Written on November 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm , by Lauren Katz
It’s that time of the year again: When pumpkins stop being carved into Jack-o-Lanterns and start getting cooked into pies. Yep, we’re talking about everyone’s favorite food holiday, Thanksgiving. Whether it’s your first time hosting Turkey Day, or you’re a seasoned pro looking for more adventurous dishes, our November 2012 issue features six different menus for every kind of cook. (And psst, just got nominated for a FOLIO: Award for Best Overall Design along with our FOLIO nominated story, Honk If You’re Hungry!) Find a menu fit for your Thanksgiving feast below!
For the first-timer, we show cooks how to make and carve a wonderfully easy Herb Butter Turkey with Cranberry Grapefruit Sauce, 4-ingredient Maple-Mashed Sweet Potatoes and a classic, yet simple Pecan Pie with Bourbon Ice Cream.
Our speedy menu guarantees dinner on the table in 2 hours. The timeline includes Cherry-Chipotle Turkey Breast, Microwavable Quick Cauliflower Puree and Chocolate Cream Puffs with Cranberry Compote made from store-bought puff pastry.
For the adventurous cook, we packed a serious flavor punch with an Indian-inspired menu featuring Tandoori-Spiced Turkey with Cracked Pepper Gravy, Naan & Cashew Stuffing and Cardamom-Vanilla Custards.
Don’t think we forgot about the vegetarians! This meatless menu consists of plenty of seasonal veggies that taste just like the holidays: Roasted Spiced Squash, Pistachio-Pomegranate Chopped Salad and Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake, because vegetarians like dessert, too!
For the thrifty cook, we keep a budget at $40 to feed a crowd of eight. Here’s how we do it: Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey with Onion Gravy, super-cost-efficient Creamed Cabbage and fancy but frugal Gingered Carrot & Kale Ribbons.
Finally, our Make-Ahead Menu provides a timeline that begins the cooking a week in advance for a stress-free holiday. Cornmeal Stuffing Muffins are made a week ahead, Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin is made 2 days ahead and all that’s left to do on Thanksgiving Day is cook the Brined Dijon Turkey with Pan Gravy.
Written on November 4, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
We’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for the standard potato, but lately, the sweet potato has crept into all of our favorite recipes. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin A and fiber, and they add a natural sweetness to any dish. If you thought the recipes ended at casserole and fries, think again. We’re taking some classic potato recipes and subbing in the sweet kind.
Potatoes au Gratin is now Sweet Potato & Apple Gratin
We’re swapping out your regular mash for Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie
Potato Pancakes can be sweet too! Try Sweet Potato Latkes with Cinnamon Sour Cream
What’s your favorite way to use sweet potatoes? Tell us in the comments below!
Written on October 31, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
Happy Halloween! We know you’re probably prepping for a night full of tricks and treats, but we’re already thinking ahead to the following days, when you’re left with more Halloween candy than you can ever possibly eat. No worries; we have some fantastic recipes that recycle your favorite goodie bag treats into something even more delicious–and homemade, to boot!
Here’s what you should do with that leftover…
Melt some chocolate and sprinkle the candy corn on top for homemade Candy Corn Boo Bark.
Chop ‘em up and add them to a delicious batter for Apple Fritters.
Throw them into this simple 4-ingredient recipe for Candy Bar Fudge.
(because, let’s be honest, who is eating raisins on the sweetest, most candy-filled day of the year?)
Add them to Oatmeal-Raisin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting to satisfy your sweet tooth.
We hope you have a happy, safe, food- and fun-filled evening!
Written on October 30, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
Every week, we check out YOUR food photos on Instagram and pick a
“Whatcha Cookin’ Wednesday Featured Cook of the Week” to appear on our blog and have a chance to be featured in a future issue of the magazine.
We’re on a serious banana bread kick lately! Instagram user @petitfoodie made this Brown Butter Cinnamon Banana Bread look so delicious we just had to feature another banana bread photo. Lucky for us, she included the recipe link to her blog, so you know we’ll be trying out this recipe at home, too! Hm, maybe we should have a banana bread bake-off?!
Written on October 29, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
With one pot, a splash of liquid and a little love, you can slow-cook the simplest ingredients into rich, satisfying, supremely easy dishes. The secret is braising:a hands-off technique that lets foods simmer themselves tender and creates a succulent sauce almost effortlessly. And if that’s not enough temptation, here are five reasons you’ll be praising braising!
Without any extra prep work–pounding, marinating and brining begone!– you can magically tenderize tough bargain cuts like short ribs, shanks and stew meat by simmering them in a little liquid. Cooking low and slow in a covered pot melts down fat and tissue, basting meat from inside to keep it moist, and making the sauce thick and silky.
You’ve had chicken a thousand ways, but never this moist! When you braise a bird, the flavorful cooking liquid–be it stock, wine or, in this case, beer–infuses the meat, making it tender to the bone. In exchange, the meat and skin give the sauce a rich taste and glossy texture.
Delicate fillets can quickly become dry or rubbery if you’re not careful with your pan or grill. Braising is far more forgiving. Searing fish first, then cooking it at a gentle simmer, means the outside won’t scorch before the inside is fully cooked, and the liquid “bath” ensures moistness. What’s more, oven braising guarantees that fillets won’t fall apart; the gentle, indirect heat cooks fish evenly without you having to turn or flip the pieces.
4. Vegetables turn silky and sweet
In around half the time it would take to roast them, braising intensifies vegetables‘ sweetness and succulence. First, the veggies caramelize in the pan and form a golden crust. Then, the liquid you add creates steam that helps cook them through evenly. The end result is juicy and soft, never dry and shriveled.
