by Maria Russo in Recipes, June 10th, 2013
by Maria Russo in Recipes, June 3rd, 2013
Think back to the mozzarella sticks you ate as a child (or last weekend at the sports bar): the frozen-then-baked sticks whose skin was soggy and cheese tough, or the grease-laden logs overpowered by the taste of dried herbs. Now forget them entirely, because these mozzarella sticks are nothing like those. Light and fresh, once-indulgent cheese sticks have been made over and are now not only healthy but deliciously satisfying, too.
The secret to making Food Network Kitchens’ Crisp Mozzarella Sticks (pictured above) is using wholesome ingredients in each component of the dish. To make the coating, stick with ground whole-grain Melba toasts for texture and add whole-wheat breadcrumbs, plus fresh oregano and a dash of cayenne for flavor. After a double-dredge process in an egg-garlic batter and this dry mixture, the part-skim string cheese will be generously coated in a thick, crunchy crust. It’s important to let the sticks chill in the freezer before baking them to golden brown so that the cheese doesn’t melt as soon as it meets the heat. Served alongside a bowl of marinara sauce for easy dunking, these eat-with-your-hands beauties are a timeless, kid-approved favorite.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, May 27th, 2013
Hot dogs, sticky ribs and juicy cheeseburgers take center stage during grilling season, and if you don’t eat meat, it can feel like your only options at a cookout are the side salads and veggie toppings for the dogs and burgers. Instead of tucking into another plate of macaroni salad and shredded lettuce, try hearty, seasonal main dishes that go beyond grilled vegetables. Summertime favorites like veggie burgers, cheesy pizza and gazpacho are classic picks that are deliciously meat-free but still seasonal and ideal for outdoor entertaining.
In this recipe for Barbecued Tofu, medium-firm tofu is the meaty protein of the dish, a big-batch pick that can feed a crowd. Tofu often gets a bad rap because of its tendency for blandness, but that’s often only the case when it’s prepared and served on its own, with no additional flavors or ingredients. Here, the diced tofu is cooked in a pan on the grill alongside fresh garlic, peppers and onions, so there’s no opportunity for lack of taste; the smoky, charred flavor of the grill, the bold garlic and the sweet vegetables work together to turn the tofu into a full-flavored bite. Plus, because the tofu is further sauteed with barbecue sauce before serving, it absorbs the sweet, tangy taste of the condiment and becomes transformed inside and out. Save time in the kitchen by relying on store-bought barbecue sauce to make this meal in a flash — just be sure to pick up a bottle you know your family enjoys, as it will be predominant on the plate.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, May 20th, 2013
Whether you choose to avoid meat just on Mondays or you follow a strict vegetarian diet every day, the key to enjoying any meatless meal is eating something that offers as much flavor, substance and simplicity as a meaty main dish. Vegetables are go-to picks, of course, since many are naturally quick cooking, and they are full of sweet and savory tastes, plus they feature a range of textures. But for most, a plate of veggies alone hardly constitutes a complete dinner, no matter how fresh and well-seasoned the produce may be. To bulk up vegetables, try serving them with rice and tofu in a stir-fry, with noodles and olive oil in a pasta dish, or with eggs and cheese in an omelet; not only will you’ve stretch the value of the veggies, but you’ll have made the meal more deliciously satisfying, as well.
Food Network Magazine follows a similar notion in its 30-minute recipe for Grilled Vegetables With Couscous and Yogurt Sauce (pictured above) by treating earthy shiitake mushrooms, seasonal squash and mild bell peppers as the meaty entree of the plate and complementing them with a side of couscous, much like you would chicken or steak. Although these vegetables are indeed grilled, you don’t need an outdoor barbecue to prepare them, as they develop a similar char and smoky flavor from an indoor grill pan after just a few minutes of cooking. Finish the dish with a sprinkle of sliced almonds for a textured crunch, and serve it with a creamy, tangy sauce of Greek yogurt, grilled pepper and fresh garlic.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, May 13th, 2013
For a quick weeknight dinner, few meals are more efficient or economical than pasta with tomato sauce. But regardless of whether you commit to making your own sauce from scratch or you rely on store-bought jars when in a pinch, everyday marinara can get tired quickly. This week, instead of calling the dish complete with just noodles and tomatoes, dress up the sauce with vegetables, olives, fresh herbs or cheeses — any or all that you happen to have on hand — to turn an ordinary meal into something special. Even if you’re pressed for time, know that it doesn’t take long to simmer the sauce with a few additional ingredients, as, in fact, most mixtures come together in the time it takes to boil and cook the pasta.
Food Network Magazine‘s can-do Bucatini With Olive-Caper Sauce (pictured above) is the ultimate in easy-yet-elegant pasta in that it boasts a bold, flavorful no-cook sauce. After making a salty paste of smashed garlic, capers and red pepper flakes, add Mediterranean ingredients like kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes, creamy mozzarella cheese and fragrant basil, then let the heat of just-cooked pasta gently warm the mixture and soften the tomatoes slightly. Ready to eat in only 25 minutes, this go-to supper elevates the mainstays of marinara — tomatoes and garlic — into a wholly new dish, one that’s simple enough for weeknight cooking but interesting enough to offer guests. When making no-cook pasta, it’s best to reserve a few cups of cooking water before draining the noodles, just in case you need to loosen the sauce with liquid.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, May 6th, 2013
If you’ve ever been to New York City, then you know there is no shortage of delis and markets in the city, at least some version of them studding seemingly every street corner in Manhattan. Along with ready-to-go products like bags of chips, boxes of cereal and bottles of soda, a now-signature sight at many of these stores is a bountiful salad bar, one that’s a far cry from the spreads of tepid romaine and vegetables from the past.
