This time of year, parents are divided into two camps. School calendars vary, so while some are excited to finally get started with summer vacation, others are digging deep to get through the last days of the school year. Whether celebrating at the beach or shuffling kids off to school, moms and dads are still faced with the lunchtime conundrum. After all, there’s only so many PB&Js one can eat. Lunch is a great opportunity to put leftovers to good use, as you’ll see from the recipes below. To go along with them, here are 5 tips for packing a picnic, or the last few school lunches of the year.
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Sandwiches are never boring when you think beyond the bun. Dieters have been swapping slices for lettuce leaves for years, but even carb embracers need a little break from white or wheat. Witness the enduring ramen burger craze, doughnut breakfast sandwiches from a certain New England-based chain and the amazing “fryders” I discovered earlier this year at a food truck.
Food Network Kitchen created these 10 easy-to-make-at-home reinventions to save us from our summer sandwich slump. Some are more virtuous than others, but all of them are over-the-top delicious.
Some would say that we should never, ever tinker with the trinity of lettuce, tomato and onion. And if we had only one burger per year, maybe that would work. But since we’re at the very beginning of summer (we can say “summer” now, right?), we have more than enough time to expand our burger repertoire. This week, FN Dish runs down the line of burger combinations and updates we might not have previously considered.
1. Walk the Plank: Cedar planking isn’t just for salmon. Bobby grills Cedar-Planked Burgers (pictured above) for a complex smokiness. If you ask him, it’ll be the first thing you taste.
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient banana chips. While panko breadcrumbs serve as a great coating for almost all meats, the chefs wanted to prove that changing it up by mixing the breadcrumbs with a sweeter ingredient would result in a unique sweet-and-savory take on a classic jerk pork chop. In this Banana Chip Crusted Jerk Pork Chops recipe, the banana chips are ground in a blender to make them fine enough for the seasoning. Served with rice and beans, this is a quick, delicious dinner for those warm summer nights.
Here in New York City, strawberries arriving at the farmers market signal the arrival of summer and all the glorious fresh fruit waiting just around the corner. The simplest and often tastiest way to enjoy them is to pluck the stems from the top, and pop them in your mouth. Every now and then, I get fooled by a batch of berries that smell intoxicatingly sweet, only to bite into them and find my taste buds crestfallen. When that happens, there are a few things you can do to coax some flavor from your berries — jam and pie are usually at the top of my list. A more hands-off approach is roasting them. The oven does most of the work. The sauce can then be used as syrup for pancakes or a topping for sundaes, stirred into some plain yogurt for an inexpensive and healthier fruit-flavored version, or my other favorite — stirred into some sparkling water or seltzer for a summer spritzer.
There’s never a bad time for fried chicken. Soft, succulent pieces of meat, each one coated in a crunchy, salty outer layer — what could be better? No one understands that like Trisha Yearwood, who comes up with fun, unique ways to cook fried chicken on her TV show, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. From her favorite fried chicken tips to ways to make this decadent dish healthier, here are Trisha’s best fried chicken ideas.
Alton loves his steak, and with summer looming, now is the perfect time to get out that barbecue and start grilling. As Alton mentions in his latest YouTube video, his favorite type of steak to grill is the skirt steak. Heated directly on coals, this succulent meat needs no marinade except for some salt.
Alton also experiments in the kitchen, however, with a number of ways to eat steak. Here are five more:
1. He creates a spicy marinade with pepper flakes and Mexican brown sugar in this Skirt Steak recipe.
Pasta can be the ultimate comfort food — digging into chewy, succulent pieces of flour mixed with exciting sauces like carbonara and pesto provides a soothing experience that is akin to snuggling in with your favorite blanket. Still, the scorching summer weather can leave you wanting to ditch the heavy, piping entrees and opt for something a bit lighter and cooler. Bring on the pasta salad.
In this Mediterranean Pasta Salad (pictured above) from Food Network Kitchen, the heavy pasta sauce is replaced by a tangy dressing infused with vinegar and mustard. The salad is then topped with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, olives, oregano and a spicy pepper called pepperoncini. To add even more flavor to the dish, two types of cheeses are used to bring the flavors together — traditional creamy feta cheese and a more modern pungent Romano cheese. The combination of the two gives a hearty feel to an otherwise light and cool dish.
Along with longer days and warmer nights, late spring and early summer ushers in an abundance of ultra-fresh produce. From tart rhubarb and sweet strawberries to colorful squash and bell peppers, there’s no shortage of fruits and vegetables during these warm months, and one of the best, most-versatile items to enjoy is a bright, ripe tomato. Simple pastas and salads are classic picks for putting the tomato to work, but these juicy bites can go beyond the basics as well, as The Kitchen co-hosts showed off this morning with their takes on stuffed tomatoes. Read on below to get 15 ideas and recipes for taking tomatoes to the next level, and learn how to celebrate these beauties all summer long.
1. Perhaps the most-traditional use for tomatoes, a pasta-ready sauce is a must-have in every recipe arsenal. Master Alton’s Tomato Sauce recipe this summer, and keep coming back to it when you need a satisfying meal. He starts off by baking the tomatoes to add a subtle sweetness to the sauce, then processes them through a food mill to achieve a smooth texture.
2. Just like pasta sauce, salsa is also a no-fail way to put tomatoes to work. Instead of picking up jarred salsa, try Marcela’s speedy homemade version instead. Her Roasted Tomato Salsa is made with just a handful of ingredients, and it features a single serrano chile, which offers manageable heat.
3. Whether you need a last-minute potluck addition or an elegant appetizer, The Pioneer Woman’s party-perfect Bruschetta (pictured above) is a timeless favorite, made with colorful grape tomatoes and a splash of balsamic.
Blueberries are the Disney version of summer fruit, round and gentle like a bouncing sing-along ball. They bring to mind fingers stained purple-blue, fruity tarts, pies and cobblers, and warm, fresh-from-the-oven muffins. I love eating them fresh out of hand as a snack, with creamy, healthful yogurt to start my day — or perhaps topped indulgently with freshly whipped cream to end it! Blueberries are good and good for you, a veritable summer delight. Read more