All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an associate 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.

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Haricot Verts

by in Shows, February 2nd, 2013

Haricot Verts With Shaved ParmesanSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-three competition, the focus is now on haricot verts, which made an appearance in the appetizer basket alongside smoked eel, cream cheese spread and quince paste.

While haricot verts sounds fancy, it actually translates to something we all know and enjoy: green beans. These French string beans are similar in color and shape to their American cousins, but they’re longer and slimmer, are slightly more tender and boast a more robust flavor than the standard variety. They stand up well to a host of cooking techniques including boiling, roasting and grilling, and because they’re so thin, haricot verts can be cooked in mere minutes. Just as the Chopped Champions chefs demonstrated in dressing their haricot verts with the cream cheese spread or a light vinaigrette, these green beans pair well with a mix of tastes and textures, though they can surely be enjoyed with nothing more than a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of seasonings. If you’ve never cooked with haricot verts before, pick up some at the grocery store (they’re found in the produce aisle near the standard green beans), then try them out in the easy recipes below, each ready in just 30 minutes or fewer.

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Super-Easy Dishes for a Crowd — Football Fare

by in Recipes, February 1st, 2013

BBQ Pork SandwichGame Day is just hours away, and whether you’ve been planning your tailgate-ready menu for days or have just started thinking about what you’ll serve, rest assured that Food Network has easy recipe ideas to see you through your big game bash. Perhaps more than anything else on Sunday, it will be important that you have enough food to feed the mass of hungry football fans gathering in your living room. But while you want to offer a super-large spread of eats and drinks, you surely don’t want to spend your evening in the kitchen cooking it while your friends are cheering about the latest touchdown. To make sure that you enjoy game day too, stick with fuss-free recipes for slow-cooked classics and easy-to-make sandwiches to feed the whole group without a lot of time or effort. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite crowd-pleasing recipes below, then find a complete game-day menu with Alton’s meatballs, maple blondies and Bobby’s margaritas.

While most macaroni and cheese recipes require plenty of hands-on time for cooking and draining the pasta, whisking in handfuls of cheese and milk and then transfering everything from stove to oven, Trisha Yearwood’s Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese is the ultimate in do-ahead cooking. She starts with precooked macaroni (what you have left over from last night’s dinner is a-ok to use), then mixes it with milk, butter and more than a pound of cheddar cheese in the base of a slow cooker and lets the machine do the work for her. Prep this meal in the late afternoon, and by the time you’re ready for dinner during the first half, all you’ll have left to do is quickly stir the macaroni before serving.

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Best 5 Lasagna Recipes

by in Recipes, January 31st, 2013

Mexican LasagnaPerhaps the ultimate family-friendly meal, lasagna is a no-fail favorite that shines at both Sunday suppers and everyday weeknight dinners alike. All it takes to make a timeless Italian recipe is meat, cheese, pasta and sauce, but thanks to some of your Food Network chefs like Alton, Ina, Paula, Giada and Rachael, it’s simple to transform the classic into an extra-special dish. Check out Food Network’s top five lasagna recipes below to learn the stars’ secrets to easy, deliciously dressed-up lasagna, then browse Food Network’s entire collection of lasagna recipes for more fuss-free meal ideas.

5. Enchilada Lasagna — Alton relies on a homemade enchilada sauce featuring chipotle chiles, fresh garlic, cumin and tomato sauce to marry flavors in his Mexican-inspired lasagna, filled with tender chicken and topped with queso fresco before being baked until bubbly.

4. Turkey Lasagna — Swap out classic beef or pork and replace with sweet Italian turkey sausage to make Ina’s big-batch lasagna, featuring four different cheeses, including Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta and goat cheeses.

Get the top three recipes

Anne’s Top 10 Tips for Pursuing Your Dream Job

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 30th, 2013

Anne Burrell Chef WantedNo-nonsense chef Anne Burrell is taking her passion for the culinary industry one step further in an all-new season of Food Network’s Chef Wanted, premiering tomorrow night at 10pm/9c. If the applicants want to impress Anne and the restaurant’s management, they’ll need more than just stellar food chops and a winning resume to score their dream job.

So how can you be sure that you’re going after the right job? And once you’ve secured an interview, what are some things to keep in mind? We recently sat down with Anne and she dished her top tips for finding a job that fits like a glove:

1. Go for a job that you feel that you’re equipped to love.
2. Do research on the restaurant: its clientele, its owner and the area it’s located in.
3. Find out what the staff size is. It’s important to know how much support you’ll have.
4. Ask yourself why you really want this job.
5. Remain cool under pressure.
Continue reading Anne’s tips

Chatting With the Round-3 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 29th, 2013

Chefs Elise Kornack and Jun TanakaIn an all-new season of Chopped Champions, 16 chefs, each with a previous Chopped win under his or her belt, are returning to the kitchen to face off for a second time in the ultimate multicourse cook-off. Although they’re no strangers to mystery baskets, these chefs are under more pressure than ever, as they’re competing not just for Chopped glory but also a spot in the finale where they can ultimately claim a $50,000 prize and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

Each week, four chefs will take their places in the kitchen and battle it out in the hopes of outlasting the chopping block once again. While three will crumble beneath the demands of Champions cooking, one will prove his or her culinary chops for a second time. Check in with FN Dish every Tuesday night after the episode to hear from the latest winner.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who won

Preview the First Episode of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, January 29th, 2013

Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne BurrellBy now you’ve heard the news: Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay are returning for an all-new season of culinary Boot Camp on Worst Cooks in America, and this season, the stakes are higher than ever for these top-notch chefs and their teams of recruits alike. With an undefeated winning streak stretching three years, Chef Anne is looking to mentor her team of kitchen novices to the top once again and claim bragging rights over Chef Bobby, who will invest his best culinary chops in his own team in the hopes of finally dethroning his rival chef. On the line for the recruits? A whopping $25,000 prize and the title of the best of the worst in the kitchen.

