The Food Network's Virtual Thanksgiving: Pull Up a Chair!

Experts say that one of the ways we experience happiness is in the anticipation of an event. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I know just what they mean. There is, of course, the looking forward that happens while picking new recipes, creating the guest list, and dreaming up creative traditions that focus on the giving thanks part of the day. But my favorite part of the preamble is when we're down to the wire, the couple of hours before dinner is served.

At my family Thanksgiving, the scene's like this: All the promise of the meal lays before us. The rich smells of buttery pie crust, simmering gravy, and a crisp-skinned turkey linger in the air. My mom has not yet had her annual (and completely understandable) Thanksgiving meltdown. No one's stuck their foot in their mouth or viciously trounced the competition in a game of Trivial Pursuit. Your waistband isn't yet digging into your stomach. There have been no tears or broken crystal. For a brief moment, there's harmony in house.

Plus, there are snacks!

I'm always asked to bring one of these pre-dinner nibbles, so Shine was delighted to bring this spicy caramelized onion jam to the Food Network's Communal Table: Thanksgiving Edition this year. It's a starter that's kicky enough to distinguish itself from the traditional flavors ahead. Its rich flavors make it feel special, but its lightness gets your motor running into a gentle purr for the main event. Spread on a cracker or crostini with goat cheese--or serve plain--and you're off to the races.

Feast your eyes on what else is on the table:

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:

Liquor.com: Thanksgiving Cocktails
The Kitchn: Goat Cheese Panna Cotta Topped With Canned Cranberry Jelly Cut-Outs
Big Girls Small Kitchen:
Braided Biscuits
Epicurious:
Chestnut and Sherry Soup
Yahoo! Shine:
Spicy Caramelized Onion Jam With Goat Cheese
YumSugar:
Kale and Chard Salad with Pomegranates and Hazelnuts
Whole Foods Market:
Mixed Green Salad With Pears, Hazelnuts, Blue Cheese and Homemade Croutons

Mains:

FN Dish:
Alton Brown's Good Eats Roast Turkey
Eatocracy:
Country Ham With Pickled Peaches
BlogHer Food:
Root Vegetable Pot Pie With Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Sides:

Cooking Light: Fennel, Sausage, and Caramelized Apple Stuffing
Bon Appetit:
Maxine Rapoport's Turkey Stuffing
EatingWell:
Green Bean Casserole
Serious Eats:
Ultra-Crispy Roasted Potatoes
Oprah.com:
David Chang's Roasted Brussels Sprouts With Asian Vinaigrette
Food Republic:
Cavatappi With Fontina and Fall Vegetables
Healthy Eats:
Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots
Saveur:
Green Beans and Tomatoes
Diner's Journal: Fiery Sweet Potatoes
Real Simple:
Brown Sugar-Glazed Carrots With Rosemary and Pecans
The Daily Meal:
Bacon Brussels Sprouts
AP/ J.M. Hirsch:
Ginger-Pear Cranberry Sauce
Food52:
Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Goat Cheese
Food.com: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Food & Wine: Michael Symon's Swiss Chard and Leek Gratin
All You:
Sweet Potato Bake

Desserts:

The Blender/ Williams-Sonoma:
Deep-Dish Apple Bourbon Streusel Pie
Southern Living:
Pumpkin-Pecan Cheesecake
Cooking Channel:
Apple Bread Pudding
Fox News:
Ginger Molasses Sugar Cookies
Gourmet Live:
Pumpkin Coconut Panna Cotta
Melissa Clark:
Sweet Potato Ginger Custard Pie
MyRecipes.com:
White Chocolate Cheesecake With Cranberry Currant Compote