-frozen pie crust?

I got some of my taste testers to test frozen pie options to see which ones could actually fool someone into thinking the whole pie was homemade (it’ll be our little secret). To see what pie was crowned the winner, and no one will know you cut serious prep time off your pie.


How We Graded Them

These are the three metrics we used to determine each pie crust’s final grade.

Nutrition

I know pie is an indulgence and a true treat (unless it’s cake there is no wrong time for cake), so I didn’t put too much weight on this metric. If you’re going to have a slice of pie, you might as well make sure you’re having the best piece possible and really treat yourself.

Consistency

With crust, it’s all about a good flake and a solid structure that can hold up to fillings. When we tried these pie shells, we paired them with a simple vanilla pudding so we could really taste the pastry and see how it held up to a creamy filling. Though not a determining factor, we also looked at how decorative or homemade each crust appeared. Did it have fancy crimped or zigzagged edges, or did it have a more plain, homespun style?

Taste

Of course, the taste was my taste testers top determining factor. I looked for pie crusts that had a buttery, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth taste that had them going back for more.


From Worst… To Best

Best Yet Deep Dish Pie Crusts in 9-inch Pie Pans (2-Pack)

best yet tender and flaky pie crust

PER 1/8 CRUST (21 G): 90 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

 Verdict:

This was far from the best choice for store-bought pie crust. My testers said this pick was too dry for their liking, and it left an aftertaste they didn’t like. They thought there wasn’t a good natural flavor to it either, so if you’re looking for a crust that makes you think of your grandmother’s homemade desserts, you’re better off looking elsewhere or baking your own if you are into that type of thing?


Wholly Wholesome Organic Traditional 9″ Pie Shells (2-Pack)

wholly wholesome organic pie shells

PER 1/8 CRUST (25 G): 120 calories, 7 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 85 mg sodium, 12 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein

 Verdict:

My taste testers loved the definition along the edges of this pie, saying it could fool someone into thinking it was homemade (maybe they never had homemade pie before or maybe this is the closest thing that resembles homemade)?  This crust had a good structure to it, so it could definitely hold some weightier pie ingredients, like apple slices and peaches. It kept a crunchy texture without being hard. Though we liked the denser feel of this pick, my taste testers found that it was only “ok” and that nothing really stood out about it, so they weren’t as excited to go back for another piece.


Mrs. Smith’s 9″ Deep Dish Flaky Pie Crusts (2-Pack)

mrs smiths nine inch deep dish flaky pie crusts

PER 1/8 CRUST (28 G): 130 calories, 8 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 90 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (0 g fiber, 2 g sugar), 1 g protein

 Verdict:

This popular brand gave just enough sweet crust flavor to keep my taste testers satisfied, without being too overpowering. It really let the filling shine through, without being too bland. The crimped edges were a nice touch to this crust, and it had a dense, weighty crust that felt substantial—I could tell it wouldn’t crumble under a filling.


Pillsbury Pet Ritz 9″ Regular Pie Crusts (2-Pack)

pillsbury pet ritz regular pie crust

PER 1/8 CRUST (18 G): 80 calories, 4 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 9 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), less than 1 g protein

 Verdict:

My taste testers said this Pillsbury pick looked and tasted more homemade, and the flaky texture made us feel like we were really eating a made-from-scratch pie. However, if you’re looking for a showcase-worthy pie, this isn’t your pick. Unlike my other options, there was no definition to the perimeter of this pie in the form of crimped edges or zigzagged patterns to dress it up. However, taste is more important than presentation, and though this was a thinner crust than the others, it had a buttery, decadent texture that they loved.


