11 Ideas for a Red Hot Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, How-to, February 11th, 2015

In the early 1930s, the Ferrara Candy Company created the famous Red Hots cinnamon candies using the cold panned candy method. The inventors probably never imagined that the candies, which have become a Valentine’s Day staple, could be used in so many ways. All of these ideas utilize one 6-ounce theater box of the candies. Browse the full gallery for all 11 spiced-up homemade Valentine’s Day treats.

Red Hot Strawberries
Red Hots melt perfectly into a smooth syrup that can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, including these candy-coated strawberries (pictured above). Boil 1 box of Red Hots with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). Use a candy thermometer to monitor. Carefully dip skewered strawberries into the candy. Let cool completely.

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Cream Cheese Rules the Dairy Aisle, and Here’s Why

by in Recipes, February 11th, 2015

cream cheese frostingOf all of the treasures in the dairy aisle, the best one is hard to pick. Eggs are pretty great because they’re essential to breakfast sandwiches, egg salad and cake, and you can eat them for pretty much any meal, but they lose a few points for versatility because you have to cook them. Cheddar cheese is awesome because it’s good melted on just about anything and makes a killer sandwich, but you can’t really turn it into a dessert. Yogurt wins for being healthy (usually), but that’s really all yogurt has going for it.

But cream cheese? Cream cheese is the dairy aisle MVP because it’s so versatile. What else can you smear on a bagel, whip into frosting, swirl into mashed potatoes or turn into a hot, cheesy dip? Cream cheese is the best, and here are 11 reasons why:

Cream Cheese Frosting (above) is the best part of any carrot cake, hummingbird cake or red velvet cake, but try it on your favorite banana cake, chocolate cake or coconut cupcakes, or serve it with strawberries.

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Show Your Team Allegiance — Worst Cooks in America Fan Poll

by in Shows, February 11th, 2015

Red Team vs. Blue TeamWhen Season 6 of Worst Cooks in America began, 14 hapless home cooks entered the competition, each with the hope of winning $25,000 and earning bragging rights for their mentor Anne or Tyler. Now there’s just one episode left. Two recruits, Kristen on the Red Team and Genique on the Blue Team, have risen to the top, proving that anything is possible in Boot Camp. They’ve cooked paella and tacos, made pasta from scratch, dished up multicomponent breakfasts and served multicourse dinners. But now they’ll be cooking for a group of culinary experts in the epic finale on Sunday at 9|8c.

Now it’s time for you, the fans, to show support for your favorite team by making your choice known.

Vote now for the team you want to support

Go Behind the Scenes: Take a Photo Tour of the Cutthroat Kitchen Set

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, February 11th, 2015

While Cutthroat Kitchen may serve as home to Food Network’s most-diabolical cooking arena, it’s also a fully functional and well-outfitted kitchen, brimming with hundreds of ingredients, dozens of pots and pans, and enough tools and equipment to arm four chefs in battle — plus a single briefcase filled with $100,000, of course. Recently FN Dish traveled to the set of Cutthroat Kitchen for an insider’s look at what makes the space so special, including its close-quartered pantry, wall-to-wall shelves of gear and the chalkboard full of evilicious inspiration. We also caught up with Katie Allen, the show’s culinary producer, who’s responsible for equipping the kitchen, and she dished that during each week of filming, her team accepts a delivery of “43 boxes of vegetables, fruits and herbs,” and that’s just for the fresh produce. When it comes to food prep, there are some “86 pots and pans available on set”; for plating, no fewer than “27 varieties of plates, 16 varieties of bowls, 9 different types of glasses, and 21 different types of small dipping bowls, plates and spoon options” are available to the chefs during the contest.

Click the photo below to check out a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the set and peek inside the refrigerator, and look up close at the myriad ingredients, serving pieces, tools and utensils at the ready in each battle.

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The 8 Sweetest Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, February 10th, 2015

The 8 Sweetest Valentine's Day Treats for KidsFrom super sweet to pretty darn healthy, I’ve got your kids’ Valentine’s Day treats covered. Every one of them is doable for busy parents, and many are so easy the kids can help. So whether you and the little ones are celebrating at home or school, these adorable ideas say nothing but love from the oven.

1. Heart of the Batter CupcakesAs if a moist cupcake loaded with chocolate frosting wasn’t enough, what kid wouldn’t be delighted to bite into a cupcake to find a heart-shaped strawberry inside? I’m practically clapping myself about these too-cute treats from Food Network Magazine.

2. Chocolate-Covered Mini Pretzel Sticks: For small kids, a pretzel stick — loaded with chocolate and sprinkles — makes the perfect serving size. Bonus: Your little ones can help make a batch with you.

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9 Best Ways to Simmer, Sandwich and Serve Meatballs (That Don’t Involve Spaghetti)

by in Recipes, February 10th, 2015

9 Best Ways to Simmer, Sandwich and Serve Meatballs (That Don't Involve Spaghetti)Sure, spaghetti and meatballs go together like bread and butter, but these beefy rounds don’t have to be confined to Italian cooking — or even to beef. The beauty of the meatball is that (almost) anything goes: Pork, chicken, turkey and vegetables? They’re are all go-to fillings, too, and when it comes to flavors and serving options, you’re limited only by creativity, from Asian-inspired and barbecue sauce toppings to gooey cheese fillings and taco stuffings. Read on below for the best-ever takes on meatball madness beyond the traditional pasta pairing.

