For the first time ever, Food Network Magazine organized their favorite recipes from the year into one cookbook. Best Recipes 2014 is a compilation of the best weeknight dinners as chosen by the Food Network Test Kitchen and the magazine’s editors. But it was no easy task: When asked to choose her favorite, the head of the test kitchen, Katherine Alford, said, “They’re my children — I can’t pick one.”
You can receive a free 21-day trial to the annual Food Network Magazine cookbook here, or enter for a chance to win Best Recipes 2014 now. To enter: Share your favorite Food Network Magazine recipe in the comments (you must include the recipe URL). We’re giving 10 lucky, randomly selected winners each a copy of the book.
Bacon is much easier to chop when it’s cold. Keep a stash in the freezer for weeknight meals — separate from the strips you use for breakfast — then just slice and dice straight from the freezer. If you need to separate the strips, microwave on defrost just until you can pull them apart.
Good news for steak lovers: There are 16 cuts that contain fewer than 10 grams of fat per serving. Some of our favorites are top round, blade and flank because you don’t have to marinate them if you’re short on time. The key to keeping lean steak tender: Cook it to medium-rare and thinly slice it against the grain.
Each month, thousands of Food Network Magazine readers submit clever names for the back page’s Name This Dish contest. Previous dishes include a stacked salad (“Produce Stand“), a steak sandwich (“Kraut Pleaser“) and savory muffins (“Thyme Savors“). In the December 2013 issue, we asked readers to dream up names for this Santa ice cream treat (pictured above). Some of our favorites were:
Jolly Ole St. Mint
Lee’s Summit, Mo.
To create Food Network Magazine‘s trimmed-down mac and cheese (pictured above), we skipped the usual butter-flour roux and used pureed cooked cauliflower as a thickener. The cauliflower doesn’t alter the flavor — it just adds creaminess without the fat. It’s a great way to sneak in fiber and vitamins too. Try the cheese sauce from this recipe on top of veggies or other sides.
Baked fries can taste as good as the real thing. Here’s the trick: Dip the potato sticks in egg whites whisked with herbs or spices before baking. Spread on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and coat with more cooking spray, then bake at 425 degrees F until golden. The egg whites dry out in the oven and make the fries extra crisp — without excess oil. Try it out in Food Network Magazine‘s under-500-calories Chicken and Cheese Poutine (pictured above).
To add flavor without extra calories, turn to your favorite tea: Steep a bag in water and use that for boiling vegetables, cooking grains or poaching chicken and fish (like in Food Network Magazine‘s Green Tea Salmon). Try all kinds of tea, such as black, mint, chai, chamomile or spice. Just don’t steep the tea bag for too long; the flavor can become bitter.