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.

Inexpensive Eats: Low-Cost Recipes for Tax Day

by in Recipes, April 14th, 2012


It’s that time of the year again — Tax Day is looming and you’re feeling the financial pinch in your wallet. Once Uncle Sam has claimed a good chunk of your paycheck on April 17, there may not be room for fancy meals and decadent ingredients. But eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or nutrition. Check out our list of low-cost, easy-to-make meals that will keep you cooking at home without breaking the bank.

One of the most wallet-friendly dishes you can make, pasta is a guaranteed family favorite and will easily feed a crowd — just one pound of noodles can be split among six people. Top your choice of pasta with Food Network Magazine’s five-star Perfect Marinara Sauce to create a low-cost Italian supper in no time. Experiment with other flavor-packed sauces, like Alfredo Sauce, Basil Pesto or Vodka Sauce, to add variety to your pasta-recipe repertoire.

Not just for kids and picky eaters, grilled cheeses are the ultimate building-block sandwiches. They’re naturally inexpensive — just butter, bread and cheese are needed to craft a classic recipe — but can seem more indulgent by adding a few extra flavors. Cooking Channel‘s Kelsey Nixon whips up a traditional yet creative Grilled Cheese Sandwich by stacking tart Granny Smith apple slices, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese on mustard-spread bread and grilling the sandwich until golden brown. Check out Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 Grilled Cheeses for more gooey inspiration.

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Polenta With Roasted Tomatoes — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 9th, 2012


Let’s talk polenta. Less coarse than grits but grainier than mashed potatoes, polenta is made from cornmeal and boiled with water or stock until thick and combined. From here you can add any number of ingredients — like cream, butter, cheeses, fresh vegetables and herbs — to transform it into a hearty, rich dish. You could also let the polenta cool completely then shape it and bake or deep-fry it. Giada’s Fried Polenta fingers are deliciously warm and cheesy, and when dunked in marinara sauce, they mimic classic mozzarella sticks.

Food Network Magazine’s polenta (pictured above) is traditional and rustic, cooked on the stove until it becomes soft and creamy. This Italian-inspired recipe calls for instant polenta, which tastes the same as the original but cuts down on long cooking times. Before serving, top each comforting bowl with tender Swiss chard, sweet roasted tomatoes and mild, crumbly farmer cheese.

Get the recipe: Polenta With Roasted Tomatoes

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Hop to It: Make Your Own Easter Sweets

by in Holidays, Recipes, April 5th, 2012


No matter how much candy you may find in your Easter basket or waiting for you in dozens of hidden eggs, on Easter Sunday there always seems to be room for another piece of something sweet, right? This holiday, after you finish another successful dinner of roast lamb or glazed ham, celebrate creative and traditional treats by baking up a few of Food Network’s favorite Easter desserts, like Coconut-Covered Bunny Cake, Hot Cross Buns, Carrot Cake and more. Kids and grownups alike will enjoy these after-dinner indulgences, and you’ll be pleased because they’re a cinch to put together.

A go-to, last-minute dessert, Food Network Kitchens’ Easter Bunny Cake (pictured above) is a no-bake recipe that can be made in just one hour, thanks to pre-baked or store-bought cake. After building the bunny and covering it in creamy buttercream frosting and sweet coconut, embellish it with any extra Easter candy you have on hand, like licorice and jelly beans. Check out how the Kitchens assembles their realistic-looking rabbit.

A holiday staple in many homes, Easter Egg Bread is light, flaky and bursting with a refreshing light lemon flavor. Food.com’s recipe yields a golden-brown loaf that is dotted with colorful shelled eggs and drizzled with a sweet citrus glaze. Save leftover slices of bread for breakfast tomorrow and spread each with a thin layer of room-temperature butter before enjoying.

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Pasta Primavera — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 2nd, 2012

Celebrate the bright colors and bold flavors of spring by cooking this light and fresh pasta dish. After adding sweet cherry tomatoes to al dente noodles, sugar snap peas, crunchy carrots and a bell pepper, gently mix in chopped mint, nutty Parmesan and silky goat cheese until combined. Ready to eat in just 30 quick minutes, this seasonal recipe guarantees that you can get dinner on the table in a flash.

Complete your Italian-inspired dinner by serving Food Network Magazine’s Almond Caesar Salad, featuring red-leaf lettuce tossed with a garlic-Dijon dressing and cheesy baked croutons.

Get the recipe: Pasta Primavera from Food Network Magazine

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

How to Cook Ham, Plus Easy-to-Cook Ham Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 30th, 2012


Almost as famed as the Thanksgiving turkey, the holiday ham is just as impressive, but far easier and quicker to cook than its winged counterpart. Easter Sunday is a little more than a week away, and if you’ll be celebrating, you probably have begun to contemplate how you’ll prepare the star of your meal, the ham. Will you save time by opting for a precooked package or purchase a raw ham and slowly bake it yourself? How about seasonings and glazes — which is best and when should you add each? What’s the proper way to slice a ham around its center bone? We have those answers and more, plus five no-fail ham recipes that guarantee classic, flavorful results every time.

