Monday, July 24, 2017

“Un-Fried” Ice Cream

Fried ice cream is a fun and delicious dessert, but a little difficult to make at home.  Here's a shortcut version of this classic Mexican dessert.  It's made with (surprise!) toasted Cream of Wheat that gives you the flavor of fried ice cream complete with the crunch.  An easy ice cream dessert that is a perfect partner for all of the beautiful summer berries that are so plentiful right now.  So simple to make you don't even need to wait for a special occasion...go ahead and make it tonight!
Recipe developed for Cream of Wheat

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Freeze Time: 1 hour
Makes: 6 servings

1 cup uncooked Cream of Wheat Maple Brown Sugar Hot Cereal
3 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
Caramel sauce
Fresh berries

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spread Cream of Wheat in an even layer on baking sheet and bake 5 to 8 minutes or until golden, stirring twice.  Remove from baking sheet and cool completely.

Shape ice cream into 12 1/4-cup balls, then freeze 1 hour or until firm.  Roll ice cream balls in Cream of Wheat until evenly coated.  Freeze until ready to serve.

Arrange ice cream on serving plates. Drizzle with caramel sauce, and arrange berries on the plate. Garnish, if desired, with whipped cream.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Grilled Steak Sandwich with Smoked Gouda and Red Onion

Summertime means lazy days and nights.  We have to eat, but who wants to spend tons of time on dinner, when you could be dipping your toes in the water?!  This simple steak sandwich uses just a few ingredients, but they are flavor packed to make this sandwich extra delicious.  Smoked Gouda adds that creamy cheesiness we all love plus a delicious smokiness.  And garlic ciabatta takes it up a notch with yummy hunks of roasted garlic nestled in the bread.   All you need to do is spend a few minutes with the grill to cook the steak and onion to perfection!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes

1 1/2 pounds skirt steak
salt and pepper
1 large red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 loaf garlic ciabatta
2 cups grated Beemster Smoked

Season steak with salt and pepper. Brush onion with oil. Grill steak to desired doneness. Grill onion until tender.

Cut ciabatta lengthwise in half. Evenly arrange Beemster on both sides of ciabatta. Place on top rack of grill and grill until Beemster is melted.

Slice steak and arrange on bottom ciabatta and top with onion ciabatta top. Slice and serve.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Summer Cauliflower Rice Salad

There are so many things that I love about summer, it's hard to know where to start.   Long days that end in gorgeous sunsets, moonlit nights with soft warm breezes.   Chill time with family and friends. And then there's the summer food.  If you're lucky enough to live in New Jersey like I do, there's no end to great summer food, whether it's sausage sandwiches on the boardwalk, crabs and clams that you've pulled from the bay or fresh fruits and veggies from the local farmers market.  But one thing summer food shouldn't be, is fussy.

Here's a side salad that takes full advantage of the great produce showing up a farmers markets and farm stands right now, yet it's light and fresh and so easy to pull together.  It's a great recipe to make in the morning, so it's ready to go alongside whatever you're grilling after the beach.  You can add some cut up cooked chicken or shrimp to make this a main dish too.
Recipe developed for Green Giant

Prep time: 20 minutes
6 servings

1 (12-ounce) package Green Giant® Riced Cauliflower, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 (9-ounce) package Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers Niblets Corn, cooked according to package directions and cooled
1 cup quartered grape tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

Combine Green Giant Riced Cauliflower, Green Giant Corn, tomatoes, zucchini and red onion in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients. Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. Serve immediately or chill until ready to use. Garnish with additional basil and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Sriracha Maple Glazed Bacon

Everything's better with bacon - including Father's Day!  And this bacon recipe is nothing short of amazing.    So you're gonna want to make this bacon and serve it with literally everything.  With only 3 ingredients and a 5 minute prep time, there's no excuse not to.  A little sweet, a little spicy and a little savory, it's a great add to a brunch menu or simply for snacking alongside a cold beer.  Make some for Father's Day tomorrow. I'm sure dad will love it!
photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes 12 slices

1/4 cup Frank’s RedHot Slammin’ Sriracha Sauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 pound thick cut bacon

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine Sriracha and maple syrup and brush evenly on both sides of bacon.

