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.

Restaurants Revisited: The Biggest Blowups

by in Shows, December 29th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleWhile restaurant owners must invite Robert Irvine to their business in order to initiate a Restaurant: Impossible mission, he’s not always warmly welcomed when he arrives, and hardly ever does he encounter no resistance at all in the process of his updates. Still, while some confrontation and minimal chaos may be expected, it’s rare that missions turn into all-out screaming matches or no-holds-barred tantrums; those seeming disasters, while surely salvageable, have indeed led to unprecedented arguments on air.

On tonight’s episode of Restaurant: Impossible, fans look back on some of the most-unforgettable blowups to ever appear on the series. From the outspoken servers at Hillbillies Restaurant to the yelling and door-slamming at Nanny Goat’s Cafe & Feed Bin, Robert has paid witness to over-the-top tempers, but they surely haven’t stopped him from completing his missions. Read on below to hear from the owners of some of the restaurants featured on tonight’s episode (a few couldn’t be reached for comment) to find out how they fared after Robert’s initial visit.

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10 Best Recipes of 2014

by in Recipes, December 29th, 2014

10 Best Recipes of 2014No matter the holidays, change in seasons or special events that have come and gone in 2014, the recipes fans keep coming back to are the ultimate in tradition and ease. Comfort food classics like moist roast chicken and hearty macaroni and cheese reigned supreme this year, while all-purpose frosting took the cake for sweet treats. Read on below to check out the 10 top Food Network recipes featured on in 2014, and get go-to meal ideas from Alton Brown, Ina Garten and more of your favorite chefs.

10. Cream Cheese Frosting — It takes only four ingredients and a few minutes to turn out the smoothest-ever frosting, ideal for topping cakes and cupcakes alike.

9. Oven-Baked Salmon — After a quick roast in the oven, moist, tender salmon fillets are topped with a fresh salad of crunchy toasted almonds, salty capers and vibrant parsley for over-the-top flavor and texture.

8. Basil Pesto — Ready to enjoy in just five quick minutes, this multipurpose pesto is packed with fragrant basil, bold garlic and plenty of nutty pecorino cheese. Perhaps best of all, you can freeze this sauce for up to three months, so plan to make extra during the height of summer’s basil season.

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Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, December 29th, 2014

Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and CheeseIf you’re already looking ahead to the lighter dishes you hope to enjoy in 2015, don’t fear that you’ll have to say goodbye to comfort food once and for all. With the help of a few smart ingredient swaps, you can surely cozy up to cheesy casseroles and better-for-you sweet treats alike with the help of Food Network’s meal makeovers.

Every bit as satisfying as its traditional counterpart, Food Network Kitchen’s Spinach and Artichoke Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above) is a surprisingly healthy family-friendly favorite you’ll keep coming back to this winter. Think of this pasta bake as next-level spinach-artichoke dip with good-for-you whole-wheat pasta mixed in; it’s made with tender artichoke hearts and fresh spinach, plus a bit of sour cream for tang and mozzarella cheese for gooey richness. The key to maintaining the flavor of this classic dish without added calories is balancing a pat of butter and nutty Parmesan cheese with other low-fat and part-skim dairy ingredients — like the sour cream and mozzarella — because, after all, a little goes a long way when it comes to bold ingredients like these.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Melissa d’Arabian’s New Cookbook, Supermarket Healthy

by in Books, Contests, Food Network Chef, December 29th, 2014

Supermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a LotWith the new year just days away, the focus has already started to shift from hearty, indulgent holiday buffets to lighter meals ideal for 2015 resolutions. This year, when the clock strikes midnight on January 1, skip the fad diets and embrace wholesome, naturally leaner cooking. All you need are a few go-to strategies and recipes you can count on, and for those, look no further than Melissa d’Arabian‘s all-new cookbook, Supermarket Healthy: Recipes and Know-How for Eating Well Without Spending a Lot.

In her brand-new publication, the host of Ten Dollar Dinners and the Picky Eaters Project shares how simple it can be to not only feed your family better-for-you dishes, but do that on a budget as well. She’s introducing 130 recipes for savory and sweet picks alike, including Deconstructed Lasagna and Cinnamon Popovers with Cream Cheese Glaze. Perhaps best of all, you don’t need to seek out specialty shops to find recipe ingredients; your everyday market is A-OK. Just stick to Melissa’s good-to-know tricks for navigating the grocery store and check out her recipe Blueprints — customizable templates for creating such favorites as meatballs and trail mix — and you can indeed start the new year on a healthier note.

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Chopped Pork Chops, Cones Three Ways and a $25,000 Win — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 28th, 2014

It’s the name of the Cutthroat Kitchen game to face sabotage, so it’s no surprise when chefs meet an oddball challenge or two throughout the contest as they must balance saving and spending their money in an effort to defend themselves. But in tonight’s all-new episode, one competitor was prepared to face an onslaught of sabotages. Chef Kyle intended to complete the contest without making a single bid, and sure enough, he succeeded, walking away with his entire $25,000 starting sum.

Despite Chef Kyle’s success, his win didn’t come without struggle, as host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila revealed when they dished on several of his sabotages on the latest installment of the After-Show. Not only did Chef Kyle contend with a chopped-up pork chop in Round 2’s pork-chop-and-applesauce test, but he also faced a double onslaught of sabotage in Round 3. In true diabolical fashion, Alton put a literal spin on ice cream cones when he auctioned off traffic cones as the sole mixing vessels and then later sold an oversize protective cone to be worn around the neck. Chef Kyle accepted both of these. Upon trying on the cone for himself, Jet noticed that it would compromise the chef’s vision, “especially at your workstation.”

