Comforting, bubbling casseroles such as this down-home comfort Turkey Tetrazzini have long been prepared by the ladies of the Methodist church in the south Georgia town where I grew up. They were taken to the families in celebration. As different as most faiths seem to be, they all share some sort of ceremony at key moments in human life: the union of two people, the birth of a child, the celebration of adulthood — whether that be a bat mitzvah, a confirmation or a hunter killing his first antelope — and the celebration of death. Food is more than keeping the family fed. Food is the adhesive that binds the community. This sentiment is especially clear at Thanksgiving as friends and family gather together in gratitude.
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You’ve planned for your Thanksgiving dinner, prepared the meal and hosted the holiday party, and you’re now looking at a refrigerator full of leftovers. While simply reheating the fixings and enjoying a next-day feast is surely a can-do approach to tackling what remains, try reinventing the turkey, potatoes and vegetables into all-new dishes, like an easy-to-make frittata or over-the-top sandwich. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving leftovers ideas, then head over to Thanksgiving Central for more leftover inspiration.
5. Turkey Pot Pie — Made with leftover turkey meat instead of the traditional chicken, this comforting pot pie boasts a buttery premade pie crust, so it’s a cinch to prepare.
4. Turkey Frittata — An all-in-one breakfast featuring creamy eggs, boiled potatoes and bell peppers, this potato-studded frittata is topped with a blanket of cheese and turns fluffy after just a few minutes in the oven.
You’ve successfully conquered Thanksgiving dinner — now it’s time to look ahead to the next seasonal feat. Holiday baking? Not yet. First comes Black Friday shopping, and given the early hours, long lines and potentially feisty crowds you may encounter, you’ll indeed need a few go-to foods to fuel the day. This year, instead of resorting to shopping mall concession stands, bring with you some fuss-free eats — think easy-to-pack bites that you can munch on throughout the day. Read on below to find some of Food Network’s favorite on-the-go snacks to keep you shopping-ready all day long.
Chewy, subtly sweet with a bit of crunch, Fig-and-Walnut Energy Bars (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine provide just the kind of early-morning bite needed to kick off the day. These quick-fix bars feature a fragrant blend of ground cinnamon and ginger, plus chopped walnuts, dried figs and oats for a contrast of textures.
I don’t know if it was trendy in the 1980s or if it was a particular quirk of my mother’s, but we ate many a meal of stuffed vegetables during my childhood. No hollow or overgrown vegetable was safe. Peppers of all colors, giant zucchini, tomatoes and even, occasionally, avocados were filled with a medley of rice, protein and onion, then draped with shredded cheese and run under the broiler.
I’m fairly convinced that the reason my mom liked this particular style of dinner prep so much was that it gave her the opportunity to stretch a pound of meat across several meals and use up all manner of odds and ends from the crisper. I also suspect that she tucked more vegetables into the filling than I was aware of as a small child.
Making dinner on a regular Thursday night is hard enough for most of us, but Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings can be a full-day affair. Now, I love cooking, but I also have four kids and our oldest is five, so I need to be strategic to pull it off and not spend the afternoon yelling at everyone to get out of the kitchen. Even if you aren’t swamped with little rascals running through your kitchen this year, I bet you’ll appreciate getting a few things done by Wednesday too. Here’s my plan:
Giada De Laurentiis’ Baked Mashed Potatoes
These twice-baked mashed potatoes (pictured above) end up in a casserole dish, making them perfect for reheating on the big day. And with store-bought breadcrumbs and two kinds of cheese, they’re also my favorite mix of delicious food that’s easy to make. Grazie, Giada.
Broccoli is a versatile ingredient that’s unfortunately gotten a bad rap since childhood. But we’re casting away that stereotype and giving it the chance to show off what it’s got. This Meatless Monday, indulge in a creamy, cheesy and soothing meal of Broccoli and Orzo Casserole (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchen. The broccoli serves to complement the orzo, Havarti, butter, onion, garlic, pepper, Parmesan, sour cream, kosher salt and panko breadcrumbs, taking a back seat to stronger-tasting ingredients while holding the meal on its steamy shoulders.
Despite its rich texture and overall heartiness, this meal is relatively easy to make. And another added benefit is that you get a daily dose of vegetables while indulging in delicious Havarti cheese. On a frigid and busy Monday, you can’t ask for a meal more agreeable than that. In fact, you may just go back for seconds.
The meal of all meals is upon us. Even if your thoughts are consumed with brining and gravy and place settings, one thing is for sure: You still gotta eat. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, whip up these Beat-the-Clock Dinners that take 30 minutes, max. With these can-do recipes on your side, you’ll be energized and ready to go come Thursday.
On a particularly bone-chilling day, nothing seems more fitting than taking a bowl of steamy soup to the face. Perfect for the most extreme, need-comfort-now cases, 10-Minute Chicken, Corn and Kimchi Ramen (pictured above) is as speedy as it gets, coming together in one skillet and ready as soon as the broth comes to a boil.
Apple, pumpkin and pecan pies — or a mashup of all three — are indeed no-fail options when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, but if you’re looking to dress up the feast this year with new takes on tradition, introduce a sweet cake to your after-dinner spread. Read on below for classic and creative holiday cake ideas from Trisha Yearwood, Ina Garten and more Food Network chefs, then check out the complete roundup of Top Thanksgiving Cake Recipes for more turkey day inspiration.
The key to making Trisha’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (pictured above) is building the cake from the bottom up. What will eventually be the top of the cake — the sweetened pineapple and bright-red cherries — forms the base as the batter cooks in the oven; Trisha recommends letting the pan rest atop the inverted cake for minutes after flipping so the sweet syrup absorbs into the vanilla-scented batter.
For those of you not familiar with pecan tassies, they are bite-size pecan pies. A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, they are perfect for holiday festivities and easy to prepare. We always have these on our Thanksgiving table. The pecans are freshly harvested and at their peak so they taste fantastic. And, after a big meal of turkey and dressing, one or two of these diminutive desserts are the perfect way to end the feast. A “tassie” is defined as a small cup, and these petite pies are baked in a mini-muffin tin. Pecan tassies feature the flavors and textures of pecan pie — tender and buttery crust, crunchy pecans and brown-sugar filling — all in one delicious bite.
When it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I come from a family of traditionalists. Pies are required, and they typically come in both pumpkin and apple (though when the gluten-free gather with us, I’ll often make an apple crisp with GF oats instead).
As I was plotting out my contributions to the two Thanksgiving meals I’m attending this year, however, I started to ponder options beyond the classic. Part of the reason I feel so free to monkey with the tried and true is that I’m attending two collaborative dinners (really, that’s just a fancy term for a potluck). I know others will bring the requisite pies, and so I am free to explore a little.
For my husband’s family, I’m taking vanilla pound cake with runny raspberry jam for topping. We’re traveling several hours for that meal and I know those cakes will survive even the most-arduous journey over the river, through the woods and up the New Jersey Turnpike. I made the jam with fresh fruit this summer, but a similar batch could easily be made by combining 2 pounds of frozen berries, 2 cups of sugar and a little lemon juice, then simmering until thick.