The Next Food Network Star contestant Melissa d'Arabian dishes on the family cooking that made her a contender for her own show on the Food Network.
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What's your favorite recipe to cook at home for your family?
I actually just made a new recipe last night, which is now my new favorite recipe. I love it and my kids loved it.
I just made a creamed spinach, which is something I've made before. For some reason, they all really loved it when I based it with shallots.
In fact, my husband worked late and by the time he got home there was none left. I promised him I would make it again tonight.
So my new favorite recipe is this creamed spinach with shallots and they just caramelized up. The kids loved it. I couldn't believe it. It was fabulous.
In one episode of The Next Food Network Star, you mentioned you'll put foods like raw brussel sprouts on the side because you never know what kids will eat. What foods have you failed to get your kids to eat no matter how creative you tried to be?
I've got four kids so you can name any food and there's at least one failure of getting them to eat it in my family. Like most toddlers, my toddlers don't like vegetables as much as I would like for them too.
Like Charlotte, she just does not like meat. That's just one of those things that I don't force her to eat.
I pretty much have gotten everybody to eat almost everything at some point or another. At my house, we have what's called the "no thank you bite" rule, which is that you just have to have a bite and say, "No thank you," of everything on your plate.
You cook for a family of six. What are your tips for other families on how to stretch a dollar at the grocery store?
I am the person who clips the coupons and has them in a binder and knows when the sales are. I'm the person who gets the pound of hamburger for nothing because I've got a coupon plus a special, plus-a-this, plus-a-that.
So I am that person. I understand that most people are not.
If you're only going to do one thing, I would say buy your proteins on sale. Two reasons -- one, proteins are the most expensive part of your meal so if you get that on sale, you're getting the most expensive part of your meal on sale.
The second thing is that proteins go on sale as a loss leader. The proteins are often a loss leader so that people go into the grocery store. So not only is your protein on sale but it's on sale for like 60% off. There will be ribeyes that are normally $12.99 a pound on sale $4.99 a pound.
I always go and check out the chicken and the steak item or the beef item. There's usually a pork item, even tenderloin I've gotten for $1.99 a pound.
If you can get your proteins on sale, that is going to save you more money than anything else. That one change in the way you shop.