This weekend marks the unofficial end of summer, and while the weather may stay hot and humid for a few more weeks, leisurely backyard barbecues and alfresco entertaining will likely wrap up on Labor Day, as back-to-school routines and hectic schedules become all too familiar again. Whether you’re hosting an end-of-season bash or simply spending a relaxing few days with your family, say goodbye to summer with the season’s best eats and drinks. For this weekend’s cookout, FN Dish is sharing Food Network’s best-ever summertime recipes, those tried-and-true classics that are guaranteed to please. Together, these five-star picks from some of your favorite chefs, like Bobby, Alton, the Neelys and Giada, will create the ultimate Labor Day menu, one filled with smoky grilled meat, an easy-to-make side salad and a decadent dessert featuring summer’s sweetest fruits, plus quick appetizers and cocktails to round out the feast.
A platter of Bobby’s Grilled Shrimp Scampi Style with Soy Sauce, Fresh Ginger and Garlic and Alton’s Margarita (pictured right) are ideal party-starters, and these recipes are ready to enjoy in just 15 minutes and five minutes, respectively. To make the glaze for his shrimp, Bobby whirls soy sauce, a splash of lime juice and garlic with a stick of butter in a food processor, then brushes the mixture on the seafood before grilling it. Keep an eye on the shrimp while cooking — they take mere minutes to finish.
Wrapped in paper and featuring the deliciously classic combination of a chocolate cookie exterior and cool vanilla center, store-bought ice cream sandwiches are a timeless summer treat. But there are indeed more ways to celebrate ice cream sandwiches than the original, especially when you think way beyond those chocolate and vanilla bars and commit to making your own signature creations at home.
The key to making successful ice cream sandwiches is combining flavors that you know work well together, like peanut butter and jelly or chocolate and bananas. Start with your favorite ice cream flavor — no need to make it from scratch, as any grocery store brand will do. Then look to complement it with two shells; cookies are a traditional pick, but other treats like doughnuts, crackers and sweet breads transform the sandwich into something extra special.
Food Network Magazine created a collection of frozen concoctions — Super Cool: Ice Cream Sandwiches — that features inventive sandwich-inspired twists, like Cherry-Almond Croissants (pictured right), Coffee and Doughnuts and Chocolate-Banana Bread. Check out these photos to learn how to craft these desserts and more at home. No matter what ingredients you choose to use, Food Network Magazine notes that it’s important to “freeze your base before assembling” and to “freeze sandwiches at least 1 hour before serving.” This will give the ice cream a chance to solidify, so that it doesn’t turn into a melted mess when you eat it.
While burgers are one of summer’s quintessential dishes and an ever-popular pick at backyard barbecues everywhere, cooking the ultimate between-the-bun creation takes patience and a bit of know-how. It’s not enough to simply slap some meat into a patty, flop it on the grill and melt cheese on top, as doing so has likely led to sorry results at least once or twice — or more. The kind of meat you buy, plus how you form the patties and the way in which they’re cooked all contribute to the overall taste and texture of the burger. Check out a few of Food Network’s top tips below for crafting a perfect burger at home, then browse step-by-step snapshots to learn more about how it’s done.
Fat Equals Flavor:
You may want to save the calorie-trimming for another meal, because making burgers isn’t the time to skimp on fat in your ground beef. Opt for ground chuck blended with about 20 percent fat (this will likely be advertised in stores as an 80/20 mixture), and season it simply with just salt and pepper to allow the taste of the meat and char to shine through between the bun.
How many times have you formed a seemingly flat beef patty only to have it dome up while cooking? Prevent those humps and turn out level burgers every time by pressing your finger into the center of one side of the raw patty before it’s placed on the grill. That indent will account for the growth in height while cooking and ensure the final product is even.
You’ve seen it overflowing the farmers market tables and piling high in the grocery store produce section: Corn is officially in season, with its sweet, bright-yellow cobs at their peak of freshness from now through the end of the summer. While shucking and boiling corn, then dousing it with butter and salt is a deliciously traditional way to prepare this family-friendly vegetable, there are indeed dressed-up versions of the classic that are every bit as simple and quick to prepare. Grilling fresh cobs will deliver a smoky note, while experimenting with ingredient butters or baking the kernels into a sweet casserole will offer next-level tastes and textures that highlight corn’s natural flavor. Check out Food Network’s top-five corn dishes below from the Neelys, Guy, Bobby and more Food Network chefs for easy recipe inspiration.
