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Chef Dad

Chef Dad

Studies show that children who eat with their family are less likely to get into trouble and do better in school. Chef Dad shares his favorite family recipes that will bring your children to the dinner table for a delicious meal and good conversation.

Thanksgiving Desserts

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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1 box yellow cake mix (approx. 19 oz)

30 oz. pumpkin pie mix

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

3 eggs

1/4 cup butter (cold)

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

2/3 cup half and half

2 cups sweetened whipped heavy cream

Lightly butter bottom of 9×13 cake pan and reserve.

Measure 1 cup cake mix and reserve.

In large bowl combine remaining cake mix, butter and 1 egg.

Evenly press this mixture into pan and reserve.

In separate bowl combine pumpkin mix, 2 eggs and half and half.  Mix until smooth.  Pour in cake pan.

Combine reserved cake mix in separate bowl with sugar and spices.  Cut into this the ¼ cup of cold butter.  Sprinkle on top of pumpkin mixture.

Place pan in 325° convection oven and bake for 45 minutes

Check with toothpick for doneness.  Cool and cut into squares and garnish with whipped cream.



1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3 whole eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Lightly butter a 9×13 pan.

Separate eggs yolks and white (reserve whites).  In medium bowl combine egg yolks and sugar.  Beat until creamy in texture.  Add vanilla, baking powder, salt, pecans and dates.

In a separate bowl whip egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff.  Fold egg whites into pecan mixture.  Pour into 9×13 pan and bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into sticks and roll in powdered sugar.

Apple & Date Strudel

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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YIELDS: 6 people

8 granny smith apples

5 sheets phyllo dough

1 cup melted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

8 oz. Chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup brandy

Wash and peel apples. Cut into quarters and toss with 1/4 cup sugar and brandy. Place on baking pan and roast at 350° for 10-15 minutes. Cool apples and reserve.

Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a table and brush with butter. Evenly sprinkle sugar, pecans and bread crumbs. Repeat process with all sheets of phyllo. Place apples and dates on phyllo. Roll into a log and bake at 325° until golden brown. Slightly cool before cutting. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Roasted Squash Soup

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

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3 whole acorn squash

3 butternut squash

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter

1 oz. olive oil

1/2 gallon chicken stock

2 cups heavy cream

1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1 bay leaf

2 sprigs fresh sage

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Wash squashes and dry. Split lengthwise and remove seeds. Place in baking dish and evenly fill with brown sugar and butter. Roast in oven at 350° until soft. Remove from oven and cool. Remove skins and save pulp.

In a large soup pot place oil, onions and garlic and sauté over high heat until translucent. Add squash pulp and sauté 2 minutes. Add bay leaf, sage, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add chicken stock and bring to simmer. Add cream and cook for 15 minutes.

Using either a hand or cup blender, puree soup. Place soup in clean pot and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Slow Braised Pork & Homemade BBQ Sauce

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

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Yields 6 sandwiches


1 small can tomato paste

4 small cans chili sauce

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

2 cans crushed tomatoes

3 TBSP garlic powder

3 TBSP onion powder

1 cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

2 TBSP oregano

2 TBSP dried basil

¼ cup liquid smoke

3 lemons, sliced

1/2 lb. butter

2 tsp. red chili flake

Salt and pepper to taste

Place all of above ingredients in large stock pot and simmer on low heat for four hours. Stir often to make sure this does not scald. When sauce has cooked remove the lemon rinds and use a hand mixer to puree the mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Recipe notes:

To this base sauce you can take it a couple of ways:

For very spicy sauce, add two cans of chipotle peppers while it is simmering

For a sweeter style you can add ½ cup each of honey and yellow mustard after you have pureed the sauce and removed the lemon wedges.


5 lb. pork shoulder roast

2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped into medium sized pieces

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1 cup chicken stock

1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped

1 TBSP fresh thyme, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. red chili flake (optional)

3 TBSP Dijon mustard

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 can chopped tomato

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.

Season pork roast with salt and pepper.

Place pork in skill and sear on all sides until golden brown.

Place browned pork in crock-pot. Add onions, garlic, herbs, spices, mustard, Worcestershire and stock. Cook over low to medium heat for 6-8 hours. When finished, remove pork and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Shred meat with two forks and serve on toasted bun with tailgate sides and sauce.


Saturday, July 30th, 2011

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1 lb. fresh white fish (snapper, grouper or flounder)

1/2 lb. rock shrimp

1/2 lb. bay scallops

5 cloves garlic

1 small red onion

1/2 red bell pepper

1 TBSP fresh cilantro

1 TBSP fresh mint

1 Serrano pepper

Zest and juice of 6 oranges

Zest and juice of 2 limes

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Cut white fish into 1×1 chunks and reserve. Rinse and pat dry rock shrimp and bay scallops and then combine with white fish.

Slice red onion and garlic into very fine slivers and place in a separate bowl. Add finely diced red pepper. Add chopped cilantro and mint to bowl. Remove seeds and mince Serrano pepper. Add to bowl.

Add zest and juice of limes and oranges to bowl. Add olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour this mixture of seafood and mix gently. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours minimum. Re-season with salt and pepper if necessary.

Note: Ceviche is best served with fresh fried corn tortilla chips, avocado and shredded romaine lettuce.

