How the School Lunch Program Came to Be

by in News, September 28th, 2016

How the School Lunch Program Came to BeHave you ever stopped to consider — really consider — the school lunch? Stop making that face; it’s not that bad. And anyway, I mean the history of it.

Writing in Time, food historian Emelyn Rude looks back at how America’s school lunch program came to be and how it has developed into the robust program it is today.

School lunches have had their ups and downs. Here’s a rough timeline, culled from Rude’s eye-opening piece:

Read more

Chopped Junior-Inspired Lunchboxes: Quick Granola Bars

by in Recipes, Shows, September 28th, 2016

granola barsBy Angela Carlos

This week the Chopped Junior contestants proved that sometimes the best culinary experiences come together at the last minute. From two foods — the minute steaks that transported former major league ballplayer Jason Varitek back to childhood, and the just-a-minute-overcooked sauce from young chef Tavia that Chef Kristen Kish simply loved (a happy accident!) — we learned how important a minute can be in creating the perfect dish.

Much like this competition, real life gives you negative minutes to pull lunch together before you dash out the door in the morning. In the final round, Tavia’s and Lillie’s desserts did more than impress us — their dishes inspired this week’s lunchbox idea. Lillie’s use of pistachios with the mystery basket cherries and crumbly shortbread led us right to the best grab-and-go item of all: granola bars.

Read more

3 of a Kind: Creative Croissants

by in Restaurants, September 28th, 2016

Birthday Croissant from Union Fare
By Patty Lee

3 of a Kind checks out three places across the country to try something cool, new and delicious.

Croissant mash-ups soared into the spotlight in 2013, thanks in large part to Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel’s now-famous Cronut. This croissant-doughnut hybrid became such a dessert sensation that it stoked demand for similar creations across the country and beyond. Several years later, the croissant is back in the limelight, but this time chefs are having fun with the humble French pastry in its more classic form. Instead of marrying the buttery, flaky breakfast item to another pastry, the pros are tweaking croissants with cheese, sprinkles and other creative add-ins.

Read more

Q&A with Halloween Baking Championship Judge Damiano Carrara

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Damiano CarraraOn the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, expect to be blown away by the extremely creepy creations the bakers make, but even more than that, be ready for probably the scariest panel of judges you will ever see — and a host who’s not afraid to deliver some deadly news to eliminated bakers. Judges Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee will be dishing out critiques, while Jeff Dunham will be sending home the bakers who don’t meet the spooktacular criteria of the $25,000 competition show. Before you tune in for the premiere on Monday, Oct. 3 at 9|8c, hear from Damiano.

Damiano is a very successful baker of Italian specialties, and he’s also familiar with competitions. He competed in Spring Baking Championship, Season 1 and Food Network Star, Season 12. FN Dish recently caught up with him to chat about the holiday and the championship.

Read more

5 Meaty Mains You Can Make in Your Slow Cooker

by in Recipes, September 27th, 2016

Preparing an impressive meal after a long day at work or school is a big ask. Bring a slow cooker into the equation, however, and your weeknight dinner routine will be truly transformed. We recommend setting aside some time on the weekends to prepare a meal that you can pack for lunches or reheat for dinners throughout the upcoming week. Spicy chili, chunky stew, meaty pot roast — the options are so varied and satisfying. Here are five of our favorite meaty mains to cook low and slow.

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
You’ll never run the risk of serving a tough or dried-out pot roast when you use this easy, slow-cooked method. Sear it first to create a savory brown crust, then transfer your beef chuck to the slow cooker and allow it to simmer in a simple tomato, Worcestershire and red wine broth. After 8 hours, the meat will be fall-apart tender.

Read more

Master Saboteur Alton Brown Previews the Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of Terror

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of TerrorFresh off a whirlwind (and wild) summer at Camp Cutthroat, Alton Brown is heading back to the evilicious arena tomorrow night, but what awaits isn’t his usual lot of diabolical escapades. Instead, he’s set to kick off a five-part Tournament of Terror (Wednesdays at 11|10c), complete with all manner of ghastly, horrific and simply scary-good sabotages, just in time for the upcoming Halloween holiday. The 16 chefs that will face off in four preliminary heats and one over-the-top finale know to anticipate competitive rivals, trying challenges and judges’ commentary. But nothing can prepare them for the fear that Alton will instill.

