Easy Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Croutons — The New Girl

by in Family, Recipes, January 22nd, 2013

Easy Tomato Soup With Grilled Cheese CroutonsWhile I’m not technically a rookie anymore, I often still feel like one. Don’t get me wrong — my culinary skill set improved significantly in 2012. The many hours spent whisking away in the kitchen more often than not resulted in satisfied taste-testers (luckily, my friends happily oblige to free food). But with so many techniques still to master and trendy ingredients out there to try, it’s hard not to feel a step behind.

To shake these self doubts, I go back to the basics. A challenge is good, but cooking should remain, for the most part, fun. And sometimes there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as simple comfort food.

Ina’s Easy Tomato Soup from Food Network Magazine is just as the Barefoot Contessa promises: fool-proof. It’s a recipe that I am confident in getting right each time. Prep work is minimal and cleanup is a cinch, so the whole process is relaxing. As I let everything simmer together, I could almost hear her cheery voice encouraging, “How easy is that?”

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Your Favorite Diner Sandwich — Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off

by in Shows, January 22nd, 2013

Carnie Wilson and Hines Ward
Rachael vs. GuyOn Sunday’s episode of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the challenge had the celebrity contestants at Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The goal was to reinvent three classic diner sandwiches: the tuna melt, the cheeseburger and the club sandwich. Unfortunately, not everyone lived up to the challenge. The diners found Dean’s and Chilli’s dishes from Team Guy their least favorite. In the end, Chilli was eliminated.

When you think about it, a diner sandwich makes a pretty darn good lunch, especially when you want to satisfy a craving for greasy spoon cuisine. Everyone has his or her favorite sandwich — you may even order the same one every time you visit a diner. FN Dish wants to know, What’s your favorite diner sandwich? Vote in the poll after the jump.

More From Rachael vs. Guy:
Episode 3 Recap (Video)
Watch the Full Episode (Video)
Episode 3 Highlights (Photos)

VOTE for your favorite diner sandwich

7 Reasons You’re Gaining Weight

by , January 22nd, 2013

woman on scale
You’ve been trying so hard to shed pounds, but notice the scale tipping the other way. Before you toss your arms up in defeat, perhaps there are reasons why you’re gaining weight that you never thought of. My clients often tell me they’re sure...

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Spice Up Your Avocados

by in Food Network Magazine, January 22nd, 2013

Avocado
Americans buy a shocking amount of avocados in January. About 145 million pounds flew off the shelves this time last year, a 15 percent increase over 2011, and we’re guessing almost all of them got mashed and turned into guacamole. While there’s no shame in that, we figured you might want to try something new: Halve an avocado and remove the pit and peel, then press into the rounded side seeds, spices or finely chopped bacon. Slice and serve on crostini or salad.

Image from left to right: Poppy seeds and salt, bacon and smoked paprika, Old Bay Seasoning and salt

(Photograph by Sam Kaplan)

What’s in Your Ultimate Chopped Basket?

by in Shows, January 21st, 2013

Chopped BasketThree rounds, three different baskets and 12 out-of-this-world ingredients. Whether it’s Chopped Champions, All-Stars or regular-season episodes, that’s a lot of combinations to come up with.

So we’re asking this question: What would be included in your ultimate Chopped basket? Not something you’d want to receive, but something you’d give to a fellow competitor. Would there be two proteins? All sweets? Would you include one or two ingredients they’ve probably never heard of? It can be argued that the simplest ingredients like eggs, chicken, pasta and rice are sometimes the hardest.

Tell us what you’d choose in the comments below.

Kid-Friendly Cheese Quesadillas — Meatless Monday

by in Family, Recipes, January 21st, 2013

Cheese Quesadillas
Just when you thought between the late nights at the office, your child’s after-school sports practices and a seemingly never-ending list of errands that you simply don’t have time to cook a from-scratch supper during the week, Paula introduces her recipe for Cheese Quesadillas (pictured above), a family-friendly dinner pick that is ready to eat in only 20 quick minutes. With just a handful of ingredients, she turns kid-approved favorites like cheddar cheese and soft tortillas into warming comfort food that can be finished with any number of Mexican-inspired toppings. If you have salsa, sour cream and guacamole left over from your big game tailgate last weekend, give those dips a second life atop the quesadillas — Paula looks to those tried-and-true favorites to complete this simple supper.

Cooking for adults or perhaps a young eater with an adventurous appetite? Try Rachael’s vegetable-packed quesadilla for another easy weeknight dinner. In her Wild Mushroom Quesadillas With Warm Black Bean Salsa, she flavors both cremini and shiitake mushrooms with fresh thyme and cooks the mixture with sharp white cheddar cheese inside tortillas until the cheese is melted and the tortillas have crisped slightly. A bold topping of warm salsa with hearty black beans, tender corn and barbecue sauce finishes this top-rated meal on a flavorful note.

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10 Interesting Facts About Tea — Iron Chef America Ingredients 101

by in Drinks, Shows, January 21st, 2013

Iron Chef America Battle TeaAs a very proud Englishman, I know that it is tea rather than blood that flows through my veins and that it’s a very rare day indeed when I don’t pop the kettle on the stove for a nice strong “cuppa” to fortify me through a long day of work.

Although I was disappointed not to be asked to judge this particular battle in Kitchen Stadium, I was just as keen as everyone else to see what magic Iron Chef Forgione and his challenger, Chef Kittichai could come up with to give inspiration on new ways to use one of my own kitchen essentials.

Here are 10 interesting facts that you might not know about tea:

1. The word tea comes from the Chinese T’e, which was the word in the Amoy dialect for the plant from which tea leaves came. In Mandarin, the word was ch’a, which is where the words char and chai are derived from.

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