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.

Restaurant Revisited: Windseeker Restaurant

by in Shows, January 16th, 2013

Robert Irvine on Food Network's Restaurant: ImpossibleFor Windseeker Restaurant in The Dalles, Ore., the problems went beyond a tired dining room and lackluster food. They had been battling negative press for years, and owner Veta Bingman and general manager Patty Taylor faced a constant struggle to attract customers to their out-of-the-way location, despite the breathtaking river views that surround them. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team transformed the eatery into a sophisticated space complete with a high-quality menu that would improve Windseeker’s local reputation. We checked in with Patty a few months after Robert left to find out how the restaurant is doing today.

Comparing year-over-year numbers, Patty says that “Business is up by $30,000″ following the renovation, and she adds that the cost of food and wages has increased as well. Since their Restaurant: Impossible experience, the staff has not borrowed money from the restaurant.

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Chatting With the Round-1 Winner of Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Chefs Kenneth Johnson and Sean ScoteseIn 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 ultimately 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

What to Watch: Bobby’s Dinner Battle

by in Shows, January 15th, 2013

Bobby's Dinner BattleIf you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at the prospect of entertaining a houseful of party guests or cooking a meal for your opinionated relatives, then you can begin to imagine the pressure under which home cooks find themselves on Bobby’s Dinner Battle, Bobby Flay‘s newest show that challenges three teams of home cooks to prepare three-course dinner parties for this professional chef and restaurateur. Although they don’t have formal culinary training, the contestants are not simply kitchen novices. They consider themselves to be some of the best home cooks in their area and pride themselves on their ability to craft full-flavored, restaurant-quality meals using advanced techniques in their kitchens at home.

Each week, Bobby will travel to a different city where new groups of home cooks must put their best culinary chops forward in themed challenges to create event menus with limited time and money. Bobby will be joined by a special guest in each city, and these esteemed dinner party guests will help judge the competitors on the taste and presentation of their offerings, plus how well they’ve embraced the given theme.

Tune in to the series premiere of Bobby’s Dinner Battle on Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10pm/9c.

An Entree Salad You’ll Enjoy Eating — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 14th, 2013

Big Greek SaladHow many times have you gone to a restaurant with a deliciously full menu of tempting offerings only to order that healthful, lower-calorie salad you think you should eat instead of what you really want? At the end of the meal, you’re still craving fettuccine Alfredo and now are a bit cranky because that bowl of lettuce leaves just didn’t fill you up, right? The same scenario likely plays out at home, too, as you wrestle with hankerings for pizza and instead tuck into an everyday tossed salad.

Now that the healthy-eating season is in full swing and it seems like everyone is committed to making smarter food and fitness choices in the New Year — well, at least in the month of January — it’s time to master the entree salad: that flavor-packed dish of not just lettuce and lemon juice but also other, more filling ingredients that surely won’t leave you feeling deprived. The key to enjoying a salad as a meal is to incorporate creamy cheeses, crisp vegetables, crunchy crackers, good-for-you grains and just about anything else you have on hand so that it becomes something substantial that you look forward to eating.

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What to Watch: Chopped Champions

by in Shows, January 14th, 2013

Chopped ChampionsNo strangers to mystery baskets, unusual ingredients or opinionated judges, four previous Chopped winners are putting their reputations on the line one more time tomorrow night as they compete in the first round of the five-part tournament of Chopped Champions. While these chefs may be returning to familiar settings in the kitchen, they’ll face more pressure than ever as the stakes are now higher than they were in their last battles — on the line this time is a $50,000 prize and the ultimate Chopped title: Grand Champion. Since all of the competitors know what it takes to avoid the chopping block and are used to the sweet taste of victory, each must bring his or her A game if they want to be crowned a two-time champion and score a coveted seat in the grand finale.

Chefs Sylvain Harribey, Kenneth Johnson, Sean Scotese and Lish Steiling are the first four contestants to face off in the tournament, and they’re bringing with them memories of past battles and grand plans for showcasing their culinary chops once again. Flip through this photo gallery to find out more about the Chopped Champions contestants, and be sure to tune in Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 10pm/9c to find out which of these chefs has earned a place in the finale.

Sticky, Saucy Chicken Wings — Football Fare

by in Recipes, January 12th, 2013

Alton Brown's Buffalo WingsWhile the New Year ushers in thoughts of renewed resolutions, changes big and small, and promises of fresh starts, it also culminates in a season of something else: football. To celebrate this football-focused month, FN Dish is bringing you weekly roundups of your favorite tailgate-ready munchies like juicy chicken wings, deliciously salty chips and dips, hearty sliders, decadent chocolate brownies and others to help you host the ultimate big-game bash every weekend. Check back each Friday in January for a complete menu of must-try recipes, plus simple entertaining tips and more winning ideas that are sure to score touchdowns with your friends and family.