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Exclusive: Robert Irvine’s Fitness Routine and How You Can Do It Too

by in Food Network Chef, December 28th, 2014

Robert IrvineRobert Irvine never met a mission he didn’t like, and while most of his challenges involve rebuilding failing restaurants, in January he’s turning his focus to improving something else: Americans’ health. On Robert’s all-new special Fitness: Impossible (airing Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 11|10c), he’s setting his sights on motivating fans to achieve healthier lifestyles through smarter food choices and realistic exercise plans. FN Dish recently checked in with Robert to learn more about how he stays fit and to find out what his workout regime looks like. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Robert and get the details on how he manages to stick to his fitness plan even in the midst of his busy schedule.

Tell us about your fitness routine and diet. How do you stay in such shape?
Robert Irvine: I work out six days a week. … I eat small meals more frequently — eight to 12 meals a day, every two and a half hours. My protein is literally — whether it be chicken or shrimp, whatever it is — no bigger than a deck of cards each meal. And my starch — rice, potatoes, French fries even — no bigger than a mouse you use on your computer per meal. And [in the] afternoon, I don’t do carbs. I just do protein and salads and vegetables.

What’s your favorite workout routine?
RI: I work out each muscle group using low weights and higher reps.

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Best 5 New Year’s Eve Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, December 27th, 2014

Classic Pot RoastNo matter if your New Year’s Eve plans include an all-night bash or a casual evening in front of the television, ring in 2015 with eats and drinks worthy of the celebration. When planning your holiday menu, consider the size of the crowd you’ll be hosting and decide whether you’ll do a full sit-down dinner or a smaller selection of hearty bites. Check out Food Network’s top-five sweet and savory recipes below for New Year’s Eve favorites from Ina Garten, Rachael Ray, Giada De Laurentiis and more chefs, then visit Holiday Central for our entire collection of New Year’s fare.

5. Cone-oli — Think of Food Network Magazine’s next-level recipe as deconstructed cannoli: Instead of filling delicate pastry shells with cream, opt for ice cream cones instead, and stuff those with a sweetened ricotta-cream cheese mixture, and finish with chopped pistachios for added texture.

4. Lobster Mac & Cheese — If you feel like splurging on account of the special occasion, look no further than Ina’s richly decadent macaroni and cheese. These individually portioned casseroles are loaded with fresh lobster plus nutty Gruyère cheese, which together create over-the-top indulgence.

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New Year’s Eve with Marc Murphy: Stress-Free Entertaining at Its Best

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 23rd, 2014

Marc MurphyWhile New Year’s comes at the end of a long holiday season, it’s surely no less important than the celebrations leading up to it — especially for chef and Chopped judge Marc Murphy. “Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve are, as far as I’m concerned, the two holidays that I find are the best,” the restaurateur behind Landmarc, Kingside and Ditch Plains restaurants told FN Dish recently, “because you don’t have to buy any presents. There’s no pressure of buying presents for anybody.” According to Marc, “It’s nice to concentrate on the food and the beverage on Thanksgiving and on New Year’s,” and quality eating and drinking are indeed what Marc focuses on for the New Year’s Eve party at his house. From holiday treats like caviar and oysters to make-ahead lasagna, dressed-up cocktails and next-day frittatas, Marc revealed to FN Dish how he rings in the new year with his family and friends — and even shared his go-to Negroni recipe. Read on below to hear more from Marc in an exclusive interview.

What does New Year’s Eve looks like in your home with your family? How do you celebrate?
Marc Murphy: We usually go to Long Island; I have a house out there and we fill it up with a bunch of friends — however many people can stay there as possible — and we just sort of hang out and eat and drink and party. Everyone brings over their kids, and the kids stay up late and jump up and down on the beds and watch the ball drop and scream and yell and run around the house so late, and it’s a lot of fun.

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“Starting to Get Into a Cupcake Place” — Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, December 21st, 2014

From giant whisks and ice cube trays to banana leaves and coffee filters, Cutthroat Kitchen contestants have faced their share of oddball trinkets that host Alton Brown eviliciously repurposed into mixing tools and vessels. But on tonight’s all-new episode, one chef was forced to use not a new tool to mix but something a bit more rustic — her hands — to make cupcakes.

Since the taste and texture of cupcakes depend upon a well-mixed batter, it’s important for the wet and dry ingredients to be thoroughly combined, and the limitations of people’s hands may indeed prevent that from happenings. After all, some people’s hands are smaller than others, and one of the chef’s two hands would likely be needed to add ingredients, so would this sabotage be fair to ask of the competitors? The Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew got to work in testing the validity of the sabotage, and sure enough, after one somewhat slimy attempt, food stylist Jamie Peterson admitted that he was “starting to get into a cupcake place” with the batter forming within his hands.

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The Pioneer Woman’s Best Tomato Soup Ever — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, December 21st, 2014

Best Tomato Soup EverHearty, warming and simple to prepare, soup may be the ultimate answer to year-end gatherings; after all, just one batch can feed a crowd, and most recipes come together in a hurry. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is no exception, as The Pioneer Woman’s satisfying tomato soup boasts the full, rich flavor of diced tomatoes, rich cream and fragrant basil, and, perhaps best of all, the soup can be on the table in only 40 minutes. Follow Ree Drummond’s lead and add a bit of sugar to the tomato soup as it simmers — this will help balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

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

Get the Recipe: Best Tomato Soup Ever (pictured above)