All Posts By FN Dish Editor

Sandra’s Saturday Savings: Cost Control

by in Shows, January 22nd, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra shares ideas for cutting costs that will help you save all year long.

1. Bring your lunch; it’s generally one-third the cost of buying your lunch from an inexpensive restaurant.

2. 5% of the average American’s income goes to fast food; that comes to an average of $1,820 per year! Avoid the urge to get fast food and cook at home.

3. The average American consumes over 50 gallons of soft drinks per year. Switching to water will save over $280 per person each year!

4. The average American throws away 14% of their food, which equals close to $600 per year. So heat up those leftovers and save!

5. The average monthly cost of food for a family of four is $1,126. If your family is way over that number, you might want to rethink your food spending.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

Worst Cooks, Episode 3: He Said, She Said

by in Shows, January 17th, 2011
Three weeks in, Robert and Anne are still scared to watch some of their recruits in the kitchen.

After each elimination on Worst Cooks in America this season, chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine share their candid impressions of the booted recruits with the FN Dish. This week, they bid farewell to Matt from Robert’s Team and Priscilla from Anne’s Team.

"Priscilla was her own worst enemy," says Chef Anne. "She'd psych herself out."

Anne on Priscilla: Oh, Priscilla. Running around with the knife, she was just a whirling dervish. She’d psych herself out; she would get so wound up. She was a teacher who’s used to being in charge and not used to being the student. So she would kind of talk back to us, and I said, “You know Priscilla, what would you feel like if one of your students said this to you?” She said, “I would not accept it.” She would spin out of control. She really scared me a few times, running around with her knife pointed in the air, and she cut her finger one time and continued to cook with it, blood everywhere. But you know what, I really liked her. She’s a nice lady. I felt terrible about sending her home. She actually really wanted to learn. I think if she were to get in a one-on-one setting, not with all the challenges and the time and all that, she probably could learn. She was her own worst enemy.

"Matt never relaxed," says Chef Robert. "It was like somebody gave him 20 shots of espresso in the morning."

Robert on Matt: Matt was scared of his own shadow. But a super guy, a nice guy. As far as cooking skills, if you looked at him the wrong way he would probably pee his pants. He was that scared. We were outside and he was cutting with a knife; I thought he was going to take his fingers off. Matt never relaxed. It was like somebody gave him 20 shots of espresso in the morning and he didn’t stop. No expression. I didn’t know if he was going to cry, laugh, or hit me!

Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Worst Cooks recruit in our Fan Vote, up to 10 times per day.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Matt Crespi

by in Shows, January 17th, 2011
Matt's overcooked turkey and uneven potatoes sent him packing, but he remains convinced that his final dish tasted good.

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
Where to begin…I once went through (read: destroyed) most of a loaf of bread in an attempt to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. To this day I maintain it was trick peanut butter, and not actually spreadable. The first time I tried to cook salmon; I took a piece of salmon, put it on a frying pan, and held it over a burner. Eating that salmon out of principle marked a low point not only in my cooking career, but also my life. I once ate a chicken sandwich out of vending machine that was better. (Years later, I found out you’re supposed to preheat the pan and put something like oil on it. Who knew?) My brother told me I made sushi-grade fish taste like cat food, but I think he’s just being kind because he’s my brother. While baking a brownie recipe which included instructions to “fold chips into the batter,” I laid out the batter, poured chocolate chips on half of it, picked up the other half and folded it over. When I couldn’t get the viscous chocolate mixture off my hands, my roommate had to hold a cell phone up to my ear so I could ask the recipe’s creator (my mother) what went wrong. Apparently “fold” is a metaphor.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Robert?
The most valuable thing I learned from Chef Robert was how to effectively use knives without injuring myself.

What did you take away from the experience?
Some cooking skills, some confidence in the kitchen, the ability to feed myself, 15 friends, 3 knives and one great story.

If you could have a do-over of the challenge that sent you home, what would you do differently?
I’d spend more time on the earlier steps, putting greater emphasis on thoroughness and less emphasis on speed. Multitasking to that degree with stringent time constraints was a new experience for me, and I overestimated my optimal pace.

When you presented your final dish, how did you feel about it?
I knew it had some technical problems, but I actually felt pretty confident. I may be a bad cook, but I’m awesome at eating, and I don’t mind telling you the dish tasted really good. Losing that challenge has in no way changed my favorable opinion of my dish’s flavor.

What was the first dish or meal that you attempted to cook back at home after being eliminated? How did it go?
When I got home, I cooked a pretty simple pan-fried chicken dish with peas. By my pre-show standards, it was epically edible. Since then, I’ve even invented a few successful recipes.

