Thanksgiving Tips from Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian

By Shannon Gosney
In Food
November 24, 2010

I love to cook and have loved the opportunities to learn more about some of the stars on the Food Network!  This holiday season, Food Network serves up all-new daytime and primetime shows with festive recipes, entertaining ideasa and more.  Iron Chef America celebrates the holidays with a festive and bubbly battle premiering Sunday, December 5th at 10 pm, and popular competition series Cupcake Wars returns for a second season just in time for the holidays on Tuesday, December 7th at 9 pm.  “In the Kitchen” daytime favorites like Giada De Laurentils, Ina Garten, and Claire Robinson bring in the holidays throughout November and December.  Plus, features exclusive Thanksgiving videos, entertaining tips and scrumptious holiday recipes from Paula Dean, Alton Brown, the Neelys, Tyler Florence and more.



Ace of Cakes
Premieres Saturday, November 27th at 10 pm
“Holidays on Icing”
Charm City Cakes gets in the holiday spirit by decking the halls, sipping the eggnog and hitting the golf course.  The bakery staff chops a tree, decorates ornaments and sneaks around town playing Secret Santa.  Plus, Duff whips up a batch of his infamous eggnog until evil Christmas elves cause some wedding cake damage.

Food Network Challenge
Premieres Sunday, November 28th at 8 pm
“Holiday Windows”
Three teams of artistic pastry chefs transform boring storefront windows into edible holiday wonderlands.  The team that can create, transport and install the best holiday window display takes home a $10,000 prize.

Premieres Sunday, November 28th at 9 pm
“Yes Virginia, There Is a Chopping Block”
In honor of the holidays, the chefs stick with a seasonal theme, but gauging from the first basket, the competitors quickly learn they need to veer from tradition.  In the Entree Round, things get loosey-goosey when the chefs must butcher a big bird and use a cloyingly sweet jarred fruit.  When both finalists want to use the only microwave to speed things along in the Dessert Round, some holiday bickering ensues.



Iron Chef America
Premieres Sunday, December 5th at 10 pm
“Garces vs. Lata”
The Chairman celebrates the holiday season with a festive battle.  Charleston, S.C. chef Mike Lata of FIG (Food is Good) enters Kitchen Stadium to take on Iron Chef Jose Garces.  Will Chef Lata’s food be impressive enough to topple the towering Iron Chef Garces?

The Best Thing I Ever Made for the Holidays
Premieres Monday, December 6th at 9 pm
From succulent juicy prime rib to sweet delicious butter tarts and a sizzling crispy rack of pork, Food Network stars Cat Cora, Aaron Sanchez, Ted Allen and more welcome viewers into their homes while they create mouth-watering dishes for the holidays.

Cupcake Wars
Premieres Tuesday, December 7th at 9 pm – SEASON PREMIERE
In the season two premiere, four talented cupcake bakers from across the country vie for the chance to take home $10,000 and have their decadent displays featured at a star-studded holiday tree lighting ceremony in the heart of Hollywood.

Food Network Challenge
Premieres Sunday, December 19th at 8 pm
“Sugar Destinations”
Four top pastry chefs board a seven-day cruise to four ports of call.  The competitors must design a colorful sugar and candy showpiece inspired by shore excursions found at each destination.  Then the chefs visit Food Network Challenge studios and attempt to create their sugar showpiece in hope of winning $10,000.


5 Ingredient Fix
Premieres Saturday, December 4th at 10:30 am
“Posh Potluck”
For the ultimate pot-luck menu, Claire serves up scrumptious dishes such as a warm and thick Butternut Squash Soup.  She also prepares a sweet and tender Roasted Chicken with Pomegranate Molasses that pairs perfectly with Rice Pilaf.  For a decadent dessert, Claire makes her Chocolate Truffles sure to satisfy even the pickiest of guests.

Down Home with the Neelys
Premieres Saturday, December 4th at 11 am
“Holiday Time”
It’s ‘Holiday Time’ in Tennessee, and the Neelys share the food wealth with some near and dear senior citizens.  Their flavorful Grilled Holiday Honey Ham pairs perfectly with two scrumptious sides of Roasted Asparagus with Mustard Vinaigrette and Crumbled Feta and garlicky Holiday Wreath Rolls.  Finally, everyone gets a pair of melt-in-your-mouth Gingerbread Cookies.

Secrets of a Restaurant Chef
Premieres Saturday, December 4th at 12:30 pm
“The Secrets to Standing Rib Roast”
Anne pulls out all the stops with an impressive menu perfect for the holidays.  Standing Rib Roast makes a mouthwatering centerpiece, and cheesy Smashed Potato Gratin adds a creamy and indulgent touch.  Moletn Chocolate Cake with Crushed Candy Cane serves as a festive twist on a classic crowd-pleaser.

