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.

Halloween Wars Q&As: Hear from the Team Members of 2 Ghouls and a Guy

by in Shows, September 16th, 2015

Halloween WarsGrab a bucket of candy and prepare for a scare, because Season 5 of Halloween Wars is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 4 (premiering at 9|8c). Before this fright-night celebration of all things spooky and sugary begins, FN Dish is taking you inside the competition to hear from the five teams of Halloween warriors who will be facing off for the chance at a whopping $50,000.

Today we’re introducing you to team 2 Ghouls and a Guy, made up of Diane Fehder, Jeff Munchel and Bridget McCarty. Read on below to hear from all three of them, then check back tomorrow to hear from another group of teammates.

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Halloween?
Diane Fehder: I think of trick-or-tricking in my parents’ neighborhood while growing up. I love Halloween. I love dressing up and now love dressing my daughter up. I think of all the past memories I’ve had — the smell of fall leaves and fireplaces. Now all of our neighbors get together outside and hand out candy together.
Jeff Munchel: When I think of Halloween, I think of candy, blood and haunted houses!
Bridget McCarty: [I think of] black cats, witches, pumpkins, lights, crows, mummies, candy, costumes, darkness, night, owls, sugar, Dracula, smoke, fog, scarecrows, cauldrons, screams, howls and more.

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All the Ways to Love Alfredo Sauce (in 25 Minutes or Less)

by in Recipes, September 15th, 2015

Fettuccine AlfredoMarinara often takes the crown in terms of quick-fix pasta sauces, but with just a few key ingredients, Alfredo sauce, too, is a go-to pick on nights when you have next to no time to make dinner. Whether you’re a fan of the classic recipe with little more than cream and cheese or you’re looking to dress up the original with bright, bold flavors, check out our top five ways to dig into this satisfying supper.

Add a squeeze of lemon.

Giada De Laurentiis opts for a two-part approach to adding refreshing lemon flavor to her 10-minute sauce: the juice as well as the grated zest. After simmering the lemon juice with the cream and butter, she adds the pasta and nutty Parmesan before tossing it with the zest ahead of serving.

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Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 14th, 2015

Cheesy Scrambled Egg FajitasMuch like a pizza crust, a tortilla is a blank culinary canvas; there are hardly any rules for what you can and can’t stuff inside it or pile on top of it. While some of the most-classic approaches are the fan-favorite taco or fajita, how you put those together is up to you. When it comes to making meatless fajitas, beans are surely a go-to pick, but when you want to try something new, look to eggs to bulk up the meal.

Ready to eat in only 30 quick minutes, Food Network Magazine’s Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas (pictured above) make for a hearty breakfast as well as a quick-fix dinner. Just like traditional fajitas, these feature tender sauteed peppers and onions, plus buttery scrambled eggs, which add welcome heft. Don’t forget to add a decadent bite with Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese as the eggs finish cooking — it will slowly melt within minutes. Fill warm tortillas with the fluffy eggs, plus the colorful veggies, then top with a quick-fix combination of creamy avocado, juicy tomatoes and a jalapeno for subtle heat.

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For Comedian David Alan Grier, It’s All a Bit “Off” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 13th, 2015

It’s not every week that a newcomer joins the ranks of judges to enter the hollowed arena that is Cutthroat Kitchen, but tonight comedian David Alan Grier became one of the lucky few. And in true evilicious fashion, host Alton Brown‘s sabotages of the day were nothing short of diabolical.

In what proved to be a doozy of a challenge during the Round 2 Italian wedding soup assignment, one chef was forced to harvest all of his ingredients from — what else? — a wedding cake, stuffed with everything from peanut butter and a root beer to ground beef and carrots. But for David, it wasn’t these savory flavors that stuck out the most in Chef Justin’s dish, though the judge couldn’t quite decipher what it was that he found. “I taste a sweetness, and I don’t really know if this is rice, pasta or grain. I mean, I don’t know what it is,” David said during tasting, and on Alton’s After-Show, he finally learned from Alton what he ate. “Cake, sir, and a little bit of frosting to boot,” Alton told David, who admitted to being stumped by that flavor of “mystery.” When it came to the all-important meatballs in Chef Justin’s Italian wedding soup, David was once again unsure of what to make of them, and Alton finally revealed why: “He decided to put cocoa powder in his meatballs,” Alton said. “I didn’t perceive chocolate,” David told him. “I just perceived off — a little sweet, not what I was expecting.” Ultimately these oddball flavor combinations were enough for David to send Justin home once and for all.

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30-Minute Shrimp and Grits — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, September 13th, 2015

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and GritsNow that school is back in session and your weeknights have been filled with homework check-ins with your kids, last-minute appointments and a flurry of scheduled activities, you’re likely feeling the pressure to turn out a meal for the family as quickly as your kids can ask, “What’s for dinner?” That’s where this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, featured in Food Network Magazine, comes in. It can be on the table in only a half-hour, and since it features both satisfying shrimp and a bed of creamy grits, it’s an all-in-one meal. Bonus: Believe it or not, this top-rated recipe is a healthy staple, even with those cheesy grits and lemony herb sauce.