The Maine Pie Co. Ready-to-Bake Gluten-Free 9″ Pie Shells (2-Pack)

the maine pie co gluten free pie crust

PER 1/8 CRUST (25 G): 100 calories, 6 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

 Verdict:

Surprise: The best-frozen pie crust turned out to be a gluten-free option from The Maine Pie Co. With neat, crimped edges and a homemade taste, we had to crown this pie crust our winner. One tester remarked that this crust was “good to eat, even without the filling,” and another said they wanted to go back for more. The sweet (but not too sweet) taste reminded them of a sugar cookie, and this sturdy pie shell had a flavor they couldn’t get enough of. It wasn’t as crisp as some of our other picks (it didn’t give them a definitive “snap” when we cut into it), but the taste was spot-on and could easily be paired with fruits, puddings, and other fillings. It held together nicely, it looked the best, and it tasted homemade—what else could you want?


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have feel free to reach out. You can always find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can always find my social media links in the “Wher You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you know may be looking for one on one coaching please feel free in reaching out you can find all of my links mentioned in the section above.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

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Bottled Teas That You Should Stay Away From

Welcome back to another worst list or sometimes I call it horrible food or products that you need to stay away from for good. Today I will be covering some popular teas that I’m pretty sure you or someone you may know drink even if it’s on a cheat day. This list explains why these teas made the really really bad tea list. The teas mentioned in today’s post you need to stay away from at all times. These teas aren’t safe to drink even in moderation. Please past on this list to all of your favorite tea drinkers.

Don’t get me wrong. Scientists have amassed a volume of research showing that teas possess significant health benefits. Brewed teas contain antioxidants such as polyphenols, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), and catechins, which have been found to help rev your metabolism, block the formation of new fat cells, fight off diseases and even minimize cell damage, aging, and risk of stroke. But don’t let these facts justify your bottled tea purchase—because not all teas are created equal hence why this list now exists you are welcome.

In fact, a recent study found that you’d have to drink 20 bottles of store-bought tea to get the same amount of antioxidants present in just one home-brewed cup. And even though versions packaged with an acid like lemon juice or citric acid can help stabilize these antioxidant levels, an independent lab test by ChromaDex found that more than half of the nutrients had disappeared from acid-spiked flavors within three months of shelf life.

Plus, because companies know that the disease-fighting polyphenols have a slightly bitter, astringent taste, they tend to add more water—instead of actual brewed tea—to their products. Add that to all the sugar that’s injected into these generously-portioned bottles, and any health benefits you once imagined vanish into thin air.

While I highly recommend steeping your own at home to reap the fat-fighting benefits, if you do choose to grab a bottle off the shelf, make sure it’s not one of these diet-derailing options—some of which are worse than a can of soda. To be considered for a spot on our worst list, the following teas had to serve up over 35 grams of sugar. That’s more than 70 percent of the FDA’s newly updated daily recommended intake of added sugars, which peaks at 50 grams of the sweet stuff. Read on to find which brands to avoid for each of your favorite flavors.


WORST LEMON FLAVORS

Pure Leaf Lemon Flavored Tea

Worst bottled teas Pure Leaf Lemon

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 160 calories, 0 mg sodium, 41 g carbs (41 g sugar)

No actual lemons were used in the making of this tea.


Gold Peak Lemon Flavored Tea

Worst bottled teas Gold Peak Lemon

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 40 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (45 g sugar)

Gold Peak flavors win top honors for being the worst iced tea brand out there. They use a brewed tea concentrate, boost the appearance of tea with caramel color, and worst of all, they jam-pack their bottles with added sugars. Just 5 grams short of your entire day’s recommended intake can be found in this bottle.


Brisk Lemon Flavor Iced Tea

Worst bottled teas brisk lemon

Nutrition: Per 24 fl oz bottle, 160 calories, 210 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (40 g sugar)

If you had to guess how many ingredients are in lemon tea, what would you guess? Lemon, tea, water, sugar…so, uh, four? Well, this one’s got 14. Just no.


