Turn your Thanksgiving table into a festive spread before the food arrives with fun decorations and ideas that can double as hostess gifts. Add sparkle to the table with the above beaded leaf runner, or set out Thanksgiving-themed crackers as place markers. When guests pop them open, they’ll find a turkey figure, Pilgrim hat and a joke.
Read more »
Classic mashed potatoes: some would argue that they’re the best side on the Thanksgiving table. And while there’s nothing wrong with the traditional additions of salt, pepper, butter and milk, sometimes change is in order. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week from Food Network Magazine offers 50 delicious mashed potato recipes. Some are simple toppings, while other ideas incorporate pesto, hummus, roasted veggies and different cheeses.
For more Thanksgiving recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate Thanksgiving board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipes: Food Network Magazine’s 50 Ways to Mash Potatoes
Get more Thanksgiving side recipes
Pick up an extra bag of cranberries this year and dye a set of napkins for Thanksgiving. Put white cotton napkins in a simmering pot of 8 cups water mixed with 1/2 cup salt for 1 hour (this will help seal the dye later). Meanwhile, simmer 2 cups each cranberries, cranberry juice and water for 30 minutes in another pot, mashing the cranberries; strain and return the liquid to the pot. Rinse the napkins in cold water, squeeze dry and leave one end in the cranberry liquid for 4 hours. Rinse again, squeeze and hang to dry.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)
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
Alex Guarnaschelli puts her culinary chops on display daily at her New York City restaurants Butter and The Darby, but she also knows a thing or two about entertaining a crowd (especially during the holidays). When FN Dish caught up with her at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, she was throwing a jazz brunch in the newly renovated Butter, featuring dishes from her debut cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food. Though the event was small and intimate, her entertaining ideas work for any occasion — big or small:
Mix up the menu. You don’t have to serve an entire buffet of right-out-of-the-oven hot dishes. A mix of both hot and cold bites not only keeps the menu interesting, but it also gives you more time to mingle with guests. Try putting out an assorted meat plate with some dried fruits, toasted nuts or a mix of cheeses. It’s an elevated way to serve a wider variety of food without making more work for yourself. Alex recommends pancetta, culatello ham, mustela loin and capocollo Calabrese. Don’t forget to set out grilled bread or pita too.
More tips from Alex
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.
Get more Brussels sprouts recipes from friends and family
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.
Read more »
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.
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.
Read more »
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.
Read more »