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Israeli Couscous Salad With Smoked Paprika — The Weekender

by in Entertaining, Recipes, August 24th, 2012

israeli couscous salad
We’ve gotten to that time of summer when even those of us who are most dedicated to the act of cooking are ready for a bit of a break from the kitchen. Thankfully, with summer produce approaching its absolute zenith, it’s possible to eat incredibly well without spending hours by the oven or the stove.

This time of year, I eat open-face tomato sandwiches for breakfast. For lunch, I toss cucumber, corn, tomato and basil together, add a little salt and olive oil and call it done. Dinnertime calls for big salads made with quick-cooking grains or pasta and lots of vegetables. If I’m feeling ambitious, I’ll call a friend with a grill and invite myself over for a cookout.

In past years, I used a lot of quinoa in dinner salads, but after a plaintive request from my husband for a little variety, I started scanning blogs and websites for something new. The answer came in the form of a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis. She combines large couscous grains with grape tomatoes, red pepper, torn spinach, mint and a smoked paprika dressing. The finished product is both familiar (it is essentially a riff on the classic pasta salad) and different enough to be entirely appealing.

Before you start simmering your couscous, read these tips

Best 5 Cheesecake Recipes

by in Recipes, August 23rd, 2012

sour cream cheesecake
With a silky-smooth center and buttery, crumbly crust, cheesecake is a go-to dessert that’s a perennial favorite and lends itself to so many flavors, mix-ins and toppings. Filled with classic and new flavors, our top five cheesecake recipes below are simple to prepare and range from cakes to cookies.

5. Honey Ricotta Cheesecake – Instead of a traditional crust, Giada uses a classic Italian cookie, the biscotti, as the base. A mixture of clover honey and orange zest sweetens the cake, adding sweet and flowery notes to the ricotta-cream cheese mixture.

4. Sour Cream Cheesecake – Made with tangy sour cream, this simple recipe (pictured above) is a top cheesecake pick. To cut a clean slice, Alton suggests placing your knife into a hot water bath and wiping it dry each time you make a pass through the cake.

Get the top three cheesecake recipes

Meatless Monday for Meat Eaters

by in Recipes, August 20th, 2012


The goal of Meatless Monday is simple: Inspire one day of meat-free eating each week for the sake of our health and that of the planet. The point is not to convert happy meat eaters into the most die-hard vegans, but rather to make even the staunchest steak lovers occasionally think twice before passing up a salad or scoop of vegetables in favor of meaty alternatives.

That said, we know how difficult — not to mention downright boring — it can be to fill up on a plate of veggies alone. So this week we’ve rounded up three of Food Network Magazine’s heartiest, most flavor-packed vegetarian recipes to please even the most demanding of meat eaters.

One of the easiest meatless meals to make, pasta not only feeds a crowd but can be tweaked to your family’s tastes and needs. Pictured above is Cavatelli With Tomato Sauce and Ricotta, a dressed-up version of typical noodles with sauce that can be made in just 30 minutes. Cavatelli isn’t your average pasta; it’s thicker, since it’s often made with cheese, so it’s naturally more filling than traditional spaghetti or penne noodles. Here it’s tossed with a simple but robust tomato sauce, laced with garlic and red pepper flakes for a touch of heat. Before serving, top each bowl with a spoonful of creamy ricotta cheese.

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Pairing entwine White Wines

by in Drinks, Recipes, August 18th, 2012


This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each Saturday, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and the stars of this weekend’s menu are entwine white wines.

Last month FN Dish announced that contrary to popular belief, red wines can, and surely should, be drunk in the summertime, since they pair so nicely with the rich, hearty meals of the season, like barbecue and grilled meats. This week, however, we’re celebrating the classics of summer drinking: white wines, specifically entwine Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

Pinot Grigio:
Light and refreshing, entwine Pinot Grigio is a go-to wine on steamy summer nights when it seems like almost nothing can quench your thirst. It’s an easy-to-drink bottle with a crisp, fruity taste that almost everyone will enjoy.

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The Sweet Scent of Basil

by in Recipes, August 17th, 2012

basil plant
My first real memory of basil came when I was very young. I remember the day as if it were yesterday and every time I smell basil, I’m transported back in time.

We lived in Philadelphia, and in the summer we would pile into the family car and drive one and a half hours to my cousin’s home in Atlantic City, N.J. We would drive past farms filled with incredibly sweet Silver Queen corn, beefsteak tomatoes the size of softballs, peaches so fresh I could see the peach fuzz from the car, and rows and rows and rows of fragrant basil.

Cousin Jeannie’s apartment was filled with produce, fruit and herbs, all picked fresh from those farms. The scent of basil was everywhere and had a magical effect on me. The only basil I knew lived in a small jar cramped with other dried spices in a cabinet that rarely saw the light of day. Jeannie’s basil lived in colorful flowerpots that lined the windowsill in rooms with a sunny view. Jeannie would let me clip fresh basil and showed me how to gently tear the leaves by hand, and sprinkle the beautiful green pieces on just about everything we ate — like those Jersey beefsteak tomatoes, fresh pasta, homemade focaccia and those juicy, delicious peaches.

