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.

The Bar Approach: Rachael’s Choice for Easy Entertaining

by in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, March 11th, 2015

Rachael Ray and Guy CusimanoWhen it comes to hosting a party at home, there are two groups of people: those who panic and those who prepare. If the mere thought of cooking for a crowd sends you into cold sweats, chances are you’re part of the first group, but it doesn’t have to be that way. All it takes to be prepared for your next big bash is having a plan for the meal, and for that, Rachael Ray likes the bar approach.

During a live demo with her husband at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last month, Rachael dished on what she calls “a cheap and cheerful way to entertain.” She set up a bar of fixings for her chicken fajitas, like lettuce, radishes, cheese and crema, and explained that when re-creating the meal at home, each guest could be responsible for bringing just one portion of the spread. “Everybody can participate,” she said. That means that instead of all the pressures of the party — the shopping, the cooking, the plating (and the panic) — being put on you, the host, your friends can help out by contributing to the meal. And with everyone creating their own versions of their ultimate meal, like fajitas or tacos or pizza, you can be sure that each guest will get exactly what he or she wants.

Read more

When All Else Fails, Make Pasta

by in Recipes, March 10th, 2015

Marinara SauceConsider making that phrase — “when all else fails, make pasta” — your new life mantra. Easy to prepare, inexpensive and a staple in most people’s pantries, pasta is the ultimate oh-man-I-need-dinner-on-the-table-like-right-now meal, and it’s equally adored by kids and adults alike. Perhaps best of all, some of the most-classic sauces require only two or three ingredients, and many don’t even need to be cooked — only warmed with the heat of the pasta — so dinner can be on the table in as little time as it takes to boil a pot of water. Read on below for six pasta staples you’ll want to make again and again.

Make Ina Garten’s Marinara Sauce once, then commit the recipe to memory, because this workhorse of a sauce will save dinnertime over and over again. Simply prepared in one pan but boasting a rich, full flavor, thanks to a splash of red wine and fresh chopped herbs, this sauce will shine atop your family’s favorite noodle, ravioli or tortellini.

Read more

Cheese-and-Chile-Stuffed Mushrooms — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 9th, 2015

Cheese and Chile-Stuffed MushroomsWhile stuffed mushrooms are surely a fan favorite on the appetizer table, there’s no reason these earthy bites can’t transition into a main dish, especially when you swap out the creminis or baby bellas and opt for full-size portobello mushrooms. The beauty of serving mushrooms in a vegetarian dish is that they’re naturally meaty and filling, so you don’t have to worry about feeling hungry right after dinner. Plus, portobellos can stand up to hearty cooking techniques, like high-heat roasting and grilling, which is why they often shine as burger patties.

In Food Network Magazine’s good-for-you recipe for Cheese-and-Chile-Stuffed Mushrooms (pictured above), these tender, satisfying rounds are layered with a mix of textures and flavors, like gooey mozzarella and a bold mixture of garlicky poblano peppers, green onions and fresh parsley. The secret to ensuring this go-to dinner is especially satisfying is adding a bit of protein-packed wheat germ to the sauteed poblanos, promising a welcome subtle crunch to the overall plate. After they finish baking, top each tender stuffed mushroom with cool sour cream for tang and bright red jalapeno peppers.

Read more

Alton and Antonia at the Stove for Omelets 101 — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 8th, 2015

Omelets may seem easy enough to make — after all, it takes just one, maybe two, ingredients to prepare them. But as judge Antonia Lofaso explained to Alton Brown on the host’s all-new Alton’s After-Show tonight, “maybe people don’t actually know what an actual omelet is,” as several Cutthroat Kitchen competitors presented her with scrambles instead. Ever the master of Good Eats, Alton took this opportunity to demonstrate the ins and outs of proper omelet technique, and along with Antonia, he dished out a quality omelet offering. Read on below for their top 10 tips to mastering winning omelets every time, then click the play button on the video above to watch their culinary lesson unfold.

1. “I like three eggs for an 8-inch pan,” Alton told Antonia, who agreed that’s an ideal amount.

2. It’s best to start with room-temperature eggs so it doesn’t take them as long to warm up, noted Alton.

3. “I don’t want to add my salt too early,” Antonia explained as she whisked her eggs. “I want to get a fluff first.” She told Alton that salt could actually start the cooking process of the egg and thus change its color, so it’s best to wait until just before cooking to stir in salt.

Read more

Guy’s Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 8th, 2015

Chicken and Avocado Egg RollsWhen it comes to appetizers, a traditional pick like a cheese plate or chips and dip may fill the bill on any ordinary day, but when you’re looking to step up your starter game, look no further than Guy Fieri’s recipe arsenal and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Golden brown and crunchy on the outside with a flavor-packed filling of garlic-ginger chicken and fresh vegetables, plus creamy avocado, Guy’s next-level egg rolls are best served with a sweet chili sauce.

