If you’re the type that could spend hours flipping through food magazines, perhaps the same ones over and over, agonizing over which few recipes are worthy of your next weeknight dinner or weekend dessert, then you know that November is serious business for these colorful periodicals: Thanksgiving. With the exception of Friends-giving or last year, I’m not normally responsible for the entire meal (and I certainly won’t be this year at 25 weeks pregnant), so I get to pick a couple really elaborate recipes to contribute to the feast.
In all honesty, I find the internet way too overwhelming for recipe selection, especially at such a food-centric holiday as Thanksgiving. Sometimes I’ll reference my Pinterest boards for old favorites or seasonal ideas when planning weekly dinners, but for guests and holidays, my go-to sources are cookbooks and food magazines. I bounce between publications. I used to be a Bon Appetit subscriber, but I’ve found they try too hard to be trendy for my taste, which never wavers far from classic, one-dish comfort food. Food & Wine hasn’t gone similarly astray, and even though I skip a lot of the pages, they always have those few, must-make recipes, like a creamy appetizer dip or chocolatey dessert (see above). I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by the number of recipes I want to cook from Rachael Ray Every Day and Food Network Magazine that I subscribed last month. This pregnant girl is not above easy weeknight dinners, and it’s easy to swap in a veggie for the meat that’s featured in many recipes. Exhibit A:
On Sunday, I sat down with my stack of the October and November issues of these ‘zines (I think we called them that in middle school) to compile an official list of recipes to tuck away for later: some for weeknight dinners, some for the next time we have dinner guests, and, yes, a few key winners for the big Thanksgiving day. I love that the Thanksgiving issues aren’t completely dominated by turkey and that, thankfully (pardon the pun), the 10 pages dedicated to leftover turkey day sandwiches in years past are long forgotten (because who really needs a recipe to pile stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes between the halves of a leftover dinner roll and stick it in the George Foreman?). Here are the recipes I can’t stop thinking about for the coming weeks and months.
Feta and chive biscuits
I might be the only one who reads the “credits” in Food & Wine, the one they try to spice up by asking a thematic question to a few staffers. The pretentious foodie responses can be laughable, or they can be downright amazing, like whipping up a batch of biscuits for Thanksgiving morning breakfast to fuel everyone through the prep. I plan to employ that very strategy with these feta and chive biscuits come Christmas, when I (and, most likely, a trusty team) will be responsible for the food. Making them the dough in advance will allow for starting with a clean slate, dish-wise, in the kitchen on Christmas.
Green bean and mushroom mac casserole
This midwestern girl loves a good hot dish, as evidenced last year when I tried to stuff one into a mushroom. I’m drooling over this GBC and mac combo side dish, but I might just reserve it for a mini Thanksgiving celebration for me and Steve.
Berry upside-down chocolate cake
Love at first sight. I don’t even care that my husband hates berries (more for the pregnant lady), this one is coming to Thanksgiving dinner with us, and I can only hope it tastes as good as it looks in print.
Pumpkin cream pie in a chocolate crust
Recipe from Food & Wine magazine (photo above)
So the last time I took a bite of pumpkin pie was in the ’90’s, and that’s not an exagerration. I’m just not a fan, although I’m not at all opposed to pumpkin. So you can bet that if there’s a need for desserts at Thanksgiving, this will be the second one I’m packing. Any food combined with chocolate? I’m sold.
Weekends and Company
Brie onion dip in a French bread bowl
Is brie cheese pasteurized? I almost don’t care, and I might just eat this bread bowl dip as a sandwich. Seriously, though, this would be a great appetizer for a small dinner group, when you can sit around and appreciate it without fighting for your fair share.
Chicken pot pie ragu
My hubby LOVES pot pie, so of course he swooned as I tried to get him to simultaneously drive our vehicle to Vermont and look at the picture of this pot pie-pasta fusion. Coincidentally, I have a stock of extra egg noodles in the pantry right now, so we can settle down with a pot of this “ragu” the weekend following Thanksgiving. Much better idea than shopping.
PB&C oatmeal skillet cookie
I’m always on the lookout for dessert recipes you can whip up with just the ingredients in the pantry, and this one fits the bill.
Recipes from Food Network magazine
Skillet cauliflower gratin
This gratin (fancy way of saying, “cheesy baked vegetables”) stood out to me as a light vegetarian main, and it’s super easy without a roux. You could totally mix in some browned sausage to beef it up, or some chopped spinach or kale to green it up.
Chicken enchilada stuffed squash
Recipe here. (photo above)
The picture just sucked me in. I’m constantly in search of the perfect stuffed acorn squash (examples here and here), and I was definitely jealous not to have invented this Tex-Mex mashup myself. I’ll probably sub black beans for the chicken.
Whole wheat spaghetti with shrimp and white beans
A recipe proving my theory that beans and pasta can work together. This one grabbed me since I have both linguine and white beans in the pantry at the moment. It’s full of classic, powerful flavors for an easy weeknight pasta. I’ll leave out the shrimp and maybe up the bean quantity or add a veg, and of course finish it with plenty of parm.