The Problem with “Sell-By” Dates

by in News, April 1st, 2014

The Problem with When you clean out your fridge or pantry, some things obviously need to go. That old cheese that’s sprouted a greenish-black tuft of hair? That ancient container of broccoli that smells like something you’d rather not describe — or ever smell again? Those clearly belong in the garbage can — outside — several yards away.

But what about the foods that look and smell fine, but have “sell-by,” “use-by,” “best-by,” “best-before” or “enjoy-by” dates that have come and gone? You should probably pitch those, too, right?

Not so fast. While most of us probably treat the dates on our food packaging as gospel, they are, it turns out, highly unreliable indicators of freshness. “Basically made up,” Smithsonian Magazine says. “Unclear” and “useless,” the Washington Post sniffs. “Inconsistent and confusing,” Climate Progress notes.

In a report released in September 2013 by the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic and the Natural Resources Defense Council, “The Dating Game: How Confusing Food Date Labels Lead to Food Waste in America,” the authors point out that dates on food labels that purport to tell us whether its contents are fresh, or — uh — not so fresh, are “surprisingly under-regulated.”

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Best 5 Blueberry Muffin Recipes

by in Recipes, April 1st, 2014

Blueberry MuffinsWhen cold cereal and buttered toast just aren’t cutting it for breakfast anymore, reach for a comforting morning treat: freshly baked blueberry muffins. The beauty of muffins is that just one baking session yields several days’ worth of breakfasts — or any-time snacks — and they’re endlessly pleasing to both kids and grownups alike. Check out Food Network’s top-five easy-to-make blueberry muffin recipes below to find a mix of classic and dressed-up takes on this timeless pick from Ina, Giada, Alton and more Food Network chefs.

5. Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins — Ready to eat in less than 40 minutes, Ina’s light, fluffy muffins are made with tangy sour cream, which she says “makes [them] really moist.”

4. Blueberry Lemon Muffins — Fresh lemon zest adds a refreshing flavor and bright scent to these fuss-free beauties, best topped with sugar before baking.

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5 Ways to Use Day-Old Bread

by in How-to, April 1st, 2014

5 Ways to Use Day-Old BreadWhen I was growing up, my mom always kept a stash of stale bread destined to become breadcrumbs. It’s a thrifty way to make use of leftovers, and also not waste any of your grocery budgets. I always mean to do this, but the truth is I get impatient. To make breadcrumbs, the bread must be rid of all moisture. Depending on the temperature in your house, this could take weeks of waiting. You could speed the process up by baking the bread at a low temperature, essentially dehydrating it. Once I get to the point of turning on the oven, though, I want a bigger payoff.

What starts as a journey for homemade breadcrumbs eventually turns into croutons or crisps, like the recipe for these savory, cracker-like ones below. They’re perfect for topping with some creamy ricotta cheese and a drizzle of honey, and they also lend some oomph to a charcuterie platter. If I manage to have any left, I give them a whirl in the food processor for seasoned homemade breadcrumbs, which brings my cooking endeavor full circle.

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Smoothie of the Month: Mango with Turmeric

by , April 1st, 2014

mango smoothie

Have you noticed the recent proliferation of neon-colored drinks and teas popping up at local juice bars and health food stores? These tonics get their hue from turmeric and are often combined with citrus juice and something sweet to tame the spice....

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One-on-One with the Winner of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 31st, 2014

mentors with recruitsSeven weeks ago, 14 recruits entered Boot Camp calling themselves the worst cooks in America. Having been nominated by family and friends, they entered the competition to learn skills and techniques in hopes of winning the competition and $25,000 to make their dreams come true. In the end the one recruit who lasted the longest, showed the most improvement and cooked a final meal that greatly impressed a panel of culinary experts would win. The winner of Worst Cooks in America leaves with more than just prize money: He or she leaves with a set of skills that will last a lifetime. No longer a worst cook, this individual can now be referred to as the best of the worst.

FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.

Find out who won Season 5 of Worst Cooks

One-on-One with the Runner-Up of Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, March 31st, 2014

mentors with recruitsOn Worst Cooks in America, 14 recruits came into Boot camp on day one of the competition. But after seven weeks, only one recruit could walk away with the win and the $25,000 in prize money. That meant that the other remaining recruit would walk away with nothing but the knowledge and skill he or she picked up during the challenges. But by no means is that runner-up a loser, transforming from one of the worst cooks to one of the best and ultimately making it to the finale — these are accomplishments to be proud of. The runner-up of Season 5 leaves the competition with a head held high.

FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the Season 5 runner-up.

Find out who came in second place

10 Kid-Friendly Dinners Done in 30 Minutes or Less

by in Family, March 31st, 2014

10 Kid-Friendly Dinners Done in 30 Minutes or LessI have three kids under the age of 5 at home, so speed in the kitchen isn’t just nice, it’s a necessity. If your house goes a little crazy around 5 pm the way mine does, these fast, easy and kid-friendly recipes are just for you. A combination of Food Network’s best dishes and our own family favorites, these are all recipes you need to feed a crew fast, and stay sane while doing it.

1. Stovetop Lasagna: Did you know it’s possible to make lasagna from scratch in 30 minutes — sauce and all? This speedy version of a classic family favorite has fast (and delicious) dinner written all over it.

2. Pepperoni and Cheese Scrambled Eggs: What’s faster than breakfast for dinner? Robert Irvine revamps a universally beloved dish in minutes for Food Network Magazine (pictured above).

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Spaghetti Squash Tostadas — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, March 31st, 2014

Spaghetti Squash TostadasThe key to cooking without meat is replacing the bold flavors and meaty textures that traditionally accompany beef, chicken and pork with ingredients that are equally satisfying. Eggs, tofu and beans are a few go-to picks, as they pack a hearty punch and can easily be worked into nearly any dish.

An updated version of a Mexican classic, Food Network Magazine’s Spaghetti Squash Tostadas recipe showcases a few hearty picks, including protein-rich black beans, plus tender spaghetti squash and roasted cherry tomatoes instead of meat, but it maintains a traditional taste thanks to smoky chipotle power. The beauty of tostadas is that they can be customized to everyone’s tastes; after frying the tortillas, mashing the beans and cooking the vegetables, try setting up a DIY toppings bar and let everyone build the preferred dish. For a cool topping, finish each tostada with tangy sour cream, and add a bit of fresh cilantro and lime juice for bright flavor.

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Have You Tried: Kimchi?

by , March 31st, 2014

Warning: Once you try this spicy Korean condiment you’ll be hooked. Here’s why it’s an addiction you can feel good about.

What is Kimchi?
Kimchi (sometimes spelled kimchee) is made from a combination of cabbage, chiles, garlic, sal...

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Testing the Cutthroat Sabotages: Can You Muffin It?

by in Shows, March 30th, 2014

From makeshift potato-masher arms and aluminum foil utensils to flavored jelly beans acting as seasonings, Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages are notoriously trying, so much so that many fans have asked if they’re indeed possible to pull off successfully. After more than two seasons of competition, the word is finally out, and the answer is yes: All Cutthroat challenges have been tested by Food Network’s culinary team and deemed doable within the rounds’ 30 minutes of cooking. Beginning with tonight’s all-new episode, you’ll be able to see how some of those assessments are made in a series of Testing the Sabotage videos, which showcase the decision-making process.

Click the play button on the video above to watch the first video and find out what it took for the Round 2 muffin tin challenge to make it on air.

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