Cranberry jelly is often relegated to the once-a-year canned variety, but with this fresh and easy recipe, there’s no reason to skip a homemade cranberry sauce on this year’s Thanksgiving spread. This version takes its cue from Scandinavia, with the addition of lingonberries. If there’s one thing the Swedes get right, it’s serving sweet-tart lingonberry jam alongside savory meat dishes. And what better day to include traditions from the world than Thanksgiving, a celebration of the melting pot of American culture. Lingonberries are similar to currants, but are actually a form of mountain cranberries, so they’re right at home alongside the larger, tarter, stateside berry. But if you can’t find the jam at your store, red currant preserves substitute well. Prep tip: When cutting the orange zest strip, avoid any white pith, which can add a bitter taste to the sauce.
Pepperoni-Butter Turkey and Gravy
Here’s a potential situation: This year the turkey has fallen to your household and you want to do something interesting to steal the show. But how can a turkey compete with the wonders of stuffing or the delights of pie? Here’s how: Pepperoni Butter. Instead of a traditional rub or brine, you’ll cover the air-dried turkey with a butter that’s blitzed in the food processor with pepperoni and rosemary. Rub that all over the bird and you’re in deliciously savory business. As the turkey roasts in the oven, drippings from the butter will coat the vegetables in the pan, coating them in smoky pepperoni flavor. Those drippings will then factor into your turkey gravy recipe. Since the pepperoni is a strong and salty flavor, the addition of white wine is key for balanced acidity. There will be only one question remaining: why would you ever roast a turkey without pepperoni again?
Marbled Maple-Butter Cornbread
It’s difficult to go wrong with a classic, homemade cornbread. Using the back of the cornmeal box results in a tender, moist loaf that anyone will love. But when you upgrade an easy cornbread with a simple maple butter, plus an easy marbled pattern? That’s when cornbread goes from good to addictive. The base of this cornbread is light, thanks to a fifty-fifty ratio of all-purpose flour to cornmeal. Plus, buttermilk instead of whole milk makes it bright, while only a tablespoon of maple syrup keeps the flavor on the salty side, so the maple butter can really shine. And about that maple butter paste. It’s a mixture of maple syrup, butter, brown sugar, and flour, which turns into something between a pocket of sugary caramel and crumble topping once baked. It’s a winner for anything from your Thanksgiving table to an everyday afternoon treat.
Make-Ahead Holiday Salad
With just a little know-how the result of a kale salad can be tender, not aggressively, well, leaf-like. Plus, it's the perfect green to help you get ahead of the game with a make-ahead dish. Both kale and Brussels sprouts stand up to the test of time and hold dressing well for much longer than the standard salad can, making this make-ahead salad, the smartest item on your holiday menu. Massaging the kale leaves well with the dressing allows the leaves to soften and tenderize—the key is to not be shy and just get your hands in there. The bowl is full of gorgeous colors: There are red kale leaves, green Brussels sprouts, golden croutons, and jewel-toned pomegranate seeds. All together this salad is a gorgeous feast for the eyes, inviting eaters to dig in. It’s all tossed with a sweet-tart Dijon mustard vinaigrette, whose sharp flavor plays off the buttery herb croutons. P.S. You can use green kale leaves if you can’t find red.
Mushroom and Farro Soup
This mushroom soup recipe is hearty and delicious, with toasted whole grain farro to add body and rosemary to add earthy aromas. Like any great recipe, there are many ways in which this soup builds flavor. First, by allowing enough time for the vegetables to brown, those caramelized bits can mix into the broth. Then, letting the farro toast in the pan with rosemary and vegetables before simmering adds a nutty undertone to the grains. Add a little white wine to balance and brighten the savory elements and you’ve got a wonderfully complex mushroom soup, which, by the way, is vegan! Shopping tip: Buying packages of pre-sliced wild mushrooms certainly cuts down on prep time, but if you don’t mind some extra chopping, the uncut kind can be less expensive.
