How to Keep the Kids’ Snack Time from Ruining Your Life

by in Family, April 8th, 2015

How to Keep the Kids' Snack Time from Ruining Your LifeBreakfast, lunch and dinner are one thing. I knew I’d be on the hook for those the moment I saw my first ultrasound (and my second, third and fourth). But adding snacks — two snacks — every day almost pushed me over the edge. It seemed like every time I got the kitchen counter shoveled off from the previous meal, some short person would trot up asking, “Is it snack time yet?” Instead of tossing a box of gummy fruits to the crowd and letting them fend for themselves, I started getting strategic. Here’s what I do to create a varied snack plan full of (mostly) whole foods (pretty) easily:

1. Make a Batch of Freezer-Friendly Muffins: I usually have a couple of kinds of veggie-packed muffins in my freezer. Set your premade muffins on the counter at breakfast and they’ll be thawed by snack time — or just pop them in the microwave at the last second. Try: Pumpkin Muffins 

2. Yogurt Parfaits: For a crowd with varied tastes, try a container of plain yogurt plus a few nutritious toppings. Nuts, raisins, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, frozen blueberries, honey … Let each person add whatever he or she likes.

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Pasta Bolognese, Geoffrey Zakarian Style

by in Food Network Chef, April 8th, 2015

Geoffrey ZakarianMuch like a classic roast chicken or towering chocolate cake, pasta Bolognese (pasta with a hearty meat sauce) is one of those recipes we keep in our back pockets for when we need a little comfort. It’s something many have made before — and successfully so — but that doesn’t mean there’s no need to improve upon the most-basic recipe. That’s where Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian comes in. At a recent demo at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, he offered eager fans a few expert tips on elevating this staple Italian sauce to the next level of craveworthy satisfaction. Read on below to learn what he does to guarantee a rich and savory sauce, and find out his choice of noodles, then get his top-rated and simple-to-prepare recipe.

1. Bolognese is all about the meat, and for Geoffrey, that means a blend of four varieties: He opts for equal parts pancetta, pork, pork sausage and veal.

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Beyond Taste Cliches: Men and Women Really Do Order Differently in Restaurants

by in News, April 7th, 2015

MenuMost of us probably don’t like to think of ourselves as falling into any specific stereotypes, including gender-based ones, but it appears that, when it comes to what we order in restaurants, we often do.

Men go for the meat. Women like their vegetables. Those gender-based taste preferences, while somewhat oversimplified, aren’t only the stuff of cliche, the Wall Street Journal reports. Rather, they frequently hold true.

“Many chefs say it is remarkable how many diners continue to order largely along gender-based lines,” Alina Dizik writes in the Journal. “Restaurants and menu consultants say it pays to balance gender preferences, both when designing individual dishes and when planning the overall menu.”

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It’s Almost Strawberry Season, So Put Those Beauties Into Everything, Even Salad

by in Recipes, April 7th, 2015

Arugula and Strawberry SaladWe’re finally in the early days of strawberry season, which means it’s time to ditch those firm, dry, white-centered berries we know from winter and welcome in their place spring’s juicy, ruby-red beauties. While desserts like shortcakes, cheesecake and cupcakes are tried-and-true ways to put these sweet bites to work, savory favorites, too, are ideal for letting strawberries shine. If you’ve never before worked with strawberries in a non-dessert, try starting with a salad; you’ll be able to balance the fruit’s natural sugars with tangy, acidic flavors in the dressing and peppery greens, which means you won’t end up eating a too-sweet dish. Check out Food Network’s best-five strawberry salads below, each an easy-to-make pick that’s ready to eat in 25 minutes or fewer.

5. Strawberry and Mozzarella Salad — Think of this healthy 15-minute dish as a berry-focused take on a caprese. In place of traditional tomatoes there are bright strawberries instead, which pair well with the fragrant basil.

4. Green Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette — It takes just a few everyday ingredients and only five quick minutes to make Rachael Ray’s simple salad. The secret to guaranteeing bold strawberry flavor in her recipe is the strawberry jam featured in her dressing, plus a whole pint of the fresh fruit.

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5 Flower-Inspired Springtime Treats Come Into Bloom

by in Recipes, April 7th, 2015

Ice Cream Flower Pot DessertsBaby, it’s spring outside! The temp is climbing, birds are chirping and bundles of in-season asparagus, artichokes and more are starting to line the supermarkets. But one of the most-captivating elements of this vibrant season is, unarguably, the moment when those first flowers begin to bloom. If you can’t wait to bear witness to spring’s bloom, or if you don’t have the resources to build your own bright and sunshiny garden, these floral-minded recipes might just be enough to brighten up your kitchen.

You might be accustomed to digging ice cream right out of a cardboard pint, but Ree Drummond’s Ice Cream Flowerpot Desserts (pictured above) bring the ice-cold treat to bright, blossoming heights. Before you start filling up clay flowerpots with real-life flowers, clean them and load ‘em up with slices of pound cake and scoops of ice cream. Cover the tops with crushed chocolate cookies to get the look of dirt before you go full-on spring with chewy gummy worms and fresh-cut flowers.

