Archive for September, 2010

I must be into comfort foods this week. This is a recipe coming from The United States Personal Chefs Association that I have belonged to for the last 15 years. They called it Spicy Macaroni and Cheese. I have found it to be very flexible in my years as A Chef of Your Own. In a pinch you can add some shredded mexican cheese to a cream sauce and add noodles to make a very simple Mac and Cheese that is also tasty and quick. This takes a little more time but I think is worth it.

Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

3/4 cup chopped onion

2 cups milk

8 oz elbow macaroni, cooked

3 oz jack cheese, grated

3 oz extra sharp cheddar, grated

2/3 cup parmesan, grated

14 oz can, plum tomatoes

1 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbls pickled jalapeno peppers, minced

1 Tbls butter

1 Tbls flour

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 Tbls butter

1/2 tsp ground coriander

In a large sauce pan, cook onion, garlic, jalapeno, coriander and cumin with the Tbls of butter over low heat. Stir and cook until soft. Stir in flour and continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Add tomatoes and simmer mixture for 5 more minutes. Combine cooked macaroni, cheese and tomato mixture. Pour in buttered dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake in 350 degree oven 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly. May brown crumbs under broiler if desired.

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I know it is getting cooler around the country(I can dream about it here in FL) so here is a recipe that originally appeared in cooking light (Lydia Butler) that I have adapted for many of my Chef of Your Own clients. This is also a great recipe to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers as well. The recipe calls for pumpkin, I have used butternut and acorn squash as well. I don’t think this is really spicy, but you can leave the jalapeno out if you are looking for something not so intense. This makes a large pot so cool half as soon as you finish and freeze for sometime later.

Spicy Chicken and Pumpkin Stew

1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Tbls oil

4 cups onion, sliced

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 Tbls minced peeled fresh ginger

1 Tbls minced, seeded jalapeno pepper

2 tsp curry powder

4 garlic cloves, minced

6 cups cubed, peeled, fresh pumpkin

1 cup water

1, 14 ounce, can light coconut milk

1/4 cup cilantro

5 cups hot, cooked, white and wild rice

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tsp oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Saute half of the chicken until brown, about 8 minutes and remove from pan. Repeat with remaining chicken , set aside.

Heat remaining oil over medium high heat. Add onion, red pepper, ginger, jalapeno and garlic and sautéed for 2 minutes. Add curry powder, pumpkin, water and coconut milk, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes until pumpkin is tender. Return chicken to pan, cook 10 minutes or until cooked through and heated. Stir in cilantro and serve over rice. (I add the rice to the stew)

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Great demo at the Fresh Market yesterday. Busy for most of the demo and great reviews for the dip recipe I served with the Mediterranean Chicken and pasta. The recipe is for Pesto Goat Cheese, one of the easiest but tastiest recipes we’ve done. The pesto is all fresh in the refrigerated section, no preservatives or artificial ingredients. It has a shelf life of 21 days after opening and an assortment of flavors. I served it on Wasa Rosemary Thin and Crispy Flatbread which were really tasty too!

Pesto Goat Cheese
4 ounces Goat Cheese, softened
Cracked pepper to taste
1 pouch Le Grand Garden Pesto

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine goat cheese, pepper and pesto. Spread on crackers or pita chips or leave in a bowl for dipping

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Today A Chef of Your Own is cooking for a property owner, A Florida Villa. The menu starts with a classic Shrimp Cocktail, then Petit Filet and BBQ Roast Salmon for the Ladies, and Herbed Rib Eye Steaks for the gentlemen. The recipe for today is Herbed Sirloin Medallions with a Zinfandel shallot Sauce. Today I am substituting Rib Eye and Fillet for the steaks but the recipe is the same (adjusting for cooking time, of course) I have also done this with NY steaks and is always a hit. This was originally a Fresh Market Demo.

Herbed Sirloin Medallions with a Zinfandel Shallot Sauce

4 Aged Sirloin Steaks

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

5 Tbls olive oil, divided

2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced

2 Tbls fresh sage, finely minced

2 Tbls fresh rosemary, finely minced

2 Tbls fresh thyme, finely minced

sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

1/2 cup Zinfandel Wine

4 Tbls softened butter

Combine chopped herbs, garlic, 2 Tbls olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Press seasoning into both sides of each steak.

Heat a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat.

Place remaining 3 Tbls of oil in heated skillet. The oil should begin to smoke immediately after adding it to the skillet. Place steaks in skillet and sear for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Make sure not to disturb the steaks as they sear to ensure that the herb mixture will form a crust on the meat. After steaks have been seared, place on serving platter and keep warm.

Add sliced shallots to skillet and brown in remaining meat juices for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add wine to deglaze skillet. Return to heat and scrape up any browned bits form the bottom of the pan. Reduce wine by about half, stirring occasionally, Reduce heat to low and add butter using a whisk, to swirl butter into wine reduction, creating a velvety sauce to top your steaks.

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This Saturday is a demo at The Fresh Market in Dr Phillips. I will be making the Chicken with artichoke and olive recipe from the beginning of the month. The recipe was posted on September 3. Today’s recipes are for a creamy pasta and easy dip and cracker recipe. I will be at the demo from 3-6, this Saurday the 25, please stop by if you get the chance.

Creamy Angel Hair Pasta With Feta

Serves 4


1 lb TFM Whole Wheat Angel Hair Pasta, cooked per

package directions and drained

1 jar Scarpetta Tuscan Vodka Sauce

½ c TFM Chicken Stock

1 c feta cheese, crumbled and divided

½ c fresh parsley, chopped


In a large bowl, combine hot cooked pasta with chicken stock, Vodka

Sauce and ½ cup of crumbled feta. Toss to coat pasta. Transfer to

serving platter and garnish with remaining feta crumbles and fresh


Pesto Goat Cheese

on Rosemary Flatbread

Serves 4


4 oz goat cheese, softened

Cracked pepper to taste

1 box Wasa Rosemary Thin & Crispy Flatbread

1 pouch Le Grand Garden Pesto


In a small bowl, thoroughly combine goat cheese, pepper and pesto

and spread the mixture on top of flatbread for a delicious appetizer in a


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So I spent the day yesterday making Oreo’s. Although the official tasters(kids and friends) said the cookies were good, I wasn’t satisfied. They didn’t have a great chocolate taste. So back to the drawing board. I used the same filling, but here is the recipe I think is a winner.

Home Made Oreo’s

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

10 Tbls butter

12 Tbls cocoa powder

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt


8 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup butter

2 tsp vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar

Combine chips and butter in a double boiler and stir often until melted. Add in cocoa powder, sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs and combine. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Drop by dime sized balls onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes in a 325 degree oven. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes and remove from parchment. Coat inside of cookie with frosting, top with another cookie and enjoy.

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Thanks everyone for your comments. Lorie is the winner. I am attempting to make oreo’s, so I will let the kids try them first and if they meet with approval, I will get those out to you. If not, I have another recipe I was going to do this month and I will make and get thouse to you.

Homemade Oreo’s (from COOKS.com)

1 Devil’s food cake mix

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

Coimbine all ingredients and form into dime sized balls. Place on cookie sheet and bake 8 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup butter

2 tsp vanilla

2-4 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients, spread on the back of one cookie and top with another.

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