Arrange bacon on baking sheet.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until desired doneness.

Chef's note:
Be careful not to over bake the bacon.  You want it to be chewy with a slight crispness to it.

Recipe developed for Frank's RedHot
Food Stylist: Cathy Paukner

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Individual Taco Salads

Here's a twist on your typical taco for Taco Tuesday.  Ortega Fiesta Flats are just perfect for making individual taco salads.  They're just the right size to hold everything you need.  This recipe is super easy for weeknights  and makes dinnertime just a little more fun.  Be sure to put out lots of toppings so everyone can make their own and make it just the way they like it. We like to add sliced black olives, queso fresco and avocado to ours!

Be sure to heat the Fiesta Flats before serving so they don't fall apart when you bite into them!  To keep this simple there are plenty of options at the supermarket to keep prep time to a minimum.  Purchase items like pre shredded lettuce or cabbage, tiny grape tomatoes, canned corn or olives, pre shredded cheese.  You can even find good quality prepared guac if you don't want to slice avocados.

recipe developed for Ortega

Prep time: 
Cook time: 

Serving size: 4

1 pound ground beef 
1 pouch ORTEGA® Taco Skillet Sauce 
1/4 cup ORTEGA® Salsa 
1/4 cup sour cream 
8 ORTEGA® Fiesta Flats, heated according to package directions 
4 cups shredded Romaine lettuce 
1 cup halved grape tomatoes 
1 cup corn 
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese 


Brown ground beef in large skillet; drain. Add ORTEGA Taco Skillet Sauce and simmer 5 minutes.

Combine ORTEGA Salsa and sour cream; set aside.

Arrange lettuce in warmed ORTEGA Fiesta Flats. Top with ground beef, tomatoes, corn and cheese. Drizzle with salsa mixture.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Grilled Pesto Chicken with Gouda & Roasted Red Pepper

Memorial Day is right around the corner and if you're hosting you should be in full menu planning mode.   Keeping the menu simple is key to feeling like a guest at your own party.  Choose recipes with few ingredients that are simple to prepare.   So you're not a slave to the grill, have a mix of recipes for the grill and recipes that can be prepared ahead of time.  

This grilled chicken recipe has only 4 ingredients, but looks - and tastes - impressive.  Prepared pesto gives this recipe a big flavor punch and makes it easy for you to get dinner on the table in no time.
Recipe developed for Beemster

Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  15 minutes
4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons refrigerated prepared pesto, divided
4 ounces roasted red pepper (about 3/4 cup)
4 ounces Beemster Paradiso Gouda, thinly sliced

Coat chicken all over with 2 tablespoons pesto.   Grill chicken 12 minutes, turning once and brushing with remaining pesto until thoroughly cooked.  Top each piece of chicken with roasted peppers and Beemster.  Grill 2 minutes or until Beemster is melted.

Tip: If you're not a fan of roasted peppers, used sliced tomatoes instead.  Tastes just as delicious, especially when they're summer Jersey tomatoes.

Serving suggestion:  Serve on Italian rolls for a hearty sandwich.

My new favorite refrigerated pesto is Rana Basil Pesto.  While it's nice to make your own, there's really no need since this pesto tastes as good as home-made.  I keep it in the fridge for a quick flavor boost in everything from pizza to pasta.  

If you can't find Rana, Buitoni is a good second choice.

are a perfect first course or accompaniment to the Pesto Chicken

Friday, May 12, 2017

Caesar Chicken Salad with Parmesan Crisps

Whether you're doing brunch, lunch or dinner for Mother's Day, this recipes fits the bill. Parmesan Cheese Crisps take this chicken salad to the next level.  They're surprisingly easy to prepare, yet they make an impressive presentation. Not to mention, they're so delicious, you're going to want to make extra for snacking!  