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

Get the Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits from Food Network Magazine

The Easiest Pasta Ever (Really)

by in Recipes, Shows, September 12th, 2015

Spaghetti Aglio e OlioWhile Spaghetti Aglio e Olio may not get any points for ease in pronunciation, it indeed takes the cake for simplest-ever pasta dinner: 15 minutes, five ingredients. Done.

Geoffrey Zakarian introduced the recipe for this go-to meal on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen. From start to finish, the sauce — made with just olive oil, sliced garlic, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley — came together in the time it takes the pasta to cook, meaning it’s the ultimate in I-need-food-on-the-table-like-right-now cooking. The secret to GZ’s sauce is twofold: adding some of the pasta water to the oil and garlic, and, secondly, cooking the pasta only part of the way before tossing it in the pan with that watery-oil mixture. The noodles will finish cooking the sauce, and the sauce thickens naturally on its own, thanks to the starch in the water.

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Pro Football Player-Turned-Food Network Star Eddie Jackson Gets Set for BBQ Blitz

by in Shows, September 10th, 2015

Eddie JacksonFor 11 weeks, Houston’s Eddie Jackson wowed Food Network Star mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis with his bold, creative takes on classic Caribbean fare, as well as his ease and warmth on camera. Now, after successfully pitching a pilot to the network and earning the coveted title of Food Network Star, this former NFL player is off to shine a light on two of his longtime passions: barbecue and friendly competition.

In his upcoming series, BBQ Blitz, premiering Friday, Oct. 9 at 10:30|9:30c, Eddie will head to cities across the country and challenge three chef legends each to a face-off of touchdown proportions. Eddie will be on hand to oversee the battles, and he’ll catch up with the competitors about what makes their ‘cue the hottest of them all as these smokers, grillers and fire fanatics compete for bragging rights as the best-ever BBQ chef — and a whopping $5,000 prize.

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How to Overcome Bright Bug Juice — Alton’s Camp Cutthroat After-Show

by in Shows, September 9th, 2015

For the first-ever Camp Cutthroat tournament finale, you can be sure that host Alton Brown held nothing back in the name of diabolical sabotages — not even a pitcher of bright-red trout soaked in an eye-catching, crimson-colored bug juice (read: fruit punch). Chef Monterey, who was saddled with this doozy of a challenge, chose not to cook around the sweet flavor, but rather to embrace it with ingredients that complemented that taste. She did not, however, make enough amends for the sugars, and the trout’s skin stuck to the grates of the grill during cooking, and its flesh ultimately turned red.

According to to Alton and judge Antonia Lofaso, this fate didn’t have to befall Chef Monterey, as they explained during the After-Show. “Had Chef Monterey actually cooked the skin properly, it would have looked less red and probably a little bit more brown,” Antonia told Alton, who added his own idea for how to avoid the stuck skin altogether. “With the added sugar that that soaked up, she had to put a lot more oil on it to keep it from sticking, and she did not do that,” Alton said. “And so she lost the skin to the grill.” But, Antonia adds, even with the torn skin and lackluster appearance of the fish, there were ways to dress up the dish. “She also had a really beautiful salad, and I felt like had she put the salad on top of the fish, I may not have noticed it so much,” Antonia admitted. “I mean, this was just a giant red fish on a plate.”

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Patricia Heaton to Host Friends and Family for Parties on All-New Series

by in Shows, September 9th, 2015

Patricia HeatonWhile you may know Patricia Heaton for her roles as Debra Barone, the comedian’s wife living across the street from her in-laws on Everybody Loves Raymond, and Indiana mom Frankie Heck on The Middle, what you may not know about this celebrated actress is that on her days away from the set, she’s all about entertaining. From party planning and decor setup to menu ideas for crowd-pleasing eats and drinks, Patricia knows just what it takes to entertain without a hassle, and in her all-new series, Patricia Heaton Parties, she’ll show you how.

Beginning Saturday, Oct. 24 at 12|11c, Patricia will dish on the ins and outs of throwing low-key bashes, like casual girls’ nights, and welcoming holiday gatherings alike — and even invite you into her house for her own celebrations. You can be sure that the food at Patricia’s parties is fresh, craveable fare that’s easy to eat.

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Get Set for a Fifth Season of Fright-Night Spooktaculars on Halloween Wars

by in Shows, September 8th, 2015

Halloween WarsGhosts, gore and ghoulishly good competition — it’s all on the menu when five teams of spooktacular challengers come together for a fifth frightening season of Halloween Wars, premiering Sunday, Oct. 4 at 9|8c. Featuring the expert collaboration of a master cake artist, a candy craftsman and a skilled pumpkin carver, the teams facing off for Halloween glory — as well as a whopping $50,000 prize — must come prepared to not only concoct over-the-top sweet creations but also deliver devilishly creepy designs. From the Small Scare displays in the first round to the larger, more demanding Spine Chiller presentations in the final round, competitors will be challenged to bring frightening themes to life in the form of their scary-good designs.

On hand to host this Halloween celebration is actor Rossi Morreale, while the returning judges, special-effects makeup artist Brian Kinney and cake decorator Shinmin Li, will take their places on the panel alongside a rotating roster of special guests.

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