All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate 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.

After Buying This Restaurant: The Ville Restaurant

by in Shows, March 16th, 2014

Keith Simpson on Buy This RestaurantHusband and wife Keith and Raquel were no strangers to the food industry when they met Keith Simpson, as they’ve been owners of a successful Indianapolis-area catering company for years. It was only after they decided to pursue a sit-down eatery that they looked to Buy This Restaurant for help in purchasing the ideal location. They toured three possible hot spots before ultimately selecting a 3,800-square-foot restaurant in Noblesville, Ind., that offered both room for a traditional service as well as a private area for catering.

FN Dish checked in with Keith a few months after he and Raquel bought their restaurant, now named The Ville Restaurant, to learn their plans for the business and to find out how the construction process is faring today. Read on below for an exclusive interview.

How is construction going on The Ville Restaurant? In what stage is the renovation, and when do you plan to open?
Keith: Things are going well with construction. … So far we have only completed light demo, but if all goes as planned we will open in June 2014.

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Bacon for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — and Dessert

by in Recipes, March 15th, 2014

Whole-Grain Pancakes with Eggs and BaconIt’s no secret that bacon is a perennial family-friendly favorite, and on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts offered their top secrets for preparing it just right every time. Both Jeff and Geoffrey shared wedge salads — Wedgelet Kabobbies and a Grilled Cobb Wedge, respectively — that showcased this crispy indulgence, proving that a strip of bacon isn’t limited to breakfast plates alone (although it’s indeed a welcome addition there too).

In an effort to celebrate all things bacon, FN Dish rounded up a day’s worth of meals featuring that ingredient: a dish for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Read on below to find all four recipes, then tell us in the comments your favorite way to enjoy bacon.

Who says bacon can’t be part of a balanced diet? In Food Network Magazine’s easy-to-make Whole-Grain Pancakes with Eggs and Bacon (pictured above), it’s added atop a surprisingly healthy stack of flapjacks and fluffy scrambled eggs.

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Restaurant Revisited: A Lot to Lose at Tootie’s Texas BBQ

by in Shows, March 12th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“There’s nothing that says, ‘Welcome to a barbecue place,’” Robert Irvine said after surveying Tootie’s Texas BBQ, but it turned out that what he deemed the “very, very bland” decor was just one of several problems plaguing owner Eileen Smith’s Cathedral City, Calif., restaurant. With unexceptional ‘cue coming out of the kitchen and mediocre management at the helm of the business, Tootie’s was losing nearly $3,000 every week, so Eileen looked to Robert to reinvigorate the eatery as well as herself, after she’d endured a string of personal losses and devastating struggles. With only two days to work and a budget of just $10,000, Robert indeed fulfilled his Restaurant: Impossible mission, reopening Tootie’s with an updated menu and a comfortable, lively interior. Read on below to hear from Eileen in an exclusive interview, and find out how she and her business are doing today.

“Our sales are up 30 percent,” Eileen says, adding, “I know I have a ways to go before I am making a profit, but the gap is closing. I am working my tail off to ensure success.”

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Best 5 French Toast Recipes

by in Recipes, March 12th, 2014

French ToastWith a crispy, crunchy crust and a moist, tender center, French toast is a hearty breakfast that’s most often made even more comforting with a hefty drizzle of warm maple syrup. While the classic recipe requires little more than bread, eggs, and a splash of milk or cream, there are seemingly endless ways to dress up this timeless favorite, including using specialty bread or baking the toast into a big-batch casserole. Check out Food Network’s top-five French toast recipes below to find a mix of traditional and creative renditions from Guy, Ina, The Pioneer Woman and more Food Network chefs.

5. Texas French Toast Bananas Foster — Using the decadent dessert of bananas Foster as his inspiration, Guy dunks thick-cut Texas toast into a sweet, creamy mixture of rum, cinnamon and orange juice, then tops the griddled bread with caramel-coated bananas.

4. Chocolate Hazelnut Stuffed French Toast — Sandwiched between two slices of buttered French toast, the chocolate-hazelnut spread becomes warm and deliciously gooey.

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Sweet and Savory Snacks Get Rewrapped on All-New Series

by in Shows, March 10th, 2014

Marc Summers and Joey FatoneWhether for an after-school treat, late-day pick-me-up or just-because indulgence, beloved snack foods like Twinkies, potato chips, doughnuts and Goldfish crackers are timeless munchies that can curb cravings in a flash. While you surely have images of noshing on these bites as a child — or just recently — you’re going to see them in an all-new light on the upcoming series Rewrapped.

Hosted by Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off and Chopped All-Stars alum Joey Fatone, Rewrapped, premiering Monday, April 21 at 8|7c, will celebrate these tried-and-true comfort foods — and put a competitive spin on them. With limited time to cook in Round 1, three competitors will have to re-create the chosen snack of the day for a panel of discerning food folks and snack-brand experts. The goal is to make their version resemble the original as much as possible in areas like taste, texture and appearance in order to earn points they can carry into Round 2. It’s then a matter of reinvention, as the rivals must use the packaged good to devise a dish all their own. From savory takes on a traditional sweet treat to next-level dessert plates and almost everything in between, competitors will have to deliver on creativity above all else if they want to wow permanent judge Marc Summers, the host of Food Network’s Unwrapped, plus the other evaluators. In the end, however, only one will have earned enough points to claim lasting glory and, best of all, a lifetime supply of their challenge snack.

