While the turkey often gets all the glory at Thanksgiving dinner, it’s the side dishes that turn the turkey into a full meal. From creamy mashed potatoes and classic green bean casserole to roasted vegetables, cranberry sauces and buttery, flaky breads, the seemingly second-string dishes can indeed take the spotlight at your holiday feast. Below are Food Network’s best-of-the-best side dish picks, the tried-and-true winners that will surely garner praise from your holiday guests.
Be honest: Is turkey your favorite part of Thanksgiving? No matter if you answered yes or no, chances are you’ll be cooking up a bird this holiday, as it’s arguably the most-important element of your Thanksgiving dinner table. As the centerpiece of the feast, a winning bird will bring balance to the seemingly never-ending buffet of veggie side dishes (and provide the leftovers for must-have turkey sandwiches), whether you fry it, roast it, stuff it or brine it. Check out some of Food Network’s best-ever turkey recipes below, each chock-full of good-to-know tips from your favorite chefs.
Perfect Roast Turkey: The tried-and-true staples are beloved for a reason, and Ina Garten’s top-rated turkey is no exception to that rule. Ina stuffs the bird with fresh thyme and a halved lemon to gently flavor the bird from the inside out.
I can’t believe the holidays are right around the corner! Where has the year gone? I could’ve sworn Thanksgiving was just a few months ago.
Cooking for two on Thanksgiving seems daunting. You want to celebrate the holiday, but you also don’t want to be stuck with leftovers for a month. This Turkey Shepherd’s Pie for Two gives you an alternative to a large Thanksgiving spread. You still get all the sides that are classic for Thanksgiving, but without all the leftovers taking up your refrigerator space. Perfection! This recipe is also great if you happen to celebrate with family or friends and you get sent home with a bunch of leftovers. The turkey and mashed potato leftovers can be used in this recipe, and it’s like having a Thanksgiving meal all over again. Get the recipe below, then check out more of my Party of Two picks.
The food may just be the most-important thing on your Thanksgiving table (next to your family and friends around it, of course). But that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up the space to make it more seasonal and fit for the feast. Check out these easy, inexpensive ideas and good-to-know tricks to trim your table with a fall-focused spread, no matter if your plans include hosting kids or throwing an elegant celebration.
Repurpose Existing Goods
You know that wine bottle you have left over from the other night? That could be your Thanksgiving centerpiece. Save a few bottles and fill them with grains to create an easy yet impressive display.
In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, every food-oriented magazine you flip through, cookbook you earmark and website you scour is bound to have one recipe at the helm of it all: the turkey. But what if you don’t eat turkey? What if you don’t want meat at all? And what if you still want to, well, eat? Thankfully, we’ve got game-changing vegetarian and vegan recipes to have at your Thanksgiving table, whether it’s you or one of your guests who has a special diet. Even if people at your table don’t have dietary restrictions, they’ll go back for seconds on these hearty recipes.
Though classic stuffing gets its delectable moistness from chicken stock, it’s possible to reach that luscious state without adding any trace of meat to the equation.
Vegan: If you’re going without animal products altogether, go for Food Network Kitchen’s Vegan Stuffing (pictured above) that’s made without butter, eggs or stock. In fact, this recipe nixes stock altogether (even the vegetable kind) and uses earthy green tea as a replacement.
Vegetarian: Tyler Florence’s savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding is a delightful riff on stuffing that’s made without any meat. Bring toasted chunks of bread, sauteed mushrooms and rosemary into a casserole dish and then soak it all in a creamy egg custard before baking.
Hey, pumpkin spice lattes shouldn’t be having all the fun. When it comes to seasonally spun drinks, your cocktails could use some of the warming, spiced vibes of the fall as well. Shake up these festive pumpkin cocktails all seasonal long and plan on them as you prep for Thanksgiving.
Treat yourself to Sandra Lee’s spirited Pumpkin Sangria, a festive drink full of fall flavors. It’s a blend of wine and fruit juice, just like classic sangria, but it deviates with the addition of pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and pumpkin spice liqueur. Stir it with a garnish of pumpkin candy-topped cinnamon sticks before you take the first sip.
Odds are you’ve not liked Brussels sprouts at some point in your life, whether it was when you were a kid or it lasted into your adulthood. With its slightly bitter flavor and sturdy structure, this multilayered green veggie can be a tough sell — but not when cooked like this. These top-rated, fan-favorite recipes prove that Brussels sprouts can be addictively delicious when they’re cooked correctly and with a little love, especially now that they’re in season.
You’ve heard it before: Sometimes the simplest things in life are also the best. A 5-star recipe with a whopping 500 reviews, Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussels Sprouts don’t call for any newfangled ingredients to achieve their beautifully blistered, tender state. It just takes a good drizzle of olive oil, plus some salt and pepper, and roasting on high heat for Brussels sprouts to reach pure, unadulterated perfection.
While some celebrations call for hours of slow grazing (those tailgate snacks are an all-afternoon affair, right?), Thanksgiving is often set up into distinct parts: appetizers, the main spread, dessert and leftovers. Since you’re likely spending most of your time prepping the bird and its fixings, keep the starter game simple, for both you and your company. After all, you don’t want to serve hors d’oeuvres that are so filling that your guests are not craving turkey. The key is to whet their appetites with a few seasonal bites that will only prime them for what’s to come, and these go-to picks surely fit the bill.
After going doorbell to doorbell in head-to-toe costume, you can bet your kids aren’t give up their candy loot for just anything. But there’s only so much damage you can do to a never-ending bag of sweets. This year, don’t even think about letting your hard-earned loot go to waste; instead, bring it into these sweet-as-can-be post-Halloween treats.
When a surplus of candy calls, make this showstopping Chocolate Cake Decorated with Halloween Candy (pictured above). The amount of candy you’ll need depends on the size of your cake, but, for reference, it takes about 4 cups of candy to cover a two-layer 8-inch round cake.
Though you (and your kids) may disagree on whether pillowcases should be stuffed with candy rather than slept on, we’re here to tell you that Halloween is — gasp! — about more than the sweet stuff. No, your dentist didn’t send us to get you to nosh on more than candy ropes and chocolate bars this year. Instead, we’re just plain excited about these ghoulishly good recipes. Feast on these substantial-yet-spooky dishes we scared up for your Halloween party, like mummified hot dogs (pictured above) and ghost-shaped pizzas, or snack on them while you’re handing candy out to the neighbors.
For a party bite that will stop guests dead in their tracks, make these to-die-for Crispy Phyllo-Wrapped Hot Dog Mummies. The phyllo gives the little dogs a bandaged look and offers a buttery flakiness to every bite.