Beyond the Chopped Basket: What to Make With Greek Yogurt

by in Shows, February 9th, 2013

Greek YogurtSo often on Chopped we see chef contestants open their mystery baskets to find such odd, uncommon and downright scary ingredients — pre-cooked pig snout, pickled beef tongue or grasshoppers, anyone? — that it can seem nearly impossible for home cooks to put them to work in everyday meals. On other episodes, however, the ingredients are far less intimidating yet not quite familiar. That’s where we come in. Each week during the brand-new season of Chopped Champions, FN Dish will break down the whats, hows and whens of an approachable, family-friendly ingredient and share deliciously simple recipes for using it, so that you can show off your best culinary chops at home. Following last Tuesday’s round-four competition, the focus is now on Greek yogurt, which made an appearance in the dessert basket alongside maraschino cherries, canned espresso and corn nuts.

Tangier than traditional yogurt, the Greek variety has undergone an extensive straining process so it’s noticeably thick and creamy, not watery in the least. Since it’s not too sweet, Greek yogurt is an easy substitute for sour cream in traditionally decadent recipes, plus it’s packed with protein so it’s a good-for-you alternative that doesn’t sacrifice flavor or texture.

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Celebrate Chinese New Year With 8 Good Luck Recipes

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 9th, 2013

Steamed Pork and Mushroom Shumai

Chinese New Year celebrations are filled with time-honored traditions, fun festivals and superstitious beliefs, but the one thing that connects all of them and brings everyone together is the food. But it’s not just any food — it’s good luck food.

The dishes served during Chinese New Year, which lands on February 10 this year, are eaten because of what the ingredients signify or sometimes what the Chinese names can mean. You’ll find seafood, chicken, duck, pork, sausage, noodles and lots of vegetables on the traditional menu. These foods can symbolize abundance, prosperity, togetherness, wealth and more.

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50 Things to Make With Pasta Sauce

by in Family, Food Network Magazine, February 9th, 2013

50 Things to Make With Pasta SauceIt happens at least once a year — your favorite jarred tomato sauce goes on sale and you stock up — enough to feed an army sometimes. While nothing beats homemade sauce, sometimes the jarred varieties are a reliable substitute for quick weeknight dinners.

It’s certainly a must-have in the pantry, along with pasta and one of Melissa d’Arabian’s favorites — dried beans. But sometimes you can fall into a rut, using it the same ol’ way. Not anymore. Food Network Magazine has taken a household staple and provided 50 different ways to incorporate it into recipes like Spanish rice, minestrone soup and Italian meatloaf.

Looking for a way to liven up baked potatoes? Try Pizza Potatoes (No. 21). Make a deep slit in baked potatoes, then stuff with some pasta sauce, chopped pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, and bake at 400 degrees F until the cheese melts.

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In Season: Cara Cara Oranges

by in Uncategorized, February 9th, 2013

cara cara oranges
This unique variety of oranges has been gaining popularity. But if you want to catch them, get to the market now; they’re only in season for a short time.

What, Where, & When?
These oranges were first discovered in 1976 at Hacienda Cara Cara i...

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Mardi Gras Hi-Hat Cupcakes for the Entire Family

by in Holidays, February 9th, 2013

Mardi Gras Hi-Hat CupcakesThere is something so appealing about a hi-hat cupcake. It brings me back to childhood summers when we would sit outside the ice cream shop and desperately try to lick up the ice cream as it melted down our arms. Cherry-dip was always my favorite, but I was always outnumbered by the chocolate lovers.

With Mardi Gras around the corner, I thought I’d bake up something the whole family can enjoy. New Orleans is known for many institutional cocktails, but these sweets will allow the little ones to participate in the fun too. You can’t go wrong with a delectable yellow cupcake covered in sweet clouds of frosting and gently dipped in chocolate. That first bite is transcendent, the second so satisfying.

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Melissa’s Take on the Chopped Basket — Champions Round Four

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, February 8th, 2013

Melissa d'Arabianby Melissa d’Arabian

You know my rules: 30 seconds to decide. Longer to write (but not much).

Appetizer basket: sour-apple martini mix, mortadella, white asparagus and fennel

I love this basket and don’t want to overthink it. The asparagus and mortadella make me think of a chopped salad and I stick to the idea. I peel the tough outer part of the asparagus and poach it in salty water, brown sugar and white wine. I get the fennel sliced up with some cubed onion and tart apple (which will bring play against the sour-apple martini mix that I plan to use in the dressing), tossed with a little olive oil and get them roasting to bring out its earthy sweetness. I fry up the mortadella and chop, making my own take on bacon bits. I chop up some greens from the pantry (arugula or watercress). I make a reduction from the apple cider vinegar and sour-apple martini mix. I assemble the salad: chop all the prepped ingredients, toss with olive oil and a bit of cider vinegar. Top with a bit of goat cheese and drizzle with the apple martini reduction.

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I’ve Got a Point to Prove! Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off Caption It

by in Shows, February 8th, 2013

Dean and Carnie
Rachael vs. GuyThis season of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off puts the celebrity contestants in different situations every episode with challenges that test their culinary know-how. This past episode had the celebrities serving out of food trucks. But the next challenge will have the two remaining finalists cooking a dinner for VIPs.

In the above sneak-peek photo, Dean and Carnie are taking a moment’s respite after serving their dinner guests. It appears Dean is talking to Carnie about something, but Carnie is interjecting and pointing. But what is Dean saying? Why is Carnie interrupting? Did someone have a point to prove? Did the two have a disagreement?

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Vanilla Dutch Baby — The Weekender

by in Recipes, February 8th, 2013

Vanilla Dutch Baby For the last month, my husband and I have been trying to clean up our eating habits (things got dire toward the end of December). We’ve increased our intake of fruits and vegetables and have eased way back on baked goods and dairy products (oh cheese, I have missed you!).

These efforts have had the biggest impact on our weekend mornings. Instead of making pancakes or waffles as a Saturday morning treat, there have been a goodly number of vegetable-filled omelets and piles of oven-crisped turkey bacon. Those options are delicious, but not particularly satisfying when you’re craving a sweet treat.

This last Sunday, as a way to reward us for a month of virtuous eating, I made an oven-baked puffed pancake. You warm a skillet in the oven with a bit of butter set inside to melt and then whip up a quick, egg-rich batter in the blender. Once the butter is foaming, you pour some of it off into the batter, reblend quickly and then pour the smooth batter into the hot skillet.

Before you start cooking, read these tips