Individual Shepherd’s Pie — Simple Soirées

by in Entertaining, Holidays, March 15th, 2012

individual shepherd's pie
St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and this year I’m celebrating with a classic Shepherd’s Pie. It’s basically my go-to dish for this yearly celebration, along with a few Irish-inspired cocktails and beer.

My favorite Shepherd’s Pie recipe comes from Mr. Alton Brown.

It’s a foolproof recipe that will knock your socks off. I jazzed it up a bit by adding some Dubliner cheese into the potato topping to give it that extra Irish kick. What makes this even more special is that rather than making a big casserole dish of Shepherd’s Pie, I turn this into individual portions by make the pies in a muffin tin. How perfect is that for a fun St. Paddy’s-themed evening with your friends? Grab a mini Shepherd’s Pie and a Guinness and call it a night.

Get the recipe

Restaurant Revisited: Valley View

by in Shows, March 14th, 2012

restaurant impossible valley view

As of February 2012:

Three months later, new General Manager Kelly says the freshness of the new dining room has not waned for her.

Kelly now holds employee meetings to train staff on food safety and proper customer service. She and Kim also meet weekly with their newly hired chef, Matt, to go over any kitchen issues.

Chef Matt has become Kim’s right-hand man. He’s helping to bring in more fresh ideas, and today there are very few frozen items on the menu. Kelly is excited for Chef Matt’s new menu to roll out — she can’t wait to see customers’ reactions.

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Welcome to Food Network Kitchens’ Family Meal

by in Behind the Scenes, March 14th, 2012

family meal mashup
The family meal. What is it, you ask? It’s a meal that is prepared for restaurant staff before their dinner service starts, providing them with necessary nutrients before their busy shift. Here at Food Network, ours takes place at lunch-time. Starting now, I will be giving you a sneak peek at what we feed our staff in the Food Network Kitchens on a weekly basis.

Yes, we do eat in Food Network Kitchens, and yes, it’s really good. Family meals are always interesting. They consist of different types of meat or poultry pulled out of the freezers, as well as vegetables, filling salads and an occasional dessert. These items are left over from various shows and recipe developments for Food Network. This week, Esther Choi (pictured above), took charge of Family Meal and asked our new intern Emily to assist her (more like an initiation). Esther is especially good at making Korean food.

The menu: Duck Lettuce Wraps With Kim Chi Pickles and grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Food Network Magazine’s 1,000 Easy Recipes

by in Contests, Food Network Magazine, March 14th, 2012

Food Network Magazine Cookbook

This follow-up to the best-selling cookbook Food Network Magazine Great Easy Meals dishes out another collection of fantastic ideas in the same winning package.

Get ready for more than 400 pages filled with recipes, photos and new tips from Food Network Kitchens, based on Food Network Magazines signature pull-out booklets of 50 extra-short, always-fun recipes.

This book combines the best of those recipes with more than 300 amazing photographs and tips from Food Network’s test kitchens. It’s the ultimate cookbook for busy parents, full of family favorites like pancakes, nachos and brownies, along with healthy options for quick weeknight meals, including soups, dinner salads and kabobs, plus great ideas for weekend get-togethers, like instant appetizers, party dips and cocktails.

You can order a copy right now, but we’d like to give you a chance to win a copy. All you have to do is comment on this post by telling us which recipe from Food Network Magazine is your favorite and why. We’re giving away five copies of the magazine cookbook to randomly selected and very lucky commenters.

Find out how to win a copy

The Best Double-Duty Kitchen Gadgets

by in Community, Shows, March 13th, 2012

icing materials
At the beginning of Worst Cooks in America’s third season, Erica Weidner caught our eye by using scissors to cut up a bell pepper. We then asked you: What other gadgets have you used to cook up a dish in the kitchen? More than a hundred people responded with their go-to double-duty gadget techniques. They were so unique, we couldn’t choose just one. Here are our top two favorites:

1. Julie Lonkey uses a wide-blade drywall knife to get a smoother finish with buttercream on cakes.

2. Krista Lucken listed a few double-duty items, but using cupcake liners to keep pepper from escaping the pepper mill in the cabinet is pretty spectacular. Plus, when she measures fresh ground pepper, it gets ground right into the cupcake liner and then poured into a measuring spoon with no mess.

Our favorite budget-friendly anonymous tip

The Chocolate Mustache Disappears

by in News, March 13th, 2012

chocolate milk
The Milk Processor Education Program (MPEP) has wiped away chocolate mustaches from its long-existing ad campaigns, USA Today reports. Soon the popular “Got Milk?” slogan will be reinvented to attract a different breed of Nesquik drinkers: athletes.

The new tag line, “My After,” presents chocolate milk as the post-workout solution.  NBA star Carmelo Anthony and Olympian Dara Torres have hopped on board and are testifying to the drink’s greatness. Gulping it down after exercise, they claim, is nourishing to the body.

But with the chocolatey beverage now being banned in schools across the country, is it actually good for you? Nutrition and fitness experts are divided. Some say the idea is a marketing ploy to boost faltering sales. Supporters state that the protein content helps muscles recover after exercise.

Will chocolate milk be your after?

Label Decoder: Carrageenan

by , March 13th, 2012
dairy aisle

Carrageenan is on the ingredients list of many products in the dairy aisle, but what is it?

This ingredient is found in foods like ice cream, jelly and even infant formula. Find out what it does and if it’s safe to eat.

What Is It?
Carrageenan is m...

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Speculoos — The Next Best Thing You Never Ate

by in Food Network Chef, March 13th, 2012

speculoos spread
What’s the next best thing you never ate?

The Food Network Kitchens staff might know. We see (taste and smell) ingredients and products just before they take their place in the national palate. Sometimes one of our on-air chefs brings them into our kitchen, sometimes we find them during restaurant dinners or in grocery stores, at home and away. Each month we’re going to share one with you, along with tips or recipes. And we know that many of you devote a good amount of time to exploring, tasting or just getting dinner on the table, so let us know what you find that might just be the next best thing we never ate.

We Spy Speculoos

Peanut butter without nuts. Nutella without chocolate. While the first speculoos ad campaign might take the usual route of extolling what it’s almost like, we love it for what it is: an unctuous spread, tasting of toast and cinnamon and caramel, made by grinding its namesake Belgian cookie with oil.

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Three Reasons Why Social Media is Crucial for Food Trucks

by in Community, Events, March 12th, 2012

the lime truck the great food truck race
It’s no surprise that social media and food trucks go together. We’ve known that for quite some time now. However, the reasons why the two are so dynamic are evolving as more social platforms become available and as the food truck movement continues to grow.

A recent SXSW Interactive panel brought together Food Network’s general manager of online brands, Bob Madden, and recent cast members from The Great Food Truck Race to speak on this topic. Daniel Shemtob from The Lime Truck, James DiSabatino from Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Stephanie Morgan from Seabirds sat down for an hour to discuss how they go beyond using Twitter and Facebook on a day-to-day basis.

So why is social media so important to the food truck industry? Each panelist shared their reasons:

1. To tell people where your truck is located.
2. To show the transparency of the business.
3. To gain the consumer’s trust.

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