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.

9 Kitchen Essentials You Can Make at Home

by in Recipes, October 30th, 2015

Quick Vanilla Buttercream FrostingThink about it: How many times in a week do you find yourself reaching for the same pantry and refrigerator standbys, like butter for your morning toast, ketchup for the kids’ chicken nuggets and hummus for an afternoon snack? These go-tos and others are often at the top of your grocery list when you’re nearing the end of your supply — but they don’t have to be. It turns out that it’s often just as easy — and perhaps more economical — to make them from scratch at home. Read on below to find out how to put a DIY spin on some of your favorite condiments, fixings and meal starters.

Frosting:

Even if you opt for a boxed cake mix (no judgment here), making a from-scratch frosting instead of reaching for the jarred stuff can save you from a cloyingly sweet dessert. Made with only four ingredients and ready in just 12 quick minutes, this top-rated Quick Vanilla Buttercream Frosting turns out light, fluffy and just sweet enough every time. More of a chocoholic? Look no further than Giada De Laurentiis’ Chocolate Frosting.

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Anne Burrell Has Done It Again: How She Mentored a Worst Cooks Recruit to Red Team Victory

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 30th, 2015

Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity EditionFresh off her Worst Cooks in America, Season 6 win not even one year ago, Anne Burrell has done it again: She successfully mentored a culinary novice from worst to first place. Only this time the victorious recruit wasn’t a home cook; she was a bona fide A-lister. As Jenni “JWoww” Farley of The Jersey Shore successfully outcooked her finale rival, Kendra Wilkinson, she not only claimed the title of best of the worst for herself, but she also scored another Red Team victory for her mentor, Anne. FN Dish caught up with Anne recently to look back on what it took to mentor the celebrities and to chat about her secret to success after clinching five wins in just seven seasons of the Worst Cooks franchise.

What was it like competing against and working with Rachael Ray, as opposed to Tyler Florence, your regular Worst Cooks in America co-host?
Anne Burrell: It was a different ball of wax. Tyler is great, but Rachel brought a bit of levity to an already very fun and silly situation. Well, a very fun and silly and serious situation. But Rachael and I got along just so well. It was great working with another girl chef.

Did you have any preconceived notions about what these celebs would be like in the kitchen, since they are so visibly in the public eye?
AB: No, and I was nervous that there was going to be, like, a whole bunch of divas and people being like, “Ah, I’m not going to do that.” But we did not have one in the bunch, and everybody really readily embraced the entire thing. It was really delightful.

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Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Son Sneak Attack at Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill

by in Shows, October 29th, 2015

Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Son Sneak Attack at Lake Arrowhead Sports GrillKonner’s parents may not have known that their son was reaching out to Robert Irvine, but they soon learned just what he’d done when Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team stormed the couple’s five-year-old eatery, Lake Arrowhead Sports Grill in Blue Jay, Calif., in an unexpected ambush. Husband-and-wife owners Keith and Karen had seen significant declines in their business recently, so much so that Konner looked to Food Network’s own restaurant renovator to transform the restaurant and reinvigorate his parents and their relationship. Read on below to hear from Karen about how Lake Arrowhead is faring these days, a few months after Robert and his team completed their mission.

“We have had really good feedback from our regulars with all the changes visually and with the menu,” Karen says of locals’ reaction to the new Lake Arrowhead. “We scaled back our menu from four pages to one (two-sided), which has really helped our kitchen to streamline and get food out quicker with more consistency.” She adds that the restaurant has been welcoming “a lot more new faces,” as “regulars are bringing new people to show us off and to tell about the show.”

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Thanksgiving with Giada: Aunt Raffy’s Hosting, Crispy Dressing at the Ready and Next-Day Turkey Sandwiches

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 28th, 2015

Thanksgiving with Giada De Laurentiis“I wanted to show people how to successfully put on a party beyond the recipes — the whole picture — and to take the stress out of throwing a party,” Giada De Laurentiis told FN Dish of her new series, Giada’s Holiday Handbook. Premiering Sunday, Nov. 8 at 11a|10c, Giada’s show is the ultimate one-stop guide to everything viewers, both seasonal-soiree novices and those familiar with entertaining, might need to host an unforgettable holiday get-together, from menu planning and crowd-pleasing recipes to home decor inspiration. She told us that it was indeed her fans who first inspired her to think beyond what’s on the plate and pursue the bigger goal of the series. “I think at the end of the day we have very little time in our lives, and the more help we can get, the more successful we can be at home, the better,” she said. “We all want to be successful parents and loved ones, so to make entertaining fast and easy — that was the goal.”

Thanksgiving is one of the first holidays that Giada will explore on Holiday Handbook, and just in time for the premiere, Giada’s giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at what turkey day looks like at her house. Read on below for insider details about her family’s celebrations, and find out how she repurposes the inevitable leftovers from the feast.

What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? Who hosts the holiday every year?  
Giada De Laurentiis: It’s at my Aunt Raffy’s house just about every year. It’ll be a bit smaller this year, about 12 people, because some people are traveling, but I always look forward to it. I haven’t seen my aunt since filming Giada in Italy in Positano, so it’ll be super-exciting to see her!

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Frozen Veggie Burritos — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, October 26th, 2015

Make-In-Don't-Buy-It Frozen Vegetarian BurritosIt’s late, you’re hungry and you’d eat just about anything put in front of you. Does that scene sound familiar? It does to us, too. On those nights when time is especially tight and you’re nearly ready to phone in dinner, look no farther than your freezer — but not for store-bought meals. Food Network Kitchen’s Make-It-Don’t-Buy-It Frozen Vegetarian Burritos boast all of the speed and convenience of purchased products, but these are healthy, made with good-for-you ingredients.

