Best 5 Thanksgiving Cocktails
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
No matter if you’re hosting a crowd this Thanksgiving or preparing a simple meal for your family, you can make the feast feel extra special by shaking up a signature cocktail to pair with the spread. Stick with the warm flavors of fall when planning your cocktail menu, and don’t shy away from pairing the liqueurs with seasonal ingredients like fragrant spices; the more these tastes complement those in your dishes, the better. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving cocktails to find easy-to-make sippers worthy of the holiday, then browse all of our Best Thanksgiving Cocktails and Drinks.
5. Spiced Bourbon, Beer and Maple Martinis — Laced with a splash of pure maple syrup and garnished with dried chiles, Giada De Laurentiis’ sweet and spicy cocktail is best served cold.
4. Spiked Apple Cider Cocktails — For a pop of freshness, finish each of these rum-and-schnapps-based sippers with a skewer of chopped tart apples.
3. Cranberry-Champagne Cocktail — It takes only a handful of ingredients to make Tyler Florence’s five-minute recipe, a cocktail mixture of bubbly Champagne, sweetened cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime.
2. The Maple Perfect Manhattan — Follow Jeff Mauro’s lead and add a splash of maple syrup to classic Manhattan mix-ins to transform the tried-and-true drink into a next-level cocktail.
1. Hot Toddy — “Hot toddy is essentially a hot punch,” says Alton Brown, which is why he prepares this big-batch drink (pictured above) in a party-ready slow cooker to which guests can help themselves. Click the play button on the video below to watch Alton make it.
Food Network Favorites Share Breakfast with Local Schoolchildren
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
It’s no secret that breakfast is the most-important meal of the day, but nevertheless many children go to school hungry, having not had breakfast at home beforehand. That’s where No Kid Hungry comes in. This nonprofit organization is committed to helping end childhood hunger, and recently a few Food Network favorites teamed up with No Kid Hungry to bring a hearty breakfast to kids at school in New York City.
In the spirit of the holiday season, The Kitchen co-hosts Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee joined Chopped judges Alex Guarnaschelli and Marc Murphy at East Harlem Scholars Academies to deliver deliciously nutritious breakfasts to the kindergarten and fourth-grade classrooms there. As Marc noted, “A kid cannot learn if a kid’s hungry. A kid can’t play if a kid is hungry,” which is why Alex said, “We have to really make breakfast cool.”
Get the recipe for Marc’s easy breakfast, an Asparagus and Parmesan Frittata, then check out more kid-friendly breakfasts below.
Kid-Friendly Breakfast Ideas:
Alton’s Oat Waffle
The Pioneer Woman’s Egg-in-a-Hole
Whole-Grain Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon
Smiley-Face Breakfast Pizza
Peach Pie Smoothie
Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins
50 Breakfasts on the Fly
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips from Bobby and Friends
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
With just days left until Thanksgiving, Bobby Flay and a few of his Food Network friends are coming together this afternoon to host the ultimate holiday feast and share their secrets for an easy, enjoyable turkey day. Before you tune in to Thanksgiving at Bobby’s at 12|11c today to see Bobby, Katie Lee, Sunny Anderson, Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon cooking together in the spirit the season, check out the chefs’ top turkey day tips to help you get set for the feast. From the basics of menu holiday planning to the need for chicken stock on Thanksgiving, read on below to hear from Bobby and the cast as they reveal last-minute advice.
Tradition vs. Creativity
On a day that’s rooted in tradition, Katie admits, “people want familiarity” when it comes to the expected trimmings, like the turkey and stuffings. Bobby’s solution to trying new dishes? Add a few “surprises here and there in flavor.” Just a few ingredient swaps in the classics can offer subtle yet impressive updates in taste.
To Brine or Not to Brine?
Just as everyone has a preference for dark meat turkey or white, stuffing inside the bird or dressing outside, jelled cranberries or fresh, so, too, do many about whether or not to brine the turkey. While doing so may indeed add a boost of flavor and promise a moist texture to the meat, the process adds an extra step to the turkey-making process.
Embrace Stale Bread
Don’t toss that day-old bread that’s sitting on the counter; in fact, stale bread is just the right ingredient to use in your stuffing and dressing, and it will better absorb the liquid in the casserole.
Chicken Stock: More Is Better
Bobby considers this pantry staple his go-to ingredient on Thanksgiving, as he puts it to work in five different ways throughout the meal prep: “In the bottom of the turkey roasting pan, for the gravy, to reheat the turkey when it’s sliced, to put it in the stuffing and also to reheat the stuffing,” he explains.
Guarantee Smooth Gravy
“The only way to rescue lumpy gravy, in my opinion,” Alex says, “is to strain your gravy once again. Just get a strainer of any kind and just get those lumps out of there.”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the Thanksgiving-prep process, take comfort in knowing that, according to Bobby, “it’s hard for everyone.” Try to enjoy the holiday and relish the meal with your family and friends.
