This episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off was amazing. YouTube’s popular food critic Daym Drops (Daymon Patterson) was a guest mentor and judge, and we also saw some really innovative dishes from the kids. Our favorite moment was when Christopher kept his cool during the waffle disaster in the elimination challenge. He had started out making a waffle-and-fried-chicken sandwich, but his batter was too thin and leaked like crazy out of the waffle iron. So in a moment of genius, he dipped slices of bread into the waffle batter and made a French toast fried chicken sandwich instead! He even won the challenge and received the highest honor of a Daym Drops’ “5 All Day.”
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Head to any large grocery store chain and you’ll likely find an imported supply of warm-weather produce, even in the dead of winter. But once cooler weather settles in, you won’t find any of your favorite summertime crops at the local farmers market, and certainly not in your own garden. In the battle of fresh versus imported, fresh always wins, so savor in-season produce at every opportunity before the bountiful supply of corn, tomatoes and zucchini runs dry until next year. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, turn to fresh, seasonal salads as a way to showcase the season’s bounty. Here are five fruits and vegetables you can’t miss, and a few salad recipes to help you make the most of each.
Sure, it’s possible to purchase avocados year-round, but the vibrant green fruit seems most at home in fresh summer salads. For creaminess and light, airy texture, the chefs at Food Network Kitchen include ripe Hass avocados in their mealworthy Crab and Avocado Salad (pictured at top). For a festive end-of-summer side salad, try Bobby Flay’s Crunchy Avocado Salad loaded with blue corn tortilla chips and aromatic spices, like cumin and paprika.
There’s no denying that Mondays can sometimes feel like an abrupt transition from the relaxing weekend. So what better way to spice things up than by putting a fun twist on an ordinary recipe? Follow Bobby Flay’s lead with his Grilled Ratatouille (pictured above).
A classic French dish that combines eggplant, squash, peppers and herbs, ratatouille is a beautiful blend of colors and textures. Bobby transforms these fresh veggies — plus red onion and tomatoes — into a flavorful grilled meal in under 35 minutes. The key to perfectly grilling these vegetables is coating them with enough olive oil and turning them throughout the cooking process to ensure they do not stick or burn. Bobby also removes the tomatoes before the other veggies, as they cook a bit quicker. Once the other veggies are grilled, toss them with the tomatoes along with olive oil, garlic, oregano and parsley for a fragrant finish. Serve at room temperature or pack up for a picnic-ready meal.
While store-bought dressings and vinaigrettes are surely convenient, most are packed with sugar and sodium; the homemade stuff is quick to mix up, so stick with a recipe the next time you toss a salad. On this morning’s episode of The Kitchen, the cast introduced three bold — and fuss-free — salad dressings that can be ready in mere minutes. Start with Geoffrey Zakarian’s Base Vinaigrette (pictured above). Once you master that simple combination of red wine vinegar, shallots and oil, you can either serve that mixture on its own, like GZ does with arugula, or you can add more ingredients to create a brand-new dressing with rich tastes and textures.
Labor Day is just around the corner, meaning the end of summer isn’t far behind. Wind down the season with one last celebratory cookout. Each element of our quick-and-easy sendoff menu comes together in under 30 minutes, meaning you can soak up the last of the warm weather without toiling away in the kitchen. Hey, they don’t call it a “day off” for nothing.
Your final products of grilling season should be the best ones yet. Bobby Flay’s Beer Brats fill the bill, since they’re braised in beer before being finished off on the grill until they achieve a nice, golden crust. These brats take under 20 minutes to cook from start to finish, and are best topped with the goods: sauerkraut, green peppers and onions.
We wait to bite into peaches dribbling with juice all year long, and now is the time they’re at their peak, just waiting for you to take them home by the truckload. Put all your peach bounty to use in fruity desserts, full-fledged main dishes and more — or just lean in for a bite — before peaches vanish from the produce shelves until next year.
Share your peach loot with the masses by baking a sprawling Peach Streusel Slab Pie. This quick and easy take on the standard circular pie is fit for a crowd, and each square slice features summer’s sweetest fruit in union with a shortbread-like crust and a nutty streusel topping.
Tacos may often be front and center when the menu turns to Mexican night at your house, but not to be forgotten is the enchilada, most often stuffed with a tender meat, rolled and then topped with a savory sauce and gooey cheese. For possibilities ranging from classic takes on this comforting pick to brand-new ideas, like a lasagna-inspired recipe and a healthy meal makeover, read on below to find six ways to transform Mexican night with satisfying enchiladas.
Simple Perfect Enchiladas: The name of The Pioneer Woman’s recipe is surely no exaggeration. Ree Drummond rolls her enchiladas with seasoned ground beef, green chiles and black olives for bold punches of flavor, then blankets the tortillas with her rich enchilada sauce and a layer of gooey cheddar.
In the throes of back-to-school chaos, the meal that’s most often overlooked is breakfast. Assembling an elaborate plate seems like a scene from Mission: Impossible, especially when there are bookbags to pack and buses to catch. Sure, on-the-go breakfasts like yogurt cups and granola bars are reliable in a pinch, but nothing beats a homemade, sit-down meal. If you’ve been saving your favorite classics like pancakes and omelets for weekends at home, there’s no need: With a few helpful tips and the right ingredients on hand, you can have satisfying plates ready in a flash. Make time for the most-important meal of the day with these 10 breakfast dishes ready in 15 minutes or less, from omelets and poached eggs to pancakes and oatmeal.
Total Time: 15 Minutes
Eggs Benedict is the quintessential brunch item — a dish to be savored and not rushed on a leisurely Sunday morning. But there’s no reason this comforting medley of crisp Canadian bacon and soft poached eggs atop toasted English muffins can’t be part of your weekday breakfast routine. Ree Drummond uses her mother’s quick and easy method to ensure the eggs come out right: When the water comes to a gentle simmer, add a little bit of white vinegar to the pan. Then, use a spoon to create a whirlpool before adding the eggs. This spinning motion encourages the whites to wrap around their yolks.
My husband is not a sweets person, but pound cake is his exception. Although I’ll never comprehend his disinterest in chocolate, an obsession with the classic combination of eggs, flour, sugar and lots of butter is understandable. Traditional pound cake is one of the simplest, most-satisfying desserts out there. It’s also a blank canvas that tastes good with just about anything dolloped on top. Here are some of our favorite variations, whether you’re baking a pound cake from scratch or dolling up a store-bought loaf.
Lemon Pound Cake
This homemade pound cake is brushed with a lemon glaze that adds a little hint of citrus and keeps the cake extra moist. You could use the same trick with a store-bought pound cake to give it some added oomph.
We met our eight kid contestants from Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off this week, and the competition is sure to be fun and fierce. Who else was blown away by the contestants’ cooking skills and understanding of flavor pairings? They cooked with ingredients we never expected, like scallops, mussels and smoked salmon.
We loved Olivia’s sweet heart-shaped one-bite creation, and we were super-impressed with her last-minute sweet-to-savory shift. It’s amazing how changing an ordinary food into a fun shape can totally inspire kids (and some adults) to retry a once-refused dish. Or it can just make an old favorite even more fun to eat!