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.

Beyond Chips and Dip: Appetizers for a Crowd — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, August 10th, 2013

Chicken Flautas with Avocado CreamWhen it comes to hosting a backyard cookout, a spread of burgers, barbecue, sides and salads is essential, of course, but so are a few pre-dinner munchies. Having a few easy-to-eat appetizers on hand will ensure your guests are held over until the main dishes are ready and not weighed down in the meantime. While chips and dip may be a go-to classic, you can indeed take your appetizer offering to the next delicious level while sticking with simple, stress-free favorites.

Sunny Anderson’s Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream (pictured above) are top-rated bites that can be prepared in 40 quick minutes. To save time, Sunny starts with a precooked rotisserie chicken to make the filling, featuring the bold flavors of sauteed jalapenos, salsa and garlic, plus cheddar cheese and lime juice. She wraps the mixture in flour tortillas, then deep-fries the flautas until golden brown and crispy, before serving them with a creamy, cool combination of mashed avocados and tangy sour cream.

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Best 5 Beer Can Chicken Recipes

by in Recipes, August 8th, 2013

Pat's Beer Can Grilled ChickenRecently FN Dish shared Food Network’s top-five grilled chicken recipes for enjoyable summer cookouts, but this week we’re focusing on a specialty chicken that deserves the spotlight on its own: beer can chicken. Cooked whole and most often vertically over an open can of beer, these chicken recipes promise meat that’s particularly succulent and tender, given that the beer steams the bird while it cooks and infuses it with flavor. While the presentation of beer can chicken is indeed impressive and guarantees wows from party guests, the dish is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a go-to dinner. Check out Food Network’s best beer can chickens below from Bobby, Guy, the Neelys and more chefs for top-rated recipe inspiration.

5. Beer Can Chicken — When cooking chicken over beer, it’s important to start with a half-full can of beer, so that when the brew bubbles on the grill, it doesn’t overflow and burn.

4. Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce — Tangy, sweet and salty all at once, the cola-ketchup barbecue sauce is spiked with Worcestershire sauce and served alongside crispy-skinned chicken.

Get the top-three recipes

California Rice and Beans — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, August 5th, 2013

California Rice and BeansA Southern classic made with red or black beans and white or yellow rice, rice and beans traditionally includes the salty, smoky flavor a ham hock — or other pork product — and few, if any vegetables. Food Network Magazine puts a lighter twist on this Creole classic by skipping the meat and relying on plenty of roasted vegetables to beef up its rice bowl-like dish, California Rice and Beans (pictured above).

This weeknight-friendly recipe can be ready to eat in only 35 minutes, and thanks to a substitution of brown rice, is a light but satisfying supper. To start roasting earthy mushrooms, bell peppers and zucchini with walnuts for a crunchy bite, then make a puree of cannellini beans, fragrant parsley and lemon juice. The citrus will brighten the overall taste of the dish, smoothing out the bean mixture while adding a refreshing tang to the vegetables when mixed together. While Food Network Magazine opts for frozen rice, you can prepare a batch on the spot using the stove or a rice cooker. To serve, top the rice with the sweet, tender roasted veggies and creamy puree, and finish with sprouts.

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Take an Exclusive Video Tour of The Shed

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, August 3rd, 2013

More than just a barbecue joint, The Shed is an experience, full of unforgettable people, live blues jams and, of course, a seemingly never-ending supply of saucy ribs, pork, chicken and brisket. You’ll get to see firsthand the work that the Orrisons — the first family of Mississippi Barbecue — put into making their business run smoothly when they share a sneak peek of their upcoming series, The Shed, tomorrow at 10pm/9c.

Before then, however, FN Dish is giving fans the first look at The Shed and an exclusive opportunity to hear from Brad and Brooke, the brother-and-sister founders of The Shed. Click the play button on the video above to get an insider’s look at the property’s junkyard, Brad’s never-before-seen outdoor office and a glimpse inside The Shed’s kitchen, where Hobson— the pit master — has prepared nearly 1 million pounds of barbecue.

