With the quarantine, two of America’s favorite pastimes – traveling and going out to eat – have been put on the back burner.
Which leaves a disproportionate number of people bored out of their minds and in need of a project. Or at the very least, a distraction.
If you answer to that description, the Food Network website offers all manner of how-tos on improving your grilling, shopping for produce and food storage, among other topics. So if you’re in the mood to sharpen your culinary game and have some time on your hands – which a lot of us do – boot up the laptop or tablet, log on and check out these ideas.
“Grilling Central: 500 Ways to Win Summer” (www.foodnetwork.com/grilling): Here, you will find a library’s worth of recipes and information on summer foods, ranging from steaks, burgers, hot dogs, chicken, seafood and veggies on the grill and sides and desserts from the kitchen to picnic fare and kitchen hacks. And if you’re game to try grilling a whole chicken (and not just with a beer can in the cavity), this is the place for you. Food Network personalities Bobby Flay, Trisha Yearwood and Tyler Florence also weigh in with their favorite summer recipes.
“Summer Produce Guide” (www.foodnetwork.com/in-season-now/packages/summer-produce-guide): Be it fruits and berries, slice-and-eat tomatoes or salad greens, there is no shortage of recipes for items from the produce section or farmer’s market here. And who can resist a veggie paella? You’ll also find out what to do with produce that’s about to go bad, learn the many uses for pesto and get tips from Alex Guarnaschelli on how to pick out the freshest produce, among other suggestions.
“Summer Weeknight Dinners” (www.foodnetwork.com/quick-and-easy/packages/weeknight-summer-dinners): The ho-hum mid-week meal gets a jolt of creativity with a litany of easy-to-make recipes ranging from Sandra Lee’s zesty corn and Rachael Ray’s 15-minute dessert to a lemony shrimp scampi pasta from Melissa d’Arabian that looks amazing. And if your tastes tend toward the exotic, there is a Tuscan chicken skillet, a roasted veggie Buddha bowl and a Greek salad. The list is endless.
“Help Around the Kitchen” (www.foodnetwork.com/how-to/packages/help-around-the-kitchen): Everyone can use a little help now and then and here you’ll find knowledge on how to make your kitchen a more user-friendly place, with tips on organization, cleaning and cleaners, loading a dishwasher, refrigerator maintenance, food storage and freezing and what to stock in your pantry. Basically all the things the average home chef never gives much thought to.
George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.