Equally impressive is the 15 minute prep time so you can have a delicious meal ready in no time - which leaves more time to spend with mom!
Photography by Paul Gelsobello Studio
Recipe developed for Chef's Joy

Prep Time:  15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

1 can Chef’s Joy Extra Virgin Olive Oil Non-Stick Cooking Spray
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cups torn Romaine lettuce 

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Spray baking sheet with Chef's Joy spray.  Divide 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese into 4 2-inch circles on prepared baking sheet.  Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until cheese melts and turns golden brown.  Immediately remove from oven and cool for 1 minute.  Gently remove crisps using metal spatula and place on wire rack to cool completely.   Can be made 2 days ahead and stored at room temperature in a closed container.

Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic and lemon zest in small bowl.  Remove 2 tablespoons of mixture and toss with chicken.  Stir remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into remaining mayonnaise mixture and toss with romaine.

Spray 12-inch skillet with Chef's Joy spray and heat skillet over medium heat.  Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through, stirring occasionally. 

Arrange lettuce on serving platter, top with chicken and Parmesan crisps.

Tip: Make extra Parmesan crisps by doubling or even tripling the recipe.  Store in an airtight container until ready to use.  You can vary the size of the crisps as well.  Make them mini with 1/4 cup cheese and reduce baking time to 3 to 6 minutes.

food stylist: Cathy Paukner
prop stylist: Heather Bean
food stylist assistant: Lauren Dellabella

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast

It doesn't get better than starting the day off with a home cooked breakfast, preferably in bed...with a mimosa!  Anyway, that would be the perfect start to my Mother's Day.  So if you want to show mom some love, start off her day with this fabulous French Toast for breakfast or brunch.   The cranberry goat cheese makes this French Toast a little sweet and a little savory at the same time.  Drizzle with real maple syrup for the perfect finishing touch.
Recipe developed for Celebrity

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Serving size: 4

4 slices challah bread 
1 (4.5-ounce) package Celebrity Cranberry Goat Cheese, crumbled 
1 large egg 
3 tablespoons half and half or milk 
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest 
2 tablespoons butter 

Arrange crumbled Goat Cheese evenly over 2 slices challah. Cover with remaining bread slices to make 2 sandwiches.

Beat egg, half ‘n half and orange zest in shallow bowl until well blended. Dip sandwiches, one at a time, into egg mixture, allowing egg to soak into sandwich.

Melt butter in large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Add sandwiches and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown on both sides, turning once. Slice each sandwich in half and serve with syrup, if desired.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Roasted Asparagus with Gouda

If you're not eating asparagus right now, you should be.  Spring is when asparagus is at its prime. Look for spears with a purplish hue as they are likely to be sweeter and more tender.  Spring asparagus is so good on its own, the less you do to it the better.  A quick saute or roast is all that's needed.  Be careful not to overcook it.  Here I've roasted it for a short time at high temperature (you can also cook it on the grill) and then a simple finish with balsamic and grated Beemster is the perfect finish.

Recipe developed for Beemster

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes

Serving size: 4

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup balsamic glaze
1/2 cup shredded Beemster XO

Preheat oven to 425˚F. Arrange asparagus on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 6 to 8 minutes until tender-crisp. Remove from oven and arrange on a serving platter.

Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with Beemster.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beet, Orange & Quinoa Salad

I love salad.  But not your ordinary, garden variety, lettuce and tomato salad.  The kind with interesting ingredients and lots of flavors and textures going on.  Really, I think I would choose a fabulous salad over a big ol' piece of chocolate cake.  Well...maybe.....

When I do make salad, I like to find ways to add protein to it, just so it's a bit more satisfying.  I'm always adding nuts, cheese (of course), and sometimes grains, which can be a great source of protein, but also makes the salad a little more filling.  The quinoa in this salad adds protein, flavor and a great little crunch.  I like to use the tricolor quinoa as I feel it adds a little more flavor and crunch.

The secret to this salad...fresh roasted beets.  You can use canned, if you must.  A better choice would be the Love Beets that you find ready to go in the produce section of the supermarket.  But really, if you've never roasted a beet, you should.  The flavor is wonderful and earthy and just plain delicious. I'll roast a bunch (which is typically 2 or 3 beets) on the weekend, then I have them on hand to use during the week.  You'll be surprised just how far one bunch of roasted beets will go.

