It’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.
You may know Rachael Rayas one half of the dueling powerhouses on the Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity and Kids Cook-Off series, or as the friendly face in the kitchen showing you how to make meals for a Week in a Day. But before she tackled these projects or launched her own lifestyle magazine and syndicated daytime talk show, Rachael was a 30-minute maven, the queen of quick meals who could dish up a full, hearty supper in just half an hour.
Born in Glen Falls, N.Y., Rachael grew up in a food-focused family, then moved to New York City to run Macy’s candy counter and ultimately the store’s fresh-foods department. While in the city, she managed a specialty foods shop as well, but eventually returned upstate; it was this relocation that finally led her to the concept of 30-minute meals. She began teaching cooking classes called “30-Minute Mediterranean Meals” at the Albany market for which she was working, and given their enormous local popularity, it was only a matter of time before a regional television station welcomed her on board, launching her career in the television industry.
Nothing signals the beginning of the holiday season more than pumpkins do, and just as they start showing up on front porches across the country, they make their way into our kitchens too. Of course it’s possible to cook using fresh pumpkin, but I think that for almost every application, canned pumpkin puree just works better. Fresh pumpkin tends to be a little watery, but canned puree is smooth, rich and flavorful every time. Canned pumpkin is a delicious addition to all kinds of dishes, sweet and savory, and Food Network Magazine’s October booklet has 50 inspiring canned pumpkin recipes for the holidays.
The Pumpkin Pasta Alfredo (pictured above) and Pumpkin Oatmeal are two of my top picks, but another of my favorites didn’t make the list: Curried Pumpkin Ketchup. This spiced ketchup is really easy to make and is truly delicious. In the test kitchen, we sampled it on fries and loved it, and I think it would taste great slathered all over a meatloaf sandwich.
On this past Sunday’s finale of The Great Food Truck Race, the three remaining teams rolled into Maryland for a crabbing adventure in the bay. In a surprise turn of events, one team was eliminated right on the spot, just before Tyler sent the final two teams to Arlington, Va. The last day of selling took place in the nation’s capital, where securing street-side locations and generating a crowd wasn’t so easy. But you can’t blame the locals — with so many restaurant options to choose from, it’s hard to be the new kids on the block.
Washington, D.C., has a lot going for it food-wise, and even though it doesn’t have a famous dish associated with it like New York City or Chicago, it has eateries with international flair and ones that have been around for decades, serving classic dishes that draw both locals and tourists. FN Dish has rounded up a sampling of the restaurants from Food Network’s On the Road guide. Check them out below.
While some jarred products (think ketchup and mustard) may indeed be best enjoyed straight from their store-bought bottles, applesauce isn’t among them, as it’s both simple and quick to make from scratch. All it takes to prepare a batch is a few crisp apples and a pinch of sugar, plus butter for richness and a bit of citrus; from there, you can dress up your recipe with warm spices, like cinnamon, or a glug of liqueur. Check out Food Network’s top-five applesauce recipes from Ina, the Neelys, Alton and more Food Network chefs to find classic and creative ways to turn autumn’s bounty of apples into a comforting seasonal dish.
5. The Neelys’ Homemade Applesauce — For added apple flavor in their 25-minute recipe, the Neelys stir apple cider into their simple mixture of fruit, brown sugar and cinnamon sticks.
4. Plum Applesauce — Juicy red plums add both color and sweetness to this big-batch applesauce, easily prepared in a rice cooker in just one hour.
In a Food Trucks first, three teams competed in the finale, which began in Chicago. But in a surprise elimination, one team was sent packing halfway through the final leg of the race. After just getting by in the bottom more than once, Philly’s Finest Sambonis made it to the top three by the skin of their teeth. But then after a Truck Stop challenge based on taste in Maryland, the luck finally ran out: The team wouldn’t be making it to the final two cities of Annapolis, Md., and Washington, D.C. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the guys of Philly’s Finest Sambonis.
Getting kids to eat spaghetti probably isn’t too hard, but night after night it can be a bit dull. That’s why I like to throw a few surprises at the little guys when I can — especially when it’s this easy to make a big impression. Here’s how:
Cook spaghetti for 3 minutes less than the package suggests and drain. Add marinara sauce (you don’t even have to heat it up), plus one lightly beaten egg. Butter a muffin pan and fill each cup with half a cup or so of pasta and sauce, then use your fingers to push the pasta up along the edges, making a well in the middle. Pop the pan into the hot oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. During the last minute, add two small mozzarella balls to the “nest” and you’ll have eggs. Keep an eye on the nests and if they melt down, that’s OK — now you have snowcapped mountain-tops.
Pot roast doesn’t typically get a nutritional nod, but that’s likely because of the marbling (striations of fat not found in top round or loin). But for just 176 calories, 3 ounces of chuck roast (the cut that makes the best pot roast) b...