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.

Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Fight to the Finish at Stella’s Dine-Inn Restaurant

by in Shows, November 19th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAfter hearing from her daughter that Stacey, the owner of Stella’s Dine-Inn Restaurant, needed help, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible crew ambushed Stacey in an effort to rescue her New Kensington, Pa., eatery. When Robert arrived, he and his team were not only forced to contend with an oversize space that required a massive transformation, but also a sister-brother feud between Stacey and Dom, the cook at Stella’s. Read on below to hear from Stacey a few months after Stella’s reopening to see how the business is faring today.

Business has improved considerably since Robert and team completed their renovation of Stella’s, according to Stacey. “The first week after the show we did over half of our September sales. The second week we surpassed our September sales,” she explains. “The third week we did more than all of July and August.” She adds that the updated decor has gone over well, as she notes that the look “is so open and fresh.”

Read more

Food Network Chefs Answer: “What Do You Do with All Those Thanksgiving Leftovers?”

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 19th, 2015

Alex GuarnaschelliThere are two schools of thought when it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers: classic and creative. You can either keep the day-after eats exceedingly simple, with fixings smashed between slices of bread for rustic sandwiches, or you can dress up the goods that remain and turn them into all-new meals worthy of their holiday. FN Dish checked in with some of your favorite Food Network chefs to see how they put leftovers to work, and as it turns out, they, too, lean toward either easy-does-it sandwiches or inspired, next-level creations. Read on below to see what they have to say, and then leave a comment telling us how your family enjoys leftovers.

Alex Guarnaschelli

The first day, you eat a sandwich, you eat a salad, you’re just kind of eating, you’re grazing again, because you’re having the meal again. But, then the day after, if you still have a lot of leftovers, you’ve got to get creative, because people start to get that look in their eye, like they want to order a pizza. I like to make what’s called a hachis parmentier, which is like a shepherd’s pie. And you just chop up whatever turkey meat — and this way you can use the not-so-pretty pieces and the little scraps — and put that in the bottom of some gravy or some stock and then cover it with the leftover mash or the leftover potato gratin, or the leftover sweet potatoes, and you bake it with a layer of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese on top, until it gets all bubbly. And it’s sort of, like, a really beautiful garbage to throw all your leftovers in, bake it and have, like, this delicious, bubbling hot thing.

Read more

Host vs. Judge vs. Doom Cake — Alton’s Superstar Sabotage After-Show

by in Shows, November 19th, 2015

If Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s struggle with this challenge was any indication, Alton Brown‘s black-and-white prep station, which demands identically mirrored, side-by-side cooking with both hands, is one doozy of a sabotage. The chef ultimately lost the Heat 3 battle of the Superstar Sabotage tournament to Chef Fabio Viviani on account of mismatched sweetness levels in his cake halves. But after Fabio claimed the crown, Alton and Jet Tila, the judge of the day, tried their hands at the same black-and-white workstation to see who could turn out the batter for Alton’s evilicious Doom Cake recipe — which, the host admitted, “doesn’t actually make cake, by the way” — in the least amount of time.

It didn’t take Jet long to realize the demands of the challenge, especially as he encountered the second ingredient in Alton’s cake: a mere 7 ounces, not a full 8-ounce cup, of milk. “You are so evil. I got to tell you,” the judge told Alton. While both guys looked to creative shortcuts while working one-handed, when Alton took his turn at the sabotage, he managed to finish the recipe nearly a minute faster than Jet did, though the host admitted to the judge, “I think your batters are more consistent.”

Read more

One-on-One with the Heat 3 Winner of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage

by in Shows, November 18th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar SabotageAlton Brown isn’t shy about doling out diabolical sabotages to anyone and everyone who enters the hallowed Cutthroat Kitchen arena, including grandmas, firefighters, the judges he keeps on hand and the A-list chefs on Superstar Sabotage. In this brand-new series, 16 all-star professionals, all renowned in their field, have agreed to subject themselves to Alton’s eviliciousness. While most will ultimately fall in their quest for Cutthroat glory, a few will shine — one in each of the four preliminary rounds and one of them again in the tournament finale. Check back to FN Dish after each episode to hear from the latest round’s winner in an exclusive interview. If you haven’t watched tonight’s new episode, read no further, because we’re about to break down the ins and outs of the battle.

Read more

Fans Show Us Their Guilty Food Pleasures: All About Pumpkin

by in Community, Shows, November 17th, 2015

Fans Show Us Their Guilty Food Pleasures: All About PumpkinThough Halloween has come and gone, pumpkin season is still upon us as we look ahead to Thanksgiving; after all, what’s turkey day without a sweet slice of pumpkin pie to finish the feast, right? In honor of last night’s Season 2 premiere of Guilty Pleasures, which showcased your favorite chefs’ picks of Thanksgiving-inspired eats from coast to coast, Food Network asked you, fans watching at home, to show us your best-ever pumpkin plates. And in true superfan fashion, you showed off some droolworthy creations. Keep on reading to see our favorites.

