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Roasted Tomato Basil Soup — The Weekender

by in Recipes, September 28th, 2012

roasted tomato basil soup
Ask someone about their favorite rainy-day meal and chances are they’ll share with you childhood memories of eating tomato soup and grilled cheese on a chilly, drizzling Saturday afternoon. It’s a classic combination in our culture, though it’s one that I didn’t personally try until I got to college.

My parents weren’t trying to deprive me; the truth of the matter is that if they’d tried to serve me tomato soup during my fledgling years, I would have looked at them with absolute horror. I spent the bulk of my first two decades desperately trying to avoid tomatoes in their many forms. They were particularly egregious when raw, but I wasn’t interested in large amounts of any tomato-based substance. Tomato soup would have immediately reduced me to tears.

By the time I was 18, however, and away at school, I was beginning to open up a little to tomatoes. I don’t know if my palate had changed or if I was generally more mature in my approach to food, but slowly I started to understand the tomato’s many virtues.

Now I’m all in when it comes to tomatoes, and I particularly love a good bowl of tomato soup. In my book, there’s no tomato soup recipe better than Ina Garten’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup. It’s been my go-to version since I first made it more than eight years ago. It starts by instructing you to roast three pounds of plum tomatoes and finishes with four cups of fresh basil leaves. It is deeply flavorful, and while not as silky smooth as the canned kind, still goes incredibly well with a grilled cheese.

Before you start roasting your tomatoes, read these tips

Best 5 Butternut Squash Recipes

by in Recipes, September 27th, 2012

caramelized butternut squash
Butternut squash is a fall favorite. Try one of these top five recipes that are filled with classic autumn flavors from Food Network chefs.

5. Beef and Butternut Squash Stew – This stick-to-your-ribs stew is perfect for a chilly fall day. Lots of chunky vegetables, along with the beef, make it hearty enough for a one-pot meal. Serve with crusty bread alongside.

4. Roasted Butternut Squash Salad With Warm Cider Vinaigrette – For a salad full of fall flavors, serve roasted butternut squash on top of baby arugula with a few shavings of nutty Parmesan cheese.

Get the top three recipes

I’m Just a Kid: Turning Childhood Favorite Treats Into the Ultimate Desserts

by in Recipes, September 27th, 2012

popcorn and peanut barkI’m just a kid at heart. Some of my fondest memories of being a chubby kid were all based on eating junk food. Prepackaged little cakes, movie theater popcorn and candy were my best friends. Cracker Jacks — with its secret little toy — made me very happy. Actually, popcorn anything makes me giggle with delight. I have been known to forgo a meal in order to justify eating a large bucket of salty buttery corn.

Fast-forward to today. Always thinking about my past, I re-create versions of all my favorite childhood treats.

In my new book, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors, on bookshelves in just five days, I toss buttery, salty popcorn with rich melted chocolate and peanuts for a quick, rich and amazing treat (recipe below).

Halloween was (and still is) my favorite holiday. I remember competing with my big brother Steven to see how much candy we could gather. As kids, we would dump overfilled candy-laden plastic pumpkins on to a bed sheet covering the carpet in our living room. At the end of the night, we’d count up all the pieces of candy and, based on sheer volume, declare a winner. Hands down, my favorite was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Mom would let us keep a few and take the extra to work — or so she said.

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The Rise of the Kale Chip — Fall Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, September 26th, 2012

kale chips
Where were you the first time you ate a kale chip? Sitting on the couch watching reruns? Mingling at your foodie friend’s last dinner party? After a lifetime of guilt-inducing potato chip munching, there’s something pretty eye-opening about digging your fists into a bowl of solid kale chips. Salty, crispy and undeniably addictive, each one triggers that same sensation as the potato variety without the, well, bodily consequences.

Now that we’re inching into fall, each leaf of sturdy kale is in season and as pristine as ever. Use this to your advantage. As the weather gets colder and our food gets richer, going with the smart snack is probably a noble choice.

With just a drizzle of olive oil and a crack of sea salt, it’s easy to make homemade kale chips. Trust me, Food Network Magazine’s Kale Chips (pictured above) aren’t rocket science, but if you’re looking to get inventive, we’ve got just the thing for you.

Kale chips come in many forms, just like your favorite bag of potato chips. Accentuate the classically sea-salted with Guy Fieri’s Crispy Kale Chips With Lemon, which adds a shot of citrus and some crushed red pepper. Or churn up a Lemon Mayonnaise that serves as a perfect match for a dip-bound chip.

Get more kale recipes from family and friends:

The Sandwich King’s Dressed-Up Grilled Cheese — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 24th, 2012

Squash, Manchego, and Balsamic-Onion Grilled CheeseJust when you think that there’s no way to improve upon the classic beauty of a traditional grilled cheese sandwich, Sandwich King Jeff Mauro puts his royal spin on this all-American favorite.

Made with in-season produce, richly flavored onions and plenty of cheese, Jeff’s Squash, Manchego and Balsamic-Onion Grilled Cheese (pictured above) from Food Network Magazine is a next-level sandwich that’s as comforting and deliciously gooey as the original. The secret to this grilled cheese is the balsamic-laced onions. Be sure to let them cook slowly on a low temperature for about 30 minutes so that they can concentrate their taste and become soft and sweet.

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Red-Carpet Recipes: What to Eat and Drink While Watching the Emmys

by in Recipes, September 21st, 2012

Pomegranate Cosmos
This Sunday night marks one of television’s biggest nights of the year, as the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards air live from Los Angeles. Hollywood’s most popular TV stars will glam up their looks and strut their stuff on the red carpet before taking their seats to find out which actors and shows have achieved outstanding performances on the small screen in the past year.

