This coming Memorial Day weekend marks the (unofficial) start of summer, and with that comes longer days, warmer nights and, perhaps most important, the beginning of grilling season. From smoky, saucy barbecue to snappy hot dogs and even treats for dessert, there’s no shortage of savory and sweet items to grill this summer, but what we’re most looking forward to is a juicy, meaty classic: the burger. Simple and classic, stuffed with cheese, piled high with potato chips, stacked with double patties, topped with green chiles — the opportunities for building the ultimate burger are endless, and lucky for all of us, we have more than three long months to enjoy every single one of them. Add all 11 of these must-try recipes to your Recipe Box, and don’t miss out on a summer of burger loving.
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Quinoa may be the ultimate superfood seed, but when it comes to versatile grains, farro — a hearty, chewy wheat — deserves its moment in the spotlight too. The beauty of farro is that, like quinoa and barley, it can be prepared once on its own, then kept on hand and mixed with your choice of add-ins to create an array of quick-fix salads.
Giada De Laurentiis starts with a batch of cooled farro, then adds to it fresh tomatoes and half a sweet onion for an Italian-focused salad (pictured above) that’s a cinch to pull together. She opts for a duo of fresh herbs — chives and parsley — for a fragrant note, while a garlic-laced balsamic vinaigrette promises a tangy bite and a bold punch of flavor. Since this recipe can be assembled the night before (just let it come to room temperature before enjoying it), it’s a go-to pick for make-and-take lunch salads.
On a day like Memorial Day, classic American dishes deserve special attention. And since no cookout is complete without a bevy of seasonal sides, it’s only right to show your patriotism by including a national staple: pasta salad. Celebrate the holiday weekend with any of these five summer pasta salads guaranteed to feed a crowd. Planning a picnic? No problem. These recipes are mayo-free and perfect for toting to the park.
Garden Pasta with Bocconcini (above)
When it comes to pasta salad, campanelle, Italian for “little bell,” is often overlooked. This pasta has a lovely flower-evoking shape that’s incredibly festive for a summer party or picnic. Though campanelle may look delicate, it’s just as hearty as penne and fusilli — the more-common pasta salad stars. Here, it’s tossed with substantial vegetables and bocconcini for an ample summer side.
On its own butter is, of course, a most decadent ingredient, full of rich, creamy and (sometimes) salty flavors. But beyond its indulgence, butter is also endlessly versatile, which means that it can be used as a finishing condiment as well as a fat with which to cook, and it pairs well with both sweet and savory tastes. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts showed how simple it is to start with your everyday sticks of butter — both salted and unsalted — and turn them into compound butter, which is simply a fancy name for flavored butter.
The key to making compound butters is starting with room-temperature butter; this will ensure that when you add the extra ingredients, like nuts, fruit jams or herbs, the butter will quickly absorb them and become one unified product. Once those additions are fully incorporated, it’s best to roll up the butter into logs and refrigerate it, so you can easily spread or saute with as you would ordinary butter.
Grilling season officially kicks off next weekend, and we’re here to make sure your Memorial Day cookout is better than ever. Start with one of the simplest things you could possibly throw on the grill: hot dogs. There are probably a million possible hot dog combinations. First you’ve got your bun options: honey wheat, potato, bolillo, baguette. Then you’ve got your options for sauce, cheese, veggies and other toppings. Finally, you’ve got your choices for the dog itself: veggie, chicken, Ball Park Frank, organic grass-fed beef … and sausages, oh, the sausages! Actually, all hot dogs are sausages, but we tend to put the spicier variety in its own category.
Summer party spreads like picnics and potlucks are an excellent opportunity to put your creative snacking skills to use and experiment with inventing new and exciting hot dog combinations, or host a summer soiree with a preloaded DIY hot dog bar to get your guests’ juices flowing.
Check out the full gallery for all 12 unexpected hot dog toppings.
Avocados are having a moment right now in all corners of the country, but nowhere are they more prevalent or more delicious than in Southern California. Food Network’s new original Web series Local Flavor follows a city’s local ingredient to three restaurants that prepare it three different ways. In Los Angeles, it’s all about the avocado. Start with avocado fries at 3 Square Café, check out one of the best avocado toasts in the business at Superba Food & Bread, and sip an Avocado Project cocktail at Picca Peru. Play the video above for the ultimate LA avocado tour.
Repeat after us: You will not buy gloopy, mayo-clad, made-yesterday pasta salad from the deli container this summer. No way. As the most-fun salad of all the salads (seriously), summer pasta salad is the one irresistible picnic side we just can’t wait to make, partly because of how crazy-easy it is to throw together. Taken cold with an array of pasta shapes, the pasta salad genre can take so many different forms, each fresh, satisfying and bound to bulk up your picnic without much effort. Toss these bold summer pasta salads at home for on-the-go eating ideal for any outdoor potluck, low-key picnic or backyard cookout you come across this summer.
Make your first pasta salad of the season extra-special by doing it up with cheesy tortellini. Rachael Ray uses the tender store-bought stuffed pasta for an extra-satisfying Spinach Artichoke Pasta Salad (pictured above) that will be the star of the potluck from the very first spoonful.
While there are times when you’re cooking for an obvious purpose — tonight’s dinner, the potluck on Saturday, a holiday feast — other times (and perhaps the best times) it’s for pure indulgence. And that’s especially the case when chocolate is concerned. When it comes to treating yourself to a just-because dessert, look no further than these six best-ever brownie recipes from Bobby Flay, Rachael Ray, Ina Garten, The Pioneer Woman and more of your favorite Food Network chefs.
Peanut Butter Caramel Swirled Brownies
Leave it to an Iron Chef to create this sweet tooth-satisfying brownie masterpiece. Bobby makes his own peanut butter-laced caramel to swirl into his two-chocolate brownies. After building the brownies strategically — with a base batter, then dollops of caramel, then more batter, and finally the last of the caramel — he swirls the components together to achieve “a stealth peanut butter brownie.” It’s called that, according to Bobby, because “you can’t see the peanut butter, but you can taste it.”
The Pioneer Woman says it herself: Fried chicken is the perfect picnic food. Once it’s fried to crunchy, juicy perfection, this classic Southern favorite is just as good at room temperature as it is hot, so pack it up for your very first picnic of the season for on-the-go eating.
Just in time for Memorial Day, the inaugural day of outdoor eating, Ree Drummond’s Fried Chicken recipe gives you the golden, moist fried chicken you crave. By coating buttermilk-soaked chicken in seasoned flour that’s combined with buttermilk and milk, then frying the pieces in oil at the perfect temperature (360 degrees F, that is), you get the most crispiest, most-delicious fried chicken ever. After watching the video above, do it Ree’s way once and you probably won’t take your fried chicken any other way again. It takes just one bite, while you’re sprawled out on a picnic blanket outside, to see why Ree’s fried chicken is the recipe to rely on all season long.
There’s no wrong way to make peanut butter pie, just different ways.
Make a chocolate cookie crust with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (like Oreos) and melted butter. You can use a food processor to crush the cookies, but if you don’t have one, or have one but don’t feel like lugging it out of the pantry, put the cookies in a resealable plastic bag, let the air out before sealing, and crush the cookies using a rolling pin or a large can.