Thanksgiving with Giada: Aunt Raffy's Hosting, Crispy Dressing at the Ready and Next-Day Turkey Sandwiches
"I wanted to show people how to successfully put on a party beyond the recipes — the whole picture — and to take the stress out of throwing a party," Giada De Laurentiis told FN Dish of her new series, Giada's Holiday Handbook. Premiering Sunday, Nov. 8 at 11a|10c, Giada's show is the ultimate one-stop guide to everything viewers, both seasonal-soiree novices and those familiar with entertaining, might need to host an unforgettable holiday get-together, from menu planning and crowd-pleasing recipes to home decor inspiration. She told us that it was indeed her fans who first inspired her to think beyond what's on the plate and pursue the bigger goal of the series. "I think at the end of the day we have very little time in our lives, and the more help we can get, the more successful we can be at home, the better," she said. "We all want to be successful parents and loved ones, so to make entertaining fast and easy — that was the goal."
Thanksgiving is one of the first holidays that Giada will explore on Holiday Handbook, and just in time for the premiere, Giada's giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at what turkey day looks like at her house. Read on below for insider details about her family's celebrations, and find out how she repurposes the inevitable leftovers from the feast.
What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? Who hosts the holiday every year?
Giada De Laurentiis: It’s at my Aunt Raffy’s house just about every year. It’ll be a bit smaller this year, about 12 people, because some people are traveling, but I always look forward to it. I haven’t seen my aunt since filming Giada in Italy in Positano, so it’ll be super-exciting to see her!
What element of the Thanksgiving meal do you look forward to most?
GDL: My aunt's baked mashed potatoes with peas. And I love my Creamy Pumpkin Lasagna Rolls.
Do you remember the first time you cooked Thanksgiving dinner on your own?
GDL: Yes! It was my first private chef job out of culinary school, and I dropped the turkey on the floor. My clients' golden retriever got in the way and I dropped it … so I made pasta instead. My savior!
GDL: Dressing! I like the crispy topping, and you can’t get that when you cook it in the bird.
What's your favorite way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers?
GDL: Turkey sandwiches. I have a post-Thanksgiving Monte Cristo in my new cookbook, Happy Cooking. It calls for leftover cranberry sauce, too!
What one piece of advice would you give someone who's cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time this fall?
GDL: Do a potluck! Do not try to do it all yourself … get help!