Tune in Sunday at 10pm/9c to catch a sneak-peek episode of The Shed, then watch Monday at 10pm/9c to see the season premiere.

Meet the cast

Pizza on the Grill — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, August 3rd, 2013

Grilled Everything PizzaThis summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each weekend, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features homemade grilled pizza.

It’s no question that frozen, store-bought pizza dough is a much-needed timesaver in the kitchen. After all, on busy weeknights, the ready-to-go variety makes it easy to skip delivery and bake pies at home. But on the weekends when you have some time to spare, from-scratch dough is worth the effort, as it promises a softer, chewier crust with a homemade flavor that just can’t be beat.

Grilled Everything PizzaFood Network Magazine starts with homemade dough in its recipe for Grilled Everything Pizza (pictured above). If you’ve never before grilled pizza, know that the secret to doing so successfully is having all of your toppings at the ready next to the grill. After you place the dough on the hot grates, the process of cooking the crust moves quickly, so you’ll want to have the sauce, vegetables and cheese prepared and within reach. Once you flip the dough, start building your ultimate pie with your favorite combination of ingredients, like tomato-garlic sauce, mozzarella, sweet grilled onions and tender shiitake mushrooms. Afterward, it’s important to cover the grill, as the trapped heat inside will melt the mozzarella and warm the vegetables. Finish the pie with fresh greens and Italian salami before serving for added texture and a peppery, salty bite. Browse these step-by-step photos to see how Food Network Magazine‘s recipe comes together.

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Best 5 Kebab Recipes

by in Recipes, August 1st, 2013

Build-Your-Own Shish KabobsOne of the easiest and most versatile grilled dishes you can make, kebabs are the ultimate family-friendly dinner because they can be built to each person’s individual tastes without trouble, and they take just a few minutes to prepare. If you’re cooking for both die-hard meat eaters and vegetarians, simply skip the beef, chicken or fish, and stick with vegetables alone for some of the kebabs. Little ones, however, may likely appreciate kebabs without any veggies at all, choosing instead simply grilled chicken or steak alone. In both cases, the kebabs will turn out hearty, seasonal dinners that are easy to prepare on a weeknight but satisfying enough to entertain with. When making kebabs, it’s up to you to decide whether to use wooden or metal skewers; just keep in mind that if you opt for the wooden variety, you’ll need to soak them in water before stringing on the ingredients. The liquid will help prevent the wood from flaring up and ultimately disintegrating on the grill. Check out Food Network’s top-five kebab recipes below to find five-star dinner inspiration from some of your favorite Food Network stars, like Ted Allen, Melissa, the Neelys and Tyler.

5. Thai Beef Skewers with Pickled Cucumbers — Soy sauce, mirin and rice vinegar come together to do double duty in Ted’s easy recipe: The sweet and salty mixture is both a marinade for the beef and a dipping sauce for serving.

4. Fish Skewers with Basil Chimichurri — Melissa prefers to use a firm white fish, like cod, haddock or halibut, to make these herb-topped skewers, strung with seasonal zucchini and cherry tomatoes.

Get the top three recipes

Geoffrey Zakarian Named Culinary Director at The Plaza Hotel

by in Food Network Chef, July 31st, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianAs the chef at New York’s The Lambs Club and The National restaurants and the leader of dining services at The Water Club in Atlantic City, N.J., and Ocean Blue aboard The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship, Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is surely not one to sit still. This Kitchen Stadium superstar works best when his plate is full of projects, and it’s a good thing he does, because just this week he earned another title: the Culinary Director at The Plaza hotel in New York City.

One of Manhattan’s most iconic hotels, The Plaza boasts a prime location in the heart of the city, a 100-plus-year tradition of luxury and a reputation for culinary excellence that Geoffrey will only serve to improve upon in his new role. He’ll be in charge of the hotel’s Palm Court and Oak Room restaurants, plus the Oak Bar, The Champagne Bar and The Rose Club, in addition to its in-room dining menus. The Palm Court will likely be the first to see modifications, but they’ll be subtle. “I want to leave as much as we can in place, the way they do with the great old restaurants in Paris,” he told The New York Times.

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