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.

An Italian Feast

by in Recipes, January 23rd, 2012

It’s not too early to start thinking about dinner this weekend. Ditch those jarred tomato sauces, grab the family and cook up an authentic Italian-style feast in your own kitchen. We’ve compiled an entire menu of trattoria classics, such as pasta with meat sauce, hunter-style chicken, traditional tiramisu and more, so that you can bring the tried-and-true tastes of Italy into your home. Check out our favorite Italian recipes below, then let us know how you prepare your best Italian dishes.

If your Sunday dinners are anything like those at my house, they inevitably involve pasta with meat sauce, and maybe some ravioli or gnocchi, too. Food Network Magazine’s heavenly Sunday Meat Sauce With Orecchiette (pictured above) is full of robust flavors and hearty ingredients, including almost a dozen garlic cloves, authentic San Marzano tomatoes, tender beef and moist meatballs. Instead of resorting to spaghetti or rigatoni, give orecchiette noodles a try — the sauce perfectly coats and seeps into the underbelly of this tiny turtle shell-shaped pasta.

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Steamed Vegetables With Roasted Chickpeas — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 23rd, 2012

With abundant flavor, color and texture, this vibrant dish is the ultimate vegetarian plate. Crisp snow peas, tender squash and hearty brown rice combine with chickpeas cooked in a simple sesame oil-scallion mixture to create a fill-you-up lunch or dinner that is bursting with fresh tastes.

To add a serving of healthful greens to your meal, prepare a quick Spinach and Kale Salad, best served hot with red bell peppers and tangy balsamic vinegar.

Get the recipe: Steamed Vegetables With Roasted Chickpeas 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.

What Is Quinoa? Plus the Best 5 Quinoa Recipes

by in Recipes, January 20th, 2012

quinoa salad
New Year’s healthy eating resolutions are all the rage right now, and countless conversations suggest how we should eat to start 2012 on a wholesome note. Included in many good-for-you lists is one tiny food that packs a huge healthful punch: quinoa, pronounced (KEEN-wah), which is loaded with protein, fiber and magnesium.

Though it is smaller than rice, barley, farro and bulgur, quinoa looks like a grain, thanks to its neutral coloring and hard exterior. However, it is actually a seed that originates from the cousin of the spinach plant. When cooked, these seeds expand rapidly and significantly, become tender but chewy and expel spirals that boast the slightest crunch. When using quinoa, it’s important to rinse it thoroughly before boiling, as it’s often coated with saponins that are bitter and need to be removed.

After cooking in liquid — water or chicken broth are most common — quinoa becomes light, fluffy, nutty and the ideal canvas to showcase intense flavors, rich textures and your favorite veggies, meats and sauces. Give this super seed a try, using Food Network’s five best quinoa recipes and let us know what you think of it.

Get the top five quinoa recipes »

Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It: Laughing Out Loud

by in Shows, January 20th, 2012

rachael ray summer sanders
With the competition nearly halfway over, the Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off contestants are feeling more pressure than ever to deliver their best culinary creations to team leaders Rachael Ray and Guy Fieri. In this Sunday’s episode, the five remaining finalists leave the kitchen behind and hit the streets to cook at one of New York City’s most popular mainstays: the lunch cart.

In this sneak-peek shot, the ladies of Team Rachael take a quick break from prep work to laugh it out behind the scenes. Are Summer and Rachael just swapping cooking jokes or are they chitchatting about the fellas on Team Guy?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to see who makes it to the final four, we’re challenging you, Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this LOL-worthy moment in the comments below.

Satisfying Salads — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 16th, 2012

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat smarter in 2012, it’s no secret that fresh fruits, vegetables, substantial proteins and healthful whole grains will become your best food friends this year. For a light meal that is easy to make and incorporates those hearty grains and good-for-you veggies, try serving a few simple yet satisfying salads in place of a traditional, heavy meal. Ditch those basic leafy green salads and opt for ones that boast interesting ingredients and textures.

Food Network Magazine’s Warm Beet-Orange Salad (pictured above) is packed with such in-season eats as tender roasted beets and bright citrus. Toasted walnuts add a welcome crunch to this colorful plate.

