While some celebrations call for hours of slow grazing (those tailgate snacks are an all-afternoon affair, right?), Thanksgiving is often set up into distinct parts: appetizers, the main spread, dessert and leftovers. Since you’re likely spending most of your time prepping the bird and its fixings, keep the starter game simple, for both you and your company. After all, you don’t want to serve hors d’oeuvres that are so filling that your guests are not craving turkey. The key is to whet their appetites with a few seasonal bites that will only prime them for what’s to come, and these go-to picks surely fit the bill.
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The all-important turkey, the creamy potato side dish, the golden-brown roasted vegetables, the tart-sweet cranberry sauce and the buttery rolls (not to mention the desserts) … there are surely multiple pieces of the meal to contend with come Thanksgiving, so it’s understandable if you’re feeling some pre-holiday jitters. And if you’re a newbie to turkey-day cooking, there’s likely the added pressure of the unknown. That’s where these tips come in. According to many of your favorite Food Network chefs, there are indeed ways to make the celebration simpler, so much so that you won’t have to stress. The key takeaway? You don’t have to tackle the entire buffet on your own. “Do a potluck!” Giada De Laurentiis recommends. “Do not try to do it all yourself.” Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli adds, speaking to both Thanksgiving novices and returning hosts alike, “The best thing to do is write out your whole menu and then cross off at least two things.”
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.
With as many as one in three people avoiding gluten these days, it’s more than likely that one of them will end up at your Thanksgiving table. Luckily, this special diet is relatively easy to accommodate. Lots of classic turkey-day dishes are naturally gluten-free, while many more are easily made to fill the bill with just a few simple modifications that remove the gluten without sacrificing character or flavor — now, that’s something everyone can be thankful for!
Is it ever too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving? We say no. No matter how far in advance you start planning, the last few days leading up to the feast are always chaotic. There’s family in town, holiday traffic and plenty of last-minute tasks to complete the menu. This year, with the goal of a stress-free Thanksgiving, Food Network Kitchen took on a major challenge, attempting to answer this question: Is it possible to make the entire feast ahead? They tested, tweaked and retested to come up with a full Thanksgiving menu that freezes perfectly, down to the whipped cream topping for apple pie. With these recipes in your arsenal, the whole meal will be sitting pretty in the freezer, ready for the big day. Read more
Skip messy face paint and itchy wigs this Halloween, and dress up like one of your favorite snacks instead with a little inspiration from Amanda Kibler, the wardrobe whiz from Good Eats with Alton Brown. After years of costume design, Kibler has nailed down the recipe for a successful food-themed costume: It must be eye-catching but comfortable, and it needs to be sturdy enough to endure a long night of door-to-door candy collection. That sounds like a tall order to fill, but Kibler’s life-size designs for pizza, bacon and more are a cinch to pull together at home. Best of all? Each costume relies on thrifty materials like fleece, felt, foam and cardboard.
For the Small Fry
No ghoulish masks or fake blood here — just some giant golden french fries stuffed inside a life-size carton. Aside from looking adorable, trick-or-treaters will stay plenty warm on the notoriously chilly night of Oct. 31 when they’re surrounded by the soft foam fries.
For those of you gathering around the table for Rosh Hashana, you know that dipping apples in honey symbolizes the promise of a sweet new year. It’s a time-honored combination that, for many Jews, harks back to the days of Hebrew school, or to a time when their own kids were huddled around the table. This year, in honor of the first of the High Holy Days, revel in the sweetness of the coming Jewish new year with festive, honey-laced treats that are blissfully sweet and celebratory.
Set out a plate of these delicate yet crispy Honey-Almond Lace Cookies (pictured above) after dinner with a platter of fruit for an easygoing holiday dessert. A flourless batter of honey, brown sugar, butter and sliced almonds gives these treats their distinctive thin, holey disposition.
Food Network Magazine needs your help for the December issue. It’s never too early to start daydreaming about the holidays. And channeling your holiday cheer prematurely might even make you feel better on a hot and sticky late-summer day.
The editors want to know which side you’re on for traditional holiday drinks. Vote in the poll below and tell FN Dish whether you prefer to sip hot cocoa or eggnog.
Christmas is still far away — 108 days away, in fact. But the holiday spirit comes (way) early to the Food Network Magazine office, where the staff is hard at work on the December issue.
Vote in the polls below to help provide valuable insight on the sweetest part of December: cookies. While you may not be ready to think about holiday roasts yet, there’s never a bad time to think about cookies, even if they’re reindeer-shaped and decked out in festive royal icing.