Schumacher Dinner Recipes

Kale Halloumi Salad

Serves 4

The halloumi cheese on this salad is so tasty whether grilled or pan-fried! Sweetened, slightly blackened pineapple slices add on the flavor and cucumbers, kale and almonds layer the crunch. This is just a tasty salad that is unexpected and oh so nice. We sure hope you enjoy!

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon dijon
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 head of lacinato kale, stems removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • ¼ cup finely sliced scallions
  • 2 thinly sliced Persian cucumbers
  • 8 oz. halloumi cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced pineapple
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Prep the Salad

In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper then set to the side.

Next, in a large salad bowl, combine the kale, scallions and cucumbers. Toss with the salad dressing and allow to rest while you grill/pan-fry the halloumi and pineapple.

Make the Halloumi and Pineapple

Warm a grill or add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a medium frying pan and warm for one minute. Pan fry or grill the halloumi 1-2 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the pineapple slices.

Assemble the Salad

Finish the salad by topping with warm halloumi and pineapple and sprinkling with almonds to finish. Serve immediately.

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Korean BBQ Shredded Chicken Lettuce Cups

Serves 4

If you love pulled chicken, this is a flavorful way to change it up! The sauce is tangy, slightly spicy and just a touch sweet. When you serve it in lettuce cups it adds a great crunch. The final result is super tasty, surprisingly healthy and fun to share! 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons Gochujang paste
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 head Bibb lettuce
  • Sliced scallions for garnish
  • Sesame seeds for garnish

Make the Chicken

In a large Dutch oven, add the sesame oil and then add the chicken thighs. Cook until the chicken is browned on both sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Then add in the soy sauce, chicken stock, Goujang and honey. Simmer the chicken until cooked through about 10-12 minutes on medium-high. Remove the chicken to a plate. Shred the chicken once cool.

Make the Sauce

In a small bowl, add equal parts water and cornstarch and mix until stirred through. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Keep on medium-high heat, reducing the mixture until its the desired thickness (about 8-10 minutes).

Return the shredded chicken to the sauce and stir to combine.

Assemble

To serve, add a large spoonful of BBQ chicken to a lettuce leaf and top with scallions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

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Mushroom Stroganoff

Serves 4-6

This recipe is a vegetarian spinoff on beef stroganoff. The result is a creamy, flavorful mushroom sauce mixed in with buttery wide egg noodles. Utterly comforting and very easy to prepare, we hope you'll love this dish as much as we did. 

Ingredients

  • Salted butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. white mushrooms
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 lb. wide egg noodles
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup marsala
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup full fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Start the Prep

Take a damp paper towel and wipe off excess dirt from the mushrooms. Cut off any coarse parts of the stems and remove then slice the cleaned mushrooms.

Add 2 tablespoons of salted butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large frying pan. Heat for 1-2 minutes until the butter melts then add in about ¼ of the mushrooms (you don’t want to over-crowd the pan or the mushrooms will just steam, not brown).

Saute the mushrooms on medium-high for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t stir or you’ll never get your mushrooms browned. Season with salt and pepper and toss and cook, reducing the heat as necessary, until browned on both sides (another 3-5 minutes). Set cooked mushrooms on a baking sheet to the side. Then repeat the process until all the mushrooms are seared. Season the finished mushrooms with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook your egg noodles according to the package instructions.

Make the Sauce

Once mushrooms have finished cooking, add 2 more tablespoons butter, garlic and shallots to the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Toss in the flour then carefully add the marsala (it will flame). Step back and reduce the heat. After the flame subsides, add in the chicken stock and sour cream and stir to combine. Once you have a smooth, creamy sauce, add in the chopped parsley and return the mushrooms.

Toss the egg noodles with the mushroom cream sauce and stir until combined. Serve warm!

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Mole Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

This mole sauce is chocolatey, rich, savory and so divine as a taco base. If Taco Tuesday is as important in your household as it is in ours, you'll surely welcome this absolutely finger-licking sauce!

