As far as I can tell, if you translate das to English you can usually replace it with that, this, or the (e.g. "Das Rezept ist nicht schlecht" = "That/this/the recipe is not bad"). The meaning changes slightly, but not enough to really make a difference. Please correct me if I am wrong
I don’t think there's too much difference in meaning, either. "The" probably refers to the thing that everyone agrees is being talked about. "This" and "that", I've found, can be used to reference things based on proximity to the speaker. If it's close to the speaker, it's "this". Further away, "that".