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.

Two Ways to Use: Chicken Thighs

by in Recipes, Shows, January 16th, 2016

Chicken Ramen Stir-FryWhile chicken breasts often steal the fuss-free-dinner show, there’s another star piece of chicken that’s deserving of the spotlight: chicken thighs. Not only does this cut of chicken turn out moist and juicy every time, but it’s also an economical one to buy, which the co-hosts of The Kitchen dished about on this morning’s Savor the Savings episode. When grilling season returns in the summer, it doesn’t take much more than simple seasonings and a quick char to guarantee flavorful chicken thighs. But when the weather isn’t so sunny, stick with Katie Lee’s and Geoffrey Zakarian’s anytime recipes below for bold results.

Ready to eat in a hurry, Katie’s Chicken Ramen Stir-Fry (pictured above) features the packaged ramen noodles you know and love — but dressed up. In place of the usual seasoning packets, which she simply discards, Katie relies on a double-duty mixture of soy sauce, grated ginger and a splash of white wine vinegar to deliver tangy results. This bold mixture will be both the marinade for the chicken and the base of the sauce for this fuss-free stir-fry, which Katie serves with cool lime wedges and Sriracha for a punch of heat.

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Healthy Farro Fried “Rice” — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 11th, 2016

Healthy Farro Fried Meet your new favorite grain: farro. This hearty ingredient is a staple in Italian cooking and is similar in look and texture to the everyday barley you likely already know. It’s prepared like barley, and rice, too; all you need to do to guarantee a just-right chewy texture is boil the farro for a few minutes. According to the chefs in Food Network Kitchen, farro is “often added to soups and risotto but works as a terrific substitute for rice in this easy stir-fry.”

Just as an ordinary stir-fry stars colorful veggies and a tangy sauce, so too does this quick-fix dinner, featuring vibrant carrot, peas and pea sprouts. Scrambled eggs give the stir-fry added heft, while chopped ginger and rich soy sauce add bold flavor and cool scallions deliver a welcome freshness. Since the farro can be boiled and cooled a day ahead, the rest of the stir-fry comes together in a hurry — all you’ll need to do is warm it up, just as you would cooked rice — which means that it’s indeed possible to turn out a healthy, satisfying supper on even the busiest of weeknights.

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“Let’s Get This Party Popping” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, January 10th, 2016

The garlic crusher, lemon squeezer, apple corer — each seems to serve only one purpose in the kitchen. But on tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, one chef proved that another such item, the popcorn popper, isn’t just for popping kernels. The name of the game was jalapeno poppers, and a sabotage forced a competitor to make that dish using only a traditional tabletop popcorn machine for a sole source of heat. Before host Alton Brown auctioned off this downright diabolical challenge, the Cutthroat culinary crew got to work in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages to make sure it was in fact feasible.

“Let’s get this party popping,” food stylist Abel Gonzalez joked as he prepared to drop his stuffed and breaded jalapeno into the pot of hot oil within the machine. Though it may seem easy enough to let the popper cook in the oil, he noted that there’s “a spinning, agitating device” inside the small container, and it would “mess with my poppers,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to, like, knock most of the breading off,” he added. While the breading stayed mostly attached to the pepper, removing the popper from the oil proved to be trickiest moment of the test. “This isn’t as easy as it looks,” Abel said as he tried to maneuver his tongs into the machine and grab the popper. He managed to grab it once and for all, and what emerged from the oil was indeed a jalapeno popper that he deemed “pretty decent.”

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All-in-One Chicken Spaghetti — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, January 10th, 2016

Chicken SpaghettiOn nights when you don’t have time to execute multiple meal components to turn out a full, hearty dinner, look no further than this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week, a top-rated casserole from The Pioneer Woman. Ree Drummond’s easy, cheesy suppertime staple combines shredded chicken, fresh peppers and a creamy mushroom sauce with spaghetti to create a stick-to-your-ribs favorite that will feed a crowd.

For more satisfying recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook Comfort Food board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Spaghetti

Caption It: Breakfast the Anne Burrell Way

by in Shows, January 9th, 2016

Food Network's The KitchenWhat with the screaming alarm clock on your nightstand, the cup of coffee that always seems to run out too soon and the chilly air and dark skies awaiting you outside, mornings can be downright rough at this time of year. But breakfast doesn’t have to be a challenge — and on today’s episode of The Kitchen, the cast proved that breakfast can be easy, enjoyable and perhaps even a bit silly.

Anne Burrell stopped by to share her wake-up-worthy Crepes with Mascarpone and Chocolate with Cherry Compote, plus quite a few laughs with the co-hosts. Take a peek at the photo above of her and Jeff Mauro as they started to prep her breakfast. It seems that this duo is making the most of a sweet morning treat, with Jeff showing off a clever smile and Anne whooping it up behind the stove.

