Food Network Star: New season, new contestants, new challenges

Since 2005 Food Network has been giving a chance for show-host hopefuls to win their own show in a reality production called Food Network Star and this year is no different. Food Network Star will be returning to the viewers for the ninth season already this summer. The date to write down is June 2nd.

The show will return with twelve handpicked contestants and culinary icons Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay and Alton Brown.

“Alton, Bobby and Giada are not only enduring stars, but also star-makers, so they are the ideal mentors to bring out the best in our talented cast,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network.

For the list of contestants be sure to check out This website will also give you access for exclusive interviews, insider blogs, photo galleries and information about the personal lives of the finalists. You are also invited to connect with the show’s stars at

As a new twist, this season fans will be able to vote on the contestants performances. Also, one eliminated contestant will get the chance to return and have another run at victory!

“These newcomers are competing to achieve their dream, and their journey is fascinating to watch,” Tuschman added.

The ultimate prize, the winner’s own show on Food Network, will find its recipient during the finale on August 11.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser

Chef Symon’s Mom’s Lasagna

Recipe courtesy Michael Symon

1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pork neck bones
1 pound ground veal
1 pound ground beef
1 pound spicy Italian sausage, loose or removed from casings
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
2 bay leaves
1 pound dried lasagna noodles
2 pounds whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for final topping
1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, grated
In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a three-finger pinch of salt and sweat them until they’re translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the neck bones and let them brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, beef and sausage, and season with another healthy pinch of salt. Cook until the meat is browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine, tomatoes and their juice, and the bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, making sure to get all of the browned bits into the sauce. Season the sauce with salt, to taste, and simmer for 2 hours over medium heat. Remove the bay leaves and neck bones and let cool. Skim any fat that rises to the surface.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add enough salt so that it tastes seasoned and allow the water to return to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente. Drain well and set aside.

In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, and Parmesan with a pinch of salt.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Ladle about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Arrange a layer of noodles followed by a layer of sauce and then some of the ricotta mixture. Top with a layer of mozzarella, smoothing it with a spatula to the edges. Repeat the process until the pan is full. Finish with a final layer of noodles, sauce, the mozzarella, and Parmesan.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest, 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy Michael Symon

6 (6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
1 tablespoon kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart heavy cream
2 tablespoons of thyme
2 pounds of cooked rigatoni
6 ounces goat cheese
Season chicken breasts with paprika salt and pepper and set aside. Heat olive oil in large saute pan and place chicken in it browning on both sides. Place in 400-degree oven for 8 to10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool then dice into large pieces. Heat cream in large saucepan, add herbs, salt, and pepper and reduce by half. Add the cooked rigatoni, cheese and cooked chicken and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Add new healthy potato recipes to your dining table

We all know what potato is. Not all of us know much about its nutritional value. And chances are that even less of us have enough ideas on what kind of different delicious dishes can be made of it. Yes, meat and potato is something all of us can mention. But what else? Any healthy ideas?

The fact is that there’s plenty of healthy dish options when it comes to potato. Especially considering potatos have lots of C vitamin in them, lots of potassium, zero-fat, zero cholestorol or zero sodium in it. Plus a medium-sized potato has just 110 calories in it.

US Potato Board has just been joined by Chef and dietitian Katie Cavuto Boyle who is staring in the new educational “Seven Potato Types” video series that you can find at the end of this post.

But if you are looking for some great potato recipes, don’t hesitate to head over to where you will find lots of healthy, not to mention creative, potato recipes, and where you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter to get new potato recipe ideas each and every week.

“Potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse,” says Katie, a US Potato Board “Real Mom” ambassador. “That’s why I like to use different colorful potato types as the base for light, spring salad dishes and then top with additional in-season veggies to round out a fresh, natural side dish.”

