Loving the Food Network

I love watching the Food Network.  It has inspired me to cook different things, some of which have become family favorites.  I like:

Giada at Home with Giada De Laurentiis (I have all of her cookbooks). There are so many dishes of hers that I have cooked, but the one that is everybody’s favorite is, Vegetable Gratin.  It has broccoli, cauliflower, heavy cream, whole milk, fontina, provolone and pecorino romano cheese, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  It is so easy to make. We also like, Parmesan-crusted pork chops, Chicken Florentine, Roasted Fennel with Parmesan, the list could go on and on.

Paula’s Home Cooking featuring Paula Deen of course, as well as her husband, sons, brother and others from time to time.   I have all of her cookbooks as well, and the recipes are traditional down south home cooking.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri, Next Food Network Star, any show with Bobby Flay etc.  The one show I DO NOT care for is, Sandra Lee. It isn’t the recipes because some of them look really good and they are easy to make.  She used store-bought ingredients with fresh.  The problem with the show for me anyway, is Sandra is much too perky, it looks like she doesn’t eat, and most of all……. I CANNOT stand on each show her outfit matches the kitchen decor.  This is so stupid.  It makes no sense to me at all.  Enough said.

My all time favorite show is, The Barefoot Contessa featuring Ina Garten.  I would LOVE to meet her.  I have all of her cookbooks as well and they are getting well-worn.  She is always so happy, eats her food, does really pretty table decorating (unlike Sandra Lee’s over the top “tablescapes”).   Her food is relatively simple and yet soooo delicious.  One of our favorites is a sautéed brussell sprout recipe with pancetta.  I know, most people don’t like Brussel sprouts, my husband and kids included, yet when I make this they love it.  It is so easy to make and delicious.  The recipe is as follows:

Brussels Sprouts Lardons

Ina Garten 

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 6 ounces Italian pancetta or bacon, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (2 containers), trimmed and cut in 1/2
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 3/4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, recipe follows, or canned broth

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and add the pancetta. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to the fat in the pan and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the raisins and chicken stock. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, add a little chicken stock or water. Return the pancetta to the pan, heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Homemade Chicken Stock:

  • 3 (5-pound) chickens
  • 3 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in 1/2, optional
  • 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and peppercorns in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface as needed. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander, discarding the chicken and vegetables, and chill. Discard the hardened fat, and then pack the broth in quart containers.

Now I do not make the home made chicken stock, I use College in or Swanson chicken broth with works perfect and without so much work!  I am all about ease.

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