For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient spiral ham. But instead of using the ham in the most-conventional way, say baking it or even cubing it, this recipe takes it to the Chopped-like extreme: The ham gets pulsed in the food processor, basically deviling it and turning it into a creamy pate that is sauteed and combined with beaten eggs to make this Deviled Ham Frittata with Jalapeno and Scallion Relish. A layer of sharp cheddar is sprinkled on top before the skillet goes into the oven. This dish is ideal for a spring brunch with family and friends — and you’ll have everyone guessing as to the secret ingredient that makes it so flavorful.
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In anticipation of Mother’s Day, we asked staffers in Food Network Kitchen to share favorite recipes from their mothers (and grandmothers, too). Their personal picks ranged from classic Chocolate Pudding and creamy Cheesecake to bright Vietnamese Chicken Salad and hearty Pasta e Fagioli, all of which prompted us to clean our plates and politely ask for more during tastings in the test kitchen. One thing’s for sure: These moms raised some amazing cooks. Share one of their recipes with your mom this Mother’s Day, or get inspired by the staffers’ stories and treat her to a favorite dish from your own childhood.
Mom’s Chocolate Pudding
This pudding, made with a mix of cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, was a favorite childhood treat of Food Network test kitchen manager Claudia Sidoti, who says the dessert “makes me remember my mom and all the fun and nostalgia of my childhood in the 1960s and ’70s.”
Endlessly versatile and guaranteed to please even the pickiest eaters, chicken is a family-friendly staple. It’s a blank canvas that absorbs flavor quickly and easily, and it pairs well with myriad ingredients, especially the Italian-inspired tastes of tomato sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese, which, when combined, create classic chicken Parmesan. While you may be used to indulging in this hearty dish at local restaurants, it’s surely possible to replicate it in your own kitchen; the secret lies in the steps. Once your sauce is ready and the chicken golden brown and crispy, finish it with tomatoes and add a layer of cheese for over-the-top decadence. Check out Food Network’s best-five recipes for chicken Parmesan below to find top-rated takes on this timeless dinner from Bobby, Giada, Tyler and more chefs.
5. Chicken Parmesan — This better-for-you recipe uses lean boneless, skinless chicken breasts and whole-wheat breadcrumbs to achieve lighter results, but it maintains a traditional flavor thanks to the addition of tried-and-true marinara sauce and a duo of cheeses.
4. Skillet Chicken Parmesan — Save time — and effort when cleaning up — in the kitchen by preparing both the juicy chicken and garlic-laced tomato sauce in a single pan, then finish them under the broiler to melt the cheesy topping.
While Mexican-inspired meals, like tacos, quesadillas and tortilla soup, may be in frequent dinner rotation in your home, there’s perhaps no better day of the year to cook them up than today, Cinco de Mayo. Celebrate the event with an impromptu fiesta complete with an inspired spread featuring rich refried beans, Rachael’s fresh guacamole and Alton’s tres leches cake for dessert. As a main course, skip such meaty dishes as fajitas and burritos and instead focus on chiles rellenos; showcasing peppers and cheese, these over-the-top indulgences are often naturally vegetarian.
Food Network Kitchen’s top-rated Chiles Rellenos (pictured above) is a fan-favorite recipe packed with the bold flavors of poblano peppers and tomato sauce spiced with a serrano chile. After charring the poblanos, stuff them with Mexican string cheese and dunk them in flour and a cumin beer batter to create the light coating ideal for deep-frying. The key to making these chiles lies in the stuffing process; after filling them with cheese, it’s important to seal the openings shut with a toothpick so the cheese doesn’t seep out into the oil. Serve these crispy, golden-brown beauties atop the smooth tomato sauce for an impressive plate worthy of Cinco de Mayo.
Brownies: Whether cakey or fudgy, milk or dark chocolate (or blondies), they’re a treat even the pickiest of eaters can get behind. The next time you whip up a batch, think outside the box. Use your favorite brownie recipe (or try one of Food Network‘s) and check out these five ways to keep brownies the main event at the dessert table.
