All Posts By Maria Russo

Maria Russo is an 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.

Smarter Supermarket Shopping Guaranteed with Melissa’s Easy Tips

by in Food Network Chef, May 18th, 2015

Given your work commitments, the kids’ activities and the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the road, it can seem like a feat simply making it to the supermarket at all, let alone enjoying the experience and feeling prepared for family meals — and checking out under budget. That’s where Melissa d’Arabian comes in. The host of Ten Dollar Dinners and the Web-exclusive Picky Eaters Project just launched the all-new Web series Smart Carts: Winning the Supermarket, devoted to making your experience at the grocery store simpler and more strategic with just a few good-to-know tricks for conquering the aisles no matter where you shop.

Over the course of eight videos, Melissa shares her tried-and-true secrets for saving time and money at the market, including ways to know when is best to bulk shop and how to get the job done in a hurry. Click the play button on the video above to watch the first of her all-new videos, then read on below to pick up Melissa’s supermarket savvy with six of her top tips.

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“This Is a Real Test of Teamwork” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, May 17th, 2015

What with its penchant for ruthless sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen is surely an every-chef-for-himself-or-herself competition, but that doesn’t stop host Alton Brown from auctioning off a few strategically chosen team challenges. These unexpected tests force the rivals to learn to work together in the midst of their efforts at self-preservation, as was the case tonight during the fifth and final round of the Evilicious tournament, in which four previous victors came back for the chance to score the ultimate win and take home an additional $50,000.

With not one but two team sabotages up for grabs throughout the battle, the contestants quickly realized that their success was dependent on someone else’s agenda during the prep time. “This is a real test of teamwork,” Simon Majumdar noted of the Round 2 seesaw sabotage during the After-Show. He wondered how the two rivals split their time between working on their own dish and waiting for the other person to prep, and Alton told him simply, “They had to work it out.” Both Chef Yaku and Chef Jernard indeed managed to complete their dishes despite their teeter-tottering high above the arena, though Alton admitted, “This does explain why both of those chefs delivered the small amount of food they did.”

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The Pioneer Woman’s Best Tomato Soup Ever — Most Popular Pin of the Week

by in Community, May 17th, 2015

Best Tomato Soup EverWhile soup is surely a warming winter comfort food, there’s no reason you can’t enjoy a hearty bowl in the spring and summer months too. When it comes to #notsaddesklunches, make-and-take meals like reheatable soups are a go-to option, and this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week from Ree Drummond is no exception. Laced with cream and finished with fresh, fragrant herbs, this big-batch soup will surely fill you up. Plus, since Ree opts for cans of tomatoes instead of off-the-vine beauties, you don’t have to wait until tomato season to make her simple recipe.

For more must-try meal ideas, check out Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.

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Compound Butters Will Make Any Dish a Fancy (and Flavorful) Treat

by in Recipes, May 16th, 2015

Sweet Fruit Compound ButterOn its own butter is, of course, a most decadent ingredient, full of rich, creamy and (sometimes) salty flavors. But beyond its indulgence, butter is also endlessly versatile, which means that it can be used as a finishing condiment as well as a fat with which to cook, and it pairs well with both sweet and savory tastes. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed how simple it is to start with your everyday sticks of butter — both salted and unsalted — and turn them into compound butter, which is simply a fancy name for flavored butter.

The key to making compound butters is starting with room-temperature butter; this will ensure that when you add the extra ingredients, like nuts, fruit jams or herbs, the butter will quickly absorb them and become one unified product. Once those additions are fully incorporated, it’s best to roll up the butter into logs and refrigerate it, so you can easily spread or saute with as you would ordinary butter.

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Because You Don’t Need an Excuse to Eat Chocolate: Best 6 Brownie Recipes

by in Recipes, May 14th, 2015

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled BrowniesWhile there are times when you’re cooking for an obvious purpose — tonight’s dinner, the potluck on Saturday, a holiday feast — other times (and perhaps the best times) it’s for pure indulgence. And that’s especially the case when chocolate is concerned. When it comes to treating yourself to a just-because dessert, look no further than these six best-ever brownie recipes from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.

Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
Leave it to an Iron Chef to create this sweet tooth-satisfying brownie masterpiece. Bobby makes his own peanut butter-laced caramel to swirl into his two-chocolate brownies. After building the brownies strategically — with a base batter, then dollops of caramel, then more batter, and finally the last of the caramel — he swirls the components together to achieve “a stealth peanut butter brownie.” It’s called that, according to Bobby, because “you can’t see the peanut butter, but you can taste it.”

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