Seafood vs. Italian: Which Restaurant Divided Concept Did You Like Better?

by in Shows, December 5th, 2013

Restaurant DividedIt was father versus son at Michael’s Porthole in Oceanside, N.Y., when Rocco DiSpirito entered the restaurant for the first time. Specializing in seafood, this waterfront eatery was on the brink of closure after a series of devastating accidents and natural tragedies, and while owner Mike Rodonis Sr. was committed to making its fish-focused menu work long-term, his son, Mike Rodonis Jr., who is also the chef at the restaurant, believed that a brand-new Italian concept was needed to jump-start the restaurant’s profitability. Rocco had no choice but to divided the space and pursue both ideas before ultimately determining which offered the greatest opportunity for lasting success.

Working with his Restaurant Divided team, Rocco transformed one half of the interior of Michael’s Porthole into Mike Jr.’s Il Portello, serving Italian-inspired appetizers, and converted the other half into Mike Sr.’s Canal House Grill, a made-over version of the existing restaurant. Rocco helped both guys tweak their menus to be both business-smart and appealing to customers, then the father and son served separate meals to customers and critics alike. After considering both business’ viability and hearing from diners, Rocco announced that the concept of Il Portello is stronger.

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4 Mistakes You Don’t Have to Make This Holiday Season

by in Food Network Chef, Holidays, December 5th, 2013

Classic Apple TartsI love the excitement of the holiday season, and I even crave a bit of the chaos that comes with being pulled in a million directions. Still, I like to keep (most of) my sanity, especially in the kitchen, which I like to consider my own little haven. Here are some of the biggest mistakes people make in the holiday kitchen, along with a quick fix for each one.

1. Edible gifts: There’s nothing like getting a tasty homemade gift!
The big mistake: making them at the last minute. One year I decided to make all my neighbors Homemade Apple Tarts (pictured above). Everyone loved them, but they needed to be made and delivered fresh, which meant I was up all night making pie after pie.

The fix: Take a tip from those high-end croissant dough delivery places and give frozen (un)baked goods. My Scones can be whipped up in a flash, flavored according to your preferences, cut into triangles and frozen unbaked. Give them frozen so the recipients can bake them according to their schedule.

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#TBT: Sandra Lee

by in Food Network Chef, December 5th, 2013

Sandra LeeIt’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.

With nearly a decade’s worth of experience on Food Network, Sandra Lee knows the ins and outs of food television and what it takes to be successful on air. She’s managed to find the sweet spot in which she’s not only cooking tried-and-true quality recipes, but doing so in an approachable way that teaches fans and inspires them to get in the kitchen as well.

Sandra has hosted several series on Food Network, and each furthers her commitment to easy, family-friendly recipes that everyday home cooks can tackle. She’s a firm believer in the semi-homemade concept of cooking — the notion that store-bought products can be used alongside fresh ingredients to create home-style dishes — and the idea even inspired one of her first shows, Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Every week she’d introduce dishes like Teriyaki Salmon Strips and 5-Bean Chili that combined simple shortcuts, like prepared teriyaki sauce and chili seasoning mix, respectively, with fresh goods, so that viewers could not only put food on the table quickly, but feel good about what they were serving as well.

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Comforting Winter Squash Sides — Fall Fest

by in In Season, December 5th, 2013

Saffron Risotto with Butternut SquashThe most-decadent holiday of the year may have passed us by, but that doesn’t mean we’re nixing comfort foods on these cold, wintry days. Some needs just can’t be put on hold for diets or cleanses, especially when you’re swaddled in sweaters and huddled for warmth. That’s why, this week, FN Dish is adding seasonal winter squash — a most-satisfying, sweet and adaptable piece of produce — to the grocery cart.

At the market, keep your eyes peeled for winter squash varieties like butternut, delicate, acorn, kabocha and spaghetti squashes. Follow FN Dish’s lead and cook up winter squash creations that are inventive, filling and seasonal. Whether it’s your first squash of the season or you already have leftovers in the fridge, these recipes are family favorites in the making.

Before you do anything else, learn how to break kabocha and butternut squashes down with Food Network Magazine. That way, there’s nothing preventing you from making Squash Gratin, a two-squash side that’s nice and velvety under its crispy, cheesy crust.

