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.

Scripps Lifestyle Studios’ Ultimate Cookie Party

by in Community, Holidays, December 10th, 2015

Gingerbread CookiesCalling all cookie lovers! For the first time ever, FoodNetwork.com and HGTV.com are coming together for a holiday cookie extravaganza complete with a full spread of seasonal sweets, a duo of next-level gingerbread houses and even all-star talent like Justin Warner — and it’s all happening live on Facebook.

Beginning at 10 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 11, you can go to Food Network’s official Facebook page, where Justin will be taking fans behind the scenes inside the Food Network Kitchen and chatting with expert cookie bakers on the team to find out what it takes to bake a cookie that not only tastes great but looks festive too. As the day unfolds, stay tuned to our Facebook page and pop over to HGTV’s official Facebook page to see how the Food Network and HGTV teams put their signature spins on a store-bought gingerbread house. You can also delve into the little-known bits and bites of cookies with Dan Pashman as he reveals the right way to eat a cookie. (Yes, there’s such a thing as a wrong way.) And learn the best sips to serve alongside your favorite cookies.

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Giada’s Tips for Make-Ahead Holiday Meals, Plus 7 Easy Recipes

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 10th, 2015

Giada De LaurentiisThere’s no shortage of to-dos when it comes to holiday party planning, so if you can find a way to make meal prep easier before the event, all the better. On her brand-new series Giada’s Holiday Handbook (Sundays at 11a|10c), Giada De Laurentiis is sharing her tried-and-true tips and techniques to entertain with ease this season, plus her best crowd-pleasing recipes for guaranteed party success. Recently FN Dish checked in with Giada about what it takes to successfully prep some of the dishes ahead of time, and it turns out that it’s not only possible, but also simple.

“Any kind of baked pasta can be assembled ahead and then pulled out to bake whenever you are ready,” she told us. Meats, too, are go-to picks. Giada explained: “Braised dishes are always better the next day too. Think stews or my braised lamb osso buco or braised short ribs. Do them a day or two ahead, and you just have to gently rewarm when the guests arrive.”

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Inside Santa’s Mischievous Workshop — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 9th, 2015

In tonight’s brand-new seasonal special, host Alton Brown decked the diabolical halls of the Cutthroat Kitchen arena with a holiday-themed Naughty vs. Nice battle. Of course no celebration of the season is complete without Santa Claus — and with that, a peek inside Santa’s workshop. Chef Jackie got an up-close and personal look at this miniature house when forced to make a snack for Santa, and so too did judge Antonia Lofaso when Alton challenged her to make a dip in the same space on the After-Show. The catch for Antonia? She had to harvest all of her ingredients from the doors of an advent calendar, which Chef Jackie also had to do, thanks to a double sabotage in Round 3.

It didn’t take long for Chef Antonia to realize the limitations — and potential hazards — of Santa’s tiny workshop. “I’m totally going to hit my head — ow!” she exclaimed. After discovering the first set of ingredients, which included mascarpone and ciabatta, in doors one through five, Antonia got to work on a crostini-and-dip plate; ultimately she made do with little else, as many of the remaining doors provided her with seemingly useless goods, like fortune cookies and pineapples. “I’m feeling good about this now,” Antonia said as she kneeled down in the prep area of the workshop and got to work.

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Fans Show Off Their Guilty Food Pleasures: Merry Holiday Eats

by in Community, Shows, December 8th, 2015

Fans Show Up Their Guilty Food Pleasures: Merry Holiday EatsThe holiday season is in full swing, and with that comes a seemingly endless buffet of sweet and savory bites up for grabs — at the office cocktail party, the cookie swap with your friends, the family feast and just about everywhere else you look. In honor of last night’s all-new episode of Guilty Pleasures, which showcased your favorite chefs’ picks of classic and creative holiday-worthy plates from restaurants across the country, Food Network asked you, the fans, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to show us some of your favorite seasonal bites. And in true superfan fashion, you responded with some drool-worthy creations. Keep on reading to see our favorites.

Let’s just say that we’re having a hard time picking which cookie on @cheftini‘s piled-high platter we want to sample first. (Though we’re leaning heavily toward those three-layer rainbow beauties in the middle.)

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Vegetable Noodle Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 7th, 2015

Vegetable Noodle SoupWhile some soups require hours of slow simmering to achieve their best flavor, it’s indeed possible to turn out the best results in a hurry — think just 30 quick minutes. Food Network Kitchen’s Vegetable Noodle Soup, a fan-favorite recipe with a 5-star rating, comes together quickly once you’ve prepped the veggies and added them to the pot, since the noodles are cooked right in the broth as it boils. To finish, brighten up the soup with fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice for satisfying results.