I've also used oranges in this recipe, but if you're short on time, you can used canned or jarred mandarin oranges packed in juice.  You can also top this salad with a little crumbled goat cheese, but if you're watching your calories (after all, summer is just around the corner)  skip the cheese or just use a small amount.

3 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups sliced, roasted beets
2 oranges, sectioned (reserve juice)
2 green onions, chopped
4 tablespoons reserved orange juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted if desired

Combine quinoa, beets, orange sections and green onion in a large bowl.

Combine reserved orange juice, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.  Pour over quinoa mixture and stir gently until combined.

Serve salad over spinach and top with walnuts.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Smoked Gouda and Asparagus Flatbread

Move over pizza, there's a new flatbread in town!  When making pizza or flatbreads at home, there were limited options available if you didn't want to make your own crust.  And face it, who has time to make their own crust?! Basically, your choices, not that they were bad ones, were Boboli (ready to bake), Pillsbury (unroll and bake) or a store brand version.  But I like a little more variety in life so I'm happy to see some new players in the mix.   I recently discovered Brooklyn Bred Pizza Crusts. Rectangular in shape, rather than the tradition circle, makes them seem a bit more contemporary and less like your typical pizza.  I like the fact that there are 2 in a pack - use them both or freeze one for later.  With my empty nest, one crust is the perfect size for just the two of us.

This flatbread takes advantage of beautiful spring asparagus that's coming into season right now. The classic combo of honey and mustard gives the perfect savory base to this flatbread and enhances the smokiness of the Gouda.  And speaking of smoked there any better cheese on the planet? I don't think so!  Truly, one of my favorite cheeses (if i have to choose),  it makes almost any dish just a little more special.  And, with its intense flavor, a little goes a long way.

recipe developed for Beemster

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

12 ounces asparagus spears, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 Brooklyn Bred Pizza Crust or flatbread
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup grated Beemster Smoked Gouda

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange asparagus on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake 5 minutes or until tender crisp.

Combine honey and mustard and brush over crust.  Evenly top crust with asparagus and tomato then sprinkle with Beemster Smoked Gouda.

Place directly on baking rack and bake 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Grill Method:  This is a perfect recipe to throw on the grill.  Toss asparagus with olive oil and place on preheated grill.  Grill about 5 minutes or until tender crisp.  Arrange as above.

Place the prepared flatbread directly on the preheated grill rack.  Grill over low heat about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tip:  To prepare asparagus: rinse the spears under cool water to remove any dirt or grit. Snap off the bottom inch or so using your fingers; the stems will naturally snap at the point of resistance where the tough woody part ends and the tender stem begins.  It's actually kind of fun, great job for kids who want to help out in the kitchen.

Brooklyn Bred Pizza crusts are available at most supermarkets and are a nice alternative to a traditional pizza crust

Thursday, April 13, 2017

White Cheddar, Bacon and Spinach Stuffed Baby Bellas

Your guests will never guess the secret ingredient in these stuffed Baby Bellas... It's White Cheddar Pirate's Booty...shhhhh, don't tell, it's our secret.  Crush up some Pirates Booty to add flavor, texture and crunch to this perfect party appetizer.  Cheddar flavor from the Booty pairs perfectly with bacon, garlic and spinach.  Stuffing the mixture into baby bellas makes this appetizer extra special.
recipe developed for Pirate's Booty

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Yield: 16 mushrooms

2 (8-ounce) packages baby bella mushrooms (about 16 mushrooms)
8 ounces bacon, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
3 cups Pirate’s Booty Aged White Cheddar, coarsely crushed

Preheat oven to 375°. Remove and finely chop mushroom stems only; reserve 1/2 cup.

Cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon with slotted spoon. Add onion to drippings and cook 3 minutes or until softened. Add reserved mushroom stems and cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and spinach and cook 2 minutes.

