The Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, was the guest judge for this week’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off. And, of course, our contestants had to win him over with amazing sandwiches during the first round. We were so sad to see Sabrina go home with her first attempt ever at a croque monsieur sandwich — but so impressed that she took a chance! If you’re like Sabrina, and never made this classic French sandwich, then here’s a little 101.
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We are mere weeks into the school year — anyone else a little stressed already? I love routine and structure, but the first month or two can be a bumpy re-entry as we try to find our footing in a new schedule of activities and events.
When I am feeling a little overwhelmed, my natural instinct is to load up caffeine, simple carbs, processed foods, sodium and sugar — “anything to get through the day” is my default battle cry. But I play that scene through and I know it will compound the problem of overwhelming me with lethargy and fuzzy thinking. So, instead, I ignore that part of my inner self and cling to basic actions that have proven time and again to be exactly what I need during times of stress. I make sure my physical and emotional health are well-tended so that I have maximum personal resources to deal with the hecticness.
For me, that means fiercely protecting my morning devotionals, rather than hitting the snooze button. (Actually, if I need to set an alarm, that’s my body’s way of saying I’m not getting enough sleep, so I fix that, too.) I protect my exercise time, particularly if I think I don’t have the time to exercise. And on the food front, I up the Oomega-3 fatty acids in my diet. There are lots of studies out there that point us in the direction of Omega-3s for mood health, but that’s not why I turn to them. I do it because, quite simply, I feel better equipped to face the craziness of this messy life. My personal go-tos: tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, shrimp, walnuts, strawberries, dark leafy greens, cabbage and cauliflower. I buy these ingredients and fill the dinner calendar with recipes starring them, and I cut down on processed foods, even eliminating them entirely if life is super-stressful. And it’s that simple.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few recipes that will get you started.
Bagels (and various schmears) always deserve a place on the Yom Kippur break-the-fast spread. Carb-filled comfort food is exactly what we crave after a full day of fasting to observe the Jewish day of atonement. Plus, 2015 has been deemed the “Year of the Bagel” — there are more places than ever to get an excellent one, even outside of the great bagel capital of New York City. In my house, everything bagels are always the first to go. If you want to get creative and plan ahead before the fast, here are three everything-bagel-and-cream-cheese riffs that will surely impress your hungry guests.
No longer relegated to layers of red sauce and heaps of meat, lasagna takes a turn for the creamy — and surprisingly healthy — with this big-batch recipe for Squash and Spinach Lasagna (pictured above).
Food Network Kitchen swaps out the traditional marinara or meat sauce in favor of a mixture of onions and fresh spinach in a milk-based sauce made thick with the help of cornstarch. Layer chopped butternut squash for color and an added boost of nutrition, and opt for part-skim mozzarella to keep the casserole light but satisfying. Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it comes together with no-boil noodles, which means that you can assemble them in the casserole straight from the box; they’ll soak up the liquid of the cream sauce and become tender as they cook in the oven.
Dear Grilled Cheese,
Everything about you is intoxicating: your sizzling buttery aroma as you hit the pan, the golden-sunrise hue of your exterior, the way your cheese turns into wonderful yellow ribbons. Grilled cheese, let me just say three words — words it has taken me much, much too long to proclaim: Get in m’belly.
With love and passion,
Jeffrey Michael Mauro
In case you missed it, the September issue of Food Network Magazine focused on reinventing the beloved grilled cheese sandwich. So it only seemed fitting to ask the Sandwich King for his overall thoughts on the subject, which are so passionately stated above. Jeff’s go-to recipe: a white-bread classic with a twist. He calls it the French Onion Grilled Cheese.
As both a Food Network chef and a Grammy Award-winning country music star, Trisha Yearwood has charmed food- and music-loving audiences alike on Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. Joining Trisha at home means getting a taste of her family’s recipes and traditions that feature tried-and-true takes on Southern classics. And whether she’s lending Georgia flair to slow-cooked barbecue pulled pork or sharing her grandmother’s secrets for the perfect deviled eggs, Trisha’s recipes are sure to please a crowd and always come with one of her quick tips. Keep reading below for more of Trisha’s hit recipes.
As we move deeper into September, there’s no denying that it’s almost time to tuck into some colder-weather comforts. And is there anything more comforting than a bowl of homemade soup? When the need for warm-your-core food calls, forget reinventing the wheel. Instead, consider our favorite cast of classic soups, each with upward of 100 top reviews. That way, you know your first soups of the season will be worthy of your spoon.
If you’re moved to make the often-canned tomato classic from scratch, Ree Drummond’s Best Tomato Soup Ever is just as the top-rated recipe’s name reads: the best ever. Simmered with cream, sherry and just a touch of sugar, it’s the silky, smooth and warming soup you should revel in now. And if you want to do it up with a toasty grilled cheese on the side for dipping, we won’t stop you.
What’s better than enjoying a warm, buttery sweet bun fresh from the oven? Eating a warm bun while still in your pajamas. In order to have that luxury you might think you need to start baking at 4 a.m., but that’s not true at all. These overnight blueberry babies look complicated, but they take only about 20 minutes of active work to put together, and they’re perfect for breakfast.
You start by making a simple enriched dough. With a stand mixer, the whole process takes about 10 minutes. Without one, you’ll have to do the kneading by hand, but this pillowy dough is easy to work with. The first rise should take about an hour. Then all you have to do is shape the dough and pop it in your fridge. The rolls rest overnight; this makes the recipe simpler and develops delicious yeasty flavor in the dough. The buns actually get tastier in the fridge while you sleep.
We were so happy that none of the kids on Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off were sent home this week! They all did a stellar job, especially during the immunity round when each competitor had to cook a dish with one of his or her parent’s least favorite ingredients. Juliana was stuck with sardines — her dad’s worst nightmare. She did an amazing job, lightly frying them, and completely converted him into a lover of these oily little fish.
So many of us in Food Network Kitchen love sardines — fresh or canned in olive oil. And we’re sad that they have a bad reputation, because they’re delicious, inexpensive and an excellent source of heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. And because sardines are low on the aquatic food chain, you don’t have to worry about mercury levels.
Marinara often takes the crown in terms of quick-fix pasta sauces, but with just a few key ingredients, Alfredo sauce, too, is a go-to pick on nights when you have next to no time to make dinner. Whether you’re a fan of the classic recipe with little more than cream and cheese or you’re looking to dress up the original with bright, bold flavors, check out our top five ways to dig into this satisfying supper.
Giada De Laurentiis opts for a two-part approach to adding refreshing lemon flavor to her 10-minute sauce: the juice as well as the grated zest. After simmering the lemon juice with the cream and butter, she adds the pasta and nutty Parmesan before tossing it with the zest ahead of serving.