All Posts In Holidays

15 Things You Didn’t Know You Need to Know for Thanksgiving

by in Holidays, How-to, November 22nd, 2013

Thanksgiving is less than one week away. You’ve got your essentials covered and your guest list set, but here are 15 things you didn’t know you need to know for Turkey Day.

#1. How to Make a Thanksgiving Stuffing Cake
Yep, that’s just what it sounds like: Stuffing baked in a Bundt pan, iced with mashed potatoes, drizzled with cranberry sauce and garnished with fried onions for an entirely new Thanksgiving side dish experience. Get the recipe and watch Food Network Kitchens show you how it’s done.

Keep reading for more tips

5 Ways to Include the Kids in Holiday Meals

by in Family, Holidays, November 21st, 2013

5 Ways to Include the Kids in Holiday MealsI don’t want to scare you, but Thanksgiving is one week from today. Until now, I have purposely ignored all the too-early holiday decorations put out by overeager stores. I don’t mean to be a Scrooge. I just don’t want to get sick of the holidays because I love them so dearly. So I systematically turn my cart down another aisle anytime I catch even the tiniest glimpse of a twinkling light or bit of tinsel when I’m shopping. (Am I alone in shielding my fall from winter so vociferously?) My point is: If you do the same, this is your official alert to wake up and smell the pumpkin pie. It’s officially the holiday season.

Some readers have already been asking me about family traditions: Who does the cooking? How do I include my kids? Since my head is out of the sand and I’m fully embracing the season, I thought today would be a great time to answer those questions with some tips and ideas on how to include the kiddos in the holiday cooking (and eating!). And given that I have a couple of pickier eaters in my brood, I’m throwing in some extra pointers on that front too.

Get my top five ways to include the kids in holiday meals

10 Seasonal Thanksgiving Sides — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, In Season, November 21st, 2013

10 Seasonal Thanksgiving Sides - Fall FestA lot of our Thanksgiving traditions come canned — the pumpkin puree for your pie, the start of your favorite cranberry sauce and those curly fried onions for your green bean casserole. These time-honored ingredients get this most-anticipated meal on the table year after year. As the holiday draws near, however, give some serious thanks by stocking your table with show-stopping produce-loving sides.

As you start assembling those grocery lists of yours, mix and match these 10 killer dishes — each with a veggie focus — for a Thanksgiving spread your family will reproduce for years to come.

1. Mushrooms: We may eat our mushrooms year-round, but Ina’s Mushroom-Leek Bread Pudding celebrates this ingredient in a preparation reminiscent of classic Thanksgiving stuffing.

2. Squash: Food Network Magazine’s Lemon-Maple Squash are curvy and sophisticated, working as an elegant addition to the other casserole-leaning sides.

Get more Thanksgiving side recipes from friends and family

Best 5 Thanksgiving Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 20th, 2013

Lemon Meringue PieNo matter if you’ll be brining your turkey or deep-frying it, whipping sweet potatoes or smashing golden spuds, stuffing the bird or serving the dressing alongside it, one thing is certain about your Thanksgiving spread: There will indeed be dessert. This year, in addition to the classic apple pie and pumpkin cheesecake, serve a mix of creative, crowd-pleasing treats, like Sunny’s mini pumpkin pies, Giada’s turkey-decorated cookies and Alton’s deliciously tart lemon pie. Check out Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving desserts below to find recipes for these family-friendly picks, plus more sweet inspiration for your Turkey Day feast.

5. Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies — Use tiny muffin tins to shape pecan-studded dough into sweet cups, then fill them with a mixture of pumpkin and vanilla, and finish each with a pecan for an extra-special presentation.

4. Thanksgiving Turkeys — Giada starts with store-bought cream-filled sandwich cookies to make these kid-approved cookies, decorated with seasonal candies and colored frosting to transform them into turkey look-alikes.

Get the top-three recipes

Top Turkey Tips from Food Network Kitchens

by in Holidays, How-to, November 18th, 2013

Top Turkey Tips from Food Network KitchensWhether this year will be your first, tenth or hundredth time cooking Thanksgiving dinner, there’s always some stress regarding the turkey. We asked the experts in Food Network Kitchens for 10 tips to ensure a juicy, crisp-skinned bird every time — carved to perfection.

