No-Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares — The Weekender

by in Family, Recipes, January 17th, 2014

No-Bake Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter SquaresI spent most of last week in Austin hanging out with my sister and her family. It was a trip I planned months ago, for no other reason than to see their new house and get a chance to spend many days playing trains with my 2-year-old nephew, Emmett.

One of Emmett’s favorite things to do is to pretend to make food (pizza and soup are two of his regulars). Because of that, I thought it would be fun to do a real food project with him. To maintain my sanity, I went in search of a no-bake cookie recipe and came up with Trisha Yearwood’s Chocolate Pretzel Peanut Butter Squares.

You start by crushing up enough pretzels to make two cups of crumbs. I put them in a big zip-top bag and told Emmett to break them. He put the bag on the floor and jumped up and down on it. He enjoyed it greatly and it worked perfectly. Once they’re crushed, stir in melted butter, powdered sugar and peanut butter until fairly well integrated. I got it started so that the sugar wouldn’t explode everywhere and then let Emmett help with the stirring.

When that base layer is fully combined, pat it into a baking pan. This is another opportunity for a kiddo to help. I put a sheet of aluminum foil down and had him help me push it flat.

Before you start assembling, read these tips

What to Watch: Pantry Recipes, Make-Ahead Meals and Guy Cooks with Duskie Estes

by in Shows, January 17th, 2014

Guy and DuskieThis weekend get some great ideas for home cooking with new episodes from Ree, Trisha, Rachael, Giada and Jeff. They’ve got everything from cooking with pantry staples to making meals on a budget. Guy gets in the kitchen with Chef Duskie Estes to make a taco dinner, plus he’s got a taco challenge for the contestants on the finale of Guy’s Grocery Games. Also on this weekend is a new episode of The Kitchen, where the hosts give a tour of their personal pantries and make their favorite wing recipes. Plus, there’s a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen in which one chef must use a work light to cook his or her quesadillas.

Read more about the shows

Enter for a Chance to Win a Chef’s Knife Set from Guy Fieri

by in Contests, Shows, January 16th, 2014

knife setTo celebrate season 3 of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, which airs Mondays at 9pm/8c, FN Dish is giving away this knife set by Guy Fieri to one lucky reader.

You can buy your own Midnight Series Guy Fieri Chef’s Set from the Food Network Store, or enter below for a chance to win the items. To enter: Tell us in the comments which celebrity on Team Guy you’re rooting for. The contest starts at 3pm EST today and ends Thursday, Jan. 23 at 3pm EST.

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10 Ways to Make Mac and Cheese — Comfort Food Feast

by in Recipes, January 16th, 2014

10 Ways to Make Mac and CheeseFor a dish that requires just the two ingredients of its namesake, there are so many ways you can make mac and cheese happen. It can be stirred on the stove or baked till golden, donning breadcrumbs or done au naturel, filled with extras or made just with cheese, plain and simple. No matter your method, a meal of mac and cheese is sure to bring comfort.

1.Classic: With elbow macaroni, crispy breadcrumbs and the obligatory spike of powdered mustard, Alton’s top-rated Baked Macaroni and Cheese (pictured above) is probably the most iconic of them all.

2. Seasonal: For a dose of seasonal comfort, Rachael’s Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese is a different kind of creamy with just a touch of sweetness.

3. Spicy: Just because good ol’ mac is comforting on its own doesn’t mean it couldn’t use a little kick every now and then. Sunny’s Spicy Macaroni and Cheese is spiked with cayenne pepper and pepper jack cheese.

4. Easy: Nothing’s quite as heartening as knowing that dinner is taken care of. Whip out your slow cooker for Trisha’s Slow Cooker Macaroni and Cheese, which takes only 10 minutes of prep before coasting towards dinnertime.

Keep reading for more ideas

#TBT: The Neelys

by in Food Network Chef, January 16th, 2014

The NeelysIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

The king and queen of down-home barbecue, husband and wife Patrick and Gina Neely are best when they’re together, one of only a few groups on Food Network to co-host a show. Their first-ever series on the network, Down Home with the Neelys, featured Pat and Gina cooking alongside each other, swapping stories about their family’s recipes, tips on executing their dishes at home and surely plenty of laughs.

Pat and Gina specialize in making traditional barbecue, and while that has different meanings across the United States, the Neelys most often focus on classic Tennessee ’cue, turning out Memphis-Style Hickory-Smoked Beef and Pork Ribs, Barbecue Baked Beans and Honey Cornbread Muffins. Although some barbecue recipes have a tendency to be complicated and require tricky cooking techniques, Pat and Gina’s are simple to follow and deliver tried-and-true results, thanks to their fan-friendly style of breaking down each component of a recipe and showing how it  can be replicated easily at home.

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Restaurant Revisited: Monkey Business at Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill

by in Shows, January 15th, 2014

Restaurant: ImpossibleFrom a filthy interior to seemingly indifferent management, the problems at Spunky Monkey Bar and Grill in Auburn, Wash., were many, and it was up to Robert Irvine and his Restaurant: Impossible team to decipher and ultimately fix them one by one if the business was to have any chance at future success. Over the course of two days and with a budget of only $10,000, Robert overhauled the interior of the eatery, redesigned the menu and worked with owner Donel Brinkman to implement positive changes that ultimately allowed her to reopen Spunky Monkey to a packed crowd. Read on below for an exclusive interview with Donel and find out how her business is faring a few months later.

“Customers are thrilled with the design (as are we),” Donel says of the diners’ reactions to Spunky Monkey’s transformation, “and we are receiving great commentary on the transition.”

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Tailgating Cookbooks: A League of Their Own

by in Books, January 15th, 2014

Tailgating Cookbooks: A League of Their OwnWhether you’re a fan of the game or just of game-day food, there’s no denying the appeal of football cuisine. For this month’s recommendations, I set out to assemble an all-star lineup of the best of Food Network Library’s tailgating cookbooks. I fast found myself slipping down a rabbit hole into a vast and unfamiliar world of community cookbooks devoted to collegiate tailgating — a world where the NCAA begins to look like one massive Junior League that’s as devoted to recipes as to pass receptions.

It was amazing how numerous these cookbooks turned out to be (ripe terrain for a collector, for sure). To name just a few: Tar Heel Tailgating (University of North Carolina), Purdue Alumnus Tailgate Recipe Cookbook, University of Texas Longhorns’ Cookbook, Teatime to Tailgates (Kansas State University), Rocky Top Saturdays (University of Tennessee) and my favorite (in title, at least) Let the Big Dawg Eat (University of Georgia).

Get Jonathan’s cookbook picks