When it’s screaming hot outside, the last thing I want to do is slave over a stove. That’s why I set up the slow cooker and let that little miracle worker make dinner for me three times.
Dinner #1: For this mouthwatering pork (pictured above), set a large pork loin (or two) into the slow cooker, slather with whole grain mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Cook for four hours, then let it fall apart, right onto your kids’ miniature plates. Save the rest.
Dinner #2: Using a mix of BBQ sauce and plain ketchup (even sweet BBQ sauce is usually “too spicy” for our small kids), heat up the remaining pork in a pan and serve on toasted buns.
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The first time I made meatloaf for the man who is now my husband, he took one look at the slice on his plate and asked, “You call this meatloaf?” And while it was certainly meatloaf to me, it was many moons away from the version he grew up eating.
Mine, which was closely related to the one my mom had always made, featured strands of grated carrots and potatoes running through the ground meat, and it was seasoned with plenty of minced garlic.
His meatloaf of memory was more closely related to the classic version, complete with moistened white bread kneaded in and a baked-on glaze of ketchup and brown sugar. I’m still trying to find an approach that marries our two ideal versions into one harmonious loaf. (I think there might just be deep lessons about life and marriage embedded in this search.)
I’ve actually found that we’re both most-happy when I don’t try to replicate either of our traditional meatloaves but, instead, opt for recipes that do entirely different things with ground meat, binders and seasonings. These days, we’re digging Eggplant Parmesan Meatloaf from Giada De Laurentiis.
Before you start cooking, read these tips
This past Sunday on the finale of Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, the two finalists, Dean and Carnie, cooked a dinner for some Hollywood VIPs including famous chefs Nancy Silverton and Suzanne Goin and comedian Kathy Griffin. Going into the challenge, the celebrity contestants didn’t know what food would be available, but they still managed to create dishes that epitomized their cooking philosophies and ultimately impressed the guests. It was a great opportunity for both Dean and Carnie to be cooking for such an elite group, an opportunity they might never get again.
It’s not every day that a dream dinner party takes place. It’s a rare event when you can even get your entire family together to share in a special dinner. Now imagine a dinner party where you got to serve anything and everything you desired and where you’d be joined by the people you most admire. If you’ve got the perfect dinner party in mind, FN Dish wants to know all the details.
Share your dream dinner party plans
There’s no doubt about it that turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Maybe this year your family ate something other than turkey, like ham, but the bird really does symbolize the holiday no matter how you look at it. But what about Christmas? Is there a food symbolic of Christmas? Not really. Everyone does something different; maybe that’s what is so special about the holiday.
FN Dish wants to know, what do you traditionally serve up around the holidays? Do you repeat the same turkey menu from Thanksgiving? Do you do a British-style prime rib with Yorkshire pudding? Or a Southern glazed ham with biscuits? Or a crown roast of pork or lamb? Every family has its special Christmas meal. What’s yours?
VOTE and tell us what you make on Christmas
Though there’s a certain time and place in which it is exciting to experiment with hands-on, over-the-top recipes that require planning and patience, your busy kitchen at about 6 p.m. on a weekday is not it. Instead, that time calls for a no-fuss meal that your whole family will enjoy, and that can be quickly and effortlessly prepped. We’ve rounded up Food Network’s best five go-to dinner recipes, so that even on the busiest evening, you can cook up a complete, feel-good meal.
5. Grilled Pork With Grape-and-Arugula Salad — Lean boneless pork chops need just 5 minutes to marinate in a shallot-thyme vinaigrette to ensure they adopt bold, full flavor.
4. Tomato Gorgonzola Soup — A drizzle of cider vinaigrette before serving balances the richness of the creamy, cheesy soup, made with sweet onions, fresh garlic and crushed tomatoes.
Get the top three recipes
Come January, I’m ready to hunker down. Finally clear of the holiday frenzy, I crave slow evenings, mulled cider and the occasional quiet dinner party with a few friends.
Late-winter entertaining is a whole different beast from the string of holiday parties that stretch out across November and December. Now’s the time for slow-cooked, rich braises and stews that need nothing more than a glass of red wine to feel complete.
Last year, I spent most of this first month making oven-roasted beef stew. The year before, I revisited a braised turkey leg dish that I grew up eating out of my grandmother’s oval aluminum pot. This year, I can’t get the idea of pork posole out of my mind.
In the past, I’ve made green posole with a tomatillo puree, which is wonderfully mild and flavorful. Wanting to try something new, I determined that January 2012 is going to be focused on getting Rachael Ray’s recipe for Red Pork Posole just right.
Before you start braising, read Marisa’s tips »
No longer just a sweet breakfast treat, crepes can be filled with decadent, savory fillings perfect for lunch or dinner. Here, these light, fluffy pancake-like crepes are made with hearty buckwheat flour and stuffed with sautéed spinach, wild mushrooms and fresh thyme. For a simple weeknight supper, prepare citrus shrimp or sweet onion fillings and let everyone build their own perfect crepes.
For a quick side dish, serve Giada’s rustic Tomato Vegetable Casserole. Baked with potatoes, yams, ripe tomatoes and creamy Parmesan cheese until the vegetables are tender, this dish is warm and comforting.
Get the recipe: Buckwheat Crepes from Food Network Magazine
Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more Meatless Monday recipes.
Recently, Food Network asked Facebook fans: “Breakfast, lunch or dinner? Which is your favorite, and which could you go without?” Growing up, you’re always told three meals a day are a necessity, but many of you (more than 1,300 to be exact) think that’s not the case. Lots of people would throwaway lunch, while breakfast was definitely the most hotly contested issue.
Many said no to breakfast, but even more of you said you’d devour breakfast any time of day.
Our solution? Breakfast for dinner. You’ll get the best of both worlds when you have a hearty meal at dinnertime that’s made of your favorite morning dishes.
Get the recipes »
My motivation for cooking has changed somewhat over the last eight weeks. Every meal I prepare serves as a reminder that Mikey is no longer at our dinner table. I still have two young children to feed, though, so the kitchen has not collected dust in the days and weeks since his death. In fact the contrary has happened, and I often find solace in chopping and sautéing.
Cooking is a constant, a variable that hasn’t changed. I still can chop an onion the same way I did before August 7, albeit the tears are for a different reason now. I’ve also found myself relying on the standards: the meals I can prepare with my eyes closed. Roasting a chicken is easy and I get the double reward of having leftovers to make soup, pot pie or even chicken croquettes. The same goes for steak, and even beans — leftover homemade pintos get new life as refried beans for tacos.
Jennie’s recipe inspirations »
We all strive for the perfect roast chicken — juicy meat and a perfectly browned, crunchy exterior. This recipe combines parsley, cilantro, tarragon, dill, garlic, olive oil and chopped walnuts — a mixture that is rubbed over and under the skin, sealing in flavor. The chicken is basted with its own drippings, creating that crispy skin everyone craves.
Get the recipe: Herb-Roasted Chicken with Melted Tomatoes
Browse Food Network’s chicken recipes for more dinner ideas.