Carolina vs. Colorado: Regional Food Fight

by in Entertaining, February 3rd, 2016

This Sunday, the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will face off in the biggest football game of the year. We’re no experts on who has the advantage on the field, but we’re here to break down the regional food rivalry between these two teams (much more in our wheelhouse).

Super Bowl 50 pits a Southeastern barbecue powerhouse against a Colorado city known for stellar Mexican food and microbrews, promising a fierce battle on the food front. Both food cultures translate well to the game-day party spread, so go ahead and make your allegiances known through your menu.

To deck out your viewing party with your preferred team’s colors, check out the easy candy crafts above for the Broncos (left) and the Panthers (right). Use them as centerpieces that guests can eat for dessert.

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Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies — Bake-Ahead Batches

by in Recipes, February 2nd, 2016

Oatmeal Cream PiesWhen I was little my neighborhood block was my universe. My best friend lived next door. We played kickball on the street in front of the house and explored the woods behind; our driveway was the best racecourse that any daredevil biker could hope for.

My dear friend Doris also lived on my block. She probably had a good 50 years on me, but that didn’t stop us from becoming close. She was kind and extremely gracious, considering that I would drop in on her without notice whenever it pleased me. My own grandmother lived 8,000 miles away, but Doris was nearby and I was grateful for her company. We’d play checkers and drink lemonade for hours. I loved our chats, and I loved her smile.

But that wasn’t all. Doris had the best snacks around — Little Debbie everything! She had crispy and crackly Star Crunch, dense and fudgy brownies, and my personal favorite, plenty of Oatmeal Creme Pies. Even today when I see those boxes in the supermarket, I’m immediately whisked back to the time when I’d sit on Doris’ fuzzy, teal couch in front of the glass coffee table considering my next checkers move with a mouthful of sugar.

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Pizza Not by the Slice: Fun Alternatives to Satisfy Your Cheesy Craving

by in Recipes, February 2nd, 2016

pizza dipIt’s time to broaden your pizza horizons and think beyond the pie. Picture your favorite kind of slice. Then imagine all those awesome fixings encased in a gooey cheese dip served with crusty bread or layered in a hearty lasagna. There’s no rule limiting pepperoni to a triangular slice. How you enjoy all the awesome elements of pizza — cheese, carb, tomato sauce and toppings — is up to you. Here are some of our favorites.

Supreme Pizza Dip

If you like your pizza with the works, you’ll love this dip filled with pepperoni, sauteed onions, bell peepers and black olives. It’s best served deep-dish style straight out of the skillet next to lots of garlicky toasts.

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Americans Aren’t Sure About the No-Tip Trend

by in News, Restaurants, February 2nd, 2016

Americans Aren't Sure About the No-Tip TrendThe movement to ditch tipping and bake the cost of service right into the price of menu items, in order to pay servers and other restaurant staffers a reliably higher wage, is gaining momentum. This fall, when influential restaurateur Danny Meyer declared an end to tipping, at least in his renowned eateries, things seemed to have reached a tipping point. But the push for tip-free dining may be moving a little too fast for the average consumer.

Eighty-one percent of adults who eat in restaurants say they’re not ready for gratuities to be factored into menu items, preferring that the decision to tip, and how much, be left to their own discretion, a new study conducted by Horizon Media has found.

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One Recipe, Two Meals: Southwest-Style Chili

by in Family, Recipes, February 2nd, 2016

One Recipe, Two Meals: Southwest-Style ChiliOnce a month Bev Weidner, of Bev Cooks fame and the mom of adorable twin littles, stops by to share an easy, one-two approach to dinner to keep everyone happy: Start by making one classic recipe for the kids in the house, then dress up that same dish with bold flavors for the adults.

You hardly hear anyone say, “I love this time of year!” in regard to winter. Especially that dreadful stint from January to March when you feel Old Man Winter won’t ever pack his stupid bags and leave you the heck alone. And I’ll tell you, I’m in that boat. I usually loathe the wintertime. But I’m trying to be better about my grumpy bump winter ‘tude and suck it up. Because you know what? CHILI.

You can’t go wrong with a good ol’ chili, ya know? While there are 15 million versions of chili out there, I wanted to keep this one classic on the flavor front, but give it a little twist for the adults. Think spicier. Definitely spicier.

The chili starts off the same for everyone: browned seasoned beef, a dose of veggies, black beans, tomatoes and a little bit of tomato sauce (to thicken). At this point the kids’ version is ready! It’s chunky and simple. Serve it with cornbread and a mountain of shredded cheddar. I’m almost sure your littles will praise your name for the rest of ever.

Now, to up the ante for the adults, I added a bit of beer, beef stock, more chili powder, a minced jalapeno and brown sugar to round it out. It’s got a KICK, yo. And it’s a bit soupier than the kids’ version, but I prefer that in a chili. I like the beans to swim a little — practice their backstroke. Do you? That’s right, you do.