Get more winter squash recipes from friends and family

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Cheese (Plus 10 Cheesy Recipes)

by , December 5th, 2013

broccoli cheddar pocket

Is cheese a staple ingredient of your menus? Here are some nutrition tips, a couple of insights and, of course, some healthy cheesy recipes.

Did You Know?

1. Lower-moisture cheeses, including Parmesan, Romano and Swiss, are lower in lactose and may ...

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Trisha’s Iced Sugar Cookies — 12 Days of Cookies

by in Holidays, December 5th, 2013

Trisha's Iced Sugar Cookies
12 Days of CookiesIt’s time for 12 Days of Cookies, Food Network’s annual virtual cookie swap. Each day, visit us here on FN Dish for a peek at new holiday cookies, party-planning tips and top techniques for rolling, spooning, slicing, baking and decorating delicious sweet treats to give — or keep — from your favorite Food Network chefs

Trisha has these cookies at all of her Christmas parties, because they’re fun for decorating. She lets the dough chill for at least an hour before rolling (but you don’t have to!). Get kids involved in decorating the sugar cookies with icing, sprinkles, small candies and more holiday touches.

Get Trisha Yearwood’s Iced Sugar Cookies recipe, and check out 12 Days of Cookies for dozens more recipes and holiday baking inspiration. Then, join the conversation: Tell us what you’re baking this season and what your all-time favorite cookie is.

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Restaurant Revisited: Unfixable Family at Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant

by in Shows, December 4th, 2013

Restaurant: ImpossibleIt didn’t take long for Robert Irvine to realize he was facing two missions at Mike La Susa’s Italian Restaurant in Oak Creek, Wis. Not only was he to overhaul the decor and reinvent the menu, but he also had to contend with the family, owners Patrick and Mary, plus their son, Mike. This trio was barely able to communicate with each other when Robert arrived, and it was up to him to attempt to see to the root of their problems while working with his Restaurant: Impossible team to transform the failing eatery into a welcoming, comfortable space. With a budget of only $10,000 and just two days to institute changes, Robert ultimately reopened Mike La Susa’s to a crowd of customers. Read on below for an exclusive update on how the restaurant is doing today.

Mike is enjoying the updated menu, although business has struggled a bit since the transformation, as the changes in the list of offerings have been difficult for longtime customers to accept. He’s still the main cook, and he is planning to eventually add some of the original dishes back to the menu.

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5 Fun Things to Make with Sprinkles for the Holidays

by in Holidays, How-to, December 4th, 2013

5 Fun Things to Make with Sprinkles for the HolidaysDuring the holidays, I want everything to have an extra layer of sparkle, even the food — okay, especially the food. Sprinkles, from the silver BB-like dragees to edible glitter and shimmering sugars, deliver that extra layer of over-the-top, spectacular visual joy to my holiday expectations. These colorful, shiny confections add some glamour without much extra effort, not only to desserts but also appetizers and drinks, and they balance out savory dishes with just a touch of sweetness. Here are some ideas for fun and easy ways to add sprinkles to your holiday creations.

1. Eggnog Party Rims
Dressed up with red and gold sugar and tiny white nonpareils, these vintage cut-glass mugs brimming with eggnog are ready to party.

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October’s Name This Dish Contest Winner

by in Food Network Magazine, December 4th, 2013

October 2013 Name This Dish Contest WinnerEach month, thousands of Food Network Magazine readers submit clever names for the back page’s Name This Dish contest. Previous dishes include coconut fried chicken (winning name: “Hawaii Fried-O“), a stacked salad (“Produce Stand“) and even fried ice cream (“Fryer and Ice“). In the October 2013 issue, we asked readers to dream up names for this steak sandwich (pictured above). Some of our favorites were:

The Steakholder
Jason Brink
Red Deer, Alberta

Philly Mignon
Katie Linn

More favorites and the winner announced

The Week’s Nutrition News Feed

by , December 4th, 2013

In this week’s news: More good news about oatmeal, fast-food receipts that make you rethink your order — plus the latest glimpse into Americans’ eating habits.

Yet Another Reason to Like Oatmeal
Oatmeal may be a more satisfying opt...

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