Reserve ¼ cup Pirate’s Booty; stir remaining Pirate’s Booty into spinach mixture.

Arrange mushroom caps on baking sheet; stuff with spinach mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Sprinkle with reserved Pirate's Booty and bake 2 minutes or until golden.

Tip:  For a great first course, stuff the spinach mixture into 4 large portobello mushroom caps and bake as above.

Baked Brie & Fig Spread in Puff Pastry

Want to add a little elegance to this year's' Easter menu?  Whether you're hosting brunch, lunch or dinner, or need to bring a dish with you, this elegant baked brie appetizer in puff pastry is sure to be a hit.   Not only does it taste amazing and look impressive, it's super easy to pull together.  

Delicious, gooey baked brie melts inside a shell of golden brown puff pastry. Fig spread adds just the right amount of sweetness and pecans give a little crunch.   Seriously, this recipe is so good, you may just want to put a slice on top of salad and call it dinner!

Be sure to leave enough prep time to thaw the puff pastry, so it's easy to roll.  If you're feeding a larger crowd  you can use a 10 to 12 ounce wheel of Brie.  Just roll the pastry out a little larger so it fits around the the Brie and increase the amount of fig spread and pecans.  The baking time will be the same.  You can bake this ahead of time and warm up slightly in the oven before serving.  Be sure it's not too hot when you serve it. The Brie should be slightly melty but not too runny.
Recipe developed for Dalmatia
Prep time: 
Cook time: 

1 egg 
1 tablespoon water 
all-purpose flour 
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed 
1/2 cup Dalmatia Fig Spread - Original or Dalmatia Fig Spread with Orange 
1/2 cup chopped pecans 
1 (7 oz.) Eiffel Tower Brie Cheese Round 

Preheat oven to 400°F. Beat egg and water in small bowl. Sprinkle flour on work surface. Unfold pastry sheet on work surface. Roll pastry into a 10-inch square. Spread Fig Spread in a 6-inch circle in center of pastry. Top with pecans.

Place Brie in center of pastry. Fold pastry up over Brie to cover, pressing gently to seal seams. Brush seams with egg mixture. Place seam-side down onto baking sheet. Brush pastry with egg mixture.

Bake 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Let stand at least 20 minutes before slicing. Serve with crackers and fruit if desired.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Red Wine Oven Braised Short Ribs

It may be a little late in the season for slow cooked comfort food, but since winter just doesn't seem to want to disappear, I'm going to do all I can to make it bearable.  Wine and good food usually fit the bill.  Now don't let the long ingredient and cook time deter you from making these ribs.  This type of recipe is truly a labor of love in my eyes.  And really, all good things are worth waiting for, and these short ribs are definitely worth the wait.  They key to great short ribs, is making sure to get them nice and brown before they go into the oven.  All of the caramelization happening in the bottom of the pot adds to the rich, complex flavor of the dish.  Be sure to scrape up all of the brown bits when adding the wine. Once the short ribs go into the oven, you have a good 2 hours to relax by a fire, or shovel some snow, while the flavors do their magic in the oven.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 3 hours
Makes 8 servings

8 ounces bacon, chopped
5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs cut crosswise into 2" pieces
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large sweet onions, chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine (preferably cabernet sauvignon)
4 cups beef stock
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
12 cloves garlic
8 sprigs fresh thyme
4 sprigs oregano
2 sprigs rosemary
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon, reserving bacon drippings. Toss short ribs with flour and season with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, brown short ribs in bacon drippings on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer short ribs to a plate. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons drippings from pot.

Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown. Add brown sugar and tomato paste and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Stir in wine, scraping up all brown bits from the bottom of the pot, then add short ribs with any
accumulated juices. Bring to a boil; lower heat to medium and simmer 25 minutes or until wine is reduced by half. Add stock, tomatoes with their juice, garlic, herbs and reserved bacon and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and transfer to oven.

Bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours until short ribs are very tender. Transfer short ribs to a platter. Remove herbs and bay leaf from sauce; spoon fat from surface of sauce and discard. Serve in shallow bowls over creamy polenta or mashed potatoes.