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.

Best 5 Red Velvet Recipes for Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2013

Red Velvet CheesecakeJust like flowers and perhaps a glass or two of champagne, chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a must. This year, however, instead of resorting to store-bought candies, try making simple red velvet desserts for you and your special someone to enjoy together. Boasting a subtle cocoa taste instead of an overpowering punch of chocolate flavor, red velvet treats pair naturally with smooth cream cheese frosting, and their distinct crimson color just can’t be beat when it comes to a red-themed holiday like Valentine’s. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top-five red velvet recipes below to help you prepare easy-to-love favorites that will have your sweetie swooning in no time.

5. Red Velvet Swirl Brownies — Before baking Sunny’s brownies, gently run a knife tip through the decadent layers of red velvet batter and sweetened cream cheese to achieve an attractive swirled topping.

4. Red Velvet-Cherry Cake Roll — The secret to executing this can-do cake is rolling it while it’s still supple and warm. After it’s cooled, unroll it and stuff with an almond-laced cream cheese frosting before gently rerolling the cake and serving.

Get the top three recipes

Chatting With the Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Rob Evans and Jun Tanaka With Chopped Host Ted AllenIn 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

Chatting With the Chopped Champions Runner-Up

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chopped Champions Grand FinaleIn 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 Chopped chefs.

SPOILER ALERT: Find out who’s the runner-up

Team Bobby vs. Team Anne: Who Will Win Worst Cooks in America?

by in Shows, February 12th, 2013

Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne BurrellA brand-new season of Worst Cooks in America kicks off this Sunday, and just as the 14 culinary recruits are racing to become the best of the worst in the kitchen, team leaders Chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell are facing off in a competition of their own. Each has just seven short weeks of Boot Camp to attempt to mentor the eventual winning recruit and claim lasting bragging rights over the other.

For Chef Anne, a victory this season would simply be another title in a long line of Worst Cooks successes, as she’s claimed consecutive Red Team wins for the past three years. At this stage of the game, she knows the tricks of the competition, has learned how best to instruct her contestants and is sure in her role as the team leader to beat. With only one season of Worst Cooks competition behind him, however, Chef Bobby Flay is still relatively new to what goes down in Boot Camp, but that won’t stop him from pulling out his top cooking and coaching chops this season. After a disappointing loss last year, he’s more determined than ever to finally take the Blue Team to victory and end Chef Anne’s winning streak once and for all.

Vote: Tell us which team will win

Geoffrey Zakarian’s Valentine’s Day Souffle

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, February 12th, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianInstead of fighting the crowds of couples at hot spot restaurants on Valentine’s Day, treat your sweetie to an extra-special dinner and dessert at home on Thursday. Food Network’s one-stop Valentine’s Day destination has everything you need to plan a savory meal for two, while Chopped judge and Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has the ultimate confection for an unforgettable supper — a showstopping dessert that’s by far more impressive looking than it is difficult to prepare, even for the most novice bakers among us.

FN Dish caught up with Geoffrey during a live cooking demonstration at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, N.J., and he shared his tried-and-true Flourless Raspberry Souffle recipe from his cookbook, Town/Country: 150 Recipes for Life Around the Table. He’s the first to admit that most people are “freaked out by souffles,” but he promises that there’s no reason to be. A master of souffles himself, Geoffrey first began making them in his earliest days as a chef at New York City’s Le Cirque restaurant. “That was my first job in the kitchen,” he told us. “I was a souffle chef.” There he’d prepare nearly 150 souffles every day, and he quickly picked up “all the tricks of the trade.”

Whether you’ve dabbled in from-scratch souffles before or are new to making them, Geoffrey explains that there are a few must-know secrets to pulling off this dessert successfully. Check out his top-five tips for baking up light, fluffy souffles every time, then read on to find his can-do recipe.

Geoffrey’s souffle tips and recipe

Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 11th, 2013

Spaghetti and No-Meat BallsTofu often gets a bad culinary rap—and rightfully so. When eaten on its own, plain tofu can be quite boring and doesn’t taste like much of anything. When given an intense flavor boost in the form of bold sauces or complementary ingredients, however, it takes on rich, enjoyable flavors and becomes a go-to substitute for meat in countless traditionally beefy dishes, like meatloaf, meatballs and burgers.

