This time of year, parents are divided into two camps. School calendars vary, so while some are excited to finally get started with summer vacation, others are digging deep to get through the last days of the school year. Whether celebrating at the beach or shuffling kids off to school, moms and dads are still faced with the lunchtime conundrum. After all, there’s only so many PB&Js one can eat. Lunch is a great opportunity to put leftovers to good use, as you’ll see from the recipes below. To go along with them, here are 5 tips for packing a picnic, or the last few school lunches of the year.
Sandwiches are never boring when you think beyond the bun. Dieters have been swapping slices for lettuce leaves for years, but even carb embracers need a little break from white or wheat. Witness the enduring ramen burger craze, doughnut breakfast sandwiches from a certain New England-based chain and the amazing “fryders” I discovered earlier this year at a food truck.
Food Network Kitchen created these 10 easy-to-make-at-home reinventions to save us from our summer sandwich slump. Some are more virtuous than others, but all of them are over-the-top delicious.
No Big Tips Allowed? What should a restaurant do when a generous, deep-pocketed patron spontaneously leaves one of its servers, a single mother of three who’s working two jobs, a $1,000 tip — on Mother’s Day, at 3 a.m.? A) Let her keep it. B) Take it away from her. C) Return it to the customer. The correct answer is clearly “A.” But when a customer left waitress Shaina Brown a $1,000 tip and asked her to direct an additional $500 to another customer, writing $1,500 into the tip line on his credit card form, the Waffle House in Raleigh, N.C., chose options B and C instead. The chain refunded the generous customer’s money, which it said was its standard procedure with big tips, in case the tipper has a change of heart. Shaina was crestfallen. “I feel like they stole from me,” she told the Charlotte Observer. Mercifully, the big tipper, a local businessman who wished to remain anonymous, wrote her a check after the paper contacted him. So, phew, sticky situation resolved. [Charlotte Observer]
An In-Depth Look at a Dried Meat Snack: You know what they say about not wanting to know how the sausage is made, but the sentiment may or may not hold true for Slim Jims. For anyone the least bit curious as to how the iconic packaged “meat sticks” are put together, a Wired video exploring “What’s Inside” a Slim Jim is worth a watch. Really, despite the ironic tone of the video’s narrator and the garish animation, it’s not that bad: You got your questionable cuts of meat; your “mechanically separated chicken” (i.e., that pink, pasty stuff they use in some chicken nuggets); your corn and wheat proteins and hydrolyzed soy; lots of salt; and the preservative sodium nitrate, which helps the stick stay red “instead of an unappetizing gray.” Maybe have carrot sticks for a snack today? [Wired via Eater]
Some would say that we should never, ever tinker with the trinity of lettuce, tomato and onion. And if we had only one burger per year, maybe that would work. But since we’re at the very beginning of summer (we can say “summer” now, right?), we have more than enough time to expand our burger repertoire. This week, FN Dish runs down the line of burger combinations and updates we might not have previously considered.
1. Walk the Plank: Cedar planking isn’t just for salmon. Bobby grills Cedar-Planked Burgers (pictured above) for a complex smokiness. If you ask him, it’ll be the first thing you taste.
You probably know Marc Forgione for his five restaurants, cookbook and Iron Chef title, but did you know that his father was a culinary star long before Marc’s lustrous career? Known as the “Godfather of American Cuisine,” Larry Forgione was one of the first chefs to embrace “farm to table” cooking. He now serves as a director at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, Calif. and continues to influence Marc in the kitchen.
So you had the dad who was always going for a run first thing in the morning? The one who always seemed to be making some kind of crazy protein shake in the blender? Then show him the love with one of these healthy recipes, each of which comes in at...
After running Portu-Greek Cafe in Hudson, Fla., for eight years, husband-and-wife owners Jordan and Anne Lindiakos were losing at least $4,000 every month, so they looked to Robert Irvine for help in a last-ditch effort to save their combination Portuguese and Greek eatery. While what Robert deemed the restaurant’s “very plain” decor and the largely microwaved menu were surely in need of an overhaul, the business’ management style was largely to blame for its failure. “We don’t make long-term decisions,” Jordan admitted, speaking of himself, his wife and his children, who work at Portu-Greek Cafe. It was up to Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team to not only transform the cuisine and decor at the restaurant, but also to improve Jordan’s leadership ability and help the family work better together. Read on below to hear from Anne and Jordan, and find out how their business is faring today.
“At this time, we have at least doubled sales,” Anne says, noting that Portu-Greek is “very busy.” Jordan admits, “The decor is beyond everyone’s wildest dreams, including ours.”
For this week’s Chopped Dinner Challenge, the chefs of Food Network Kitchen chose to feature the basket ingredient banana chips. While panko breadcrumbs serve as a great coating for almost all meats, the chefs wanted to prove that changing it up by mixing the breadcrumbs with a sweeter ingredient would result in a unique sweet-and-savory take on a classic jerk pork chop. In this Banana Chip Crusted Jerk Pork Chops recipe, the banana chips are ground in a blender to make them fine enough for the seasoning. Served with rice and beans, this is a quick, delicious dinner for those warm summer nights.
Here in New York City, strawberries arriving at the farmers market signal the arrival of summer and all the glorious fresh fruit waiting just around the corner. The simplest and often tastiest way to enjoy them is to pluck the stems from the top, and pop them in your mouth. Every now and then, I get fooled by a batch of berries that smell intoxicatingly sweet, only to bite into them and find my taste buds crestfallen. When that happens, there are a few things you can do to coax some flavor from your berries — jam and pie are usually at the top of my list. A more hands-off approach is roasting them. The oven does most of the work. The sauce can then be used as syrup for pancakes or a topping for sundaes, stirred into some plain yogurt for an inexpensive and healthier fruit-flavored version, or my other favorite — stirred into some sparkling water or seltzer for a summer spritzer.
With their steady rotation of grilled cheese and butter-topped noodles, the “kid-friendly” section of restaurant menus has always been unimaginative. But these days it’s hard not to notice that the offerings are also fairly unhealt...