Although it’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already fast approaching, I feel more excited than ever to celebrate the flavors of autumn with friends and family. There’s no better time to gather ’round loved ones, and for growing families like mine, Thanksgiving is made extra special when we’re able to share its traditions with young children.
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When you look around your Thanksgiving table, the usual suspects are likely in sight: the buttery mashed potatoes, tangy cranberry sauce, from-generation-to-generation stuffing. If your family’s go-to menu is going from “traditional” to “monotonous,” perhaps it’s high time to try new seasonal side dishes that will reinvigorate your spread for years to come. Unexpected yet comforting, these newcomers are bound to become family favorites.
Long and vibrant, market-fresh Steamed Carrots with Lemon-Dill Vinaigrette (pictured above) may be simple, but they sure make a statement on the table. Steaming the carrots whole keeps them crunchy, while tossing them in vinaigrette while still warm helps them absorb all of the flavor.
At this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival, Rachael Ray was all about Thanksgiving — but not the huge blowout meal you might be thinking of. Instead, she took this meal of all meals off its anxiety-inducing pedestal, revealing tricks for a no-sweat day of and day after. Whether it’s nixing the giant bird altogether or going big with leftovers, her tips make it easy to keep your Turkey Day celebrations budget-friendly and meltdown-free. Here are the takeaways, which can be used on the big day itself or any day of the year:
On a day that is all about turkey, you can still find yourself quite stuffed from a meal made entirely vegetarian-friendly or, if you’re hosting vegetarian friends, serve an option beyond green bean casserole. Here are five flavor-packed recipes that can stand up to the big bird competition.
1. Dinner Spanakopitas (pictured above) Spanakopitas are a classic Greek recipe that features crispy phyllo dough wrapped around spinach and feta cheese. You’d need a huge pot of fresh spinach to make this recipe, so use frozen instead. Ina Garten’s dish is versatile enough to add or subtract ingredients according to your taste.
Dark meat — but just the turkey legs. Sweet potatoes, only they must be in casserole form. Biscuits, never rolls. Pumpkin pie or apple? Both. If there’s one meal where we can get away with being a bit picky, it’s Thanksgiving; after all, everyone has their favorites when it comes to dinner trimmings. Just in time for this morning’s all-new turkey day-themed episode of The Kitchen, FN Dish checked in with each of the five co-hosts to find out what their Thanksgiving plates will look like. Read on below to hear from all five cast members and learn what they’ll be eating and drinking on Thanksgiving.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I’d like to give a little shout out to the mashed potato. While the internet will likely now be debating the best way to ensure a juicy turkey (easy: Alton Brown’s brined turkey recipe), or whether stuffing should be cooked inside the bird (I say no), I want to send a little love to the one that really brings it all together; the one item on the Thanksgiving plate that gives gravy its own little well, clearly recognizing that it is far too delicious to be merely drizzled over things. Thank you, mashed potatoes.
Mashed potatoes are the perfect comfort food. Eaten alone, they are rich, creamy and earthy. And paired with roasted meats or stews, they become the supporting player, letting the meat shine. At Thanksgiving, mashed potatoes share their space on the plate with an interloping carb, stuffing. And still, the meal seems somehow to make sense. All this, and they are cheap, too! (A tip: Potatoes are usually a much better deal in the 5-pound bag than loose.)
by Cindy Augustine
One of the busiest pizza nights of the year is — wait for it — the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. It makes perfect sense: With most Americans prepping turkeys, chopping veggies and baking pies, who has time to make dinner? Fortunately, a hot and tasty meal is only a phone call, and sometimes just a delivery, away. Here are some of the best independent pizza spots across the country — no reservations required. Check out the full gallery to find the best pies near your Thanksgiving destination. Read more
Next to the turkey, the potatoes, stuffing and vegetables often compete for the spotlight on your Thanksgiving table, but there’s one tangy side that’s not to be forgotten: cranberry sauce. This year, instead of opting for the jellied stuff from a can, make your own cranberry side dish from scratch. Most recipes call for only a few ingredients and can be made ahead of the feast, so the dish will likely be one of the easiest you make all season long. Read on below to find go-to cranberry sauces from Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay and more chefs, then check out Food Network’s entire collection of top cranberry sauces for more inspiration.
A tried-and-true classic you can count on, Tyler’s Cranberry-Orange Sauce (pictured above) boasts the subtle warmth of fragrant cinnamon, which he balances with bright, refreshing orange juice.
With less than three weeks until Thanksgiving, you have likely ordered your turkey by now and are beginning to craft the rest of your menu. But as you plan for the feast, it’s a good idea to consider what you’ll need to host the holiday at home beyond a bird and pumpkin pie, like table-setting inspiration, seasonal decor, and timesaving tools and tricks that will make meal prep easier. Read on below to find Food Network’s top-five entertaining guides and learn how much food to shop for depending on your guest list, plus simple tablescape ideas and nice-to-have gadgets to make cooking a cinch.
5. 20-Second Place Setting — All it takes is a few seconds and classically finished flatware to create an elegant place at the table. Make your guests feel extra special by gifting them personalized name cards at their set spots.
4. DIY Kids’ Table — Let your little ones put the finishing touches on the kids’ table with paper placemats they can color, handmade pinecone crafts and a quick-fix apple dessert.