March 21, 2014 at 8:25 AM ET
Time to dust off those kitchen utensils and tell your family that take-out is off the table, because you’re joining TODAY's Spring Cookalong!
Beginning March 24, we're kicking off our Fresh Cooks Live: TODAY's Spring Cookalong series. We’ll have a week of popular self-made cooks preparing meals that are perfect for spring. These will be TODAY cooking segments with a twist: Hosted by Carson Daly, we’ll be live-streaming the full cooking demonstrations right here on TODAY.com. So you can follow along in real time without the rush, a request many viewers have had over the years.
You'll find the week's recipes below, so you can hit the grocery store in advance to gather the ingredients you'll need to "Cookalong" with us. Have questions while you're cooking? Post them on Facebook.com/TODAYFood or Facebook.com/today each morning or tweet with #FreshCooksLive, and we'll pass your questions along to our cooks.
Not cooking in the morning? No problem! You’ll be able to play back the full demos whenever you want at TODAY.com/food. Meet our lineup of cooks below!
Monday, March 24: Laura Vitale, “Laura in the Kitchen”
Born and raised in Naples, Italy, Laura Vitale found her passion for cooking at age 12 when she moved to the United States.
“I felt that cooking was a way to connect to my family back home,” Vitale told TODAY.com. "Since then, cooking has taken over my life and become a total passion, not so much for the technical side, but more because of how connected it makes me feel to my family and how happy it makes people around me.”
With 1 million subscribers to her YouTube cooking show, “Laura in the Kitchen,” her food is certainly making a lot of people happy!
The menu: Classic Italian
Tuesday, March 25: Sorted
It’s a whole new British invasion! Sorted is a group of long-time friends learning to cook together. Led by chef Ben Ebbrell, the guys, along with their more than 700,000 YouTube subscribers, learn how to make simple, satisfying dishes. Viewers connect with the guys, suggesting ideas for segments and getting their own cooking questions answered through social media.
“We love it because we get to talk to people all over the world and hear their ideas, recipes and top tips and tricks for cooking,” Sorted’s Jamie Spafford told TODAY.com. “Food is so expansive and there's always new stuff to explore.”
The menu: Community favorites
Wednesday, March 26: Brandi Milloy, PopSugar.com
Los Angeles resident Brandi Milloy is all about experimenting with new foods and trends. She hosts PopSugar.com’s Eat the Trend series where she shares delicious dishes that are sure to make you the hostess with the mostest. The daughter of a military man, Milloy moved around a lot and learned quickly that food is the great connector.
“I am obsessed with food,” she told TODAY.com. “I'm constantly brainstorming new ideas. Even though my taste buds are very middle-America — I'm a meat and potatoes kind of girl — I'm always curious to discover new foods, ideas and tastes. The dishes I create are influenced by my friends, travels and the world around me. I love to experiment with flavors and unexpected pairings.”
The menu: Trendy eats
Thursday, March 27: Lorraine Pascale, author of "A Lighter Way to Bake"
Lorraine Pascale gave up her modeling career in her 30s to follow her true passion: cooking. Her career change has been a huge success, considering she’s one of the U.K.’s top cookbook authors with a large social media following and a show broadcast in 60 countries. She’s all about home cooking made easy and lightening up some of our favorite foods.
Her task at hand? To beat the clock and create a full meal — an appetizer, main dish and dessert — in a 30-minute challenge.
The menu: 30-minute meal
Friday, March 28: Mirra Fine and Daniel Klein, Perennial Plate
This James Beard Award-winning husband-and-wife duo do more than just a cooking show. Their docu-series, The Perennial Plate, showcases people from around the world who are producing sustainable food. When they return from their travels, Daniel, a trained chef, cooks dishes inspired by the Minnesota-based couple’s adventures and shares it with their followers.
The menu: Spring harvest
Saturday, March 29: Krista Simmons, travel writer and food editor, LAist.com
Krista Simmons is living the dream: eating her way around the world and sharing her discoveries with readers of LAist.com. Simmons' followers live vicariously through her mouthwatering Instagrams and tweets, and she is passionate about creating dishes that are delicious yet healthy.
“I love coming home from an assignment and cooking dishes that are inspired by my travels for my friends and family so that they can take a journey through their tastebuds,” she told TODAY.com. “Food is truly window into a culture, its history and its people.”
The menu: International street food
Sunday, March 30: Stacey Little, SouthernBite.com
Stacey Little started his blog, Southern Bite, in 2009 as a way to share restaurant reviews after the newspaper he was writing them for discontinued them. He experimented with posting his own recipes — and the response blew his mind. Now, his site gets hundreds of thousands of page views each month and he’s got a dedicated following with more than 60,000 Facebook fans, which led him to write “The Southern Bite Cookbook.”
“I don't think that feeding your family should be expensive, time-consuming or require lots of elaborate techniques or extravagant ingredients,” Little told TODAY.com. “I've built a reputation of giving people quick and easy recipes that use everyday ingredients they probably already have on hand to help them get a home-cooked meal on the table quickly."
The menu: Southern Sunday brunch