Sneaky Spicy Chicken

Start to finish: 1 hour 45 minutes
Impresses: 10

Ingredients
2    quarts vegetable oil (omit if baking)
4–5    pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drummies
1    cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2    teaspoons paprika
1    teaspoon garlic salt
2    teaspoons salt
2    tablespoons cayenne pepper
4    eggs
1    cup buttermilk
2    cups flour
2/3    cup corn starch
2    tablespoons salt

Baking alternative: 
Heat oven to 400 F. Line two large baking sheets with foil. Place dredged chicken about 2 inches apart. Bake 30 minutes, flip and bake an additional 20 minutes or until golden brown and juices run clear.

Method
Add oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to 350 F over medium-high heat (you can measure heat with a candy thermometer). Line two large baking sheets with paper towels and place one where you will begin dredging chicken and one on the opposite side of the pot, for draining the chicken.

Place chicken on the first baking sheet, skin-side down, to remove some of the moisture.

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together butter, paprika, garlic salt, salt and cayenne until fully combined. Set aside.

In a shallow dish, whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Place next to the chicken.

In another shallow dish, whisk together flour, cornstarch and salt. Set next to the eggs for your dredging station.

Start by coating all chicken pieces with 2–3 teaspoons of the butter mixture, including underneath the skin. Once all pieces are coated, begin dredging and frying.

  • Step 1: Dip coated chicken into the egg mixture.
  • Step 2: Coat chicken in flour mixture on all sides. Don’t shake off the excess.
  • Step 3: Carefully place chicken in heated oil. Fry until golden brown and juices run clear, about 12 minutes for drummies and 15 minutes for thighs.
  • Step 4: Remove chicken and place on second paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken is cooked. 

Serve in batches or keep in 250 F oven until ready to serve.

Strawberry Mango Julius

Strawberry-Mango-Julius-3.jpg

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 1

We opt for strawberries and mango in this spin on the classic Orange Julius. To turn this kid-friendly recipe into an adult version, simply add 1 1/2 ounces of your favorite vodka or clear rum before blending.

Ingredients
1    cup mango juice
4    large strawberries, stems removed
1/4    cup whole milk
1/4    cup vanilla ice cream (approximately one rounded scoop)
1    teaspoon vanilla extract
1    cup ice

Method
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

Pour into a tall tumbler or pint glass and serve immediately.

Notes:
If no mango juice is available, substitute mango juice concentrate.

Ruby Red Mimosa Smoothie

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 2

Kefir is sometimes called the champagne of dairy because of its natural effervescent qualities (thanks to the gut-friendly probiotics), so it’s a natural pairing for brunch mimosas. Add this to your repertoire for summer entertaining and impress guests with this creative take on a classic.

Ingredients
1    cup ruby red grapefruit juice
1    cup vanilla kefir
1    cup sweet champagne
    Navel or Cara Cara
    orange slices (for garnish)

Method
Mix the ruby red grapefruit juice and kefir in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake 10 to 15 seconds to combine.

Pour into two champagne flutes, distributing the mixture evenly.

Top with champagne and garnish with orange slices if desired.

Notes:
Kefir is sold in the dairy aisle. 

May substitute a dry champagne for a less sweet version.

Other juice suggestions: pomegranate juice, cranberry juice or berry-grape juice blend.

Summer Panzanella Salad

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
4    cups French bread, cubed
6    tablespoons salted butter, melted
¼    cup olive oil
2    tablespoons red wine vinegar
½    cup cucumber, sliced
½    cup roasted red peppers, sliced
¼    cup red onion, sliced
      salt and pepper

Method
Heat oven to 400 F.

Toss together bread and butter on a large baking sheet to coat. Spread in an even layer and bake until fully toasted, about 12–15 minutes. Set aside.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together olive oil and vinegar. Add in cucumber, red peppers, onion and croutons. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Bread Support
When your base is a balance of buttery croutons and a drizzle of vinaigrette, you can’t go wrong with the extras that get tossed in. If Italian-style isn’t your speed, give our other combos a try that stretch a day-old loaf to a salad that stuns.

