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.

Best 5 Hot Cocoa Recipes

by in Drinks, Recipes, December 4th, 2013

Hot CocoaNo matter how chilly and snowy it may get this winter, there will be no better way to warm up than with a comforting cup of creamy hot cocoa. This seasonal favorite is a timeless childhood treat, but that doesn’t mean grownups can’t indulge as well. Whether you stick with a classic recipe for rich hot chocolate, opt for a generous topping of marshmallows or prefer to add extra flavors, like spices, peppermint or liqueurs, making this sweet treat is simple and, perhaps best of all, fast. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for hot cocoa below from some of your favorite chefs, like Alton, Giada and Sandra, to find their traditional and classic versions of this tried-and-true drink.

5. Raspberry Hot Chocolate — For a taste of adults-only decadence, add a splash of raspberry liqueur to the piping-hot chocolate cream just before serving, and finish with candied ginger for a sweet, spicy contrast.

4. White Hot Chocolate with Marshmallow Stirrers — Instead of simply topping her warm white chocolate-almond milk mixture with a few mini marshmallows, Giada dunks large marshmallows in chocolate, attaches them to the ends of lollipop sticks and gently stirs them into her drink.

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Watch the Top 5 Tough Love Moments on Restaurant: Impossible

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2013

Much of the work Robert Irvine does on Restaurant: Impossible focuses on showing business owners and their employees where they’ve made mistakes in the past and how they can best fix them going forward. To teach those lessons, however, so that the staff will learn once and for all how to avoid similar struggles in the future, Robert is forced to be brutally honest in his assessment of the restaurant’s design, its food and the management skills of its leaders. It’s ultimately for the betterment of the business that Robert shares his tough love in the form of constructive criticism and unhindered remarks about what he’s seeing and tasting at the restaurant.

In the more than six seasons Restaurant: Impossible has aired, Robert’s gone to great lengths in words and actions to prove his point to businesses owners and their staff, holding no bars in his assessment of the good, bad and just plain awful scenes he finds in kitchens and dining rooms. Click the play button on the video above to watch the top-five tough love moments, then tune in to an all-new episode Wednesday at 10pm/9c to watch Robert tackle his latest restaurant mission.

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Sesame and Peanut Noodles — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 2nd, 2013

Sesame and Peanut NoodlesNow four days post-Thanksgiving, it’s likely that the last leftovers from Turkey Day are gone from your refrigerator and you’ve nearly had your fill of all things mashed, roasted, creamed and gravied. But whether lingering relatives are still staying over or you’re back to cooking for just your immediate family, the question of tonight’s dinner remains, and for this Meatless Monday, something simple and speedy is in order.

Instead of reaching for the nearest takeout menu, try Melissa d’Arabian’s Sesame and Peanut Noodles (pictured above), a top-rated dish that can be on the table in only 20 quick minutes. The secret to this recipe is the sweet and salty balance of flavors in the peanut dressing, featuring a combination of peanut butter, honey and soy sauce, plus a few drops of Sriracha for subtle heat (if you’re cooking for little ones, just scale back on the amount to reduce the level of spiciness). What results is a thick, creamy sauce that coats the pasta and pairs well with the crunchiness of fresh peppers and cabbage. For added texture, finish the dish with chopped peanuts and sesame seeds before serving.

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Introducing: Dawn Wells from the Chopped Celebrity Holiday Bash

by in Shows, November 30th, 2013

Dawn WellsFor one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.

To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Dawn Wells, a former Miss Nevada who went on to play Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. Read on below to hear from Dawn, learn about her experience in the kitchen, and find out her favorite food city to visit, late-night snack and more. Then tune in on Sunday at 10pm/9c to watch Dawn, Anthony, Antonio and Teri compete on the Celebrity Holiday Bash.

What’s your background in cooking?
Dawn Wells: I’m just a home cooker. I’m not a fancy cooker. I’m not a baker. My mother is half German, half Italian. My mother could cook anything at any time, so I grew up with it. Not particularly recipes. My mother and I did a cookbook together years ago. There’s three or four recipes that I hold onto.

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Introducing: Anthony Anderson from the Chopped Celebrity Holiday Bash

by in Shows, November 29th, 2013

Anthony AndersonFor one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.

To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Anthony Anderson, the Los Angeles native who’s a longtime star of Law and Order in the role of Detective Kevin Bernard and who also plays Gary on Guys with Kids. Read on below to hear from Anthony, learn about his favorite dish to cook, and find out his go-to cookbook, late-night snack and more. Then check back tomorrow for another one-on-one interview.

Who do you like to cook for?
Anthony Anderson: Friends and family. I’m always trying to have something at my house, always trying to find a reason just to get people over to the house and sit down and eat and cook and keep them there.

