by Jennifer Perillo in Holidays, November 15th, 2013
by Allison Milam in Holidays, In Season, November 14th, 2013
The 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
by Maria Russo in Holidays, November 13th, 2013
You 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.
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by Maria Russo in Holidays, Shows, November 12th, 2013
On 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.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 11th, 2013
For the third year in a row, your favorite chefs are taking over Food Network Kitchens in the annual call-in show Thanksgiving Live to answer your most-pressing questions about Turkey Day and help you host your most-memorable holiday feast yet. On Saturday, Nov. 23 from 12-2pm, Alton, Bobby and Giada, plus first-time Thanksgiving Live guest Ina, will be on hand to chat about all things Thanksgiving. Find out their own family traditions, suggestions for party-ready recipes, and no-fail tricks and tips for serving smooth gravy, juicy turkey and flaky biscuits, all while watching them prepare the ultimate spread of eats and drinks from start to finish. Just like in years past, this show will be broadcast live, which means that you’ll be watching the action unfold right as it’s happening at Food Network’s headquarters in New York City.
While Bobby, Alton, Giada and Ina will be cooking various dishes, they’ll be putting the focus of the show on you, the fans, and your Turkey Day conundrums. They’re there to answer your questions on anything from mingle-friendly appetizers and crowd-pleasing cocktails to carving the bird, whipping mashed potatoes and rolling out pie dough. Do you have a question you want answered? Leave it in the comments section below or use #ThanksgivingLive, and it may be answered on TV. Have Vine? Fans can submit questions there, too, by using #ThanksgivingLive.
by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, November 11th, 2013
There’s perhaps no holiday more focused on food, family and tradition — some of Damaris Phillips‘ favorite things — than Thanksgiving, which means that for this Southern at Heart host, the next few weeks leading up to America’s fall feast are especially exiting. She told FN Dish recently that she’s especially looking forward to “the Thanksgiving-adjacent episode” (airing Nov. 24 at 10:30am/9:30c) of her all-new series, which will feature classic and creative recipes to help you prepare the ultimate holiday meal.
We checked in with her to find out more about how she’ll be celebrating with her family this year. Like in most homes, there will be no shortage of comforting plates on Damaris’ Thanksgiving dinner table, and just as she’s been in the past, she’ll once again be in charge of preparing the salad. Read on below to learn Damaris’ makings of a true Southern Thanksgiving, to learn tips for turning out juicy turkey and to get advice for first-time holiday hosts.
How do you celebrate Thanksgiving these days?
Damaris Phillips: All of my cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents all still get together, so we do a huge family Thanksgiving.
Will you be cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year?
DP: Everybody contributes. It’s like a potluck Thanksgiving. I usually get stuck with the salad. They are always making me make the salad. I always try and fancy it up, so they’ll be like, “Oh, she can really cook.” But it doesn’t matter, because nobody eats the salad .… My brother is always going to do the stuffing; I’m never going to get to do it. My sister is always going to do the greens and the macaroni, and nobody wants mine anyways because I always try and make it a little less terrible for you, which nobody’s into. I get desserts a lot. Like, I’m pretty good at baking, and so I get desserts, which is pretty awesome.
by Amanda Marsteller in Holidays, Restaurants, November 11th, 2013
Whether you’re planning to prepare an entire vegetarian menu for Thanksgiving or you’ll be cooking for just a few meatless eaters amid demanding carnivores this year, it can be tricky to keep the entire table happy. After all, the centerpiece of most Turkey Day dinners is the juicy, crispy-skinned bird, and if you remove the turkey, you’ll want to replace it with something equally hearty and comforting. The key to pleasing both meat eaters and vegetarians alike on Thanksgiving is offering an array of satisfying side dishes, as they’re a naturally must-have element of the feast that nearly every guest will crave. Most traditional sides, like mashed potatoes, casseroles and stuffings, are naturally vegetarian, and if they’re not, they can be made meatless simply by swapping in vegetable broth or stock for the chicken variety. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving sides below to find easy-to-prepare classic recipes worthy of the fall feast.
Combining the freshness of vegetables with the stick-to-your-ribs comfort of the holiday, green bean casserole is a timeless Thanksgiving pick, and Ellie’s lightened-up version — Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots from Food Network Magazine (pictured above) — proves to be light and meatless without sacrificing flavor. She mixes string beans and garlic-thyme mushrooms into a thick sauce with nutty Parmesan cheese, then bakes the casserole with sweet fried shallots until the top is golden brown.
by Amanda Marsteller in Holidays, November 10th, 2013
The Thanksgiving feast just isn’t complete without an irresistible piece of pie at the end. Something about the buttery crust and rich filling brings comfort and nostalgia to the table, and we’ve rounded up plenty of restaurants and bakeries that dish out just-like-mama-made pecan, pumpkin and apple pies. There are also outside-the-crust options (could you turn down a Fat Elvis Pie?), so check out our full coast-to-coast pie guide and grab a slice — or two! Here are a few highlights to warm up your sweet-seeking taste buds.
Four and Twenty Blackbirds — Brooklyn
Nothing’s more American than apple pie, but this bakery manages to improve on the classic with a mouthwatering salted caramel version. Inspired by caramel apples, this salty-sweet slice is a “taste bud waker-upper” and was praised by Bobby Flay as “what apple pie would look like if your grandma had game.”
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by Maria Russo in Holidays, Recipes, November 6th, 2013
With so much effort spent on the Thanksgiving turkey and sides, there’s rarely any time left to whip up a savory spread of starters for guests to snack on. To take the stress off, try these easy appetizers that take just 15 minutes to cook or assemble and leave you more time to put finishing touches on the big feast. Start with Food Network Magazine’s 50 Easy Toast Toppers, which offers a ton of creative ideas for dressing up toasted baguette rounds.
Pomegranate, Arugula Salad: Tyler’s fall-flavored salad takes mere minutes to toss together, including the sweet pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.
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Second perhaps only to the centerpiece turkey on Thanksgiving, stuffings and dressings are some of the most-craved and comforting dishes on your Turkey Day table. Whether you stuff your bird or not, these bread-based casseroles are both simple to prepare and versatile enough that you can suit them to your family’s tastes and whatever ingredients you have on hand. If you’re cooking for a few vegetarians this year, a naturally meatless stuffing will surely please them and your meat-eating guests alike. And if you happen to find yourself with a few extra carrots or celery stalks, put them to good use in a stuffing, as vegetables of all kinds work well with nearly all types of bread bakes. Check out Food Network’s top-five stuffings below to find celebration-worthy recipes that you’ll want to add to your Thanksgiving menu.
5. Homemade Three-Meat Stuffing — Packed with chopped hard-boiled eggs, bell peppers and olives, this pork-, beef- and sausage-based stuffing boasts more meat than it does white bread and will feed up to a whopping 14 people.
4. Holiday Cornbread Stuffing — Follow the Neelys’ lead and take advantage of a deliciously simple shortcut: store-bought cornbread stuffing mix. Pat and Gina combine this ready-to-go good with crispy bacon and crunchy pecans for texture, plus fresh vegetables and herbs to round out the dish.
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