Sweet potatoes are good, and good for you. Most comfort-food recipes absolutely drown them in butter and sugar. I haven’t always been fond of sweet potatoes. Then, I realized it wasn’t the sweet potato I didn’t like; it was the insane amounts of granulated sugar, brown sugar, marshmallows, maple syrup, vanilla extract and butter Southerners traditionally heap on top of them. With all that added flavor, it’s impossible to taste the naturally sweet and earthy essence of the actual sweet potato! In regard to marshmallows, frankly, I prefer them in a steaming cup of cocoa or sandwiched with a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers! This down-home-comfort fall dish is certainly sweet enough and is topped with a seasonally appropriate partner of chopped pecans. Read more
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Winter is coming, and that means that it’s time to put the outdoor furniture away, insulate the spigots for the garden hose and make sure the house is ready for the coming chill. You may also be considering putting your grill away for the season, but I think you should hold off on that one and remember how your grill can serve you all year round.
Sure, it’s great for cookouts in the summer and fall, but it’s also an amazing workhorse for making big batches of grilled vegetables (you haven’t lived until you’ve had grilled delicata squash), for roasting chickens and turkeys, and even for prepping a week’s worth of ingredients for lunches and dinners.
This weekend, consider firing up the grill. Roast off a mess of squash. Grill up a couple of batches of Bobby Flay’s Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops. Finally, spatchcock a chicken, rub it with a little salt and pepper, and let it cook over the embers. You can get at least three meals from just a couple of hours of work, and the cleanup will be minimal.
We’re always down for a good carroty side or munching on a wholesome handful as-is, of course. But when it’s getting dark early and dessert intake is of the utmost importance, we need our carrot recipes to be comfortingly sweet. Typically taken with that familiar swirl of cream cheese frosting and just the right touch of spice, carrot-based baked goods add that veggie-packed punch — but this time, there’s a twist. Start grating those carrots for five new takes on carroty desserts. We have big plans for them.
1. If you believe that the cream cheese frosting is hands-down the best part of carrot cake, go all-out with a Carrot Cheesecake (pictured above). Food Network Kitchen’s comforting mash-up creation stacks a thick layer of cheesecake and a sour cream topping on top of moist, spiced carrot cake. See how to make it here.
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.
If you’ve feel that you’ve exhausted your Monday meal repertoire, perhaps it’s time to branch out and try something new — maybe even by tapping into the cuisine of a different culture. So, for this week, serve up Ina Garten’s crispy and savory Dinner Spanakopitas. Don’t be intimidated by its name: It’s really just a center of spinach, scallions, onion and cheese, surrounded by flaky phyllo dough. And even if you’re not familiar with the word, you know that Ina’s cooking never fails to impress.
To get started, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and cook over medium-low heat. Then, put in the scallions and cook them until they’re wilted but still green. Drain most of the water from the spinach and add the cooked onion and scallions to it. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper, feta and pine nuts.
Lay out a sheet of phyllo dough, brush it lightly with butter and sprinkle it with breadcrumbs. Add another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, and repeat the same actions. Do this with 4 more layers. Then, cut the phyllo dough in half lengthwise. Put the spinach filling on and roll the phyllo up diagonally. After, fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Do this until you reach the end of the sheet, and make sure the filling is completely inside of the dough. Place on a cooking sheet, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt and bake until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.
Stuffing or dressing, in the bird or out, cornbread or sourdough, crispy edges or not — no matter what you call the bread-based side dish on your Thanksgiving table or how you prefer to eat it, the holiday wouldn’t be complete without it. This year, honor the traditional dish while dressing up your feast with fresh, new flavors by putting a few twists on classic recipes. Read on below for go-to recipe inspiration for stuffings and dressings from Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence and Giada De Laurentiis, then check out Food Network’s Thanksgiving Central for more side dish selections.
Ina sticks to tried-and-true dish in her recipe for Sausage and Herb Stuffing (pictured above), a crowd-pleasing casserole made with the trifecta of classic stuffing ingredients: apples, onions and celery. Follow Ina’s recipe and use either white or sourdough bread to form the base of the casserole, then opt for sweet or spicy sausage, depending on your family’s tastes. After mixing in the cranberries, plus a splash of chicken stock for moisture, bake the stuffing until it’s turned deliciously browned on top.
While many consider meatballs the ultimate accompaniment to classic spaghetti and tomato sauce, these traditionally beefy rounds go beyond Italian comfort food, as Superstar Sabotage winner Eric Greenspan showed off on last night’s finale when he presented them in an Asian-style dish. Host Alton Brown, too, puts a creative spin on the everyday meatball in his easy-to-make recipe for Swedish Meatballs (pictured above).
Ideal for weekend tailgating or a casual appetizer, Alton’s top-rated meatballs are made with a mix of ground beef and pork, and they’re portioned into bite-size rounds so they’re easy to eat at a party. The key element of Alton’s recipe is his gravy; instead of simmering the meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce, he sautes them on the stove before blanketing them in a rich, creamy broth-based topping laced with fragrant allspice.
Let’s talk lunch. There is no better time to think about packing a few weekday lunches than over the weekend. If you wait until Monday, the battle is already lost. But if you devote even just half an hour on Saturday or Sunday to prep some lettuce and a couple of interesting toppings, the entire week is just better.
It means that instead of snacking aimlessly throughout the day or spending way too much money on a takeout meal, you have a solid lunch to look forward to.
From the stuffing to the mashed potatoes, there are certain sides you just can’t do without on Thanksgiving. Now, more than ever, once-unloved Brussels sprouts have eclipsed a lot of other vegetables, working to balance an otherwise heavy meal. As you begin brainstorming the must-haves for your Thanksgiving menu, be sure to work these simple yet to-die-for Brussels sprouts sides into the lineup.
1. Balsamic-Roasted Brussels Sprouts — Ina Garten’s Brussels sprouts (pictured above) are perhaps the most elegant of all, layering the flavor of salty diced pancetta with fruity, tart balsamic vinegar.
2. Roasted Brussels Sprouts — Food Network Magazine’s back-to-basics recipe may simply involve roasting, but the smart addition of red pepper flakes, white wine vinegar and honey leave every caramelized sprout layered with flavor.
3. Brussels Sprouts Gratin — This cheesy veggie side takes only five ingredients, including a topping of Gruyère cheese that instills a creamy nuttiness in every bite.