5. Fruit becomes saucy and spoonable
You know how fruit tastes sweetest when it’s soft and ripe? Braising brings that same flavor forward, ripe or not, and delivers a tart, tantalizing sauce to boot. Fruits release their juices in the pan, naturally sweetening and enriching whatever cooking liquid you use. Use luscious braised fruits (try the technique with peaches, pears, apples and pineapple) as condiments for meat and fish; tossed into rice dishes, yogurt or granola; or dolloped over ice cream for dessert.
Simple steps to braising
1. Hit the heat. Start by browning your main ingredients in a little butter or oil over high heat. This caramelizes the outer layer– whether you’re cooking meat, fish or produce– and creates deep flavor that will later make its way into the pan sauce. Use a heavy- bottomed, ovenproof pot with a lid, such as a dutch oven
2. Add liquid. Pour in stock, water, juice or other liquids to cover the food about halfway. This accomplishes two things: It dislodges flavorful browned bits from the pan (scrape them up using a wooden spoon) and helps tenderize the ingredients. Using acidic liquids such as lemon juice or vinegar can help speed up the process.
3. Cover and simmer. Most braises should be fine on the stovetop, but for leaner and more delicate foods like fish and chicken, the oven’s indirect heat can be gentler. In either case, a covered pot traps steam, which tenderizes from above while the braising liquid simmers beneath. Never let the liquids boil– if food cooks too quickly, it can toughen up.
4. Finish the dish. The liquids you’ve already added will become your sauce. Tweak it all you want: Skim the fat from the top; cook longer (or stir in cream or butter) if it’s too thin; or strain if you prefer smooth to chunky. Add fresh herbs, lemon or vinegar to cut richness, or honey, maple syrup or ketchup for sweetness.
Written on October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
It’s Friday afternoon, so you’ll be glad you have this gooey Chocolate-Banana Melt recipe on hand when you get home tonight (After all, if you don’t deserve a Nutella-ified dinner on a Friday, when do you?). It makes for a killer late-night or weekend snack, too!
Watch our step-by-step video on how to make these sinful snacks here.
More Fast Ideas
Written on October 22, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
After 597,191 views this year (and counting!) on RachaelRayMag.com of our Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia recipe, we can take a hint: You like fish with a flavorful coating. Lucky for you, there are tons of tasty combos you can put together, and not just for fish (we used chicken below)! Here’s the how-to:
Step 2: Coat with your dredger. There’s just one rule: Match thin dippers (oil, milk) with fine dredgers (flour, grated cheese) and pair thick dippers (yogurt, mayo) with coarse dredgers (nuts, crushed chips).
Dippers from thinnest to thickest:
Dredgers from finest to coarsest:
Grated hard cheese
Crushed potato chips
Crushed tortilla chips
Now, some recipes to get your started:
Written on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
Pump up your favorite veggie or pasta by stuffing it with new life. That’s right, today we’re talking about stuffed meatless mains like zucchini and pasta shells. As if these ingredients aren’t delicious enough on their own, add a delicious, meat-free filling and you’ve got the perfect dinner that’s as fun to eat as it is to make. Here are some of our favorite stuffed foods for Meatless Monday.
Ratatouille-Stuffed Zucchini Pizzas (from our brand new November issue!)
Double Stuffed Shells (because stuffing shells once just wasn’t enough)
What are some of your favorite foods to stuff?
Written on October 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by Lauren Katz
With new products hitting the grocery stands every day, it’s hard to keep up with the latest food trends. Have no fear; we’re here to help! Each week, we’ll be highlighting a new product that’s worthy of a spot in your shopping cart and your kitchen.
Compared to the preformed version, rolled pie crust costs just $3.74 for a pack of two and takes five minutes to prepare. Perfect for easy Thanksgiving prep!
Why You Should Buy It
The flaky texture and buttery flavor of refrigerated rolled pie dough are closer to the homemade stuff. Since it’s not preformed, you can use it for double-pie crusts, mini pies, tarts and other treats. Fan of a more rustic looking pie? You can style this dough any way you like!
How You Should Use It
Put your creativity to use! Crimp it; double it up; use cookie cutters. Here are some of our favorite recipes:
Written on October 18, 2013 at 12:00 pm , by Lauren Katz
Cheese lovers beware: A new cheese is on the market that may just blow your mind. It’s called Parrano, and it’s a Dutch cheese with the texture of a creamy Gouda and the nutty, buttery flavor of a Parmigiano-Reggiano. Parrano will be featured at the New York City Wine and Food Festival tonight in a Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese dish created and prepared by S’MAC founder, Sarita Ekya. Therefore, the cheese has proclaimed October 18th as National Buffalo Mac & Cheese Day.
The staff of Every Day with Rachael Ray got a preview of this mac and cheese yesterday, and we were truly impressed by how one dish could so perfectly represent both traditional macaroni and cheese and buffalo chicken. The mac and cheese had the perfect amount of heat, creaminess and plenty of chicken to make for a truly special, sinfully delicious lunch.
We also learned some valuable mac & cheese cooking tips that we’re definitely going to use in our own kitchens, such as:
1. Keep your pasta al dente! Removing the pasta about two minutes before suggested cooking time on the package allows the pasta to soak up the cheesy sauce and finish cooking to a perfect texture. Don’t forget to generously salt the pasta water to crank up the flavor!
2. Perfectly portion your mac & cheese by making individual servings in ramekin dishes. Plus, no more fighting over the crispy top layer (everyone’s favorite part)!
Speaking of the crispy top layer…
3. There’s more to a crunchy crust than just toasted breadcrumbs. Add some grated cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino or aged cheddar for added cheesiness. Adventurous? Top your mac & cheese with crispy fried onions or fried chicken skins.
How do you like to remix your mac and cheese?