In August 2009, Melissa d'Arabian won season five of The Next Food Network Star, and is now the host of 10 Dollar Dinners on The Food Network. Melissa is a mom of 4 preschool-aged girls and is an amazing cook. On her show Ten Dollar Dinners, (airs Sundays at 12:30 EST) she shows us how to make tasty recipes for four people and under ten bucks.
I had the honor in being able to take part in an interview of Melissa but before I asked her questions, she shared some of her favorite recipes, money-saving tips, and unique ideas for a memorable and exciting Easter including Baked Ham with Spiced Cherry Glaze, Easter Cupcakes with White Chocolate Frosting and some brunch recipes I share below.
I am assuming that you are a meal planner and now that you have a very busy schedule with the show, do you have any added tips for managing your time?
She said 'Go back to the basics'. Make the foods that you and your family enjoy and switch things up. She plans her menus when she is on planes if need be, often cooks them in advance with clear instructions for when she is away. She reinterated that it is harder now that she is working and can get caught more easily in the 'Wait, What is for Dinner?' scenario so many of us find ourselves in. Sometimes meal planning can be as simple as looking in refridgerator or freezer or seeing what needs to be used up and making the meal from there.
What is the one food that your girls eat that surprises you? Pate, especially mousse. One daughter loves the finest, expensive stuff but since her husband is French, they enjoy that the girls enjoy pate.
Do you read ingredients labels on packaged foods and are there certain things you avoid? Yes, as she tries avoid MSG in the families diet since her body can not tolerate it at all. She also tries to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup but believes in moderation. She loves cooking for her family so does not use packaged items frequently.
Random Fact: She loves her Magic Bullet.
In case you have boiled eggs left from Easter, Melissa has shared two great recipes to utilize those leftovers (talk about stretching a buck!):
Egg and Roasted Garlic Cream Cheese Baguette & Asparagus with Tangy-Smoky Dressing