Rich, hearty and deliciously creamy, macaroni and cheese may be the ultimate comfort food, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up the everyday casserole with some healthful additions. Whether you round out the meal with juicy tomatoes, mild-tasting cauliflower or bright-green broccoli, there are indeed ways to incorporate fresh flavors without losing the decadence of the traditional recipe.
Food Network Kitchens put its spin on the indulgent classic with Creamy Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Kale and Mushrooms (pictured above), a big-batch supper that’s simple enough to make on a weeknight. After making a triple-cheese sauce with cheddar, Gruyere and cream cheese, mix in the pasta and add garlic-laced kale, plus meaty sauteed shiitakes. “Don’t be alarmed by how much kale you start with for this recipe,” the Kitchens chefs write. “It will cook down quite a bit and pairs deliciously with the creamy pasta and shiitake mushrooms.” Finish the casserole with seasoned breadcrumbs and bake it for just a few minutes until the topping is crispy, and the cheese is gooey and bubbly. Just like with any baked mac and cheese, it’s important to not overcook the noodles in the water, since they’ll finish cooking in the oven. It’s best to remove them when they’re al dente, so they don’t turn mushy when they’re baked.
For some, the big game next Sunday is all about the Seahawks and the Broncos. For others, who wins the football matchup is secondary to what’s on the game-day menu. While football-watching favorites like Buffalo wings and multi-layer dips are best made the day of the game, we like to zone in on make-ahead desserts. All that spicy, salty game-day food needs to be balanced out with sweet treats, and these hand-held blondiesare sure-fire crowd-pleasers that take just 30 minutes to prepare. Even the die-hard chocolate fans at your party won’t be able to resist them.
Just in time for next week’s big game, the co-hosts on The Kitchen — along with Rob Del Balzo, a caterer — created a super snack platter worthy of not just any tailgate but the ultimate football showdown. This “snackadium,” modeled after a traditional football stadium, was almost overflowing with classic and creative munchies alike, including fresh vegetables, crackers and pretzels, plus pigs in blankets and Jeff’s meaty mortadella sandwiches.
Fried chicken is as Southern as sweet tea and kudzu. It is so iconic, in fact, that it has nearly become a stereotype. Fried chicken was once called Gospel Bird. This phrase isn’t another wispy bit of food myth shrouded in fiction and perpetuated by the Internet. I remember very well my own grandfather calling it Gospel Bird when I was a little girl. It was called that because it was most often served on Sundays, once a week.
I have a bad habit of isolating myself this time of year. Part of it is practical. My busy work season is April through November, so during these chilly months, I like to hunker down and get some neglected projects and tasks accomplished. But after spending long stretches of time working from home, with only my husband to break the quiet, I find that I need a little socialization. That’s when I put the out the potluck call.
All it takes is a quick email to a bunch of friends and, suddenly, a communal meal comes together. Sometimes we plan to do a Sunday morning brunch. Other times it’s a basic shared meal on a Thursday evening. It’s as much about contact and community as it is about the food.
I do have a couple of guidelines when it comes to cooking for a potluck. If I’m hosting, I always like to provide a dish that contains both a protein and a vegetable. That way, if the only other things on the table are wine, bread and dessert, I still feel like it’s a fairly balanced meal.
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 seitan, a popular meat substitute. The goal of this challenge was to disguise the seitan enough so that meat eaters wouldn’t even know the difference. Frying it in a cola batter and serving it with lots of tomato sauce and cheese in hero rolls seemed to do the trick. Your family does not have to be vegetarian to try these Vegetarian Parm Heroes. The flavors are classic Italian, but the preparation gives it a modern spin. Prepare these heroes for your next vegetarian night.
The casserole doesn’t necessarily have the most-fashionable rep around. (Tuna casserole, we’re lookin’ at you.) But don’t let that misconception hold you back. The modern casserole really is a one-dish wonder, one that comes nice and bubbly from the oven. It can take you from oven to table with no effort at all. And when you’re buried under scarves and sweaters, the thought of easy-to-access comfort food should warm you on its very own.
Classic lasagna may be the most-popular Italian one-dish wonder, but just consider it a starting point. Trisha fixes her vegan Black Bean Lasagna by layering black beans, homemade tofu ricotta and fire-roasted tomatoes between sheets of lasagna noodles.
Many casseroles come with a base of rice, but Rachael’s Make-Ahead Paella Casserole is definitely the most vibrant. For a one-pan dose of Spanish comfort, Rachael simmers rice in an infusion of saffron before joining it with chicken, chorizo, fish and even shrimp.
Whether you’re entertaining a crowd, feeding your family or simply cooking for one, chicken is a go-to dinner option, thanks to its budget-friendly nature, ease of preparation and endless versatility. While grilled chicken may be a summertime favorite and fried chicken a comfort food classic, baked chicken is a family-friendly option year-round, no matter the occasion. It’s a blank canvas you can dress up with your favorite flavors or whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand, and since it’s cooked in the oven, much of the prep time is largely hands-off. Check out Food Network’s top-five baked chicken dishes below to find simple supper ideas from Rachael, Giada and more of your favorite chefs.
5. Italian Baked Chicken and Pastina — An all-in-one supper that comes together in less than an hour, Giada’s simple casserole is reminiscent of classic chicken Parmesan, as it features garlic-laced chicken tossed with noodles, plus tomatoes and creamy mozzarella cheese. Click the play button on the video after the jump to watch her make it.
4. Baked Chicken Breasts with Parmesan Crust — After dunking lean chicken breasts in a mustard-thyme mixture, Ted covers them with nutty Parmesan cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs, so they turn out moist on the inside with a crispy coating on the outside after baking.
“It’s like eating a hidden salad,” Food Network Kitchens chefs say of their healthy, fuss-free Brown Rice and Bean Burrito (pictured above). “Burritos are a great way to introduce vegetables and salads to your kids.” The quick-fix recipe, ready to eat in only 15 minutes, is rolled full of better-for-you brown rice and protein-packed black beans, plus cheddar, creamy avocado and fresh carrots, so it’s every bit as hearty as meat-filled burritos, but lighter and fresher than the classic variety. If you’ve struggled with rolling burritos or sandwich wraps before, know that the process goes smoothly here, thanks to the avocado, which is gently mashed with zesty lime juice and will act like glue.
This recipe makes enough for just one burrito, so it’s a go-to option when prepping an after-school snack for your child or packing a lunchbox for yourself, but you can also increase the amount of each ingredient and feed a family. Let your kids have a hand in mealtime by rolling their ultimate burrito. Just set up a fillings bar complete with the prepared ingredients, and allow them to add what they’d like to the tortilla and roll it up.
Just this morning on a brand-new episode of The Kitchen, co-hosts Sunny Anderson and Geoffrey Zakarian showed off a duo of recipes for the humble chicken wing. This game-day favorite is a blank canvas for almost all ingredients, but often one of two tastes ends up reigning supreme: spicy or sweet. While both Geoffrey and Sunny deep-fried their wings until the skin was deliciously crispy and the meat juicy, Geoffrey opted for a slightly spicy rendition with piquillo peppers and cumin in his BBQ Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Butter, and Sunny celebrated the sweeter flavor of pomegranate juice and hoisin sauce in her Sticky Onion Crunch Wings. Both finished wings proved deliciously sticky, but Geoffrey’s featured smoky notes while Sunny’s were subtly sweet without losing their savory bite.
Before you pick which team you’re rooting for in this year’s big game, FN Dish is challenging you to select which side you’re on in the great debate of sweet versus spicy chicken wings. Cast your vote below to tell us which flavor profile you prefer, then find party-ready recipes for both kinds of wings after the jump.