Food Network’s Mac And Cheese Recipe Upsets Facebook (Video)


By Cooking Panda

It’s 2017, and Thanksgiving recipes are at an all-time low. Nothing is sacred. And like politics and personal inquiries into your dating life from distant family members — it’s going to be harder than ever to avoid “Thanksgiving-adjacent” dishes.

The New York Times re-ran a 2014 recipe for Brussels sprouts sliders and the reception was a resounding “Absolutely not.” And now, it seems, the Food Network is participating in a an epic, self-inflicted, one-upmanship showdown, which has now befouled a sacred American dish: mac and cheese.

Food Network’s “Ultimate Mac and Cheese” recipe video, below, starts off innocently, but sinister undertones await. Host Katie Lee, whisks up a standard roux, a melted butter cream sauce, throwing in a “little zing” of dijon mustard that elicits a superfluous “Oooh!” from fellow guest chefs, and finally plunging a pyramid of gruyere and cheddar cheese into the mixture. Cavatappi pasta is added and almost as quickly as the dish looks delicious and ready-to-eat, a misinformed Nancy Fuller dumps a sheet pan’s worth of roasted Brussels sprouts and winter squash, ruining an otherwise perfect mac and cheese by katie lee.

Pan and zoom to restaurateur and judge on Food Network’s “Chopped,” Geoffrey Zakarian, looking mighty displeased by Fuller’s choice of mac and cheese additions. For a few split seconds, you can observe a brimming uneasiness twiddle through his fingers. A “woke” Zakarian looks like he’s just about had it with this disloyal Thanksgiving recipe. He gets it; you just don’t add vegetables to mac and cheese.

And guest chef Jeff Mauro adds insult to injury by throwing dried cornbread stuffing into the dish for that extra “crunchy top” that no one asked for.

Eater called it “a cafeteria potato salad that’s going through a rough divorce.” Facebook users were colorful in their commentary, suggesting the “Ultimate Mac and Cheese” dish to “anyone who hates their family but can’t get out of attending Thanksgiving dinner,” wrote Bunny Murphy. “Just bring a pan of this and I guarantee they’ll never speak to you again. Problem solved.”

Thanksgiving, which arrives Nov. 24, is over. You can all go home now.

Source: Eater / Featured Image: Steven Depolo/FlickrTags: food network, mac and cheese katie lee, mac and cheese recipe, Thanksgiving recipe
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7 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes Way Better Than Turkey (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Hey there vegetarians! Do you get nervous that there will be nothing else to eat but plain mashed potatoes or mac and cheese on Thanksgiving? While, granted, both of these things are delicious, there’s no doubt that you’ll want a little more on your spread than that.

Don’t worry! I’ve got you covered. Whether you’re hosting (Awesome! You can make sure nobody sneaks chicken broth into the communal food!) or just bringing your own dish or two to make sure you don’t get left out, you’re sure to find something way better than the usual spread here. 

Even the most carnivorous of your family members may neglect their turkey and ham when they see what you’ve made.

Feel free to top everything with generous portions of The Best Vegetarian Gravy, for added flavor insurance.

1. Mushroom Stout Pot Pies with Sweet Potato Crusts

These gorgeous, rich and filling pot pies go beautifully with the traditional Thanksgiving flavors, and the personal sizes make it great if you’re bringing a few “alternative” dishes for the vegetarians to munch on while everyone else gets turkey. Just be sure to make a few extras, because there’s a good chance the meat-eaters will envy these! (Similarly, this Shepherd’s Pie is also super delicious.)

2. Butternut Squash Lasagna with Shiitake Mushrooms

There are seven different lasagna recipes attached to this link, so if you want to switch things up a little (Gluten free? Fat free? Craving white sauce? I’ve got you!) you’ll find all kinds of ideas to further jazz up this flavorful, savory main.

3. Veggieducken (aka Squashleekotato Roast)

Everyone knows about the glory of the Turducken, but you can totally make your own (cheaper!) veggie version that gets wrapped up in squash for all kinds of fun. Stuffing keeps everything moist and robust, though if you want to add an extra dose of deliciousness, you can also throw in your favorite protein — vegetarian sausage or chorizo would be awesome!

4. Vegetables Wellington

This one is similar to the Veggieducken above. Cram a bunch of goodies like roasted carrots, mushrooms, cashews and beans (or whatever you want, really) into a big log of phyllo dough and bake the whole thing for an irresistible way to forget about your grandma’s ham. I mean, doesn’t puff pastry make everything better?

5. Wild Rice, Farro, and Tangerine Salad

This is probably the only salad I’ll eat on Thanksgiving, honestly. With broth-cooked hearty grains, herbs and sweet tangerines, you’re getting a super-flavorful dish. Plus, you can serve it room temperature and cook the rice and farro the day before to make things even easier for you!

6. Baked Polenta with Mushrooms

This flavor-packed, cheesy layered wonder cooks up in a flash, and it’s hearty enough to fill people up if you’re worried that you’re going to be low on food — which you should never be on Thanksgiving!

7. Roasted-Parsnip Bread Pudding

Stuffing is lovely, and it’s super easy to make vegetarian. But if you want to mix things up a little — maybe you’re looking for a few non-traditional sides to steer dinner away from the usual turkey or ham centerpiece — this tender, flavorful, hearty take on stuffing is the way to go.

Featured Image: Sashertootie/Flickr

Tags: Thanksgiving recipe, Thanksgiving vegetarian, vegan, vegetarian dinner, vegetarian turducken
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7 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pumpkin Or Pecan Pie (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Pumpkin pie is easily up there as one of my all-time favorite desserts, closely followed by pecan pie. This makes me a natural fan of the usual Thanksgiving spread, and you’ll never catch me complaining when I see my faves there!

