Food Network Star Melissa d'Arabian talks recipes and "Ten Dollar Dinners" with WWE.com
Speaking to Food Network's "Ten Dollar Dinners" host Melissa d'Arabian, her warm personality and family-oriented approach to the culinary world could put even the most novice at-home cook at ease. And with her just-released cookbook "Ten Dollar Dinners," the "Next Food Network Star" winner brings the nutritious, wallet-friendly meals all together in one collection. WWE.com spoke to d'Arabian about her new book, the importance of cooking with kids and a recipe that will sure to be a hit at your SummerSlam party.
You can follow Melissa on Twitter here: @MelissadArabian
Melissa's official website including more recipes: www.melissadarabian.net
Read Melissa's Caprese Tartlet recipe, one of the many included in "Ten Dollar Dinners," here.
And don't forget to enter our Twitter contest for a chance to win a signed copy of Melissa's new cookbook. Here's how: http://onekontest.com/wwemoms
WWE.com: Your first cookbook was just released. Can you tell us a little bit about what's in the book?
Melissa d'Arabian: The book is based upon my show, "Ten Dollar Dinners." There are lots of new recipes in there and strategies so that you can save money when you go grocery shopping. One of the great features is a toolkit which offers tips so you can see your grocery bill decline with each trip.
WWE.com: Before you won "Next Food Network Star," you were a working mom in the corporate sector. In this fast-paced world we live in, why, in your opinion, is it so important to gather for a family meal?
d'Arabian: Gathering for a family meal carries so many benefits. As you can find in research, it helps children gain self-esteem and gives children a healthy relationship with food. The family really is a soft place in the world we live in where people are very hard on themselves. Try once a week — even if it's pizza — where the whole family gathers. It will build traction, then maybe twice a week when you plan a meal — "Let me make that four-step dinner I saw on Melissa's show." Traction will build, and it's worth the effort.
WWE.com: You have four children, which we know must keep you busy! What's your favorite thing to cook with your kids that's fast and easy?
d'Arabian: My days can be pretty busy, and sometimes it's about putting a dinner on the table during the week at night. But I love cooking breakfast with my kids. They love to get involved — they have their jammies on, my husband and I have ours on. They may drop 10 eggs, but they learn how to do it right through trying and become real contributors. There are so many little gems that come from cooking with your kids.
WWE.com: We're looking for a quick go-to meal after a long day at the office. Name some items every person should have in their pantry to make dinners easier.
d'Arabian: Dried beans are great and inexpensive. You can add aromatics, herbs and white wine, and you have this wonderful dish you've made in your own home, but without the expensive costs of eating at a restaurant. Whole grain pasta is another great one. It may be a little more expensive in the store, but the cost per nutrient is less with the added fiber. Brown rice at about 9 cents a serving is a great go-to for rounding a plate with added fiber. I also think Kale is fantastic. They are heartier and leafier greens you can braise, add to soup, smoothies and even make these great baked Kale chips, which the recipe for is in the book.
WWE.com: SummerSlam is coming up, one of WWE's biggest events of the year. What's a good go-to appetizer that's fun for the kids to help out with before their SummerSlam party?
d'Arabian: I've learned that kids really love cooking and then eating things made in muffin tins. What they make is small and can fit in their hands. That's why I've come up with this Caprese Tartlets recipe. It's elegant and looks beautiful. But what's great is you can take that same recipe for the tartlet shells, and mix and match whatever you want as a filling. When you make appetizers full of nutrients and protein and fiber, your guests leave fulfilled.