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.

You “Will Eventually Learn to Just Laugh” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, February 15th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, and Anne Burrell learned that the hard way when she took her place in the arena as a competitor in the Superstar Sabotage tournament a few months ago. But on tonight’s all-new episode, she experienced the contest from a judge’s perspective as she guest-starred in this particularly evilicious battle.

A Round 2 sabotage forced Chef Ventura to dictate to Chef Emily how he wanted his food to be prepared, though he couldn’t see what she was doing because there was a wall between them, and vice versa. So when it came time for Anne to judge the competitors’ taco offerings, she judged Chef Ventura’s on a taco that was ultimately prepared by Chef Emily — and, again, vice versa. “She wildly underseasoned it,” Anne said of Chef Emily’s preparation of Chef Ventura’s taco. And, sure enough, Anne found Chef Emily’s dish to be “delicious,” though of course it was prepared by Chef Ventura.

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Cheesecake-Cookie Mash-Up Wins the Course in the Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 15th, 2015

New York Cheesecake CookiesJust when you thought there was no way to improve upon the rich, creamy texture of classic cheesecake or the buttery flavor of a moist cookie, Sandra Lee creates a craveworthy dessert mash-up that brings both treats to new levels of indulgence. These easy-to-make bites feature all of the fixings of traditional cheesecake, like graham cracker crumbs and a soft, decadent filling, but the simplicity of an eat-with-your-hands cookie.

For more dessert inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: New York Cheesecake Cookies (pictured above)

Don’t Skip It, Pack It: 6 Ways to Take Your Breakfast on the Go

by in Recipes, February 14th, 2015

Don't Skip It, Pack It: 6 Ways to Take Your Breakfast on the GoFrom homemade gravlax to indulgent huevos rancheros, The Kitchen‘s Rise and Shine episode was all about breakfast this morning, and while it’s often called the most-important meal of the day, for better or worse, some days simply don’t allow for a long, leisurely morning meal. But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo breakfast altogether; the key is to look to ready-to-go dishes that are both quick to prepare and easy to pack. Read on below for wake-up-worthy inspiration from Alton Brown, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite chefs.

Ree Drummond keeps it classic in her Breakfast of Champions Sandwich, built on buttery English muffins and griddled with thinly sliced ham, gooey just-melted cheese and an egg. “Immediately wrap them in a foil bag to lock in the heat,” Ree advises of packing up these sandwiches for on-the-go eating.

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Restaurant Revisited: Dog-and-Pony Show at Dog & Pony Ale House

by in Shows, February 11th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleAt Dog & Pony Ale House in Renton, Wash., the issue wasn’t that the food was poor — Robert Irvine, in fact, was surprisingly pleased with it — but rather that owner Kristen Fisher was mismanaging her business. This too-nice owner had all but given herself and the control of her eatery over to a select group of customers who were adamant that she make changes to the equipment and menu at Dog & Pony, and ultimately her willingness to concede and her struggles with trusting her staff led her to become buried in debt. With the help of Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team, however, Kristen learned top tips for running her restaurant, and within only two days reopened the doors at Dog & Pony, a business worthy of a second chance at success.

“For December there has been a 45 percent increase in sales,” Kristen says of the finances at her business, adding that most diners’ reviews of the updates at Dog & Pony are largely “very positive.” She explains, “We are definitely listening to all the feedback and making changes that will make all our customers happy.  We have brought back some of the things that the customers loved but are keeping the menu to one page, streamlined and running specials.”

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Go Behind the Scenes: Take a Photo Tour of the Cutthroat Kitchen Set

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, February 11th, 2015

While Cutthroat Kitchen may serve as home to Food Network’s most-diabolical cooking arena, it’s also a fully functional and well-outfitted kitchen, brimming with hundreds of ingredients, dozens of pots and pans, and enough tools and equipment to arm four chefs in battle — plus a single briefcase filled with $100,000, of course. Recently FN Dish traveled to the set of Cutthroat Kitchen for an insider’s look at what makes the space so special, including its close-quartered pantry, wall-to-wall shelves of gear and the chalkboard full of evilicious inspiration. We also caught up with Katie Allen, the show’s culinary producer, who’s responsible for equipping the kitchen, and she dished that during each week of filming, her team accepts a delivery of “43 boxes of vegetables, fruits and herbs,” and that’s just for the fresh produce. When it comes to food prep, there are some “86 pots and pans available on set”; for plating, no fewer than “27 varieties of plates, 16 varieties of bowls, 9 different types of glasses, and 21 different types of small dipping bowls, plates and spoon options” are available to the chefs during the contest.

Click the photo below to check out a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the set and peek inside the refrigerator, and look up close at the myriad ingredients, serving pieces, tools and utensils at the ready in each battle.

