You may have heard of Food Network Kitchen, which is housed inside the famous Chelsea Market in NYC. But what is it, exactly? Well, FNK (as we like to call ourselves) is a team of about 30 people who develop, test and edit recipes, write about and photograph food, and work as culinary producers on many of your favorite Food Network shows. From the moment we step into the kitchen/office, we are completely immersed in all things food. And it’s awesome.
The Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, was the guest judge for this week’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off. And, of course, our contestants had to win him over with amazing sandwiches during the first round. We were so sad to see Sabrina go home with her first attempt ever at a croque monsieur sandwich — but so impressed that she took a chance! If you’re like Sabrina, and never made this classic French sandwich, then here’s a little 101.
We were so happy that none of the kids on Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off were sent home this week! They all did a stellar job, especially during the immunity round when each competitor had to cook a dish with one of his or her parent’s least favorite ingredients. Juliana was stuck with sardines — her dad’s worst nightmare. She did an amazing job, lightly frying them, and completely converted him into a lover of these oily little fish.
So many of us in Food Network Kitchen love sardines — fresh or canned in olive oil. And we’re sad that they have a bad reputation, because they’re delicious, inexpensive and an excellent source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. And because sardines are low on the aquatic food chain, you don’t have to worry about mercury levels.
In this week’s Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off immunity challenge, the remaining contestants could use only five ingredients (not counting salt) to make a sauce for a pasta dish. This is no easy task, but the kids did a great job, especially Scarlett, who won with her earthy mushroom pasta.
But there’s one secret (and free) ingredient we didn’t see in any of the dishes and that’s the pasta cooking water! Just a little of this starchy and salty water can be a real lifesaver. Cooked noodles tend to suck up a ton of sauce, leaving pasta dishes dry. A splash of this magic water can help loosen the sauce up, plus add plenty of body (thanks to the starch) and seasoning, if you salted your water (which we suggest you do). We’ve saved literally hundreds of gloopy pasta dishes in our test kitchen with pasta water — it works like a charm!
This episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off was amazing. YouTube’s popular food critic Daym Drops (Daymon Patterson) was a guest mentor and judge, and we also saw some really innovative dishes from the kids. Our favorite moment was when Christopher kept his cool during the waffle disaster in the elimination challenge. He had started out making a waffle-and-fried-chicken sandwich, but his batter was too thin and leaked like crazy out of the waffle iron. So in a moment of genius, he dipped slices of bread into the waffle batter and made a French toast fried chicken sandwich instead! He even won the challenge and received the highest honor of a Daym Drops’ “5 All Day.”
We met our eight kid contestants from Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off this week, and the competition is sure to be fun and fierce. Who else was blown away by the contestants’ cooking skills and understanding of flavor pairings? They cooked with ingredients we never expected, like scallops, mussels and smoked salmon.
We loved Olivia’s sweet heart-shaped one-bite creation, and we were super-impressed with her last-minute sweet-to-savory shift. It’s amazing how changing an ordinary food into a fun shape can totally inspire kids (and some adults) to retry a once-refused dish. Or it can just make an old favorite even more fun to eat!
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After clicking through our 12 Favorite Foods Totally Transformed with a Waffle Iron and Classic and Creative Waffle Recipes, you may find yourself in the market for a waffle maker. But before you run out and make your purchase, there are some important things to consider: Are you more of a classic waffler, or are you a bit more on the adventurous side? If classic is your go-to, then pick a waffle maker based on your favorite shape and thickness. If you’re looking to get creative, then consider a larger model, like a four-slice Belgian-style waffle maker — you’ll have more room to play!