All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an editor at Food Network, now living in New York City after being born and raised in the great state of Michigan. She likes her eggs runny, her pasta cheesy and has been known to throw back dozens of oysters at a time.

Christmas Week Prep: The Pioneer Woman’s Fastest, Easiest Meals

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 17th, 2014

Ree DrummondWith just days left until Christmas, you’re likely in the midst of mad dashes to the shopping mall, last-minute gift-wrapping, cookie decorating and holiday party planning. But, of course, you still need dinner tonight, and surely this is no time to prepare intricate plates and involved recipes. This week calls for the ultimate in speed and simplicity, and for that, The Pioneer Woman‘s easiest, quickest meals fit the bill. Ready to eat in less than 30 minutes, Ree Drummond‘s family-friendly picks are dinners you can count on; most are made with refrigerator staples, and they’re comforting enough to fight the winter chill. Read on below to get Ree’s go-to supper ideas, including hearty taco salad and DIY pizza.

5. Chicken Taco Salad — Ree builds layer upon layer of flavor in her satisfying salad by starting with a bed of greens, then adding juicy seasoned chicken and classic taco-style fixings, like grilled corn, fresh tomatoes, creamy cheese and cool avocado. For an extra-special finish, top the salad with next-level dressing: bottled ranch spiked with salsa.

4. French Bread Pizzas — Instead of making pizza dough the crust, Ree starts with sliced rolls or baguettes and builds five varieties of pies to please everyone: tomatoes with basil, bacon and pineapple, and more.

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Calling All Fans: Vote Now to Determine Justin Warner’s New Web Series

by in Community, December 17th, 2014

Justin WarnerIf you’ve ever wanted a say in what kinds of videos you can watch on FoodNetwork.com, the time to speak up is now. Justin Warner, Brooklyn restaurateur and the winner of Food Network Star, Season 8, is set to launch his first-ever Web series on FoodNetwork.com in 2015, but he needs your help to pick the concept. He’s pitched three ideas to producers, but the decision about which will become a weekly series is in your hands. That’s right: It’s up to you.

Watch Justin’s three pilot videos below, then vote in the poll for the video you’d like to see more of on FoodNetwork.com. Stay tuned to FN Dish in 2015 for all of the details on Justin’s upcoming series.

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Restaurant Revisited: Oh Brother! at Knife and Fork Gastropub

by in Shows, December 15th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleThe scene at San Antonio’s Knife and Fork Gastropub was tense when Robert Irvine arrived, as owners Gabe and Javier Orozco — two brothers — were facing a $400,000 debt to their mom and stepfather, who’ve contributed greatly to the eatery. After inspecting the bar and kitchen, Robert could easily see the filth that had accumulated at Knife and Fork, and with only two days to work, he and his Restaurant: Impossible team were faced with both making the space clean and safe, and also mending the strained relationship among the Orozco family. Read on below to hear from the brothers and their mother, Norma Montalvo, as they reveal how Knife and Fork has fared since Robert left.

“I needed someone to tell Javier some of the stuff and it had to be Robert,” Gabe said of the importance of Robert’s mission. “He has definitely fired me up. Now that it’s my kitchen, I think we are getting more done than ever before.” Javier added, “[Robert] didn’t say anything we did not already know, but [he] gave us a fresh perspective.”

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Mr. Brown to the Rescue: Alton Answers Fans’ Holiday Cooking Q&As

by in Community, Food Network Chef, December 15th, 2014

Alton BrownFrom baking cookies and roasting ham to hosting your relatives and preparing for Christmas brunch, the road to the holidays can be a long one, and when it comes to tackling seasonal cooking and entertaining questions, there’s perhaps no one better outfitted for the task than Alton. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s master of eviliciousness and the longtime host of Good Eats stopped by Food Network’s Facebook page yesterday for the ultimate holiday tell-all, dishing on the hows, whys and whats of his best party-ready recipes. Read on below for the top snippets from the chat, to learn Alton’s answers to some of the most-asked questions and to get his tried-and-true recipes you can count on.

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Conquering the Blueberry Carton — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, December 14th, 2014

The lights, cameras, fellow contestants and host Alton Brown pacing through the kitchen — the scene in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena is plenty fierce and demands much attention from the competitors, and that’s even before they’ve been sabotaged. Once evilicious challenges are added to the contest and they’re forced to adapt to the unexpected while the clock is ticking, the competition is taken nearly over the edge. It’s up to the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew to make sure that every sabotage Alton auctions off is indeed possible for a contestant to complete within the allotted time frame. To make sure the challenges remain feasible, the team attempts each one.

On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton’s simple blueberry muffin request turned downright diabolical when he mandated that one chef use blueberry cartons as the sole mixing and cooking vessels in his prep work. Given the potentially liquid muffin batter and the multiple holes in the carton, mixing in those tiny squares was indeed evilicious — but it wasn’t impossible, as the team found during its test.