We’re kind of liking this time of year now, aren’t we?

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The All-Nachos Restaurant You Never Knew You Needed

by in News, Restaurants, February 1st, 2016

The All-Nachos Restaurant You Never Knew You NeededEvery so often the world brings you something that satisfies a deep need you had no idea you had. Like, for instance, delivering fabulous, easily returnable shoes to your door. Or, perhaps, providing you with a restaurant exclusively devoted to nachos.

Actually, we can thank the same man for both of those things. Nick Swinmurn, the guy who launched Zappos — and then left his job as the shoe e-tailer’s CEO in 2006, three years before the company was sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion — has just opened an all-nacho restaurant in California, with an eye toward rolling it out to other regions, should the idea prove successful.

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Winter Layered Salad with Beets and Brussels Sprouts — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, February 1st, 2016

Winter Layered Salad with Beets and Brussels SproutsTake it from the chefs in Food Network Kitchen: When it comes to salad, “Layered is the new chopped.” And when it comes to building a satisfying bowl of greens, it’s all about keeping you interested in what’s on your plate — or, in this case, what’s in the bowl. Think beyond lettuce and dressing — but don’t lose sight of them — and add bright pops of colorful ingredients, add-ins with plenty of texture, and a mix of fruit and vegetables. To keep the visual appeal in play, try layering all of the ingredients to show off each one’s distinct look.

Stacked with a whopping seven ingredients, not including the Dijon-laced vinaigrette, Food Network Kitchen’s Winter Layered Salad with Beets and Brussels Sprouts offers the best in seasonal fare, including juicy pink grapefruits, as well as hearty pearled barley to keep you full. “We love the tender-chewy barley, but it can be swapped out for your favorite whole grain, like brown rice or quinoa,” the chefs in Food Network Kitchen note. They add, however, “Don’t skip the walnuts — the toasty-nutty little guys are our favorite part.”

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Arnold’s Guide to Creating “Love Bug” Moments at Home

by in Entertaining, Holidays, February 1st, 2016

Arnold’s Guide to Creating A handful of holidays require pulling out all the stops — elaborate menus, fabulous tablescapes, special gifts and wearing your good suit. And though I normally encourage playing with your food and exploring new culinary adventures, sometimes during these special times, like Valentine’s Day, a few practical tips and help from outside sources can calm the nerves, relieve the pressure, and allow you to stop and smell the roses.

I’m not trying to keep you from busting out the souffle pan, roasting rack and Chateau Lafite. If you are an ambitious domestic diva who enjoys the thrill of a party-hosting challenge, by all means, go for broke. But if not, it’s totally OK. Working within your technical and financial means with a few subtle personal touches will do the trick, especially on this heart-filled day. Here are a few creative and approachable Valentine’s Day ideas that are sure to spark a romantic “love bug” moment.

Private Party of Two
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Ted Allen Is Working Late on Cutthroat Kitchen — Alton’s After-Show

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 31st, 2016

Fresh off the chopping block, Ted Allen joined the ranks of eviliciousness tonight when he stopped by for his first-ever turn as a Cutthroat Kitchen guest judge. The Chopped judge is used to watching chef competitors try their hands at downright oddball ingredients in their mystery baskets, but on Cutthroat Kitchen, he had no knowledge of chefs’ struggles with sabotages — until he experienced them for himself on the After-Show.

Alton Brown and Ted faced off in prepping — what else but — a chopped salad, which was the Round 1 dish of the day. And in true evilicious fashion, they could use only garden tools for their utensils. “Oh, no. Oh, no,” Ted said as he learned of the sabotage. He ultimately chose to work with the weed whacker in his mini battle with Alton, who was left to use a tiller to prep his salad. “Look at that. That’s gorgeous,” Ted proclaimed after successfully shredding lettuce with the weed whacker, though he found out later that the device “doesn’t work as well on the cucumber.” He admitted, “I don’t think I’m going to get an A+ in weed-whacker knife skills on that one.” Though Alton appeared to struggle a bit when it came time to chop a red pepper, he managed to serve a completed salad to a Bob, all while Ted was still working his way through ingredients.

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One-on-One with the Latest Recruit Eliminated from the Blue Team — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, January 31st, 2016

Blue TeamThis season on Worst Cooks in America, 14 new hapless home cooks have joined the ranks to be mentored by chefs Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell. Split into the Blue Team and the Red Team, the recruits face new cooking challenges every week, gathering new cooking skills until just two finalists remain to face off in the last cook-off. That winner will walk away with $25,000 in cash, and his or her mentor will win bragging rights. Unfortunately, every week the two lowest-scoring recruits will be kicked out of Boot Camp. They lose the chance to win the prize money, but they leave with new skills learned from their mentors.

Every Sunday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits, one from the Red Team and one from the Blue Team.

Find out who on the Blue Team went home