Cooking and Chef Recipes

Our Hero, Pesto-Turkey Meatball and Flatbread Sammies

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Flat bread, meet meatballs.  Ground turkey breast, oft maligned for its tendency to be dry, makes a fabulous meatball when spiked with Italian basil pesto. Moist and flavorful, the pesto adds only good fats, pairing beautifully with the flavor of the turkey. 

Here's what we're thinking: A healthy makeover of the meatball hero (you know the one, drenched in red sauce, smothered in mozzarella). Instead? Whole grain flatbread spread with a creamy Greek yogurt sauce, pesto turkey meatballs, topped with a sauce of pan-seared grape tomatoes, fresh garlic and crushed red pepper. A messy over-the-sink indulgence devoid of guilt. 

One Pot Wondrous Perfect Thighs

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Nestled in a smoky, intoxicating sauce, these glamorous thighs strike a pose, finding beauty in a bowl. Raise your spirits (and a spoon) to a delightful one-pot-wonder, perfect for a crisp fall evening.

It's all about the sauce that pulls flavors from the Mediterranean and Mother India, a heady mix of tomatoes, stone ground mustard, cumin and wine, with just a hint of s hot Madras curry. 

On the side, brown basmati rice is simply tossed with pine nuts, raisins and sweet baby peas. Or nix the rice and break bread. Who could go wrong with crusty cuts of baguette to mop up the delicious sauce?

Simple Lobster Stew from the Divas of Dish (and Neil Connolly)

Lobster Stew

This indulgent lobster stew is a decadent bowl of yum, a recipe shared with us years ago by the late, great Chef Neil Connolly who once upon a time was the private chef for the Kennedy family back in their oceanside glory days.  

The splash of sherry packs intense flavor because it's fortified with a little more alcohol than table wine, giving the stew its rich sweetness and depth. Choose a decent quality, such as Amontillado or Oloroso, so you can sip while you stir.

With cream, sweet sherry and succulent lobster meat, we've been dreaming of another bowl. Here's how to make this wonder in minutes.

Entirely Reasonable From-Scratch Pizza Pie

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Something new to try: a from-scratch pizza crust and no-cook sauce. 

We'll admit we tend to run from the peevishness of dough-making. All that waiting, rising, kneading, proofing. But we stumbled across an entirely reasonable recipe for pizza dough that’s opened a whole new world of culinary gratification.  

Topping it off is an insanely easy pizza sauce that involves just a smallish bowl, whisk, and a few hours for flavors to marry. The thick, slightly sweet sauce is also fabulous on pasta or anywhere else you desire a drizzle. Purists can keep the pizza simple with mozzarella and fresh basil, or flirt with our latest Italian crush: smoky provolone, Genoa salami and crisp/sweet caramelized onions. Now that's amore!

Garlic Shrimp from the Divas of Dish

Divas Garlic Shrimp

The divas are big fans of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, this year Sept. 27-Nov. 11 at Disney World. The most fun is to show up just as World Showcase opens at 11 a.m., then stroll and nosh your way around the lagoon – play hooky on a weekday, that’s when crowds are lightest. You can taste little bites at more than 25 marketplaces with food from Scotland to Singapore, Brazil to Belgium. (There’s wine, beer and cocktails too if you wish to indulge.)

Here’s a super-easy recipe from the Australia marketplace for the 2013 line-up, and we love it because you can use wild Florida shrimp, plus sun-dried tomatoes and garlic give it extra oomph. Add a little pasta or rice, and you’ve got dinner.  The Disney wine guys recommend pairing with a French Bordeaux Blanc, but any cool white will do.   

Continue on to recipe...

Creamy Calabacitas Tacos with Handcrafted Corn Tortillas

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Steamed or sautéed fresh veggies are pure perfection, but consider a tasty taco filled with crisp-tender grilled veggies with a creamy reduction of chipotle adobo sauce. Calabacitas, a traditional Southwestern mix of peppers, corn, onion and zucchini make a savory veggie taco – and with handcrafted corn tortillas, the dish dazzles.

Make the leap and buy a tortilla press (you can find a lightweight model for around $5). They slip easily into any kitchen drawer and will give you the best results. Fresh "masa," the Spanish word for dough, is optimal. If you live near a Latin market that makes fresh tortillas, you can probably purchase fresh masa. If not, buy masa harina which is made from dried masa. Press on!

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Divas Brussels Sprout Salad

You love ‘em or you hate ‘em – Brussels sprouts, those tiny little cabbage heads that we tend to mask with copious amounts of butter, brown sugar, bacon . . . or roast until crispy with lots of olive oil, salt and pepper. 

One of the healthiest veggies at the produce stand, they have the power to lower cholesterol and are packed with vitamin antioxidants.  And they’re loaded with fiber – 4 grams in every cup. We got lazy and just came up with this delightfully crunchy salad that’s stripped down to its basics: paper-thin slices of raw sprouts, a splash of fresh lemon and a drizzle of olive oil. A handful of toasted walnuts and a little fresh Parmesan add just the right amount of pep without a calorie overload.   

A mandoline slicer is the niftiest kitchen tool – you can pick up an inexpensive version at any kitchen store. If you’re using a knife, just remember, keep the slices paper thin.   

Taste the Seashore Summertime Salad

Divas summertime salad

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy with this bowl of big shrimp, sweet crab, peppery watercress, a zing of fresh red onion and a backbeat of  basil and mint.  

The dressing plays along, a simple harmony of lemon juice and olive oil hitting just the right notes. And for a little hot fun in the summertime, the divas amp up the chili peppers for a slow burn.  

Shrimp and crab are crowd-pleasers, but almost any seafood combo will do. You might prefer calamari and scallops, or maybe lobster and tiny mussels. Mix and match your favorites from the market, just leave time to cook your ocean treasure.  

It's best if this salad sits for about an hour so the flavors meld before serving—no need to put it in the fridge. Just pile it on a platter and share at the table, a nice supper of fresh seafood in a dressing, a crisp white wine and some crusty bread.

 It might be hot, hot, hot, but you’ll keep your cool. 

Yes We Tandoori Turkey Burgers

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July is burger month in most every backyard across the land. But where's the beef? Health and style-conscious divas are grinding up fresh ahi, shrimp, chicken and turkey breast to get their burger on.

In theory, ground turkey breast should make a decent burger, but its fragile texture is woe to conform to patty status. Even with the addition of egg and bread crumbs, the result is more mom's meatloaf than burger. 

Chia to the rescue. The tiny seed swells to 12 times its original size, forming a flavorless texture-enhancing gel which elevates the turkey burger.  For flavor, we're adding turmeric and cumin spiced tandoori. Serve 'em up on buns, naan, or red leaf lettuce cups topped with sliced apple, red onion and a basic raita.

Mango Chorizo Fried Rice

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Oh, mango-licious June! Fruit that gives to an oh-so-gentle squeeze, as ripe and rosy as a blushing June bride. Grab your reusable produce bags and run, don't walk, to the nearest farmer's market. 

Perhaps mangos are best devoured over the sink, the sweet, sticky juice flowing over your chin. But we love them in a host of creative dishes: salads, salsas, gazpacho and more--they are even delish pickled with black mustard seeds and Indian spices. And there’s a laundry list of laudable health benefits: vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber to name just a few.

We love this trendy Latin-Asian creation with fried rice, slivered rounds of smoky chorizo, spicy jalapeños, fresh basil and mango. Serve it with eggs scrambled in the same pan, or fry the eggs separately and serve on top. A brunch, lunch or quick supper to celebrate the season, mango style.

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