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Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a Day

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, January 9th, 2014

Starting a New Habit in 2014: Eat a Salad a DayI’d like to commit to having a salad a day this year. Who is with me?

Perhaps I should back up and start with a confession: I’m not a naturally disciplined person. Left to my devices, I will sleep until 10am, lounge about in sweats all day, never work out and order in spicy Thai food until my palate finally forces me to switch to a day of pizza(!). Yes, natural me is an ugly scene. That’s the bad news. The good news is I know this about me. And I also know how to create a life I really want, despite my human imperfections. What is the secret? It all comes down to one thing: creating habits that support the life I truly want to live that will circumvent my natural (read: lazier) tendencies. And what better time to start a new habit than now, amidst all the belly-gazing the new year inspires?

Why a salad a day? Why not an apple, as the saying goes? I’ve already done an apple a day for a year. It was brilliant and I still have an apple most days — proof that habits, even good ones, die hard, which is why it is doubly wise to choose our habits purposefully. Back to our salad, I feel better when I eat raw vegetables. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, my body feels leaner and I feel generally healthier. Committing simply to “eat more raw veggies” in the new year would be to trust my whims to lead me to a crudite plate night after night. As I mentioned before, I know myself. The first week, I would be making a gorgeous platter with elegant zucchini spears, cutely bulbous tiny heirloom tomatoes and mini sweet peppers perfect for scooping up a low-fat yogurt dip. But by the end of the month, I’d be pulling a baby carrot from the leftover dregs of my daughter’s lunchbox, mentally checking off the veggie resolution box. Not good.

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Wake Up to Breakfast — Comfort Food Feast

by in Recipes, January 9th, 2014

Wake Up to BreakfastIn the early morning hours, there’s nothing better than cracking an egg into a sizzling hot pan. Unless, that is, breakfast is fixed before you even throw off the covers. Whether you’re looking for a prework meal that beats cereal or a lazy Sunday-morning brunch, these make-ahead breakfast recipes are comforting, easy and perfect for any kind of frosty morning. All you need is some foresight — and maybe a good casserole dish.

Even at the start of the day, some like it sweet. And since French toast generally gets better the longer it soaks, it works as the perfect make-ahead casserole. Do more than add maple syrup with creations like Blueberry French Toast Casserole with Whipped Cream and Strawberries, a decadent recipe best made with day-old challah bread. Or look to a Coconut-Almond French Toast Casserole that’s crunchy on the top but creamy and fluffy on the inside.

With raisins, brown sugar and a hint of rosemary, Alton’s Overnight Monkey Bread melds together for hours on end. Just stick it in the oven when the alarm goes off for a rich morning meal.

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Chicken Thighs Are the New Bacon? Yes, According to Jeff Mauro

by in Recipes, January 8th, 2014

Grilled Citrus-Marinated Chicken ThighsThe new year is full of uncertain futures and vast possibilities, and often with those come predictions for what will be especially hot topics and what will be old news over the next 12 months. Mere days into 2014, Jeff Mauro revealed on last week’s premiere episode of The Kitchen that among the year’s food trends, he thinks chicken thighs will gain huge popularity — and perhaps even replace the ever-present bacon.

While few eat an entire plate of bacon for supper, chicken thighs are indeed a meal in and of themselves, and, best of all, they’re simple to cook and easy on the wallet. Since thighs tend to be a bit fattier than chicken breasts, they’re far more flavorful, and can be prepared in any number of ways. Try roasting them with garlic, grilling them with fresh herbs and citrusor braising them in a rich sauce. No matter how you cook chicken thighs, you can be sure you’ll end up with juicy, tender meat that the whole family will enjoy.

Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite chicken thigh recipes after the jump, then tell FN Dish in the comments below what food trends you’re hoping to see in 2014.

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Bring on the New Year’s Luck with this Kale Salad

by in Recipes, Shows, January 8th, 2014

Kale Salad
Chopped Dinner ChallengeThe 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 redbor kale, a purple variety. When you think of kale salad, “boring” might be one of the words that come to mind. But this salad is definitely not boring. The chefs of Food Network Kitchens made sure that it’s packed with flavor from garlic, maple syrup and bacon. Not only that but the salad also has black-eyed peas — both black-eyed peas and kale supposedly bring good luck, as they symbolize prosperity. Try this Roasted Redbor Kale Salad for dinner with your family and you may just bring on the luck for the year ahead.

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Down-Home Comfort: Slow-Cooker Brunswick Stew

by in Recipes, January 8th, 2014

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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Make Mondays Meatless in 2014

by in Recipes, January 6th, 2014

Vegetarian PotpieWhether 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.

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Turmeric Roasted Chickpeas and Lentil Salad — The Weekender

by in Holidays, Recipes, January 3rd, 2014

Turmeric Roasted Chickpea and Lentil SaladIf 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.

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Down-Home Comfort: Collard Greens and Cornbread for New Year’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, January 1st, 2014

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.

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Canned Tuna Fish Gets a Dinner Makeover

by in Recipes, Shows, December 31st, 2013

canned tune with penneChopped Dinner ChallengeThe 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.

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10 Best Recipes of 2013

by in Recipes, December 31st, 2013

10 Best Food Network Recipes of 2013Food 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.

Get the top 5 recipes of the year