WORST HALF TEA & HALF LEMONADES

Snapple Half ‘N Half

Worst bottled teas Snapple Half

Nutrition: Per 16 fl oz bottle, 210 calories, 10 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (50 g sugar)

Also known as an “Arnold Palmer” after the golf legend, this beverage is a mix of iced tea and lemonade. Now, the trademark drink is sold by AriZona, but companies like Snapple appease their lemonade-loving customers by selling a similar recipe under the name “half and half.” You’re better off picking up the AriZona one, which is lower in sugar; this Snapple one serves up a day’s worth of added sugars.


Gold Peak Lemonade Tea

Worst bottled teas Gold Peak Lemonade

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 220 calories, 50 mg sodium, 55 g carbs (54 g sugar)

Just before you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Gold Peak got into the game. This beverage has more sugar than 15 Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.


WORST SOUTHERN-STYLE SWEET TEAS

Gold Peak Sweet Tea

Worst bottled teas Gold Peak Sweet Tea

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 190 calories, 50 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (48 g sugar)

Winner winner chicken dinner! Gold Peak is top of the pack when it comes to pouring sugar into their sweet teas. A mere 18 ounces of liquid comes complete with 12 teaspoons of the sweet stuff—that’s more than the notoriously sweet Mountain Dew!


AriZona Sweet Tea

Worst bottled teas AriZona Sweet Tea

Nutrition: Per 16 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 20 mg sodium, 46g carbs (46 g sugar)

When Southerners first invented sweet tea, they probably used real lemons, real sugar, and real tea; not citric acid, ascorbic acid, high fructose corn syrup, and natural flavors.


Snapple Sweet Straight Up Tea

Worst bottled teas Snapple Sweet Straight Up Tea

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 10 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (44 g sugar)

Sorry, but it’s too easy: This tea is straight up sugar.


WORST PEACH

Pure Leaf Peach Tea

Worst bottled teas Pure Leaf Peach

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 0 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (46 g sugar)

I’m not really sure why manufacturers like dumping loads of sugar into peach teas. Peaches aren’t even in the top 10 when it comes to fruits with the most sugar. Plus, none of the sugar even comes from real peaches anyway; Pure Leaf just uses “natural peach flavor” to replicate the taste of the summer stone fruit.


Snapple Peach Tea

Worst bottled teas Snapple Peach Tea

Nutrition: Per 16 fl oz bottle, 160 calories, 10 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (39 g sugar)

If you’d like to guzzle down 78 percent of your daily recommended added sugar intake in just 16 ounces, as Snapple would say, to peach their own.


Gold Peak Peach Tea

Worst bottled teas gold peak peach

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 35 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (45 g sugar)

Gold Peak claims a “home-brewed taste,” but I don’t remember having natural flavors and caramel color in my pantry do you?


WORST ORGANIC PRODUCT

Honest Tea Organic Raspberry Tea

Worst bottled teas honest tea

Nutrition: Per 16.9 fl oz bottle, 100 calories, 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (26 g sugar)

It may be certified organic, with fair trade black tea leaves, but just because the cane sugar is organic doesn’t mean you can guzzle this iced tea down without a care. Although it has significantly less sugar than the rest of the drinks on this list, it still has over half a day’s worth of your added sugars—not great. That being said, not all Honest products are bad. In fact, their Honey Green Tea has the highest amount of free-radical-fighting catechins out of any bottled green tea product.


WORST EXCUSES FOR TEA

Brisk’s Mango and Raspberry Iced Teas

worst teas brisk

BRISK MANGO ICED TEA

Nutrition: Per 24 fl oz can, 140 calories, 200 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (38 g sugar)

BRISK RASPBERRY ICED TEA

Nutrition: Per 24 fl oz bottle, 140 calories, 160 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (38 g sugar)

Nothing’s a-brewing over here. Brisk attains the taste of tea with either a tea powder or instant tea (which isn’t even in the top five ingredients in the Raspberry flavor). On top of that, because the raspberry or mango is only a flavor—and not actual fruit—the appearance of the claimed taste is made by adding potentially-carcinogen-containing caramel color, and oil-derived colors like red 40 and yellow 5, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

Oh, and did we mention there are 16 ingredients? Why? Many are preservatives, others are artificial dyes, and the rest are sugars or artificial sweeteners which have been linked to disrupting your gut composition, a common precursor to weight gain.


