With Halloween just one week away, you’re likely getting set to carve tricked-out jack-o’-lanterns in preparations for next Friday’s fright night. As you roll up your sleeves and scoop out the mushy innards of your pumpkin, keep an eye out for the seeds; these flat, tear-shaped bites are indeed edible, and when they’re roasted with seasoning, they turn into crunchy, savory bites ideal for seasonal snacking. Learn the basics of How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds below, then check out Food Network’s complete guide to master the easy technique.
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This time of year, many of us make the trek out to our closest U-Pick farms to load up on sweet, crisp apples. It’s easy to get carried away by the fresh air and autumnal abundance, and what looked like a reasonable amount of fruit in the orchard becomes an overwhelming volume once you cart it into your kitchen.
So, you start cooking. You make a big batch of applesauce for the freezer. You bake up a pan of apple crisp for dessert (or breakfast, topped with a scoop of plain yogurt). You slice the apples and stack them with peanut butter. You take a sackful to work, hoping your co-workers will help you out. And still, there are more apples.
If this sounds like a familiar story, may I suggest a fun little dessert that comes together quickly, tastes like a treat and still manages to put the focus on the whole fruit? A cross between traditional pie and baked apples, these Pie Baked Apples have you scoop out the interior apple flesh, toss it with a little sugar and spices, and pack it back into the empty apples. You top them with some store-bought pie crust, then bake them until they’re tender and brown.
Listen here: Your slow cooker is meant for a whole lot more than endless vats of smoky chili and comforting stews. Though we turn back the dial for hours on end for some of our favorite meals, it’s about time we rethink this kitchen tool with recipes that are a whole lot sweeter. These perfect-for-fall slow-cooker dessert recipes cook low and slow, rather than hold up your oven or hog all of your time.
1. There will be no more sliding peach cobbler into the oven, thanks to Alton Brown’s recipe for Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler (pictured above). This warm, comforting recipe calls for frozen peaches, so you can make it year-round.
2. It’s hard to believe that a pan of brownies doesn’t always have first dibs on the oven, but sometimes you need that extra space. Easy-to-make Slow-Cooker Gooey Brownie Cake has all the perks of a soft warm brownie, from the gooey center to the crispy edges.
3. Slow-Cooker Banana Upside-Down Cake relies on your slow cooker to caramelize the bananas with rum and brown sugar, before you pour the cake batter on top for easy baking. After you invert the cake from the cooker, all of that slow-earned heat is best taken with a countering scoop of vanilla ice cream.
At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.
If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.
This month the only thing scarier than those spooky Halloween decorations your neighbors put out every year is the thought of your mouth on fire. There are the brave few who subject their taste buds to peppers of all kinds and those who need more palatable levels of spice. No matter your preference, these recipes might have you reaching for a glass of milk once you’re done (and yes, that really works!).
1. Giada De Laurentiis’ Spicy Mint Beef (pictured above)
Thanks to the heat of two to three Thai chiles (such as prik kee noo) or serrano chiles, Giada’s skillet stir-fry is not for the faint of heart. Stir in whole fresh mint leaves before serving to balance the fiery kick.
Who says you can’t have your very own fall fiesta on a Monday? If you’re in a jovial mood and want to spice up your meal for a flavorful start to your week, try Grilled Cheese-Stuffed Chile Tacos (pictured above). You will not be disappointed. You’ll also be surprised at how quickly you can make such a piquant meal, with the cook time being 15 minutes and the prep time just 10 minutes. Besides, you can’t really go wrong with zesty ingredients like Cubanelle peppers, plum tomatoes, Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro.
There are a few steps to cooking this meal. Once the peppers, onions and tomatoes are cut and cleaned, drizzle oil and some salt over them. Grill the vegetables for about 6 minutes. Then, put the grilled tomatoes and onions, garlic, chipotles, cilantro, lime juice and salt into a food processor and mix together. Once that’s completed, cut and scoop the avocados into a bowl and add lime juice and salt. Then, lightly mash the avocados.
Next, stuff the peppers with the Monterey Jack cheese. Place the peppers on an aluminum foil sheet in the grill and melt the cheese for about 4 minutes. Then, heat up the tortillas on the grill for about a minute. To complete the meal, spread the avocado on the tortillas, place the stuffed peppers on top and then add some salsa, sour cream and cilantro.
There are some dishes that are emblematic of a culture. Fried chicken is as Southern as kudzu and sweet tea. Lobster defines the food of New England, and chili peppers speak to Southwestern cuisine. There are many others to consider, but red beans and rice, a true Creole classic, means Louisiana country cooking. Like many of the best recipes from simple food, red beans and rice is made up of humble ingredients that, after a slow simmer, are transformed into a sustaining, nourishing bowl of down-home comfort.
While host Alton Brown didn’t offer the chefs any pancake shortcuts during yesterday’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, he’s giving one to fans in the form of his “Instant” Pancake Mix (pictured above), a go-to recipe that lets you do most of the hands-on work in advance and keeps work simple when you’re ready to cook.
Better than the boxed stuff you buy from the supermarket, Alton’s DIY mix comes together with only a few pantry staples, like flour, baking soda and salt, and, perhaps best of all, it keeps for up to three months and yields as many as three batches of pancakes. Keep it on hand for when you want a stress-free morning meal, and when you’re ready to enjoy, stir in eggs, buttermilk and butter to create the ultimate quick-fix breakfast.
I am of the firm belief that one of the best things you can do for yourself is spend an extra hour or two in the kitchen over the weekend. You can use that time cooking up a meal to have on hand for a busy weeknight, or stir together a treat to make your family feel a little extra special.
Sometimes, that weekend kitchen time isn’t even about cooking. Often, it’s simply a moment to clear out the fridge of anything past its prime and sketch out a plan for how to best use what remains.
And that’s what The Weekender is about: doing yourself the kindness of investing a little bit of your weekend in the kitchen with an eye on the coming week. There will be tasty dishes, tricks for getting your kitchen in order and little things you can do to make meals during the workweek as painless as possible.
This weekend, consider the humble meatloaf. It’s a great make-ahead meal, because it reheats beautifully (consider making two and stashing one in the freezer), works just as well in a sandwich as on a dinner plate and, for picky eaters, goes down easy with a generous dollop of ketchup.
If you perk up at the mere mention of roasted garlic when reading a menu, you are not alone. Roasting fresh garlic tames its sharp bite, leaving behind cloves that are soft, golden and aromatic. Learn how to roast garlic at home, and see the ways that this rousing flavor can be incorporated into your favorite dishes:
1. Mashed Potatoes: Whether it’s a part of your imminent Thanksgiving menu or served up on a weeknight, Ree Drummond’s ultra-creamy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (pictured above) uses a whopping minimum of three whole heads of garlic.
2. Chicken: Serve Melissa d’Arabian’s Roasted Garlic Clove Chicken with bread to mop up the sauce and spread the softened garlic. She opts for chicken thighs, which are extra-juicy and flavorful.
3. Chili: For a fast dose of garlicky flavor, Melissa quick-roasts cloves in the microwave. Her recipe White Chili with Quick-Roasted Garlic for Food Network Magazine comes with garlicky, spicy spoonfuls of chicken, navy beans and spinach.
4. Soup: Every spoonful of Guy Fieri’s Roasted Garlic Soup with Asiago Crostini centers around our favorite ingredient. It uses six whole heads of garlic, and gets a velvety smoothness from heavy cream.
5. Bread: After roasting whole garlic cloves in the oven until soft, squeeze the garlic out of its skin onto crusty, grilled bread for Roasted Garlic Bruschetta.