The star dish at many tailgates, chicken wings are simple-to-make, blank canvases that are just waiting to be coated with flavor. Hot out of the oven or straight from the fryer, they can be tossed with any number of sweet and spicy sauces, glazes or rubs depending on your tastes and what ingredients you have on hand. Instead of relying on bags of frozen wings for a quick-fix meal or calling up your local wing joint for delivery, cook up can-do recipes to help you turn out restaurant-style chicken wings with ease.

Find out how to eat a chicken wing the right way

Tina Fey and Fellow 30 Rock Writers Take Over Food Network Kitchens

by in Events, January 10th, 2013

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Come the holiday season, most employees look forward to a company holiday party complete with casual, mingle-friendly eats — and maybe a cocktail or two — in the office break room or perhaps even at a local restaurant. But when you’re a writer for 30 Rock, the everyday seasonal shindig just won’t cut it.

This past December, to celebrate the holidays and the approaching end of 30 Rock‘s seventh and final season, Tina Fey and her fellow writers hosted their holiday bash at the ultimate destination kitchen — Food Network Kitchens — and what they ate was no ordinary cheese-and-crackers platter. More than two dozen 30 Rock writers and team members gathered in the expansive space to enjoy an evening of friends, plenty of laughs and a party-ready menu complete with dishes like cayenne-spiked butternut squash soup and linguini with a truffled cream sauce made by one of their own, John Riggi. We were on hand as they made their way into the kitchen, and we chatted with them about their thoughts on the end of 30 Rock, the food scene in the writers’ room and more.

Want to hear what Tina Fey and some of the other writers had to say and get an insider’s look at this private event? Click the play button on the video above to watch the exclusive video, then browse these behind-the-scenes photos to see the party unfold.

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VOTE: What Would You Cook for Bobby Flay?

by in Polls, Shows, January 9th, 2013

Bobby's Dinner BattleOn Bobby’s Dinner Battle, Bobby Flay‘s brand-new show premiering Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 10pm/9c, this professional chef and restaurateur visits teams of experienced home cooks across the country. These cooks are challenged to create themed three-course dinner parties to be judged by himself, a special guest and fellow competitors in the ultimate at-home cook-off. While some teams rely on advanced cooking techniques to showcase their star power, others turn out favorite classic recipes, but they all must learn to cope with the pressure of cooking for such a high-profile dinner-party guest as Bobby.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of the home cooks on Bobby’s Dinner Battle. What meal would you serve to such a famed food star, one who’s inevitably enjoyed meals from some of the very best chefs in the country? Would you opt for a no-fail crowd-pleaser that you’ve made countless times, or would you offer him an elegant feast of the finest dishes? Since Bobby is the master of all things barbecue, might you rely on sticky, saucy ribs to win him over? Would you try to impress him with your take on one of his own recipes, or would you simply direct him to your stove and saute pan and politely ask him to cook for you?

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Best 5 Easy Chicken Recipes

by in Recipes, January 8th, 2013

Best 5 Easy Chicken RecipesWhen the 6:00 p.m. dinner rush hits, reach for a tried-and-true staple that you know will win over even the pickiest eaters in your family: chicken. Quick cooking and cost effective, chicken is a blank culinary canvas through which you can showcase bold flavors and textures and experiment with new ingredients and creative cooking techniques. Check out Food Network’s top five easy chicken recipes below, each a flavorful meal that can be made in 35 minutes or fewer.

5. Chicken Piccata With Lemon and Capers — A complete, all-in-one supper, this hearty plate boasts tender chicken topped with a light, tangy white wine sauce and a simple side of rice studded with lima beans.

4. Chicken Tortilla Soup — Juicy chunks of lean chicken breast are the star of this Mexican-inspired recipe, which is laced with lime juice and brimming with Monterrey cheese, creamy avocado and crunchy tortilla chips.

Get the top three easy chicken recipes

Made-Over Veggie Lasagna — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 7th, 2013

Wild Mushroom and Cauliflower LasagnaIf you’re looking to update Mom’s tired, predictable lasagna to something fresh, seasonal and full of flavor, try recipes from some of your favorite Food Network stars, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis. Both chefs are sharing can-do recipes to help you transform this tried-and-true comfort food and put good-for-you winter produce to work. Check out their veggie-packed lasagna recipes below, then tell us in the comments: What’s your favorite way to enjoy lasagna?

Bobby’s big-batch Wild Mushroom and Cauliflower Lasagna (pictured above) is a rich, comforting dish made with two different sauces: a garlic-laced tomato sauce and a smooth, buttery cauliflower sauce with Romano cheese. He assembles this crowd-pleasing casserole by layering the sauce between partially cooked lasagna noodles, a creamy ricotta-herb mixture, sauteed mushrooms and a sprinkle of cheeses, then bakes the dish until it’s piping hot and bubbly. Let it sit for about 15 minutes once it’s removed from the oven before digging into the all-in-one supper, so that the melted cheeses don’t ooze out into a hot pool when you cut into the lasagna.

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