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons mole paste (I use Dona Maria because it is the most common brand in grocery stores)
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • ½ cup green salsa (Herdez salsa verde or Trader Joe's salsa verde are my favorites)
  • 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Corn tortillas
  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • Fresh cilantro, washed
  • Hass avocado, sliced thinly
  • Radish, sliced thinly

Prepare the Mole Chicken

In a large saucepan, add the mole paste. Be careful as the oil tends to sit at the top of the jar. I take a spoon to scoop out pieces of the thickened paste and add just a little of the top oil. Next, bring the heat to medium and add the chicken stock. Using the back of a wooden spoon, begin to mix the paste with the stock. As the paste heats, this becomes easier to do. The final sauce should be thick, velvety, and resemble melted chocolate.

Continue stirring until you reach a smooth consistency (about 8-10 minutes). Add in the salsa verde for added flavor and stir to combine. Next, add in the shredded chicken and stir until fully coated. Leave on simmer as you toast your tortillas.

Make the Tacos

To toast the corn tortillas, I turn my gas burner grates to medium and add each tortilla for about 1-2 minutes per side. It should bubble up slightly and be slightly toasted when done. Flip and repeat on the second side. I do this with my fingers because I’m used to doing so but please be careful and use thongs if you are not comfortable.

Top the toasted tortillas with mole chicken, sliced red onion, a sprig of fresh cilantro, sliced radish, and avocado. Serve warm and enjoy!

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Classic Corndog

Serves 6

This carnival classic is all the more fun to enjoy because it arrives on a stick! Using a yummy homemade cornbread batter, these dogs are dunkable, delightful and utterly delicious. A honey mustard serves as a tasty and easy dipping sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable/canola oil for frying
  • 6 hotdogs
  • 6 skewers
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

  • ½ cup yellow mustard (dijon would be delicious too - my kids like classic yellow)
  • 3 tablespoons of honey

Prep the Hot Dogs

Begin by skewering all the hotdogs. Next, dry the hot dogs with a paper towel to remove all moisture.

In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, honey, buttermilk, oil, and egg to form a batter. Mix until completely combined. Pour the batter into a pint glass that you can use to easily dip the hotdogs.

Prep the Oil and Sauce

In a large pot (wide enough to hold your hotdogs and skewers), add three inches of oil and heat to frying temperature (350F). Lay a wire rack on top of another baking sheet and set to the side.

As the oil is heating, make the honey mustard dipping sauce. In a small bowl, mix the mustard and honey until smooth. Set to the side.

Make the Corndogs

When the oil is ready, dunk the hotdogs into the batter, ensuring no air bubbles form. If you see air bubbles, just redip. I used a swirling motion as I dipped and pulled up to make sure the cornbread coating was holding all around the hotdog. The first one was the hardest but repeating with the remaining was super easy once I got the hang of it.

By carefully holding the stick, add the coated hot dogs to the oil for a couple of seconds to start frying (this ensures they won’t stick to the bottom of the pot). Then drop the corndog carefully into the oil and fry until golden brown on all sides. I was sure to turn them with tongs to ensure even browning on all sides. Otherwise they tend to stay on one side and unevenly brown. Tongs are your friend here.

Lay the finished corn dogs on the wire rack topped baking sheet, sprinkle with salt while still hot. Repeat until all the corndogs are finished.

Serve the finished corn dogs while still warm with the honey mustard dipping sauce.

Chicken Ramen Salad

Serves 8-10

This ramen salad is a family classic. So easy to make yet so incredibly tasty. The sesame, soy dressing really pops the flavor and carrots and cabbage add to the crunch. I love to make this salad over the weekend for effortless entertaining or as a great option for light lunches throughout the week. Kids will get a kick out of the noodles and this is also a standout dish for any summer potluck.