For more party-ready recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Appetizers board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Avocado Egg Rolls (pictured above)

What Not to Do: Party-Planning Edition

by in Entertaining, March 7th, 2015

What Not to Do: Party-Planning EditionIt’s party time on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, and for a very good reason: Marcela Valladolid is getting ready to welcome her second son, and the cast celebrated the occasion by gifting her with treats, presents and plenty of well wishes at a baby shower. Before they surprised Marcela, the group dished on the most-pleasing plates for a crowd, plus a few go-to party favors, like Rosemary Thyme Salt and Sunny’s Blueberry BBQ Sauce, which would surely wow your guests.

FN Dish was on the set as the cast took part in Marcela’s baby bash, and in the spirit of throwing successful parties, we asked the co-hosts to share their ultimate entertaining advice and to reveal their picks for what not to do the next time you get set to host or attend a party. Read on below to get top tips from all five chefs.

Read more

Best 5 Shepherd’s Pie Recipes

by in Recipes, March 4th, 2015

30-Minute Shepherd's PieChicken pot pie may get most of the credit for being a savory twist on a classically sweet idea (fruit filling + buttery crust), but shepherd’s pie — or cottage pie, as it’s sometimes known — can play the meaty pie game too. Instead of a biscuit or pastry crust like the chicken version, however, traditional shepherd’s pie is topped with … wait for it … a thick blanket of creamy, smooth mashed potatoes. Combined with the warm and hearty filling featuring ground meat and bright vegetables, these hefty potatoes guarantee comfort food. Read on below for Food Network’s top-five takes on this satisfying supper from some of your favorite Food Network chefs, including Rachael Ray, Alton Brown and Melissa d’Arabian.

5. Shortcut Shepherd’s Pie — The secret to this fuss-free recipe is opting for frozen potato tots in place of the usual mashed potato topping. “Using potato tots instead not only saves you time but makes for a crispy topping that’s a nice contrast to the beef filling,” the chefs in our Food Network Kitchen explain.

4. Melissa’s Shepherd’s Pie — Boasting layer upon layer of flavor, Melissa’s bacon-laced beef filling is simmered in a bold beer broth before being topped with tangy garlic mashed potatoes and gooey cheese.

Read more

PHOTOS: Guy Fieri Makes Nachos in a Trashcan (and They’re Amazing!)

by in Events, Food Network Chef, March 2nd, 2015

Guy FieriLeave it to Guy Fieri to turn a simple live cooking demo into an all-out party, complete with pumping music, plenty of The Drunk Donkey cocktails and, of course, over-the-top eats. That’s just what happened at the 2015 South Beach Wine & Food Festival when Guy dished out the cheesiest, meatiest nachos ever … in a trashcan. This nontraditional (and clean) vessel was the only container large enough to hold his super-layered snack — so large, in fact, that when it came time to serve the nachos, Guy needed a few friends’ help to flip the can over.

Click the photo below to launch an entire photo gallery of the making of Guy’s next-level nachos.

Read more

Grapefruit-Arugula Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 2nd, 2015

Grapefruit-Arugula SaladIt’s no surprise that salads sometimes get a bad rap for being boring; after all, a plate of lettuce and a drizzle of dressing isn’t exactly a satisfying meal. The key to making a salad, especially a meatless one, hearty is layering flavors and textures. While traditional mixed greens are a go-to pick for lettuce, try swapping in arugula or endive to experiment with new tastes, then pair them with bold mix-ins like fresh vegetables and filling proteins, like eggs or nuts. When it comes to dressing, ditch the bottled stuff in favor of a DIY mixture — most vinaigrettes come together in mere minutes with ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Food Network Magazine’s Grapefruit-Arugula Salad (pictured above) is full of color and crunch, as it’s brimming with peppery greens, plus fresh celery and endive for a mix of crispness. While fresh grapefruit segments promise a refreshing bite, the next-level walnuts, baked with a cumin-brown sugar coating, offer a welcome smoky sweetness and a hefty crunch to round out the meal. Before serving, toss the salad with a creamy yogurt-based vinaigrette laced with lemon juice for even more citrus flavor.

Read more

The Curse of the Deconstructed Dish — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 1st, 2015

No matter chefs’ culinary skill levels or the amount of time they’ve prepared for competition, nothing can ready them for battle on Cutthroat Kitchen. Combined with the fierce time constraints in any given round, the unruly sabotages doled upon them practically guarantee they must reimagine any preconceived ideas about their dish and simply attempt to finish on time. For many finalists, however, the only way to complete the round is to offer a deconstructed version of their dish, featuring just its parts, which when combined, may make up a whole.

Such a maneuver is risky, as judges — especially seasoned ones like Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar — can see past a chef’s mention of purposely deconstructing a dish and realize that it’s likely a last-ditch effort to plate his or her food. On tonight’s all-new episode, Chef Jenny was faced with a doozy of a sabotage that landed her in a racecar seat, so her ability to cook quickly was compromised. And much to the judge’s horror, Chef Jenny told Antonia that her lasagna was “deconstructed.” Antonia explained of her reaction to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “I almost can’t take it seriously when they say ‘deconstructed’ to me anymore.” Alton added, “Because nobody actually does it unless they’re in trouble.” Antonia said of Chef Jenny sarcastically, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I really meant to just throw the noodle down the center and put some raw tomato on it with a dollop of ricotta.'” Ultimately the curse of the deconstructed dish struck again: Chef Jenny said goodbye after the lasagna round.

Read more