Besides Winter, 6 Reasons to Love Soup

by in Family, Food Network Chef, October 24th, 2013

6 Reasons to Love SoupI’ve always had the dream of being that mom on the block who just always happens to have a big kettle of brothy soup simmering on the stove, on the off-chance that the neighborhood kids playing kickball in the street want to come in out of the cold and warm up to a steamy mug of goodness. Word would spread, and perhaps some neighbors would drop by, lured by the savory smells wafting out of our always-opening front door. I’d smile warmly (I’m certain I wouldn’t be on a work deadline of any sort), and I’d hand them a bowlful of liquid heaven, along with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping.

Turns out, though, my four girls don’t play kickball, and I don’t allow them in the street anyway. Plus, as I type, just days from November, I’m wearing shorts and a T-shirt. Soup is a year-round affair, if you ask me, but even here in San Diego, fall and winter seem to call for it all the more. Everyone loves soup this time of year, right? It makes us feel comforted and cozy. But in case you needed them, here are six more reasons to love soup:

1. Soup’s a no-brainer way to lose weight.
Yes! Did you know there are studies showing that simply starting meals with a healthy soup promotes weight loss? I love habits that do the work for me. All you have to do is adopt the habit. Why not start with my White Gazpacho or the Roasted Tomato Winter Gazpacho in my cookbook?

5 more reasons to love soup

Eat Your Spinach Sides — Fall Fest

by in In Season, October 24th, 2013

Red Rice with Spinach - Fall FestFor some, the delicate leafy green means quiche, nourishing green smoothies and heaping salads. And for others — we’re lookin’ at you kids — it can be a hard sell, met with wrinkled noses and “No dessert until you eat your spinach!” tantrums. Today, FN Dish is coming up with spinach sides that, believe it or not, can make everyone happy. Cook it into your favorite recipes, saute it on its own, eat it nice and raw — you get the picture. When it wilts into its supple alter ego, all kinds of sides can come to be.

This season, grab baby or big-leaf spinach by the handful, for more reason than the ample health benefits. Whether you disguise spinach or make it the star of your dish, this recipe roundup will give you — and, hey, maybe even the kids — reason to love it.

For those who love the classic composition of Creamed Spinach, Sunny Anderson’s is decadent, creamy and works as a weeknight side or Thanksgiving star. Sandra Lee’s Parmesan Creamed Spinach adds a dose of sharp cheese, as well as a touch of pumpkin pie spice.

More spinach recipes from friends and family

15 Great Bar Snacks Made Healthier

by in Uncategorized, October 24th, 2013

mozarella sticks

Being a healthy eater doesn’t mean never getting a hankering for the likes of mozzarella sticks or cheesy quesadillas. And with the right recipes, you don’t need to forgo those delicious bar snacks. Here are 15 favorites, made over.

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#TBT: Aarón Sánchez

by in Food Network Chef, October 24th, 2013

Aaron SanchezIt’s Thursday, and while that means everyone is just one day away from the weekend, it also means it’s time to throw back — to an earlier period in Food Network’s history. Check back on FN Dish every Thursday to find the latest #tbt of your favorite chefs and get a retro look at their earliest days on TV.

While Aarón Sánchez now spends his Food Network days sending chefs’ dishes straight to the Chopping Block as a judge on Chopped, some of his earliest on the network were spent as the host of Chefs vs. City alongside Chris Cosentino. The guys traveled to a new city each week and challenged local culinary industry insiders to a race against the clock in their own city. Eating, drinking and discovering both famous and little-known dishes and hot spots in the area, Aarón and Chris attempted to prove they could outlast the locals and complete the required battles before their rivals.

Roger Mooking and Aaron SanchezAarón took his competitive spirit with him to Heat Seekers, which found him and Roger Mooking face-to-face with some of spiciest dishes in the country. The challenge on their series was simple: See if you can handle the heat. It was up to Aarón and Roger to track down restaurants known for tongue-scorching foods and sample them firsthand — sometimes ending in clean plates, other times in tears.

