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.

Say “Cheese”: Bite Into Big Block of Cheese Day with These Gouda Recipes

by in Community, January 21st, 2015

How to Set Up a Cheese PlateIt’s no secret that cheese may be the ultimate in comfort food, but at the White House, it’s apparently known for its crowd-pleasing properties as well.

In 1837 then-President Andrew Jackson welcomed Americans into the White House for an open house, where he served visitors slices of cheese off a 1,400-pound block of cheddar and invited them to speak about the most-topical issues of the time. For the second year in a row, the Obama administration is paying tribute to President Jackson’s approachability by hosting a virtual Big Block of Cheese Day wherein all Americans can discuss the key points heard during President Obama’s State of the Union address yesterday. All day today, you can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #AskTheWH; pose questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr for political figures like the White House Press Secretary and Madam Vice President, Dr. Jill Biden, as well as several departments, including the departments of Labor and Transportation.

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Enter to Win a $25 See’s Candies Gift Card for Valentine’s Day

by in Contests, January 20th, 2015

See's CandiesValentine’s Day celebrations may come in many forms — from romantic restaurant meals to simple dinners at home or low-key gatherings with friends — but no matter what the day looks like at your house, chocolate should indeed be on the menu. Just in time for Valentine’s Day this year, FN Dish has teamed up with See’s Candies to offer fans the chance to win gift cards, which can be spent on candy for a special someone (or for yourself).

Creamy milk chocolates, nut-studded beauties with caramel, strawberry-laced truffles and smooth peanut butter bites — no matter what kind of treat you’re craving, there’s surely something at See’s to please every taste bud. You can buy your favorite treats from See’s Candies online now, but FN Dish is giving five lucky, randomly selected fans each a $25 gift card for free. The gift cards never expire, and you can use them in See’s Candies shops or on the company’s website. All you have to do to enter to win is leave a comment telling us how you plan to spend Valentine’s Day this year.

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Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 19th, 2015

Skillet Lasagna with Butternut SquashGone are the days when making lasagna was a weekend-only activity that required hours of preparation. With the help of a stove-to-oven pan, Food Network Magazine’s quick-fix Skillet Lasagna with Butternut Squash (pictured above) is a go-to dinner you can reach for on even the busiest of weeknights.

The secret to making this recipe in a hurry is taking advantage of welcome timesavers. Start with your favorite jar of marinara and a package of frozen butternut squash, and opt for no-boil noodles (flat-shaped lasagna noodles that become tender by absorbing sauce) to save yourself from cooking traditional pasta separately. Once you’ve made a creamy cheesy mixture studded with the squash, it all comes down to layering: first the sauce, then the noodles and finally the cheeses before repeating the process. Top with a final blanket of gooey mozzarella and a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan for added decadence before baking. It’s a good idea to let the skillet rest for a few minutes before serving; this will help prevent the cheeses from oozing out when you cut into the lasagna.

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When a Side Dish Saves the Day — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 19th, 2015

So often in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena, chefs split their focus between the challenge dish and a side dish or two to round out their offerings for the judge, only to find out later that the sides did more harm than good, perhaps detracting from the primary dish or suffering a flaw that the judge cannot ignore. But on tonight’s all-new episode, it turns out that the side dish saved the day for one competitor and ultimately clinched his win.

It was up to judge Simon Majumdar to decide which of two chefs’ granola bars was worthy of the prize, and while Chef Julio’s plate indeed featured a bar, Simon noted of the taste during the After-Show, “It wasn’t the best granola.” That prestige was awarded to Chef John’s dish, as Simon explained, “John’s was really good granola, but it wasn’t a bar.” Therein lies the problem. “The fact that both of them had real problems — one didn’t have a bar and one didn’t have great granola — meant I had to judge the dish as a whole,” Simon said, “and [Chef Julio’s] pineapple dish was really great.” While such a judgment doesn’t happen regularly on Cutthroat, Alton Brown told Simon, “In that case, it was the side item that sealed the victory.”

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Speak Up, Fans: Where Do You Eat the Best Breakfast Ever?

by in Shows, January 19th, 2015

Best. Breakfast. Ever.While barbecue and pizza may conjure images of a specific plate — smoky, saucy meats or a crust with sauce on it — the rules of breakfast are far more lenient. After all, a morning meal can range from the sweetest sugar-rolled doughnuts and creamiest cups of oatmeal to the heartiest platters of steak and eggs and towering piles of fluffy flapjacks.