Meet the 14 recruits vying for Worst Cooks glory and see a sneak peek of what’s to come in the season premiere by watching the all-new video below. Click the play button after the jump to view an insider’s clip of the contestants on day one of Boot Camp and get the first look at some of the hopelessly atrocious dishes that sent them on the show, plus hear Chef Anne’s and Chef Bobby’s reactions to the recruits.

Watch the video now

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 28th, 2013

Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil SoupWhen you eliminate meat from your diet — even just one day a week — you likely end up craving the taste and texture of something hearty and beefy, something substantial to sink your teeth into. For that, look to lentils. These protein-rich rounds are indeed small in size, but they pack a surprisingly satisfying punch and a chewy firmness similar to beans. No matter which color lentil you pick up (there are almost as many varieties as there are colors of the rainbow), you can be sure that you’ll feel full long after eating them, thanks to their high protein and fiber contents. It takes little more than a drizzle of olive oil and tangy balsamic vinegar to complete a humble bowl of lentils, but these budget-friendly bites add heft to dressed-up plates like soups and salads as well, especially when combined with other hearty ingredients and bold flavors.

Food Network Magazine puts yellow lentils to work in its Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup (pictured above), simmered with fresh leeks, ginger and just a pinch of curry powder. Though warming winter soups are often thought to be weekend-only fare, this one is a go-to weeknight pick, since the slow cooker will do most of the cooking for you. Just prep the ingredients and set the machine to low before you leave in the morning, then come back later to a comforting soup made deliciously thick from the lentils. A last-minute addition of garlic, a bit more curry powder, plus refreshingly light lemon juice and fresh cilantro is all it takes to finish this fuss-free supper.

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Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Quinoa

by in Shows, January 27th, 2013

Herbed QuinoaSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-2 competition, the focus is now on quinoa, which made an appearance in the entree round alongside squab, karela and peanut butter and jelly spread.

Extremely similar in taste and texture to the red quinoa that was featured on Champions, white quinoa boasts a subtle nutty flavor and becomes chewy-tender when cooked. These tiny morsels — a bit smaller than couscous — look and feel like a grain, but they’re actually seeds from a plant closely related to spinach. To become soft, quinoa needs time to simmer in liquid, which is why several of the Chopped competitors struggled to fully cook their variety in such a short amount of time. When it’s ready to eat, quinoa bursts open, shedding fine, slightly crunchy spirals to reveal a light, fluffy superfood that’s packed with protein and good-for-you nutrients. Since quinoa absorbs the liquid in which it’s cooked, try boiling it in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water for added flavor; if you don’t have broth on hand, just add a few drips of lemon juice to water to take the taste to the next delicious level.

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10 Fun Facts About Chef Wanted’s Host and Mentor Anne Burrell

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 26th, 2013

Anne BurrellAnne Burrell may be known to most Food Network fans as the force behind her show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, or the author of the New York Times Best Seller, Cook Like a Rock Star. But did you know that Anne Burrell was once a teacher at the Institute of Culinary Education? After cooking at a Michelin one-star restaurant in Italy and New York hot spots Felidia, Savoy and Centro Vinoteca, she took the opportunity to spread her culinary knowledge and passion as a teacher and mentor to students.

On January 31 (10pm/9c), Anne Burrell will be putting her mentor hat back on as she helps top restaurants find an executive chef — the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant — on Chef Wanted. Each week, Anne Burrell will put four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant.

Before it all starts, get to know Chef Anne Burrell better with these fun facts:

1. She’s helped Mario Batali (one of her own most influential mentors) compete in more than 20 Iron Chef America battles as his sous chef.

2. Chef Anne Burrell first met Mario Batali in a wine shop.

3. You’ll never catch Anne eating calf’s liver.

4. She can’t live without a food mill.

5. She would go crazy if she had to work in an office.

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4th-Quarter Desserts — Football Fare

by in Recipes, January 26th, 2013

Pull Apart Touchdown CupcakesCome the fourth quarter of the big game, when the last bit of meat has been chewed off the chicken wings, the bowl of chips is dotted with just measly crumbs and nothing is left of the tray of sliders, only one thing remains: your sweet tooth. After a long afternoon of deliciously salty, savory snacking, it’s about time you dig into a game-day dessert to take off the sweet edge, right? Curb that craving at last by shifting the focus from hearty meats and cool dips to must-try baked treats and chilly ice cream sundaes with these must-try recipes from Food Network Kitchens, Alton, Paula and Giada.

Perhaps the ultimate game-day dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Pull Apart Touchdown Cupcakes (pictured above) bring the football field to life with an edible landscape complete with end zones, a 50-yard line, a miniature football and rival players that is impressively realistic. To create, start with a batch of two dozen chocolate chip-studded cupcakes, then when they’ve cooled, get to work on setting the scene. If you’re baking with little ones, let them help you decorate these light, fluffy cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting, a blanket of grass-colored sprinkles, white-icing yard lines and colorful gummy “players.” You can get as creative as you’d like with the assembly, but remember, even if your final product looks more like an oblong hockey rink than a rectangular football field, this easy-to-eat dessert will still be satisfyingly sweet and a sure-fire win with your party guests.

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