Sunday, April 3, 2011

Food Network: Hit or miss?

Where is your primary search source when it comes to looking for a recipe? I used to swear by Food Network. It's a great tool--recipes are for free created by celebrity chefs and readers can write reviews on whether or not it's worth making. Even though I still resort to Food Network, specifically Giada and Ellie Krieger, finding the goodies is found on various blog websites for my kitchen. I have become an avid blogger. Sure, I don't post much and I am new into the world of building an impressive site, but I could read blogs ALL day. I have been able to rely heavily on creating a repertoire of recipes through the blogs. With Food Network, it is either hit or miss. What about you?

However, tonight's dinner was a hit. And it was a hit through Food Network this time! Probably a double play in terms of baseball. For my hubby, definitely a home run. I made Giada's Beef and Cheese Manicotti   with a few adaptations. You can either click the link for the original recipe or read below for mine!

Beef and Cheese Manicotti
Adapted from Giada De Laurentis

2 Tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 lbs ground beef
8-ounce package manicotti
1 (30-ounce) whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella (I shred mine from a block)
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
homemade spaghetti sauce (see following recipe)

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add  2 Tbsp olive oil, onion, and ground beef; cook until browned. Remove from heat, drain & cool.

Line a cookie sheet with foil and brush 1 tsp olive oil on top of foil. Cook manicotti in salted water according to package directions. Using a slotted spoon, transfer manicotti to foil-lined cookie sheet.

Meanwhile, combine 3/4 of the ricotta cheese container, 2 cups mozzarella, 1 cup Parmesan, parsley, garlic. Stir until mixed well. Stir in the cooled meat and mix well.

Preheat oven to 350. In a 13X9'' glass casserole dish, cover the bottom with sauce. Fill the manicotti with the cheese/meat mixture (by hand is easiest) and arrange each manicotti in a row on top of the spaghetti sauce. Top with more sauce when all the manicotti is added. Pour 1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese on top evenly. Drizzle a little olive oil on top and cook 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Adapted from Pattie Peterson, my mother-in-law =)

2 cans Contadina tomato puree (or enough cans to equal 28 ounces)
2 cans Contadina tomato paste (or enough cans to equal 12-16 ounces)
Water--fill each can 3/4 full
Lots of dried parsley
Some dried oregano
Less basil
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced

Add all the above ingredients into a large pot. Eyeball the amount of parsley, oregano, and basil according to taste. Bring sauce to a hot simmer on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, halfway covered. Reduce heat, and cook for 5-8 hours, stirring occasionally. Best if refrigerated overnight and used the next day.

Need an idea for dessert?? I just found an amazing s'more cookie recipe at The Hungry Mouse.

Though quite messy, it was absolutely delicious. Great for kids & adults! We called them "Sloppy Mo's." Get it? Messy like a sloppy joe, but still keeps the "S'more" name.. As in "Gimme mo' sloppy mo's!"

S'mores/Sloppy Mo's... Gimme mo'!
Taken from The Hungry Mouse (Her pictures sell the recipe better than mine)

2 sticks butter, softened (at room temp)
1/2 C brown sugar
1 C sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
2 2/3 C flour
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (~15 crackers)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4-7 chocolate bars (Hershey's)
3 cups Marshmallow fluff (16-ounce)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9X13'' glass dish and line it with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Set aside. Mix butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl. Cream together until uniform. Toss in eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder & salt until just combined (will be very soft). Gather dough into a ball and slice it in half. Press one of the halves into the glass dish until bottom is evenly covered. Layer with chocolate bars, cutting to fit in one even row. Cover chocolate with an even layer of marshmallow fluff. Flatten the other half of dough on a floured surface and make it big enough to cover the top. Slice it into about five 2-3" strips and top it on the fluff. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for awhile...Or like me... I eat it right away..when it is hot and melted!


Which Food Network celebrity do you like most??


...A word about desserts..."Calories don't count if nobody is watching." Izzy from Grey's Anatomy


  1. I have Giada's recipe book that contains beef and cheese manicotti! I'll be sure and try it now :) Love you and your cute little self! ....convict.

    (This is Ashley. My hubs must be signed on to his google account. Hence the strange name.

  2. I am a sucker for paula! p.s. loving the polls!

  3. Mmm looks delish! I don't watch the Food Network too often, but when I do it's either Rachel Ray or the Barefoot Contessa!

    P.S. I miss Izzy from Grey's!

  4. I officially bookmarked your blog. Feel special :) .. I can't wait to try this!

  5. Love Barefoot Contessa !!!!!! Just a note on my sauce. I don't put sugar in sauce and since we LOVE garlic I add a lot more. Olive oil is for browning sausage. Browing adds so much depth to sauce. Then I add the sauce/paste with equal parts water and bring to a boil. Adding spices next. I find it easier to just use a garlic press or do what Rachel Ray seems to be doing and that is grating garlic with a microplane. Meatballs added if making half way into cook time. Hope you dont mind Stephanie... add my 2 cents in :) I think my sauce is best suited for meat either meatballs , sausage or pork.