Lunchbox Basics — Simple Scratch Cooking

by in Family, September 18th, 2013

Lunch Box BasicsSchool finally started up again here in New York City, and with it came the reality that I’ll have to pack 500+ lunches between now and the end of June 2014. Given the alternative of the poor-quality food offered at my daughters’ elementary school, I’m thankful I can provide them with a healthy lunch on my own. The task is still daunting, though, and it’s hard to stay inspired when I’ve been on this lunchbox merry-go-round for five years now. As luck would have it, Catherine McCord’s new cookbook, Weelicious Lunches, arrived on my doorstep when we came home after the first day of school. It remedied my lunchbox blues and reminded me that every day I get the chance to send my girls off with a little reminder that Mommy loves them.

Here are a few tips and tricks I keep in mind when psyching myself up for the lunch challenge during the week.

Get Jennie’s tips

Jokes First, Cooking a Close Second — Chopped After Hours

by in Shows, September 17th, 2013


Chris Santos, Geoffrey Zakarian and Scott Conant may be revered judges on Chopped and three of the most celebrated chefs and restaurateurs in New York City, but when they come together in the Chopped kitchen for a friendly face-off, they don’t hesitate to let their sillier sides show. On tonight’s all-new Chopped After Hours, the guys, led by host Ted Allen, were greeted with leftover ingredients — lasagna, a hamburger, a fortune cookie and steamed broccoli — and only 20 minutes on the clock to give these precooked dishes a second chance on a plate. While Chris, Geoffrey and Scott surely let their culinary chops shine in making such inspired dishes as a breaded lasagna bite, an Italian-focused sandwich and a family-friendly frittata, respectively, they weren’t shy about having fun with each other.

Just minutes into cooking, Ted and Chris took advantage of the opportunity when Scott was away from his station to playfully mess with the chef, hiding from him his chopped burger patty. “Someone stole my hamburger!” he exclaimed later, before Ted advised him to check beneath his station to find his missing ingredient.

Read more

Featured Restaurants in the Twin Cities: On the Road with The Great Food Truck Race

by in Shows, September 17th, 2013

Minnesota OTROn this past Sunday’s episode of The Great Food Truck Race, the four remaining teams faced double Truck Stop challenges in the Twin Cities. Their first day was spent in Minneapolis selling food on a stick, which Minnesotans love eating at state fairs. The teams then rolled into St. Paul on day two and had to sell dishes made with Spam, which was invented in the state. It was a tough sell offering foods that most of the locals were all too familiar with and could get anywhere. But by the end of the weekend, the teams mostly proved they could roll with whatever Tyler dished out.

But besides food on a stick and Spam burgers, the Twin Cities have a lot going for them when it comes to eating out, including over-the-top dishes, like outrageously loaded burgers and fusion pizzas, as well as classic local hangouts that have been around for decades. There’s something for everyone in both Minneapolis and St. Paul as you’ll see in Food Network’s On the Road guide. See the offerings below.

Get the Restaurant Listings

Watch: A Family and Kids Fall-Themed Google+ Hangout

by in Community, Family, September 17th, 2013


Food Network’s Melissa d’Arabian, Catherine McCord of Weelicious.com and Dan Pashman of CookingChannelTV.com’s Web series, Good to Know, chatted about all things back-to-school, tailgating and autumn cooking. Click the play button on the video above to watch, and follow Food Network on Google+ to join the conversation.

Check out Food Network’s Back-to-School Central for easy lunchbox recipes and snack solutions, and browse the Family & Kids Headquarters for more family-friendly meal ideas.

Zucchini Casserole Castles

by in Family, September 17th, 2013

Learn How to Make Zucchini Casserole CastlesI don’t make a lot of casseroles, but I do bake many muffins. This idea combines both — and it made an otherwise ho-hum dinner something so special that our 4-year-old is still talking about it. And that was a week ago.

Mix up 3 cups freshly grated zucchini with 1 cup cottage cheese, 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 cup grated cheese, lots of fresh herbs, salt, pepper and one hard-working egg — then pour the whole thing into oversize muffin tins instead of a casserole dish. Bake them at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, then invert the “muffins” onto tiny plates. Add one homemade flag (bamboo skewer + painter’s tape) and ta-da! A casserole becomes a castle.

Mix Your Apples

by in Food Network Magazine, September 17th, 2013

applesNext time you shop for apples, pick up a few varieties and combine them in recipes. Try tart (Granny Smith or Cortland) with sweet (Pink Lady or Macoun), and mix textures too: Empire and McIntosh soften when they’re cooked; Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp retain their shape. Just avoid Red Delicious — they get too mushy.

Rachael vs. Guy: Mac and Cheese Cook-Off

by in Recipes, Shows, September 16th, 2013

Rachael vs. Guy: Mac and Cheese Cook-OffOn Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off, Rachael and Guy coach teams of talented kid chefs to culinary victory. Here on FN Dish, we’re serving up some of the mentors’ best family-favorite, cook-together recipes in a friendly face-off. Whose dish scores more points with your family? Cast your votes below!

Up first is a comfort food all-star beloved by kids and adults alike: Macaroni and Cheese.

Vote now

Saag Paneer — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, September 16th, 2013

Saag PaneerLike so many dishes on the menus at your favorite takeout restaurants, saag paneer may be something you indulge in only occasionally, when the need for a quick delivery dinner is simply too great to ignore. But when you have time to spare, preparing this traditional Indian dinner, featuring spiced spinach (saag) and freshly made cheese (paneer), is indeed doable at home, especially when using Food Network Magazine’s easy-to-follow recipe.

The secret to making authentic Saag Paneer (pictured above) is starting with quality cheese, and while you may not be able to pick up paneer at your local grocery store, you can surely craft a batch from scratch using just a handful of everyday ingredients. After warming up whole milk, mix in plain yogurt and a splash of lemon juice to create cheese curds. These need to be drained of excess moisture, then chilled in the refrigerator until they form a firm block, at which point the cheese will be sturdy enough to be deep-fried. Tossed with creamy garlic-coriander spinach, these warm cubes of golden-brown cheese are deliciously crispy yet tender. Served with a simple preparation of rice, this bold, flavorful dish becomes a hearty dinner.

Read more