SoBe Elixir Green Tea Flavored Beverage

Worst bottled teas sobe green tea

Nutrition: Per 20 fl oz bottle, 200 calories, 55 mg sodium, 52 g carbs (51 g sugar)

Rather than brewed tea, SoBe just adds a green tea extract this brew. Which is enough to mislead customers into thinking their product may provide the same fat-burning benefits as the real stuff. Alas, this beverage is basically just caramel color, natural flavor and an entire day’s worth sugar—supplemented with extra sweetness from stevia extract.


WORST SUGAR OFFENDERS

AriZona Iced Tea With Peach Flavor

AZ peach

Nutrition: Per 23 fl oz can, 259 calories, 25 mg sodium, 69 g carbs (69 g sugar)

You don’t even need to be called out for being “Extra Sweet” to pack in a staggering 69 grams of sugar—120 percent of your daily recommended intake of the sweet stuff—if you’re this AriZona brew. Even opting for the smaller bottle won’t be much of a help. Oh and those peaches you see on the can? They’re just natural flavor.


Pure Leaf Extra Sweet Tea

Worst bottled teas Pure Leaf Extra Sweet

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 250 calories, 0 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (65 g sugar)

One trick that really deserves a place. Stay away from anything with the words “extra” and “sweet.”


AriZona Extra Sweet Green Tea

Worst bottled teas AriZona Extra Sweet Green

Nutrition: Per 23.5 fl oz bottle, 264 calories, 29 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (65 g sugar)

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all green tea products possess the slimming antioxidants which help keep you fit. This premium brewed green tea is all but wasted by AriZona’s use of high fructose corn syrup—and little of the “honey” they claim on the label.


WORST FOR WEIGHT LOSS

AriZona Lemon Iced Tea With Lemon Flavor

Worst bottled teas arizona lemon

Nutrition: Per 23 fl oz can, 259 calories, 29 mg sodium, 72 g carbs (69 g sugar)

Whether you opt for the small bottle or a tall can, this tea is bad news for your body goals because of its unreasonably high-calorie content. And since tea is naturally low in calories, you can blame the high energy count almost solely on the addition of high fructose corn syrup.


MOST MISLEADING LABELING

 

Arnold Palmer “Lite”

Arnold palmer lite

Nutrition: Per 23 fl oz can, 144 calories, 29 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (37 g sugar)

AriZona claims this beverage has “⅓ fewer calories” but this lite version is still full of waist-widening sugar—even though it is lower in calories compared to some of AriZona’s other brews. Unfortunately, the lower calories, but same sweetness you love, comes from adding artificial sweeteners like sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which has been found to cause tumors in rats during studies.


Tazo Black Tea Mango

Worst bottled teas Tazo Black Tea Mango

Nutrition: Per 13.8 fl oz bottle, 150 calories, 15 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (37 g sugar)

The clean-cut label with real tea leaves and slices of mango on the packaging makes this brew look natural and healthy. It may be natural, but it certainly isn’t healthy. With over 75 percent of your daily recommended intake of added sugars in such a small bottle, you’re better off sipping on a cup of home-brewed black tea and biting into a real mango (complete with all that satiating fiber) instead.


Arnold Palmer “Real Sugar”

Arnold palmer real sugar

Nutrition: Per 16.9 fl oz bottle, 148 calories, 21 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (44 g sugar)

It may be made with real sugar (and it does have less of the stuff than AriZona’s high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened variety), but there is still over three-quarters of your daily limit of added sugars in these drinks. The good thing is that sugar has less fructose than HFCS, so these beverages “made with real sugar” will have less of the simple carb which directly contributes to fatty liver disease and insulin resistance.


