10 Tips for Dining (or Not) With Picky Eaters

by in How-to, September 23rd, 2011

picky eaters
As a veteran mother of a picky eater who’s now five and a half, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to navigate the dinner table without either giving in to his demands or failing to nourish him properly. At certain points over the years I’ve left the table in order to take a deep breath in the other room, left the table to lie down on my bed for a moment in a quiet place where no one is saying “Yuck!” over and over and again while waving his napkin in the air, and left the table to work on the book I ended up writing about, yes, my picky eater and my own love of food and cooking. In fact, sometimes excusing yourself is the best way to deal with it. When it’s not, here’s a list of tips that I’ve discovered — through a lot of trial and error, needless to say — that make mealtime as painless as possible.

Get Melanie’s ten tips for picky eaters »

All About Apples — Celebrate the First Day of Fall

by in In Season, Recipes, September 23rd, 2011

As of 5:05 a.m. this morning, we are officially in the season of fall and with that comes shorter days, cooler nights and, more deliciously, fall produce. During these next few months, we look forward to in-season goods such as butternut squash, pears, sweet potatoes and, of course, freshly picked apples. Whether you’re a fan of sweet Golden Delicious, tart Granny Smith or classic, crisp McIntosh, there’s an apple to please just about every taste and to fit into every recipe. Check out our favorite apple centric recipes below, and head to the orchard to get picking — or just stop by the produce aisle for — this season’s best eats.

With just a few minutes of prep time, Food Network Kitchens’ Baked Apples With Fennel (pictured above) is a go-to side that is filled with flavor. Buttered, cored apples rest atop thick-cut onion rounds and bake alongside a sliced fennel bulb to create a sweet and savory dish that goes perfectly with Food Network Magazine’s Roast Pork Loin.

Browse more apple recipes »

Super-Food Menu — Weekend Cooking

by in Food Network Magazine, September 23rd, 2011

salmon with walnuts
The American dietary guidelines recently got a makeover from pyramid to plate.

The new model, or MyPlate, is a more simplified version of its pyramid relative, but it still conveys the same message to eat a healthy, balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy.

The new guidelines go a step further when it comes to fruits and vegetables. It suggests to eat a colorful variety everyday, which is a simple way to ensure your diet is full of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

MyPlate was on our minds when Food Network Kitchens sat down to brainstorm the October issue of Food Network Magazine. We wanted to develop a meal full of colorful foods that provided an extra antioxidant punch.

Get the recipes to FN Mag’s super-food menu »

How to Select a Potluck Dish — A Great Big Meal

by in Entertaining, How-to, September 22nd, 2011

lazy lasagna potluck dish
At least once a month, my mom calls strictly to talk potlucks (we talk every couple of days, but these potluck calls are different from our regular, rambling conversations). We discuss what she has in her refrigerator, the produce that’s currently coming out of the garden and if there’s any theme for the potluck that she and my dad are scheduled to attend.

Over the years, we’ve created massive couscous salads, wintertime braises that can be made for cheap and salads constructed from shaved zucchini and mint. Though I can’t offer my potluck consulting services to everyone out there, here’s what I have in mind when dreaming up dishes with my mom.

Five must-have tips »

Public School Lunch Prices Rising

by in News, September 22nd, 2011

school lunch tray
Public school lunches are on the way to being more nutritious thanks to the child nutrition bill signed by President Obama in December. What most people don’t realize, however, is that they’re also getting more expensive.

The bill, which reduced whole milk in cafeterias and bolstered the amount of fresh produce in use nationwide, requires school districts to raise lunch prices in order to match the cost of producing meals.

The law suggests prices go up by a maximum 10 cents a year, eventually making lunch $2.46 on average, according to a New York Times article. Many districts raised lunch by 25 cents after years of no increase and are wary of resistance as the prices continue to climb.

