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Food Network Interview - New Season of Heartland Table

With the premier of Heartland Table’s second season on March 8, 2014 at 10:30am ET/PT on Food Network, had the pleasure of interviewing the show’s star, Amy Thielen to find out about her authentically Midwestern cuisine made fresh in her charming cabin kitchen.

About Amy: Amy Thielen is a professionally trained chef who spent seven years living and working in New York before moving back to the Midwest.  She authored a cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, published in 2013 by Clarkson Potter. Amy currently lives in Park Rapids, Minnesota with her husband, Aaron, and her son, Hank.  Going into her second season of Heartland Table on the Food Network, she took some time to talk with us about her food, success and being a mom.

Becoming a Mom and The Evolution of Her Career

Amy was working in New York as a chef when she found out she was pregnant with her son, Hank.  She was working 80 to 90 hours per week and at six months pregnant, decided she needed a change.  Wanting to spend as much time as possible with her son, she and her husband moved back to the Midwest.  Amy has always enjoyed writing, so she started her own blog and began doing a weekly column for her local paper in Park Rapids, Minnesota where she was able to showcase her own recipes.  She taught cooking classes out of her home and started working on a book proposal.  Amy says her book, The New Midwestern Table, was really the catalyst for everything, including the opportunity for her show on the Food Network.

Advice for Busy Moms on Simplifying Weekday Meals

Amy says her family truly subsists on leftovers, but it’s important that they are really good in the first place.  She likes to make extra vegetables, so there are plenty leftover for the next few days.  She also suggests cooking up a bunch of rice or potatoes that can be easily reheated to pair with the veggies.  Sauces are another easy component to prepare and save for later.  And don’t be afraid to repurpose them!  The curry you used for your chicken and rice can be mixed with a little mayonnaise to become a fantastic aioli to go with veggies and potatoes.

Holiday Traditions in the Midwest

“Oh my goodness, there’s so much butter!” says Amy. The holidays in the Midwest always involve dressing and other traditional dishes made with lots of butter.  But that’s not the only tradition.  Amy says it’s all about “generous tables,” tons of food and always a focus on dessert.  They always serve appetizers, even though Amy says it’s not really necessary when everyone knows they’re about to eat a huge meal.  Midwesterners like to splurge on appetizers that involve foods they don’t normally get to eat, like seafood.  It’s a treat to have shrimp and crab legs before the traditional ham and potatoes.

The Second Season of Heartland Table

This season of the show will focus on Amy’s delicious recipes and give us a glimpse behind the scenes of her Midwestern lifestyle.  We’ll get to meet some of her family, including her husband, Aaron, and her cousin who is a local butcher and spends an episode cooking with Amy.  She films her cooking segments in her own kitchen and frequently uses fresh vegetables grown in her own garden.

Heartland Table begins Saturday, March 8 at 10:30am ET/PT.

Below are a few of our favorite Midwestern recipes from Amy that you can try for yourself!

Classic Chicken & Wild Rice

Edamame with Dill Salt & Pea Shoots

Green Salad with Brown Butter Walnut Vinaigrette

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