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What’s in the Can? — All-Star Academy: The Competition Continues

by in Shows, April 7th, 2015

tuna meltDuring the latest episode of All-Star Academy, the remaining contestants got a double whammy — they all had to share guest mentor Robert Irvine and create a winning dish using a mystery canned good. Once all the cans were opened, we learned that chicken, ham, tuna, salmon and clams were on the menu. Some of you may have run for the hills faced with such a challenge, for those of you left, which canned protein would you have wanted?

We in Food Network Kitchen (well, some of us) would go straight for the tuna. But not all cans of tuna are equal. There are many types from which to choose. Below is a little bit about what’s in the can.

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Enter to Win a Copy of Katie Lee’s New Cookbook, Endless Summer

by in Contests, Food Network Chef, April 7th, 2015

Endless Summer Cookbook“I decided to do this book because I love summer,” Katie Lee recently told FN Dish of her brand-new upcoming publication, Endless Summer Cookbook. “That’s my favorite time of year, and summer food is my favorite kind of food to cook. It’s also the season that I entertain the most.” For Katie, the more than 100 recipes in Endless Summer are all about celebrating the season’s bounty of freshness and the plethora of local ingredients near her home in the Hamptons. “Before I started writing the book, I wanted to be able to capture summer,” she explained, “so my photographer came over, and I went to the farm stand and we bought a bunch of stuff and came home and cooked. And then I wrote the recipes to go along with the food that I cooked.” Ranging from sweet treats like Light Lemony Berry Cheesecake to hearty grilled fare like BLT Ranch Burgers, plus refreshing sips like Frozen Blueberry Daiquiris, these dishes and drinks are ideal for relaxed warm-weather entertaining at home, no matter where your home is. “I’m so excited to share these recipes with people,” Katie said.

You can preorder your copy of Endless Summer Cookbook from the Food Network Store, but FN Dish is giving five lucky, randomly selected readers the chance to win a copy with a signed bookplate for free. All you have to do to be entered to win is leave a comment below with your favorite recipe from Katie (see all of Katie’s recipes here).

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This Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch Puts Your Easter Candy to Shame

by in News, April 6th, 2015

This Chocolate Benedict Cumberbatch Puts Your Easter Candy to ShameYou may think you overdosed on Easter candy, but your chocolate bunny — be it hollow or solid — has nothing on the life-size chocolate sculpture of actor Benedict Cumberbatch UKTV unveiled on Good Friday to celebrate the launch of a new channel, Drama, on its on-demand service, Play.

Six feet tall, made of 88 pounds of Belgian milk chocolate (500 melted bars of it!) and apparently not an April Fools’ Day joke, the sculpture of the Sherlock star, who was voted Britain’s “dishiest” dramatic actor in a poll of U.K. women, took a crew of eight (including a sculptor, a chocolatier and a model maker) 250 hours to create. Cast, carved and then painstakingly refined, the meticulously detailed 33-percent-cocoa creation — dubbed Benedict Chocobatch — was crafted according to Cumberbatch’s measurements and red carpet appearances.

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Spring Asparagus Tart — Meatless Monday

by in Recipes, April 6th, 2015

Spring Asparagus TartAlong with (slightly) warmer weather and longer days, the spring season brings with it an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. From ruby-red rhubarb and a plethora of pea varieties to vibrant stalks of asparagus, there’s no shortage of produce ripe for the picking this time of year, and surely there’s a myriad of ways to put it to work in your favorite dishes. When it comes to asparagus, simply roasting the veggie is a tried-and-true method — and for good reasons; it’s a quick fix and family-friendly — but when you want to dress up these simple stalks, try pairing them with fresh lemon and herbs in a buttery tart.

Food Network Kitchen’s recipe for a Spring Asparagus Tart (pictured above) takes advantage of store-bought puff pastry to turn out this golden-brown, satisfying tart in less than an hour. While the buttery pastry provides a satisfying base with a chewy, crispy bite, the lemony spread of mascarpone mixed with chives and tarragon offers a rich, creamy bed for the asparagus. Follow Food Network Kitchen’s lead and artfully arrange the asparagus stalks in opposite directions for a stunning presentation, then round out the meal with fresh greens for big-bash events and low-key gatherings alike.

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“I Have to Eat This Stuff; Just Remember That” — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, April 5th, 2015

Canned whole chickens, vending-machine cheese, water-soaked hot dog rolls. Each of these items has been the focus of a Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage, and while they may be cringe-inducing (and downright hilarious) to fans watching at home, they’re nevertheless part of the offerings that the judges are forced to consume, as Simon Majumdar reminded us during the latest Alton’s After-Show.

“I have to eat this stuff; just remember that,” he told Alton Brown as he two looked back on a particularly doozy of a competition round on tonight’s all-new episode. The Round 3 challenge asked the chefs to make carrot cake in this spring-themed battle, and in the spirit of freshness and renewal in springtime, a sabotage forced one chef to “harvest ingredients new ingredients for their cake,” Alton explained. This involved digging through a makeshift garden for individually wrapped fixings, some classic like eggs and others not so traditional, like canned pickled carrots and cinnamon candies. “His sauce was odd, but now I know why,” Simon said of the offering from Chef Jeffrey, who was dealt this diabolical lot and called his dish Carrot Cake Surprise. “It’s Muggins here who gets to eat it,” he joked, adding of his own British sensibilities, “We never say something’s horrible. We go, ‘This is interesting’ or ‘This was a very brave choice.’ His was a very brave choice.”

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