Inexpensive Eats: Low-Cost Recipes for Tax Day

by in Recipes, April 14th, 2012


It’s that time of the year again — Tax Day is looming and you’re feeling the financial pinch in your wallet. Once Uncle Sam has claimed a good chunk of your paycheck on April 17, there may not be room for fancy meals and decadent ingredients. But eating on a budget doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor or nutrition. Check out our list of low-cost, easy-to-make meals that will keep you cooking at home without breaking the bank.

One of the most wallet-friendly dishes you can make, pasta is a guaranteed family favorite and will easily feed a crowd — just one pound of noodles can be split among six people. Top your choice of pasta with Food Network Magazine’s five-star Perfect Marinara Sauce to create a low-cost Italian supper in no time. Experiment with other flavor-packed sauces, like Alfredo Sauce, Basil Pesto or Vodka Sauce, to add variety to your pasta-recipe repertoire.

Not just for kids and picky eaters, grilled cheeses are the ultimate building-block sandwiches. They’re naturally inexpensive — just butter, bread and cheese are needed to craft a classic recipe — but can seem more indulgent by adding a few extra flavors. Cooking Channel‘s Kelsey Nixon whips up a traditional yet creative Grilled Cheese Sandwich by stacking tart Granny Smith apple slices, crispy bacon and cheddar cheese on mustard-spread bread and grilling the sandwich until golden brown. Check out Food Network Magazine’s roundup of 50 Grilled Cheeses for more gooey inspiration.

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Country Music Star Trisha Yearwood Answers Your Questions

by in Community, Food Network Chef, April 13th, 2012

trisha yearwood
Country music star Trisha Yearwood invites y’all into her Nashville kitchen starting tomorrow morning (10:30am/9:30c) on Food Network. She’ll cook up Southern favorites, share stories and keep her door open for family and friends.

Yesterday, Food Network Facebook, Twitter and Google+ fans got the chance to ask Trisha about her favorites, like Sunday meals, comfort foods and potluck pleasers.

@paint_it_golden on Twitter asked: What’s your favorite dish to cook on a regular basis?
TY: Basic stuff like spaghetti and black-bean lasagna.

@kongatoast on Twitter asked: What’s your favorite Sunday meal?
TY: Having roast beef, rice and gravy always reminds me of Sundays growing up.

Ann Garvin on Facebook asked: How do you plan out your weekly menu?
TY: Haha! I don’t. I have good intentions, but I never seem to plan ahead.

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French Onion Soup — The Weekender

by in Recipes, April 13th, 2012

french onion soup
During the final years of their lives, my grandparents stopped cooking at home. They’d do little things, like make coffee and toast in the morning and heat up a can of soup for lunch. But dinner was always eaten at Little Pete’s, the restaurant across the street from their apartment building.

Each day at around 5:00 or 5:30, they’d don coats (no matter what the weather) and make their way over. The wait staff took great care of them, reserving my grandma’s preferred booth and depositing a glass of iced tea in front of her the moment she sat down.

When we’d go to visit them, these trips to Little’s Pete’s took on even more importance, because it was an opportunity for them to show my mom, sister and me off to the unofficial members of their de facto nightly dining club.

Over the years, I logged a lot of hours at Little Pete’s. My regular order was a cup of French onion soup and a Greek salad with extra olives. Truly, though, the salad was simply there so that I could justify eating a bowl of tangy broth, onions and bubbling-hot cheese.

The tenth anniversary of my grandmother’s death recently passed, so it just seemed right to make something in her honor. Though I ordered it more often than she did, I chose Ina Garten’s recipe for long-cooked French Onion Soup as a way of remembering all those meals. I took my time slicing onions and cooking them until golden. I think it may have been my most favorite Weekender yet.

Before you start slicing onions, read these tips

Frozen French Fries: Good or Bad?

by in Uncategorized, April 13th, 2012
french fries

Are frozen fries healthy?

Think a box of frozen taters are a healthier option? We’ll fill you in on the pros and cons, plus give you a homemade alternative.

