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.

Why You Need Sweetened Condensed Milk in Your Pantry

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2015

Frozen Lemon Cream PieMilk in a can? You better believe it. If you don’t already have sweetened condensed milk in your pantry cupboard, it’s time to hit the grocery store, because this thick, creamy liquid is chock-full of sweetness in the best way possible and quickly turns everyday desserts into over-the-top treats with little effort. Add it to fillings, batters, bars and shakes for next-level richness and a moist finished product every time. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off three of their all-time favorite ways to put this culinary miracle worker in a can to good use, including s’mores-inspired truffles made with only a handful of ingredients. Read on below for top recipes from Sunny Anderson, Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee.

Frozen Lemon Cream Pie:
When it comes to pie crust, it doesn’t get simpler than a buttery graham cracker base. Just press the golden mixture into the pan, then bake it for only a few minutes. For her flavorful filling, Katie opts for a bright, refreshing combination of fresh lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Once the pie is frozen, she finishes the dessert with fluffy whipped cream for a crowd-pleasing presentation.

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Restaurant Revisited: WhaBah Steakhouse

by in Shows, March 18th, 2015

Restaurant: ImpossibleIt’s not every day on Restaurant: Impossible that Robert Irvine visits a 4,000-square-foot restaurant — let alone one that used to enjoy profits of more than $1 million. On tonight’s all-new Season 11 premiere, Robert and his team traveled to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on their most-massive mission to date at WhaBah Steakhouse, a part-restaurant, part-music venue that, despite its early success, was facing serious losses. With limited time to work, Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible crew had to not only re-inspire Donnie “Perky” Perruquet but also transform his enormous establishment. Read on below to hear from Perky’s daughter, Nicole Schwarzkopf, and find out how WhaBah Steakhouse is faring today.

Although WhaBah Steakhouse was packed immediately after filming, business has since slowed, though Schwarzkopf notes of the updated decor, “We love, love, love the clean, fresh new look, and the bar and tables.”

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Fluffy and Sweet: The Best-Ever Buttercream Frostings

by in Recipes, March 18th, 2015

Buttercream FrostingsSure, cakes without frostings exist, but it’s that sweet, fluffy topping that takes the everyday dessert to the next indulgent level. If fondant is the fanciest option and glaze is the most-basic, buttercream is in the sweet spot of the frosting world: a go-to, multipurpose smear that’s ideal atop any treat and easy to prepare with ingredients you already have on hand.

There are just two key elements to a buttercream: butter and sugar. Beyond that, you can dress up the mixture with vanilla extract, chopped chocolate or your favorite colors for special occasions. Read on below to get Food Network’s recipes for the best-ever buttercreams — both chocolate and vanilla — and learn how to recreate top bakery tastes in your own kitchen.

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We Asked, You Cooked: Ina’s Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken — Fan Photos

by in Community, March 17th, 2015

We Asked, You Cooked: Ina's Crispy Mustard-Roasted ChickenIt’s no secret that Food Network fans are passionate about watching their favorite chefs take over the kitchen on TV, but for many of you, you’re just as excited to man the stovetop in your kitchen at home as you cook up Food Network’s best-ever recipes. Recently we asked fans to try their hands at an Ina Garten classic — Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken, one of FoodNetwork.com’s most-popular recipes — and take a picture of the finished product. In true superfan sprit, you surely delivered with droolworthy photos. Check out FN Dish’s picks below for the most-enticing shots, then get the recipe for Ina’s easy-to-make chicken dinner.

From Nancy Sutherland Graver: Pictured above

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Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 16th, 2015

Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and CheeseMacaroni and cheese isn’t exactly begging to be transforming; the classic version, with its sharp cheddar bite and golden-brown topping, is, of course, one of the best comfort foods ever. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be dressed up to become an even more wow-worthy version of itself. Enter: Creamy Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese.

The gooey richness and subtle spice you love in jalapeno poppers is baked into Food Network Kitchen’s indulgent mac and cheese (pictured above), a big-batch casserole that’s impressive enough to make for guests yet easy to prepare in less than an hour. In addition to tender sauteed fresh jalapenos, pickled jalapenos are mixed into the smooth cheddar-Gruyère cheese sauce for especially bold flavor — but don’t let the fear of too much heat scare you. The chefs in our Food Network Kitchen explain that the result is simply “pleasantly spicy.” Before baking, blanket the dish with buttery panko and fresh jalapeno slices to guarantee a crispy, crunchy topping.

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7 Ways to Put Peanut Butter and Jelly on More Than Just Bread

by in Recipes, March 16th, 2015

Peanut Butter and Jelly BarsWhether you grew up finding smushed PB&Js in your lunchbox or you’ve graduated to enjoying Jeff Mauro’s next-level version (it’s fried!) as a grownup, there’s no denying that peanut butter and jelly are simply better together. But that doesn’t mean the only way to enjoy these fan-favorite spreads is by slathering them on two slices of spread. From layered dessert bars and filled cupcakes to cool, creamy milkshakes, read on below for seven of the ultimate ways to mash up PB&J.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars (pictured above): Ina smoothes a sweet jam (she opts for raspberry, but you can use any flavor) atop a buttery peanut butter crust before finishing the bars with third and fourth layers: creamy peanut butter frosting and chopped nuts for welcome crunch.

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“This Is Better Than a Regular Tuna Melt” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, March 15th, 2015

Though it just so happens that many sabotages lead Cutthroat Kitchen chefs to turn out inferior dishes, thanks to the oddball ingredients and haphazard tools, each challenge is — believe it or not — designed to ensure that the competitors have what they need to succeed. That’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in; before a sabotage is sold at auction, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew must attempt it behind the scenes to ensure that it is indeed fair for contestants.

In the latest test, on a spicy-tuna sushi swap-out during a tuna melt challenge, it turned out that this challenge not only allowed for a successful tuna melt, but ultimately set the scene for creating a sandwich far superior to the original. Food stylist Hugo Sanchez hollowed out sushi rolls to excavate the seafood inside, and after he combined the fish with a bit of mayo, plus fresh green and purple onions, and then mounded the mixture with cheese between slices of bread, the resulting dish turned out “better than a regular tuna melt,” he proclaimed. “It’s got a little spice, which I normally wouldn’t have added.”

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Croque Madame Sandwich — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 15th, 2015

Croque Madame SandwichWhen it comes to finishing touches on a plate, there’s not much that doesn’t benefit from an egg on top, including this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Without an egg, France’s version of a specialty ham-and-cheese sandwich is a simple croquet monsieur, but when dressed up with golden, runny egg, this richly indulgent sandwich layered with indulgent, creamy bechamel sauce becomes an over-the-top beauty called a croque madame. Follow Alex Guarnaschelli’s lead and opt for Gruyère cheese to add a rich, nutty taste to the sandwich.

For more ways to celebrate the everyday egg, check out Food Network’s Put an Egg on It board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Croque Madame Sandwich (pictured above)

POLL: What’s Your Favorite Bite of St. Patrick’s Day?

by in Holidays, March 14th, 2015

The KitchenAlong with a celebration of all things Irish, St. Patrick’s Day brings with it a buffet of celebratory eats and drinks, from meaty corned beef and tender cabbage to rich chocolate-stout cupcakes and bright-green beer. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts said “top o’ the morning” with a St. Paddy’s Day roundup of the best bites and sips ideal for an Irish-themed celebration. For Jeff Mauro, that meant transforming corned beef and cabbage into next-level Irish Egg Rolls, while in true It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere fashion, Geoffrey Zakarian created Irish Creme with Stout.

FN Dish wants to know, as you gear up for Tuesday’s St. Paddy’s Day bash, what are dish are you most looking forward to eating? Are you all about silky mashed spuds, or do you crave the hearty taste of corned beef? Will you seek out the greenest beer you can find, or are you all about themed sweet treats like these shamrock cupcakes? Cast your vote in the poll below to share your top pick, then browse all of the recipes from today’s brand-new episode.

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The Best It’s-Almost-Spring-Let’s-Celebrate-with-Cake Recipes

by in Recipes, March 13th, 2015

Strawberry Poke CakeWe’ve nearly made it to spring, and after the treacherous winter seen from coast to coast this year, it’s about time to celebrate with a piece — or two? — of cake. While springtime cakes surely are indulgent, they’re not heavy like the meaty chilis and casseroles of winter, and each is packed with refreshing colors and flavors. Go ahead, treat yourself to a weekend of dessert decadence with these best-ever takes on cake from Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.

Strawberry Poke Cake — True to its name, this buttermilk-laced cake (pictured above) boasts plenty of poked holes in the top so the ruby-red strawberry gelatin can gently seep into it. After chilling the cake in the refrigerator, “let it sit out to warm up a bit while you whip the cream for the topping,” explain the chefs in our Food Network Kitchen.

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