Ingredients:

  • 5 packages of Ramen (discard the seasoning packets)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¼ cup sesame oil, plus 2 tablespoons, divided
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 ½ cups matchstick carrots
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 2 cups pulled, cooked chicken breast (from a rotisserie chicken)
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced finely
  • Sliced almonds for topping

Make the Dressing

In a small bowl add the garlic and ginger. Mix in a ¼ cup sesame oil, soy sauce, and lime and set to the side.

Make the Ramen

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add in the ramen and cook for about 3 minutes until tender.

Strain the cooked ramen and then once drained, add to a large bowl and mix with the dressing. Toss until all the noodles are coated. I also like to use scissors to cut through the noodles to make for easier eating.

Make the Vegetables

In the same pot you boiled the noodles, add in the remaining sesame oil, the carrots, and the cabbage. Saute on medium-high heat until the vegetables have softened about 5-7 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables to the noodles.

Finish the Salad

Finish by adding in the chicken and scallions and mixing all ingredients to combine. Serve the noodles with sliced almonds on top. I enjoy this simple salad both chilled or warm. Once mixed, it can be enjoyed immediately or refrigerated for later use. Enjoy!

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Chicken Shawarma Bowls with Creamy Tahini Dressing

Juicy, marinated chicken shawarma makes this meal irresistibly good. Served atop steamed rice with a fresh cucumber, tomato, dill salad then topped with a divinely creamy tahini, there is nothing not to love. Introducing your new favorite grilling recipe.

Chicken Shawarma Ingredients:

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Steamed jasmine rice for serving
  • Pita for serving
  • Harissa for serving, optional

Creamy Tahini Ingredients:

  • ½ cup full-fat sour cream
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cucumber Salad Ingredients:

  • 10 oz constellation/cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups) halved
  • 3 medium sized Persian cucumbers, sliced
  • ½ red onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt to taste

Marinate the Chicken

In a large bowl or plastic resealable bag, combine the garlic, turmeric, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, sea salt, and olive oil. Mix to combine then add in the chicken thighs and coat all over. Marinate for at least 10 minutes or overnight (the more time the better).

Make the Creamy Tahini Dressing

In a small bowl mix the ingredients of the dressing. Whisk together until smooth and season with salt and pepper. If you want a thinner sauce you can add in a bit more water, a teaspoon at a time (optional, but nice for easier drizzling). Refrigerate until ready to use. This can also be made in advance.

Make the Cucumber Salad

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and dill. Add in the lemon and olive oil and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grill the Chicken and Make the Bowls

Preheat your grill. Brush the grates with some oil to make for easy grilling then grill the marinated chicken for about 4-7 minutes per side, or until their internal temperature reaches 165˚F. Let the cooked chicken rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Then slice thin.

To plate, add cooked rice, cucumber salad, chicken shawarma and finish with creamy tahini. You can serve with pita and harissa for added fun and a bit of spice.

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Meatballs and Mash with Red Wine Gravy

Serves 4

Meatballs are always a family crowd-pleaser. Now serve them on a buttery bed of creamy mashed potatoes and finish with a rich gravy and you've got a winner for family night. Fresh thyme and sweet carrots add a burst of flavor and the rich gravy will have you reaching for some bread to mop every last bit on your plate.

Ingredients

Mashed Potatoes:

  • 5 cups peeled, diced golden potatoes
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

    Meatballs with Red Wine Gravy:

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 lb. ground turkey meat
    • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • 1 cup small diced Vidalia onion
    • ½ cup peeled and small diced carrot
    • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
    • 1 cup red wine
    • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 ½ cups beef stock
    • Good crusty bread for serving, optional

    Make the Mashed Potatoes

    Add the peeled and diced potatoes to a large stockpot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil. Keep at a low boil until fork tender (this means, when tested, the potato easily mashes when you put a little pressure using a fork).

    As your potatoes are cooking, add your butter and milk to a small saucepan and heat on low until the butter is melted.

