All Posts In Recipes

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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Grilled Chicken 101 — Weekend Cookout

by in Recipes, August 4th, 2012


You’ve heard it before about this most beloved white meat: Grilled chicken can be boring. Sure, on its own, plain grilled chicken can be bland and dry, but it doesn’t have to — and should not be that way. To take everyday chicken to the next delicious level, try switching up cuts of chicken, experimenting with new cooking techniques and adding marinades, rubs and sauces to ensure moist, flavorful results. Follow Food Network’s three simple suggestions below to cook up crave-worthy chicken in a flash.

Buy a Better Bird:
Instead of reaching for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, give chicken thighs a chance instead. Dark meat is a tad fattier, so it’s inherently juicer and more flavorful. If you prefer lean white meat, however, look for bone-in chicken breasts — cooking chicken on the bone helps the meat maintain moisture.

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Filet Mignon Crostini With Rosemary Pesto — The Weekender

by in Recipes, August 3rd, 2012

filet mignon crostini
Filet mignon was my maternal grandmother’s preferred cut of beef. She was forever dieting and firmly believed in the power of lean protein to help her keep her figure (she was decidedly ahead of her time when it came to slimming techniques). She would serve small rounds of filet, each briefly broiled (no extra oil) with little bowls of salad and a steamed green vegetable. My grandfather would satisfy his need for something starchy with several slices of buttered bread.

When we visited, I marveled at the smooth, tender steak, so different from what we ate at home. Always watching the grocery budget, my mom typically opted for hamburger or a chuck roast when she was shopping for beef.

Like my mom, I often find that filet is really too pricey to serve regularly. When I want a sturdy piece of beef, I go for flank steak or those little cuts that are sometimes marketed as ranch steaks. When I can stretch a small amount of filet to serve a number of people, however, I don’t mind spending a few dollars to get it.

One way to make a piece of filet go far is to slice it and serve it on top of salads or toast rounds. Jeff Mauro’s version, called Filet Mignon Crostini With Rosemary Pesto, is a particularly good rendition of this style of filet stretching. I used his recipe recently to serve to friends at an informal weekend cocktail party we were hosting and it was one of the first things to disappear from the table. Its combination of indulgence, flavor and ease makes it entirely perfect for The Weekender.

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A Gold Medal-Worthy Grilled Cheese

by in Events, Recipes, August 2nd, 2012

double grilled cheese with avocado and tomato
Grilled cheese is my jam. When I was younger, my dad would make my sister and me a grilled cheese sandwich every day after our morning swim practice. It was basically the best treat in the world. Stuffed with Colby jack cheese and buttered to perfection, my dad would slice it in half on a diagonal, rather than a boring down-the-middle cut, and we would gobble it up with big smiles on our faces. But those were my picky eater days. Now I stuff my grilled cheese sandwiches with lots of fun ingredients.

And what better event to pair with an all-American jazzed-up classic, like the grilled cheese, than the Olympics? So I’ve decided to share my grilled cheese — Olympic edition. It’s loaded with two kinds of cheese, juicy tomatoes and sliced avocados, then slathered with a healthy dose of butter and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and grilled to perfection. Try serving this tonight for the Olympic swimming matchups — invite your friends over and tell them to bring over their favorite ingredients for a grilled cheese sandwich soiree.

I’ve taken a classic recipe from Tyler Florence and made additions to it.

Click here to get Gaby’s Double Cheese Grilled Cheese recipe

Tomatoes Go Beyond Salads — Summer Fest

by in In Season, Recipes, August 1st, 2012

heirloom tomato pie
We’re teaming up with food and garden bloggers and our friends at HGTV Gardens to host Summer Fest 2012, a season-long garden party. In coming weeks, we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. Today we’re exploring tomatoes.

Come August, tomatoes — heirloom, beefsteak, cherry and more — hit their peak. Plump and juicy, they scream summer with their sweet, slightly acidic flesh and bright hues. Perfect for summer salads, there’s arguably no combination more classic than a simple caprese brimming with ripe tomatoes, creamy mozzarella and fragrant basil. But, tomatoes’ versatility far surpasses the realm of summer salads. In fact, they’re fantastic in soups, pies, pastas and sides. Just give one (or more!) of these easy cooked tomato recipes a try.

If you plan on planting your very own tomato patch, be sure to check out HGTV Gardens for great tricks like mulching tomato plants heavily with hay or leaves, and tips like pulling off stem tops to prevent puncturing fruit when stacking. Before you get cooking, be sure to choose firm, noticeably fragrant and richly colored tomatoes that are free of blemishes. Store them at room temperature and use them within a few days.

Hosting a casual garden party? Pass around Rachael’s Roasted Tomato Bruschetta for a simple hors d’oeuvre. Ina’s Roasted Tomato Basil Soup and Roasted Tomato Caprese make for a sweet start to any meal. Food Network Magazine’s Heirloom Tomato Pie (pictured above) serves as a bright main that needs nothing more than a leafy green salad in accompaniment.

Get more tomato recipes from family and friends