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One-Pan Breakfast for Dinner — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 10th, 2014

Baked Eggs with Farmhouse Cheddar and PotatoesWeekends are practically made for lazy, relaxed breakfasts, but once Monday strikes, there’s little time to enjoy morning classics. To indulge in your favorite breakfasts like eggs, pancakes or waffles during the hectic week, however, all you have to do is ditch the idea that they can only be enjoyed in the morning. Try swapping out your usual dinner fare and introducing hearty breakfast and brunch staples to your suppertime routine; they’re just as simple and quick to prepare as many traditional dinner dishes, but they’re often a bit more decadent, so they will feel like a treat. Plus, your kids will enjoy the novelty that comes with having “morning” food at nighttime.

Food Network Kitchen’s Baked Eggs with Farmhouse Cheddar and Potatoes is one such easy breakfast dish that’s ideal for dinner, as it combines tried-and-true morning picks and is ready to eat in less than an hour. Made conveniently in a single pan, this recipe is simplest to make when you have all of your ingredients prepared and at the ready; that way you can move from one step to another in flash. Start by sauteing potatoes in fresh parsley and garlic, then create a few wells in the mixture into which you can crack eggs. After baking the eggs for a few minutes, top with a blanket of cheddar, then return to the oven to achieve a gooey, melty finish. Be sure to start the recipe in an ovenproof skillet, like a cast-iron one, since it will move from the stovetop to the oven.

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Allies and Enemies — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 9th, 2014

It’s no secret that success on Cutthroat Kitchen often entails strategy; it’s not enough to show up and cook on this evilicious competition, as at its heart the contest is a game that requires careful manipulation in order to win. While catching up with judge Antonia Lofaso on tonight’s all-new installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host explained that in Round 2′s quiche challenge, two of the remaining chefs could have potentially bettered their own outlooks had they joined forces to sabotage and outcook one rival in particular.

“If I’d been playing the game,” Alton said, “and I was Chef Gregory, I would [have] wanted to preserve Chef Bryan, so then I could have killed him in the end.” He mused of Chef Emmanuel, who likely had vast experience in cooking quiche on account of heritage: “Who wants a French guy to be able to fight a quiche battle?” Antonia agreed and suggested later, “They should have all actually ganged up on [Chef Emmanuel].” She added that it was “lights out” once Chef Emmanuel presented a quiche with Gruyere and bacon on account of these naturally rich, flavorful ingredients. “Everything else could be bad because I put Gruyere and bacon together,” Antonia imagined as Chef Gregory.

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A Family Affair in Chefs’ Kitchens

by in Shows, March 8th, 2014

Katie Lee and Sunny AndersonOn this morning’s brand-new episode of The Kitchen, Katie Lee shined a light on a family-favorite recipe, a rich, hearty Beef Stew. Although she’s since modernized the dish and turned it into her own creation, she reminisced on memories of her grandfather making this long-honored, tried-and-true classic. No matter your family’s cooking style or experience in the kitchen, chances are that you, too, can recall cooking a beloved recipe alongside a loved one or close friend.

FN Dish caught up with some of your favorite Food Network chefs, and it turns out that when they’re cooking off the clock, these stars are most fond of creating meals with their families as well. Read on below to hear how The Kitchen co-host Geoffrey Zakarian, plus Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and more chefs answered one simple question: Who’s your favorite person to cook for? Then cast your vote in the poll to tell FN Dish who you most enjoy being with in the kitchen.

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Restaurant Revisited: Up in Smoke at Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant

by in Shows, March 5th, 2014

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile the name Mill Creek BBQ Restaurant would suggest an eatery proficient in preparing succulent, Southern-style ‘cue, the reality at this Redlands, Calif., spot was that owners Lisette and Steve Brown were dishing up bland food in a poorly run environment, according to Robert Irvine. In the first mission of Restaurant: Impossible, Season 8, the fearless and determined host worked on revamping Mill Creek’s menu in the hopes of offering more full-flavored favorites. He and his team had only two days and a limited budget to execute their plans, plus give Steve the tools to successfully run the restaurant and dissolve the strain on the Browns’ blended family. Read on below to hear from Steve a few months after Mill Creek’s Impossible transformation, and learn how his business and family are doing today.

“When we compared last year’s numbers to January 2014, we had a sales increase of exactly 28 percent,” Steve explains. He says that the update in design at his restaurant “is like night and day” and that he’s pleased with the changes that Robert and his team made. “We went from a totally Western style quick-service restaurant to a more modern, slightly upscale quick-service restaurant.”

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Best 5 Couscous Recipes

by in Recipes, March 5th, 2014

Spiced Couscous and ChickenWhen you’ve nearly had your fill of rice, potatoes and pasta at the dinner table, try introducing another go-to side dish to round out the meal: couscous. A kind of ground pasta that’s easily prepared by boiling, like rice and noodles, couscous comes in two general varieties — Moroccan, which features tiny and coarse granules, and Israeli, boasting smooth, pearl-size rounds — and can be beefed up with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. While couscous salads are simple to make and can often be served cold, hot or at room temperature, couscous is filling enough to shine as the main dish too. Check out Food Network’s top-five couscous recipes below to find classic and creative interpretations of this endlessly versatile staple.

5. Sweet and Sour Couscous-Stuffed Peppers — Traditional rice gets swapped out of this flavor-packed recipe and replaced with whole-wheat couscous for a better-for-you supper, finished with a sprinkle of Asiago cheese for a gooey topping.

4. Israeli Couscous and Tuna Salad — Boasting the fresh flavors of capers, lemon and olives, Ina’s mayonnaise-free tuna salad is made especially hearty with the help of pearl couscous.

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