What advice would you give to future Worst Cooks competitors?
Have fun. If you’re freaking out and getting intimidated by free cooking classes, then you’re not doing it right. Also, don’t run while holding out a freshly sharpened chef’s knife. I cannot stress this enough.

Read Priscilla’s Exit Interview, find out more about Worst Cooks in America and catch the show on Sundays at 9pm/8c.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Priscilla Harden

by in Shows, January 17th, 2011
After gaining confidence on the show, Priscilla invited 20 people over for the Worst Cooks in America premiere and cooked for all of them!

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I need to repay my husband for cooking every meal for us from the time we dated to the present. The last time I cooked him a meal was in 1979 while we were dating. For two days, I called everybody I knew, in and out of state, to get advice on how to cook the meat (beef tips), the vegetables (turnips, corn, green beans) and the rice. After I was done, I invited him over to my apartment for dinner. I noticed that he took his time eating, and afterwards, he thanked me and told me I didn’t have to cook for him ever again! I thought he was just being nice, but I could never get him to come over and eat again. So, for 31 years, my sweetheart has cooked every meal for our family, including holiday meals, even after working all day. I need to learn how to cook so I can cook for him in order to show him how much I have appreciated his kindness all these years.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Anne?
I learned that plating the food aesthetically was as important as seasoning and cooking it correctly, because if it looks good, then it probably tastes good.

What did you take away from the experience?
Being on Worst Cooks in America gave me enough confidence to lose my fears about the notion that I can’t learn how to cook. Although I have a long way to go, I am now inviting people over to our home to eat. Now I have enough confidence to quit saying I don’t like to cook, which allowed me to hide behind the fact that I could not cook! I actually go into the kitchen and experiment with cooking and I find myself having fun and enjoying it as well.

If you could have a do-over of the challenge that sent you home, what would you do differently?
Instead of taking so many notes as if I were journal-writing, I would jot down the bare essentials for prep, seasoning and time allotment for cooking each dish, and then proceed as if I got this!

When you presented your final dish, how did you feel about it?
When I presented my final dish, I felt awful! I seasoned the steak with the wrong seasoning. I used hot pepper instead of the correct seasoning. When Chef Anne tasted my meat, she spit it out and poured it into the trash can! I was embarrassed and I felt incompetent because I made mistakes that should not have been made, including the fact that I did not plate the food cleanly or properly!

What was the first dish or meal that you attempted to cook back at home after being eliminated? How did it go?
The first dish I attempted to cook after I was eliminated was a chicken. Although I cut myself while cutting it up, I had fun! I tried cutting up the chicken in the order that we were taught, but I abandoned the procedure along the way when I became confused. Still, I got it done. And, although I did not use a “thank you for coming bowl,” I used a “thank you for coming bag,” which aided me in keeping my area clean. Chef Anne would have been proud of me! Furthermore, I have to admit, I ignored Chef Anne’s rule about not using black pepper to season food and it tasted fairly good to me. I remembered to taste the food as I cooked it, and I added more salt as I needed it.

Will you continue to work on your culinary skills?
Yes, just this past Saturday, I cooked some chicken breasts, green beans, cabbage and sweet potatoes. And, for the first time, I did not cut myself.

What was your most memorable or funniest moment while shooting the show?
My most memorable moment happened during an interview. I was trying to pronounce the name of a food seasoning item, or maybe it was a vegetable, but, regardless, my pronunciation of the word was terrible. Not only could I not master pronouncing it, I told the person who was interviewing me that I didn’t know if it were something you poured or cut. He said it would be our little secret.

Read Matt’s Exit Interview, find out more about Worst Cooks in America and catch the show on Sundays at 9pm/8c.

Sandra’s Saturday Savings: The Most for Your Money

by in Shows, January 15th, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra offers strategies for keeping grocery bills low.

1. 75% of grocery coupons come from the newspaper, so buy two or three copies to save even more!

2. Families who join food co-ops save 20% to 40% on their weekly grocery bills.

3. Only 5% of consumers use the mail-in rebates for cash refunds. Take the time to send them in and save.

4. Buying foods like rice, grains and dried fruit in bulk can save you anywhere from 30% to 96%.

5. On average, produce travels 1,500 miles to get to your table. Shopping at a farm stand saves money on transportation and is good for the environment.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Anthony Scinto

by in Shows, January 10th, 2011

After his elimination in the second episode, Anthony went home and practiced his omelets.