While this recipe is speedy enough to make and take for lunch, Food Network Kitchen notes that you can also freeze it for later. “Freeze any leftovers or make a double batch to have plenty on hand,” the chefs in the Food Network Kitchen explain. They add, “You can stir in some cooked chicken or mini-meatballs, if desired, for another meal,” so keep it on hand for when you’re not celebrating Meatless Monday too.

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All the Sweet Treats You Need to Indulge In This Holiday Season

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 7th, 2015

Gingerbread and Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry SauceAs you shuttle from at-work celebrations to cocktail parties and host casual family gatherings and the elegant Christmas Eve feast alike, there’s no shortage of opportunities to indulge in your favorite fare during the holidays. But perhaps the best, most-decadent dishes come not from the savory buffet, but rather from the dessert table, in the form of decadent cakes, cookies, trifles and fudge. Check out Food Network’s favorite holiday desserts below, each a wow-worthy pick sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Gingerbread and Lemon Curd Trifle with Blackberry Sauce
Bobby Flay celebrates the beloved flavor combo of gingerbread and lemon in his layered trifle, featuring a crimson-colored blackberry sauce, which he whirls in the blender for smooth results. Follow Bobby’s lead and save time in the kitchen by opting for store-bought lemon curd; it brightens up the fluffy whipped cream layers in his big-batch dessert.

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“Are You Making This Up?” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 6th, 2015

Englishman Simon Majumdar is likely acquainted with bangers and mash, the Round 2 dish on tonight’s new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. But he wasn’t familiar with the concept of a Round 1 sabotage — double dutch jump rope — that put a punny twist on Dutch baby pancakes, as host Alton Brown revealed on the After-Show. Alton explained that the goal of the game was for two people to jump rope in tandem, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder, “Are you making this up?” The host assured him that such a game was indeed “a major pastime,” and Alton and Simon went on to don the joint double dutch table sabotage, on which they had to whisk egg whites while simultaneously jumping.

Despite his first few missed attempts to successfully jump the rope, Simon admitted, “I’m getting there.” Both he and Alton were forced to whisk vigorously as they were whipping their egg whites by hand, and Alton explained one minor impediment to a quicker process: “I didn’t add any cream of tartar to this,” Alton said. “Cream of tartar, of course, helps you when you’re beating eggs like this because the acid breaks down some of the bonds so that you can form brand-new ones.” As both Simon and Alton held on to their tools and jumped with each call of “double Dutch baby” from the Bobs, Simon said simply, “I’m exhausted.”

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Quickest Mac and Cheese — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 6th, 2015

Quickest Mac and CheeseWhen you’re strapped for time on the busiest of weeknights, juggling not only your own to-do list but also that of your kids, it can seem nearly impossible to get dinner on the table in the little time you have to devote to it. But this week’s Pin of the Week is here to save supper. Ready to eat in only 10 minutes, this creamy stovetop macaroni and cheese comes together with just a handful of ingredients and boasts three kinds of indulgent cheeses — cream cheese, cheddar and American — for over-the-top richness.

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

Get the Recipe: Quickest Mac and Cheese

Caption It: Santa’s Here for the Cookies

by in Shows, December 5th, 2015

Santa's Here for the CookiesTake it from the cast of The Kitchen: You don’t have to be a kid to find the joy in Santa Claus. The jolly guy stopped by the set of this morning’s all-new episode, and the co-hosts could hardly contain themselves as he walked in with one of his reindeer, Rocket. This week’s episode theme was all about holiday cookies, and since Santa surely has a penchant for milk and cookies, he couldn’t help but be merry either.

Take a peek at the all-new photo above. Sunny Anderson, Jeff Mauro, Marcela Valladolid and Geoffrey Zakarian are seemingly overcome with excitement, while Rocket, who’s showing off a bit of unmistakable side-eye, seems less sure of what’s going down.

We’re challenging you, The Kitchen fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

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Chefs Tip You Off to the Top Trends of 2016

by in News, December 5th, 2015

Chefs Tip You Off to the Top Trends of 2016To find out what restaurant food trends to expect in the coming year, you could do worse than to ask the people who will be preparing those foods and setting those trends.

For its annual “What’s Hot” culinary forecast for 2016, the National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,600 professional chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation about the “food, cuisines, beverages and culinary themes” they predict we’ll be seeing a lot of next year.

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