All Posts In Entertaining

The New Age of Casseroles — Comfort Food Feast

by in Entertaining, Recipes, January 23rd, 2014

Sloppy Joe Macaroni CasseroleThe casserole doesn’t necessarily have the most-fashionable rep around. (Tuna casserole, we’re lookin’ at you.) But don’t let that misconception hold you back. The modern casserole really is a one-dish wonder, one that comes nice and bubbly from the oven. It can take you from oven to table with no effort at all. And when you’re buried under scarves and sweaters, the thought of easy-to-access comfort food should warm you on its very own.

Classic lasagna may be the most-popular Italian one-dish wonder, but just consider it a starting point. Trisha fixes her vegan Black Bean Lasagna by layering black beans, homemade tofu ricotta and fire-roasted tomatoes between sheets of lasagna noodles.

Many casseroles come with a base of rice, but Rachael’s Make-Ahead Paella Casserole is definitely the most vibrant. For a one-pan dose of Spanish comfort, Rachael simmers rice in an infusion of saffron before joining it with chicken, chorizo, fish and even shrimp.

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Food Network Stars Share Thanksgiving Entertaining Tips

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 24th, 2013

Food Network Stars Share Thanksgiving Entertaining TipsFor Turkey Day, Food Network stars aren’t just making masterpieces in the oven; they’re also setting an impressive holiday table for dinner guests. With a few tips and tricks from Giada, Ina and Sandra, you can turn your dining room table into one fit for a Thanksgiving celebration.

Giada likes to spoil each of her guests with their own dish for olive oil. At each guest’s place setting, there’s also a special place card. “I have the person’s name on one side,” says Giada, “and on the other side I have his or her favorite hobby or passion. It’s a great conversation starter and it guarantees that the night will be full of laughs and lots of fun.”

To make kids feel extra special at their Thanksgiving table, Giada makes homemade chocolate-covered pretzels covered in sprinkles, and then wraps them up with a nametag for each child. Instead of a tablecloth, Giada rolls out butcher paper to give kids a place to draw on.

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Thanksgiving Tabletop and Hostess Gift Ideas

by in Entertaining, Holidays, November 17th, 2013

leaves table runner

Turn your Thanksgiving table into a festive spread before the food arrives with fun decorations and ideas that can double as hostess gifts. Add sparkle to the table with the above beaded leaf runner, or set out Thanksgiving-themed crackers as place markers. When guests pop them open, they’ll find a turkey figure, Pilgrim hat and a joke.

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Alex Guarnaschelli’s Top 3 Tips for Holiday Entertaining

by in Entertaining, November 14th, 2013

Alex Guarnaschelli's Top 3 Tips for EntertainingAlex Guarnaschelli puts her culinary chops on display daily at her New York City restaurants Butter and The Darby, but she also knows a thing or two about entertaining a crowd (especially during the holidays). When FN Dish caught up with her at the New York City Wine & Food Festival, she was throwing a jazz brunch in the newly renovated Butter, featuring dishes from her debut cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food. Though the event was small and intimate, her entertaining ideas work for any occasion — big or small:

Mix up the menu. You don’t have to serve an entire buffet of right-out-of-the-oven hot dishes. A mix of both hot and cold bites not only keeps the menu interesting, but it also gives you more time to mingle with guests. Try putting out an assorted meat plate with some dried fruits, toasted nuts or a mix of cheeses. It’s an elevated way to serve a wider variety of food without making more work for yourself. Alex recommends pancetta, culatello ham, mustela loin and capocollo Calabrese. Don’t forget to set out grilled bread or pita too.

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Brownie Batter Cookies — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, November 8th, 2013

Brownie Batter Cookies - The WeekenderI believe everyone should have one cookie recipe that they know by heart — one that can be easily whipped together to welcome new babies, offer up at potlucks and make on a whim when you need a touch of sweet homemade comfort.

For some people, that cookie is a basic chocolate chip. For others, it’s a rough and tumble mix of oats, nuts and dried fruit. And I know other folks who can make peanut butter or sugar cookies with their eyes closed.

The basic requirements of this type of cookie are that the ingredients can be kept in the kitchen cupboard, that you need only a bowl or two to make it, that it drops from spoon to baking sheet with ease (no roll-out cookies need apply) and that it tastes good. Being sturdy enough to withstand the U.S. Postal Service is not required, but it’s a plus.

