Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent Needs

by in Family, Recipes, March 2nd, 2015

Confessions of a Mommy Blogger: 5 Dinner Shortcuts Every Parent NeedsThere are four small kids in my house right now, and I’m going to make dinner for all of them. Like I do (nearly) every night. But in order to make all these fresh meals, the ones that the kids like, that my husband enjoys and that I feel good about serving, there are going to be some shortcuts made. Like there are (nearly) every night. Here are a few of my secrets for getting it all done.

1. Use That Netflix Subscription to Your Full Advantage: There is no shame in putting on a video for the kids while you cook dinner. That gives you 22 minutes to get something accomplished while the kids bliss out. Tip: Just be clear ahead of time about how MANY videos or how LONG they’ll be watching. My kids go crazy if they think I’m pulling the plug prematurely. The last thing you want to start dinner with is mutiny.

2. Repurpose Leftovers with Confidence: On the incredulity scale, “This again?” is about a 9.5 at the dinner table. There’s also this: As a food blogger I’m constantly testing new recipes. Sometimes things are a hit, and sometimes they’re not. Either way, I love having a second life planned out for dinners like London broil (which later becomes a pot of beef stew), roasted chicken (which shows up again in a casserole) or meatballs that start out on pasta and end up on sub sandwiches. Sometimes the second time is a charm.

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The Curse of the Deconstructed Dish — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 1st, 2015

No matter chefs’ culinary skill levels or the amount of time they’ve prepared for competition, nothing can ready them for battle on Cutthroat Kitchen. Combined with the fierce time constraints in any given round, the unruly sabotages doled upon them practically guarantee they must reimagine any preconceived ideas about their dish and simply attempt to finish on time. For many finalists, however, the only way to complete the round is to offer a deconstructed version of their dish, featuring just its parts, which when combined, may make up a whole.

Such a maneuver is risky, as judges — especially seasoned ones like Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar — can see past a chef’s mention of purposely deconstructing a dish and realize that it’s likely a last-ditch effort to plate his or her food. On tonight’s all-new episode, Chef Jenny was faced with a doozy of a sabotage that landed her in a racecar seat, so her ability to cook quickly was compromised. And much to the judge’s horror, Chef Jenny told Antonia that her lasagna was “deconstructed.” Antonia explained of her reaction to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “I almost can’t take it seriously when they say ‘deconstructed’ to me anymore.” Alton added, “Because nobody actually does it unless they’re in trouble.” Antonia said of Chef Jenny sarcastically, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I really meant to just throw the noodle down the center and put some raw tomato on it with a dollop of ricotta.'” Ultimately the curse of the deconstructed dish struck again: Chef Jenny said goodbye after the lasagna round.

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This Balletic Beer-Can-Making Video May Make Your Heart Leap

by in News, March 1st, 2015

Hops on PointeBallerinas have their leaps; beer has its hops. Nevertheless, beer cans and ballet dancers would seem to have little in common — until you watch this unexpectedly graceful video about the making of aluminum beer cans.

After taking their bows in the factory, these cans will go on to contain Hops on Pointe beer, a pale lager (6.7 percent alcohol) created by Wellington, New Zealand, brewery Garage Project for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The Garage Project calls its beer and ballet pairing, originally bottled, “an unusual pas de deux,” noting that it “teases the boundaries between high and low culture.”

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How to Make Biscuits — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 1st, 2015

Whether you slather them with butter, spread them with jam or drench them in gravy, tal and fluffy biscuits are a tried-and-true comfort food, and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Check out the step-by-step photos below for details on how to turn out moist biscuits every time.How to Make Biscuits

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The 8 Recipes Food Network Magazine Editors Really Want You to Make

by in Food Network Magazine, March 1st, 2015

pizza margheritaDoes the blistery cold weather, or the mere fact that summer is still months away, have you longing for a vacation ASAP? While a last-minute exotic escape may not be in the books, the global edition of Food Network Magazine can help make winter more bearable and delicious. Filled with over 100 new recipes, the March issue of Food Network Magazine lets you experience new flavors and colorful spices inspired by the Caribbean, Thailand, Spain and more in your home kitchen.