Continue reading »

Mirin — Off the Beaten Aisle

by in How-to, Recipes, September 22nd, 2011

mirin short ribs
Mirin is all about getting sauced.

Because that’s where Japanese cooking wine really shines — in sauces.

But first, a misconception. The wretched American product known as “cooking wine” probably has you reluctant to try anything similar.

Relax and prepare for a delicious discovery. They are nothing alike.

Though once sipped similar to sake, today mirin is exclusively a cooking wine. The clear, viscous liquid has a clean yet intensely sweet-salty flavor.

Mirin-Marinated Short Ribs With Shiitakes and Egg Noodles »

Countdown to the New York City Wine and Food Festival Continues

by in Events, September 22nd, 2011

rock and bowl anne burrell
In just one short week, New York City will host culinary legends from around the country at the fourth annual New York City Wine and Food Festival. This year’s festival welcomes chefs and culinary personalities from Food Network, including: Giada De Laurentiis, Sandra Lee, Duff Goldman, Paula Deen, Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, Tyler Florence and Masaharu Morimoto.

In preparation for the festival, we’re featuring upcoming events that we’re excited about — better hurry, tickets are going fast.

Get tickets to these two can’t-miss events »

What Are Your Favorite Fall Foods?

by in Community, September 22nd, 2011

chicken-corn chile
As the weather starts to change from scorching hot to blissfully breezy, so does the temperature of seasonal dishes. Fall is synonymous with comfort foods like warm soups, casseroles and baked goods hot out of the oven.

Not surprisingly, when Food Network asked Facebook fans “I can’t wait to cook _____ this fall,” more than 3,300 people had something to say.

The countdown to full-on fall has officially begun, and fans can’t wait to bust out the crockpot and make warm, hearty chili. Try Giada’s White Bean and Chicken Chili. Red pepper flakes bring heat to the cannellini beans, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese at the end is melt-in-your-mouth good. Add some beef to your beans with Ellie’s Three Bean and Beef Chili. Chipotle chile, adobo sauce and red bell pepper add color and flavor to this comfort classic.

More fall favorites »

What to See and Say in a Wine Store — Outsmarting Wine

by in Drinks, September 21st, 2011

wine store
Every week, Mark Oldman — wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers — shares with readers the basics of wine, while making it fun and practical. In the coming weeks, he’ll tell you what to ask at a wine store, at what temperature to serve it and share his must-have wine tools.

Come clean: In a wine shop, you choose by the label. Not to worry — I, too, am seduced by alluring packaging. But what if you want to make sure that the wine also tastes good? Here’s a plan of attack that even a novice can conquer.

First, you need to maximize the chances that the store has smart, helpful clerks and not the snide, zoned-out clerks that make me head straight to an online seller. If you don’t already know the shop’s reputation, do some reconnaissance. Are the bottles cool to the touch or are they baking in the sun, on the road to ruin? Does the place use homemade shelf signs, or just plastic cards with canned advertising copy? Does it host free tastings? All are clues that the merchant takes its business and its customers seriously.

What to see and say in a wine store »

Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Marcela Valladolid’s New Mexican Made Easy Cookbook

by in Contests, September 21st, 2011

mexican made easy cookbook
Marcela Valladolid has introduced people to a whole new way of thinking about Mexican cuisine with healthy and easy-to-prepare meals. Now she’s sharing her recipes in her brand new cookbook, Mexican Made Easy, and FN Dish is giving away five copies.

Marcela is changing the way Americans cook Mexican at home with easy recipes that are short on time, but long on authentic flavor. With 100 recipes and 80 scrumptious photographs to flip through, Mexican Made Easy the cookbook brings all the energy and fresh flavors of Marcela’s show into homes across the country.

You can pre-order a copy right now, but we’d like to give you a chance to win one for free. All you have to do is comment on this post by telling us which one of Marcela’s recipes is your favorite and why. We’re giving away five copies of her cookbook to randomly selected and very lucky commenters.

Find out how to enter here »