Football season is in full swing, and with that comes weekends spent huddled around the television watching your favorite teams face off at the 50-yard line. No matter who you’re rooting for on the field, it’s important to have a spread of touchdown-worthy eats on the sidelines of your living room to celebrate game day. While most tailgates feature a buffet of beer, spicy wings and fried jalapeno peppers — three decidedly un-kid-friendly items — it’s indeed possible to pull off a family-oriented menu. When cooking for fans of all ages, stick to tried-and-true favorites plus finger food classics, and if you’re concerned about the heat levels in any dish, simply adjust the spice to taste. Check out Food Network’s top-five family-friendly tailgate recipes below to find a mix of sweet and savory picks that are sure to win cheers from your guests.
5. PB&J Chocolate Bars — Take the classic combination of peanut butter and jelly to the next indulgent level by making layered dessert squares, featuring a buttery peanut-cocoa base, a filling of grape jelly and sweetened peanut butter, and a chocolate glaze topping.
4. Meatballs a la Pizzaiola — Giada bakes a surprise inside each one-bite meatball: a cube of creamy mozzarella cheese that becomes soft and deliciously gooey when bitten into.
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I used to be indifferent to football. These days, however, you can find me sporting an Eli Manning jersey and checking stats for my Fantasy team. Perhaps dating a diehard Giants fan and living with two guys has influenced my change of heart. But really, I think it’s the food that won me over. There’s an unspoken rule that all food eaten on Sunday should be of the comfort food variety, and I’m OK with that. An excuse to eat nachos, wings and brownies? Count me in.
For a recent Sunday night game, I made cinnamon-sugar soft pretzels. Chewy, with a slight crunch from the buttery sugar coating, they tasted just like the famous ones that tempt you at malls and airports — and they smelled equally amazing. Even after a quarter filled with fumbles and turnovers, my frustrated friends couldn’t help but be giddy while my pretzels baked in the oven.
On Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Rachael and Guy coach teams of talented kid chefs to culinary victory. Here on FN Dish, we’re serving up some of the mentors’ best family-favorite, cook-together recipes in a friendly face-off. Whose dish scores more points with your family? Cast your votes below!
Up first is a comfort food all-star beloved by kids and adults alike: Macaroni and Cheese.
Like so many dishes on the menus at your favorite takeout restaurants, saag paneer may be something you indulge in only occasionally, when the need for a quick delivery dinner is simply too great to ignore. But when you have time to spare, preparing this traditional Indian dinner, featuring spiced spinach (saag) and freshly made cheese (paneer), is indeed doable at home, especially when using Food Network Magazine’s easy-to-follow recipe.
The secret to making authentic Saag Paneer (pictured above) is starting with quality cheese, and while you may not be able to pick up paneer at your local grocery store, you can surely craft a batch from scratch using just a handful of everyday ingredients. After warming up whole milk, mix in plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice to create cheese curds. These need to be drained of excess moisture, then chilled in the refrigerator until they form a firm block, at which point the cheese will be sturdy enough to be deep-fried. Tossed with creamy garlic-coriander spinach, these warm cubes of golden-brown cheese are deliciously crispy yet tender. Served with a simple preparation of rice, this bold, flavorful dish becomes a hearty dinner.
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Now that the school year is well under way, chances are your morning and evening schedules are becoming ever more hectic. Between early carpools, afternoon dentist appointments and late soccer practices, it can seem almost impossible to make time for cooking breakfast and dinner — let alone packing school lunches. And on those days, it’s important to have quick-fix meals waiting for you in the freezer. The key to getting the most out of your freezer is making sure it’s always stocked with a range of ingredients and ready-to-go dishes; try to dedicate some time on the weekend to preparing and freezing foods so they’ll be there when you need them. Check out a few of Food Network’s go-to easy-to-freeze recipes for breakfast, snack time and dinner below to find favorites that kids and grownups alike will enjoy.
Sometimes just getting out the door in the morning can seem like a feat, and on days like that, it’s best to not have to worry about your kids’ breakfasts. Food Network Kitchens takes the guesswork out of morning meals with its Freezer to Oven Berry Muffins, studded with juicy blueberries and finished with a cinnamon crumb topping before freezing. While this recipe yields 12 muffins, you only need to bake as many as you need at a time while leaving the others in the freezer.
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Chili is one of my fall and winter weeknight staples. It’s one of those things that cooks up easily, is fairly forgiving and can expand endlessly. Whenever I pull out my chili pot, I make it a point to cook up a batch big enough to last for at least two nights and a couple lunches.
My standard approach involves lots of vegetables, a pound of ground turkey, plenty of spices and two or three cans of beans (I tend to use black and pinto beans, but anything I have in the pantry is fair game).