Even though you may not be in L.A. to catch a glimpse of your favorite celebrities, you can still cheer them on from the comfort of your living room. Create a camera-free version of the red carpet at your house and host an Emmy-watching party with your friends, complete with a menu of award-winning eats and drinks inspired by your favorite shows. Check out Food Network’s star-studded spread below, then tell us what you’ll be munching on during the Emmys.

Kick off the celebration with a batch of Ina’s pretty-pink Pomegranate Cosmos (pictured above) as a nod to Girls, that show you love to hate. These five-minute cocktails are a girl’s best friend, made with a mixture of vodka, orange liqueur and fruity pomegranate and lime juices. Best of all, you don’t need a shaker to prepare them — just add the ingredients to a pitcher, refrigerate and pour into chilled glasses.

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Grilled Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta With Ricotta Salata — The Weekender

by in Recipes, September 21st, 2012

grilled eggplant caponata bruschetta with ricotta salata
As much as I hate to admit it, the summer season is rapidly winding down. I managed to snag one last pint of raspberries last week and my favorite peach farmer told me that he’s nearly done with his harvest. The corn is almost gone and I’m starting to see my markets filling up with hardy winter squash and long stems of Brussels sprouts. Such is the cycle.

Last week in an attempt to ward off the effects of autumn for just a little bit longer, I went to the market and filled my bags with Roma tomatoes, glowing purple eggplants and as many Italian prune plums as I could carry.

The plums went into a batch of oven-roasted plum butter (it is so good on toast come January). Most of the tomatoes and eggplant became my husband’s yearly batch of eggplant Parmesan (it’s incredibly labor intensive, but so delicious), but after he filled a massive baking pan, there was still one giant eggplant and a smattering of tomatoes to be used.

And so I made caponata. Bobby Flay’s Grilled Eggplant Caponata Bruschetta With Ricotta Salata, to be precise. This is just the sort of recipe that uses up massive eggplants and wilting tomatoes with ease. It is terrific eaten on crackers, is good straight from the fridge or at room temperature and helps me pretend that I still have a few weeks of summer left. In my book, that makes it just the thing for The Weekender.

Before you start your grill, read these tips

Best 5 Pumpkin Bread Recipes

by in Recipes, September 20th, 2012

pumpkin bread

The first day of fall is just days away, and with that comes the celebration of all things warm, spiced and comforting. What better way to kick off the season than with a loaf of soft, slightly sweet and deliciously fragrant pumpkin bread? We’ve rounded up Food Network’s top five pumpkin bread recipes, each a cinch to prepare and filled with classic autumn flavor.

5. Pumpkin Ginger Bread Pudding – The secret to Anne’s seasonal pudding is letting the bread sit for 15 minutes before baking so that it absorbs the spiced pumpkin custard and becomes soft and moist.

4. Pumpkin Bread Pudding With Rum Sauce – Use rustic French bread, creamy pumpkin and decadent whipped cream to make this sinfully sweet pudding, best served with a buttery rum-laced sauce.

Get the top three recipes

Lentil Quinoa Salad — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 17th, 2012

Quinoa and Bean Pilaf
Many vegetarians struggle to track down filling sources of protein, since it’s most often found in meat. But maintaining a meat-free diet doesn’t mean that you have to gulp protein shakes in order to get enough of this essential food group. Quinoa is a go-to grain that’s packed with protein and easy enough to make on a weeknight.

Melissa d’Arabian makes a five-star Lentil Quinoa Salad (pictured above) that works well as a hearty side dish or a brown bag-ready lunch option. After combining tender quinoa with smooth lentils, she tosses the mixture with green onions and fresh cilantro and dresses it with a light mustard vinaigrette. Watch this video to see how Melissa prepares this simple-to-make salad.

Similar to other healthful grains like bulgur, barley and farro, quinoa is a blank canvas that can be dressed up with your favorite ingredients. Check out more quinoa recipes below, and experiment with different combinations of vegetables, cheeses, crunchy nuts, simple dressings and more to find what your family likes best.

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Packing Lunchboxes for Picky Eaters — School Days

by in Recipes, September 14th, 2012

Ham Pinwheels
Food Network's Back-to-School HeadquartersSchool is officially in session, and just as kids may stomp their feet in protest all the way to the bus stop, so, too, might moms and dads as they face another daunting year of keeping their little learners full and healthy. As you think of the new school year and wonder how you’ll be able to do it all, look to Food Network’s Back-to-School Headquarters to help you make the grade. Each week in September FN Dish will share can-do weeknight meals, easy lunchbox picks, after-school snack strategies and more from our best collection of recipes and tips.

Earlier this week, Food Network hosted a Facebook chat with our very own Food Network Kitchens on all things back-to-school. Though questions ranged from how to fix healthy lunches to how to get out of a PB&J rut, more than a few of you asked for lunchbox picks for your decidedly picky eaters. So this week’s classroom lesson is all about feeding your fussiest eaters lunches that they’ll gobble up in no time.

The key to packing for picking eaters is variety. No kid — or grownup — wants to open his or her brown paper bag to find yet another turkey and cheese sandwich, cut in the same four squares, nestled next to another apple and juice box. If sandwiches are just about the only thing your little one will eat, try giving them made-over versions of their favorites in order to keep lunch interesting. Food Network Magazine’s Ham Pinwheels (pictured above) are five-minute sandwiches that feature deli ham and cream cheese rolled into a soft tortilla. Cut into easy-to-eat pinwheels, these wraps may offer the simple change in presentation that your child needs to be excited about new foods.

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