Holiday Party Advice from Professional Planners

While weddings are their specialty, the duo puts their fresh, inventive, and handmade spin on everything from birthday bashes…

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These simple displays can be created using it…

  • Nine myth-busting tips you need to cook your bird with confidence.
    by Kemp Minifie, Gourmet






















    Let's dispense with the regular turkey gobbledygook that permeates the media at this time of year and get down to basics: You've got a big, raw bird sitting in your fridge, a bunch of guests coming with holiday-high expectations in tow, and you need help. Sure, you may have heard all kinds of rules, lore, and even a few horror stories, but here's what you really need to know to successfully roast a turkey on Thanksgiving.

    1. Don't Wash the Turkey
    This directive alone will probably shock you. And it holds true for chicken, too. Would you believe it comes directly from the super-cautious folks at the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), a division of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)? They've been advocating sparing your birds a bath for several years.

    Here's why: The moment you run water on your poultry, you start spewing a mist of unwanted pathogens all over

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  • All along the grey and November-cold East Coast, Thanksgiving is the meal we most look forward to setting the family table for each year. A perfectly roasted turkey surrounded by a bevy of simple and comforting American sides is a matter of tradition: the kids will pick the marshmallows off the top of the sweet potato casserole while the grown-ups will spike their mugs of hot mulled cider with a fire crackling in the background. Gather 'round the bountiful table with all you love, and be thankful for that second slice of pumpkin pie.



    THE MENU

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  • Pumpkin bars with a gingerbread crust are a nice alternative to pumpkin pie this year.

    By Laura Holmes Haddad

    I'm a fairly tolerant parent when it comes to food. I give in to my daughter Penelope's chicken finger cravings once in a while, indulge her preference for plain cheese pizza and let her lick the whisk after I've whipped heavy cream.

    RELATED: Choose the right kind of pumpkin for baking

    And while you might think kids will eat every sweet placed in front of them, Penelope won't touch pumpkin pie. Dealing with finicky eaters is not how I want to spend my Thanksgiving holiday, so this year I'm planning ahead and making a separate desert for the kids' table: pumpkin bars in a gingerbread crust.

    RELATED: How about spiced pumpkin churros for dessert?

    These bars are a mom's dream: a light filling (a fluffy combo of cream cheese and canned pumpkin) is pressed into a gingersnap crust. Make the bars the day before if the oven is occupied with the turkey (and even get the kids to help stir). A dollop of whipped cream on top doesn't hurt. You might even see

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  • Photo by Christopher Testani

    Photo by Christopher Testani

    By Elizabeth Gunnison, Bon Appétit

    In our column Fake It or Make It we test a homemade dish against its prepackaged counterpart to find out what's really worth cooking from scratch.

    I'm willing to bet that stuffing--tender, buttery, savory, carb-glorious stuffing--ranks as one of the most universally appealing food substances on the planet. It's not hard to fathom why Stove Top first engineered its just-add-water-and-margarine version of the Thanksgiving classic, providing Americans with easier access to food comas all year round. But is the instant version up to holiday snuff? As you begin planning your Thanksgiving menu, we put Stove Top up against a version we actually made on our stove top.

    Read More: 28 Delicious Thanksgiving Side Dishes

    The Contenders:
    Stove Top Traditional Sage Stuffing vs. Bon Appétit's Herb and Onion Stuffing

    The practice of stuffing birds and other small animals for cooking goes way back--at least to ancient Rome--and features in cuisines around th

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  • 5 Instant No-Cook Appetizers
    By Wendy Ruopp, Managing Editor of EatingWell

    An invitation to dinner is just about all the appetizer I need-I'm so happy to have someone feed me that I'm not fussy about what's on the menu. But if, when I arrive, there are little nibbles to start things off, it's a delightful bonus. Appetizers really take gatherings up a notch, showing an attention to detail I appreciate.

    And hors d'oeuvres don't have to add a lot of time to your meal prep-here I've picked 5 no-cook appetizers that are practically ready in an instant. There's at least one thing these 5 easy appetizer recipes have in common: an instant (read: store-bought) foundation. The part you make rests on a tasty cracker, chip or toasted baguette you buy. Think of that box of fancy crackers as a lifeboat full of party-savers. You can top the crackers with just about anything and they'll keep the evening floating along.

    Another great thing about these finger foods is that they won't break the bank: it's just a mini spl

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