On their own, pancakes are among the most-indulgent breakfasts to wake up to. But when you add pumpkin, like Jose Antonio Garcia does with this butter-topped stack, this morning meal turns into a next-level treat.

Read more

Bobby Flay Calls This Everyday Ingredient “the Key to Thanksgiving”

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 16th, 2015

Bobby FlayThere are myriad things and people without which Thanksgiving would not be complete: the turkey, the potatoes, the pumpkin puree, the gravy and, of course, your family and friends. But according to Bobby Flay, there’s just one ingredient that is “the key to Thanksgiving” — that one must-have product that will help marry the elements of the meal and ensure a successful feast.

Read more

Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 16th, 2015

Rigatoni with Vegetable BologneseWhile traditional Bolognese sauces are packed with meat — often a three-way mix of ground beef, veal and pork — Giada De Laurentiis proves that veggies can indeed steal the spotlight in her top-rated recipe for Rigatoni with Vegetable Bolognese (pictured above).

Featuring a flavor-packed base of onion, carrots and bell pepper, Giada’s herb-laced sauce boasts a key ingredient to bulk it up in place of the meat: assorted mushrooms. “They’re very hearty and substantial,” Giada explains of the mushrooms. Just a splash of red wine adds another layer of complexity to the sauce, while a dollop of mascarpone cheese offers creaminess and a subtle tang. Giada recommends you save a bit of the pasta water when draining the noodles, as you may need it later to loosen up the sauce. Just before serving, toss the pasta with nutty Parmesan cheese to round out the flavor.

Read more

Stuffing vs. Dressing: It Doesn’t Matter, So Long As One Is on Your Thanksgiving Table

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 16th, 2015

Sausage and Herb StuffingCan you really call your stuffing a “stuffing” if it wasn’t cooked inside the turkey? Do New Yorkers make “dressing,” or is that only a Southern dish? How many ingredient mix-ins is too many when it comes to reinventing the stuffing wheel? There are countless debates surrounding this all-important Thanksgiving side dish, but no matter what argument you believe, one thing is certain: A stuffing or a dressing (however you define it) ought to be on your table this turkey day. Check out Food Network’s all-star lineup of the best picks for both seasonal stuffings and dressings.

Sausage and Herb Stuffing
The beauty of Ina Garten’s timeless stuffing is that you don’t need to start prepping it days in advance to dry out the bread. She simply toasts freshly cut cubes for a few minutes to achieve the same effect.

Read more

When Thanksgiving Turns Into a Hot Dog-Eating Contest — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 15th, 2015

Though it was only one year ago that Alton Brown unveiled the now-infamous turkey suit during last fall’s special Thanksgiving episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the host took the holiday to the next diabolical level tonight when he made one chef hunt for his own turkey — so to speak. The name of the game in Round 2 was turkey tacos, but instead of using traditional ground meat, Chef Vitor was forced to grab his (Nerf) arrow and (plastic) bow and attempt to shoot one of three kinds of turkey meat: turkey pastrami, which was the tiniest turkey, on the top shelf; turkey hot dogs, on the middle level; and the biggest and perhaps least desirable turkey, the jerky, in the bottom row.

Though Chef Vitor spent precious time shooting for the turkey pastrami he craved for his dish, Alton told judge Antonia Lofaso on the After-Show, “I would want the turkey jerky.” He explained after the duo tried their hands at the makeshift shooting range, “They’re the biggest targets, so they’re the easiest to hit and you’d have more time.” For Antonia, though, it was all about scoring the turkey hot dogs, which Alton wasn’t shy about tasting — straight up, on their own — after their friendly face-off. “Did you just [take a] bite of it?” Antonia jokingly asked the host. He challenged her to one more contest, but this time it was a self-sabotage battle. “You wrap up the show and I’ll eat as many of these as I can while you’re talking,” Alton told Antonia as he prepped to shovel hot dogs into his mouth. As she signed off from the After-Show, Alton wasted no time in beginning his challenge, which ended just as you might expect.

Read more

Easy, Cheesy Arancini — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 15th, 2015

AranciniIf you’re thinking that this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week ought to be served with a translation, fear not. Arancini are Italian rice balls, featuring a crispy, golden-brown crust on the outside and an inside of cheesy, ooey-gooey risotto and often a tomato sauce. Featured in Food Network Magazine, this week’s top-rated recipe boasts a next-level filling studded with pine nuts for welcome crunch as well as a trio of Italian cheeses — mozzarella, fontina and nutty Parmesan — for over-the-top decadence. Because they’re a cinch to make with your hands, these two-bite beauties are an ideal holiday appetizer that’s endlessly impressive.

For more easy appetizer ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Entertain board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Arancini from Food Network Magazine