Get the top turkey tips

Thanksgiving Tabletop and Hostess Gift Ideas

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 17th, 2013

leaves table runner

Turn your Thanksgiving table into a festive spread before the food arrives with fun decorations and ideas that can double as hostess gifts. Add sparkle to the table with the above beaded leaf runner, or set out Thanksgiving-themed crackers as place markers. When guests pop them open, they’ll find a turkey figure, Pilgrim hat and a joke.

Read more

50 Ways to Mash Potatoes — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, Holidays, November 17th, 2013

50 Ways to Mash PotatoesClassic mashed potatoes: some would argue that they’re the best side on the Thanksgiving table. And while there’s nothing wrong with the traditional additions of salt, pepper, butter and milk, sometimes change is in order. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week from Food Network Magazine offers 50 delicious mashed potato recipes. Some are simple toppings, while other ideas incorporate pesto, hummus, roasted veggies and different cheeses.

For more Thanksgiving recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipes: Food Network Magazine’s 50 Ways to Mash Potatoes

Get more Thanksgiving side recipes

Thanksgiving Apple Pie Makeovers

by in Holidays, November 15th, 2013

Flat Apple PieThe first Thanksgiving I ever hosted was a cooking obstacle course, except the stress had nothing to with the actual cooking task at hand. It was the fact that I knowingly tossed my family’s traditions out the window, in an effort to create new ones for my own growing family — I was four months pregnant with my first daughter.

The list of what I changed goes on and on (including the stuffing and cranberry sauce). Therein lies my biggest mistake that very first Thanksgiving: I changed too much, too fast. Rather than create the picture-perfect memory of a blissful family Thanksgiving, I was left feeling under-appreciated for all my hard work.

What does any of this have to do with your Thanksgiving plans this year, you may be wondering? It’s pretty simple, actually. Learn from my mistakes. Thanksgiving is first and foremost supposed to be about family and being grateful. People hold tight to their traditions, though, and making drastic changes to beloved family recipes is an invitation for disaster. This doesn’t mean you can’t chart your own course. It just means you should stick with familiar favorites, but give them your own twist.

Twists on the classic apple pie

Thanksgiving’s Finest Brussels Sprouts Sides — Fall Fest

by in Holidays, In Season, November 14th, 2013

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic and CranberriesYou likely have your Thanksgiving menu set. For all we know, it was set in stone years ago, probably when your all-knowing elders were in charge. The turkey part of Turkey Day is a no-brainer, but the sides are like a puzzle. You’ll serve the usual contenders — fluffy mashed potatoes with a puddle of gravy, Grandma’s sweet potato casserole (marshmallows and all) — but you’ll need something else to balance out all that richness.

This year, as your family gathers around the dinner table for yet another Thanksgiving meal, look to another veggie that’s at the top of every restaurant menu and grocery list: Brussels sprouts. We like ours cooked right — caramelized and tender at every layer. As you draft up your preliminary rounds of potential recipes, keep in-season Brussels sprouts at the top of your list.

Turkey Day is known for chaos. Ease things up and simply drizzle halved sprouts with olive oil for basic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Food Network Magazine. And with just one small addition, Brussels Sprouts with Bacon take on a smoky saltiness, perfect for the big Thanksgiving meal or any night of the week.

Get more Brussels sprouts recipes from friends and family

Best 5 Tools and Tips Needed for Thanksgiving Entertaining

by in Holidays, November 13th, 2013

Thanksgiving EntertainingOn Thanksgiving, the holiday ultimately culminates when you finally set on the table a glistening golden-brown turkey featuring crispy skin and juicy, tender meat, and you surround the bird with a bounty of comforting sides and salads. But pulling off a memorable celebration takes patience, planning and a few must-have gadgets to complete the feast. Check out Food Network’s top-five roundups below to find helpful guides for hosting the holiday, the ultimate party-planning calculator and Ted Allen’s simple solutions for easy entertaining.

5. Table Centerpieces and Home Decor — Set the scene on the table with rustic centerpieces made from repurposed household products, like empty wine bottles, and such seasonal ingredients as nuts, fruits and gourds.

4. Table Setting Ideas — Buffet tables can be dressed up with a vibrant tablecloth and a mix of dishes, while sit-down dinner tables can be personalized with handwritten menus, warm-colored flowers and individual serving pieces.

Read more