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Hash Brown Potato Casserole-Darlene Winter

2 lbs frozen hash brown potatoes
1 chopped onion
1 can cream soup  (chicken or celery, etc.)
2 cups sour cream
2 cups grated cheese (colby or cheddar, or whatever kind you like)
1/2 stick melted margarine
salt to taste
(Meat is optional) 
Bake @ 350 for two hours (approximate).  I usually check to see if the onions and potatoes are tender, and go by that

7 Layer Taco Dip – Debra Howard

  • Brown 1lb ground beef; then simmer with 1 packet of Taco mix and 3/4 cup of water.
  • Mix together 1 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup mayo, and 1 packet of Taco mix.
  • Layer:    2 Cans of jalepeno bean dip (or plain bean dip if you prefer mild dip)
  •              Ground beef mixture
  •              Quacamole (I use 8oz prepared zesty)
  •              Sour cream mixture
  •              3 medium tomatos, chopped and seeded
  •              8oz shredded cheddar cheese
  •              2 cans chopped black olives
  •              Chopped green onions

Cooking with celebrities – what can go wrong?

Even celebrity chefs have managed to crush a lot of dishes, blow up cakes inside the oven and a lot more. They are human like just, just human. And as such, mistakes occur, accidents happen, stuff can blow up, emotions can get overheated.

Whether it will happen in the second season of Food Network Rachael vs Guy: Celebrity Cook Off is still to be seen. The wait for the premiere is creating mixed feelings and nervousness of the celebrity cooks will reach its peak on January 6th at 9pm ET/PT when the second season is premiering.

And there’s a reason to be nervous, the first season’s premier was watched by more than 3 and a half million viewers, ranking the show 3rd in cable rating that night.

This year the show is back with Guy Fieri going against Rachel Ray to determine who of them is the best cooking mentor. They will both have their own teams put together of celebrities such as Chilli, Gilbert Gottfried, Cornelia Guest, Dean McDermott,Kathy Najimy, Hines Ward, Carnie Wilson and Johnny Weir, each of whom is cooking and fighting to win $50 000 to their chosen charity.

“We are upping the ante this season, with eight new celebrity contestants, thrilling challenges and great humor,” said Rachel Ray. “Rachael’s like family, and when we go into the show, our sibling rivalry comes out. It’s fierce, but we have a blast,” Guy Fieri added.

So don’t forget to tune in for the Rachael vs Guy Celebrity Cook Off on January 6th at 9pm ET/PT, 2013.

Disclosure: This post was requested by an advertiser.

Sugar cookies

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Fried Chicken and Coleslaw


4 chicken breasts
170 ml evaporated milk
100 g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
1 lemon, zest of
4 -5 tablespoons sunflower oil, to shallow fry
For the Coleslaw
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
1/2 red cabbage, finely shredded
4 spring onions, finely sliced
4 tablespoons creme fraiche
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
1 lemon, zest of, and a squeeze of juice
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

  1. Put the chicken in a bowl and cover with evaporated milk, set aside.
  2. Mix the flour, cayenne pepper, paprika, cajun seasoning, parsley and lemon zest together and put into a large plastic bag.
  3. Shake off the excess milk from the chicken and add to the bag to coat in the seasoned flour. Chill until ready to fry.
  4. Combine all the ingredients for the coleslaw in a bowl and chill until ready to use.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken for 5-6 minutes. Turn and continue frying until browned and cooked through. Drain each piece of the chicken on kitchen paper.

Serve this with the coleslaw.

Domino’s pizza, better than home made?

When you are making a pizza at home, you can always choose your products carefully and make sure the end result would be exactly as you intended it to be. Of course, in my case, with my cooking skills, the result could be anywhere from indescribably delicious to somewhat awful. So if you’re like me and you definitely want to eat some good pizza today, it might be a slightly better idea not to cook the pizza yourself and rather turn to the professionals.

And Domino’s Pizza is definitely a professional when it comes to pizza. And on October 1, they actually started a national television campaign promoting their brand new Handmade Pan Pizza.

“We are proud of the way we have continued to expand and reinvent our menu, and it is safe to say Domino’s has not been this excited about a new product since the change to our hand-tossed pizza,” said Patrick Doyle, chief executive officer of Domino’s Pizza. “Similar to that, the creation of our Handmade Pan Pizza has been driven by customers telling us how we can continue to improve and become the best.”

The new handmade pan pizza is with buttery taste and crispy golden crust, with two layers of cheese and toppings to the edge. Available at all of their stores in the U.S..

Before considering making your own, go see how the real pro’s are doing it.