Stovetop vs. Oven-Baked: Battle of the Thanksgiving Side Dishes

by in Holidays, November 17th, 2016

Tyler's Scalloped Potato GratinJust one week from today, every burner on your stovetop will be aflame and your oven will be hot and ready for a day of nonstop roasting and baking. That said, the biggest meal of the year requires a certain amount of strategy for it to get on the table without any swearing (or tears) from the cook: You need to strike a balance between the number of baked dishes and the number of stovetop-cooked dishes.

Each has its advantages. On the one hand, many baked Thanksgiving sides can be prepped ahead, so that all there’s left to do is pop them in the oven on the big day. Plus, sliding them into the oven also lends a golden, crusty top to potatoes, green bean casserole and more. On the other, stovetop sides free up your oven for the main event (namely the turkey), so that you don’t need to play a game of musical chairs in that regard. In advance of the big day, we’re pitting preparations of must-have side dishes against each other so you can pick and choose at will (and cook the day away with a grand plan).

Potatoes

Oven-Baked Spuds: When paper-thin potatoes slices are baked under a blanket of herb-infused cream, they go from raw to intensely tender. And unlike sides with a consistency reminiscent of baby food, Tyler Florence’s top-rated Scalloped Potato Gratin (pictured above) comes with a signature crispy, browned crust.

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Food Network Staffer Diary: I Tried 7 Foods That (Supposedly) Curb Fear

by in Behind the Scenes, Community, November 17th, 2016

Food Network Staffer Diary: I Tried 7 Foods That (Supposedly) Curb FearAllhallows’ Eve may be behind us, but that doesn’t mean the horror movie trailers aren’t still everywhere. And every time one of them pops into my life, I go into flight mode. Headphones out. TV on mute. Ears covered. Eyes closed. Singing “la-la-la-la” until it’s finally over. I will do this in my home. I will do this on the treadmill. I will do this in public. I do not care. I do all this to prevent what I know will come if I don’t: looking out the shower curtain every 15 seconds, going out of my way to avoid mirrors in the dark, lying awake at night irrationally paralyzed by fear for weeks.

Did I ask for the scary-movie-trailer life? No, I did not. The scary-movie-trailer life asked for me — poor, innocent, fully grown, scaredy-cat me. I am scary movies’ easiest target. I get scared of pretty much everything. Even that rated PG-movie Enchanted — yes, the one about fairy tales coming to the real world — at one point made me jump five feet above my theater seat. The old hag was really ugly, OK?

Needless to say, I do not watch horror movies, save for a total of three in my lifetime. But if I did, all of them would get a rating of 1,000 out of 10 on the scariness scale from yours truly.

Besides making me a hilariously entertaining horror-movie buddy, this scaredy-cat quality of mine also makes me a prime test subject. For what, you ask? What use could I possibly have in the context of horror?

Well, according to Food & Life, a health-focused cookbook authored by Michelin-starred French chef Joël Robuchon and,neuropharmacologist and acupuncturist Nadia Volf, eating certain foods can help curb fear. Yes, apparently other than just willing yourself to be unafraid of fictional monsters and demons, there is possibly another way to get through a horror flick. So I set out to test whether Robuchon and Volf’s prescribed foods could actually fight fear.

Step One: Eat said foods, and only those foods.
Step Two: Sit through one of those gosh-darned horror movies.

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What’s the Most-Popular Fast-Food Spot in Your State?

by in News, November 16th, 2016

What’s the Most-Popular Fast-Food Spot in Your State? By Lauren Haslett

You know what kind of fast food you reach for after a late night. But are the rest of the folks in your state on the same page as you? Foursquare Swarm and City Guide apps recently compiled a whole lot of data for us on which fast-food restaurants people in each state of our great nation visit the most. And the results might surprise you.

Nearly 50 percent of states — a whopping 24 of them — prefer Chick-fil-A above all else. West Virginia is among that group, but it’s unique in that it has two top picks: Chick-fil-A and Sheetz. You may not be familiar with Hawaii’s favorite fast-food spot: Zippy’s Makiki, which is a chain based on the islands. Not surprisingly, McDonald’s is well represented, with 17 states liking that spot best. If you want to check out your home state’s favorite fast-food indulgence, just take a closer look at the map above.

