My husband and I have a long-standing inside joke that we play on each other at restaurants. We sit down, we look at the menu, and then while we discuss our ordering plans (“What looks good to you? I’m thinking the short rib and roasted Brussels sprouts …”), we try to trick each other by picking the exact opposite of what we want to order, to see if our partner knows us well enough to call it out as a prank. It’s a subtle and super-funny game (to us, anyway — try it and you be the judge). Anyway, I have a “tell,” which is ordering a non-chocolate dessert. If I ever try to pass off a non-chocolate dessert order as my real plan, Philippe, my husband, knows immediately that I am bluffing. Apparently, I believe that dessert, by definition, includes chocolate. In fact, it wasn’t until I married Philippe that I truly understood that not everyone must have chocolate in their dessert in order for it to count. (For the record, Philippe loves chocolate, but in a healthier, more balanced way that allows him to order the occasional lemon cake or apple tart.) (Huh?!)
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With four kids who take lunches to school every day, I’m a bento box convert — practically an evangelist. That’s because the benefits of packing lunch in a bento box are just so many. The format makes it easy to fill without having to wonder if you’ve packed too little or too much food, and everything stays in place (without touching each other). The main hook: Everything looks better laid out like this. If you’ve ever served kids anything, you know that a first impression can often make all the difference in what they decide to try.
Here’s my strategy.
Football season has officially kicked off, and that means it’s time for tailgating. Leave hot and time-sensitive food items like chili, guacamole and burgers to the tailgate-party hosts. As a guest, you can bring hot-ticket items like homemade rolls, dessert and cocktails. No matter how long your drive is, these crowd-pleasing dishes will stay fresh until game time, so all you’ll have to bring home is “the big W.” Read more
Between packing up sandy beach chairs, getting little ones ready for school and gearing up for the busy month ahead, putting a satisfying dish on the dinner table can seem overwhelming on this unofficial last day of summer. But as you look ahead to fall, think about soups for bringing plenty of comfort to supper without a hassle.
September is practically synonymous with packed schedules, and busy calendars can quickly result in one too many takeout dinners. But no worries — we’ve got a plan for you. Choose a couple of these ingenious (read: giant and easy) recipes, spend a Sunday cooking and freezing, and get ready to shower yourself with gratitude next time you need a dinner idea faster than fast.
Big-Batch Andouille Gumbo (above)
With just a little extra chopping, you can make a double batch of this hearty soup that’s chock-full of peppers, okra, onions, sausage and more. Make it an even more satisfying meal by serving it over rice.\
Bright, light and full of bold flavor, traditional pesto is a hallmark of the summer season, mainly thanks to the vibrant fresh basil that gives the sauce its famed green hue. But believe it or not, pesto doesn’t have to be all about the basil. In fact, you can make this standard puree with nearly any greens you happen to have on hand.
On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts checked off items from their summer bucket list and introduced simple ways to savor the tastes of the season, including a five-minute Non-Basil Pesto recipe. It’s easily customizable to whatever greens are available, and it yields craveable results every time. Geoffrey Zakarian starts with a flavorful blend of bold garlic and walnuts for subtle crunch then looks to the greens. He chooses a mix of arugula, kale and mint, but he also suggests fresh herbs and spinach, among other picks. Whirl them in the food processor with the garlic and nuts, then boost the richness by adding Parmesan and a hefty glug of olive oil for smoothness. Perhaps best of all is that this mixture keeps well in the fridge or freezer, so you can hang onto it for later.
Labor Day has a way of sneaking up. One day it’s the 4th of July, and then, all of a sudden, it’s Labor Day weekend and you’re faced with prepping for the last cookout of the summer. Thanks to Rachael Ray’s 30-minute meals, it’s incredibly easy to whip up a crowd-pleasing spread at the last minute, just in time for this weekend’s get-togethers and backyard bashes. Break out the grill one last time and celebrate the unofficial end of summer with these top-rated appetizers, mains and sweet bites.
Southwest Turkey Burgers (pictured above)
With over 200 fan reviews and a 5-star rating, these turkey burgers surely give the usual beef burgers a run for the spotlight. Rachael mixes bell peppers, spicy serranos and hot pepper sauce into the ground turkey meat for bold flavor in each bite.
If you’ve ever decked yourself out in an all-white outfit in October in a defiant act of who-ever-decided-I-couldn’t-anyway, then you aren’t alone. Though fashion worshipers may call wearing white after Labor Day an extreme and unforgivable faux pas (because how dare you), it’s one of those rules that either you follow or you don’t. Around here, we have our own issues when it comes to accepting that (sigh) summer is over and we have to move on with our lives. Though foods don’t necessarily fade out of style, they do fall out of season. There are a slew of foods that are on the summer-only list, though no food police is ever going to come after you if you eat them in another season. These are the dishes you should cook outdoors before Labor Day comes and goes (and they look mighty fine next to a pair of white jeans, might we add).
Once you put your rickety charcoal grill into storage, your chances of chowing down on a hot dog nosedive. That’s because hot dogs just taste better when they’re all juicy and char-marked — especially when you toast the buns on the grill too. Fire up the grill one last time for Bobby Flay’s Grilled Link Hot Dogs with Homemade Pickle Relish (pictured above) before you put your hot-dog-eating pursuits on hold until next year.
Some of our favorite summer desserts are red, white and blue. They’re the perfect combination of patriotism and seasonality: We usher in the season on Memorial Day, with fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries shining in flag cakes, cobblers and crisps, then pull out all the stops with patriotic treats come the 4th of July. Give the red, white and blue dessert palette a last hurrah this Labor Day weekend with these festive, simple sweets. They’ll send summer off with a proper salute. Read more
The days that can entail plans for a picnic are numbered, and Labor Day might be your last opportunity for a true eat-outside affair this year. End the summer season the right way with our tips for how to plan the perfect picnic, plus our full lineup of picnic-perfect recipes.
If you haven’t gone for one of our brand-new Brick-Pressed Sandwiches just yet, what are you waiting for? The impressively jam-packed sandwiches, like this Italian Combo and Broccoli Rabe Pressed Hero number (pictured above), rely on the force of gravity, which helps load as many ingredients as humanly possible into one sandwich — and they might just be the feed-a-crowd element your picnics have been missing.