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.

Ron Ben-Israel Talks Season Two of Sweet Genius

by in Shows, March 15th, 2012


As the host of Sweet Genius, the sugar-packed competition series in which four chefs bake their hearts out for a chance to earn $10,000, it is master pastry chef Ron Ben-Israel’s job to maintain a stoic and, at times, intimidating persona. In the second season of the show, viewers can expect much of the same from the Sweet Genius, though they also will get to know Ron the person and find out why he’s so enthusiastic about pastry. I caught up with Ron at his welcoming New York City bakery, and we chatted about the show over cake and tea.

Comparing the previous season to the upcoming one, Ron explained, “We featured a certain angle — a little bit of a Dr. Evil. The idea was that the chefs would be very scared — as they should be, because for $10,000, you better be scared — and we kept it. Some people loved it, and some people hated it. But a lot of what makes me funny, what makes me excited was not seen. In the second season, you definitely see what makes me passionate and what makes me upset.” New episodes will show that Ron is as quick to dismiss the contestants’ creations as he is to praise them. “When something was great, I really loved it. But when something was not so good, I told them if they were wasting their time,” he said.

Ron shares a bit of insider information

Savory and Sweet Soufflés — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 12th, 2012

With a slight puff and a golden, crispy crust, Food Network Magazine’s Grits-and-Cheese Soufflés (pictured above) are unquestionably impressive, but quickly prepared in just 40 minutes using everyday ingredients. Ensure that your soufflés rise properly by beating the egg whites until you see medium peaks and incorporating them slowly into the grits-corn-cheese batter — the air inside will puff them up as they bake and yield light, soft results.

A special after-dinner treat, Sandra’s sweet Lime Souffle features zesty lime curd and creamy vanilla pudding. Each dessert is baked in an individual-sized ramekin, so serving becomes a cinch and guests can enjoy their own pre-portioned dish.

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.

Get Sauced: Celebrate National Sauce Month

by in Recipes, March 9th, 2012

It’s March and you know what that means — longer, brighter days, St. Patrick’s Day festivities, the official start of spring and a celebration of National Sauce Month, of course. We’ve rounded up our favorite savory and sweet sauces, so that you can add finishing touches to your chicken, pasta, seafood and dessert dishes with ease. Check out some of our best sauce recipes below, and let us know how you enjoy your favorite sauces.

Savory Sauces
Giada’s Grilled Chicken With Pine Nut Pesto (pictured above) takes less than 25 minutes to prepare and can be cooked easily on your indoor grill pan. Boneless chicken breasts are moist, tender and blank canvases that can be dressed up with sauces galore. This spinach-pine nut pesto sauce boasts nutty Parmesan cheese and plenty of fruity olive oil; spread a layer atop each piece of chicken to turn your basic chicken dinner into a beautiful one.

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Vegetarian Pot Pie — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 5th, 2012


Every bit as warm, comforting and hearty as its chicken-filled counterpart, Aida‘s Vegetarian Pot Pie boasts a creamy, veggie-packed center baked until bubbly underneath a flaky, buttery crust. Make sure that your crust achieves the same glossy golden hue as Aida’s by lightly brushing the top of the dough with an egg-water mixture before baking. Ready to enjoy in just 50 minutes, this filling dish is a go-to dinner option for those hectic weeknights.

Though the pot pie can be an entire meal in itself, serving Food Network Magazine‘s Simple Green Salad or Pesto Bean Soup in addition to it would balance out your dinner in a flash.

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.

Cabin-Fever Casseroles

by in Recipes, March 2nd, 2012

Welcome to March. You’ve made it to the final few weeks of winter, but it’s these last dreary days that will likely leave you feeling antsy to get outside and craving sunshine, shorts and light, fresh foods. Rather than wishing away your cabin fever, celebrate it with rich, fill-you-up casseroles that bring the whole family together, because before you know, it will be too warm to even consider heavy, piping-hot meals. Below, our collection of decadent casseroles features baked pasta, hearty vegetable sides, a make-ahead breakfast strata and more comforting recipes to get you through these dog days of winter with ease.