WORST SIP FOR GREEN TEA LOVERS

Gold Peak Green Tea

Worst bottled teas Gold Peak Green Tea

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 140 calories, 40 mg sodium, 36 g carbs (35 g sugar)

Green tea is one of my FAVORITE teas for weight loss because of its fat-fighting antioxidants. Unfortunately, you won’t get much of those benefits by drinking this watered down, flavored, and sugar-laden beverage. Instead, brew your own at home to reap the waist-trimming benefits.


WORST USE OF FRUIT

Tazo Tazoberry

Worst bottled teas Tazoberry

Nutrition: Per 13.8 fl oz bottle, 150 calories, 15 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (37 g sugar)

I do appreciate that Tazo uses real black tea (instead of a powder or extract), but adding apple and raspberry concentrate juices is really just adding more sugar to the tea—and it’s the bad kind. Fruit juice concentrates have a high concentration of a sugar known as fructose, which our body turns into fat and inflammatory compounds more easily than it does with the other common sugar, glucose. Experts believe that fructose is to blame for the increase in rates of metabolic disorders and fatty liver disease.


Pure Leaf Raspberry Flavor Tea

Worst bottled teas Pure Leaf Raspberry

Nutrition: Per 18.5 fl oz bottle, 180 calories, 0 mg sodium, 46 g carbs (46 g sugar)

When I say the worst use of fruit, in this case, I MEAN in the name. This tea doesn’t actually have any raspberry in it. The disguise is provided by adding “natural flavor.”


SALTIEST

Brisk Honey Ginseng Green Tea

Worst bottled teas Brisk Honey Ginseng Green

Nutrition: Per 24 fl oz bottle, 140 calories, 250 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (38 g sugar)

This bottle of iced tea has more sodium than two bags of salted chips. That’s thanks to the fourth ingredient, sodium hexametaphosphate (The US FDA notes that this additive may be used in paper and paperboard food packaging and that any Sodium Hexametaphosphate migrating to food from the food packaging is “generally recognized as safe.” Due to the possible health effects of this additive, do not consume in high concentrations), which is said to be added to “protect flavors.” Are they talking about the “natural flavors” and “caramel color?”


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? I want to just say that I’m not saying that you can’t drink these teas all I am saying is to limit these teas to maybe a couple times a year. If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, In general, please feel free in reaching out and I will be more than happy to answer any questions, comments or concerns you may have. You can find my email in the “Thank You” section and you can find all of my social media links In the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you know is looking for one on one coaching that may need help starting a healthier lifestyle or stay on track during the holidays you can find all of my links in the sections I mentioned above.


 Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

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The Best Boxed Mashed Potatoes

Bringing your holiday menu to the table is already a daunting task: from the roasted centerpiece to the array of sides, the last thing you want to be doing is beating pounds of potatoes into a creamy mush. That’s where instant mashed potatoes come in.

The dehydrated convenience food may sound like an odd invention at first glance, but it can save you minutes—or even hours—of time in the kitchen. To help streamline your holiday dinner this year, I got my friends to test five popular instant mashed potato box mixes and found the best one. They prepped them according to the instructions, but feel free to dress the winner up with all of your go-to toppings!

With this list, you will be sure to impress at your Thanksgiving dinner or your Friendsgiving.

Side Note: You can swap regular butter for vegan butter and regular milk with your favorite non-dairy milk to my experience the mashed potatoes still come fluffy and delicious.


 

How They Were Graded

Here are the three metrics that were used to determine each mix’s final grade.

Nutrition

Calories, fat, and carbs weren’t serious determining factors, because most instant mashed potato mixes are similar across the board.

Texture

Is your bowl gritty or gummy? Are the mashed potatoes as creamy and decadent as your grandma’s? Although these are instant mixes, I kinda (sorta) expect them to taste like the real thing.

Taste

Unsurprisingly, taste is the top determining factor, because why else would you want to eat boxed mashed potatoes?

