Game Day Main: Pittsburgh Cheese Steak

by in Recipes, February 1st, 2011
Cheese Steak
Grill up meaty sandwiches for your big game bash, like this Pittsburgh Cheese Steak for Steelers fans.

Will the Green Bay Packers or the Pittsburgh Steelers steal Super Bowl 2011 away this year? I’m rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers and for good luck I am going to make ferocious Pittsburgh Cheese Steaks for the big game day!

The preferred meat for this recipe is a boneless rib-eye however if you prefer a thinner cut, a strip loin will also work well (although I would suggest popping the strip loin into the freezer for about 30-45 minutes before slicing so it’s easier to cut into super thin strips before grilling). The entire rib-eye can be cooked on an indoor or outdoor grill and then sliced after it has rested for 10-15 minutes.

So what makes a Cheese Steak Pittsburgh-style? It differs from the traditional Philly cheese steak because the toppings include crisp coleslaw, grilled potato wedges and tangy tomato relish. It’s a whole meal in a bun, all the so-called sides piled high. The sweet and sour coleslaw adds just the right amount of bite to cut through the rich meat and cheese, just like the Steelers are going to cut through the Packers!

Of course, for traditionalists (or non-Steelers fans) a great recipe to try is Bobby Flay’s Philly Cheese Steak. This hearty hoagie includes the classic provolone cheese sauce, sauteed onions, mushrooms and mixed peppers and could easily be served without meat for your vegetarian friends. No matter who you are rooting for either of these sandwiches will keep you warm from the recent snowmaggedon sweeping the nation!

What are you making for the Super Bowl? Browse all of our big game mains, from perfect pots of chili to beefy burgers.

—Reena Mehta

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Jen MacLean

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011

Jen, a surgical nurse, was a pro at butchering chicken. "It was a great feeling of accomplishment," she says. "Especially since I was scared to death."

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I actually thought metal measuring cups (given to me as a gift at my bridal shower) were TINY POTS!!! My younger sister had to correct me in front of all my bridal shower guests. I also served Oregano-Encrusted Lasagna (after the bottle of oregano accidentally spilled on my lasagna) at Christmas Eve dinner to my family only to make my brother-in-law choke after his first mouthful…he actually choked, and that was the end of Christmas Eve Dinner.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from your team leader?
My most valuable piece of advice from Chef Anne was to have confidence in myself. Confidence equals a good cook.

What did you take away from the experience?
I took some great cooking skills away from Boot Camp. I can now cut with a chef’s knife (correctly); I season food appropriately and I am not afraid to try new recipes. I am a confident cook thanks to the show.

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Worst Cooks, Episode 5: He Said, She Said

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011
NFL star and food enthusiast Kris Jenkins wasn't a fan of the game-day fare prepared by Kelly and Jen.

After each elimination on Worst Cooks in America this season, chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine share their candid impressions of the booted recruits with the FN Dish. This week, they bid farewell to Kelly from Robert’s Team and Jen from Anne’s Team.

Assigned to make both potato pancakes and corn cakes, Jen was in "pancake hell."

Anne on Jen: That party challenge, every time, is a tough day. That’s the one on the first season where Jenny Cross had her big crash and meltdown; and that’s the one when I cried. Jen came in and she would start off really well in the challenges, and then she’d take a big fat nose-dive. She had no confidence, and she didn’t seem very happy. She’s a surgical nurse. I would always say to her, “I want to see happy Jen. I want to see strong, confident Jen.” And I think towards the end, she had a little bit of fun with it. By the end, when she left, she told me, “thank you, you made happy Jen reappear.” She wrote me a really sweet card with a picture of her family. She was really sweet and it was hard to send her home. She started to peek open but she never could let herself go to get there. She couldn’t deal with the pressure of it. I bet she handles stress fantastically in the operating room. This [cooking] is like surgery; you have to learn how to do it. And here we are, giving you an opportunity to learn how to do it.

Kelly feared cooking meat, but in the end she went home for her vegetarian black-bean fritters.

