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.

QUIZ: Are You a Cutthroat Kitchen Superfan?

by in Shows, March 30th, 2015

Antonia Lofaso and Alton BrownYou’ve watched the evilicious battles unfold on TV every Sunday night, you log on to FoodNetwork.com to check out the latest After-Shows with Alton Brown and the judges, you’ve even found out which sabotage would slay you if you saddled up for competition. By all accounts, you’re a bona fide fan of Cutthroat Kitchen. Now it’s time to learn once and for all whether you’re a superfan — the ultimate in die-hard devotion to all things diabolical. Take the quiz below to see how your knowledge of the sabotages, judges, host and contest rules stacks up.

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Minestrone with Gnocchi — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 30th, 2015

Minestrone with GnocchiWhile winter’s chill may have (almost, finally) left us, that doesn’t mean you can’t still cozy up to a hearty bowl of soup — especially on a Meatless Monday. Since the basis of most soups is simply plenty of fresh vegetables and a stock (likely vegetable), these warming bowls are a go-to option for vegetarians, and leftovers reheat easily for take-to-work lunches and fuss-free dinners. Sure, some soups require the time and TLC that only slow simmering can provide, but many do not, including Food Network Magazine’s Minestrone with Gnocchi (pictured above), which can be on the table in just 40 minutes.

The secret to this quick-fix recipe is starting with a package of prepared gnocchi; these store-bought beauties are welcome timesavers in the kitchen, and when paired with the tomato-studded broth, they provide the welcome heft you crave in a soup. Each bowl is topped with a sprinkle of nutty Parmesan cheese before serving, but if you happen to have a Parmesan rind on hand, add it to the soup along with the fresh rosemary as it cooks — the rind will slowly break down and melt, flavoring the broth with its salty, cheesy taste.

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Begging a Sabotage to Work … and Failing: Testing the Cutthroat Kitchen Sabotages

by in Shows, March 29th, 2015

From inflated blueberry suits to curry-inspired balance beams and a swinging hammock in place of a prep station, Cutthroat Kitchen is known for its over-the-top sabotages and seemingly impossible challenges. But sometimes, eviliciousness is nearly taken one step too far, as the show’s culinary team demonstrated in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages. Food style Abel Gonzalez tried his hand at a would-be challenge for a tortilla-soup round, in which one chef was to be forced to mix and prepare soup using only tostada shells. Luckily for that chef, Abel found that the task was ultimately impossible, so the chef was spared from struggling with — and ultimately crumbling under —the impossibility of that task.

Click the play button on the video above to get a behind-the-scenes look at Abel’s attempt. After adding the critical ingredient — a generous pour of broth, aka the hallmark of a soup — he pleaded with the shells, “Please hold, please hold,” as he set them in the microwave for a quick cook. Despite his earnest pleas, though, he opened the microwave door to a puddle of broth and disintegrated shells. “I don’t have a soup there; I have mush,” he admitted, before deeming this a “sabotage fail.”

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Garlic-and-Greens Spaghetti — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, March 29th, 2015

Garlic-and-Greens SpaghettiIt doesn’t necessarily take a list of complicated ingredients or countless hours on the clock to turn out a flavor-packed meal. In fact, this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week celebrates bold staples you likely already have on hand: garlic, onions, hearty greens and noodles. Perhaps best of all, this satisfying dinner, best finished with nutty Pecorino Romano for extra richness, is ready to eat in less than 40 minutes.

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

Get the Recipe: Garlic-and-Greens Spaghetti (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine

Enter to Win an Easter Basket from The Kitchen

by in Contests, Shows, March 28th, 2015

Sunny AndersonWith deviled eggs, roasted lamb, chocolate nests and party-ready punch on the menu this weekend, The Kitchen cast was set to kick off an all-new episode dedicated to celebrating next week’s Easter holiday. In true Kitchen fashion, the co-hosts turned the focus of the show to you, the fans, and let you take part in the party by giving you the chance to win an over-the-top Easter basket.

At the start of the show, Jeff Mauro showed off a special Easter egg that would be hidden on set and later revealed two times throughout the episode; it was up to you, the viewers, to spot the egg for your chance to win one of these seasonal baskets, each filled with a Le Creuset 4.5-quart Dutch oven, a Le Creuset spatula, a Le Creuset spatula spoon, a tea towel set and a Kitchen mug signed by the cast.

Think you spotted the hidden Easter egg? Leave a comment below with the location where you think you saw it on the set of The Kitchen on air. Five lucky, randomly selected fans will win one Easter basket each.

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So, You Need Dinner in a Hurry? No Problem.

by in Recipes, March 26th, 2015

Ground Chicken Tacos with Creamy SalsaHow many times have you been driving home from work, famished, thinking that it would just be easier and quicker to simply phone in your dinner order rather than cook for yourself? The temptation is real. But if you fight the urge, you’ll surely be rewarded because, believe it or not, cooking dinner at home doesn’t have to be an involved, lengthy process. All you need are a few go-to recipes that can be ready in minutes — and not mere salads or sandwiches, but full, hearty meals. Take a look at our five top picks below for speedy supper inspiration. All of these recipes can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Ground Chicken Tacos with Creamy Salsa (pictured above): Simmering the chicken with fresh vegetables and a homemade seasoning mix guarantees plenty of flavor in Sunny Anderson’s crunchy-shelled tacos. Instead of finishing the tacos with everyday sour cream and salsa, she combines those classic fixings for a cool yet spiced topping made with fresh tomatoes, chopped jalapeno and sour cream, plus a squeeze of lime juice for extra brightness.

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Restaurants Revisited: Double Trouble at Valentino’s and Italian Bistro

by in Shows, March 25th, 2015

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: ImpossibleThough Robert Irvine can’t anticipate the exact state a restaurant will be in when he arrives for a Restaurant: Impossible mission, there are a couple of things he’s come to expect at every overhaul: one failing restaurant and one last chance to save it from the brink of closure. His latest mission, in Summerville, S.C., caught him by surprise, though: Upon meeting Robert, Frankie Valentino asked him to transform not just one of his family’s Italian-focused eateries, but both of them. The Valentino family owns both Valentino’s and Italian Bistro, and both businesses were in dire need of support if they were to have any hope of a future. Sure enough, in true Irvine fashion, Robert completed this double-duty mission with roaring success. Read on below to hear from Frankie and find out how both restaurants are faring today.

According to Frankie, business at “Valentino’s is currently up by 30 percent and the Bistro by 20 percent.” He adds that “the new design is working great” and “it looks brighter [and] modern.”

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Cutthroat Kitchen’s Most-Evilicious Chefs to Return in All-New Tournament

by in Shows, March 24th, 2015

Cutthroat Kitchen: EviliciousAll Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are notoriously diabolical — with their penchant for mind games and ease in doling out doom. But every once in a while we see a contestant who isn’t just a wicked-good competitor but rather a contender on a whole new level of evil. In the all-new upcoming tournament, Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious, these especially fierce fighters will take their places in the Cutthroat arena for a second round of battles and, of course, all-new opportunities to sabotage.

On Sunday, April 19 at 10|9c, the first round of this five-part tournament will kick off with four returning chefs. The winner from that heat, plus the victors from the next three matchups, will come together in a nail-biting tournament finale on Sunday, May 17 at 10|9c, and ultimately only one competitor will earn the title of Evilicious Champion. Since all 16 of the competing chefs have battled before, they’re no strangers to the hilariously awful tests they’ll face in the name of sabotage. In fact, they relish in the chaos — especially when they’re responsible for creating it for others.

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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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