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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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Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

AKA Touch the Pie (Gotta Testify, Lookin’ Extra Fly)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to music while I work. It’s too distracting. I can’t pay attention to the work and I can’t pay attention to the song. So iTunes stays on lockdown during the workday. But when I’m home cooking? It’s a different story. There’s music in the kitchen and I might check out my reflection in the window during the occasional booty pop, I’m not gonna lie. When I bake, it’s all hip-hop and old ’70s soul and funk.

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UK Chain Introduces 2,000 Calorie Double Doughnut Burger

Conventional wisdom dictates that America — in addition to being the land of the free — is the land of fattening foods. After all, Americans like their fast food, their buffets and their chocolate-covered thingamabobs. But other countries have their pudgy little hands in the cookie jar as well. Case in point? This massively unhealthy Double Donut Burger, now found throughout England.

UK chain Hungry Horse Pub is responsible for this beast. It contains two giant beef patties, several slices of cheese, four strips of bacon and two entire glazed donuts, one for each side of the bun. They aren’t even pretending its healthy by adding a sliver of tomato. Nutritionally speaking, it clocks in at a Beatle-y 1966 calories, which is about as much as you need to eat in an entire day.

To put this in perspective, you’d have to eat forty McNuggets or nearly four KFC Double Down sandwiches in order to catch up to this ogre. God bless the queen.

Fall Fest: Carrot Recipes to Covet

A versatile root addition to salads, soups and sides, carrots are more than just bunny food. Whether served crisp and snappy or roasted to sweet tenderness, the orange (or sometimes purple, red, yellow and white) vegetables are a sure-fire fall fan favorite. Here are a few ways to get them on the table.

1. Bring out carrots’ natural sweetness with Sunny Anderson’s honey-glazed carrots (pictured above). They complement almost any meaty main, and offer a bright pop of color to the table.

2. Bobby Flay crowns the carrot as the king of this salad, and tops it with a citrusy-sweet-spicy dressing. Cumin and cayenne pepper give the dish an earthy flavor with just the right amount of heat.

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Umami Burger Kills Pumpkin Spice by Making a Burger Out of it

Tis the season to celebrate pumpkin in all of its varied forms. This mostly entails drinking coffee that tastes of a cloyingly sweet variant of everyone’s favorite elusive Peanuts character. Some people have been clamoring for an end to this pumpkin spice madness. Enough is enough, they shout from the bloggy rooftop. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. Here is a pumpkin spice latte burger. 

Boutique chain Umami Burger is responsible for this monstrosity, the Pumpkin Spice Latte Burger. What the what? Yeah, it’s a coffee-flavored burger with that hint of pumpkin spice we’ve all been longing for ever since man decided to put beef between two pieces of bread. It starts with a signature beef blend, then adds a healthy dollop of pumpkin spice mascarpone, tempura Japanese squash, roasted garlic aioli and, of course, coffee drizzle. Dang. That’s one busy burger.

So if this sounds like your bag of gourds, and you live in one of the four states with Umami Burger locations, plop down your twelve bucks and have at it. However, just a reminder, it’s a burger topped with coffee and pumpkin spice. Maybe you missed that part.

For more ways to pumpkin spice everything you eat or drink, watch this.

Hump Day Snack: Mini Pumpkin-Pie-Slice Cookies

Pie Slice CookiesIt’s one of the sad-but-true facts of Thanksgiving that slices of pie just aren’t very portable. To save possible pie-induced tears when dinner ends, bake up a batch of Mini Pumpkin-Pie-Slice Cookies. Use your favorite shortbread or sugar cookie recipe and a 4-inch round cookie cutter to bake pie-slice-shaped triangles. The key to making real-life looking pumpkin pie slices is in the icing. Mix up two batches using food coloring: one to create the perfect warm orange hue and the other for a just-baked golden-brown crust color. After piping the pumpkin and crust icing, add a dollop of white frosting for a whipped cream accent, or use them as place cards by writing the names of your guests onto each slice. Then pack them up and send them home with no risk of soggy crusts or collapsed fillings.

For more ways to use pumpkin beyond the pie this fall season and for Thanksgiving, check out some of Cooking Channel’s top-rated recipes:

 

Healthier Take-Out Ideas

Burritos

When it’s dinner and you need to put food on the table, it can be tempting to just phone in an order from a favorite nearby restaurant. But lots of take-out food is rife with too much salt, sugar and oil — and not enough vegetables! The truth is, many of your favorite take-out meals can be made healthfully and just as quickly (most in under 30 minutes, which is faster than it takes to get delivery!)

Here are 17 recipes to try, no matter what you’re craving:

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