Perhaps one of the most-persistent restaurant owners ever featured on Restaurant: Impossible, Carolyn Cuneo from Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant in DeFuniak Springs, Fla., admitted to Robert Irvine early on that she is “not very good with change.” After her husband, George, passed away six years ago, she’s been hesitant to make any updates to the eatery, a dark, wood-covered space serving mediocre Italian-inspired food. Carolyn was in thousands of dollars of debt, which Robert realized could be attributed to the large amount of free food she regularly gave away to her staff and customers alike. In just two days and with a $10,000 budget, Robert and his team worked with Carolyn to rethink her management habits and ultimately reopen Mom & Dad’s as a thriving restaurant worthy of a second chance. FN Dish checked in with Carolyn a few months after the renovation to find out how the eatery has been doing.
Immediately following the overhaul, Mom & Dad’s saw a 67.7 percent increase in sales. Although the growth has since slowed a bit, “business is still good and it will be a much higher percentage than prior years,” Carolyn says, adding that she’s making stellar progress on paying back her debt.
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During the month of May, Guy Fieri’s schedule will be filled with book signings in New Jersey and New York for the third installment of the Triple D book series, The Funky Finds in Flavortown: America’s Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food. Check out his book tour schedule below to see if he’ll be near you.
While you’re there, have Guy sign a copy of The Funky Finds in Flavortown.
Click here to get the info
Cook up good food for less with this budget-friendly dinner idea: Food Network Magazine‘s Broccoli Chowder With Cheddar Toasts. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week combines broccoli, potatoes, bacon, onion and garlic into an easy-to-make chowder for dinner.
For more main dish recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Cook: Main Dishes board on Pinterest.
Get the recipe: Food Network Magazine’s Broccoli Chowder With Cheddar Toasts
Ever wonder how moms like The First Lady, celebrity chefs and renowned nutrition experts speak to their children about healthy eating? Find out how four amazing women talk to their kids about food, weight and body image.
Q. How you talk to your daug...
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Mashed potatoes are a new item on our three kids’ menus — ages 3 1/2, 2 and 10 months. We’ve lived in Italy for the last four years, where potatoes aren’t very starchy, so we didn’t eat them this way often. Now we’re in North Carolina, where the local spuds are organically grown and perfect for mashing. Because they’re novel, I’ve got a few tricks to make them a successful part of the meal.
Always: Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and buttermilk for cream — both add protein and cut fat, two habits I’d like our kids to get used to early.
Sometimes: Add finely diced veggies to the boiling water during the last few minutes of cooking. Shredded spinach, kale or carrots can always be called “confetti.” Or get more clandestine with turnips or cauliflower.
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Recently, FN Dish caught up with Ted Allen, the multitalented host of Chopped, for a Facebook chat. Ted answered all kinds of questions about the show, including what the judges are like in person and what the competition is like behind the scenes. Fans also wondered whether Ted ever gets to taste the food and if he’ll ever compete himself.
Read Ted’s chat
I hesitated for a long time before including a recipe for roasted chicken in my cookbook. It seemed so basic and simple, but as I talked to more and more home cooks it became apparent that roasting a whole chicken is an intimidating kitchen project for many people. And when I use the word project, I mean it very loosely, because really there’s no fuss in doing it.
The real key is the right cooking temperature; that’s what ensures a super crispy skin, but also keeps the white meat juicy and moist. And forget about trussing — this isn’t your mother’s roast chicken. In fact, I’ve found that the chicken cooks more evenly if you leave the legs wide open. It allows the heat to circulate throughout the chicken, so the dark and white meats cook evenly.
Learn how to make a roast chicken
As summer approaches, try this cooling fresca as a replacement to sugary lemonade. The fresh watermelon and lime juice give this mock-tail a unique flavor and you can top it off with springs of cilantro for a touch of fresh garden flavor. It makes t...
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Listen up, dads. Even though Mother’s Day is just a few hours away and you may not have bought the devoted mom in your life a worthy present yet, there’s indeed time left to gift her something from the heart, a present that she’ll surely appreciate. Instead of resorting to a bouquet of flowers from the local bodega, gather your kids in the kitchen and commit to making Mom an extra-special Mother’s Day dessert. While there’s a time and a place for fancy, intricate sweets, Mother’s Day isn’t it, especially if they are to be prepared by little hands. Can-do desserts are the treats of choice instead — those that deliver tried-and-true results every time. Check out a few of FN Dish’s favorite easy desserts below, then browse Food Network’s Mother’s Day Central for more recipe inspiration and entertaining tips.
A no-bake recipe that can be prepped in only 20 minutes, Food Network Kitchens’ Lemon Tiramisu Trifle (pictured above) relies on store-bought goodies like lemon curd and ladyfinger cookies to ensure that this dessert is a cinch to prepare. Once you and your kids have arranged the first half of the cookies in a dish, start layering them with lemon syrup, lemon cream and fresh berries. While the trifle is essentially done as is, it needs to chill for at least eight hours so that the flavors of the lemon, berries and cream marry and the ladyfingers become soft with syrup. This means that it’s best to make the dessert tonight or first thing tomorrow morning, so it will be ready to enjoy after dinner.
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If you forgot the card this Mother’s Day, you can bake your message into a muffin instead: Cut a thin strip of parchment paper, write a note with a nontoxic marker, then fold the note in half lengthwise (so the ink faces the inside). Fold it one more time and push it into the muffin batter, leaving the ends poking out; bake as usual.
(Photograph by Kang Kim)