Hey there! Welcome to my new column, “Relax, It’s Just …” (fill in the blank). Every month I’ll share a new recipe, something that many people feel intimidated about making at home, and demystify the pants off of it. There will be detailed instructions, but written in language that even a novice cook can easily understand, and lots of tips so that you will feel confident and end up successful. And step-by-step photos so you can see what is supposed to be happening when. The goal of this “Relax” column is to help you become more comfortable in the kitchen, and I would love to hear what dishes you’d like to conquer. No judgments here! Just the pleasure of learning to be a more self-assured cook. Read more
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During my junior year of high school I spent my Saturdays behind the counter of a local doughnut shop. It wasn’t a glamorous job, but I was happy surrounded by fried dough. The regulars were kind. The tips were adequate. And I was content with all the iced coffee I could guzzle during my six-hour shift.
While I rarely indulged in a doughnut during work hours, I often brought treats home for my family to share. The apple fritters were our favorites. When most people think of apple fritters, they probably imagine bucolic apple orchards, rustic baskets of overflowing, just-picked fruit and somebody’s beloved grandmother with her secret recipe. Not me. I think of the apple fritters I brought home from the smoky doughnut shop, tucked into a waxy bag and reheated in the microwave. My brother and would share a piping-hot, knobby pastry while standing up at the island in our suburban kitchen. There was nothing charming about the ritual. But the fritters were exceptionally delicious, and that’s all we cared about.
You don’t have to bake ghoulish cupcakes or serve garlicky anti-vampire snacks to throw a good Halloween bash. Instead of going the spooky route, serve a beautiful dessert dressed in the official holiday colors: orange and black. Food Network Magazine created four new recipes that are classy enough for a cocktail party but sweet enough for any little monsters in your life.
A platter full of doughnut holes is much more tempting than a bowl filled with candy. This recipe yields about five dozen chocolate-glazed bites, which is especially great if you’re planning on a full (haunted) house on the 31st.
No matter what in-season veggie you happen to have on hand, chances are that after just a quick roast in the oven, it will have turned oh-so-sweet — and seasonal squash is no exception. Butternut, acorn, spaghetti and delicata squashes are all overflowing at farmers market stands and in supermarket aisles alike this time of year, and while you can indeed simply roast them and enjoy them as is, in all their tender glory, dressing them up a bit with bold, fresh flavors will transform them even more.
In his recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese, Guy Fieri precooks the squash for a few minutes in the oven before filling it with a hearty, savory stuffing that’s easy to make yet endlessly impressive. He opts for a mixture of cremini mushrooms, fresh cabbage and colorful bell peppers for heft and texture, plus a few cloves of garlic for over-the-top taste. Follow Guy’s lead and top the filling mixture with goat cheese and roasted acorn seeds before baking; the tangy crumbles of cheese deliver the richness you crave, while the acorn seeds promise a welcome salty, crunchy bite.
Classically happy, silly or downright sad — no matter what face you carve into your jack-o’-lantern, be sure to save the seeds you likely scraped from the inside of the pumpkin. These crunchy bits are blank canvases in the snack world. On their own they have a mild flavor, but they can be dressed up with sweet, smoky, salty and savory flavors alike. The co-hosts of The Kitchen shared their top tricks for transforming these seasonal eats on this morning’s all-new episode; each recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes and is as simple as combining a few dried spices and baking until golden brown.
Curried Pumpkin Seeds (pictured above): To help the curry powder stick to the pumpkin seeds, coat them in a bit of coconut oil before adding the seasonings. Just a sprinkle of salt will help balance the warm flavor of the curry powder.
Waffle bars aren’t just for breakfast (though they’re great for that). They also make awesome family dinners and serve as the perfect party buffet. Best of all, they’re deceptively simple. Even the most-festive waffle bar can be set up in three easy steps.
1. First, decide on the waffle recipe you’ll use. A few fan-favorite suggestions:
If you’ve ever made, say, a pumpkin pie at home, odds are you didn’t get your pumpkin fresh from the patch. Pure pumpkin puree exists in canned form, making it one of the most-convenient ways to get your pumpkin fix all season (and, arguably, all year) long. This fall, however, we’re celebrating the season by bringing fresh pumpkin into our recipes. Whether it’s for dinner or dessert, these recipes use pumpkin for a whole lot more than carving.
Whether you serve it for Halloween, Thanksgiving or any kind of fall party, Food Network Magazine’s Pumpkin Queso Fundido (pictured above) is the party-starting appetizer of your dreams. Use a roasted sugar pumpkin as your dip bowl and each scoop of this gooey, cheesy dip will take morsels of cooked pumpkin along with it.
What can’t cauliflower do? With its ability to transform into any number of forms, unassuming cauliflower is a veggie with serious superpowers. It can be fried, pureed, mashed, roasted and more, all with a flavor that feels more indulgent than the vegetable truly is. Now that this hearty and versatile vegetable is in season, use it as a stand-in for some of your favorites, whether it’s as an appetizer, a side dish or a main.
Nibbling chicken wings off the bone is an American pastime that isn’t going anywhere, but Food Network Kitchen has developed a no-meat version of the bar and party snack that everyone can dig into. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce (pictured above) is sure to please, with a spicy Buffalo coating and a cool, creamy blue cheese dipping sauce. Plus, it comes with a fraction of the calories and fat of Buffalo wings.
My first encounter with Boston cream pie was in doughnut form when I was in middle school. My best friend Melissa’s family had a standing Saturday doughnut-breakfast policy. It was one of my favorite parts about sleeping over her place on Friday night. Her parents would go out early Saturday morning and bring the treats back for us. While they drank coffee, we ate doughnuts in our pajamas. I always chose Boston cream and I always wished I could eat more than one.
There is something so magical about the Boston cream combination: cool, creamy custard nestled in fluffy cake and topped with bittersweet chocolate. It’s the perfect dessert for the indecisive. Chocolate, vanilla, cake and custard all wrapped up in one. It’s a genius invention.
While some recipes require a bit of (worthwhile) finagling to make them meatless, macaroni and cheese isn’t one of them. Kids and adults, meat eaters and vegetarians, picky eaters and voracious culinarians — seemingly everyone is pleased when a bowl of piping-hot, ooey-gooey mac and cheese is set before them.
When it comes to classic recipes, this one for baked macaroni and cheese and this one for the stovetop variety are go-to places to start. But for a next-level twist on the traditional version, try Sunny Anderson’s 5-star Spicy Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above). It boasts all of the cheesy richness you crave — there are a whopping three kinds of cheeses in this indulgent recipe — but the pinch of cayenne adds a welcome boost of heat. To add to the creamy texture in this big-batch casserole, Sunny adds a bit of tangy sour cream to the cheese mixture, and then she balances out that texture with a crispy-crunchy topping of buttery croutons.