Why do you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
The inability, lack of confidence/knowledge, and creativity to make anything that I or anyone I know would want to eat makes me the worst cook.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you learned from Chef Anne?
Knife techniques.

Will you continue to work on your culinary skills?
I will and need to.

Read more

Worst Cooks, Episode 2: He Said, She Said

by in Shows, January 10th, 2011

Anne and Robert are happy to be on the farm...but not so excited to taste the recruits' omelets.

After each elimination on Worst Cooks in America this season, chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine share their candid impressions of the booted recruits with the FN Dish. This week, they bid farewell to Jeff from Robert’s Team and Anthony from Anne’s Team.

Read more

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Jeff Longcor

by in Shows, January 10th, 2011
After the first Skill Drill, Jeff quickly became known as the guy who tore chicken with his hands.

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
My last girlfriend stormed out when I tried to serve her pasta for the sixth night in a row. Eventually she started making me do all the dishes and clean the floors instead of making meals. When I go on outdoor trips, my friends will actually starve themselves instead of eating my food. I mean, that’s just dangerous, when starving people won’t eat your food even when their life depends on it. I owe it to them to learn how to cook a decent meal and I owe it to myself to improve enough to avoid embarrassing myself in front of friends, family members, coworkers, and cute girls.

What was the most valuable tip/piece of advice that you learned from Chef Robert?
The chefs forced us to prepare everything in advance to make sure all the ingredients were ready before we needed them. This high level of forethought and preparation is a great strategy for approaching any challenge in life.

Read more

Sandra’s Saturday Savings: Choose Wisely

by in Shows, January 8th, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra shares five surprising grocery store swaps that will save you money and time.

1. 80% lean beef costs nearly half the price of 93% lean beef.

2. Using spicy brown mustard instead of Dijon will save you 53%.

3. Use conventional brown rice over instant brown rice and save 82%.

4. Canola oil is 70% less expensive than peanut oil, so try that for frying.

5. Buy sliced mushrooms. They cost the same as whole mushrooms and you save time by not slicing.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Lina Yu

by in Shows, January 3rd, 2011

"Hopefully I'll get to a point where I can actually make a full meal without feeling like I just had a nervous breakdown," says Lina, one of the first recruits eliminated.

When you presented your final dish, Chef Anne’s Chicken Cacciatore, how did you feel about it?
When I presented my dish I felt that since it was incomplete there would be no way that I would make it through. Chef Anne wasn’t able to accurately critique me since one of the key ingredients of the dish was missing, which was the sauce. That’s half of the dish right there! I felt pretty upset that it was the timing and not the actual cooking, I feel, that got me eliminated.

If you could have a do-over of the challenge that sent you home, what would you do differently?
If I could do-over the challenge I would have been more aware of the time on the clock because at the end of the day I think that is what got me eliminated. I took too long trying to get things perfect and then it was too late when I found out my plating dish was missing. I would have grabbed everything I needed before I started cooking.

What was the most valuable tip/piece of advice that you learned from Chef Anne?
The most valuable tip that I think I received is to prep the kitchen and ingredients before you start the actual cooking. I also figured out which is the chicken’s front side versus back side. I don’t think I can ever forget now.

What did you take away from the experience?
I learned that cooking doesn’t have to be a stressful experience and that not everyone is the perfect cook. The goal is to improve each time and hopefully I’ll get to a point where I can actually make a full meal without feeling like I just had a nervous breakdown.

Will you continue to work on your culinary skills?
I’ll continue to try to learn a little at a time and I’m sure I’ll have a lot of practice in our house. We have to learn how to cook since my family expects us to host some holiday dinners.

What advice would you give to future Worst Cooks competitors?
I would say be alert of your surroundings and remember that even though this is a cooking show it is a competition as well. Be careful and watch what is happening around you or you might miss something.

What was the first dish or meal that you attempted to cook back at home after being eliminated? How did it go?
I cooked an easier chicken dish that required only soy sauce and sprite. Sprite soy sauce chicken! I am still all about simplicity. All you have to do if put some chicken drumsticks into a pot and pour a can of sprite and soy sauce on it and let it cook. It turned out pretty decent according to my husband. I’m happy with it.

What was your most memorable or funniest moment while shooting the show?
The most memorable part of shooting the show was just getting to know all the other contestants. Everyone was from different walks of life and no matter what you do for a living, cooking is something that everyone can relate to. For our group that was the frustration we all found with not being able to cook particularly well. We were all there for the same purpose which was to improve our ability to cook food which is so key to our everyday lives.

Read Eric’s Exit Interview, find out more about Worst Cooks in America and catch the show on Sundays at 9pm/8c.