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9 Best Ways to Simmer, Sandwich and Serve Meatballs (That Don’t Involve Spaghetti)

by in Recipes, February 10th, 2015

9 Best Ways to Simmer, Sandwich and Serve Meatballs (That Don't Involve Spaghetti)Sure, spaghetti and meatballs go together like bread and butter, but these beefy rounds don’t have to be confined to Italian cooking — or even to beef. The beauty of the meatball is that (almost) anything goes: Pork, chicken, turkey and vegetables? They’re are all go-to fillings, too, and when it comes to flavors and serving options, you’re limited only by creativity, from Asian-inspired and barbecue sauce toppings to gooey cheese fillings and taco stuffings. Read on below for the best-ever takes on meatball madness beyond the traditional pasta pairing.

When Pepperoni Won’t Cut It: Rachael Ray crumbles ground sirloin into large chunks that resemble meatballs in her quick-fix recipe for Mega Meatball Pizza. Since she starts with store-bought pizza dough, this family-friendly pie, blanketed in stretchy mozzarella cheese, can be on the table in just over 30 minutes.

When You Don’t Want to Choose: Who says you can’t have it all? Food Network Magazine’s Chipotle Chicken Meatball Tacos prove that you can indeed enjoy the best of a culinary mash-up. Here meatballs take on a Mexican flavor after simmering in a hearty sauce of smoky chipotle peppers and jalapeno.

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Calling All Chocoholics: 5 Decadent Chocolate Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 9th, 2015

Warm Chocolate Cakes with BerriesThere are chocolate lovers — and then there are chocoholics, a term reserved for only the most-diehard chocolate fanatics, those who dream about sleeping on a bed of fluffy chocolate frosting and swimming in a vat of chocolate fondue. If you consider yourself a member of this super-sweet club, you’re in luck: FN Dish is here with five of the most-over-the-top chocolatey recipes that you’re sure to swoon over this Valentine’s Day.

Hot-from-the-oven chocolate cake on the outside with a pool of rich, creamy melted chocolate in the center: That’s the scene taking place when you make Giada De Laurentiis’ Warm Chocolate Cakes with Berries (pictured above). The beauty of Giada’s fuss-free cakes is that you can prepare them in the morning, then come back to bake them right before you’re ready to eat them, so you’re guaranteed a deliciously warm dessert. Follow Giada’s lead and add just a pinch of espresso powder to the batter; it will enhance the flavor of the chocolate without adding a coffee taste.

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Bean, Kale and Egg Stew — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 9th, 2015

Bean, Kale and Egg StewWhile traditional stew may conjure images of a meaty supper that requires hours of slow simmering to cook, it’s indeed possible to pull off a vegetarian version ideal for Meatless Monday — and in a hurry, too.

The key to making a satisfying and meat-free stew is replacing the beef with an equally hearty ingredient, and for our Food Network Kitchen, that’s plenty of kidney beans in its good-for-you recipe for Bean, Kale and Egg Stew (pictured above). Ready to eat in only 35 minutes, this easy dinner boasts layer upon layer of flavor, starting with a base of sweet sauteed red onions, protein-packed beans and a warming broth spiked with soy sauce. Once the kale is tender, it takes just a few minutes to thicken up the stew, which is best topped with a runny sunny-side up egg and served with a side of broiled cheesy bread for easy dunking. Do you prefer a bit of spice in your stew? If so, don’t forget the hot sauce for DIY heat.

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“Boxed” Chocolate Cake — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, February 8th, 2015

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen focused on perhaps the ultimate sweet treat — chocolate — and surely no chocolate showcase is complete without molten lava cake. Boasting a tender, moist cake on the outside and a warm, gooey center, this dressed-up dessert is tricky to master, even for the most-experienced chefs under optimal conditions. And inside the Cutthroat arena, the circumstances for preparing this cake turned even trickier when a sabotage forced one chef to mix all of the cake ingredients within the tiny compartments inside a now-empty box of chocolates.

As with all sabotages, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team tried its hands at this doozy of a test before Alton Brown sold it at auction, and within just minutes of starting, Food Stylist Codii realized, “The key to this is patience, which I think Cutthroat Kitchen lacks on a daily basis.” Despite her initial struggles, however, Codii managed to incorporate her ingredients as best as possible, and ultimately turned out cakes that, while “not pretty,” featured the signature lava river flowing from within.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Twice-Baked Potato Casserole — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, February 8th, 2015

Twice Baked Potato CasseroleImagine all of your favorite parts of twice-baked potatoes — the tangy sour cream, salty and crispy bacon, gooey cheese and fresh green onions — then picture them combined with plenty of smashed buttery potatoes and baked until piping hot. That’s this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, Ree Drummond’s big-batch casserole that’s as easy to prepare as it is stick-to-your-ribs hearty.

For more tried-and-true recipe ideas, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Best Recipes board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Twice-Baked Potato Casserole (pictured above)