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Cooking and Chef Recipes

Here you'll find recipes and tips from some of the best chefs in Central Florida, plus the fun and exceedingly user-friendly columns from the Divas of Dish, Pam Brandon and Anne-Marie Denicole.

Chill and Be Chili Watermelon and Jalapeno Salad

Divas watermelon

It's the perfect sweet/hot side for your backyard barbeque, think girl-next-door charm with just right amount of edge. We can't resist this chill and be chili watermelon salad. At once ice cold and smokin' hot, the dish is a simple concoction of complex yum with gorgeous summer color.

Bridging the gap between cooling salad and the refreshingly unexpected dessert, you can make it your own with finely diced cucumber, crumbled cotija cheese or a smattering of sliced kalamata olives. Fresh mint is our herbaceous pick for this dish, but minced fresh basil or cilantro are also delish.

Read more: Chill and Be Chili Watermelon and Jalapeno Salad

Guilt-free Donut Holes

Divas Donut holes

Bathing suit weather is enough to send the divas into a slight state of panic, but we've found a favorite new way to exercise: Barre3, a tough love hour of ballet, Pilates and yoga all rolled into one.
Ashley, our beautiful instructor, brought these delicious, no-bake treats one morning – who knew that vegan could be so satisfying? Made in less than 30 minutes with just six wholesome ingredients, there's no guilt with these summertime sweets. Go ahead, have two.

Read more: Guilt-free Donut Holes

Zucchini Tzatziki

Divas Tzatziki

Trading cuke for zuke, this cool and crunchy twist on traditional Greek tzatziki will make your taste buds smile. An app with all the savvy nutrition of Greek yogurt and bountiful zucchini, the divas scoop it up in style with colorful crudités, toasted whole-grain pita (or on the sly with a spoon).
But it's more than just a dip. Pair this versatile go-to wonder with chicken marinated in lemon and oregano or atop a juicy lamb and feta burger. It's the cooling balm for spicy, complex curries, but just as delish scooped over a humble baked potato for big fat Greek flavor.

Read more: Zucchini Tzatziki

Bacon-Wrapped Scallop and Salmon Skewers

divas scallops

With all the buzz about omega 3s, we look for creative ways to get fresh wild salmon, one of the best sources, in our diets. Scallops, high in protein and low in calories, pair with chunks of bacon-wrapped wild salmon in this snazzy, quick, promise-they'll-love-it dish for Father's Day or your next party.

Start to finish, you can serve this updated version with about 30 minutes of prep time.

Line the baking dish with foil to make clean-up a breeze. And for instant gratification, experiment with sauces from your grocery store, where fabulous chipotle concoctions are all the rage.

Read more: Bacon-Wrapped Scallop and Salmon Skewers

Divas of Dish: Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint Dressing

Divas Fruit Salad

Eat your fruits and veggies – mom's advice sticks with us, so return the favor and serve her a bowlful of yum that's sweet, tart and full of good health.

It's blueberry, cantaloupe and peach season in Florida, so look for locally grown goodies to chop and toss in this super-easy salad – the recipe comes from "Field to Feast, Recipes Celebrating Florida's Farmers, Chefs, and Artisans," (co-authored by diva Pam Brandon). Buttery Bibb lettuce provides a backbeat that lets the fruit sing.

The delightful dressing brings in more goodness with fresh mint and limes. Just don't overdress – another bit of mom advice, but this time we mean the salad, not you.

Read more: Divas of Dish: Summer Fruit Salad with Fresh Mint Dressing


  • Divas of Dish
    After creating countless thank-you feasts for their children’s elementary school teachers, Anne-Marie Hodges and Pam Brandon began compiling recipes and tips, and created their cookbook in 2004, Culinary Confessions of the PTA Divas:  Stylish Recipes and Saucy Secrets for the Everyday Gourmet was born in 2004.  Along with delicious recipes, the book is a tale of food and friendship that began with a grass-roots crusade to uplift the status of dedicated teachers at Hillcrest Elementary in downtown Orlando.

    Since the debut of the cookbook, Anne-Marie has married and moved to Phoenix (now Anne-Marie Denicole), and Pam, a resident of Winter Park, has written two cookbooks for Disney Publishing (Delicious Disney and Delicious Disney Desserts) and has a third Disney cookbook that will be in bookstores in 2010.
    The cookbook is available on amazon.com, or, for an autographed copy, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Chef recipes
    Chef recipes
Saturday, 2nd August 2014

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