Giada’s Family Christmas
Premieres Saturday, December 4th at 1 pm
Giada and her family celebrate the holidays at Aunt Raffy’s house in Aspen where fun-filled days in the snowy mountains end with family meals and amazing food.  In the one-hour special, they prepare a delicious Straccoto (Italian Pot Roast), and a honey Italian Struffoli for a sweet dessert.  To start the morning off right, the family makes a special holiday French Toast that will keep everyone full of good cheer throughout the day.

Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee
Premieres Sunday, December 5th at 11:30 am
“White Christmas”
Sandra and her sister prepare a holiday feast to make the winter days sparkle.  Sandra begins the festive menu with a Macademia Nut Crusted Goat Cheese and cooks up Pork Crown Roast with Royal Glaze and an amazing Roasted Parsnip Medley.  They whip up ‘Snowy’ Angel Food Cakes for dessert and White Chocolate Egg Nog for cocktail time.

Dessert First with Anne Thorton
Premieres Sunday, Deember 5th at 12 pm
“Anne’s Christmas”
Tis’ the season to eat dessert first!  Anne whips up the perfect Christmas dessert menu starting with Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Cake, a cool and delectable treat filled with crushed peppermint candies and topped with a luscious chocolatey glaze.  Then, Anne prepares three easy and edible holiday gifts:  Russian Tea Cakes featuring salted pecans and a dusting of powdered sugar, Fabulous Fudge packed with chocolate chips, and festive Christmas Cookies with a super simple icing!

Mexican Made Easy
Premieres Saturday, December 11th at 9:30 am
“My Favorite Holiday Dishes”
Marcela shares some of her holiday favorites like a flavor-packed Avocado and Cilantro Mousse.  Spicy and tangy Roasted Pork Loin with Pineapple Glaze pairs perfectly with Marcela’s rice with ancho chiles and pine nuts.  To round this tasty menu, she prepares an Easy Mexican Chocolate Souffle.

Barefoot in London
Premieres Saturday, December 11th at 1 pm
Ina Garten explores the London food scene in a dazzling all-new one hour holiday special.  Inspired by her delicious discoveries, Ina conjures up a savory Sausage and Mash, mouth-watering Iberico Ham and Figs, and a refreshing Middle Eastern Salad.  To top off the meal, she makes sweet Chocolate Bark.


Thanks to Food Network, I had the opportunity to ask Melissa d’Arabian a few holiday food preparation questions.  Melissa d’Arabian is the winner of last year’s Next Food Network Star, host of Ten Dollar Dinners, and a mother of four.  Here are the questions I asked and Melissa’s answers:

How could one include his or her kids in preparing food for the Thanksgiving holiday?

– Sometimes you just can’t have a mess:  When cooking with kids, a mess-free way to let them help you mix something is to throw it into a zip-top bag, seal it up and let them mix away.

– And sometimes a mess is just what you need:  It’s amazing what kids are capable of doing if you don’t mind investing a little in cleanup efforts.  My four year old breaks all the eggs in my recipes.  When she was 2 1/2 she wanted to start learning how to do the eggs.  I let her make a little mess – who cares I figured?  She made maybe 10 messes before she got the hang of it, but now I’ve got a great egg breaker in the family!

– Not only do my girls help me in the kitchen but another fun way I get them involved is having them create personalized name cards and menus to take place at each setting.  It adds a personal touch to my table decor so my guests know their presence is appreciated and it gets my girls involved from start to finish.

What items would you recommend making the night before or preparing the night before?

– You can make your mashed potatoes the night before.  Put them in a baking pan, dot them with butter and cover them with foil.  On Thanksgiving day, you just need to heat them up.  In fact, you can make almost all your side dishes the day before.  Your turkey needs about a half hour to rest after roasting, so use that time to heat up or put finishing touches on your side dishes.  I also make all my pies the day before, baking is just not something I want to manage the day of.  Then, it’s just about heating them up as you get your dessert table and refreshments ready.

I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed in this post are 100% mine.

About Has 4152 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of RedheadMom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

5 Responses to “Thanksgiving Tips from Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian”

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  3. Steph A says:

    I like the tip about making the mashed potatoes the night before. There is so much to make on Thanksgiving that’s a great idea to make it a little less hectic.

  4. Kristen says:

    I don’t have cable right now and am so bummed to miss all the holiday cooking on Food Network. Luckily I have a few cookbooks by Food Network stars Giada and Paula!

  5. Cindy Merrill says:

    One thing NOT mentioned was sugarfree food options- a must for Holiday dining.,did you know that 33% of Americans have some form of diabetes ( Borderline, Type 1 or Type 2)

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