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Fall Fest: Winning Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Truffled Cheese Mash

Let’s be serious. The sides are the real stars of the Thanksgiving dinner table. Once your plate is piled high with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing and cranberries, the bird is hardly the main event.

We’ve rounded up our go-to picks for each category, but tell us: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Vote in the comments as we give thanks to our picks.

1. Mashed potatoes are comfort food royalty. Dress them up for the Thanksgiving holiday with truffles and cheese (pictured above), and you may earn VIP spud status for life.

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Side Show on Broadway: “Come Look at The Sweets”

Side Show

Side Show which opened to critical acclaim in New York City on Monday night, is everything a Broadway musical should be. Centered around two joined-at-the-hip twins, Violet and Daisy Hilton, the glamorous, thrilling, epic story follows the duo’s quest for true love and acceptance through the spectacle of fame and the scrutiny of the spotlight.

To celebrate its opening, Cooking Channel teamed up with Zac Young, resident Musical Maestro of Sweets and Executive Pastry Chef at David Burke Fabrick, to create a Sweet Show to match the grandeur of the twins’ incredible Freak Show (you have to see it to understand). Exotic and enticing, playful and full of passion, these recipes — cleverly named for big Side Show numbers — are sure to stop the show at your next holiday gathering. And just like the Hiton twins, what makes these dessert recipes just a little different is what makes them extraordinary.

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Brits Celebrate Not-Thanksgiving With Turkey-Flavored Doughnuts

Believe it or not, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving over there in jolly old England. It must be something about those two wars or whatever. That doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t enjoy the sublime tastes of Thanksgiving food. They just tweak it a bit. How much? Well, here are some turkey- and stuffing-flavored doughnuts.

The manufacturer behind these poultry-ish treats is a grocery chain called Tesco, who are known for a series of bizarre doughnut variations appropriately called Weirdoughs. In addition to this turkey and stuffing concoction, they also sell bacon doughnuts, cheese and onion doughnuts and, of course, salt and vinegar doughnuts. They are likened to doughy, soft potato chips, so as not to tax the English’s already dilapidated teeth (zing!)

If you find yourself wandering around England next week, pick up a pack and enjoy Thanksgiving in soft, doughy form. You could probably scour the Internet and find some as well.

 

Hump Day Snack: Cheesecake Pumpkin Pecan “Chumpcan” Pie

Pumpkin Pecan PieTurducken, Veggieducken, Cherpumple, Pumpecapple — no matter if you’re preparing main course or dessert, Thanksgiving’s overstuffed, multi-layer creations are guaranteed to get you tongue-tied and make a statement on your dinner table. Channel the hybrid nature of these behemoth creations with this recipe for Cheesecake-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie. Just like our Veggieducken, which packs sweet potatoes and stuffing into a squash, this three-in-one masterpiece combines a flaky pie crust, a smooth cheesecake, custardy pumpkin and a gooey, sweet pecan filling all into one jaw-widening dessert. You’ll need to make each component separately and freeze each layer to achieve the perfect layers. Once it has baked off and the nutty pecan pie topping has cooled, crack into the crust and cut a piece of what we’re calling the chumpcan pie – it’s triple shot of Thanksgiving-dessert heaven.

For more ways to recreate some of Thanksgiving’s famous hybrid mains and desserts, check out Cooking Channels more celebrated Franken-dishes:

Make Your Own Spice Blends

Everything Bagel Spice

Whether you want to make a truly homemade pumpkin pie or gussy up morning toast, spice blends can fill a lot of needs in the kitchen with just a few shakes. A lot of these are great add-ins to light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt to make a flavorful dip for veggies. They’re also an excellent, portable gift idea.

Pumpkin Pie: With Thanksgiving around the corner, this is the perfect spice blend to whip up now. Use it not just in pie, but in muffins, oatmeal and pancakes.

Apple Streusel: Crushed dried apples infuse this blend with a strong apple flavor. Try it sprinkled on popcorn; stirred into sour cream or yogurt as a sweet dip for fruit; or sprinkle it on oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes or toast.