5. Smoky Corn on the Cob — Thanks to a low and slow grilling technique, these slightly charred cobs have time to become tender without burning.
4. Sweet Corn Pudding — A creamy, cheesy casserole that will round out your backyard barbecue, the Neelys’ fresh-corn bake is spiked with a pinch of cayenne pepper for subtle heat.
When it comes to hosting a backyard cookout, a spread of burgers, barbecue, sides and salads is essential, of course, but so are a few pre-dinner munchies. Having a few easy-to-eat appetizers on hand will ensure your guests are held over until the main dishes are ready and not weighed down in the meantime. While chips and dip may be a go-to classic, you can indeed take your appetizer offering to the next delicious level while sticking with simple, stress-free favorites.
Sunny Anderson’s Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream (pictured above) are top-rated bites that can be prepared in 40 quick minutes. To save time, Sunny starts with a precooked rotisserie chicken to make the filling, featuring the bold flavors of sauteed jalapenos, salsa and garlic, plus cheddar cheese and lime juice. She wraps the mixture in flour tortillas, then deep-fries the flautas until golden brown and crispy, before serving them with a creamy, cool combination of mashed avocados and tangy sour cream.
Recently FN Dish shared Food Network’s top-five grilled chicken recipes for enjoyable summer cookouts, but this week we’re focusing on a specialty chicken that deserves the spotlight on its own: beer can chicken. Cooked whole and most often vertically over an open can of beer, these chicken recipes promise meat that’s particularly succulent and tender, given that the beer steams the bird while it cooks and infuses it with flavor. While the presentation of beer can chicken is indeed impressive and guarantees wows from party guests, the dish is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight for a go-to dinner. Check out Food Network’s best beer can chickens below from Bobby, Guy, the Neelys and more chefs for top-rated recipe inspiration.
5. Beer Can Chicken — When cooking chicken over beer, it’s important to start with a half-full can of beer, so that when the brew bubbles on the grill, it doesn’t overflow and burn.
4. Beer Can Chicken with Cola Barbecue Sauce — Tangy, sweet and salty all at once, the cola-ketchup barbecue sauce is spiked with Worcestershire sauce and served alongside crispy-skinned chicken.
This summer, Food Network’s Grilling Central is packed with recipes for the entire family’s taste buds, boasting the best in burgers, dogs, chicken and more all season long. But with so many recipes, where do you start? Each weekend, FN Dish is giving you a complete menu that is stress-free, and this weekend’s spread features homemade grilled pizza.
It’s no question that frozen, store-bought pizza dough is a much-needed timesaver in the kitchen. After all, on busy weeknights, the ready-to-go variety makes it easy to skip delivery and bake pies at home. But on the weekends when you have some time to spare, from-scratch dough is worth the effort, as it promises a softer, chewier crust with a homemade flavor that just can’t be beat.
Food Network Magazine starts with homemade dough in its recipe for Grilled Everything Pizza (pictured above). If you’ve never before grilled pizza, know that the secret to doing so successfully is having all of your toppings at the ready next to the grill. After you place the dough on the hot grates, the process of cooking the crust moves quickly, so you’ll want to have the sauce, vegetables and cheese prepared and within reach. Once you flip the dough, start building your ultimate pie with your favorite combination of ingredients, like tomato-garlic sauce, mozzarella, sweet grilled onions and tender shiitake mushrooms. Afterward, it’s important to cover the grill, as the trapped heat inside will melt the mozzarella and warm the vegetables. Finish the pie with fresh greens and Italian salami before serving for added texture and a peppery, salty bite. Browse these step-by-step photos to see how Food Network Magazine‘s recipe comes together.
Back-to-school ads are already airing and we’ve only just started our family vacation (anyone else?). I’m writing this blog from the balcony of a rental on Balboa Island.
Since we’re on vacation, we are bending the rules. The other day the girls and I all ordered lemonades with our lunch, instead of our normal tap water. (I am not the Ten Dollar Dinners lady for nothing.) Another rule I’m bending: Instead of planning our regular reasonable snack every day about 3pm, the whole family is venturing around the corner to Dad’s Original Frozen Banana shop and indulging in a chocolate-dipped, sprinkle-nut-brickle-laden frozen banana. (I say “bending” the rule and not “breaking” because I often use frozen bananas and cocoa in my smoothies.)