That being said, some folks might get bored with having the same old thing year after year — not to mention that pumpkin spice can be pretty hit or miss with a lot of people. So if you’re hosting a holiday dinner, you might want to have a few options guaranteed to impress those who are all pumpkined out.

Plus, if you’re bringing dessert to a gathering, the last thing you want is to show up with the exact same thing as somebody else! Leave the standard stuff to the rest of your family and try something a little more exciting!

1. No-Bake Fluffy Cranberry Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Do you tend to run out of space in your oven on Thanksgiving? Do you always end up with what seems like gallons of cranberry sauce that nobody ever finishes? This pie is the perfect solution, and you can make it, along with your cranberry sauce, days in advance of the holiday. Easy!

2. Apple Pie Crescent Bites​

These tasty, incredibly easy apple pie desserts are perfect for last-minute offerings, sweet appetizers or just round three of dessert!

3. Yam Pudding With Bacon Streusel

This recipe is awesome, not only because it is super tasty, but also because it’s incredibly versatile. Got too many desserts but running low on sides? Easy! Serve it hot with a little extra bacon for a sweet-savory turkey accompaniment. It’s great warm or chilled for dessert, too, and you can even spoon it into a pie crust if you’d like an ever-so-slightly different alternative to the usual pumpkin or sweet potato pie.

4. Snicker Caramel Apple Pie

Talk about a crowd-pleaser! With a graham cracker crust, sweet-tart green apple filling, caramel sauce (adults might enjoy this salted caramel bourbon iteration), chopped mini snickers and a rich creamy topping almost reminiscent of cheesecake, this pie sure is hard to pass up!

5. Malted Walnut Pie

There’s no denying that pecan pie is awesome. But if you want to really turn things up this year, try this malty, complexly sweet and ever-so-slightly bitter version that will satisfy those who love the classic pecan version while bringing a little bit of oomph.

6. Double Layer Pumpkin Oreo Cheesecake

If you’re family is split between mega pumpkin fans and those who think it’s just kind of meh, fear not! There’s a solution! It’s hard to imagine that there’s anyone who will pass up on this rich superstar of a cake.

7. Pecan Pie Bark

If you aren’t making pecan pie this year, you can still make a little something crispy, spiced and buttery that will ensure that nobody misses the traditional dessert. Just be sure to make extra, because these are going to disappear rapidly!

Featured Image: Pixabay

Tags: pie recipe holidays, Thanksgiving cheesecake, Thanksgiving dessert, Thanksgiving recipe, weekend dessert recipes
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5 Awesome Thanksgiving Stuffing Ideas (Recipes)


By Cooking Panda

Turkey might not be everyone’s cup of tea (although if you’re cooking it right, it should be tender, juicy and flavorful enough to win over skeptics), but there’s one signature dish that’s almost always in high demand, even if the rest of the spread is cold, dry and cardboardy, heaven forbid.

Stuffing — or dressing, depending on your preferred term and how you cook it — seems to only surface during Thanksgiving, but even a mediocre version of it is so darn good that it’s hard to imagine why we don’t eat the delicious bread-based dish all year long.

The great thing is that stuffing is incredibly easy to make, even if you forego the dried, boxed bread chunks, so it’s a perfect opportunity to knock one side out of the park and impress your guests. Whether you want to keep it simple or get a little wacky and unconventional, there’s a stuffing recipe for everyone here. Enjoy!

1. “Simple is Best” Dressing

Not sure what kind of stuffing to make? You can’t go wrong with the classic kind. Of course, if you have some relatives with wildly boring palates who refuse to eat anything even slightly out of the norm, you can always make a small dish of this stuff and another of something a little more adventurous. Since you’ll likely be using similar ingredients, it shouldn’t be too much more work.

2. “Best Ever” Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffing

If you want a semi-traditional stuffing that branches out from the usual without getting too wild and crazy, this sweet-savory version is the one for you. You get an incredibly moist, flavorful depth and nice texture from the sausage — perfectly emphasized by breakfasty sage, of course — while the chopped apples bring an ever-so-subtle hint of sweetness and brightness to perk things up.

3. Soft Pretzel and Bacon Stuffing with Mustard and Beer​

Slightly smoky bacon is a natural match for deep, chewy pretzel bread, malty beer and strong, bright Dijon mustard to cut through the richness of it all. For the beer, you’ll probably want to stick with something light and mild, like a lager, pilsner or even a gentle English ale — the cheaper the better, in this case — although things could also get pretty interesting with a dry, malty, low ABV stout like Guinness for a richer, bolder flavor.

4. Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Fennel

Love cornbread? This dish, complete with pears, a dash of white wine and tons of herbs to balance out the dense cornbread and crumbly sausage, can do double-duty if you’re planning to serve cornbread to round out your meal anyway. If you want to practice and tweak your recipe a few days before the big meal, your reject batches won’t go to waste if you reuse them as stuffing later in the week.

5. Low Carb Stuffing​

How is this possible, you ask? It sounds out there, but with bright herbs and natural, full-fat ingredients like heavy cream, Italian sausage and cheesy white flour-free “bread,” this hearty dressing won’t have anyone missing carbs. Alternately, if you want to be a bit healthier and reduce your workload, you can make this cauliflower version instead.

Featured Image: Alexa/Flickr

Tags: best holiday stuffing recipe, dressing, stuffing, Thanksgiving recipe, Thanksgiving side
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