More recipes for Meatless Monday »

Comfort in a Bowl

by in Recipes, January 13th, 2012


Though there’s no question it’s been an unseasonably warm winter, the temperatures are finally starting to dip toward average January numbers and we’re once again craving rich, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that fill you up and keep you cozy. Nothing delivers that warmth quite like hearty soups, stews and chilis do. This weekend, cook up some steaming bowls of our favorite comfort foods and share the decadence with your family.

This thick, cheesy Chicken-Corn Chili (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is loaded with protein-rich white beans, tender corn kernels and fragrant herbs. Ground cumin and a jalapeno pepper add flavor and subtle spice to the chili, while a dollop of sour cream offers tang. To save time in the kitchen, use store-bought rotisserie chicken and have the dish ready in just 40 minutes.

Danny Boome’s indulgent Braised Lamb Stew boasts cubes of cardamom-marinated lamb shoulder that are simmered until tender in a tomato-based sauce featuring chickpeas, chewy apricots and refreshing lemon zest.

More comfort food recipes »

Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It: We’re Watching You

by in Shows, January 13th, 2012
Your Caption Here

The playing field is once again even on Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off, with only three competitors remaining on both Rachael Ray’s and Guy Fieri’s famous teams. In this Sunday’s episode, the remaining six finalists will not compete together as Team Rachael versus Team Guy but individually, one-on-one.

Who better to evaluate this head-to-head battle than Chefs Scott Conant, Alex Guarnaschelli and Marcus Samuelsson, who have judged countless Chopped competitions. Here these all-star chefs look on curiously as the Cook-Off finalists race against the clock to execute plates that are prepared to impress. Will Judges Scott, Alex and Marcus be pleased with the contestants’ efforts or will the dishes leave more to be desired?

Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch the action unfold, we’re challenging you, Rachael vs. Guy Celebrity Cook-Off fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.

Best 5 Chicken Soup Recipes

by in Recipes, January 11th, 2012


The ultimate bowl of piping-hot comfort food, chicken soup is family-friendly fare at its best. Instead of resorting to the red and white soup can for a quick meal, try Food Network’s top five chicken soup recipes that are both easy to prepare and classically flavored. Serve up a bowl of our best today and bring a little warmth to these chilly winter nights.

5. Hearty Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup — Simmer the broth with a Parmesan cheese rind to add a subtle salty, nutty flavor to this veggie-packed soup (pictured above).

4. Thai Chicken Soup — Made with coconut milk and green curry paste, this Asian-inspired dish boasts a burst of color, thanks to sliced red bell peppers.

Get the top three recipes »

Tofu-Vegetable Stir-Fry — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, January 9th, 2012

If you think you’re not a tofu fan, think again. Though tofu is inherently plain, it can easily adopt robust flavor when marinated or cooked with savory herbs, garlic, olive oil, barbecue sauce and more. In this Asian-inspired recipe, cubes of soft, silken tofu are stir-fried with a mixture of sweet and salty balsamic, hoisin, soy and chile sauces, fresh shitake mushrooms and bright snow peas. Serve with white or brown rice for a healthful dinner that is ready in fewer than 30 minutes.

Get the recipe: Tofu-Vegetable Stir-Fry 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.

Perfect Portions for Smarter Eating

by in Recipes, January 6th, 2012

It’s a new year — time for fresh starts, changed perspectives and, of course, solemn promises to never eat “bad” foods again. Carbs, sweets, deep-fried anything — it’s all gone for many as of January 1. At least until February 1.  This year, however, instead of making sweeping declarations of limited eating and swearing off your favorite foods, learn how to savor these dishes in moderation using easy-to-remember portion control guidelines. Check out below examples of portioned plates and find what constitutes a single serving of food to prevent overeating. Then, cook up our easy and lightened-up versions of your favorite meals, so that you can have your cake and enjoy it, too.

Pasta or Rice: Just one cup of these starches (pictured above) equals a serving and, when plated, is similar in size to a tennis ball.

More perfect portions for the new year »