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.

Enter to Win an Easter Basket from The Kitchen

by in Contests, Shows, March 28th, 2015

Sunny AndersonWith deviled eggs, roasted lamb, chocolate nests and party-ready punch on the menu this weekend, The Kitchen cast was set to kick off an all-new episode dedicated to celebrating next week’s Easter holiday. In true Kitchen fashion, the co-hosts turned the focus of the show to you, the fans, and let you take part in the party by giving you the chance to win an over-the-top Easter basket.

At the start of the show, Jeff Mauro showed off a special Easter egg that would be hidden on set and later revealed two times throughout the episode; it was up to you, the viewers, to spot the egg for your chance to win one of these seasonal baskets, each filled with a Le Creuset 4.5-quart Dutch oven, a Le Creuset spatula, a Le Creuset spatula spoon, a tea towel set and a Kitchen mug signed by the cast.

Think you spotted the hidden Easter egg? Leave a comment below with the location where you think you saw it on the set of The Kitchen on air. Five lucky, randomly selected fans will win one Easter basket each.

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So, You Need Dinner in a Hurry? No Problem.

by in Recipes, March 26th, 2015

Ground Chicken Tacos with Creamy SalsaHow many times have you been driving home from work, famished, thinking that it would just be easier and quicker to simply phone in your dinner order rather than cook for yourself? The temptation is real. But if you fight the urge, you’ll surely be rewarded because, believe it or not, cooking dinner at home doesn’t have to be an involved, lengthy process. All you need are a few go-to recipes that can be ready in minutes — and not mere salads or sandwiches, but full, hearty meals. Take a look at our five top picks below for speedy supper inspiration. All of these recipes can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Ground Chicken Tacos with Creamy Salsa (pictured above): Simmering the chicken with fresh vegetables and a homemade seasoning mix guarantees plenty of flavor in Sunny Anderson’s crunchy-shelled tacos. Instead of finishing the tacos with everyday sour cream and salsa, she combines those classic fixings for a cool yet spiced topping made with fresh tomatoes, chopped jalapeno and sour cream, plus a squeeze of lime juice for extra brightness.

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Restaurants Revisited: Double Trouble at Valentino’s and Italian Bistro

by in Shows, March 25th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleThough Robert Irvine can’t anticipate the exact state a restaurant will be in when he arrives for a Restaurant: Impossible mission, there are a couple of things he’s come to expect at every overhaul: one failing restaurant and one last chance to save it from the brink of closure. His latest mission, in Summerville, S.C., caught him by surprise, though: Upon meeting Robert, Frankie Valentino asked him to transform not just one of his family’s Italian-focused eateries, but both of them. The Valentino family owns both Valentino’s and Italian Bistro, and both businesses were in dire need of support if they were to have any hope of a future. Sure enough, in true Irvine fashion, Robert completed this double-duty mission with roaring success. Read on below to hear from Frankie and find out how both restaurants are faring today.

According to Frankie, business at “Valentino’s is currently up by 30 percent and the Bistro by 20 percent.” He adds that “the new design is working great” and “it looks brighter [and] modern.”

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Cutthroat Kitchen’s Most-Evilicious Chefs to Return in All-New Tournament

by in Shows, March 24th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen: EviliciousAll Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are notoriously diabolical — with their penchant for mind games and ease in doling out doom. But every once in a while we see a contestant who isn’t just a wicked-good competitor but rather a contender on a whole new level of evil. In the all-new upcoming tournament, Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious, these especially fierce fighters will take their places in the Cutthroat arena for a second round of battles and, of course, all-new opportunities to sabotage.

On Sunday, April 19 at 10|9c, the first round of this five-part tournament will kick off with four returning chefs. The winner from that heat, plus the victors from the next three matchups, will come together in a nail-biting tournament finale on Sunday, May 17 at 10|9c, and ultimately only one competitor will earn the title of Evilicious Champion. Since all 16 of the competing chefs have battled before, they’re no strangers to the hilariously awful tests they’ll face in the name of sabotage. In fact, they relish in the chaos — especially when they’re responsible for creating it for others.

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From Side Dish to Main Event: 5 Times Salad Proved It’s the Star of the Meal

by in Recipes, March 24th, 2015

BLT Sandwich SaladForget everything you know to be true about tiny plates of overdressed lettuce — those are side salads, and perhaps boring ones at that. Loaded with fresh flavors, colorful ingredients, and plenty of crunchy and cheesy textures, these over-the-top salad recipes will bring greens out of the shadows and into the shining role of entree. Get Food Network’s best-ever main dish salads below — each is a hearty, satisfying meal worthy of the spotlight.

5. Chef’s Salad — A trio of deli meats, plus buttery Swiss cheese, cool avocado and juicy cherry tomatoes beef up a classic base of greens, which you can toss with a topping of your choice. How about shallot vinaigrette or blue cheese dressing?

