Steamy kitchen windows and tantalizing aromas in the air often mean a slowly cooked winter stew is simmering and gently burbling away in the kitchen. When it’s cold and wet outside, very few meals satisfy and satiate our souls and stomachs like a steaming bowl of hearty, thick goodness. Brunswick stew, a thick, substantial stew of meat and vegetables, fits the bill of down-home comfort.
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Whether you’re a lifelong vegetarian, curious about meat-free cooking or even an unabashed meat lover, the Meatless Monday movement can be for you and your family. The idea is to enjoy meatless dishes one day per week — Monday or any other — not only for your own overall health but for that of the Earth as well. Here on FN Dish, we celebrate Meatless Monday each week by sharing vegetarian recipes for every meal that are seasonal, deliciously simple, family-friendly and cost-effective. This year, regardless of whether you’ve made a resolution to eat healthier or not, commit to trying one of these dishes plus other vegetarian favorites from Food Network every week; you’ll be dabbling in new flavors and ingredients while enjoying tried-and-true comfort foods — all in an effort to put out better-for-you meals.
The first Meatless Monday pick of 2014, Food Network Magazine’s Vegetarian Pot Pie (pictured above), is a fuss-free dinner ready to eat in only 40 minutes. Every bit as hearty as the classic chicken-laced variety, this meat-free casserole gets its heft from extra-firm tofu, which becomes full of flavor when simmered in a creamy sauce of carrots, onions and mushrooms. This easy-to-make supper conveniently requires only one pan (be sure it’s ovenproof, as it needs to move from stove to oven) and comes together quickly thanks to a topping of toasted, buttered bread rather than pastry dough from scratch.
If you’re anything like me, you’re feeling decidedly overfed right about now. A late Thanksgiving overlapped with Hanukkah, which rolled right into the holiday party season, which was topped off by Christmas and New Year’s. I feel like I’ve been eating nonstop for the last five weeks.
And so, while I’m not setting any hard-and-fast resolutions, I am making a point of eating a little bit better with the arrival of the new year. For me, this means less meat and sugar — and more vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
I find that resetting my eating habits has everything to do with advance planning. Instead of waiting until I’m hungry to start thinking about the next meal, I make a few hearty bean or grain salads to keep in the fridge. Then making a meal is as simple as putting a few handfuls of baby arugula or tender spinach in a bowl and spooning the premade salad on top. It acts both as a dressing and a hearty, filling element.
One dish that is very good for this keep-in-the-fridge treatment is Guy Fieri’s Turmeric Roasted Chickpea and Lentil Salad. You toss a drained can of chickpeas with a little oil and a few spices, then roast them until they’re crisp and meaty. While they cook, you simmer lentils with half an onion, a hunk of lemon and a few crushed garlic cloves until they are tender. The drained lentils get tossed with the chickpeas, along with some minced roasted red pepper and torn parsley. It is filling, flavorful and just the thing for a post-holiday Weekender.
As a Southerner, I’ve had some form of slow-cooked greens served alongside a serving of Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day nearly every year of my entire life. Hoppin’ John, a dish made of peas and rice, is supposed to bring luck — although no one’s quite sure why — and the greens are supposed to bring money. The resulting meal is a plate of hearty goodness, which, lucky and money-conjuring or not, is the perfect way to start a new year.
There’s no reason to limit greens to just one day! Winter greens such as collard, mustard, turnip, kale and chard are all good, good for you, and a most-welcome departure from sometimes-dreary starchy winter roots and tubers.
The Chopped Dinner Challenge is a series of recipes showing you how easy it is to cook like a winning Chopped competitor. Every week, FN Dish will showcase a recipe created by Food Network Kitchens that uses at least one of the Chopped basket ingredients, plus basic grocery goods and simple staples. Consider it your very own Chopped challenge. Just take this frequent tip from the judges: Don’t forget to season!
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchens chose to feature the basket ingredient of canned tuna, which most often ends up in lunchtime sandwiches and salads rather than the most-exciting dishes. But this recipe for Penne with Tuna and Wilted Romaine elevates the canned good into a dish that’s much more interesting. It’s a great option for dinner, especially on a night when you’re lost on ideas and scrambling in the fridge or pantry, hoping inspiration will strike. This recipe is a road map for a quick, effortless dinner for your family made with pantry staples and a few fresh ingredients.
