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.

From Side Dish to Main Event: 5 Times Salad Proved It’s the Star of the Meal

by in Recipes, March 24th, 2015

BLT Sandwich SaladForget everything you know to be true about tiny plates of overdressed lettuce — those are side salads, and perhaps boring ones at that. Loaded with fresh flavors, colorful ingredients, and plenty of crunchy and cheesy textures, these over-the-top salad recipes will bring greens out of the shadows and into the shining role of entree. Get Food Network’s best-ever main dish salads below — each is a hearty, satisfying meal worthy of the spotlight.

5. Chef’s Salad — A trio of deli meats, plus buttery Swiss cheese, cool avocado and juicy cherry tomatoes beef up a classic base of greens, which you can toss with a topping of your choice. How about shallot vinaigrette or blue cheese dressing?

4. Farro and Kale Salad — “It’s got a nutty texture and flavor to it,” Giada De Laurentiis says of the Italian grain she pairs with kale in her warm, citrus-dressed salad. For extra richness, she mixes crumbled goat cheese into this easy salad just before serving.

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Bake Your Heart Out for a Sweet Cause

by in Events, March 24th, 2015

Bake Sale for No Kid HungryIf fans’ support for Kids Baking Championship, Duff Till Dawn and Holiday Baking Championship are any indication, many a Food Network viewer has a sweet tooth. This spring, Share Our Strength is giving fans the opportunity to bake their hearts out for a worthy cause: their annual Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry. Now in its 13th year, this annual nationwide fundraiser has raised more than $10 million to help end childhood hunger in America, and so far more than 1.4 million people from coast to coast have participated in selling their sweetest treats.

This year’s challenge weekend is from April 17 through 19, and while bakers are encouraged to host their sales on those days in an effort to blanket the country in bake sales all at once, they can be held anywhere at any time. As you look ahead to spring, consider setting up shop with your most-decadent desserts for sale outside a supermarket, at your local town’s festival, or at your school or workplace. Each baker who raises at least $1,000 will be inducted into the Bake Sale Rock Star Club.

For more details and to sign up to host a bake sale, visit here.

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Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and Watercress — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 23rd, 2015

Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and WatercressNo matter if you eat lunch at your kitchen table at home or at your desk at work, the key to enjoying your midday meal is embracing variety, especially when you’re cooking meatless meals. From salads and sandwiches to microwaved dinner leftovers, just a few tweaks to your usual standbys can create an all-new meal, like Tyler Florence did in his next-level egg salad sandwich.

Remember the gooey egg salad sandwiches you used to find in your lunchbox, those smushed between two slices of mushy bread? Tyler’s version is nothing like those. He starts his Egg Salad Sandwich with Avocado and Watercress (pictured above) by just roughly mashing hard-boiled eggs, not pulverizing them into a too-soft smash, before adding a few dollops of mayonnaise and Dijon for added richness and subtle tang. By building this sandwich on toasted whole-grain bread, Tyler guarantees a welcome crunch in the sandwich, which he layers with cool avocado and, in place of traditional lettuce, fresh watercress. If you’ve never before cooked with watercress, give it a try the next time you’re at the store; this leafy green is a tad bitter, so it’s a go-to for offsetting the creaminess of the eggs and avocado.

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QUIZ: Which Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotage Would Slay You?

by in Shows, March 23rd, 2015

Alton BrownIf you’ve ever found yourself watching Cutthroat Kitchen on the couch at home and thinking you have the chops to survive Alton Brown‘s diabolical sabotages, we have news for you: You might not be diabolical enough to handle the heat of the Cutthroat arena. After all, it takes an especially evilicious lot to stand up to challenges like the now-infamous mini kitchen or a mandate to dress up in a themed suit (remember that Thanksgiving turkey getup?). Take the quiz below to find out which of Alton’s wonderfully wicked sabotages would ultimately slay you in the midst of the battle for Cutthroat glory.

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Facepalm: “A Hollandaise Crumble” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, March 22nd, 2015

From the wonderfully weird to the disturbing and downright diabolical, Cutthroat Kitchen judges have seen nearly everything in the seven seasons of evilicious competition. But something in tonight’s all-new battle forced longtime judge Simon Majumdar to simply cover his eyes in disbelief as he recounted the horror during Alton’s After-Show.

The Round 1 challenge — eggs Benedict — may have started simply enough, but after a few required cooking implements were put in place, the situation turned grisly as Chef Trevor was forced to use a conveyor toaster to prepare his plate. “He actually made … a serviceable hollandaise, but he decided at the last minute to put it on a plate and keep it warm in the top of that,” Alton Brown told Simon. “And in the time that he did that, it went from sauce to scrambled egg. It because a hollandaise crumble.” While Simon had no choice but to rest his head in his hands as he looked back on that doomed dish, fans were reminded of what Simon said after tasting Chef Trevor’s offering: “I never need to eat another hollandaise crumble as long as I live.” Nevertheless, though, Chef Trevor managed to survive the round, as Simon explained that another rival, Chef Monterey, presented a poor egg, which was ultimately unforgivable.