Everything Bagel: Addicted to the salty, savory flavor of everything bagels? Make this spice blend (pictured above) and use it to add flavor to a baked potato or pasta dish, coat a chicken breast, top a salad, or sprinkle over potato pancakes. It’s even great on pretzels.

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California Restaurant Makes a Burrito Out of Pho Noodles

Photo by Peter Pham

Society has finally come to this. After a year filled with ramen burgers and creepy donut hybrids, here comes a frankenfood sourced from a burrito and a bowl of Vietnamese soup.

California cafe Komodo — which also doubles as a food truck and catering service — has just unveiled the appropriately named Phởritto, a burrito stuffed with to the gills with pho. Now, before you start worrying about spilling stock all over your shirt, the burrito is delightfully free of wet stuff. It does, however, feature rib-eye steak, cilantro, bean sprouts, onions, Thai basil, jalapeño, lime juice and, of course, pho noodles. They even give you some hoisin sauce and sriracha for dipping.

This is only available in California, but those of you made hungry by this post can always do a double take-out jaunt and do a little frankfooding of your own.

 

Dinner Rush! Chicken Legs with Roasted Grapes and White Cheddar Grits

 

What is the holiday season for if not to step back, reflect on the past year and reconnect with those you love. Since at this time of year calendars seem to magically swell with parties, dinners and casual get-togethers, make your gathering as fabulously effortless as possible with a meal that feeds a small group and a full house alike.

The trick to entertaining with style is to prepare a dish for your guests that is delicious, showstopping and requires as little cleanup as possible. This dish, my friends, is the total package.

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Sifted: Pretzel Parker House Rolls, Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Skillet Cookie + More

Pretzel Parker House Rolls

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  • Bread is an oft-overlooked, but critical part of Thanksgiving. After all, it’s the best vessel for sopping up gravy. If you’re tired of classic rolls, upgrade to Pretzel Parker House Rolls by Smitten Kitchen, which have a glossy pretzel shell scattered with coarse pretzel salt (or sesame seeds).
  • If ever there was a cookie of your dreams, this one would be it. The Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Skillet Cookie by Cook Republic is best eaten with a spoon so that you can dig out the dollops of peanut butter and chocolate chunks. It may be gargantuan, but it is only sweetened with honey, making it surprisingly wholesome (if you don’t devour the whole darn thing).
  • Sometimes burning things in the kitchen is a true disaster, but other times, it can turn out quite well. Lottie and Doof studs its Espresso-Burnt Sugar Shortbread with small shards of shattered sugar. Though not actually burnt, the sugar chips give a sweet, caramelized flavor to traditional shortbread.

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Burger King Japan Starts Topping Burgers With Berries

It is common knowledge that American fast food chains give their menus a little ride in the ‘change-o-tron’ for customers in other countries. Some of them put weird toppings on pizzas. Some just let kids do the cooking. Well, now Burger King Japan is jumping into that whole ‘fruity burger’ craze that is sweeping absolutely no nation by storm.

They’ve just unveiled a new burger called Premium Berry, which tops a Whopper patty with, you guessed it, premium berries. It features cranberries and blueberries, to be precise. Also, it is topped with bacon, lettuce and tomato so you can just pick off the berries and still have a pretty decent burger.

This burger, which was formally unveiled yesterday, will be available all holiday season throughout Japan. It launched alongside a mushroom cheese burger which is inexplicably called the Mush ‘N’ Cheese.

Meatless Monday: Parsnip and Apple Tarte Tatin

Parsnip Tart

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of lifeEating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

The only thing that doesn’t make sense about most tarts is that they’re not served until the end of the meal. What about their flaky, buttery, wondrous crust would make people want to hold out until after the main course to enjoy such a treat? I have no idea. Fortunately, the occasional savory tart can step in as the table’s centerpiece, like this parsnip and apple tarte tatin. As beautiful to behold as it is easy to execute, this stunning dish calls for roasting mellow parsnips and onions atop rosemary-flecked apples. Salty Parmesan cheese rounds out the dish, ensuring that no bite is too sweet or too savory. And if it seems odd to be eating a tarte for dinner, feel free to enjoy a big salad for dessert.

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