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Restaurant Revisited: Bring Mama Back at Mama Campisi’s Restaurant

by in Shows, October 23rd, 2013

Robert Irvine on Restaurant: Impossible“My job here is intense, to say the least,” Robert Irvine said not long after arriving at Mama Campisi’s Restaurant in St. Louis. This nine-year-old Italian eatery was once profitable, making nearly $1 million in revenue, but after employee theft resulted in more than $70,000 in losses, the business faded, and now husband-and-wife owners Lance and Andrea Ervin face nearly $600,000 worth of debt. But beyond their financial struggles, Andrea was overwhelmed by her situation, so Robert’s mission was twofold: Give Mama Campisi’s the tools it needs to succeed again, and help Andrea and her family regain their trust in their restaurant. After just two days and with only $10,000, Robert and his Restaurant: Impossible team reopened Mama Campisi’s with an inspired menu, a transformed interior and the skills needed to ensure future profits. FN Dish checked in with Andrea and Lance to find how the business is doing today.

“Business seems to have picked up,” Andrea said. “We were able get a couple [people] paid in full, however, due to the repairs that had to be done, we have been at a standstill right now.”

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Connected: Wired Magazine Digs Up Tasty Food Data with FoodNetwork.com

by in News, October 23rd, 2013

Wired Pie ChartIt’s a big month at Food Network. As the network celebrates its 20th birthday and its fans gear up for the year’s biggest food holiday, Thanksgiving, its website took the spotlight in Wired’s November issue. Wired’s editors looked at the site’s nearly 50,000 recipes and its almost 1 million comments to answer, once and for all, questions about what foods Americans are cooking and how. With kid-friendly classics like hamburgers and pasta with meatballs to dressed-up dishes like risotto, creme brulee and souffles — and seemingly every imaginable meal in between — FoodNetwork.com’s database offered the ultimate one-stop resource for number-crunching of the recipe sort. What resulted was an impressive eight-page spread: one of the most exhaustive data collections to date and a better understanding of what we’re putting on the family table.

Just in time for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, Wired investigated one of the most celebrated slivers of FoodNetwork.com — Thanksgiving Central — to offer “The Only Thanksgiving Guide You Want.” This course-by-course breakdown encompasses not only deliciously simple seasonal recipes and how-tos to help you shop for these dishes, but also interactive charts that allow for easy decision-making when selecting between the many mashed potato, stuffing, gravy and pie offerings available. Just take your pick among recipes that require “Marathon Shopping” and “Slaving at the Stove,” or opt for the “Labors of Love” or something “Quick and Easy,” and serve up a holiday-worthy feast in a flash.

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Best 5 Halloween Desserts

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 23rd, 2013

Candy Bucket CakeEven if you won’t be trick-or-treating this year, your sweet tooth will likely start acting up a bit more than usual as Halloween nears. After all, kids and kids at heart would surely agree that this spooky holiday means but one thing: sugar. Instead of resorting to store-bought chocolates or caramel-filled, peanut-topped candies to curb your cravings, however, make your own ghostly goodies at home in the form of decadent Halloween desserts that both little goblins and grownups will enjoy. Check out Food Network’s top-five treats below to find sweet tooth-satisfying recipes ideal for family-friendly indulgences and fright night bashes alike.

5. Chocolate Candy Pie — Save time in the kitchen by starting with a prepared pie crust, then fill it with a rich chocolate pudding and finish with fluffy whipped cream and your favorite crushed chocolate candies. It’s important that this pie freeze for a few hours so the flavors and textures can set, so it’s best to plan ahead before making and serving.

4. Caramel, Chocolate and Candy Apples — Perhaps the ultimate autumn indulgence, Giada’s triple-coated apples feature a first layer of gooey caramel, then a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, and finally a sprinkle of crunchy nuts, sprinkles and candies. Set up a DIY decorating bar, and let everyone create his or her preferred apples.

Get the top-three recipes

Have a Hammy Morning

by in Family, October 23rd, 2013

Family-Friendly Breakfast: Have a Hammy MorningSometimes a hearty breakfast hits the spot. But when you have three small kids underfoot like I do, it has to be fast. I love assembling these ham, egg and cheese cups because they’re easy and the kids can help — which translates into insurance that they’ll at least try one. In this case, they usually devour them.

“Line” the  cups of a muffin pan with low-sodium (non-MSG) ham slices. Add a quarter slice of wheat bread, then break a whole egg in. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cheese, then bake them for 15 to 18 minutes at 400 degrees F.

Get more kid-friendly breakfast ideas