Citrus Pork Tenderloin

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011


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Serves 4-6


1 each Pork tenderloin

2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley

1 Tbsp roasted fennel seed (ground)

1 large shallot, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

Zest of 1 orange

Segments of 2 oranges

Remaining juice of oranges

2 oz. fresh arugula, roughly chopped

1oz. white wine

1 oz. chicken stock

2 Tbsp butter

1 oz olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Place pork tenderloin on cutting board

Using sharp knife remove silver skin

Season pork with orange zest and salt and pepper

In large skillet heat olive oil over high heat

Sear pork in skillet until golden brown on all sides

Add shallots and garlic to pan and place pork in 350 degree oven

Roast for 15 minutes or until pork reaches temperature of 130 degrees (medium)

Remove pork from pan and place on platter to rest

Return pan to stove

Add orange juice and white wine and reduce over high heat

Add white wine and reduce

Add chicken stock and reduce

Add arugula and wilt in pan

Add butter, parsley and swirl in pan till melted

Add orange segments and slightly warm

Season if necessary

Slice pork and arrange on plates

Evenly top pork with sauce

Service with grilled asparagus if you desire!

Chicken Cacciatore

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

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Yields 6 portions

Serves 4 to 6

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 green bell pepper, sliced

1 head garlic, peeled

2 medium Yukon gold potatoes

2 TBSP capers

1 small red onion, chopped

1/2 tsp. red chili flake

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup chicken stock

1 small can chopped tomatoes, drained and juice reserved

1 small can tomato paste

2 TBSP fresh oregano, chopped

2 TBSP fresh basil, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 oz. extra virgin olive oil


Preheat grill to 350°.

Place cut chicken into large bowl and season with 1oz olive oil, red chili flake and salt and pepper.

Place chicken skin side down on preheated grill and cook for 3-5 minutes.

When chicken is browned and releases from grill, turn over

Cook on this side for 3-5 minutes

Remove from grill and reserve.

Place a medium to large cast iron pan on grill and heat.

Add remaining olive oil to pan

Add peppers, garlic, onion and potatoes and sauté for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add red wine and reduce by half. Add chicken stock, and both tomato products.

Add chicken back to pan and reduce heat to low so chicken is simmering. Cover with aluminum foil and simmer chicken for 20 minutes. Check chicken for doneness and cook longer if required.

Remove chicken from pan and allow sauce to thicken if needed. If sauce gets too thick, add some of the reserved tomato juice. Add capers and fresh herbs. Re-season sauce if necessary. Add chicken back to pan and coat with sauce.

Serve each person one to two pieces of chicken and vegetable garnish. Serve with small side salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

Spring Veggie Pasta

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

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Serves 4:


1 lb. organic whole wheat pasta

1 ½ cp of arugula or spinach

1 small tub of crimini mushrooms (cleaned and quartered)

1 each roasted red pepper (julienned)

¼ cup fresh chopped basil

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 cloves fresh garlic (minced)

1 large shallot (sliced thinly)

4 Tblp. EVOO

½ cup fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Optional: 1 lb chicken breast can also be used


Bring large pot of water to boil and season with salt and 1 Tblp. Of EVOO

When water is boiling, add pasta and stir.

Cook for at least eight minutes over high heat.

While pasta is cooking, place large sauté pan over high heat and add 1 ½ T olive oil.

Add crimini Mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and Sauté for 2 minutes.

Add shallots and Garlic and sauté until mushrooms are tender.

Remove from pan and reserve.

When pasta has cooked till tender, thoroughly drain and return to pot

Add mushroom mix, roasted red pepper, arugula or spinach, lemon zest and fresh basil to pasta in pot.

Completely toss mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Arrange on platter and drizzle remaining olive oil on top and garnish with parmesan cheese.


Chicken Noodle Soup

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

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Serves 8

1 1/2 quarts chicken stock

1/2 lb. minced red onion

1/4 lb. chopped carrots

1/4 lb. minced celery

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 sprig thyme, cleaned and chopped

2 lb. chopped chicken breast

2 TBSP chopped Italian parsley

1/2 lb. orrichette or penne pasta

1/2 tsp. red chili flake

Salt and pepper to taste

2 TBSP butter

1 tsp. olive oil

In medium pot bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and 1 TBSP kosher salt. Add pasta and cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Remove from pot and cool on large tray and reserve.

In a large soup pot heat butter over medium flame.

Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic.

Sauté over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.

Add bay leaf, thyme and chili flake.

Add chicken breast and sauté 2 minutes.

Add chicken stock and bring to simmer.

Add pasta and simmer until pasta is cooked thoroughly.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If soup is to eaten later, cool immediately in ice bath until it reaches temperature of 40 degrees.

Remember there is no better cure for the common cold than this chicken soup!! (Source: chef dad “doctor”)

Italian Meatballs With Marinara

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011


Yield: 4-6 people

Ingredients for Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef from the chuck

1 lb. ground pork shoulder

1 lb. ground veal

5 cloves minced fresh garlic

½ tblp. red chili flake

1 tblp. chopped fresh oregano

2 tblp. chopped fresh basil

1 tblp. chopped fresh italian parsley

½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

6 slices of very good white bread (buy at the bakery)

½ cup half and half

salt and pepper to taste

2 oz e.v.o.o.

Marinara Sauce

2 large cans chopped tomatoes

1 small red onion

2 cloves minced garlic

3 tblp. fresh basil

2 small cans tomato juice

salt and pepper to taste


Place ground meats into large kitchen bowl

Add garlic, herbs, chili flake and cheese to mixture

Place bread on cutting board, remove crust and cut into large dice.

in separate bowl, combine bread and half and half and mix very well until meal consistency

Add to meat mixture.

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Form mixture evenly into meatballs

In large skillet heat oil and brown meatballs on all sides in batches if necessary.

When browned, remove from pan and place on plate lined with paper towel.

Add onions and garlic to pan that meatballs where browned in and saute over medium Heat until translucent.

Add tomatoes and juice and bring to simmer

Add meatballs to pan and cover

Place in 325 degree oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes

While baking, gently rotate meatballs in sauce

Remove from oven and season sauce with salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve with your favorite cut of pasta. Enjoy!