What should you try first? Browse through Food Network Magazine staff’s picks for inspiration. Here the editors share their favorite dishes as well as the recipes they can’t wait to try. (No, they don’t get to try each and every recipe developed by Food Network Kitchen.) Just like you, they’re bookmarking recipes and taking their own copies into the kitchen.

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5 Reasons Trisha’s Southern Comfort Potluck Menu Is the One to Make

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, February 28th, 2015

Trisha's Southern Comfort PotluckYou don’t need to speak with a delightful drawl or live in a house with a wraparound porch to tuck into some serious Southern comfort. In fact, Trisha Yearwood’s Southern Comfort Potluck menu should be next up on your roster no matter where you call home. Complete with a few unexpected twists, these down-home favorites are notable for their convenience — and then some. Let us list the ways!

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The Bread Winner: Why You Should Make Easy Loaves at Home

by in Books, February 28th, 2015

Easiest Home-Baked BreadThere is nothing more effective at knocking the cold grip of winter off your home than filling it up with the aroma of fresh-baked bread. Making bread from scratch at home might seem like an intimidating thing to do, but master baker Nick Malgieri was kind enough to share with us his foolproof tips for success, as well as his recipe for Easiest Home-Baked Bread (pictured above and recipe below). What does a master baker do to get a perfect loaf every time? When we asked him, Malgieri said.

  • Use the right flour: unbleached bread flour. I like Gold Medal best.
  • Measure accurately: In my book Bread, I specify weighing even the liquids. The only things measured by volume are spoonfuls of salt, dry yeast, etc.
  • Take your time: Bread dough that rises slowly over a long time develops a better flavor and texture than breads that are rushed.
  • Try something easy first: focaccia, or one-step white bread. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’ll have the confidence to attempt more elaborate projects.

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Where to Start and What to Make: The Kitchen’s Guide to Culinary Basics

by in How-to, Shows, February 28th, 2015

Fettuccine AlfredoFrom learning how to hold a knife to remembering how long to cook each shape of pasta, gaining proficiency in the kitchen takes practice, but no matter where you are in your culinary journey, it’s never too late to master the basics. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian shows off his secret to making a classic mother sauce, and luckily for fans, you don’t have to be an Iron Chef to pull it off successfully. In fact, this béchamel is a cinch to prepare in a hurry, and it shines in this 30-minute Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured above).

FN Dish caught up with the co-hosts between takes of this episode, and the cast told us that when it comes to getting comfortable in the kitchen, it’s best to begin with the simplest, most-tried-and-true dishes — whatever those may be for you and your family’s tastes. Read on below to hear from all five chefs to learn how to get started.

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What Makes Coffee Smell So Good? An Infographic Makes Scents of It

by in Drinks, News, February 28th, 2015

What Makes Coffee Smell So Good?Mmmm … the aroma of coffee. Even some people who don’t drink it enjoy coffee’s heady scent. And those of us who are coffee drinkers may respond to the smell of a freshly brewed pot with a love that can be embarrassing in its fervor.

Why do we adore it so? Past research has indicated that just the smell of coffee sends a wake-up call to the brain and reduces the stress of sleep deprivation, and now there’s an infographic that parses the chemistry of coffee’s aromatic appeal.

“There are a number of different ways in which coffee’s aroma compounds are created,” Compound Interest, the chemistry blog that created the infographic, explains. It adds that the Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars that makes browned foods like seared steak so delicious, “is a big contributor here, the reaction between proteins and sugars in the coffee beans producing a range of products.” What’s more, the site notes, “degradation and decomposition of other compounds in the coffee beans can also produce aroma compounds.” Brewing also plays a role.

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Bakers’ Dozens: Into the Deep … Freeze

by in How-to, Recipes, February 27th, 2015

Have you ever given any thought to taking your desserts into another zone? The below-32-degrees zone?

Almost nothing is off-limits when I bake. I let my mind go in many places and see where it lands. Often, it’s in the freezer.

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