The Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro, was the guest judge for this week’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off. And, of course, our contestants had to win him over with amazing sandwiches during the first round. We were so sad to see Sabrina go home with her first attempt ever at a croque monsieur sandwich — but so impressed that she took a chance! If you’re like Sabrina, and never made this classic French sandwich, then here’s a little 101.
We are mere weeks into the school year — anyone else a little stressed already? I love routine and structure, but the first month or two can be a bumpy re-entry as we try to find our footing in a new schedule of activities and events.
When I am feeling a little overwhelmed, my natural instinct is to load up caffeine, simple carbs, processed foods, sodium and sugar — “anything to get through the day” is my default battle cry. But I play that scene through and I know it will compound the problem of overwhelming me with lethargy and fuzzy thinking. So, instead, I ignore that part of my inner self and cling to basic actions that have proven time and again to be exactly what I need during times of stress. I make sure my physical and emotional health are well-tended so that I have maximum personal resources to deal with the hecticness.
For me, that means fiercely protecting my morning devotionals, rather than hitting the snooze button. (Actually, if I need to set an alarm, that’s my body’s way of saying I’m not getting enough sleep, so I fix that, too.) I protect my exercise time, particularly if I think I don’t have the time to exercise. And on the food front, I up the Oomega-3 fatty acids in my diet. There are lots of studies out there that point us in the direction of Omega-3s for mood health, but that’s not why I turn to them. I do it because, quite simply, I feel better equipped to face the craziness of this messy life. My personal go-tos: tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, shrimp, walnuts, strawberries, dark leafy greens, cabbage and cauliflower. I buy these ingredients and fill the dinner calendar with recipes starring them, and I cut down on processed foods, even eliminating them entirely if life is super-stressful. And it’s that simple.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few recipes that will get you started.
Finding Your Focus, and Sticking to It — Jeff Mauro’s Advice for the Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off Competitorsby Joseph Erdos in Shows, September 22nd, 2015
On last night’s episode of Rachael Ray’s Kids Cook-Off, Mondays at 8|7c, Jeff Mauro joined Rachael as a guest judge for the challenges, which focused on creativity. When it comes to food, there’s no such thing as too much creativity; it’s more about finding what works and sticking to it, as Jeff recommends. On his show Sandwich King, Jeff comes up with new and unique combinations, and it’s that lesson in creativity that he came to teach the kids. Another lesson from him: Practice makes perfect, as the saying goes. This is true no matter what you’re doing, whether it’s comedy or cooking, notes Jeff, who actually has been able to master both.
FN Dish caught up with Jeff to chat about the episode, the kids and more. Find out his best advice for getting kids in the kitchen at a young age, and what’s the best dish to teach them first.
Bagels (and various schmears) always deserve a place on the Yom Kippur break-the-fast spread. Carb-filled comfort food is exactly what we crave after a full day of fasting to observe the Jewish day of atonement. Plus, 2015 has been deemed the “Year of the Bagel” — there are more places than ever to get an excellent one, even outside of the great bagel capital of New York City. In my house, everything bagels are always the first to go. If you want to get creative and plan ahead before the fast, here are three everything-bagel-and-cream-cheese riffs that will surely impress your hungry guests.
No longer relegated to layers of red sauce and heaps of meat, lasagna takes a turn for the creamy — and surprisingly healthy — with this big-batch recipe for Squash and Spinach Lasagna (pictured above).
Food Network Kitchen swaps out the traditional marinara or meat sauce in favor of a mixture of onions and fresh spinach in a milk-based sauce made thick with the help of cornstarch. Layer chopped butternut squash for color and an added boost of nutrition, and opt for part-skim mozzarella to keep the casserole light but satisfying. Perhaps the best part about this recipe is that it comes together with no-boil noodles, which means that you can assemble them in the casserole straight from the box; they’ll soak up the liquid of the cream sauce and become tender as they cook in the oven.
Though you may be in fall mode these days, it’s not too early to start decking the halls. Right on the heels of a successful premiere season of Cake Wars, host Jonathan Bennett is back to lead another sweet competition. This time all about seasonal treats on Cake Wars: Christmas.
Premiering Monday, Nov. 9 at 9|8c, this six-week battle for holiday glory will bring together seven teams of the best-ever food artists, each set to face off for the $50,000 prize. Along with a rotating roster of special guests, Master Baker Sherry Yard and design expert Charles Phoenix will be on hand to judge the competitors in a series of themed challenges. From hilariously festive ugly Christmas sweaters to over-the-top gingerbread houses, there will be no shortage of seasonal celebrations — and, of course, fierce culinary chops — on display.
Here’s one for the “Did you know … ?” file: Women have a keener sense of taste than men. Who says? Well, science, actually.
NPR’s The Salt blog recently gathered evidence that women may be better able to pick out the subtle nuances of flavor (and, relatedly, aromas) than men:
The nose knows. A 2002 Rutgers University study asked participants — men and women of all ages — to identify two odors in decreasing concentrations and found that women of reproductive age experienced an increase in their sensitivity to one of the odors by about five orders of magnitude, on average.
It was just a few weeks ago that Alton Brown revealed “the human rotisserie” for the special grilling-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. And on tonight’s all-new episode, he put a cuckoo spin on that fan-favorite sabotage to create what he called “the showstopper of the day,” otherwise known as his “cuckoo clock prep station,” which made its debut in the first round’s German apple pancake test.
“Come on! Take a ride,” Alton urged Simon Majumdar, who, never one to shy away from trying his hands at a sabotage, hopped atop the moving floorboard to take a few spins around the clock — along with a Bob and Alton, of course. Looking back on Chef Paper’s turn at the sabotage, Alton revealed to Simon that the challenge ultimately caused her dish’s demise. “That’s why it was burned,” Alton said. “Because right when she got done, it was time to cuckoo around.” While some chefs indeed manage to survive their sabotages and ultimately turn out successful dishes, Alton revealed that this particular sabotage “did render the desired effect” in that it did one chef in, as Chef Paper was ousted after Round 1.
Grab a bucket of candy and prepare for a scare, because Season 5 of Halloween Wars is set to begin Sunday, Oct. 4 (premiering at 9|8c). Before this fright-night celebration of all things spooky and sugary begins, FN Dish is taking you inside the competition to hear from the five teams of Halloween warriors who will be facing off for the chance at a whopping $50,000.
Today we’re introducing you to team Spell Binders, made up of Kristen Lovullo, Joseph Yakovetic and Charity George. Read on below to hear from all three of them.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Halloween?
Kristen Lovullo: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Halloween is creating fun and spooky treats for the Bake Shoppe.
Joseph Yakovetic: The first thing that comes to mind is pumpkins — what else?
Charity George: [I think of] setting up all our crazy Halloween decorations at my house and how we will change it up every year.
Fall is just around the corner, and that means cookie season is fast approaching. While it might not be time to break out the holiday recipe box just yet, you can use this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week to fill the cookie jar and brush up on your baking skills. These beauties are perfect as a surprise treat in the kids’ lunchboxes or as an after-school snack, and since they’re topped with a simple lemon glaze, they’re a great light bite for this time of year. Plus, these 5-star sweets come in at around 113 calories each, so you don’t have to feel guilty about having one or two after the kids go to bed.
For more easy desserts like this, check out Food Network’s Let’s Bake board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Giada De Laurentiis’ Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze