The Food Network’s Katie Lee can help even the most kitchen-challenged get through Thanksgiving.
“Here’s what you do,” Lee says in her friendly way. “Offer to bring the fruit tray for Thanksgiving dinner.”
“Trust me,” Lee insists. “Take some chocolate chips. Melt them with a little coconut oil. Then take fruit slices and dip half the fruit. Then roll it in chopped nuts. You’ve dressed it up a little bit.”
And? Keep going.
“Then make a nice cream cheese dip for the rest of the fruit,” Lee says. “Add cranberries, orange zest and powdered sugar to the dip.”
Thank goodness, Lee has a turkey day special with Bobby Flay, “Thanksgiving at Bobby’s,” airing at noon Wednesday on the Food Network. “It was really fun to film because it felt like we were just making Thanksgiving at his house. We didn’t even think that we were making a TV show.”
Flay did the turkey, while Lee made some of the sides. Any chef fights over whose dish was best?
“Bobby and I had different opinions on whether to stuff the turkey or not. I like to put a handful of stuffing inside to flavor the bird. He believes you bake the stuffing separately. I said, ‘Since this is your show, I will step aside and not touch the bird.’ ”
Lee’s best T-Day advice:
• Go for cornbread stuffing. “It’s really important to get your stuffing moist enough, but not overly moist where it’s sloppy,” she says. “I use cornbread, which is easy to work with for most cooks. I’ll moisten it with both chicken broth and milk and also put an egg in there. Meanwhile, I use an herb butter to cook my onions and celery. Just take some thyme, parsley, rosemary and a little sage and put it into your butter. Customize to your taste. You can also add some cilantro and chives to that butter. It’s delicious.”
• Don’t plop the cranberries out of the can. “It’s so easy to make cranberries from scratch and you can do it a few days in advance.”
• Don’t worry too much about the appetizers. “Yet, it’s still not a party at my house without my deviled eggs. Another easy appetizer is a goat cheese log. Just buy a log of goat cheese, brush it with fig jam, and roll it in toasted pumpkin seeds. It’s yummy.” Want to get extra creative? Lee advises, “I love the veggie tray, I park myself next to it. Serve the veggies with some hummus, but add a holiday twist by taking some mashed sweet potatoes and mixing them into the hummus. Top with dried cranberries.”
• Get your pumpkin on. “I love pumpkin. I’ll do pumpkin pie and pumpkin rolls on Thanksgiving. You can even make a pumpkin sponge cake. I’ll also have an apple pie for those people who don’t like pumpkin.”
• You don’t have to gain weight. “I’m not going to deny myself on Thanksgiving,” Lee says. “I do make sure to keep up my workouts on the days leading up to Thanksgiving. Then on Thanksgiving Day, I get up and take a long walk. It’s good to get in a little exercise on that day. Then you feel better about the eating.”
• Be creative with the leftovers. “I love turkey sandwiches,” she says. “I also like to make turkey gumbo. It’s fattening, but you just do it once a year. And then go outside and take another walk!”
KATIE LEE’S DEVILED EGGS
12 large eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Sweet paprika, for garnish
Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. With a ladle, slowly lower the eggs into the water, one by one. Reduce the heat to a low boil and cook for 10 minutes. Drain. When the eggs are cool enough to handle, remove the shells.
Slice each egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and place them in a food processor. Arrange the whites cut-side up on a serving platter. To the food processor, add the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Process until well blended and smooth, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag. With scissors, snip off a bottom corner from the bag. Using the bag like a pastry bag, pipe the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.