Thanksgiving comes along but once a year, so you’d better make the most of this great American holiday that hinges on eating all that is good. If your goal is to make it to the pumpkin pie without losing your cool, start the day with a sensible eating plan so you don’t reach capacity before the feast even begins.
Here at Food Network, Thanksgiving means turkey — a whole lot of turkey. In the weeks leading up to our favorite Thursday of the year, we’re knee-deep in recipes, videos and new techniques about the feast’s headliner. All the while, we know it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the sides (and lots of them). Without stuffing, mashed potatoes and the whole nine yards, your family’s holiday dinner simply wouldn’t be complete. That’s why we’re running down the list of the top-five favorite sides — from Ina Garten, Bobby Flay and more star chefs — that belong on your table.
When Ina serves Brussels sprouts as a part of her Thanksgiving menu, she transforms them into a sophisticated and indulgent treat. Her Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts are joined by salty, crispy pancetta and roasted under high heat until they reach crispy caramelization; she finishes the side with a drizzle of syrupy balsamic vinegar.
A steamy mug of hot cocoa is inarguably the best way to counter the cold weather. Though you could go the store-bought route and swirl powdered hot cocoa mix into hot water or milk, going the extra mile and making your own chocolatey blend from scratch is totally worth it. Get our top homemade hot chocolate recipes for sipping all winter long.
Food Network Kitchen’s Slow-Cooker Peppermint Hot Chocolate is one festively minty recipe that you shouldn’t wait until the holidays are in full swing to savor. It’s made and served all in one pot, and it’s thickened and enriched with dark chocolate.
Crunchy carrots may be a go-to for snacking, but this in-season root vegetable brings a whole lot more to the table when it’s brought into your baked goods. As you load up your Thanksgiving menu with carrot side dishes, don’t forget that carrots can also be grated and integrated into moist, luscious and comforting cakes. Each of these amazing carrot cakes comes with the mandatory slathering of creamy cheese frosting, as well as its own unique spin.
Make Food Network Kitchen’s decadent, three-layer Carrot Cheesecake the crowning element of your Thanksgiving dessert spread. It’s a sweet mash-up of spiced carrot cake, rich cheesecake and a smooth sour cream topping, and you can learn how to make it from start to finish here.
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, every food-oriented magazine you flip through, cookbook you earmark and website you scour is bound to have one recipe at the helm of it all: the turkey. But what if you don’t eat turkey? What if you don’t want meat at all? And what if you still want to, well, eat? Thankfully, we’ve got game-changing vegetarian and vegan recipes to have at your Thanksgiving table, whether it’s you or one of your guests who has a special diet. Even if people at your table don’t have dietary restrictions, they’ll go back for seconds on these hearty recipes.
Though classic stuffing gets its delectable moistness from chicken stock, it’s possible to reach that luscious state without adding any trace of meat to the equation.
Vegan: If you’re going without animal products altogether, go for Food Network Kitchen’s Vegan Stuffing (pictured above) that’s made without butter, eggs or stock. In fact, this recipe nixes stock altogether (even the vegetable kind) and uses earthy green tea as a replacement.
Vegetarian: Tyler Florence’s savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding is a delightful riff on stuffing that’s made without any meat. Bring toasted chunks of bread, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary into a casserole dish and then soak it all in a creamy egg custard before baking.
Hey, pumpkin spice lattes shouldn’t be having all the fun. When it comes to seasonally spun drinks, your cocktails could use some of the warming, spiced vibes of the fall as well. Shake up these festive pumpkin cocktails all seasonal long and plan on them as you prep for Thanksgiving.
Treat yourself to Sandra Lee’s spirited Pumpkin Sangria, a festive drink full of fall flavors. It’s a blend of wine and fruit juice, just like classic sangria, but it deviates with the addition of pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and pumpkin spice liqueur. Stir it with a garnish of pumpkin candy-topped cinnamon sticks before you take the first sip.
Odds are you’ve not liked Brussels sprouts at some point in your life, whether it was when you were a kid or it lasted into your adulthood. With its slightly bitter flavor and sturdy structure, this multilayered green veggie can be a tough sell — but not when cooked like this. These top-rated, fan-favorite recipes prove that Brussels sprouts can be addictively delicious when they’re cooked correctly and with a little love, especially now that they’re in season.
You’ve heard it before: Sometimes the simplest things in life are also the best. A 5-star recipe with a whopping 500 reviews, Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts don’t call for any newfangled ingredients to achieve their beautifully blistered, tender state. It just takes a good drizzle of olive oil, plus some salt and pepper, and roasting on high heat for Brussels sprouts to reach pure, unadulterated perfection.
After going doorbell to doorbell in head-to-toe costume, you can bet your kids aren’t give up their candy loot for just anything. But there’s only so much damage you can do to a never-ending bag of sweets. This year, don’t even think about letting your hard-earned loot go to waste; instead, bring it into these sweet-as-can-be post-Halloween treats.
When a surplus of candy calls, make this showstopping Chocolate Cake Decorated with Halloween Candy (pictured above). The amount of candy you’ll need depends on the size of your cake, but, for reference, it takes about 4 cups of candy to cover a two-layer 8-inch round cake.
Though you (and your kids) may disagree on whether pillowcases should be stuffed with candy rather than slept on, we’re here to tell you that Halloween is — gasp! — about more than the sweet stuff. No, your dentist didn’t send us to get you to nosh on more than candy ropes and chocolate bars this year. Instead, we’re just plain excited about these ghoulishly good recipes. Feast on these substantial-yet-spooky dishes we scared up for your Halloween party, like mummified hot dogs (pictured above) and ghost-shaped pizzas, or snack on them while you’re handing candy out to the neighbors.
For a party bite that will stop guests dead in their tracks, make these to-die-for Crispy Phyllo-Wrapped Hot Dog Mummies. The phyllo gives the little dogs a bandaged look and offers a buttery flakiness to every bite.
Whether or not you’ve been carving grinning pumpkins for your home’s stoop, munching on pumpkin seeds is something you have to do this season, whether they’re homemade or store-bought. Though pumpkin seeds are tailor-made for easy snacking, you should also consider using your loot as a way to bring nutty crunch to your favorite meals. Learn how to roast pumpkin seeds at home and then use them in these fall-inspired recipes to bring a little nuttiness and crunch to your favorites.