Robert on Kelly: Kelly wouldn’t touch meat because animals are her friends. She kept calling them her friends: “I don’t want to eat my friends.” But she butchered the chicken and actually did a really good job with it. She started to do better. In the Game Day Challenge, Kelly added too much liquid to a black bean fritter and they wouldn’t fry because they were so soft; they were so wet. She didn’t season one thing. She couldn’t put out enough food. Neither did Ty, but all the football players liked his food, so that’s what saved him.

See what Kelly and Jen are up to in their exit interviews. And don’t forget to vote for your favorite Worst Cooks recruit in our Fan Vote, up to 10 times per day.

Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Kelly Gray

by in Shows, January 31st, 2011
Kelly's advice for future recruits: "Relax! Maybe they should let the recruits have a cocktail while cooking on the next season."

Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I needed to be on Worst Cooks to be saved from myself and my terrible culinary skills. Up until now, virtually all my cooking stories involve something catching on fire and that totally had to stop.

What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from your team leader? 
Chef Robert gave good advice like, “Relax” — but of course, I am a crazy woman and didn’t.

What did you take away from the experience? 
Friendship with some AMAZING people. The cooking is almost secondary to the experience of living and bonding with 15 other people.

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Loving In-Season Meyer Lemons

by in Recipes, January 30th, 2011
Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake Bake up Meyer Lemon-Cranberry Bundt Cake while Meyer lemons are in season.

Meyer lemons are ripe and ready, in peak season now. Do not wait, they have no mercy for procrastinators – whether you have a collection of Meyer lemon recipes stashed away for the season or you want to try your favorite lemon recipe with this alternate citrus fruit, this is your chance, now is the time.

The famously allusive Meyer lemon is thought to be a cross between an orange and a lemon, so they’re sweeter and less acidic than your normal run-of-the-mill lemons. Look for them in grocery stores and produce markets – they should stick around until early Spring. And if you can’t find them, go ahead and cook up some regular lemon dishes and sweets (just add a touch more sugar to compensate) – all citrus is beautiful this time of year.

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Sandra’s Saturday Savings: Fun Facts

by in Shows, January 29th, 2011

Sandra Lee Every Saturday morning in January, Sandra Lee teams up with the FN Dish to bring you budget-friendly tips for creating delicious dishes and meals for your family. From the supermarket to the stove, she’ll help you stretch every dollar and minute.

This week, Sandra shares some useful facts about grocery store prices and American eating (and spending) habits.

1. Freeze leftovers as soon as possible to maintain quality. Cooked meats can be frozen for up to 3 months.

2. In 1959, Americans spent $2.7 billion annually on frozen food. Today we spend $26.6 billion!

3. Boxed pie crust mix costs 73% less than refrigerated pre-made pie crust.

4. Check the unit price. Those little stickers on the grocery store shelves tell you how much you may or may not save by buying in larger quantities.

5. Americans spend approximately 4.1% of their annual income on food outside the home and 5.8% of their income on food in the home.

Want more tips? Sandra’s shows are full of ‘em. Catch Money Saving Meals on Saturdays at 9am/8c and Semi-Homemade Cooking on Sundays at 11:30am/10:30c.

Winter Warm Up: Comforting Meatloaf?

by in Recipes, January 28th, 2011
easy skillet meatloaf
Cooking meatloaf in small mini loaves makes quick work of this comforting dinner.

On the East Coast and around the country, as cities continue to be slaughtered by the snow, what better way to warm up than with cozy comfort foods? Recently I decided to mix up my normal mac and cheese routine with a meatier classic: Meatloaf.

Just like Kevin Arnold from The Wonder Years I always wondered what was really in meatloaf. I remember dreading it as part of elementary school cafeteria lunches, scarred of the “mysterious meat.” But I knew there had to be some compelling, retro magic to the dish, since it pops up in every classic American sitcom.

I decided the best beginner’s recipe would be Mini Skillet Meatloaves from Food Network Magazine. The recipe calls for ground beef, pork or veal so I asked the butchers at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats what the best choice would be. On their advice I decided to kick it old school – after all I did grow up wondering “Where’s The Beef?”