Perhaps the most-famous shortcake dessert is strawberry shortcake. Depending on where you are in the United States, shortcakes can either be sponge cakes or sweet biscuits. These shortcakes are split and the bottoms are covered with a layer of strawberries and whipped cream. They are divine down-home comfort.
What’s the secret to a light, tender shortcake? This is where down-home comfort meets food science. Wheat flour contains two proteins, glutenin and gliadin. When you combine flour with water, the proteins create a strong and elastic sheet called gluten. Flours vary in their protein levels, which affects the texture of baked goods. Gluten gives structure to yeast breads but is not recommended for tender sponge cakes, biscuits and quick breads. All-purpose flour milled in the South is from soft red winter wheat, which has less gluten-forming protein. It is typically bleached, which makes it whiter, but this does not affect the protein. My family has always used White Lily flour, a staple across the South; another dependable Southern brand is Martha White.
We have friends who host an annual Cinco de Mayo party. Because of my book tour schedule, we’re not going to be able to make the hour plus drive out for the festivities this year. I’m sad to miss the chance to catch up with them and to dig in to the exceptionally good spread of food they always cook up.
Since we’re missing out on carne asada and the largest bowl of guacamole I’ve ever seen, I’ve been plotting a substitute meal. It won’t be as festive and community-oriented as our gathering of friends, but it will calm the worst of the Tex Mex cravings.
As my starting place, I’m using Ree Drummond’s recipe for Brisket Tostadas. She has you marinate and then braise a large hunk of brisket until it’s tender and shred-able. Once the meat is ready, layer it on toasted corn tortillas with cheese, black beans, salsa and cubed avocado. Perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration and your very next Weekender.
Before you run in the opposite direction, we aren’t suggesting you eat a salad as your meal and call it a day. In fact, these green salads are sideshows for a reason. In between bites of something more substantial, they work as a nice recess, countering the heartier notes of your main dish with exciting freshness.
Fetch your salad tongs and the biggest bowl you can get your hands on. These recipes — and the homemade salad dressings that adorn them — stray far from the salad bar.
It may be a Simple Green Salad, but Food Network Magazine relies on uncomplicated ingredients that shine. All you need is a crunchy heart of romaine and Bibb lettuce along with a drizzle of lemon-mustard vinaigrette and a scattering of fresh chives.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient cube steak. The key to cooking with cube steak is not overcooking the meat, because it can get tough. Typically used for chicken-fried steak, cube steak is often tenderized with a meat mallet to produce a thin cutlet, which makes it easier to cook and eat. But the technique the chefs came up with for making these Steak and Black Bean Chalupas was to sear the thinly sliced meat in a screaming-hot pan, and then simmer it in broth briefly to eliminate the need for tenderizing. Paired with mashed black beans — a take on refried beans — and a tangy chili-lime mango salsa, these open-faced tacos are filling and refreshing, perfect for Cinco de Mayo or a simple Mexican Night any day of the week with the family.
Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away, and if you haven’t yet decided on a gift for Mom, there’s still time to commit to making her an extra-special meal at home. While holiday dinners carry with them a certain level of pressure, daytime get-togethers can be casual and relaxing, which makes Sunday brunch an ideal time to celebrate Mom. For a go-to brunch option that can feed a crowd, try making hearty quiche; it’s an egg-based main that’s often baked, so there’s no need to cook guests’ scrambles or over-easy eggs to order. Plus, quiche is endlessly versatile, as you can add nearly any cheese, vegetable or meat you happen to have on hand. Check out Food Network’s top-five quiche picks below to find deliciously satisfying recipes from Alton, Trisha, Bobby and more of your favorite chefs.
5. Mini Chorizo Quiches — Start with buttery crusts and fill them with a bold mixture of chorizo, Manchego, potatoes and eggs to create individual servings of Marcela’s Mexican-inspired quiche.
4. Crepe Quiche Lorraine — Instead of baking his bacon-and-cheddar-laced quiches inside a tart crust, Alton builds them inside herb-studded crepes, which support the egg-based center when assembled in a muffin tin.