Spicy does it
Add ¼ cup hot sauce with the butter and bread mixture before toasting. Toast and let cool. Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Toss in spicy croutons, ½ cup chopped celery and ¼ cup bleu cheese crumbles. Serve immediately.

Californ-i-ay
Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Toss in croutons, 1 chopped avocado, ¼ cup fresh basil and ½ cup mozzarella pearls. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

BLT
Whisk together ¼ cup olive oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar in a large bowl. Toss in croutons, ½ cup halved cherry tomatoes, ½ cup chopped bacon and ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese. Serve immediately.

Piña Tequila Summer Slush

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 1

Blended to perfection, this slush will last longer on hot summer days by just adding a few more ice cubes. To please a crowd, multiply the ingredients by the number of people you’re serving and pour from a chilled pitcher.

Ingredients
1/2    cup whole milk
1/2    cup unsweetened, crushed pineapple    
1/4    cup pineapple juice
11/2    tablespoons simple syrup
2    ounces tequila
10    large ice cubes
    fresh pineapple (optional)
    maraschino cherries (optional)

Method
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.

Adjust consistency by adding additional ice for a thicker slush.

Transfer to a tumbler or pint glass. Garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and cherries.

Notes:
For a non-alcoholic version, omit the tequila and replace with additional pineapple juice or milk.

Create a basic simple syrup using 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar. Heat in a small saucepan over high heat, allowing sugar to fully dissolve. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken, then remove from heat and allow to cool. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until needed.

Try experimenting with infused simple syrups.

Iced Irish Coffee with Vanilla Whipped Cream

Start to finish: 10  minutes
Impresses: 1

Muggy mornings often leave us craving something cold, which makes iced coffee with a kick of whiskey a no-brainer. If keeping with tradition, Jameson Irish Whiskey is the liquor of choice; however, it can be replaced with Baileys Original Irish Cream if you prefer a sweeter drink. 

Ingredients
6    ounces strong-brewed coffee
1 1/2    ounce Irish whiskey
1    teaspoon white or brown sugar
    half & half or cream to taste
    ice to fill two tumblers
    cocoa powder or cinnamon for garnish (optional)

For vanilla whipped cream:
3/4    cup heavy cream
1    tablespoon white sugar
1/2    teaspoon vanilla extract

Method
Begin brewing coffee if not using cold brew or pre-brewed. Once brewing is finished, allow to cool.

Meanwhile, add the heavy cream to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Use a hand mixer or the whisk attachment on a stand mixer to begin frothing the heavy cream.

Once the cream is frothy, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until cream thickens to soft peaks, about 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure not to overmix or the cream may become grainy or start to separate.

Fill two tumblers with ice and add Irish whiskey. Pour coffee over the top and add sugar. Stir to combine and cool the coffee, then add half & half or cream to taste.

Spoon the vanilla whipped cream on top and dust with cocoa powder or cinnamon if desired. 

Serve immediately. Store remaining whipped cream in the refrigerator, up to two days.

Notes:
If using glassware, store tumblers or glasses in the freezer. Remove just before serving.

To save time, use pre-brewed coffee from your morning routine or prepare a pot of coffee the evening before. Store in the refrigerator until ready to mix.

Ranch Pasta Salad

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Impresses: 8

Ingredients
1    package ranch seasoning
1    cup buttermilk
1    cup mayonnaise
1    cup pasta shells (We use the noodles from a box of macaroni and cheese.)
8    ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cut into small cubes
1    cup frozen peas, thawed
4    slices bacon, cooked and chopped
    salt and pepper

Method
Whisk together the ranch seasoning, buttermilk and mayonnaise. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Cook pasta to box instructions. Drain and cool. 

Add cooked pasta, cheddar, peas and bacon to a large serving bowl. Toss together with ranch dressing, beginning with ½ cup, adding more if desired.

Season with salt and pepper.

Want S’more Pie

Start to finish: 1 hour
Makes: One
galette

Filling instructions
Ingredients
1    cup heavy cream
8    ounces dark chocolate chips
8    ounces milk chocolate chips

Method
In a small saucepan, heat cream until bubbles begin to simmer along the edge of the pan.

