The Next Local TV Chef Contestants Share Recipes From Their Latest Challenge: On A Budget

Courtesy Local TV Chef Contestants


Chicken & Waffle Sandwich w/Classic Homemade French Fries

Chicken Ingredients:
12 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs
2 Cup of flour
2 Cup of breadcrumbs
Oil (enough to cover 1/3 of your skillet)
Bag of Arugula
3 eggs
3/4 Cup of buttermilk
2 Tbsp of coriander powder
2 Tbsp of tandoori powder
1 1/2 Tbsp of thyme powder
1 Tbsp of rosemary powder
2 tsp of cinnamon
Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine all your spices and set to the side. Wash the chicken and pat dry. using your spices evenly season the chicken on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place chicken in freezer bag/container and sit in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from the refrigerator and let sit for 5-7 minutes. In 2 separate bowls place the flour and breadcrumbs. In a third bowl place your eggs and whisk add buttermilk slowly as you whisk your eggs creating an egg wash. Heat your oil in a cast iron skillet (for best results) to 325-350 degrees. Line your bowls up with the flour first, egg wash second and breadcrumbs last. Take your chicken and place it in the flour first shaking of the excess, then place it in the egg wash draining the excess then coat with the breadcrumbs shaking off the excess and finally into the pan. Cook the chicken approximately 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Place chicken on top of waffle then top with a half handful of arugula.

French Fries Ingredients:
8 Idaho potatoes (about 4-6 inches in length)
Vegetable Oil

Cut potatoes length wise in half. Next cut each half into slices about 1/2-3/4 inches thick. Cut the slices length wise about 1/2-3/4 inches apart giving you straight fries. Ina separate bowl put combine some cold water and a liberal amount of salt creating a brine. Place fries in the brine and let sit for 10 minutes. Heat oil in a deep pot to 325-350 degrees. (Note: make sure the fries can lay lengthwise in the pot) Drain fries from brine and cook a handful at a time for approximately 3-5 minutes just until they get soft. Remove from oil, drain and sit to the side. Repeat steps until all fries have been blanched. After all the fries have been blanched start frying them again this time until they are golden brown. Remove fries and drain add salt and pepper to taste.

Waffle Ingredients:
2 Cups of all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt
1 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 stick of unsalted butter melted and cooled to room temperature
1 3/4 Cups of buttermilk
1 tsp of almond extract
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Take all your dry ingredients and combine them in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk all your wet ingredients together. Once all your wet ingredients are well mixed together pour them into your dry ingredients and whisk together. (Note: you can make the batter to the consistency that you like.) Heat waffle iron, once heated spray with non-stick spray and pour in waffle batter cooking on medium heat.

Spiced Apples Ingredients:
6 Golden Delicious Apples
5 Tbsp of sugar
1 Tbsp of siracha
1/2 stick of butter

Core apples then peel. Slice apples in half then in fourths. Cut the fourths in half then cut in half again. This should yield you 16 slices per apple. Heat a sautee' pan on medium heat and add butter. After the butter melts add apple slices a handful at a time and begin to cook. As the apples become soft (they'll be transparent) begin to add sugar and siracha one Tbsp at a time. Cook for an addititonl 3-5 minutes and remove from heat. 

Siracha Honey Ingredients:
1 Cup of honey
2 Tbsp of siracha

Warm honey in a small pot and add siracha. Let warm fro 5-7 minutes until honey is thinned out. Once this happens remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.


Veal Cutlet  Milanese
2 cups bread crumb,
1 1/2 cup grated Locatelli cheese
1 bunch chopped parsley
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Olive Oil (as needed to coat the veal)
In a bowl, mix the bread crumbs, grated cheese, parsley, garlic and black pepper.  Place olive oil in a separate dish.  Dip the veal cutlet in the olive oil then in the bread crumb mix. Once the veal is breaded, place on barbeque grill (preferred) or broiled on a stove top without oil on a grill pan or in the oven until lightly golden.
Artichoke marinated in light wine sauce
9 baby artichokes
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup white cooking wine
3 large peeled diced beef stake tomatoes (remove seeds)
1 cup black olives
Clean the artichokes by removing outer leaves and cutting the tips of the artichoke.  Place them in a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration.  Wash the artichokes well and place in a large frying pan with olive oil.  Sprinkle salt, add beef broth, cooking wine and tomatoes.  Cook artichoke until soften.   
4 baby artichokes  where sliced 1/4 of inch, dipped in a batter and then pan crisp fried for 3 /4 minutes

Mexican Vacation on a Budget

The search for the next local TV chef continues. Round Two – cooking on a budget. Each chef was allowed $25 to create a meal for four. Since cooking on a budget is what I am great at, I decided to kick it up a level and pull out all my great stuff.