When Pepperoni Won’t Cut It: Rachael Ray crumbles ground sirloin into large chunks that resemble meatballs in her quick-fix recipe for Mega Meatball Pizza. Since she starts with store-bought pizza dough, this family-friendly pie, blanketed in stretchy mozzarella cheese, can be on the table in just over 30 minutes.

When You Don’t Want to Choose: Who says you can’t have it all? Food Network Magazine’s Chipotle Chicken Meatball Tacos prove that you can indeed enjoy the best of a culinary mash-up. Here meatballs take on a Mexican flavor after simmering in a hearty sauce of smoky chipotle peppers and jalapeno.

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Fixing Up Dessert Imposters — Cook Along with Kids Baking Championship

by in Recipes, Shows, February 10th, 2015

Cheeseburger CakeNot everything is as it seems. That’s what the kids learned last night on Kids Baking Championship, when they found out they’d be baking fake-out foods, like burgers, tacos and pizza that are all actually desserts masquerading as savory foods. Most of the kids were excited by the prospects, but their baking assignments were drawn at random, leaving a few competitors with dishes they weren’t too happy with. In a twist of fate, the one kid who hated her assigned dish won, while the one who was happiest about his was sent packing. It just came down to execution and a sidekick dish that didn’t do the entire package justice.

These fake-out foods may look more difficult to make than they really are; broken down into steps, they become a fun and easy project to make on the weekend. We’ve compiled some of our favorite deceptively sweet treats that will leave you and your friends doing a second take. Let this roundup of recipes get your ideas flowing!

Click to Get the Recipes

Where to Get Great Doughnuts, from Coast to Coast

by in Restaurants, February 10th, 2015

The correct, dictionary-approved spelling for these treats is “doughnut,” though the shorter “donut” has been around since the late 1800s. No matter how you spell it or which variety you favor (cake, yeast or old fashioned), one thing is certain: Doughnuts have broken out of breakfast and become more than just a pair-with-coffee staple.  The lines often stretch around the block for these popular doughnut shops, and once you’re biting into a decadent, deep-fried ring of dough, you’ll understand the reason why.

Washington, D.C.: Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken (pictured above)
You may recognize co-founder Jeff Halpern’s name: He’s a professional hockey player who played for the Washington Capitals, among other NHL teams. He and co-founder Elliot Spaisman grew up playing hockey together and doughnuts were their reward of choice after games. Grab fried chicken or Sriracha wings before choosing your dessert. You might find a new favorite day of the week based on Astro’s rotating doughnut calendar. Beat a case of the Mondays with Coconut Cake or enjoy the weekend with Elvis (think peanut butter-banana filling). No matter what day of the week you stop by, though, there are some pretty awesome daily flavors that include Vanilla Glazed, Creme Brulee and even Maple Bacon.

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The Insider’s Take on Kids Baking Championship — Duff’s Recap of Episode 2

by in Shows, February 10th, 2015

Duff GoldmanDessert Imposters! Now, this is in my wheelhouse! Ninety percent of what we do at Charm City Cakes is make cakes that look like other things, and a lot of times we make cakes that look like other kinds of food. Last week I made a cake for a chef in Los Angeles that was a giant pile of raw meat. True story. This week’s challenge was so much fun on Kids Baking Championship, but it was also one of the most difficult for the kids. They had to recreate foods using sweet, baked stuff. It’s very tricky to get right, because you really have to sell the idea that, no, this is not a cake, this is a plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Last week was really tough, but I think the kids gained an advantage in that they got used to the cameras, lights and even my big loud mouth, and I think they really stepped it up when they faced an even bigger challenge than the bake sale.

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Calling All Chocoholics: 5 Decadent Chocolate Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 9th, 2015

Warm Chocolate Cakes with BerriesThere are chocolate lovers — and then there are chocoholics, a term reserved for only the most-diehard chocolate fanatics, those who dream about sleeping on a bed of fluffy chocolate frosting and swimming in a vat of chocolate fondue. If you consider yourself a member of this super-sweet club, you’re in luck: FN Dish is here with five of the most-over-the-top chocolatey recipes that you’re sure to swoon over this Valentine’s Day.

Hot-from-the-oven chocolate cake on the outside with a pool of rich, creamy melted chocolate in the center: That’s the scene taking place when you make Giada De Laurentiis’ Warm Chocolate Cakes with Berries (pictured above). The beauty of Giada’s fuss-free cakes is that you can prepare them in the morning, then come back to bake them right before you’re ready to eat them, so you’re guaranteed a deliciously warm dessert. Follow Giada’s lead and add just a pinch of espresso powder to the batter; it will enhance the flavor of the chocolate without adding a coffee taste.

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