Place chocolate chips into a large, heat-proof bowl and pour hot cream on top. Let set 2 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold together the cream and chocolate until smooth.

Meringue instructions
Ingredients

3    egg whites, very cold
½    teaspoon cream of tartar
      7-ounce container marshmallow crème

Method
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cold egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes.

Add in marshmallow crème and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 more minutes.

Top pie and finish to recipe instructions.

S’more Pie assembly instructions
Prepare chocolate filling and pour into graham cracker crust.

Refrigerate 30 minutes until set.

Prepare marshmallow meringue and top pie. Using the kitchen torch, carefully toast the meringue topping. If you don’t have a torch, heat oven broiler and brown the top for 2–3 minutes.

Slice and serve.

Milk & Lavender Honey Cocktail

Milk-and-Honey-1.jpg

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 2

Looking for the land of milk and honey? This creamy concoction takes us one step closer to summer cocktail paradise. 

Ingredients
For the cocktail:
2    ounces spiced rum
2    ounces lavender honey syrup
1    egg white
2    ounces heavy cream
    ice for cocktail shaker and serving

For the lavender honey syrup:
1/4    cup water
1/4    cup honey
1/2    tablespoon dried lavender

Method
Heat water and honey in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Allow honey to fully dissolve and add culinary lavender. Bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Strain syrup through a fine mesh strainer to remove lavender. Store chilled in a mason jar or other airtight container until needed.

To craft your cocktail, add ice to a cocktail shaker. Pour in spiced rum, lavender honey syrup and egg white. Add heavy cream last.

Cover and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds.

Pour over ice into two lowball glasses or small tumblers. Garnish with additional lavender if desired and serve immediately.

Notes:
Culinary lavender can be sourced from local culinary centers, or spice/tea shops or ordered online.

Follow food safety practices when handling raw eggs. Use fresh, unbroken eggs, and carefully wash and dry your hands before separating egg whites. Avoid cross-contamination by disposing of shells immediately and washing hands again after separating egg whites.

Tart Cheesecake Tart

Start to finish: 4 hours 30 minutes
Makes: One pie

Crust instructions
Ingredients
1    package coconut macaroon cookies (or cookie, without filling, of your choice)
6    tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½    teaspoon salt

Method
Place cookies into the bowl of a food processor. Grind cookies into a fine meal.

If you don’t have a food processor, place cookies in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and seal shut. Using a rolling pin or heavy pan, crush the cookies into a fine meal.

Measure out 1½ cups of crumbs and place them in a medium-sized bowl, then mix in butter and salt.

Press crust mixture into a pie, tart or springform pan. Using a flat-bottomed measuring cup, press crust evenly into place and up against the sides of the pan.

Filling instructions
Ingredients
2    packages cheesecake pudding mix
3    cups whole milk
1    cup fresh lime juice
1    tablespoon lime zest
     8-ounce block cream cheese, softened

Method
In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk until smooth.

Add in lime juice, zest and cream cheese. Using a handheld mixer, beat until cream cheese is combined and mixture is slightly fluffy.

Tart assembly instructions
Heat oven to 400 F.

Prepare coconut cookie crust and press into a pie or tart pan. Bake 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Prepare key lime filling and pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours.

Slice and serve.

Lavender-Lemon Shortbread Cookies

Start to finish: 2 hours 30 minutes
Makes: 18 cookies

Ingredients
For the cookies:
½    cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½    cup all-purpose flour
⅓    cup powdered sugar
⅓    cup cornstarch
1    teaspoon lemon zest
1    teaspoon dried lavender

For the icing:
1    cup powdered sugar
2–3    teaspoons lemon juice
1    teaspoon dried lavender

Method
In a food processor, pulse together butter, flour, sugar, cornstarch and lemon zest until clumpy. Add in lavender and pulse until incorporated.

Turn dough onto a floured surface and press into a disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

180419---butter---0059.jpg

Remove from refrigerator and shape into a cylinder that’s roughly 2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Remove dough from freezer and slice into cookies, about ¼-inch thick. Place 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheet and bake 10–12 minutes.