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Giada’s Cheesy Pasta with Peas and Sausage — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 22nd, 2015

Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta CheeseWhen time is tight on weeknights, every minute in the kitchen counts, and the only item on the dinner menu is, of course, a quick-cooking dinner. That’s where pasta comes in — especially this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. Ready to eat in only 15 minutes, Giada De Laurentiis’ sausage-studded pasta may look fancy, but there’s really nothing to it: Just brown the meat, warm the (frozen!) peas, then toss in cooked noodles and cheese. The warmth from the hot pasta will be enough to melt the ricotta and Pecorino Romano and create a silky sauce in a hurry.

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

Get the Recipe: Tagliatelle with Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese (pictured above)

Why You Need Sweetened Condensed Milk in Your Pantry

by in Recipes, March 21st, 2015

Frozen Lemon Cream PieMilk in a can? You better believe it. If you don’t already have sweetened condensed milk in your pantry cupboard, it’s time to hit the grocery store, because this thick, creamy liquid is chock-full of sweetness in the best way possible and quickly turns everyday desserts into over-the-top treats with little effort. Add it to fillings, batters, bars and shakes for next-level richness and a moist finished product every time. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed off three of their all-time favorite ways to put this culinary miracle worker in a can to good use, including s’mores-inspired truffles made with only a handful of ingredients. Read on below for top recipes from Sunny Anderson, Geoffrey Zakarian and Katie Lee.

Frozen Lemon Cream Pie:
When it comes to pie crust, it doesn’t get simpler than a buttery graham cracker base. Just press the golden mixture into the pan, then bake it for only a few minutes. For her flavorful filling, Katie opts for a bright, refreshing combination of fresh lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. Once the pie is frozen, she finishes the dessert with fluffy whipped cream for a crowd-pleasing presentation.

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Restaurant Revisited: WhaBah Steakhouse

by in Shows, March 18th, 2015

Restaurant: ImpossibleIt’s not every day on Restaurant: Impossible that Robert Irvine visits a 4,000-square-foot restaurant — let alone one that used to enjoy profits of more than $1 million. On tonight’s all-new Season 11 premiere, Robert and his team traveled to Bowling Green, Ky., to take on their most-massive mission to date at WhaBah Steakhouse, a part-restaurant, part-music venue that, despite its early success, was facing serious losses. With limited time to work, Robert and the Restaurant: Impossible crew had to not only re-inspire Donnie “Perky” Perruquet but also transform his enormous establishment. Read on below to hear from Perky’s daughter, Nicole Schwarzkopf, and find out how WhaBah Steakhouse is faring today.

Although WhaBah Steakhouse was packed immediately after filming, business has since slowed, though Schwarzkopf notes of the updated decor, “We love, love, love the clean, fresh new look, and the bar and tables.”

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Fluffy and Sweet: The Best-Ever Buttercream Frostings

by in Recipes, March 18th, 2015

Buttercream FrostingsSure, cakes without frostings exist, but it’s that sweet, fluffy topping that takes the everyday dessert to the next indulgent level. If fondant is the fanciest option and glaze is the most-basic, buttercream is in the sweet spot of the frosting world: a go-to, multipurpose smear that’s ideal atop any treat and easy to prepare with ingredients you already have on hand.

There are just two key elements to a buttercream: butter and sugar. Beyond that, you can dress up the mixture with vanilla extract, chopped chocolate or your favorite colors for special occasions. Read on below to get Food Network’s recipes for the best-ever buttercreams — both chocolate and vanilla — and learn how to recreate top bakery tastes in your own kitchen.

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We Asked, You Cooked: Ina’s Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken — Fan Photos

by in Community, March 17th, 2015

We Asked, You Cooked: Ina's Crispy Mustard-Roasted ChickenIt’s no secret that Food Network fans are passionate about watching their favorite chefs take over the kitchen on TV, but for many of you, you’re just as excited to man the stovetop in your kitchen at home as you cook up Food Network’s best-ever recipes. Recently we asked fans to try their hands at an Ina Garten classic — Crispy Mustard-Roasted Chicken, one of FoodNetwork.com’s most-popular recipes — and take a picture of the finished product. In true superfan sprit, you surely delivered with droolworthy photos. Check out FN Dish’s picks below for the most-enticing shots, then get the recipe for Ina’s easy-to-make chicken dinner.

From Nancy Sutherland Graver: Pictured above

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