In Food Network Magazine‘s recipe for Spaghetti and No-Meat Balls (pictured above), extra-firm tofu is incorporated into a mixture of garlic-laced mushrooms, sauteed onions and a pinch of red pepper flakes, which adds a hearty punch of flavor without a lot of fat. Together with breadcrumbs, the tofu binds the blend together so that it can be rolled into two-bite no-meat balls. A quick pan-fry turns the balls a deep golden-brown hue and gives them a slight crust on the outside. After simmering them in a light tomato-basil sauce, toss the nonmeatballs with your favorite kind of pasta for a family-friendly dinner than can be prepped in less than an hour.

Keep reading for more recipes

Tough Critics: Kid-Approved Recipes With Vegetables

by in Family, February 10th, 2013

Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot PiesNo matter whether your child is a wonderfully adventurous eater or has a notorious picky palate, convincing little ones to eat vegetables can be a challenge. After all, you want them to not just tolerate the green things but to enjoy them as well. Instead of “tricking” kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in purees, try simply incorporating them as they are into foods they already know and love. The idea is that over time, they’ll associate veggies with their favorite dishes and realize that they’re not so bad after all. Known kid-friendly picks like pot pies, not-too-spicy chili and pasta are easy vehicles for showcasing new vegetables without becoming overpowered by them. Try Food Network’s favorite kid-approved recipes below, then tell us in the comments: How do you encourage your kids to eat vegetables?

Giada transforms a comfort food favorite — the pot pie — into a kid-friendly staple simply by shrinking its size. Imagine a single big-batch pot pie. Now picture what a scoop of that on a plate looks like to a child. It’s not exactly appealing, even though the flavors are surely top-notch, right? The key to Giada’s top-rated recipe for Mini Chicken and Broccoli Pot Pies (pictured above) is making each pie small enough for kids to eat with their hands in just a few bites. If little ones see a piping-hot pile of vegetables taking up a large portion of their plate, chances are they’ll feel overwhelmed by what’s staring back at them. Thanks to their balance of fresh broccoli florets, tender chopped chicken and a creamy cheese sauce, Giada’s pot pies, however, aren’t intimidating to even the most stubborn veggie-refusers. Best of all, this recipe takes advantage of frozen store-bought pie crust so it’s a cinch for moms and dads to prepare on weeknights.

Keep reading for more recipes

Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Greek Yogurt

by in Shows, February 9th, 2013

Greek YogurtSo 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-four competition, the focus is now on Greek yogurt, which made an appearance in the dessert basket alongside maraschino cherries, canned espresso and corn nuts.

Tangier than traditional yogurt, the Greek variety has undergone an extensive straining process so it’s noticeably thick and creamy, not watery in the least. Since it’s not too sweet, Greek yogurt is an easy substitute for sour cream in traditionally decadent recipes, plus it’s packed with protein so it’s a good-for-you alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or texture.

Keep reading

Best 5 Sloppy Joe Recipes

by in Recipes, February 7th, 2013

Super Sloppy JoesJust like the everyday hamburger, sloppy joes are blank culinary canvases, easily adaptable to your family’s favorite flavors and the current stock of ingredients in your refrigerator. Whether you make them with ground beef or turkey, tomato or Buffalo sauce, Italian seasoning or cayenne pepper, sloppy joes provide hearty, comforting dinners that make winter mealtime a cinch. This weekend, ditch the canned stuff and try fresh, family-friendly varieties instead from some of your favorite Food Network chefs like Rachael and Jeff. Our top five sloppy joe recipes below are simple to prepare on even the busiest of weeknights, and with classic and creative interpretations of the tried-and-true, there’s a sloppy sandwich below to please every palate.

5. Buffalo Turkey Sloppy Joes — Pile a buttery ground turkey-hot sauce combination and creamy blue cheese topping between soft rolls to create Buffalo-style taste and texture in sandwich form, without any wings.

4. Italian Sloppy Joes — Made with a trifecta of ground meats — beef, pork and veal — the Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro’s, garlic-scented sloppy joes are served on crusty hero rolls with slices of provolone cheese and pickled vegetables.

Get the top three recipes

Chatting With the Round-4 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, February 5th, 2013

Chefs Rob Evans and Jean-Louis GerinIn 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