Cool cookies on a wire rack.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle icing onto cooled cookies and top with a sprinkling of lavender.

Let set about 15 minutes, then enjoy or store in an airtight container.

Chicken Little Salad Cups

Start to finish: 25 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the salad:
    butter lettuce leaves
2    cups shredded rotisserie chicken
½    cup grapes, halved
2    stalks celery, diced
¼    red onion, diced

For the dressing:
½    cup cottage cheese
      salt and pepper

Method
Combine cottage cheese, salt and pepper into a small blender cup and pulse until smooth. Set aside.

Carefully separate lettuce leaves from the core. Using a damp paper towel, gently wipe down each lettuce leaf and place onto a tray.

In a large bowl, combine all remaining salad ingredients and toss together with pureed cottage cheese. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before scooping into lettuce cups
and serving.

Slammin' Salmon Salad

Start to finish: 30 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the salad:
1    lemon
4    3-ounce salmon filets,
      skinned and deboned
      salt and pepper
1    5-ounce container arugula
1    cup fresh spring peas
¼    cup dill
1    cup quinoa,
      cooked to package instructions

For the dressing:
¼    cup extra virgin olive oil
¼    cup lemon juice
½    cup plain yogurt
1    garlic clove, minced
      salt and pepper
½    cup feta cheese

Method
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside four pieces of parchment paper, each about the size of a magazine.

Slice lemon into thin rounds. Grab a sheet of parchment and place two lemon slices in the middle. Place a salmon filet on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold one side of parchment to meet the other, then starting from the left, fold the bottom portion of parchment over the top. Repeat all the way around to create a sealed pouch. 

Repeat with rest of lemon, salmon and parchment pieces. 

Place salmon pouches onto a baking sheet and cook for 15–18 minutes or until salmon is a light pink color and flaky. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before opening pouches.

While salmon steams, make the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients, except feta, until fully combined. Stir in crumbles of feta. 

Divide arugula onto four plates or bowls and top with equal parts peas, sprigs of dill and quinoa. Top with piece of poached salmon and drizzle with a few tablespoons of dressing.

Breakfast Cobb

Start to finish: 40 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the salad:
1    medium-sized sweet potato
2    tablespoons olive oil
      salt and pepper
4    eggs
1    5-ounce bag baby spinach
4    ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
4    slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

For the dressing:
1    cup buttermilk
½    cup mayo
¼    cup fresh chives
¼    cup fresh dill
1    clove garlic
½    lemon, juiced and zested
      salt and pepper

Method
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 

Cut the ends off the sweet potato and discard. Slice it in half long ways and cut each half into spears. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Roast for 25–30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Set aside to cool once finished.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and carefully place eggs in one at a time. Set a timer and simmer for 6 minutes.

While the eggs cook, fill a medium-sized bowl with ice water. Set aside.

To make the dressing, whisk all ingredients together until combined.

Once timer has ended for the eggs, immediately transfer them to ice water for one minute to stop cooking. Remove and carefully peel each egg.

Serve up spinach on plates or in bowls and top with crumbles of bleu cheese and bacon, a few sweet potato spears and a soft-boiled egg sliced in half. Drizzle with the buttermilk ranch dressing.

 

Herby Grain Salad

Start to finish: 1 hour
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
1    cup barley
2    cups chicken broth
1    stick European-style butter
½    cup parsley
¼    cup basil
¼    cup dill
2    tablespoons oregano
2    tablespoons sage
½    cup parmesan cheese
      salt and pepper

Method
In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine barley and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 40 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.

While the barley cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until it turns a toasty, amber color. (You’ll be able to smell it during this step.) 

Remove from heat and carefully pour through a fine mesh sieve into a jar or small bowl. Set aside.

Roughly chop all of the herbs and place into a large bowl. Once barley is cooked, add to the bowl with herbs. Toss together with butter, parmesan, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve chilled.

This Salad is Rad-ish

Start to finish: 15 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
1    cup whole milk cottage cheese
     salt and pepper
2    bunches radishes
1    fennel bulb
¼    cup mint

Plating tip
Assorted cut vegetables for serving (we love carrots, celery and cucumber).

