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.

3 Ways to Infuse Cocktail Flavors Into Party-Time Snack Mixes

by in Recipes, Shows, November 26th, 2016

Bloody Mary Cocktail Snack MixChips and dip, carrots and ranch, maybe a fruit platter — these are all fine party starters. They’re great ones, actually. But when it comes to holiday parties, sometimes we like to up the appetizer ante a bit, all while keeping it casual and easy, of course. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts introduced a trio of snack mixes that are the kind of next-level recipes that will transform your seasonal spreads. Combining two party-time favorites — booze and bites — the co-hosts made three cocktail-inspired snack recipes that range from savory and salty to sweet and oh so crunchy. Read on below to find out how they turned a Bloody Mary, a White Russian and a tequila-based cocktail into eat-with-your-hands nibbles. (Spoiler: It all comes down to spiking, pouring and mixing.)

Bloody Mary Cocktail Snack Mix

The flavors you know and love in a classic Bloody Mary are well-represented in this big-batch mash-up of rice cereal, bagel chips and pretzels. Just as tomato juice and vodka form the base of the drink, this snack mix is made with tomato paste and vodka, plus a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce, which deliver the salty, deeply umami flavor you love in a Bloody Mary. Once the mixture is warmed, it’s poured over the munchies, which get microwaved for just a few minutes so the flavors can marry.

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One-on-One with Aarti Sequeira, a Judge on Clash of the Grandmas

by in Shows, November 22nd, 2016

We’re just a few weeks into the premiere season of Clash of the Grandmas, and if the first battles were any indication, it’s clear that top-quality cooking knows no limits, age or otherwise. Aarti Sequeira is a judge on Sunday’s all-new episode (airing at 10|9c), and she noted the downright fierceness of the ladies facing off in the competition. They are “vivacious, spunky grandmas who love nothing more than to feed people, whether those people are their grandchildren, or someone else’s,” she explained, noting that their dishes often boast that extra something-something. In addition to the “love” that goes into their offerings, she said, there’s also “a little bit of I-don’t-give-a-damn,” which we can only assume is what makes their food so treasured. Read on below to hear more from Aarti and get her take on what it’s like to judge grannies’ cooking.

Aside from the age of the competitors, what makes Clash of the Grandmas different than other culinary battles?
Aarti Sequeira: There’s something special about the way that grandmothers cook. They can make the simplest of dishes, but there’s something in the way they turn their wrist, sprinkle in that brown sugar, layer in the cheese; it’s all so infused with a sense of comfort that every round, after eating their food, I felt like everything was going to be OK. I don’t get that when I taste even the best chef’s cooking!

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Slow-Cooker Spicy Fajita Soup — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, November 20th, 2016

Spicy Fajita SoupThe countdown to turkey day is on, with less than a week until Thanksgiving is upon us. As you prepare for the feast and perhaps the influx of guests that will coming to your house, your to-do list likely doesn’t leave extra time for dinner. That’s where this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week comes in. Thanks to the handy slow cooker, you can simply prep, set and forget this top-rated soup recipe until you’re ready to eat a few hours later. Thanks to the handy slow cooker, you can simply prep, set and forget this top-rated soup recipe until you’re ready to eat a few hours later. The one-two punch of chile powder and a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce strikes an ideal balance between spicy heat and smoky heat in this comforting bowl.

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

Get the Recipe: Spicy Fajita Soup

Two Ways to Transform a Mashed Potato Side Dish

by in Recipes, Shows, November 19th, 2016

A Battle of the Mashed Potato Side DishesOnce you’ve settled the whole sweet-potato-versus-regular-potato debate, the next Thanksgiving side dish question you have to contend with is: flavored or not? Would you prefer to dress up a traditional recipe with bold tastes, or do you crave the comforting flavors of tradition? On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, which was devoted to a complete roster of turkey-day side dishes, the co-hosts showcased a cornucopia of ways to prepare squash, dressing and green beans — and the all-important potatoes, of course. Check out both of the new spins on spuds below, one a creatively flavored take on the usual recipe and the other a buttery mainstay with just a hint of extra-special presentation.

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8 of the Speediest Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes Ever

by in Entertaining, Holidays, Recipes, November 19th, 2016

Stuffed Dates with ProsciuttoThe appetizers you make for Thanksgiving dinner are arguably some of the trickiest to plan; after all, they kick off one of the most-important meals of the year. They should likely be more special than carrots and ranch, and they need to be hearty enough to satiate your guests, but they should not be so heavy that guests don’t want to eat that enormous meal that’s coming right up. Plus, your kitchen will likely be overrun with all manner of pots and pans on Thanksgiving, so when it comes to the hors d’oeuvres especially, the easier and faster the better. Enter: our fast-fix starter solutions. All eight of these recipes are ready to eat in 35 minutes or less, and they’re guaranteed crowd-pleasers — think cheese logs, shrimp cocktail and cheesy dip.

