All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an online editor at FoodNetwork.com, covering top-tier show and talent packages and managing the FN Dish and Star Talk blogs. She grew up in a tight-knit Italian family in Michigan, where food was the focus of most conversations and it wasn't unusual to talk about the next day’s lunch and dinner menus while eating breakfast. Maria graduated from Barnard College in 2012 and currently lives in New York City. She likes her pasta cheesy, her eggs runny and her oysters briny.

7 Reasons Why Italian Food Is Best Enjoyed on the Beach, As Learned at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, News, February 24th, 2017

South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThe team here at Food Network is enjoying a mini spring break of sorts. Along with some of your favorite chefs and many of the most-revered names in the restaurant industry, we headed south to Miami and are spending the weekend at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which brings together stars like Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Trisha Yearwood, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis for four days of celebrating all things food and drink — and plenty of eating and drinking, of course.

Thursday marked the first night of this 16th annual culinary extravaganza, and in true Florida form, sun-kissed guests donned their sandals and packed into the seaside tents to join pals Alex Guarnaschelli and Valerie Bertinelli as they hosted an opening-night soiree. At Italian Bites on the Beach, as guests danced in the sand to the sounds of a live band, chefs and restaurateurs doled out some of Italy’s most-craved comfort foods, from pizza, pasta and saucy meatballs to lemony cupcakes and rich cannoli. And here’s the thing: ordinarily we wouldn’t consider these plates beach fare. After all, they’re often warm and covered with sauce, not often an ideal combo when you’re already sitting in hot, messy sand. But as we made our way from booth to booth, tasting each of the items up for grabs, we couldn’t help but realize just how right it is to eat Italian food on the beach.

Here’s why:

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2 Party-Ready Appetizers You Can Make with Freezer Shortcuts

by in Recipes, Shows, February 18th, 2017

2 Party-Ready Appetizers You Can Make with Freezer ShortcutsThere’s a time and a place for super-fancy, knife-and-fork-needed appetizers, but game night isn’t it. When you invite pals over for a few rounds of poker or a no-holds-barred Scrabble face-off, what you’re likely craving is something easy, not necessarily elegant. And on those occasions, it’s A-OK to take a few welcome shortcuts from the supermarket. The key is dressing them up to make them your own. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts hosted a game night of their own, complete with a menu of fuss-free eats and drinks, including two appetizers that get their start from the freezer section. Read on below to get the can-do recipes, then check out all of the how-tos from the show.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Chris Santos’ New Cookbook Share

by in Contests, Food Network Chef, February 15th, 2017

ChoppedYou know ­­­­­­Chris Santos as a no-nonsense judge on Chopped, capable of lauding chefs’ stellar use of flavors and flagging their missteps all at once. But when he’s through with tastings at the judges’ table, he’s likely in the kitchen at one of his hot-spot restaurants, including such New York City institutions as The Stanton Social and Beauty & Essex. He’s known for bringing bold flavors and innovative dining concepts to hordes of visitors at his eateries, thanks to his craveable takes on dressed-up comfort foods and his penchant for striking presentations. Now, though, Chris is going beyond the restaurant scene and delivering some of his most-beloved dishes to his fans near and far with his first-ever cookbook.

Just last week Chris published Share: Delicious and Surprising Recipes to Pass Around Your Table, which features more than 100 can-do recipes for anytime entertaining (check out a few of them right here). The concept focuses on share-able dishes, of course, and as Chris told us: “The book was inspired by my love for communal eating. It’s how we serve food in our restaurants and how I serve food in my own home.” We caught up with him to learn more about his vision for Share as well as his advice for easy, enjoyable hosting. Read on below to hear more from Chris, then at the bottom find out how to be entered to win a copy of Share for free from FN Dish.  

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3 Brownie Recipes to Make Your Valentine Swoon

by in Recipes, Shows, February 11th, 2017

3 Brownie Recipes to Make Your Valentine SwoonValentine’s Day is just days away, and if you’re suddenly experiencing an uh-oh moment at that realization, we have just the advice for you. It’s surely not too late to pick up a bottle of Champagne for you and your bae to share, but if you want to up the romantic ante this year, look no further than a decadent dessert of chocolate. Brownies are a tried-and-true classic, as they’re easy to make and loaded with rich chocolatey flavor. But they’re also somewhat divisive. If you’re a brownie fanatic, you’ll likely land in one of three camps when it comes to preferred brownie texture — chewy, cakey and fudgy — and it’s not likely you can be convinced that another one is better. And that’s OK, because on this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced a trio of recipes for brownie lovers of all kinds. Read on below to learn tips for turning out chewy, cakey and fudgy brownies, then check out all of the chocolate-focused recipes from the show.