4. Farro and Kale Salad — “It’s got a nutty texture and flavor to it,” Giada De Laurentiis says of the Italian grain she pairs with kale in her warm, citrus-dressed salad. For extra richness, she mixes crumbled goat cheese into this easy salad just before serving.

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Bake Your Heart Out for a Sweet Cause

by in Events, March 24th, 2015

Bake Sale for No Kid HungryIf fans’ support for Kids Baking Championship, Duff Till Dawn and Holiday Baking Championship are any indication, many a Food Network viewer has a sweet tooth. This spring, Share Our Strength is giving fans the opportunity to bake their hearts out for a worthy cause: their annual Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry. Now in its 13th year, this annual nationwide fundraiser has raised more than $10 million to help end childhood hunger in America, and so far more than 1.4 million people from coast to coast have participated in selling their sweetest treats.

This year’s challenge weekend is from April 17 through 19, and while bakers are encouraged to host their sales on those days in an effort to blanket the country in bake sales all at once, they can be held anywhere at any time. As you look ahead to spring, consider setting up shop with your most-decadent desserts for sale outside a supermarket, at your local town’s festival, or at your school or workplace. Each baker who raises at least $1,000 will be inducted into the Bake Sale Rock Star Club.

For more details and to sign up to host a bake sale, visit here.

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Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and Watercress — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 23rd, 2015

Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and WatercressNo matter if you eat lunch at your kitchen table at home or at your desk at work, the key to enjoying your midday meal is embracing variety, especially when you’re cooking meatless meals. From salads and sandwiches to microwaved dinner leftovers, just a few tweaks to your usual standbys can create an all-new meal, like Tyler Florence did in his next-level egg salad sandwich.

Remember the gooey egg salad sandwiches you used to find in your lunchbox, those smushed between two slices of mushy bread? Tyler’s version is nothing like those. He starts his Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and Watercress (pictured above) by just roughly mashing hard-boiled eggs, not pulverizing them into a too-soft smash, before adding a few dollops of mayonnaise and Dijon for added richness and subtle tang. By building this sandwich on toasted whole-grain bread, Tyler guarantees a welcome crunch in the sandwich, which he layers with cool avocado and, in place of traditional lettuce, fresh watercress. If you’ve never before cooked with watercress, give it a try the next time you’re at the store; this leafy green is a tad bitter, so it’s a go-to for offsetting the creaminess of the eggs and avocado.

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QUIZ: Which Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotage Would Slay You?

by in Shows, March 23rd, 2015

Alton BrownIf you’ve ever found yourself watching Cutthroat Kitchen on the couch at home and thinking you have the chops to survive Alton Brown‘s diabolical sabotages, we have news for you: You might not be diabolical enough to handle the heat of the Cutthroat arena. After all, it takes an especially evilicious lot to stand up to challenges like the now-infamous mini kitchen or a mandate to dress up in a themed suit (remember that Thanksgiving turkey getup?). Take the quiz below to find out which of Alton’s wonderfully wicked sabotages would ultimately slay you in the midst of the battle for Cutthroat glory.

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Facepalm: “A Hollandaise Crumble” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 22nd, 2015

From the wonderfully weird to the disturbing and downright diabolical, Cutthroat Kitchen judges have seen nearly everything in the seven seasons of evilicious competition. But something in tonight’s all-new battle forced longtime judge Simon Majumdar to simply cover his eyes in disbelief as he recounted the horror during Alton’s After-Show.

The Round 1 challenge — eggs Benedict — may have started simply enough, but after a few required cooking implements were put in place, the situation turned grisly as Chef Trevor was forced to use a conveyor toaster to prepare his plate. “He actually made … a serviceable hollandaise, but he decided at the last minute to put it on a plate and keep it warm in the top of that,” Alton Brown told Simon. “And in the time that he did that, it went from sauce to scrambled egg. It because a hollandaise crumble.” While Simon had no choice but to rest his head in his hands as he looked back on that doomed dish, fans were reminded of what Simon said after tasting Chef Trevor’s offering: “I never need to eat another hollandaise crumble as long as I live.” Nevertheless, though, Chef Trevor managed to survive the round, as Simon explained that another rival, Chef Monterey, presented a poor egg, which was ultimately unforgivable.

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Giada’s Cheesy Pasta with Peas and Sausage — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 22nd, 2015

Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta CheeseWhen time is tight on weeknights, every minute in the kitchen counts, and the only item on the dinner menu is, of course, a quick-cooking dinner. That’s where pasta comes in — especially this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Ready to eat in only 15 minutes, Giada De Laurentiis’ sausage-studded pasta may look fancy, but there’s really nothing to it: Just brown the meat, warm the (frozen!) peas, then toss in cooked noodles and cheese. The warmth from the hot pasta will be enough to melt the ricotta and Pecorino Romano and create a silky sauce in a hurry.

For more dinner inspiration, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese (pictured above)