Cheese-Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto
With oven and stove space at a premium on Thanksgiving, you can be thankful that these eight-minute bites require only assembly — no cooking necessary. When it comes to the cheese, Giada De Laurentiis opts for a mix of rich goat cheese and creamy mascarpone.

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The 7 Best Flavors to Pair with Apples in Thanksgiving Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, November 14th, 2016

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese IcingMuch like the turkey that will likely be the savory star of the show on Thanksgiving, apple desserts, which will all but steal the spotlight come dessert, can be complemented by myriad flavors and ingredients; it all comes down to knowing how to pair them and letting the tastes and textures speak for themselves. This Thanksgiving, think beyond the classic apple pie (though, let’s be honest, we’ll have that on our table too — Bobby Flay’s recipe is a go-to favorite). Try dressing up your sweet apple treats with other fall flavors. Check out our top ideas below for seven ways to pair apples with seasonal selects like fragrant spices, pears, cranberries and more.

Spices Galore

Anne Burrell balances the tartness of the green apples in her easy-to-make cake with two kinds of sugar and the warmth of fragrant cinnamon and nutmeg. These powerhouse spices are favorite fall flavors, and they’re natural complements to not just the apples but also the fluffy cream cheese icing.

Get the Recipe: Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

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The Easiest Cauliflower Rice Ever — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in View All Posts, November 13th, 2016

Healthy Cauliflower RiceYou know that cauliflower makes a veggiecentric stand-in for the usually doughy pizza crust, but believe it or not, its ability to cut the carbs in your favorite recipes goes beyond that. Enter cauliflower rice, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week. All it takes is a few blitzes in a food processor to turn cauliflower florets into granule-like bits that have much the same look and texture as the rice you know and love. In this lightened-up recipe from Food Network Kitchen, the cauliflower rice is cooked with softened onions and tossed with fresh parsley to soften the texture of the vegetable and offer subtle flavor. “With the olive oil and browned onions, the cauliflower has enough flavor to satisfy by itself,” the chefs in Food Network Kitchen explain, “and it can also be a base for stir-fries, beans and rice or anything else you would eat with rice.”

For more meal makeovers, check out Food Network’s Let’s Get Healthy board on Pinterest.

Get the Recipe: Healthy Cauliflower Rice

Caption It: A Darn Good Casserole

by in Shows, November 12th, 2016

Root Vegetable One-DishFor the first time ever, not one but two Food Network pals dropped by The Kitchen this morning for an epic Friendsgiving celebration. Nancy Fuller, Valerie Bertinelli and all five co-hosts took turns showcasing their best-bet recipes for all of the Thanksgiving feast, from the all-important turkey to a simple drink and a dressed-up dessert. Nancy was all about one dish — a “one-dish,” to be exact. With the help of Jeff Mauro, she prepped her super-cheesy Root Vegetable One-Dish, a big-batch casserole filled with a whopping five seasonal picks — celery root, parsnips, sweet and Yukon gold potatoes, and rutabaga — baked at once in a single pan.

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Ted Allen’s 9 Top Tips for Hosting an Easy, Enjoyable Thanksgiving

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 9th, 2016

Ted AllenThanksgiving is that unique American holiday when everybody in the country suddenly thinks they have to serve 27 courses to 87 people,” Ted Allen told us recently. “And that’s hard to do, especially the cleanup, but also the prep.” Get nine of his best tips for hosting a memorable turkey day feast.

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Beyond the Turkey: All About Wine on Thanksgiving, According to Alex Guarnaschelli

by in Drinks, Food Network Chef, Holidays, November 7th, 2016

Alex GuarnaschelliWith so much focus on executing the all-important turkey, mashed potatoes and casseroles, it’s often easy to overlook what comes next on Thanksgiving, after the prep work is done: the actual eating of the turkey, potatoes and casseroles, of course. With eating comes drinking, especially around the holidays, and just as you invested time in planning an epic feast, so too can you find an extra-special wine to round out the meal. Recently we caught up with Alex Guarnaschelli at an event in New York City in which she partnered with Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi wines to showcase her secrets for transforming turkey-day leftovers with Woodbridge wines. The Iron Chef and Chopped judge was quick to point out that there are no hard-and-fast rules for both drinking and cooking with wine.

“You write a rule book and then we just break it,” she said of pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. “Turkey’s one of those things. In a way, I would almost say you could do a platter of the white meat and a little bit of stuffing and some green bean casserole, and have a nice, crisp Chardonnay. Then you could go in the other direction: Take some of the dark meat, some cranberry sauce, some stuffing and have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon,” she explained, adding that there are possibilities for personal preference. “Depending on how you lay out your plate, you could really drink either.”

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