    Strain the potatoes and then puree them using a potato ricer. This tool gives a very silky texture and is definitely one of our secrets to the perfect mash. If you prefer to mash potatoes yourself with a potato masher, you certainly can.

    Transfer the riced potatoes back to the stockpot and add in the warmed butter and milk mixture. Mix in with a spatula until blended and season to taste with salt and pepper. You can make your potatoes in advance.

    Make the Meatballs and Red Wine Gravy

    In a medium bowl, mix the ground turkey with panko and season generously with salt and pepper.

    Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large frying pan and begin adding your meatballs. You should roll them to be about the size of a walnut. Fry in two batches to avoid overcrowding. Cook meatballs until golden brown on the first side, then shake your pan to roll them onto the next side. Continue browning on all sides until no pink remains and meatballs are cooked through. You can easily test by cutting one in half. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat with the second batch.

    After all meatballs have cooked, add your onions and carrot to the remaining oil in the pan and saute until translucent (about 3-4 minutes), stirring as you go. Add in an extra tablespoon of olive oil if the pan is dry. Next add in the garlic and then immediately add in the wine and stir.

    Next add in the thyme, tomato paste and beef stock. Stir to combine and bring to a low boil. Cook 10 minutes at a low boil until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and return your meatballs to the pan. Coat them all over in sauce.

    To serve, ladle a generous portion of meatballs and gravy over warmed potatoes. You can add a little more fresh thyme leaves to finish and serve with a good crusty bread to mop up all the delicious gravy. Enjoy!

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    Grilled Skirt Steak with Roasted Baby Potatoes and Creamy Chimichurri

    Serves 4:

    Fire up your grills because this recipe cooks hot and fast! A creamy chimichurri, loaded with fresh, bright herbs, provides the base for this dish. Next, you'll add some crispy roasted potatoes and finish with medium-rare salt and pepper skirt steak. If you're into meat and potatoes, boy is this is the dish for you! Perfect to kick off grilling season.

    If you are dead set on grilling and no oven time, steam the potatoes in a foil packet (we thought the oven crispiness was just too good to pass up). The choice is yours.

    Roasted Mini Golden Potatoes:

    • 2 lbs mini golden potatoes, washed, dried and quartered
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

    Creamy Chimichurri:

    • 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, packed
    • ½ cup cilantro leaves, packed
    • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (2 tsp if using dried)
    • 1 small shallot, quartered and outer skin removed
    • 2 large cloves of garlic
    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
    • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream
    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and de-stemmed
    • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • Salt, to taste

    Skirt Steak:

    • 2 lbs skirt steak*
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper (generous)

    Make the Roasted Baby Potatoes

    Preheat your oven to 450F. Add the potatoes to a baking sheet and toss with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes until golden brown, crispy on the outside, and tender inside

    A Note on Potato Sizing:

    Baby potatoes come in an assortment of sizes. If yours are super teeny, you don’t need to cut them, just roast them whole. A little bigger and all you need to do is halve them. Ours were 1-2 inches in length so they needed to be quartered. The key is even sizing so that all your potatoes roast at the same pace.

    Make the Chimichurri

    As your potatoes are roasting, create your creamy chimichurri. You can also make this sauce in advance and refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Then season to taste with salt.

    Notes:

    If you plan on freezing some of your sauce, hold off on adding the sour cream This sauce also goes great on eggs, sandwiches, chicken, and roasted vegetables

    Make the Skirt Steak

    Preheat your grill to high heat. You really want to cook hot and fast so ensure your grill is blazing and ready before the meat hits it. As your grill is heating, season your steak generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill steak about 3-4 minutes per side until medium-rare (see note above for a cooking tip). Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. When ready to serve, slice against the grain.

    To plate, start with your sauce. Use a narrow spoon to drizzle some lines of your gorgeous green creamy chimichurri. Plating the sauce first makes you look fancy and professional (be sure to have extra sauce handy for eating as well).

