Comfort foods are the word on Food Network

Saturday is for comfort foods on Food Network

Ina Garten

It’s late February and if you’re like a lot of Americans, you’ve been dieting since the calendar turned to 2022.

So after nearly two months of keeping yourself on the straight and narrow, you’re entitled to a cheat day. And that comes Saturday, Feb. 26, on Food Network, when the cablenet offers up a morning full of programming devoted to comfort foods.

It begins bright and early with “Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics,” in which Ina Garten shows how to prepare an easy dinner consisting of rigatoni with sausage and fennel, roast chicken cobb salad, risotto and an iced tea. Not a bad way to start.

She follows that up on “Barefoot Contessa” by revisiting flavors from her past and updating them, skewing up a split pea soup with crispy kielbasa, a lamb stew with spring vegetables and fresh raspberry mini corn muffins. Hungry yet?

Also that morning on “The Kitchen,” a celebration of comfort foods is in progress as Katie Lee prepares her luscious lobster pot pie and Jeff Mauro makes his melting sweet potatoes. Also on the menu is a barbecue braised brisket with sweet potato and carrot mash. Yum.

Speaking of celebrating, Ree Drummond is doing a little of her own in the first of back-to-back episodes of “The Pioneer Woman.” In the first, she pays tribute to the foods from her grandma’s house by making retro Salisbury steak in gravy, skillet scalloped potatoes and green beans, plus a dessert of apple crisp. Then in the second show, she recruits help from the ranch to prepare a Tuscan chicken soup, a casserole with cheesy greens, fried crispy potato balls and an easy Neapolitan cake. Who can resist?

In late morning, the crew of “The Kitchen” is back, this time adapting their childhood favorites for the adult palate. This includes a mortadella and fig pizza bagel and a Chicago-style deep dish pizza bagel from Jeff Mauro, Alex Guarnaschelli putting her own spin on pigs in a blanket by adding pretzels and mustard sauce to the equation, and Geoffrey Zakarian topping things off with a peanut butter and jelly creme brulee. Creativity gone to the next level.

Finally at noon, Mary Berg takes viewers to school on “Mary Makes It Easy,” teaching a crash course in French cuisine and taking the mystery out of classic techniques. She then sets about making a croque madame (a sandwich with ham, gruyere cheese and eggs) with caramelized onions, steak frites, a peanut butter and jelly mille-feuille (a pastry similar to a Napoleon) and an omelet souffle. Ooh la la!

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