After years of eating bowl after bowl of my improvisational chili, however, my husband sweetly requested that I try to vary my chili game a little. And so, I started auditioning new recipes.
As I’ve searched, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not really looking for authenticity (my regular recipe includes Swiss chard). Instead, I want a one-pot dish that has a lot of flavor, features vegetables and beans, and if it includes meat, uses a relatively small amount.
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On days when you know there’s not going to be any time to devote to cooking, there’s just one tool that makes it easy to get dinner on the table quickly: the slow cooker. This user-friendly gadget is perhaps the most go-to kitchen appliance in many families’ homes, as it will do most of the mealtime preparation for you. Once you slice and dice a few vegetables, season the meat, and add spices and liquids, all you have left to do is flip on the machine; you can leave the machine unattended for hours, then come home to a ready-to-eat meal. While soups and stews are classic slow-cooker favorites, the machine’s versatility is far-reaching, as it’s able to turn out pastas, pork and even candy with ease. Check out Food Network’s top-five slow-cooker recipes below to find both sweet and savory dishes that are easy enough to make on hectic weekdays.
5. Slow-Cooker Chocolate Candy — Trisha uses just four ingredients to make her salty-sweet treat, studded with peanuts for a welcome crunch. She lets the candy cook in the slow cooker before spooning it into cupcake liners and letting it cool.
4. Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos — Guarantee moist and tender shredded pork by cooking the meat in a richly flavorful sauce of pureed chipotles, honey and vinegar, and let your family members build their own tacos by serving the pork with a spread of classic toppings.
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Before another tomato season comes to a close and you say goodbye to summer’s fresh caprese salads, bruschetta, gazpacho and pasta sauce, you should surely indulge in one of the season’s simplest pleasures: a fried green tomato sandwich. Nothing more than an unripe tomato, a green tomato is firm and drier than its red and yellow counterparts, which means it can sustain a coating of batter and won’t fall apart in hot oil.
A dressed-up version of the original, Food Network Magazine’s recipe for easy-to-make Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches (pictured above) features just a few key components: green tomatoes, of course, plus a creamy, spicy sauce, sliced bread (something slightly soft works best so it absorbs the sauce) and a topping of yellow and red tomatoes. The juiciness of ripe tomatoes works well for the topping, as their moisture adds welcome sweetness. To add extra flavor to the green beauties, Food Network Magazine pickles them with dill before frying, then triple coats them in layers of egg wash and cornmeal with chili powder. Once the green tomatoes golden brown and crispy on the outside, build the sandwich with both the fried and raw tomatoes and a smear of mayonnaise-scallion sauce. This spread features a few dashes of hot and Worcestershire sauces, which together create a tangy taste that cuts through the richness of the dish.
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School is officially in session, which means that for the roughly nine months ahead, you’ll be facing an almost daily challenge of deciding with what lunch to send you child to school. This year, instead of finding kids’ half-eaten sandwiches and untouched celery sticks at the end of the day, guarantee a happier lunchtime — and, more importantly, full bellies — with these three easy strategies for building a better lunchbox. Check out Food Network’s suggestions, then start the conversation about your child’s favorite school lunches in the comments below.
1. Embrace Little Helpers
To improve the lunchbox-packing process, start at the beginning: the grocery shopping for lunch ingredients. Invite your kids to come to the supermarket with you and let them suggest what kinds of foods you buy. It may be as simple as asking them if they prefer apples or orange segments as the fruit of the day, deli turkey or ham on their sandwich, and carrots or cherry tomatoes as the veggie of choice, but the idea is to make kids feel included in the building of their lunches. Ultimately, if kids are invested in their food, they’re more likely to eat it. (This notion holds true come dinnertime, so if you struggle with picky eaters at supper, consider these grocery shopping trips as a means of getting kids excited about all of their meals.)
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During my first few years of elementary school, my family lived in Los Angeles. Because it was almost always warm enough to eat outside, my school didn’t have a cafeteria. Instead, we just had an outdoor courtyard with plastic picnic tables and a small window through which hot lunches were dispensed.
I was mostly a brown-bag kid in those days, but occasionally, when something on the monthly menu particularly spoke to me, my parents would give me a dollar and let me buy lunch. I always asked to buy lunch on the days when they served sloppy joes.
I think part of the reason had to do with how it was served. The saucy meat came packaged in a little aluminum tray, covered tightly with foil. On top, they’d stack a waxed paper dish that held the bun and a plastic cup of applesauce or fruit cocktail. You’d go to your seat with a carton of milk, a napkin and a plastic spork to assemble your very own sandwich. I loved it.
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