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#Goals: The Storied Romances of Food Network Chefs

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, February 10th, 2017

Ina and JeffreyIf your Valentine’s Day plans are shaping up to be a low-key night with your BFF instead of a Champagne soiree with your bae, fear not. We have just the thing to put a smile on your face: Tales of other people’s happily-ever-after #RelationshipGoals. We’re looking back on some of the most-storied relationships of Food Network stars and their spouses, because as it turns out, your favorite chefs aren’t just smitten with food — they’re also pretty fond of their other halves too. Many chefs have been open about their longtime romances, dishing on their engagements and sharing insider photos from their weddings. We’ve rounded up the most aww-inducing moments of the bunch, so grab a box of chocolates and join us with happy sobs.

Ina and Jeffrey
If there are two people more in love than Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, we’re hard pressed to find them. These two met in 1964, and they’ve been married for nearly five decades. Recently they revealed to Food Network Magazine the story of their earliest days together — they’re every bit as adorable as you’d imagine, with memories of love letters galore — and how Ina prepared impressive meals on the go as she and Jeffrey traveled throughout Paris with little money to their name.

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3 Flavorful Ways to Transform Your Coffee Game

by in Recipes, Shows, February 4th, 2017

3 Flavorful Ways to Transform Your Coffee GameStep 1: Wake up. Step 2: Drink coffee. If that’s how your mornings usually go, you’re surely not alone. But for many, coffee is more than just a 6 a.m. pick-me-up; it’s also an after-dinner treat, often enjoyed both at home and when dining out. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced a trio of dressed-up coffees, each of them ideal for evening sipping. Read on below for spiced, spiked and iced variations on the cups of joe you know and love.

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Bringing the Big Game Home with Themed Decor

by in Recipes, Shows, January 28th, 2017

Touchdown TouchesIt’s one thing to don the jersey of your favorite NFL player or paint your face the colors of your home team. But when you go so far as to transform your home decor in the name of game day, you’re surely inching closer to superfan status. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts offered up a roster of Touchdown Touches to bring the big game to life. Football-themed balloons, pillows, mugs and more must-see features are easy to put together and will earn you big points for creativity at your tailgate. Read on below to see three of our favorite ideas from the show, then click here to find all of the Touchdown Touches.

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Enter to Win a Box of See’s Candies Chocolates for Your Valentine

by in Contests, Holidays, January 26th, 2017

Enter to Win a Box of See's Candies Chocolates for Your ValentineWhile many of us are still finding our footing with our New Year’s resolutions, believe it or not, it’s already time to start planning for Valentine’s Day. The countdown to all things roses, Champagne and chocolate is officially on, and we’re here to help make the holiday easier. This year, as you start shopping for your Valentine (or yourself — no shame in that game), be sure to check out the array of treats that See’s Candies has on deck. We’re big-time lovers of the chocolate-peanut butter combo, so we’ve got our eyes on this Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart. Fans of sweet heat, however, may be tempted by these Hot Hearts, featuring a delicate cinnamon flavor.

While you can buy directly from See’s Candies online, we’ve teamed up with the company to give five lucky, randomly selected fans a box of Classic Red Heart – Assorted Chocolates for free. Featuring a mixed assortment of approximately 26 pieces of sweet-tooth-satisfying chocolates, including dark and milk varieties, this gift-worthy box would surely wow your Valentine. To be entered to win one of five boxes, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling us how you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.

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Transform Tonight’s Dinner Leftovers Into Tomorrow’s Breakfast and Lunch

by in Recipes, Shows, January 21st, 2017

Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and CabbageIf your 2017 resolutions involve bettering your bottom line, this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen was for you. Money-saving tricks were the name of the game, as the co-hosts introduced not only good-to-know ideas for repurposing often-discarded food scraps, but also top tips for stretching leftovers. After Jeff Mauro put a hefty corned beef to work as the star of his slow-cooker supper, Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee stepped in to bring the remnants of that meal — the meat and the veggies — to life in breakfast and lunch. Read on below to get all three recipes, then check out more of their low-cost, big-flavor plates right here.

Dinner: Slow-Cooker Corned Beef and Cabbage
Who says you can eat corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day alone? Jeff turns it into the centerpiece of his anytime dinner (pictured above), letting the slow cooker do the work of infusing the beef with flavor and turning out moist, tender results. The secret to Jeff’s recipe is a sachet; this cheesecloth baggie is full of such bold ingredients as coriander seeds, mustard seeds and garlic cloves, and as the meat, carrots, potatoes and cabbage simmer, they absorb those craveable tastes.

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5-Ingredient Pasta from Kitchen Sink

by in Recipes, Shows, January 18th, 2017

5-Ingredient Pasta