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Alton’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 14th, 2014

Baked Macaroni and CheeseLeave it to the master of Good Eats to create the most-comforting version of a tried-and-true classic: macaroni and cheese. Rich, creamy and over-the-top cheesy, Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in hearty, cool-weather fare, so it’s no surprise that it’s this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. For welcome texture and an extra punch of flavor, Alton blankets his casserole with buttery panko breadcrumbs before baking, so the finished product boasts a crispy, crunchy coating after only a few minutes in the oven.

For more of Alton’s best-ever recipes, visit Food Network’s Alton Brown board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above)

A Walk Down Christmas Memory Lane: The Kitchen Cast Shares Holiday Remembrances

by in Holidays, Shows, December 13th, 2014

The Kitchen Co-HostsWhile New Year’s is meant for looking ahead at what’s to come, the preceding holiday season is all about reflection and remembrance. FN Dish recently caught up with the cast of The Kitchen on set, and from childhood reminiscences to recent family dinners, the co-hosts shared some of their favorite Christmas memories. Read on below to hear from Geoffrey Zakarian, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid and Sunny Anderson as they recollect holiday seasons past and reflect on all that Christmas means to them.

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Best 5 Gingerbread Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 13th, 2014

Gingerbread and Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry SauceCut-out cookies may be among the most-popular ways to enjoy gingerbread, but this sweet, slightly spicy flavor shines beyond people-shaped treats. From cocktails and cupcakes to waffles and trifles, celebrate the warm flavors of gingerbread with tried-and-true eats and drinks ideal for holiday entertaining. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five seasonal gingerbread recipes and get sweet inspiration from Ina Garten, Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood and more of your favorite chefs.

5. Gingerbread Waffles — Start with canned pumpkin puree to keep Rachael Ray’s cinnamon-spiced waffles quick and simple. Once these light, fluffy beauties are cooked, set up a toppings bar and let your family finish their waffles with syrup, whipped cream or fresh fruit.

4. Gingerbread Cupcakes with Orange Icing — For a double dose of bold ginger flavor, Ina mixes dried crystallized ginger into the molasses-spiked cupcake batter, then she sprinkles additional crystallized ginger atop the smooth citrus-cream cheese frosting.

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Behind the Scenes of The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Christmas

by in Holidays, Shows, December 10th, 2014

The Pioneer Woman's Cowboy ChristmasJust in time for the holidays, Ree Drummond welcomed crowds of Oklahoma ranchers and their families for the ultimate seasonal extravaganza as she hosted her first-ever prime-time special, The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Christmas. In true Drummond fashion, this seasonal bash included no shortage of hearty fare, like party-ready glazed ham, cheesy potatoes and spiced gingerbread cookies, plus down-home games and plenty of dancing. If you missed the special last weekend, there’s still time to catch up: Watch the full episode on FoodNetwork.com now, and get all of Ree’s comforting sweet and savory recipes featured on the show.

Food Network was on hand as Ree and her family hosted the local ranching community and captured behind-the-scenes snapshots as the celebrations unfolded. Read on below for an insider’s look at the seasonal soiree, see Ree and Ladd strut their stuff on the dance floor, and check out the over-the-top spread of holiday dishes shining on the buffet.

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A Special Holiday Mission: Robert Irvine Transforms Double H Ranch

by in Shows, December 8th, 2014

Holiday: ImpossibleIn the largest Restaurant: Impossible challenge to date, Robert Irvine and his team traveled to Lake Luzerne, N.Y., for an extra-special mission at Double H Ranch, a year-round camp dedicated to serving children with life-threatening illnesses. Double H was founded on the premise of “health and happiness” according to CEO and executive director Max Yurenda, and the camp indeed lives up to its promise, as every child who attends is welcomed and made to feel safe and hopeful.

With the help and generosity of Lexus, Robert and his team had three days and an increased budget of $50,000 to transform the kitchen and dining hall at Double H, and it’s a good thing they had extra time and money to spend, because the 4,000-plus-square-foot dining room was among the largest they’d ever attempted. In true Irvine fashion, Robert welcomed the challenge, and not only did he overhaul those spaces and turn them into comfortable, friendly and functional designs, but he and Lexus also gifted the camp dozens of pieces of new equipment, plus a $10,000 donation. Read on below to hear from Max, and director of operations Jacqui Royael, to find out how Double H is doing today. Then, browse insider photos of the transformation in progress, and see Robert at Double H.

How have the new hot boxes improved serving time?
Jacqui Royael: The new hot boxes will allow more time for staff and campers to enjoy their meal together and less time waiting in a crowded line in the kitchen. The food can now be prepared and ready to go the minute the kids enter the dining hall, allowing all of camp to be served in half the time and eat together. So what once was 20-plus minutes and several trips back and forth to the serving line will now be a quick five to 10 minutes and one trip to have everyone enjoy a meal together.

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