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Best 5 Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 29th, 2013

Open Faced Hot Turkey Sammys with Sausage Stuffing and Gravy, Smashed Potatoes with Bacon, Warm Apple Cranberry SauceEven though Thanksgiving has come and gone, the feast continues to give as you find ways to grant the leftovers a second life in made-over dishes all weekend long. Turkey soup and sandwiches are timeless choices, but there are indeed ways to dress them up this year, plus other ideas for making the most out of the side dishes as well. Sunny recommends frying the stuffing into eat-with-your-hands bites, while Rachael creates a casserole out of the meat and mushrooms. Check out Food Network’s top-five recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers below to find the how-tos for making these next-day favorites and more.

5. Second-Day Fried Stuffing Bites with Cranberry Sauce Pesto — It doesn’t matter whether you’ve made stuffing with sourdough, cornbread or another bread variety on Thanksgiving; put what’s left to work in Sunny’s two-bite beauties pictured above. They’re crispy on the outside with a tender center of stuffing, and they’re best served with a pestolike mixture of tangy-sweet cranberry sauce and crunchy walnuts.

4. Turkey, Mushroom and Corn Mexican Casserole — Not only does Rachael’s cheesy, comforting casserole feature leftover turkey, but it also incorporates some of the miscellaneous items — like chicken stock, cream, mushrooms and onions — that you have in your refrigerator after the holiday.

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Introducing: Antonio Sabato Jr. from the Chopped Celebrity Holiday Bash

by in Shows, November 28th, 2013

Antonio Sabato, Jr.For one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.

To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Antonio Sabato Jr., the Rome-born model who played Jagger Cates on General Hospital. Read on below to hear from Antonio, learn about his favorite dish to cook, and find out his guilty pleasure food, a must-have at his last supper and more. Then check back tomorrow for another one-on-one interview.

What’s your background in cooking?
Antonio Sabato Jr: I was born in Italy, so you would think I am a pretty good cook. Basically what my cooking background is whatever I’ve learned from my parents I kind of do and redo and kind of just put my touch to it. I wouldn’t call myself a chef, but I do enjoy myself cooking some stuff. I kind of improvise as I go. I go in the kitchen and I find what’s there, and make it up as I go. I don’t follow recipes or anything of that sort of stuff.

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Restaurant Revisited: Unlucky Number Seven at Seven

by in Shows, November 27th, 2013

Restaurant: ImpossibleWhen Robert Irvine arrived at Seven restaurant in La Porte, Ind., he found that the restaurant was suffering from the trifecta of issues: poor food, drab decor and weak management. Owners Tonya and Chad, who are engaged, named the business after their blended family of seven children, including Tonya’s son Jake, who’s a cook at the eatery. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to use their $10,000 budget and two-day timeline to overhaul both the menu and interior design at Seven, and work with the family to give the business the second chance at success it deserves. FN Dish checked in with Tonya a few weeks after the restaurant reopened to find out how it’s faring since Robert left.

“The first week we tripled our sales and have nearly doubled our sales every week since the show,” Tonya explains. “While everything is amazing, our favorite part of the renovation is the sevens in the foyer and the lights above the hostess station that all seven kids got to paint.”

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Introducing: Teri Hatcher from the Chopped Celebrity Holiday Bash

by in Shows, November 27th, 2013

Teri HatcherFor one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.

To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Teri Hatcher, who played Lois Lane on Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and, most recently, Susan Mayer on Desperate Housewives. Read on below to hear from Teri, learn about her experience in the kitchen, and find out her most-memorable meal, must-have kitchen tool and more. Then check back tomorrow for another one-on-one interview.

What’s your background in cooking?
Teri Hatcher: I have cooked my whole life, but … my parents used to pay me a quarter to cook dinner for them when I was … an early young teenager because they both worked. And I have cooked really big sort of traditional Christmas Eve dinners for, like, 25 people or Thanksgiving. But I feel like, especially when you’re thinking about in comparison to this show or being a quote unquote chef … it’s totally different to be able to follow a recipe than to be able to cook. So I’m definitely a really great recipe follower.

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Best 5 Thanksgiving Cocktails

by in Drinks, Holidays, November 27th, 2013

Hot ToddThe beauty of making cocktails is that beyond a stocked liquor cabinet, it takes few extra ingredients to mix up a drink that’s every bit as party-ready as it is deliciously satisfying. With just some pantry spices, a splash of milk or fresh fruit, you can transform the everyday shaken sipper into a dressed-up drink worthy of a celebration. When it comes to seasonal cocktails for the holidays, try warming up some of the liquor for a comforting cup, and opt for fragrant spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to add flavors that will naturally complement what you’re eating. Check out Food Network’s top-five Thanksgiving cocktails below from Giada, Sunny, Alton and more chefs to find the ultimate collection of drinks that are ideal for Turkey Day entertaining.

5. Dolan’s Delicious Hot Buttered Rum — Swapping in hot water for the hot milk will offer a thinner consistency to this classically rich cocktail, finished with a floating pat of butter and a dusting of nutmeg before serving.

4. Spiced Bourbon, Beer and Maple Martinis — To make sure you get the most flavor possible out of her sweet and spicy cocktail, Giada recommends shaking the bourbon, beer and syrup with ice cubes and chilling the martini glasses. She serves each drink with a chile for subtle heat and a striking presentation.

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