Crispy Tofu With Cabbage and Carrots
Goodbye nuggets, hello crispy tofu squares! This vegetarian take on a family-friendly classic is a fun way to introduce a new ingredient if you’re trying to get kids on board, and adults will love these, too. The method for making crispy tofu in a pan does involve some prep, but the resulting perfectly fried, golden brown squares is well worth the work. Draining the tofu slices through a combination of paper towels to soak up liquid and weighting with a skillet means that the cornstarch coating can adhere to the squares and fry nicely in the oil. Paired with a fresh and delicious cabbage-carrot slaw, your meal is both satisfying and healthy. Looking to get dinner on the table in a snap? Prepare the tofu as directed through the drying steps in advance, cover with paper towels, and leave in the fridge until ready to use.
Sheet Pan Pork With Fennel and Apples
Cooking pork tenderloin in the oven is an easy, hands-off way to get juicy medallions of pork without a lot of prep or effort. Since tenderloin is a long, thin cut of meat, the cooking time is only about twenty minutes, meaning dinner is on the table quickly—and not to mention, all in one pan. In this recipe, the pork is roasted with apples and fennel, all of which gets a orange-scented, honey-mustard glaze. Thyme leaves in the glaze ensure that the flavors skew sophisticated rather than cloying. To ensure a golden-brown crust on the pork, you’ll start by roasting everything, and then crank it up to broil to seal the glaze in. Honeycrisp apples work well in this recipe because they hold their shape when baked. If you can’t find them at your market, Jonagold or Pink Lady apples will work well, too.
Shrimp Pil Pil With Spinach
There’s shrimp and then there’s garlicky, buttery shrimp. There’s just no contest between the two categories—the garlicky, buttery shrimp will win every time. The shrimp in question here are cooked in a riff on Spanish “pil pil” sauce. You’ll toast garlic cloves in butter until fragrant, add smoked paprika for spicy, rich flavor, and then sauté the shrimp until opaque. It’s an easy and quick way to get dinner on the table, and with the addition of wilted spinach, it’s a balanced meal, too. Since you’ll cook the spinach in the same pan as the shrimp, there’s very little cleanup. Win! Don’t skimp on the bread for this meal: it’s crucial for sopping up every last bit of the sauce. Serve with a dry, crisp cider or a lightly effervescent white wine like Albariño or Vinho Verde.
Melted butter plus fragrant rosemary plus crispy white bread—what do those add up to? The answer is: amazingly delicious, homemade croutons, which are not only easier to make than you’d think, they’re also a great way to use up extra bread. While the basic method for making croutons in your own oven is simple, this butter-and-herb version takes it up a notch. You’ll start by making a garlic and rosemary butter, which gets tossed with white sandwich bread. Then, into the oven they go and out comes perfectly golden brown, fragrant and crunchy salad croutons. Into meal prep? Since these keep well for up to two weeks, this recipe is a great addition to your weekly plan. Sometimes sneaking a little indulgence into a vegetable-heavy meal—in this case, a buttery crouton into something like a bowl of greens—does the trick in getting the whole family on board with healthier eating.
Homemade yogurt might sound daunting, but in fact it’s incredibly easy to make. This recipe for how to make homemade yogurt has two ingredients and is as easy as heating milk, cooling it, whisking in some ready-made yogurt, and then setting it aside for a night. Yes! It’s really that simple. Plus you can choose whether you want classic plain yogurt or a strained, Greek-style. Make sure you have an instant-read or candy thermometer, since accurate temperature is a key ingredient in making your own yogurt. As for the other key ingredient, dairy, look for milk and yogurt sourced from grass-fed cows that have never been treated with hormones or antibiotics. The reason you use premade yogurt in creating your own is because it contains good-for-you bacteria that will culture and ferment the milk. Once you’ve made your own there’s no need to buy more yogurt to start another batch—just use ¼ cup of your homemade one to get the next going.