Get All of the Recipes Featured on Thanksgiving at Bobby’s
Thanksgiving Turkey 101: Your Guide to Roasting Your Best-Ever Bird
Turkey Taboos: What NOT to Do This Thanksgiving
Updated Classics: 4 Stuffings to Savor
Think Beyond the Can: Homemade Cranberry Sauces Fit for the Feast
Best 5 Thanksgiving Entertaining Ideas
Thanksgiving Pie Guides (Or, How to Totally Win the Dessert Course)
Top Turkey Day Appetizers
Your Buttery Thanksgiving: What You Need to Know
Pecan Tassies — Down-Home Comfort
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
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.
I grew up in south Georgia, home to pecans, peaches and peanuts. It’s the rural countryside and absolutely beautiful. In south Georgia there are pecans as far as the eye can see. I can guarantee I didn’t see a lick of that beauty when I was 16. I wanted to get far, far away from what I thought was pretty much the middle of nowhere. I recently was driving through the area and contemplated the scenery. Windows cracked, the air whipped in as I slowed down from interstate driving to a more civilized pace. Relishing a cup of salty, earthy boiled peanuts, I negotiated the cracked asphalt through acres and acres, miles and miles of cotton. Alternating with the fields of cotton were pecan groves. The gray tree trunks stood solid as thin, bent and twisted branches reached toward the dusky sky. Butcher-red, dusty roads snaked between the fields and groves.
Growing up, we picked up pecans from the trees in the yard every fall. My grandfather had a nutcracker attached to a long board. He’d position it over a barrel and spend hours cracking our harvest. Later, my grandmother would patiently clean each and every pecan half with a pick and a soft-bristle brush. Then, we’d freeze them in sealable plastic bags. It is my mission in life to teach people that pecans need to be kept in the freezer or refrigerator. It saddens me beyond measure that pretty much everyone outside of the South has only tasted rancid or near-rancid pecans that have languished on the grocery store produce shelf. Pecans contain a high fat content, which means they are prone to spoilage, or rancidity, over time if not stored properly. At room temperature pecans will usually last only 20 days! Or, if kept in a sealed, airtight container, maybe 45 days! However, if kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, pecans’ storage life increases dramatically, easily reaching nine to 10 months. The best way to extend their life is to store them in an airtight container in the freezer; they will last 18 months to two years. My practice is to buy pecans in the fall, when they are harvested, and store them in the freezer. That way I have fresh pecans for the entire year.
As a child, I helped Mama make these tassies with the nuts my grandparents had cleaned. It was my job to help her coarsely grind the nuts. She still uses a hand-held grinder; it has a crank that forces the nuts through two opposing forklike blades and a glass jar to catch the nut pieces. The metal top that screws into the glass jar is bent and dinged, but the tool still coarsely cuts the nuts just right. These petite pies are a holiday staple and keep well in an airtight container for a week or so. To bring out their flavor after they’ve been in storage for a few days, simply pop them in a 350-degree F oven for a few minutes and they will taste freshly baked.
Bon Appétit, Y’all!
Get the Recipe: Pecan Tassies
Georgia-born, French-trained Chef Virginia Willis has cooked lapin Normandie with Julia Child in France, prepared lunch for President Clinton and harvested capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. A Southern food authority, she is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all and Basic to Brilliant, Y’all, among others. Follow her continuing exploits at VirginiaWillis.com.
Fun Thanksgiving Projects for Kids
FN Dish – Food Network Blog
Chores like peeling potatoes can make kids start to feel like they are on KP duty, and though that may be fun for a while, it can quickly turn to drudgery. This Thanksgiving, let everyone share chores so they go by faster, then set your kids up with one of these fun projects. Even little kids can roll cheese balls and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, and older kids can do more-complicated projects like creating a turkey-shaped veggie platter. These projects are win/win/win! They teach kids how to use creative thinking in the kitchen, they take some of the work off parents’ hands, and they keep kids occupied. Plus, the results look and taste good enough to meet the standards of your most-persnickety guests.
Turkey Handprint Cookie Place Cards
Guests may want to “gobble up” (sorry) these personalized hand-shaped turkey place cards inspired by the classic kid’s drawings, and Ree Drummond’s Hand Cookie recipe, as soon as they sit down to the table.
Turkey Crudite Platter
This turkey-shaped crudite platter looks impressive and is incredibly easy to put together. Bigger kids can help younger kids put everything in the right place. It’s a veggie puzzle game!
Sweet and Savory Mini Cheese Balls
Mini cheese balls are fun because everyone can brainstorm together for topping combinations, and they are small enough that you can taste test them in advance to decide which ones to serve to your guests.
Leaf-Shaped Chips and Cheese
The colors in each of these leaf chips are unique, just like autumn leaves. Whole-grain chips are “painted” with herbs and spices so each one looks and tastes different depending on the combination of spices used. Top with leaf-shaped cheese slices for a pretty fall-themed appetizer.
Check out the full gallery for easy, step-by-step instructions for each of these kid-friendly edible projects.