    Next, add your roasted potatoes and grilled skirt steak. You can finish with a little flaked salt or a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like spice.

    *Skirt steak: this cut varies a lot in thickness. A great tip is to slice the cut in half to separate the less thick end from the fuller end. The thicker slice will take slightly more time to cook whereas the thinner slice will grill much faster.

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    Mediterranean Chicken Kabobs with Tzatziki

    Serves 4

    When you marinate meats before grilling, you can add so much flavor and also lock in moisture. This simple mediterranean-inspired mix adds the flavors of fresh lemon, garlic, herbs and extra virgin olive oil which makes the grilling much easier down the line. Paired with a 5 minute tzatziki and you've got a summer supper the whole family will enjoy.

    Throw in some fresh, grilled bell peppers to round out the meal. Pita is the perfect compliment so that you can dip into the tzatziki or make a sandwich with the chicken meat. We hope you enjoy it!

    Ingredients:

    • 2 lbs chicken breasts, diced into 1 inch cubes
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 lemon, zested & juiced
    • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
    • ½ teaspoon dried dill (double the amount for fresh)
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ¼ teaspoon powdered garlic
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

    Tzatziki Ingredients:

    • 1 grated Persian cucumber (lay in a paper towel and squeeze to absorb extra moisture)
    • 2 cups Greek yogurt (full fat, if you only have nonfat you'll need to add a tablespoon of olive oil)
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • Pita for serving

    Marinate the Chicken

    In a gallon-size ziplock bag, add diced chicken, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and garlic. Add in dill, oregano, powdered garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Marinate for at least 10 minutes (you can also refrigerate a day in advance or even freeze in the marinade for later use).

    Make the Tzatziki

    In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ingredients for the tzatziki. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Grill the Chicken

    Begin by skewering the chicken. I skewered 8 pieces per kabob on my metal skewers. I use metal skewers but if you only have wooden ones be sure to pre-soak them before grilling.

    Preheat your grill (I also preheated the broiler on the grill to finish the skewers). I also rub a bit of oil on a paper towel and quickly oil the grill before I start. Use tongs to rotate your skewers.

    Grill the skewers 2-3 minutes per side, rotating on medium-high heat (about 10-14 minutes).

    If you want extra char, use the broiler for the last couple minutes instead of the grill. Being sure to rotate 1-2 minutes on the broiler.

    Allow skewers to cool for about 5 minutes in a dish with sides or a wooden cutting board with a lip (to retain all those delicious juices). Then serve warm along with tzatziki and fresh pita.

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    Fresh Tomato, Ricotta and Shaved Parmesan Tart

    Serves 4

    This puff pastry tart is filled with ricotta, fresh tomatoes, thyme and aged Parmesan. What that means is a flaky, creamy, jammy, sweet, herbaceous and cheesy bites that knock your socks off. The flavors combine for a subtle and delicious impact, making this the ideal recipe for brunch or for a starting course to an al fresco dinner.

    If you've never worked with puff pastry before, don't be daunted. Puff pastry is a lot of fun to use. Since you don't have to make it from scratch (you can find puff pastry in the freezer section in most grocery stores), it is very easy to work with. What's great about puff pastry is implied with the name. It puffs up in baking, giving you layer after layer of flaky, buttery crust.

    We added everything bagel seasoning for an awesome finish to the outer crust. The tart also works without it if you're not a huge fan of poppy seeds or sesame seeds. Don't skip the egg wash though because that creates a wonderful golden color on the finished edges.