Good?
Frozen fries offer convenience – pop ‘em on a cookie sheet and toss in the oven. ...

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What Is Sour Trahana?

by in How-to, Shows, April 13th, 2012

sour trahanaLast Sunday night on the premiere episode of Chopped All-Stars, the Iron Chef contestants opened up their baskets to find sour trahana. I quickly found myself Googling the term, only to find out several minutes later from Ted Allen that it’s a traditional Greek pasta that is essentially flour kneaded with sour milk, buttermilk or yogurt and some salt.

 

 

I couldn’t get a good glimpse of the grain on TV, but imagine a substance similar to couscous.

According to The Food and Wine of Greece by Diane Kochilas, “Until a generation ago, sour trahana was the shepherd’s and farmer’s breakfast. It was made at the end of every summer all over Greece in preparation for the winter months.”

So what can you do with sour trahana? Try cooking it in a soup, like Cat Cora’s Chicken Soup. The longer you cook the grain, the thicker it becomes.

If you can’t find sour trahana in the international aisle of your local supermarket, try searching for it online at a Greek specialty store.

Tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c when four gourmet globetrotters — Keegan Gerhard, Marcela Valladolid, Jeffrey Saad and Aarti Sequeira — take their place on the Chopping Block.

On the Blogs: Bacon Sundaes, Pizza Parody and Bagel Trends

by in Community, April 12th, 2012

baconGothamist: What’s new in the world of bacon? Burger King’s bacon sundaes, Lay’s BLT potato chips and the evolution of bacon and egg ice cream.

Eater: Take a break to watch SNL’s “Almost Pizza” parody commercial. “It’s very nearly pizza, but not quite. It’s Almost Pizza.”

The Kitchn: The most difficult dinner guest = gluten intolerant + allergic to nuts + vegan + allergic to eggs + lactose intolerant. Believe it or not, there are still some tasty options to feed them.

Bon Appétit: Artisanal bagels are making a comeback. Say goodbye to the puffy, oversized rounds.

Huffington Post: How is food faring in the job market? The restaurant industry has rebounded faster in job creation than the overall economy.

 

The Neelys’ Unforgettable Easter Experience at the White House

by in Events, Food Network Chef, April 12th, 2012

white house
We thought we had done and seen it all, but the past few days have been a whirlwind of great memories. It all started Saturday night: It was our daughter Shelbi’s junior prom, and she looked as beautiful as her mom as she left to enjoy her amazing and memorable night.

As the sun came up on Easter Sunday morning, we got up and started packing for our flight to Washington, D.C., to attend the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. As soon as we landed, we were like kids on Christmas morning. We arrived at our hotel and turned in early so we would be ready to roll first thing the next day.

The car arrived promptly at our hotel at 8 a.m. Monday, and it was only then that our excitement started to turn to nerves. We were going to the White House. Not just for a group tour, but to meet the first lady as her official guests at the White House Annual Easter Egg Roll. We were also invited to host two cooking demonstrations for all of the guests, as well as the first family — that’s enough to give anyone a bubbly stomach.

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A Last-Minute, On-the-Fly Family Meal

by in Behind the Scenes, April 12th, 2012

shrimp parmigiama family meal
In Food Network Kitchens, Family Meal is usually a topic we talk about the minute we walk through the door. As you can imagine, we’re juggling numerous projects at once, so it sometimes slips off our radars. That’s exactly what happened yesterday.

Around noon, I got up from my desk and noticed nobody was making lunch — so I stepped in. I saw peeled shrimp left over from a grilling photo shoot and two quarts of marinara sauce. After a little hunting I also found mozzarella cheese. All of these ingredients together equals pure bliss, otherwise known as Shrimp Parmigiana.

To cook the dish, I added oil, chopped garlic and fresh thyme into a pan over medium heat. After two minutes, I added the shrimp and sauteed them until they were cooked through. Next, I deglazed the pan by adding a splash of white wine and the marinara sauce. I finished the dish by topping the shrimp with slices of mozzarella cheese and throwing it under the broiler until the cheese was melted. You can serve it with a loaf of crusty bread on the side and watch everyone smile.

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