Method
In a large bowl, mix together cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut off the top and bottom of each radish and discard the stems.

Wash the radishes and dry before slicing into thin rounds. You can do this carefully with a sharp knife or with a mandolin.

Cut fennel bulb in half and then into thin slices. Roughly chop mint.

Add sliced radishes, fennel and mint to bowl with cottage cheese. Stir to combine.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Serve chilled.

Meant to Brie

Start to finish: 10 minutes
Impresses: 4

Ingredients
For the salad:
1    5-ounce container spring mix
2    grapefruits
4    ounces brie cheese

For the dressing:
¼    cup extra virgin olive oil
2    tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
2    tablespoons honey
      salt and pepper

Method
Slice each grapefruit in half long ways and remove the peel and white flesh. Place one half cut-side down and identify the thin, white lines in-between the flesh of the grapefruit. Using a paring knife, carefully slice between each white line to create segments. Repeat until entire grapefruit is sliced. Set aside.

Cut brie into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dressing until emulsified.

Toss together spring mix, grapefruit segments, brie and dressing. Serve immediately.

Fro-Yo Margaritas

Start to finish: 5 minutes
Impresses: 2

Ingredients
1    cup vanilla frozen yogurt
1    cup ice
¼    cup fresh lime juice
3    ounces tequila
1 ½      ounces triple sec

Method
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine. Pour into a glass rimmed with sugar or salt and serve with extra lime wedges.

Want it alcohol free?
Omit the tequila and triple sec and add in an extra squeeze of lime for a tart, frozen limeade fit for all ages

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

Start to finish: 45 minutes
Impresses: 6

Ingredients
1     cup onion, chopped
½    cup green bell pepper, chopped
5    tablespoons butter
3    cups baby spinach
2    cups chopped cooked chicken
1     4-ounce can chopped green chiles (or roasted anaheims/hatch chiles)
¼    cup all-purpose flour
1     teaspoon ground coriander seed
¾    teaspoon salt
2½    cups chicken broth
1     cup sour cream
1½    cups shredded Monterey jack cheese (or more)
12    6-inch tortillas

Method
Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

In large saucepan, cook onion and green pepper in 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Combine in a bowl with spinach, chopped chicken and green chiles. Set aside.

In the same saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Whisk in flour, coriander and salt. Stir in chicken broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in sour cream and ½ cup of cheese. 

Stir ½ cup of the sauce into the chicken mixture.  Dip each tortilla into remaining hot sauce to soften and fill each with about ¼ cup of the chicken mixture and roll up. 

Arrange rolls in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish and pour remaining sauce over. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for about 25 minutes or until the top begins to brown.

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

Start to finish: 11 hours
Impresses: 8–10

Ingredients

For the carnitas:
1    tablespoon cumin
1    tablespoon paprika
1    teaspoon salt
1    teaspoon pepper
1    4–5 lb. pork shoulder/butt
1    white onion
6    garlic cloves
2    oranges
2    limes
2    bay leaves
1    10-ounce can whole green chiles

For the chipotle crema:
2    cups sour cream
2    chipotles in adobo with sauce

For serving:
    corn tortillas
    cilantro, chopped
    white onion, chopped
    lime wedges

Method
In a small bowl, combine cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.

Dry pork shoulder with a paper towel and then rub spice mix all over. Place pork into a slow cooker. Cut onion in half and smash each garlic clove. Place into slow cooker with skin on.

Add in the juice of the oranges and limes, bay leaves and can of green chiles
with juice. 

Set slow cooker on low for 10 hours.

In a blender, pulse together sour cream and chipotles until fully blended. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Pork is finished once it’s tender and easily pulls apart. Heat oven broiler and line a baking sheet with several layers of foil. 

Using two forks, pull pork until shredded, discarding the fatty parts. Place pork on the baking sheet and ladle 1–2 cups of the cooking liquid atop the pulled pork and toss to coat. Broil for 10–15 minutes, stirring twice.

To serve, place pork inside warm corn tortillas, top with cilantro, onion, a squeeze of lime juice and drizzle of chipotle crema.