I love to travel and when I need a beach vacation, Mexico is my number one choice. My favorite part is the endless guacamole and the super fresh ceviche. Pair this combo with some black beans and corn tortillas and you have an amazing budget friendly feast that will feed a crowd.


Cuban Style Black Beans:

 1/2 Pound Black Beans (soaked overnight)

1/2 C cilantro

1/2 jalapeño pepper diced

4 C Water

1 Cube of bullion

1/2 Copped red onion

Tsp Cumin

Tsp Salt

1 Tsp pepper

1 Tsp brown sugar

1/2 Lime

1 TBS Balsamic Vinegar

2 Bay leaves

1/4 cup Queso Fresco Cheese

2 Tbs EVOO

Strate by browning onions in EVOO. Next, add beans with 4 cups of water. Then, bring mixture to boil while adding everything except vinegar and bay leaves. Once a nice boil is reached, lower flame to a high simmer and give a good stir. Add bay leaves and vinegar. Let beans cook at least an hour or until the beans reach a soft consistency. If you don’t have an hour, cook the beans before hand for 30 min in boiling water, rinse and then start with the first step. Serve warm and top with Queso Fresco.




1 Pound Fish (This can be ANYTHING from shrimp, catfish or flounder.)

6 Limes

¼ Cup red onion very thinly slices and soaked in cold water (the water takes out the bite)

1 Cup plum tomatoes seeded and chopped.

1 Cup Cilantro Leaves Chopped

1 Yellow piper thinly slices

Salt and Pepper to taste


Ceviche is a dish that is fully cooked without heat. The fish is prepared by soaking in citrus such as lime, lemon or grapefruit juice. It’s important to use very fresh fish in order to make sure the dish is safe to eat and tastes great. In some countries, the “milk” that remains after cooking is considered a hangover remedy but I don’t recommend it.  

The first step is to marinate fish in lime juice for at least 24 hours (The bigger the pieces, the longer it will take). The fish should be fully covered by the juice so that the meat is evenly cooked.  The acid from the citrus will affect any metal it comes in contact with so make sure to use a glass or plastic bowl. After the fish has soaked for 24 hours in the fridge, drain off all remaining liquid. Finally, add sliced peppers, onions, tomatoes, salt, pepper and cilantro. Stir everything gently and serve cold.

This dish promises to impress a crowd and is a great option for some inexpensive entertaining. Just serve with tortillas and you have great guilt free fish tacos.



You can’t have a Mexican meal without some creamy guacamole and chips. As the guilt free foodie cutie I have added my own twist.  Give it a try!


3 Ripe Avocados (dark in color and soft to the touch)

1 lime

1 C cilantro leaves chopped

¼ red onion chopped

½ jalapeño seeded and chopped 

1 -2 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped (depends on if you like your guacamole chunky or creamy)

½ tbs garlic powder

½ tbs pepper

1 tsp salt

Chips –

2 Plantains (slice thin with a mandolin or the side of a box grater)

1 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs salt

2 Tsp brown sugar

Slice avocados in half and remove pit (save both for later). Spoon out the creamy inside and mash with fork in large bowl. Add cilantro, onion, jalapeño, tomatoes and garlic to the bowl. Next, add lime juice slowly until desired consistency is reached. The amount of lime juice depends on how soft the avocados are and prevents avocados from oxidizing and becoming brown but can also make the dip runny if you overdo it. Guacamole is great served in the remaining avocado shells for a nice presentation. Also the pits can be placed in the dip to help preserve freshness when storing in the fridge. 

Making the chips is easy and a much healthier choice then tortillas. Toss the sliced plantains with oil, sugar and half the salt. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8 min. Flip chips and sprinkle remaining salt on top. Then return to oven for addition 5 minutes or until they begin to brown and become crispy.

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