Food Network users have spoken: traditional, tried-and-true recipes are best. From classic comfort food and side dishes to desserts and dinnertime favorites, Food Network’s top 10 recipes of 2013 are as diverse as they are flavorful. Make a New Year’s resolution to bring a few of these family-friendly dishes to your table in 2014.
10. Giada’s Chicken Piccata — An easy weeknight meal, this classic Italian chicken recipe is topped with a sauce made with lemon and capers.
9. Ina’s Perfect Roast Chicken — Bring the family together for a whole chicken dinner. Ina’s recipe is simple and classic. The cavity is stuffed with thyme, lemon and garlic. Onions, carrots and fennel are spread around the pan to absorb the bird’s flavorful juices.
8. Melissa’s Crispy Kale “Chips” — For a quick snack, try swapping bagged chips for Melissa’s better-for-you baked kale chips. They’ve got that all-important salty crunch, with nutrition to boot.
7. Tyler’s Chicken Enchiladas — Packed with tender corn and a duo of green and chipotle chiles, Tyler’s cumin-spiced chicken mixture is rolled inside soft tortillas, which are later topped with enchilada sauce and cheddar then baked.
6. Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies — Save time and oven space by preparing these easy no-bake cookies made with oatmeal and a classic peanut butter-chocolate combo.
While some soups and stews require hours of slow simmering to achieve their fullest flavor, long cooking times aren’t always required, and it’s indeed possible to turn out a ready-to-eat bowl in well under an hour. Guy Fieri’s big-batch recipe for Ginger-Carrot Soup (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is one such fuss-free dish, as it can be simply and quickly prepared on a weeknight.
The flavors of fresh carrots and subtle spicy ginger naturally complement each other, and in Guy’s family-friendly soup, they’re combined with sweet caramelized onions and garlic for added depth of flavor. Thanks to a few russet potatoes, Guy manages to make the texture of this soup creamlike, although there’s no heavy cream used; when the potatoes are cooked and pureed along with the rest of the vegetables, their starch will naturally thicken the broth. Just before serving, top each bowl with a tangy mixture of Greek yogurt and thyme, and finish with a sprinkle of pine nuts for welcome crunch.
Whether your New Year’s plans include mingling with friends at a swanky late-night bash or watching the ball drop from the comfort of your living-room couch, it’s best to be surrounded by a spread of celebratory eats and drinks as you say goodbye to 2013 and welcome in the New Year. Champagne is a must-have sipper when the clock strikes midnight, but beyond straight bubbly, what munchies and cocktails should you serve? Look to Food Network’s top-five recipes for New Year’s to find sweet and savory picks plus a dressed-up cocktail from some of your favorite chefs, like the Neelys, Rachael, Giada and Ina.
5. The Neelys’ Pigs in a Blanket — Made with just a handful of everyday ingredients, the Neelys’ two-bite snack is ready to eat in a hurry thanks to store-bought crescent dough, which serves as the blanket for mini hot dogs.
4. Whoopee Pies — The beauty of these part-cake, part-cookie treats is that they’re eaten like a sandwich — with soft cocoa shells surrounding fluffy marshmallow filling — so guests can pick them up to enjoy while they’re mingling.
Of all the traditions my husband and I have started since getting married, our annual New Year’s Day brunch is my favorite. It started as an informal thing, just a few friends gathering to eat homemade waffles and watch the television coverage of the Mummers Parade (a beloved Philadelphia institution). However, over the years, it has grown into something of an event.
The festivities start at 11am and run into the late afternoon. Friends bring their kids and something for the table and we eat, watch the parade and share our hopes for the fresh, new year.
Guests show up with sweet rolls, deviled eggs, fruit platters and makings for mimosas. I fill in the gaps with whole-wheat waffles, a big green salad and a few quiches of various types. I particularly like making the quiche, because they can be prepared and baked the night before and then just warmed in the oven a bit before we eat.
Because I’m something of a planner, I start mapping out my menu well before the big day. I’ve already settled on one of the quiches I’ll be making for the party. It comes from recent Food Network Star winner Damaris Phillips: Quiche with Country Ham.
If you overdid it on the holiday spread this year (ham AND prime rib, anyone?) and ended up with a fridge packed full of leftovers, never fear. We’ve got five ways to turn them into delicious new meals.
1. Ultimate Ham Sandwich
Whether your Christmas centerpiece was honey-baked or cherry-glazed, pile thick slices on crusty bread with lettuce, tomato, dill pickles, cheddar and whole-grain mustard, and you’ll have a renewed appreciation for the holiday ham.