25 Tips & Tricks

Summer Cooler

Paloma Cocktail

Carefully fill a salt-rimmed glass with ice, then pour in 3 tbsp. white tequila, ¼ cup pink grapefruit juice and ¼ cup lemon-lime soda. Garnish with a strawberry.

-Charlotte Voisey, James Beard Award-winning mixologist

Fun Flavor COMBOS

“I really like peanut butter and pickles on Wonder bread. I scoffed when someone offered me one, but I promise, it’s like a quick Thai-food fix.”

-Duff Goldman, baker on Food Network’s Ace of Cakes

“At home we make angel food cake with an orange-and-cinnamon glaze-a mix of 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, ¼ tsp. cinnamon and 2 tbsp. orange juice! Sooo good.”

-Buddy Valastro, baker on TLC’s Cake Boss

“I love dill pickle potato chips! I add them to sandwiches for extra crunch and a salty, pickley burst of flavor”

-Gail Simmons, judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Dill Pickle Potato Chips, $22 per tin; rt11.com


“Make coconut water into ice cubes for drinks, or just suck on them like mini Popsicles.”

-Melissa d’Arabian, host of Food Network’s Ten Dollar Dinners

“Slice chilled cucumbers, leave the skin on and sprinkle them with sea salt. They’re a great potato-chip alternative.”

-Geoffrey Zakarian, judge on Food Network’s Chopped

“Put slices of store-bought pound cake on the grill for a minute or two on each side to toast. Serve with berries and ice cream.”

-Katie Lee, author of The Comfort Table

“Try mango chutney with apple and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches.”

-Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef

4 Ways to Jazz Up


“Mix slightly softened vanilla ice cream with pureed corn for sweet corn ice cream— one of my new favorite indulgences.”

-Katie Lee

“I mix tiny, crispy bacon bits into vanilla ice cream. It’s surprisingly delicious.”

-Donatella Arpaia, judge on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef

“Vanilla ice cream with crumbled Fritos tastes great.”

-Carla Hall, cohost of ABC’s The Chew

“Sometimes I go retro and sprinkle Tang on vanilla ice cream.”

-Michael Chiarello, host of Cooking Channel’s Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello

Tasty Trends


“Agave nectar is perfect to add to sweet tea or a cocktail!”

-Patrick and Gina Neely, hosts of Food Network’s Down Home with the Neelys

What is agave nectar? Natural syrup from the agave plant, which is sweeter than sugar.

Madhava Agave Nectar, $7.82; amazon.com

“Ponzu is great for marinating fish.”

-Emeril Lagasse, host of Hallmark Channel’s Emeril’s Table

What is Ponzu? Citrus-flavored, seasoned soy sauce. Kikkoman Ponzu Sauce, $4.32; amazon.com

“Hell Fire Pepper Jelly gives depth to dishes with its sweet-and-spicy blend.”

-Daphne Oz, cohost of The Chew

What is Hell Fire Pepper Jelly? Jelly made from organic sugar and hot and sweet peppers.

Hell Fire Pepper Jelly, $12; jenkinsjellies.com

“Dip raw veggies in ranch dressing spiked with Sriracha.”

-Richard Blais, star of Bravo’s upcoming Life After Top Chef

What is Sriracha? Thai hot sauce. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, $5.79; amazon.com

Fruit with a Twist

For a refreshing party snack, “serve watermelon tossed with feta cheese, olive oil and mint”

-Michael Symon, Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America

My Favorite


“I make a traditional Neapolitan pasta with tomato sauce and canned tuna, topped off with toasted garlic and Panko bread crumbs.”

-Donatella Arpaia

“I love using Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal as a crumble for crusts on pies.”

-Michael Psilakis, star of BBC America’s No Kitchen Required

“Cheez-Its add texture to macaroni and cheese-and double the cheesy flavor.”

-Graham Elliott, judge on Fox’s Master Chef

“One of our favorite things to do is crumble up Oreo cookies into milk shakes or cake batter.”

-The Neelys

“I marinate shrimp in V8 juice, and I also braise ribs in root beer.”

-Richard Blais

How to Spice Up BURGERS

“Mix together a sauce of ¼ cup Dijon mustard, 3 tbsp. horseradish and ¼ cup honey.”

-Bobby Flay, mentor on Food Network Star

“If you like honey mustard, you’ll love maple mustard! Mix a few tablespoons of maple syrup into your Dijon.”

-Nadia G, host of Cooking Channel’s Bitchin’ Kitchen

“I love using Vivi’s Original Sauce. It’s like mustard, relish, salsa and hot sauce all rolled into one!”

-Lisa Lillien, author of the Hungry Girlcookbooks. Vivi’s Classic Carnival Mustard, $5; vivisoriginalsauce.com

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