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Shredded Spicy Chicken Tostadas — The Weekender

by in Recipes, August 17th, 2012

shredded spicy chicken tostadas
During my late elementary and early middle school years, my mother began relaxing her food rules. This can be credited in part to my sister’s refusal to eat more than a bite or two of anything healthy, as well as my mom’s return to a full-time work schedule. There were still plenty of whole grains and vegetables in our lunch bags and on our plates, but come Friday evening, things got a little lax (however, even on these takeout nights, a bowl of carrot sticks would appear on the table).

Some weeks, we’d be allowed to order pizza. Other times, we’d pile into the car and go through the Taco Bell drive-thru. It was on one of these Friday night outings that I first tried a tostada. Back in 1991, I was totally taken by the idea of piling a world of tasty meat and cheese atop a fried corn tortilla. For years, I ordered them whenever and wherever I could and they remain one of my favorite things to order in Mexican restaurants.

Over the weekend, I found myself with a powerful tostada craving. The time had come to try and make a tasty one at home. You see, my husband, Scott, has been doing a masterful job of losing weight over the last few months, and has done it primarily by cutting out carbs. By making tostadas in our kitchen, I could quell my craving and make a meal that would work for him by subbing out the crunchy tortilla for a giant salad. Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Shredded Spicy Chicken Tostadas was the perfect starting place.

Before you start shredding chicken, read these tips

Reinvented: Hummus 5 Ways

by in Recipes, August 16th, 2012

hummus 5 ways
Here in Food Network Kitchens, we love simple, classic recipes. We are also paid to think about food all day. So we’ve taken classic foods and drinks and reimagined them into three, four or five different ways. No standard recipes here, just the occasional technique and pictures. Think of it as a picture recipe.

We love basic hummus, but if you’re looking for simple additions that would add a lot of flavor without too much preparation involved, check out these four variations.

First, start by making the classic version

Breakfast Anytime — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, August 13th, 2012


Who says that you must eat breakfast only in the morning? After all, it’s the most important meal of the day and you should be able to enjoy it whenever you want. Spice up your usual lunch or dinner routines by cooking up breakfast-style dishes for late-day meals. Check out Food Network’s collection of sweet and savory breakfast plates that will wow your family in the morning, afternoon and nighttime.

Though some breakfast dishes, like bacon and eggs and corned beef and hash, revolve around their meaty ingredients, vegetarian breakfasts can be hearty, too, especially when they consist of more than just cereal and toast. Ina’s Roasted Vegetable Frittata from Food Network Magazine, for example, is deliciously rich but still light and fluffy, made with a batter of whipped eggs and a splash of half-and-half. Speckled with soft, sweet roasted zucchini and bell pepper, this easy-to-do frittata offers fresh bites of summertime flavors laced with nutty Gruyere cheese. Perhaps the best part of frittatas is that they don’t need to be flipped like omelets do. You can avoid potentially messy flops by first cooking the eggs on a stovetop then baking them until golden brown and puffy. Since the eggs will move straight from the stove to the oven, it’s important to cook the frittata in an ovenproof pan for an easy transition.

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Salt and Pepper Spare Ribs With Romesco Sauce — The Weekender

by in Recipes, August 10th, 2012

salt and pepper spare ribs
For the last 10 years, I’ve lived in the same apartment in Center City Philadelphia. It’s a wonderful, light-filled space that has been in my family since 1965. I am well and truly lucky to call it home. The apartment really has only one downside and that’s the total absence of outdoor space. During the winter months, it’s no big thing, but come summer, I long to have a bit of space in which to grow a few vegetables and set up a grill.

I’ve not found an adequate substitute for indoor gardening yet, but when it comes to giving food a grill-like flavor and appearance, I’ve developed a few tricks. I have a stovetop grill pan and a fancy George Foreman-like appliance that does a very nice job with pork chops. When it’s about more than the simple appearance of grill marks, I use either smoked paprika, liquid smoke or hickory-smoked sea salt. Each has a way of lending a touch of open fire to the foods they’ve been added to.

Recently, my husband announced that he was longing for ribs, preferably the kind that tasted like they’d spent hours in contact with indirect, smoky heat. Before we made tracks for our local barbecue joint, I decided to see if I couldn’t find a way to mimic that kind of flavor at home.

Before you heat your oven, read these tips

3 Courses in 40 Minutes — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, August 6th, 2012

fettuccini with summer vegetables
Even on the most hectic of weeknights, you shouldn’t have to settle for basic, boring meals simply because they’re easy to make. Believe it or not, in just 40 minutes — the time it takes to fix everyday chicken, meatloaf or burgers — you can whip up a three-course meal without breaking a sweat. Though multi-course meals can be heavy and rich, this one is light and seasonal, featuring a veggie-packed pasta dish, simple side salad and fresh, fruity dessert. Check out Food Network’s meatless menu below and surprise your family with this satisfying meal tonight.

Ready to enjoy in just 25 minutes, Food Network Magazine’s Fettuccine With Summer Vegetables and Goat Cheese (pictured above) is a creamy but light pasta that’s filled with good-for-you ingredients, like tomatoes, squash and wax beans. The beauty of this dish is that it requires hardly any cooking. Though you need to boil a pot of water, there’s no additional pan needed. The noodles and beans are cooked in the same water and the tomatoes and squash are left raw until they’re topped with the hot ingredients. The heat of the pasta warms the veggies, slowly melts the cheese and creates a silky-smooth sauce that perfectly coats each noodle. For added decadence, stir in nutty Parmesan and finish each bowl with extra dots of goat cheese.

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