From Worst… To Best

Idaho Mashed Potatoes

idaho mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 2 Tbsp. (23 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

Verdict:

Unlike the other picks on this list, the Idaho Mashed Potatoes mix was made up of powder rather than the expected potato flakes. This resulted in a dense and flavorless bowl that left little to be desired. What’s more, the pulverized taters boasted an artificial scent and an aftertaste that was off-putting. You need boatloads of thick gravy to mask the chemical-like flavor of this box.


Idahoan Flakes

idahoan mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 1/3 cup (22 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber,1 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

While this mashed potato mix was creamier than Idaho’s, it was also quite foamy in consistency—a characteristic I could do without. In fact, the mix was so thick, it could be served upside down like a Dairy Queen Blizzard. Although Idahoan self-proclaims it’s “The Gold Standard since 1960,” I say skip these spuds and opt for one of our top-rated mixes instead.


Hungry Jack

hungry jack mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per 1/3 cup (22 g): 80 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

Hungry Jack’s instant mashed potatoes had a gummy texture, which we didn’t go crazy for. However, taste-wise, it was butterier than other brands, which granted this pick extra points. It wasn’t my favorite, but I can see this mix pairing well as a base for cheese, bacon bits, chives, and other toppings, as the flavor was subtle and not overwhelming.


Idaho Spuds

idaho spuds classic mashed potatoes

Nutrition: Per ⅓ cup (80 g): calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 15 mg sodium, 17 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 2 g protein

 Verdict:

My taste testers liked that this mix was made up of thick flakes rather than a powder mess. This gave the side a chunky, natural consistency and look that satisfied with every bite. One of my taste testers said that Idaho Spuds’ mix tasted like homemade mashed potatoes. It makes sense because the brand has been bringing their harvest into boxed form since the 1930s! Whether you’re prepping for a holiday dinner or just winging a weeknight meal, this option is a good choice.


Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes

bob's red mill creamy potato flakes

Nutrition: Per ⅓ cup (17 g): 60 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 14 g carbs (1 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein

SHOP NOW ON AMAZON

 Verdict:

Unlike most of its competitors, Bob’s Red Mill labels its instant mashed potatoes as “potato flakes.” The transparent language speaks for itself: This mix is made up of only one ingredient: potatoes! That means you’ll find zero artificial preservatives or additives that other brands sneak into their side dish. Bob’s has a chunky texture that will hold up well to butter, minced garlic, and shredded cheddar, as well as a rich, potatoey flavor that kept my taste testers spoons dunking in for more. My taste testers said, “It smells like a farm” and it “tastes just like my grandma’s!” If you’re looking to impress your guests without putting in too much work, pair Bob’s Red Mill Potato Flakes with the turkey this year, and get ready for some happy guests.


Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed today’s post? Leading up to Thanksgiving I have posts that will be more related to the holiday times. So don’t forget to follow so you won’t miss all the good holiday content I will be putting out. If you have any questions about today’s post, any past post or questions, in general, please feel free in reaching out. You can email me which I ALWAYS provide in the “Thank You” section and if email isn’t your thing I always link all of my social media links in the “Where You Can Follow Me” section.

If you or someone you know is looking for one on one coaching you can find all of my links which I mentioned above.


Thank You!

I do hope you stick around as I put out different types of content I try to post educational, Informative things that everyone can learn from. I am learning what people like to read and what people don’t. The one thing you will get from me Is honesty. If I post something It’s because I believe In It no matter If It’s a beauty review, recipe post, or just me posting a random post.

If you are a company or a person who would like to reach out so we can work together you can reach me here. Leighlei2009@gmail.com

I just want to say Thank you to all of those who read, view, like, comment, and subscribed to my blog It means the world to me ❤️️

………………………………………………………………

➡️Where you can follow me⬅️

Check me out on Medium:

https://medium.com/@AmandaExplains

Pinterest: Amanda Explains It

Steller: AmandaLei

Instagram: Amanda Explains It

Twitter: Amanda Explains It

Snapchat: amandaleilei (CoffeeandGlutenFree)

NO SERIOUSLY FOLLOW ME 🙂