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.

Food Network Chefs Share Their Favorite Christmas Cookies

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 4th, 2015

Giada De LaurentiisIf Valentine’s Day is for chocolate, Halloween for candy and Thanksgiving for turkey, then Christmas may be for cookies. Just as you likely wait all year to dig into Mom’s famous peppermint spritz or your own special recipe for chocolate-cherry chunkies, your favorite chefs, too, are indulging in their holiday cooking cravings come December. FN Dish checked in with stars like Giada De Laurentiis, Katie Lee and Michael Symon to find out which cookies are their favorites — click the photos above or below to hear what they had to say.

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Spread Holiday Cheer with These 7 Edible Homemade Gifts

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 4th, 2015

Quick and Easy Peppermint FudgeWe’ve all been there: You can’t seem to track down the perfect gifts for those last few people on your holiday shopping list, so you do the inevitable and resort to a series of gift cards. Are they still thoughtful gifts? Absolutely. But perhaps they’re just not ideal for the holidays, right? This year, skip the hours spent combing the aisles for that just-right present and ditch the gift-card game once and for all; what your friends and family will surely appreciate is an edible homemade gift full of holiday cheer. No matter whom you’re shopping for — the chocoholics, the caramel mavens, the drink connoisseur — there’s indeed a treat for everyone on your “nice” list in this ultimate collection of edible delights.

Quick and Easy Peppermint Fudge
It takes only a few pantry ingredients to make The Pioneer Woman’s fuss-free fudge, which she sprinkles with crushed peppermint candies for flavor and seasonal flair.

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Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Facing Fears at Cape Horn Family Restaurant

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleThough Joni Kauffman, the owner of Cape Horn Family Restaurant, did not know that Robert Irvine was about to ambush her, her husband, Barry, was indeed aware of the surprise. Barry reached out to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team for help to rescue the failing Red Lion, Pa., eatery. With the help of some revealing hidden cameras staged around Joni’s business, Robert was able to see that perhaps the greatest problem plaguing Cape Horn was in fact Joni herself. He ultimately worked with her to improve her management skills and help her realize what she needed to do to guarantee both her personal and professional success. Read on below to hear from Joni to find out how her business is faring a few months after its Restaurant: Impossible transformation.

“Robert Irvine has taught me so much in such a short time,” Joni explains of Robert’s impact on her. “I have come to realize that I cannot and will not let my staff disrespect me or my expectations of them.”

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Have Yourself a Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie — Holiday Baking Championship [INFOGRAPHIC]

by in Holidays, Shows, December 3rd, 2015

Have Yourself a Perfect Chocolate Chip CookieCheck out this step-by-step guide to learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies.

4 Hands Are (Maybe) Better Than 2 — Alton’s Superstar Sabotage After-Show

by in Shows, December 3rd, 2015

It was a finale of evilicious proportions last night when the top-four chefs took their places in the Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage arena for the fifth and final face-off. Fabio Viviani ultimately claimed the win after several downright diabolical sabotages, but it was Richard Blais who landed what was perhaps the most “hands-off” challenge of the battle. In the Round 3 dessert test, a Bob lent Richard a hand — or rather, both of his hands — which acted as Richard’s own while the Bob finished the round behind him. And in keeping with After-Show tradition, of course, it was only a matter of time before Alton Brown and Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, tried their hands at this sinister setup.

Simon opted to prepare a cranachan, a layered trifle-like dessert spiked with whiskey, though of course it was Alton who’d be doing the actual prepping with verbal cues from Simon. While the situation started out efficiently enough, with Alton following Simon’s commands and executing each step gently, it indeed didn’t end that way, as Alton could hardly see his moves before him. “Not even close!” Simon said as Alton struggled to pour a glug of brandy into the glass. What resulted was a finished dessert, but also a messy prep station, a messy Alton and a messy Simon.

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One-on-One with the Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage Tournament Champion

by in Shows, December 2nd, 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, agreed to subject themselves to Alton’s eviliciousness. While most ultimately fell in their quest for Cutthroat glory, a few shined — one in each of the four preliminary rounds and one of them again in tonight’s tournament finale. If you haven’t watched the newest episode, read no further, because we’re about to break down the ins and outs of the battle and reveal the tournament champion.

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It’s a Holly, Jolly Time of Year: Chefs’ Favorite Christmas Songs and Movies

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 2nd, 2015

Bobby FlayNow that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the focus is on the upcoming holiday season, and with that comes all manner of holly-jolly hall decking, including for many a switch of playlists and favorite movies. This time of year, even Food Network chefs are celebrating the season with their top picks for Christmas songs and movies — and, as you might guess, their favorites are as varied as their styles of cooking. Read on below to hear what they had to say.

Bobby Flay
Song: “Run DMC’s ‘Christmas in Hollis.'”
Movie: “I love Elf. It’s so good. ‘World’s Best Cup of Coffee — Congratulations!'”

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11 Party-Ready Recipes for All Your Holiday Get-Togethers

by in Entertaining, Holidays, Recipes, December 2nd, 2015

Italian Sausage BallsWhether your holiday plans include an elegant cocktail party, a traditional seated feast, a seasonal open house or some combination of these events, the key to easy, enjoyable entertaining at any party is a go-to menu of eats and drinks. This holiday season, stick with Food Network’s best bets for crowd-pleasing fare, from simple sausage balls and shrimp cocktail to hearty ham and sweet, buttery cookies.

Italian Sausage Balls
Reinvent the usual Southern appetizer with Italian flair by opting for sweet Italian sausage instead of the plain variety and pairing each baked sausage ball with classic Italian ingredients like creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. Since these appetizers are served on toothpicks, guests will be able to easily snack with their hands.

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Mini Mac and ‘Shrooms — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, November 30th, 2015

Mini Mac and 'ShroomsCream, cheese, pasta — there’s not much to dislike when it comes to classic macaroni and cheese. But to add even more flavor and an extra layer of heft, try stirring in some fresh add-ins to the mixture the next time you make it. While Ina Garten layers her casserole with sliced tomatoes and Rachael Ray showcases golden butternut squash, Food Network Magazine opts for plenty of mushrooms for hearty, earthy results.

Easy to make and full of the warming comfort you crave in macaroni and cheese, this recipe for Mini Mac and ‘Shrooms features a next-level cheese sauce that’s made with two kinds of bold cheeses: Taleggio (or Brie, if you prefer that) and pecorino. Once the buttery, creamy sauce is smooth, round out the dish with the pasta and a mix of mushrooms, including meaty creminis. For an added layer of texture, Food Network Magazine finishes each bowl of mac with buttery breadcrumbs for subtle crunch.

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Enter to Win a $25 See’s Candies Gift Card for the Holidays

by in Contests, November 30th, 2015

Enter to Win a $25 See's Candies Gift Card for the HolidaysWith Thanksgiving behind us, we’ve officially entered the holiday shopping season, which means that it’s not too early to start picking up goods for everyone on your “nice” list. Clothes, gift cards and DVDs are go-to picks year after year, but instead of resorting to the same ol’ this December, stick to the sweeter side of the season and opt for a tried-and-true indulgence: candy.

You can indeed put a homemade spin on edible gifts with these 50 ideas from Food Network Maagazine, but if your time is tight this year, the store-bought stuff is A-OK as well. Check out Food Network’s guide to edible gifts you can buy, as well as the latest holiday offerings from See’s Candies. Just in time for the season, See’s has released indulgent truffle flavors, including mint and eggnog, along with nutty toffee and the Holiday Wreath Box pictured above.

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