While visiting New York, the Pioneer Woman and her daughter grabbed lunch from one of these salad bars, known for a wide array of crisp greens, fresh produce, quality cheeses, nuts and dressings. After picking out their favorite mix-ins, they watched as the ingredients were quickly tossed, then hand-chopped into a wholesome meal. Ree’s daughter Alex was so inspired by the salad she ordered there that when Ree returned to their Oklahoma ranch, she re-created the experience for her daughter at home.
Video: Watch Ree make the salad
by Maria Russo in Recipes, April 29th, 2013
Not merely a starchy side dish playing second string to the meaty entree, the everyday baked potato can be the star of your dinner simply by topping it with a few hearty ingredients. When it comes to stuffing baked potatoes, think of the spuds as blank canvases through which you can showcase your favorite flavors, textures and ingredient combinations inspired by some tried-and-true dishes. They’re plenty filling on their own, but when finished with fresh or roasted vegetables, creamy cheeses, eggs and more, baked potatoes are transformed into all-in-one suppers that are budget-friendly and quick to prepare.
When cooking for your family, particularly if you’re trying to cater to little ones’ picky palates while feeding your own adventurous appetite, it’s best to bake the potatoes first, then let everyone add their preferred toppings. Set up a baked potato bar complete with salsa, sour cream, roasted peppers, herbs, sauces and just about anything else you can imagine, so each person can assemble his or her own meal and get exactly what they like.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, April 22nd, 2013
Whether you pack your lunch every day of the week or are looking to form the habit in an effort to salvage your paycheck, it’s best to have on hand a selection of lunch recipes that aren’t just crave-worthy but also filling and easy to pack, to avoid getting stuck in a PB&J rut. So often the star of the brown-bag lunch is a sandwich built with salt-laden deli meats and cheeses on slices of soggy bread, but with these highest-rated recipes for dressed-up sandwiches and salads from some of your favorite Food Network chefs, you can pack a midday meal that’s anything but ordinary. Check out recipes from Ellie, the Sandwich King and the Neelys below, then tell FN Dish in the comments: What’s your favorite dish to pack for lunch?
A five-star recipe that can be made in minutes, Ellie’s Hummus and Grilled Vegetable Wrap (pictured above) combines good-for-you ingredients in an easy-to-eat sandwich that’s light but satisfying. The key to executing this dish quickly is having all of the ingredients ready and simply waiting for assembly. After quickly cooking the zucchini and slicing bell peppers and red onions, start building the wraps by spreading the bread with store-bought hummus and layering the vegetables inside. Add a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts to guarantee a welcome crunchy texture in each wholesome bite.
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by Maria Russo in Recipes, April 15th, 2013
While most tacos boast heft and flavor from a filling of ground or grilled meat, it’s indeed possible to stick to an all-vegetable stuffing that offers the same level of sustenance. When eliminating meat from tacos — or any dish at all — it’s important to replace it with similar ingredients that are every bit as hearty and full-flavored so that at the end of the meal, you feel satisfied and content, not craving something else.
In its easy, big-batch recipe for Poblano, Mushroom and Potato Tacos (pictured above), Food Network Magazine cooks up two of the beefiest vegetables available — mushrooms and potatoes — to add to their corn tortilla shells. After sauteing tender Yukon golds until deliciously crispy and golden brown, cook up a cremini mushroom mixture featuring buttery onions and a duo of fresh herbs and garlic. Mild roasted poblano peppers and a splash of Mexican crema add contrasting smoky-cool flavors to the mushroom filling, which is married with zesty lime juice before being served. After stuffing the shells with the potato and mushroom-pepper combination, let your family help themselves to a spread of traditional toppings including cheeses, salsa, guacamole and lettuce so that everyone can finish their tacos with their favorite add-ons.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, April 8th, 2013
In Italian, primavera means spring, and this classic warm-weather dish is surely a favorite this time of year on account of its celebration of all things light and fresh. It takes little more than vibrant seasonal vegetables to make a meal primavera style, but most traditional interpretations pair it with pasta. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite twists on this simple supper with recipes from Food Network Magazine and the Pioneer Woman below, then tell FN Dish in the comments, what’s your favorite spring dish?
Food Network Magazine showcases a weeknight-friendly take on this must-try pick of Pasta Primavera (pictured above). Putting spring’s bounty of produce to work, this can-do dinner combines bell peppers, carrots and broccoli with tricolor fusilli noodles to create a bright plate ready to enjoy in only 25 quick minutes. The beauty of this recipe is that the vegetables can be cooked in the same boiling water as the noodles. Just add them during the final few minutes of cooking to avoid using an extra pan and ensure an easy cleanup. A buttery sauce of garlic and vegetable broth rounds out this family-friendly supper, best finished with a shower of parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice.
Endlessly versatile and suitable to kids’ and grownups’ tastes alike, pizzas are ideal meals for vegetarian eaters, as they can be made the same way with or without meat, and a lack of protein won’t sacrifice flavor or substance. If your weeknight routine has you ordering delivery pies on account of their ease and timesaving beauty, try embracing a fresher alternative that’s every bit as simple and quick to prepare: homemade pizza.
The secret to effortlessly making pizza at home is relying on prepared dough. Although you can make from scratch and then freeze Food Network Magazine‘s Basic Pizza Dough if you have the time, picking up already made dough from the supermarket or local delivery spot is just fine, especially if you crave the signature crust from your neighborhood pizzeria. Keeping ready-to-go dough in the freezer for fuss-free meals will save valuable time in the kitchen on hectic nights.
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