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9 Must-Try Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Dishes

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 16th, 2016

Although turkey is the holiday’s iconic dish, Thanksgiving dinner is actually a pretty great meal for vegetarians. Heaping dishes of autumn vegetables and glorious carbs often outshine the bird, anyway. Vegans have a tougher challenge, since the many of the holiday’s traditional vegetable sides are laden with dairy and eggs. If you’re expecting vegetarians or vegans at your feast, it’s nice to have something substantial on the table that can serve as their main dish. For vegans, a special dessert is also a thoughtful touch, since most classic pie recipes are off-limits. Just be sure to make enough: Omnivores won’t be able to resist these, either.  Read more

Chefs’ Picks: Turkey

by in Restaurants, November 16th, 2016

Roast Turkey
Chefs’ Picks tracks down what the pros are eating and cooking from coast to coast.

The national day of stuffing, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, Thanksgiving is one of the few meals in which the main dish is often upstaged by the sides. Though bird is the word of the season, many a Thanksgiving turkey tends to underwhelm. Don’t let that be the case this year. Several chefs offer their favorite preparations for T-Day poultry to ensure your bird is far from bland. Read more

5 Green Bean Casseroles to Satisfy Everyone at Your Holiday Table

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 16th, 2016

Green Bean and Tomato CasseroleGetting all your guests to eat their greens is no easy feat when mashed potatoes and stuffing are being passed around again and again. But it’s a challenge made easier with beautiful and creative green bean casseroles. Here are five we’re sure will disappear from your table this Thanksgiving. Read more

Who Knew Ranch Dressing Was So Divisive?

by in News, November 15th, 2016

Who Knew Ranch Dressing Was So Divisive?Long a controversial condiment — there are those who love it, and those who very vocally do not — the creamy topping, used by its numerous fans on everything from salad to pizza, is in foodie focus after Ben Adler, a staff writer covering environmental politics and policy at Grist, wrote a scathing takedown of it that was published in The Washington Post.

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Every Kind of Chili You’d Ever Want to Make

by in Recipes, November 15th, 2016

Vegetarian? No-red-meat eater? Bean hater? Tomato avoider? No worries! No matter your diet or preferences, you never have to miss out on chili season. We’ve got a hearty, flavor-packed recipe for every palate.

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Robert Irvine Takes Over Flavortown in the First-Ever Guy’s Grocery Games: Impossible

by in Shows, November 15th, 2016

Robert Irvine
Nine of America’s bravest chefs are gearing up to compete in an epic four-part Flavortown showdown for a chance to cook against Mr. Impossible himself, Robert Irvine, and a chance at winning up to $40,000. Starting Sunday, Dec. 4 at 8|7c, three chefs will compete each week in two grueling rounds of culinary competition and the last one standing will win $10,000 and a spot in the grand finale. But before bagging the prize, the winning chef will have a chance to double the money in a cook-off against Robert Irvine. The finalist from each episode will advance to the grand finale, where he or she will vie for a chance to compete against Robert one last time, a chance at another $20,000 and the title of Guy’s Grocery Games: Impossible Champion.

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Here Are the Most-Unexpected Dishes at Food Network Staffers’ Thanksgiving Dinner

by in Community, Holidays, November 15th, 2016

Zucchini Corn FrittersThanksgiving is all about traditions, from Mom’s signature turkey seasoning and your aunt’s sweet ambrosia salad to Grandma’s now-famous pumpkin pie. Each family has its own list of dishes that just has to be on the table for it to feel like the holiday — and some of those picks are downright unexpected, going well beyond the requisite mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. We checked in with Food Network staffers to find out the most-surprising items on their turkey day tables.

“It’s my husband’s family’s tradition to serve fried corn fritters at Thanksgiving each year — not the most-traditional dish but so delicious! They like them sweet and drizzled with maple syrup, but I bet they’d love this savory version from Food Network Magazine too. It has zucchini, garlic and buttermilk for a little tang.”

— Lauren Piro, Food Network Editor

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