Your favorite Food Network chefs and stars are set to reveal their picks for the ultimate morning indulgence on tonight’s brand-new episode of Best. Breakfast. Ever. (at 10|9c), but before you tune in, FN Dish wants to hear about your breakfast picks. What are some of your local breakfast hot spots, and what do you order? Are you a fan of the diner on the corner for its classic egg scramble and bacon, a bagel shop specializing in fresh lox or a fancier eatery with gourmet French toast? Leave a comment below, tell us on Food Network’s Facebook page or Food Network’s Google+ page, or tweet @FoodNetwork using #BestBreakfastEver to tell us your local restaurant picks and share your version of the ultimate breakfast. FN Dish will round up your answers and reveal your top selections on Thursday.

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Chia Seed Pudding — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, January 18th, 2015

Chia Seed PuddingWhen it comes to your morning meal, there’s no reason to settle for boring — even when you’re in a hurry. In this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week recipe, Giada De Laurentiis lets chia seeds work their magic overnight in thickening maple-laced Greek yogurt before helping you wake up to a ready-to-eat treat full of texture. Just top the pudding with fruit and sliced almonds for added crunch for a quick-fix dish.

For more lightened-up meal ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chia Seed Pudding (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine

How to Eat Better on a Budget

by in Recipes, January 17th, 2015

Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White BeansOn this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts kicked off their Waste Not … episode with a look at new ways to stretch your dinner dollar and take advantage of your freezer and pantry for budget-friendly fixings. While your New Year’s resolution for healthier eating in 2015 may have led you to the grocery store for seemingly necessary specialty ingredients, believe it or not, you don’t have to spend a lot to prepare lighter recipes. It all comes down to stocking your kitchen with good-to-have staples like a mix of whole grains and canned beans. Check out Food Network’s 14 Musts for a Budget Pantry, then read on below for some of Food Network’s favorite healthy dinners that won’t break the bank.

Made with only a handful of ingredients, this recipe for easy-to-prepare Penne with Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and White Beans (pictured above) suggests roasting tomatoes and garlic until soft and sweet, and letting them shine in place of a traditional tomato sauce. For extra heft, Ellie Krieger adds cannellini beans to the pasta, plus sprinkles of fresh basil and nutty Parmesan cheese for flavor.

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Fan Favorites: Your Picks for the Best. BBQ. Ever.

by in Shows, January 15th, 2015

Best. BBQ. Ever.FN Dish asked fans this week to share their top picks for authentic barbecue ahead of the premiere of Best. BBQ. Ever., and if readers’ responses are any indication, allegiances to regional favorites are strong. From coast to coast, fans spoke out for the little-known and well-documented hot spots near them, including a few of the classics showcased by chefs on Best. BBQ. Ever. Read on below to check out fans’ top ‘cue joints, including Atlanta native Ty Pennington’s spot for mouthwatering ribs, then find out where you can enjoy the stars’ picks from the show.

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Restaurant Revisited: Revved Up at Shade Tree Customs and Cafe

by in Shows, January 14th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleIntrigued after arriving at Shade Tree Customs & Cafe — a dual motorcycle-repair shop and restaurant — in Albuquerque, N.M., Robert Irvine told owners Ryan Green and Rich Rael, “We’re going to see a service so I can understand what you do, because I’m not sure what you do right now.” Though the food there wasn’t outlandishly poor, Robert wasn’t impressed, and designer Taniya Nayak admitted that the decor was “college dorm-ish.” Together Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team had just two days to overhaul the interior of Shade Tree, foster a connection between the restaurant and the shop downstairs, and improve the relationship among Ryan, Rich and their fellow owners and investors. Read on below to hear from the guys to find out how their business is faring today.

The guys are wowed by what they’ve deemed the “stunning” look of the “motorcycle chic” decor now at Shade Tree Cafe. They plan to put the signs and relics that one lined the restaurant’s walls into the bike shop, and they add that they hope to begin refreshing the current wall space with artwork from locals.

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Best 5 Chicken Dinner Recipes

by in Recipes, January 14th, 2015

Chicken MarsalaWhile the humble chicken may carry the reputation of boring and basic, that’s likely only because it hasn’t been dressed up with flavor or texture. Since both white and dark meat chicken are culinary blank canvases, they pair well with myriad ingredients, and most can be prepared in a hurry too. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five takes on chicken dinners, from Alton Brown’s moist fried chicken to Ina Garten’s foolproof roast bird and more.

5. Fried Chicken — The ultimate in chicken indulgence, Alton’s juicy buttermilk-marinated chicken is seasoned with paprika and garlic powder and boasts a crispy, crunchy exterior thanks to a flour dredge before frying.

4. Chicken Parmigiana — Panko breading gives Bobby Flay’s thinly pounded chicken breasts plenty of crunchy texture, while a topping of homemade tomato-garlic sauce promises his signature bold flavor alongside gooey mozzarella cheese.

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