Before you start baking, read these tips

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Piccata Sauce — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Family, November 1st, 2013

Crispy Chicken Tenders with Piccata Sauce - The WeekenderIn the last few years, the bulk of my friends have become parents. It has been a joy to watch these dear people grow families and to see their once-tiny, squawking babes turn into little humans with preferences and desires.

One thing I’ve learned is that once kids enter the picture in your social circle, it becomes a whole lot harder to throw a traditional dinner party. And so, I stopped having them. Instead I started inviting people over for more casual gatherings and welcomed their children.

In the process, I’ve become a connoisseur of meals that allow you to cook once and satisfy everyone. Burrito bars are one good option, because they allow for mixing, matching and liberal applications of hot sauce for the parents.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Apple Galette with Goat Cheese and Sour Cherries — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, In Season, September 27th, 2013

Apple Galette with Goat Cheese and Sour Cherries - The WeekenderThough I adore the strawberries, plums and peaches of summer, by the time fall rolls around each year, I am ready for apples. To me, they are a sign of cooler weather, cozy evenings and a slightly slower pace of life.

When they’re in season, I often buy apples by the half bushel. One of my favorite local orchards offers an amazing deal at our Sunday farmers market. You can fill up an entire crate of apples for $20. It means that they’re able to move a mountain of apples and I feel like I’m getting a bargain. The only trouble is that I then have 20+ pounds of apples to eat, use and preserve.

And so, I get to sorting and cooking. I fill up one whole crisper drawer with the best-looking apples for eating whole or slicing to dip in peanut butter (that is one of my all-time favorite snacks). I make applesauce, apple butter and little jars of honey-colored jelly.

Before you start baking, read these tips

Cinnamon-Sugar Soft Pretzels — The New Girl

by in Entertaining, Recipes, September 18th, 2013

Cinnamon-Sugar Soft PretzelsI used to be indifferent to football. These days, however, you can find me sporting an Eli Manning jersey and checking stats for my Fantasy team. Perhaps dating a diehard Giants fan and living with two guys has influenced my change of heart. But really, I think it’s the food that won me over. There’s an unspoken rule that all food eaten on Sunday should be of the comfort food variety, and I’m OK with that. An excuse to eat nachos, wings and brownies? Count me in.

For a recent Sunday night game, I made cinnamon-sugar soft pretzels. Chewy, with a slight crunch from the buttery sugar coating, they tasted just like the famous ones that tempt you at malls and airports — and they smelled equally amazing. Even after a quarter filled with fumbles and turnovers, my frustrated friends couldn’t help but be giddy while my pretzels baked in the oven.

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Cowboy Bacon Beans — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, August 30th, 2013

Cowboy Bacon BeansThe impending Labor Day holiday means that summer is rapidly drawing to a close. All across the country, people are starting to shift into their back-to-school and work routines. There’s still a little time left before you pack up the citronella candles, however, to squeeze in one more fiesta.

The secret to end-of-season party giving is to keep it super simple. No need for complicated cocktails or loads of decorations. Buy watermelon, corn on the cob and tomatoes. They are at their best right now and need nothing to be delicious.

Tell your guests to bring something to throw on the grill (and make sure you have a couple packages of backup hotdogs, just in case). Put out an easy green salad. And for your single cooked item, make a pot of The Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Bacon Beans.

Before you start cooking, read these tips

Tomato Recipes Worthy of a Dinner Party

by in Entertaining, In Season, July 10th, 2013

Heirloom Tomato PieA good tomato sauce, a piping hot slice of margherita pizza, the iconic tomato soup — all of these are made possible by the juicy tomato. Tomatoes add richness to any number of home cooked dishes, whether roasted until the skin falls off or stewed into a multipurpose sauce. Though tomatoes have worked their way into our everyday lives, today we’re viewing them from a different angle. When you’re entertaining this summer, showcase the sophisticated side of the tomato, in all of its in-season glory.

As an appetizer, have guests smear Food Network Magazine’s Spicy Tomato Jam and goat cheese on a fresh baguette. Or create mini pizzas for a bite-sized starter. Giada De Laurentiis uses a cookie cutter in her recipe for Pizzette with Gorgonzola, Tomato and Basil, which will disappear the moment they’re set out.

Imagine slicing into Food Network Magazine’s picturesque Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above), with its red and yellow hues amplifying any main dish it meets. Or in Food Network Magazine’s savory Tomato Cobbler, fresh dough and a rich tomato filling reach bubbling perfection together in the oven.

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