    You can create Parmesan shavings using a vegetable peeler. It's so much easier and produces a really fine result. Also don't you dare go with low fat ricotta. Go full fat because it really adds to the flavor. It's worth the small indulgence. We hope you enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 sheet of puff pastry
    • 4 tablespoons good ricotta (use the full fat version)
    • 9 thin slices of heirloom tomato
    • Sea salt
    • Handful of multi-colored cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
    • 1 egg
    • Everything bagel seasoning
    • ¼ cup shaved aged Parmesan

    Make the Tart

    Preheat the oven to 400F. Defrost the puff pastry according to the package instructions (mine was 20 minutes). Roll out the finished pastry using a rolling pin and cut a ½ inch border around the edge of the tart (being sure NOT to cut fully through the puff pastry). Trim off any extra pastry to make nice clean lines.

    Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with paper towels and lay out the sliced and halved tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and top with an extra paper towel to remove extra moisture from the tomatoes.

    To assemble the tart, spread the ricotta all around the tart (sparing the ½ inch border). Lay out the large tomato slices, overlapping slightly all around the tart. Fill in any holes or gaps with halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and fresh thyme leaves.

    In a small bowl, whisk the egg then spread the egg-wash over the ½ inch tart border. Sprinkle the border with everything bagel seasoning.

    Bake for 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven until golden brown on the edges and bottom. Allow to cool slightly then top with Parmesan and slice and serve. Enjoy!

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    Crock-Pot BBQ Brisket Sliders

    Serves 10

    Juicy, pulled bbq brisket makes these sliders a hit for any game. The benefit of the Crock-Pot (or any brand slow cooker) is that you can set it and forget it as it cooks. You can also transport the finished pulled meat in the Crock-Pot for game day. From the ease to the taste this dish is a definite touchdown!

    Ingredients:

    • 4 lbs beef brisket, (lean cut if you can find it)
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
    • ½ cup black coffee
    • ½ cup dark brown sugar
    • ¼ sweet onion
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • ½ cup water
    • 20 slider buns for serving

    Make the Meat

    Add the brisket to the Crock-Pot, fat side down. Rub all over with salt, paprika, garlic powder and freshly cracked pepper. Cover with ketchup, vinegar, coffee and brown sugar. Mix all around and flip the brisket to lay fat side up.

    Puree onion and garlic with water in a small blender or food processor (I use a Magic Bullet) then add back to Crock-Pot. Cook on low for 8 hours.

    Remove brisket and pull off and discard fat, carefully as brisket it’s hot. Shred the remaining meat.

    Make the Sauce

    Remove the fat from the remaining bbq sauce using a fat separator (this is a great tool that’s also handy for Thanksgiving gravy). Alternately you can flash freeze to remove the fat: transfer the bbq sauce to a freezer safe container. Freeze until the fat freezes at the top. Discard the fat then pour the remaining sauce over the pulled brisket.

    Assemble the Sliders

    Warm the finished brisket and BBQ sauce and spoon onto slider buns.

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    Braised Beef Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

    Fall dinners are something I look forward to all year. When I make braised short ribs, I plan for a leisurely dinner and conversations that will linger through the night. I usually get something special to drink like a bottle of a deep, bold red or whiskey for a cocktail.

    These chianti braised short ribs are ideal for an autumnal date night or for a dinner with a cherished friend. As you cook, your house will be filled with the incredible aromas of tender, braised meat, root vegetables and a luscious wine sauce.

    Short Rib Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs (I purchased 4 bone-in ribs (3 lbs), planning on 1 per guest)
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • 2 tablespoons canola oil
    • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced small
    • 1 celery stalk, diced small
    • 1 medium leek, rinsed thoroughly and diced small
    • 3 cups Chianti (cabernets work as well)
    • 3 cups of beef stock
    • 2 large cloves peeled and smashed garlic
    • 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
    • 1 sprig of rosemary
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

    Polenta Ingredients:

    • 4 cups of chicken stock1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup of instant polenta
    • ¼ cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

    Make the Short Ribs

    Preheat the oven to 350F. Season the short ribs all over generously with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons of canola oil to a Dutch oven. Sear the beef for about 1.5-2 minutes per side on medium-high heat until browned all over. Remove the seared short ribs to a plate. Leave 2-3 tablespoons of oil in the Dutch oven (if your meat was particularly fatty you may have more, in which case spoon out the excess fat).