We caught up with Alton about the new tournament in an exclusive interview, and he previewed the kinds of next-level Halloween shenanigans on deck for the Tournament of Terror. “Cuddles the Clown,” is one particularly incredible costume he’ll debut, he noted. Read on below to hear more from Alton and find out his take on homemade Halloween candy.

You’ve done Halloween-themed Cutthroat Kitchen episodes before but never a full tournament like this. What can fans except to see?
Alton Brown: We’ve built five shows that are essentially a bunch of love letters to Halloween. We’ve taken every scary movie trope and tactic and twisted them into sabotages. Oh, and they can also expect a lot of costumes.

We’ve seen a sneak peek of some of the costumes you wear in Tournament of Terror, and they’re pretty extravagant (and amazing). Do you have a favorite?
AB: Three words: Cuddles the Clown.

Read more

Chatting with Amber Kelley About Her New Web Series, Kids Menu Makeover

by in Shows, September 27th, 2016

Fresh off her momentous win on the premiere season of Food Network Star Kids, Seattle eighth-grader Amber Kelley is back in front of the camera, only this time she’s not in a competition. As part of her prize for besting nine other young kid cooks, Amber became the host of her own web series, Kids Menu Makeover, and now that series is live on

In keeping with her culinary point of view on Food Network Star Kids, Amber made sure the recipes in all three episodes of Kids Menu Makeover were fresh, approachable and easy. She teamed up with famed restaurant chefs Alex Guarnaschelli, Dale Talde and Ariane Duarte to present her take on their beloved intricate dishes, making them not only ideal for kid palates but also adult tastes.

We caught up with Amber on the set of Kids Menu Makeover and chatted about what it’s like for her to host her own web series and work with all-star chefs. Find out what she had to say below and learn her advice to other budding cooks, then watch the other two episodes of Amber’s series here.

Read more

Exclusive: One-on-One with the Winner of Food Network Star Kids

by in Shows, September 26th, 2016

Food Network Star KidsCulinary competitions are difficult for even the most-skilled chefs in the business, as past seasons of Food Network Star have proved. But for the young cooks — really, really young ones, in fact — who took on the challenge of Food Network Star Kids this season, the contest was not only doable but actually fun. Mentors Donal Skehan and Tia Mowry challenged the 10 eager recruits to six weeks of camera and kitchen challenges, each designed to ready them for the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to star in their own Web series on Tonight the top-three hopefuls — Amber, Isaiah and Liam — faced-off in a final showdown, before one of them earned the coveted title of Food Network Star Kid.

If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further until you do. We’re about to chat with the winner in an exclusive interview.

Read more

Judge Sandra Lee Sheds Light on the Sinister New Season of Halloween Baking Championship

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, September 26th, 2016

Halloween Baking Championship judge Sandra LeeExpect some gore, some surprises, and lots of scintillating sweets on the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, premiering Monday, October 3 at 9|8c. The seven multitalented bakers competing sure know their way around Halloween tricks and treats, and baking feats. But what may be even scarier than the challenges are the three intimidating judges: Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee, whom everyone knows as the maven of Halloween entertaining. This season comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham hosts with a deftly creepy hand, doling out good and bad news to the bakers competing for $25,000.

FN Dish recently chatted with Sandra about the new season. In this exclusive interview she details the difficulties involved in judging a baking competition, and reveals her favorite things about the hallowed holiday, her favorite costume and more.

Read more

8 Speedy Pasta Dinners to Get You Through Monday Night

by in Recipes, September 26th, 2016

It’s Monday, friends, which means no one has given a single second of thought as to what they’re making for dinner this evening. But as long as you’ve got pasta, olive oil, garlic and a few mix-ins tucked away in your pantry (think Parmesan, canned tomatoes, jarred vegetables, etc.), there’s no need to panic — or resort to pricey takeout. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, two people or a panel of picky youngsters, these beat-the-clock pasta dishes offer quick and flavorsome solutions to your Monday night dinner obstacles.

Pantry Pasta
Time: 30 minutes
As the name suggests, Ree Drummond’s skillet pasta won’t require a long and expensive trip to the grocery store — just a pantry raid. Canned tomatoes, jarred artichoke hearts and olives, plus some store-bought chicken stock will take the labor out of this quick and comforting weeknight meal.

Read more