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Exclusive: Giada De Laurentiis Dishes on Her Party Secrets

by in Entertaining, Food Network Chef, Shows, January 6th, 2016

Exclusive: Giada De Laurentiis Dishes on Her Party SecretsThough the holidays have come and gone, there’s no reason to stop entertaining at home. In fact, on her brand-new series, Giada Entertains, Sundays at 11a|10c, Giada De Laurentiis will show you just how easy and enjoyable it can be to host celebrations big and small, for special occasions and anytime get-togethers alike. Recently FN Dish checked in with Giada to find out more about her penchant for party planning and to learn just which of her events she credits with being the most memorable. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Giada and learn her go-to tips on how to shop for your next party.

What do you hope fans learn from Giada Entertains? 
Giada De Laurentiis: That all it takes to throw a great party is a little creativity.

Tell us a bit about your passion for parties. How did you come to enjoy entertaining so much?
GDL: Through my family. Italians love to entertain and to cook for our families. It’s how we show people we love them — through the food.

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Healthy Two-Bean Chili That’s Easy Enough for a Weeknight — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 4th, 2016

Weeknight Two-Bean ChiliThe New Year is here, and with the arrival of January 1 likely comes a healthy-eating mindset as well. But no matter how strictly you plan to adhere to your resolutions, chances are you’re not willing to compromise on flavor — or the time it takes to prep a meal. Enter Food Network Kitchen’s fast-fix chili to save the day.

Every bit as hearty as a beefy main dish, this Weeknight Two-Bean Chili gets its heft from a duo of beans and a welcome punch of bold, smoky flavor from a combination of chili powder and Chinese five-spice powder. All it takes is a few minutes of simmering to bring the flavors of the tomato-based chili together, while a bed of brown rice and a topping of cheddar cheese when serving rounds out the meal and offers the decadent bite you crave. Since this good-for-you chili can be on the table in only 30 minutes, it’s a go-to pick on hectic nights when supper can’t come soon enough.

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“They Were Game-Changing Sabotages” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 3rd, 2016

While some Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are able to endure the wrath of sabotage and survive to cook in the next round, many past competitors have met their doom when a downright diabolical challenge presented them with a test they couldn’t pass. On tonight’s all-new After-Show, host Alton Brown explained to judge Simon Majumdar that such was the scene on the latest episode for two contestants who were ultimately sent home on account of evilicious sabotages.

“We had two sabotages today that sent people home,” Alton said. “They were game-changing sabotages.” And sure enough, Alton added that it was those very same sabotages that he and Simon would be trying their hands at as well. Enter the weathervane and the ladle set; the former was Chef Sarah’s sole cooking vessel, and the latter Chef Matthew had to mix in and cook with. While the competitors had to prep chicken cacciatore and doughnuts with their sabotages, respectively, Alton and Simon were set to put scrambled eggs on the table instead.

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10-Minute Avocado Dip — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, January 3rd, 2016

Avocado-Feta DipJust when you think you’ve worn out your usual chip-and-dip appetizer spread with the everyday French onion bowl, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is here to save your party. Ready to eat in only 10 quick minutes, Food Network Magazine’s fuss-free dip features creamy avocado and tangy feta cheese for a cool, vibrant hors d’oeuvre that’s best served with crunchy bread or veggies.

For more crowd-pleasing recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate the Holidays! board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Avocado-Feta Dip from Food Network Magazine

All About Meatless Monday on The Kitchen

by in Recipes, Shows, January 2nd, 2016

Beet Burger with Citrus Caper AioliDo your New Year’s resolutions include some form of better-for-you eating? The Kitchen‘s co-hosts introduced a doable idea this morning: the Meatless Monday effort, which promotes meat-free eating one day each week. Here on FN Dish, we participate in the measure every Monday by sharing new, approachable recipes that, while vegetarian, are full of the bold, fresh flavors any carnivore would crave. Check out some of our past comforting picks, like gooey mac and cheese, baked eggs and veggie burritos, and read on below to see how Jeff Mauro, ever the meat lover, ditched the beef burger for a beet-based one.

Made with a hearty filling of ground beets, crunchy walnuts and chewy brown rice, Jeff’s easy Beet Burger with Citrus-Caper Aioli is seared until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, just like a traditional beef patty. He swaps out the classic bun in favor of a lighter alternative — cool, crisp Bibb lettuce leaves, which serve as cups that can be topped with the beet burger and a dollop of his creamy, tangy aioli laced with orange juice.

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