    Add the carrot, leek and celery to the Dutch oven and reduce the heat to medium. Season all over with salt and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon/spatula.

    Add the chianti and beef stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and add in the garlic, thyme and rosemary. Return the short ribs to the Dutch Oven, they should be covered with the wine and beef stock. Put the lid on the Dutch oven. Move the covered pot to the heated oven and cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is fork-tender.

    Remove the finished short ribs from the Dutch oven to a plate. Then, strain the sauce through a colander into another bowl. Keep the delicious veggies (remove them to a separate bowl/plate) but discard the herb stems. De-fat the sauce. I love to do this quickly with a gravy separator, alternately you can freeze the sauce and remove the top layer of fat once it solidifies.

    Return the sauce to the Dutch oven. Reduce the sauce for about 15 minutes till reduced by half.

    After 15 minutes, add cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water to a small bowl and whisk into a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the sauce until completely combined (this will thicken it nicely).

    If you are making this meal in advance, allow your sauce to cool then refrigerate the cooled sauce, meat (bone removed) and vegetables all together in the Dutch oven until the next day when you plan to serve.

    Make the Polenta

    Bring the chicken stock to boil in a medium-sized stockpot. Add in the salt and stir. Gradually add in the polenta. Stir until the polenta starts to come away from the sides of the pot (about 3 minutes).

    Finish by stirring in the heavy cream, butter and Parmesan. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

    To serve, spoon a bed of polenta onto a plate and top with a short rib (bone removed), some cooked vegetables and another spoonful of sauce. Enjoy!

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    Beef Tenderloin with a Black Peppercorn Sauce

    Serves 4

    When it comes to the cold weather months, I love to serve red meat for dinner parties. Tenderloin is a wonderful roast because it is so utterly tender and elegant to serve. This tenderloin is a delightful indulgence that we seasoned with salt and pepper, seared then roasted to perfection. The peppercorn sauce makes for the ideal dipping sauce with flavors of cracked pepper, heavy cream and shallots. For those of you new to cooking tenderloin, a minimal purchase of an instant read meat thermometer takes out any guesswork, allowing you to enjoy the holidays along with your family.

    Ingredients:

    • 2.5 lbs beef tenderloin
    • Coarse kosher salt
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil

    Peppercorn Sauce:

    • 1-2 tablespoons sherry to deglaze the pan (traditionally Brandy, but I liked the sherry)
    • 1 heaping tablespoon black whole peppercorns, (ground in a mortar and pestle)
    • 1 medium shallot, minced (3 heaping tablespoons)
    • 1 cloves garlic minced
    • 1 ½ cup beef stock
    • ⅓ cup heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 3 teaspoons dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons salted butter
    • 2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce

    Prepare the Beef

    Truss the tenderloin with butcher's twine to keep it tight and together. There are tons of great video tutorials out there if you’ve never done this before. You want to tie up the meat so that it is easier to sear as well as slice once it is cooked.

    Next, generously salt the tenderloin all over with a mix of coarse salt, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. I do the combination of salts because I love the pop of flavor from the coarse salt but I also love how the sea salt quickly dissolves into the meat, giving you multiple layers of seasoning. Refrigerate your seasoned meat uncovered overnight to develop a great crust. This trick really does help to increase the flavor.

    Cook the Meat

    The next day, preheat the oven to 425F. Leave the meat out on the counter for an hour before you cook it, it should not feel cold to the touch. This is another important step that will really help you to get the right temperature when you cook it.

    Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a cast iron pan (you can use a frying pan as well if you don’t have a cast iron) and heat for a minute or two on medium-high. Then add your trussed and seasoned tenderloin to the preheated pan. Sear the tenderloin 2-3 minutes per side in a cast iron until deep golden brown in color. Be sure to sear on all sides, turning until you’ve achieved a nice crust over the entire cut of meat. Transfer the meat to a baking sheet and roast the finished meat for 25-35 minutes until you achieve a temperature of 125F *remember the temperature will continue to rise as it rests (check by inserting the instant-read meat thermometer into the center of the cut). Go for a temperature of 135F if you prefer medium rare with less pink. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

    Make the Peppercorn Sauce

    As your meat rests, prepare your peppercorn sauce in your cast iron. Begin by deglazing the pan with sherry (most chefs use Brandy but I had Sherry on hand. I actually loved the flavor so I adapted the recipe). Next, add in the peppercorn, shallot and garlic and saute for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add in the beef stock and bring to a simmer, whisking as you go. Slowly stir in the cream, being sure to keep your heat medium-low and continue to simmer. Whisk your cornstarch with a tablespoon of water in a separate bowl then pour into the sauce to thicken. Then add in the Dijon, Worcestershire and butter. Whisk until the finished sauce is smooth and thickened to your taste (about 2 minutes). Season to taste with salt. Serve your finished peppercorn sauce alongside your sliced tenderloin. Enjoy!

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    Greek Burgers with Homemade Tzatziki

    Serves 4

    May also kicks off grilling season and we wanted you to be ready with a fresh take on your favorite burgers. These Greek Burgers are stuffed with feta and topped with homemade tzatziki to pack in the flavor with each bite. Add some harissa if you like spice or keep it simple if you don't. Either way, these are a great way to grill up a meal the whole family will love.

    Tzatziki Ingredients:

    • 1 grated Persian cucumber
    •  1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

    Burger Ingredients:

    • 1 lb 100% grass-fed beef
    • 4 oz. feta cheese (my favorite is full-fat sheep's milk feta)
    • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
    • 4 brioche buns
    • Harissa for heat, optional
    • Sliced heirloom tomato
    • Sliced red onions
    • Sliced Persian cucumbers

    Make the Tzatziki

    In a medium-sized bowl, add your grated cucumber (be sure to wring it first and pat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture). Add in the yogurt, lemon juice, minced garlic, and dill. Mix the ingredients together then season to taste with salt and pepper and finish with a drizzle of good olive oil. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Make the Burgers

    Preheat your grill for 10-15 minutes as you assemble your burgers. *Note: you can also pan-fry your burgers (a cast iron skillet works well for this).

    Next, assemble the burgers. Divide your meat into 4 even patties. Flatten the patties, making a small well in the center. Add about 2 tablespoons of crumbled feta to each patty. Wrap the burger patty back around the feta to encase it. Then flatten the patties once more to a ½” thickness and season generously with salt and pepper. Put a small indent with your thumb in the center of each patty to help the burgers cook evenly. Grill/pan-fry the burgers (use the tips and temperatures below to help you grill/fry to perfection). *Note: an instant-read meat thermometer is an affordable and accurate tool to achieve the perfect doneness.

    Once burgers have cooked, remove them to a plate and allow them to rest as you grill/toast your brioche buns. Add a bit of butter to the buns and grill/toast until golden brown.

    Top the toasted buns with tzatziki and harissa if you like the heat. Then add on your cooked burgers. I like to top with a little extra feta then add my tomato, red onion, and cucumbers for crunch. Serve while warm.

    Tips for Better Burgers

    1. Season your patties generously with salt and pepper before grilling (this adds flavor)
    2. Make an indent in the center of the patty with your thumb before cooking (this allows for even cooking)
    3. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to make sure your burgers are cooked perfectly
    4. Let the burgers rest before serving

    Burger Cooking Temperatures

    Medium-Rare: 130-135 degrees

    Medium: 140-145 degrees

    Medium-Well: 150-155 degrees

    Well Done: 160-165 degrees

    *Note the USDA recommends for safety that any pre-ground meat must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160°F

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