So, the “mystery meat” mixture I created was a lot less mysterious and more grown up than I expected, including garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs, onions, milk and Worcestershire sauce – all combined to produce the most heavenly aroma on a cold winter night. And in 20 minutes, my sad meatloaf history was wiped away by these delightful pan-seared loaves. The scrumptious sauce added a surprising, delightful flavor boost – apple cider vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup. Amazingly, this recipe transformed my school lunch nightmare into a cozy cure for cabin fever. I also cooked up Bobby Flay’s sautéed kale as a healthy side for good measure, because I actually enjoy eating my vegetables as a grownup.

—Reena Mehta

Ooey, Gooey, Good: National Chocolate Cake Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, January 27th, 2011
Molten Chocolate Cake
Baking perfect Molten Chocolate Cake is easy with Food Network Magazine's step-by-step how-to.

You hardly need a dedicated day to appreciate the lusciousness of chocolate cake (every day is chocolate cake day in my mind), but an excuse to indulge is always welcome. So why not give an impressive Valentine’s Day sweet a practice spin? Go ahead and mix up Molten Chocolate Cake with this step-by-step guide from Food Network Magazine.

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Cupcake Wars: A Sweet Ride

by in Shows, January 26th, 2011
Kim managed to make her delicious auto-themed cupcakes look cool and sleek. "Quite a feat!" says Candace.

Cupcake Wars judge Candace Nelson is the founder and pastry chef of Sprinkles Cupcakes, the world’s first cupcake bakery. She joins us on the FN Dish each week to recap all the sweet details of the competition from her seat at the judges’ table. Here’s what she had to say about last night’s episode, LA Auto Show.

Cupcakes and cars are an unexpected pairing, and this week’s Cupcake Wars produced anything but expected results!

Kory stalled in the first round, producing a plain vanilla cupcake without any frosting. It was hard for me to believe that with a table overflowing with gas station goodies like nachos, cola and licorice, there wasn’t a single challenge ingredient incorporated into his cupcake! It’s a shame, but it was clear Kory had to go.

In round two, each contestant gave a very different spin on the car theme – Kim went futuristic with silver foil liners and a personalized fondant license plate. Evelyn went cheeky with fuzzy dice and whitewalls, though Brendan thought they were too kitschy for true car enthusiasts. Glenn went classic with an orange cupcake, a woody with surfboard and a whitewall tire cupcake cleverly positioned on its side. We were all a little confused about the orange theme but we hoped he planned to tie it all together in round three. We said goodbye to Evelyn.

Kim and Glenn's auto show displays were both impressive, but Kim's nailed just the right look.

In the third challenge, Glenn’s vintage filling station certainly told a beautiful story, but we find it too quaint for the gearheads at the Auto Show. Kim’s display was a striking mix of lights and chrome, which tied in perfectly to the look of her cupcakes and the theme of the day. She managed to make cupcakes look cool and sleek…quite a feat! Kim drives off with the win!

Bake up a batch of Kim’s winning Caramel Apple Cupcakes and check out FoodNetwork.com for more about Cupcake Wars, plus dozens of our best cupcake recipes.

Side Dish: More Food on the Web

by in View All Posts, January 25th, 2011
Everyone Loves Paula

A Super-Scientific Study Reveals Paula is Popular: In a new survey based on Facebook fan count, the Feast finds that today’s most-liked chef is none other than our Queen of Southern Cuisine. With 1,244,012 folks who’ve given her a thumbs-up, Paula beat out Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and a few other Food Network stars. [thefeast.com] [Cooking with her biggest fan]

Sheryl Crow Pens Cook Book: This Lilith Fair veteran, along with personal chef Chuck White, is readying her compilation of “rock-and-roll flavored,” good-for-you recipes. Plus, it’s named If It Makes You Healthy, so, you know, it can’t be that bad. [eater.com]

Introducing Buffalo: Meet this new favorite meat. Why you should like eating buffalo? It’s part of the grass-fed trend, it’s lower in fat than beef and it’s so expensive it must taste great! [nytimes.com]

162 School Lunches Later: In a Morgan-Spurlock-meets-Jamie-Oliver move, one school employee ate school lunch every day for a year and chronicled it all in her blog. It took 29 days for the cafeteria grub (like “squirts of chicken foam”) to taste “fantastic.” [cnn.com via grubstreet.com]

Here’s our round-up of food news, trends and happenings across the  web. Check back for more, and tell us what else you’re loving in the comments.