Since these satisfying burritos are made sans meat, it’s important to bulk them up with plenty of hearty veggies, including butternut squash and vitamin-packed spinach, as well as black beans for a boost of protein. When you find yourself with extra time on the weekend, go ahead and prep a few of these cheese-stuffed beauties, then wrap them up and freeze them for up to two weeks. When you’re ready to eat, it takes just a few minutes to reheat them in the microwave. For a crunchy bite, a quick bake in the oven will turn the tortilla golden and crispy, and the veggie stuffing hot. Don’t forget the fixings — look to cool sour cream, tangy salsa and creamy guacamole to round out the meal.

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Who Cooks Stuffed Shells in a Seashell? — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, October 25th, 2015

It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen loves a solid swap-out; from inferior ingredients taking the place of quality pantry picks to professional-grade utensils being traded for oddball replacements, chefs have been forced to work and cook with all manner of second-rate products. And on tonight’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown proved his eviliciousness once again when he auctioned off a sabotage that forced one chef to do all of the mixing and cooking needed for stuffed shells in what else but seashells.

Before competitors could start bidding, though, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to make sure that such a feat was even possible; after all, it’s not every day that you boil noodles in a shell, right? In the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages, food stylist Abel Gonzalez attempted the sabotage, with surprising results. “I’m going to go [with] low heat,” Abel said as he gingerly placed a water-filled conch shell atop the stove. “I’m worried about them cracking.” As he began making his tomato-garlic sauce in a smaller shell, he noted the sound of cracking shells, but that didn’t stop him from proceeding. “They’re holding up,” he said. After a bit of careful mixing and a light-handed assembly, Abel baked the filled pasta shells inside the sauce shell, and what resulted was just what he was looking for. “It smells great. The cheese is oozing. Mmm. Pretty tasty,” he said after just one bite.

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Banana Bread with Two Times the Chocolate — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, October 25th, 2015

Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate GlazeOn its own banana bread can be a bit of an indulgence, especially when you compare a buttered slice for breakfast against your usual morning bowl of cereal. But this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week goes even further by introducing chocolate to the classic loaf in two decadent ways. Not only are there semisweet chips baked right into the cinnamon-laced bread, featured in Food Network Magazine, but the finished product is also blanketed in a smooth, silky glaze of cocoa powder and confectioners’ sugar.

For more sweet-tooth-satisfying recipes, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake! board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips and Chocolate Glaze from Food Network Magazine

Here’s What to Do with Extra Apple Cider Doughnuts

by in Recipes, Shows, October 24th, 2015

Sunny's Apple Cider Doughnut Bread PuddingYou went apple picking this weekend, and not only did you score a bushel of fresh-from-the-orchard apples, but you also grabbed a gallon of cider and a dozen cider doughnuts. After polishing off a few doughnuts on the car ride home — and a few more before and after dinner that night — what’s left to do with the extras? Enter The Kitchen. On this morning’s all-new episode, Sunny Anderson and Katie Lee introduced two brand-new ways to put leftover doughnuts to work; both ways are easy and guaranteed to please your sweet-tooth cravings.

Just when you think that everyday bread pudding can’t get any more indulgent, Sunny’s Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding raises the stakes with a custard laced with pumpkin pie spice — and a base of doughnuts, of course. If you don’t have apple cider doughnuts on hand, pumpkin spice doughnuts or even the plain variety will work, Sunny notes. She bakes doughnut pieces with the spiced custard, chewy dried cranberries and chopped pecans for texture, then serves the bubbly mixture while it’s still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for added richness.

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Restaurant Ambush Revisited: Breakfast Break-In at Theresa’s Restaurant

by in Shows, October 22nd, 2015

Restaurant: Impossible AmbushThough Miriam had invited Robert Irvine to her friend Jodi Boucher’s Bradenton, Fla., restaurant, Theresa’s Restaurant, Jodi did not know that he was on his way, which set the scene for an all-new Restaurant: Impossible Ambush. When Robert and his team surprised Jodi, they found abounding employee issues and a drab dining room, though perhaps paramount to those problems was Jodi’s weak leadership. It was up to Robert to help her drop her micromanaging ways if she was to enjoy a second chance at success at Theresa’s Restaurant. Read on below for the first interview with Jodi to find out how her business is faring today.

“Weekday sales have doubled and weekend sales have tripled” since Robert and his team left Theresa’s Restaurant, according to Jodi. “This has been amazing for business,” she says. And she adds that locals have been quick to chat about the restaurant’s updated interior and new design. “The customers are absolutely shocked at the transformation. The fresh new look has everyone in the town talking about us. Very modern but not too much,” she notes.

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Spring Break in Miami: Buy Your Tickets Now for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival

by in Events, October 22nd, 2015

Spring Break in Miami: Buy Your Tickets Now for the South Beach Wine & Food FestivalThe Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival may have ended just days ago (we’re still recovering from the pizza, burgers, meat parade and brunch), but preparations are already well underway in Florida for the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival, which kicks off in Miami on Wednesday, Feb. 24 and runs through Sunday, Feb. 28. This five-day celebration of all things eats and drinks brings your favorite Food Network stars together with top-notch chefs from across the country for late-night bashes, walk-around tastings, live demos and intimate dinners alike.

This winter, plan ahead to beat the chill and head down south to get your fill of A-list food and drinks while meeting and mingling with Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, Trisha Yearwood and more. They’ll be on hand at events like Barilla’s Italian Bites on the Beach, Amstel Light Burger Bash, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, as well as two days of grand tastings and demos. Click here to learn more about the events and buy your tickets now.

Not able to travel for the Festival? You’re in luck, because FN Dish will be bringing you insider coverage from all of the marquee events. Read on below to find out which events our editors will be covering, and relive last year’s top moments with a look back at the highlights.

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