It’s Monday night, and you’re tasked with making a deliciously satisfying family-friendly meal for your family in only 35 minutes. Where do you start, and what do you prepare? This may sound like the setup of the network’s next competition series, but it’s a battle many likely face each week as the hours to dinnertime tick away.
The key to executing a simple and successful supper — meatless or otherwise on any day of the week — is taking a few shortcuts when you can. In its recipe for Pierogi with Curried Cabbage (pictured above), for example, Food Network Magazine guarantees dinner can be on the table in only 35 minutes by opting for a few prepared ingredients that don’t sacrifice flavor. Instead of making and rolling pierogi dough from scratch, then stuffing with homemade filling, the recipe suggests you start with store-bought pierogi — this will save you some time in the kitchen. Just toss the onion-and-cheese-filled dumplings in butter, then bake them until golden, and serve them with tender curry-laced cabbage and a cool lime-yogurt sauce for a homemade meal in a flash.
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Hot Tips From Food Network Kitchens’ Katherine Alford:
To improve your baked potatoes inside and out, brush the skin with olive oil or melted butter before baking; it’ll crisp the skin. And don’t wrap potatoes in foil — just prick them all over with a fork (to help steam escape) and bake at 375 degrees F until tender, about 50 minutes. To speed up the cooking process, start the potatoes in the microwave for 12 minutes, then brush with oil and finish in the oven for 10 minutes, like we did for the Steak With Blue Cheese Potatoes recipe pictured above.
(Photograph by Christopher Testani)
The skillet potato cake is a lot like a potato gratin and, in my opinion, easier than making a lot of individual latkes. It has tremendous flavor and goes really well with other lighter dishes that adorn your holiday table. Let’s face it: Who doesn’t love a scoop of some kind of potatoes this time of year? I love to give people what they want. Last week, while I was cooking at my restaurant, we were making various sauces for pasta and all I could think of was a simple tomato sauce. This potato cake serves the same purpose.
Get Alex’s Skillet Potato Cake recipe »
There’s nothing better than a heaping helping of potatoes; whether they’re Yukon Gold, russet or fingerling is entirely up to you. The hearty vegetable sometimes gets a bad rap, but potatoes are actually low in sodium, high in potassium and an important source of complex carbohydrates and vitamins C and B-6.
Make the most of this year’s potato harvest by mixing them with other rich ingredients and baking ‘em in a casserole dish. Easy to put together and full of flavor, a casserole makes for a great make-ahead meal that requires hardly any prep.
Whip up Emeril’s Twice Baked Potato Casserole for a buttery, cheesy mashed mix. The key is adding butter, sour cream, heavy cream and seasonings to the potato flesh once they’ve gone through one round of baking in the oven.
More potato recipes from family & friends »
I know Thanksgiving 2008 is way over, but I can’t stop dreaming of the three new side dishes I cooked. They were so fabulous that I’m planning on making them again for Christmas.
I grew up in San Antonio and had two cousins from Austin visiting me in NYC this year, so I chose a menu that reflected the foods we loved on Turkey Day when we were kids in South Texas. When it came to the turkey itself, I admit I cheated. The big bird I bought from a local BBQ joint tasted just like my dad’s version, only no one had to get up at 4am to start smoking it over mesquite in the back yard. It paired perfectly with the two types of BBQ sauce I forced my cousins to smuggle from home, and it freed up my tiny Manhattan oven.
The sides were the real winners, though. I chose these three easy but truly tasty recipes.
Fennel Orange Cranberry Sauce from Dave Lieberman
I opted to grind my fennel seeds a bit with a mortar and pestle, but I wished I hadn’t. The rush of fennel when you bite into a seed is part of this recipe’s appeal, and the flavor works so well with turkey.
Twice Baked Potatoes from the FN Test Kitchens
I ran the cooked and scooped-out potatoes through my ricer to make the filling extra fluffy and smooth. Then I snuck in some extra butter and sour cream since my taters were jumbo-sized. I also trashed the tops and served them open-faced like my grandma always did.
Creamed Collard Greens from The Neelys
Follow the instructions and let the cream reduce by half. I got impatient/hungry, so the dish was a little too runny. Mea culpa.
Remember: We’ve got your back (and your sides) here at FN.com.