What to Buy: Ready to eat as soon as they’ve been warmed, precooked hams are not a bad bet if you are pressed for time, are feeding a large crowd or simply wish to take it easy in the kitchen this year. Precooked hams can be covered with sticky, delicious glazes the same way raw hams can. Buying a fresh ham, however, allows you to trim any unnecessary fat before cooking and to control the amount of sodium in your meat.

Rubs vs. glazes, plus recipes

Best 5 Chocolate Pie Recipes

by in Recipes, March 27th, 2012

chocolate cream pie

Two desserts that are decadently delicious on their own, chocolate and pie, are bettered only when combined, creating an intensely rich and comforting dish that will satisfy any sweet tooth. Whether you’re serving guests or simply preparing an after-dinner treat for your family, Food Network’s top five chocolate pie recipes will impress crowds and kids alike.

5. Moo-Less Chocolate Pie — Alton’s milk-free dessert boasts traditional taste and texture, thanks to semisweet chocolate chips, a squeeze of honey and one secret ingredient: silken tofu.

4. Bobby’s Lighter Frozen Chocolate Mousse Pie — Made with low-fat milk and fat-free whipped topping, this no-bake pie guarantees guilt-free decadence without sacrificing your favorite flavors.

Get the top three recipes

Easy Appetizers — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 26th, 2012


A no-fuss appetizer that dresses up any get-together, crostini are two-bite toasts that can be topped with any number of creative or classic ingredients, such as rich cheeses, sweet roasted vegetables, olives and more. In just 10 minutes, you can prepare Food Network Magazine’s Asparagus Crostini (pictured above), which features toasted baguette slices spread with creamy ricotta cheese and finished with vibrant asparagus and fruity olive oil.

To complete your pre-dinner snack spread, serve Sandra’s Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Buttons, made by topping artichoke bottoms with soft roasted tomatoes, a mini mozzarella ball and pesto, or Alton’s Citrus Marinated Olives from Food Network Magazine. He submerges green olives in a lemon juice-red wine vinegar mixture with spicy red pepper flakes then refrigerates them before serving.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Springtime Produce

by in In Season, Recipes, March 23rd, 2012


Spring is officially here, which means that it’s time to embrace the light, colorful, fragrant bounty this season has to offer. Whether you’re growing your own fruits and vegetables or simply prefer to peruse the produce aisle, the next few months are some of the freshest all year, promising bushels of ripe, sweet goods, such as vibrant asparagus, radishes, ramps and more. Below is Food Network’s list of spring-inspired recipes, each rich with in-season produce that will transform any basic dish into an inspired one.

Food Network Magazine’s Roasted Asparagus (pictured above) side dish is a no-fail recipe that delivers simple, satisfying results every time. Crunchy pine nuts, fragrant parsley and refreshing lemon zest are sprinkled atop slender spears before baking the asparagus until it’s warm and tender.

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Vegetable Tarte Tatin — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 19th, 2012


Typically made with fruit (apples, pears and peaches work well), a tarte tatin is a French-style dish that boasts seasonal produce baked beneath a light, buttery pastry then inverted to reveal the soft, caramelized fruit on top.

Food Network Magazine’s Vegetable Tarte Tatin (pictured above) is both sweet and savory, featuring alternating layers of gooey caramel and roasted potatoes and parsnips. Garlic, thick-cut onion rounds and sprinklings of fresh herbs and creamy mozzarella cheese are added to the tarte before it is covered with a thin sheet of store-bought puff pastry. The sugary caramel does not overpower the earthiness of the vegetables — it merely brings out their natural sweetness.

Serve this beauty of a dish as a hearty brunch or lunch option or with a Spring Green Salad for a light supper.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.

Best 5 Chicken Cacciatore Recipes

by in Recipes, March 17th, 2012


Spruce up your usual chicken dinners with this “hunter-style” Italian classic that promises bold, flavorful results every time, thanks to a tried-and-true combination of onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. It is a naturally rustic, easy-to-prepare dish that can be made quickly on a hectic weeknight with everyday ingredients. Check out Food Network’s top five chicken cacciatore recipes, and try cook up one for a simple, satisfying dinner tonight.

5. Chicken Cacciatore — A splash of red wine boosts the full-bodied cacciatore sauce, made with fresh vegetables and thyme.

4. Anne’s Chicken Cacciatore — Anne adds a hint of heat to her rich, tender chicken by sweating onions with a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Get the top three recipes