Food Network Magazine has created the ultimate go-to guide to preparing your own Mix-and-Match Baked Pasta. To cook up the winning combination of your choice,  just select your favorite noodle shape, pasta sauce, multiple meat or vegetable add-ins, subtle sauce flavorings and an array of creamy cheeses. The pasta dish featured above boasts Baked Farfalle With Escarole and Zucchini, tossed in a spiced fresh tomato sauce and mixed with fontina and Parmesan cheeses.

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Soup and Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 27th, 2012

Though it’s a timeless vegetarian combination, soup-and-salad lunches and dinners do not have to be basic, boring meals featuring predictable dishes. Food Network Magazine puts a twist on traditional favorites using vibrant, in-season ingredients, fragrant herbs and spices and bold textures to ensure its soup and salad recipes are anything but ordinary.

Filled with good-for-you vegetables, each hearty bowl of Food Network Magazine’s Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup (pictured above) is bursting with the warm flavor of curry powder, subtle notes of ginger and plenty of fresh sweet potatoes, carrots, celery and leeks. Before serving, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of the soup to lighten it and add a bit of refreshing citrus.

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Oscar-Winning Eats: Best-Dressed Dishes

by in Events, Recipes, February 24th, 2012


Whether you tune in to the Academy Awards solely to catch the celebrities strut the red carpet or are hoping to see your favorite summer flick take home a statue, there’s something in the Academy Awards for everyone — fashion, Wolfgang Puck’s food and films. This Sunday, as the stars don their skinny sheath dresses and fancy suits, you have the luxury of watching the drama unfold from the comfort of your living room as you show off your best pair of sweatpants and enjoy movie-themed eats to mark the occasion. Complete with Hollywood cupcakes (pictured above), stadium-style snacks, traditional fried chicken, kid-friendly Chinese food and more, our menus of award-winning dishes and drinks correspond to a few of this year’s Oscar nominees, so that you can celebrate this glamorous event in style.

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Dressed-Up Pastas — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 20th, 2012


A guaranteed family favorite, pasta is an easy, economical meal that feeds a crowd. Tonight, instead of resorting to traditional spaghetti with simple tomato sauce, try experimenting with oddly shaped noodles, such as orecchiette, and new, creative sauce ingredients, like panko and broccoli rabe, that will add exciting, flavorful flair to your pasta bowl. Find a few of our favorite dressed-up pasta recipes below, each meatless and ready to eat in less than 40 minutes.

Celebrate in-season cauliflower by cooking up Food Network Magazine’s veggie-packed Cauliflower-Onion Linguine (pictured above), made with sweet fried onions, creamy Parmesan cheese and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. Crunchy pine nuts and crispy panko breadcrumbs add texture to this hearty bowl.

More dressed-up pasta recipes

Presidential Eats

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 17th, 2012


If you’re lucky enough to have a day off of work or school on Monday, you can thank the first president of the United States, George Washington, as his birthday is celebrated each year on the third Monday of February. Celebrate this government holiday by cooking up our menu of presidential eats. We’re featuring a fish dish to commemorate Washington’s love of seafood, traditional Chicago- and Hawaiian-style favorites to honor President Obama’s roots and an authentic Indian dish to celebrate Washington, D.C.’s diverse food scene. Tell us: What will you be making on Presidents’ Day?

A true fish fan, Washington would have likely reveled in Food Network Magazine’s Tilapia With Green Beans (pictured above), a protein-packed plate that is bursting with fresh flavor. This flaky whitefish is quickly sautéed in a decadent butter-lemon sauce and served with tender green beans and softened cherry tomatoes.

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Perfect Veggie Burgers — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 13th, 2012

Getting its considerable heft from chopped walnuts, pinto beans, barley and breadcrumbs, this veggie-packed patty is tender and moist, thanks to a splash of soy sauce, egg whites and tangy barbecue sauce. For a touch of crunch and fried indulgence, top each burger with a few crispy onion rings.

To complete this diner dinner, cook up Bobby’s Seasoned Grilled Fries, dusted with chili powder and cumin, and prepare his creamy, frothy Double Chocolate-Marshmallow Milkshake, ready in just 10 minutes.

Get the recipe: Perfect Veggie Burgers 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.