Friday, December 27, 2013

12/27/13 ChefElla's Mini-Tortilla Tower


New Years is coming up and I cannot wait to spend the night with my friends.  One of the fun things about New Years Eve is the fun foods that people make.  Mini meatballs in sauce, mini-hot dogs, chips and dip, shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, fruit and chocolate, cookies and cakes, and so many other things.  This year I wanted to bring burritos or tacos, but my Mother said they would be too messy.  "How can you stand and talk with your friends and eat a burrito at the same time?" She asked.  I knew she was right so I came up with the perfect recipe.  For this recipe I took tortillas and spread the burrito filling in between the layers.  My tortilla tower is mini because it is not very tall, but this recipe makes two towers and if you want to stack them on top of each other yours will be tall.
Happy New Year

For this recipe you will need to use a serrated knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a serrated knife or the stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
- A serrated knife has a scalloped edge and looks like a little saw.  It is good for cutting bread.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a heat proof rubber spatula, a sauté pan a serrated knife, a cutting board, a can opener, a medium sized mixing bowl and a microwaveable bowl.

ChefElla's Mini-Tortilla Tower (This recipe will make 2 tortilla towers 8-12 servings each)
10 ea       Large Flour Tortillas, 12 inch
1 Can      Refried Beans, 16 oz
1 Jar       Queso Dip or Smooth Cheese Dip, at least 8 oz. (I use the mild variety)
2 tsp       Cumin, Ground
1 lb.         Ground Beef or Ground Turkey
1 pkg       Taco Seasoning, 1.25oz
1 pkg       Guacamole, 8 oz
                 -If you have a guacamole recipe you like you can make your own.
1 tub        Cream Cheese, 8oz
1/4 cup    Salsa, use your favorite kind
                  -If you have a salsa recipe you like you can make your own.
1 Tbl        Olive Oil

3. Heat your sauté pan on the stove.  Add olive oil and ground meat to the pan.  Break up the meat into
    small pieces as it cooks with your spatula.  As the meat cooks it will be easier to break it into smaller
    and smaller pieces. When the meat is no longer pink add the taco seasoning and finish according to
    the directions on the package.  Put the meat into the refrigerator and let cool.
4. Open your refried beans and put into the microwaveable bowl.  Add cumin and mix, cover and cook
    in the microwave for 1 min 30 seconds.  Put the beans in the refrigerator uncovered and let cool.
5. In your medium bowl mix the salsa and cream cheese until they are blended.
6. After about 20 minutes, the meat should be cool, mix in 1/4 cup queso dip.  Then mix 1/4 cup queso
    dip into the refried beans.    
7. Lay one tortilla on a flat plate or cake stand.  Spread 1/2 of the refried bean mix on the tortilla.  Leave
    about 1/4 inch of the edge uncovered.  Lay a tortilla on top of the beans.  Spread 1/2 of the meat
    mixture on the tortilla.  Lay a tortilla on top of the meat.  Spread 1/2 of the guacamole on the tortilla.
    Lay a tortilla on top of the guacamole.  Spread 1/2 of the cream cheese salsa over the tortilla.  Top
    the cream cheese salsa with a tortilla.  If you want to make a tall tortilla tower just repeat the process
    until all of the fillings are gone.  Cover the tower with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
    - If you want to make two tortilla towers just start the process all over again.
8. To serve your tortilla tower cut into triangles like a pizza or use toothpicks and cut into small squares.
    Use the serrated knife and cut the tower like you are sawing a log.  Do not press down on the tower
    while cutting.

Serve the towers with taco sauce, extra guacamole, queso dip, or cream cheese salsa.
Happy New Year
- ChefElla

Thursday, December 19, 2013

12/19/13 ChefElla's Easy Breakfast Egg Bake


Christmas morning is so much fun.  Everyone is excited, happy to be together, and just a little tired.  There is nothing better on a morning like this than a big breakfast.  But who wants to cook?  Luckily, I have the perfect recipe.  An egg bake.  You can make this recipe the night before or the week before and freeze it.  You can use all of your favorite breakfast foods, or you can use your Christmas ham from the night before.  Whatever you make your easy breakfast egg bake out of, it will be good, and it will be easy because all you do is stick it in the oven and then sit down and eat together.
Merry Christmas

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the oven.  If you are not allowed to use a knife or the oven by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a whisk, a knife, a cutting board, a
    9 X 9 baking pan, and a medium sized bowl.

ChefElla's Easy Breakfast Egg Bake (This recipe will make 4 servings)
3 Cups       French Bread, cut into large cubes (1 inch)
                  -You can substitute gluten free bread and the recipe will be just as good.
1 1/2 Cups Ham, large dice (1/2 inch)
1 Cup        Cheddar Cheese, shredded
6 ea          Eggs
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1/2 tsp      Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp      Black Pepper
1/4 tsp      Hot Sauce
                 -The hot sauce is not for heat but it adds a nice flavor.  You can use whatever kind you like,
                 but I would recommend Tabasco Sauce or Franks Hot Sauce.

3. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
4. Cut bread and ham.  Line the bottom of the pan with the bread.  Layer the ham on top of the bread.
    Sprinkle the cheese over the ham and bread.
5. Whisk together milk, eggs, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a bowl.
6. Slowly pour the egg mix over the ham, cheese and bread.  Push any bread or ham sticking out into
    the egg mixture so that they get coated with the egg mix.
7. Cook the egg bake for 25 minutes.  After 25 minutes poke toothpick into the center of the egg bake.
    If it comes out clean then the bake is done.  If it is not ready cook for 5 more minutes and check
8. When done remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

If you prefer you can substitute cooked bacon, sausage or vegetables in your egg bake.  You can also try different kinds of cheese in your egg bake.
If you make an egg bake ahead of time just cover with foil and reheat, if you freeze an egg bake ahead of time just let it thaw for 2 days in the refrigerator before reheating.

- ChefElla

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12/12/13 ChefElla's Beef and Barley Soup


You cannot go anywhere this week without being cold.  It is like the whole world is covered in snow and ice.   No one wants to go outside, not even the dog.  When my mom gets home she doesn't take her coat off for like one hour.  The answer for me has been a bowl of soup, a full belly and a warm blanket.  Soup seems like something only your grandmother makes, but it is quick and easy and with the right ingredients it can be filling too.  Remember if you do not like some of the ingredients I use just substitute them for the products you like.  This was my Grandpa's favorite soup, and my Grandpa liked good food, so I think you will like it too.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons, a knife, a cutting board, a medium stock pot, a small
    bowl, a plate and a heat proof spoon.

ChefElla's Beef and Barley Soup (This recipe will make 4-6 servings)
1 Lb.      Beef Stew Meat, or Roast, cut into bite size pieces
               -Remember kids like ChefElla have small mouths so the pieces should be small for a kid not
               small for a mom or dad.
1/2 cup   Carrot, cut into bite sized pieces (2 small carrots, or 1 medium carrot)
1/2 cup   Onion, cut into bite sized pieces (1/2 medium onion)
1/2 cup   Celery, cut into bite sized pieces (1 large celery stalk)
               -Wash celery stalk.  Cut brown ends off of celery.  Cut celery in half lengthwise.  Cut each
               half of celery lengthwise again.  You can continue to do this until the pieces are as thin as you
               want them.  The thinner the celery is cut, the smaller the pieces will be when you chop them.
2 Qts       Beef Stock (64oz)
3/4 Cup   Barley, Quick Cooking.
1 1/2 tsp  Salt
1/2 tsp    Black Pepper
3 Tbl        Olive Oil

3. Cut vegetables first and put on your plate, and then Beef.
4. Heat medium sauce pan on medium high.  When hot add 2 Tbl. of the olive oil.  Add beef.  Spread
    the beef evenly on the bottom of the pan.  Let the beef cook on the bottom of the pan for 2-3 minutes
    without stirring.  The beef will get a nice color on it called a sear.  Stir the meat and let cook for
    another 2-3 minutes.  Stir one more time and let cook another 2-3 minutes.  Remove the beef and
    juice to a small bowl.
5. Return the pan to the heat and hot add 1Tbl. Olive Oil.  Add vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes.
    Stir occasionally so that the vegetables do not burn.
6. Add beef and juice back to the pot.  Add beef stock and spices.  Bring the soup to a boil.  Turn down
    the heat to a simmer (bubbling just under boiling) and let cook for 20 minutes.  
7. Add the quick oats and cook for at least 15 minutes.
8. Turn your soup to low and serve when ready.

Top your soup with crackers, serve with bread, or whatever else you can think of.  
Enjoy and Keep Warm.

- ChefElla

Thursday, December 5, 2013

12/4/13 ChefElla's Stromboli Sandwich


Sometimes it seems like we eat the same things over and over again.  Tacos, spaghetti, pizza, spaghetti, tacos.  We end up making the same things because they are easy and we know how to make them.  Well I have just the recipe to make dinner different, and if you like this recipe but not the ingredients you can change over and over into something different.  Stromboli is just a fancy name for a rolled up sandwich.  It is like a pocket sandwich you find in your freezer but bigger.  The Stromboli I make is like an Italian sandwich but you can make whatever kind of sandwich you like.

For this recipe you will need to use the oven.  If you are not allowed to use the oven or a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need a sheet pan (cookie sheet), and a knife.

ChefElla's Stromboli Sandwich(This recipe will make 4-6 servings)
1 ea.            Puff Pastry Sheet (Freezer Section) or Refrigerated Thin Crust Pizza Dough
                    -You can use the commercial brand pizza dough that comes in the tube, or the fresh dough
                     that you roll out.
                    -Let your Puff Pastry thaw overnight in the refrigerator or let sit out for 1-2 hours before use.
. 3 lbs           Provolone Cheese, Sliced
                    -All of your meat and cheese will be thin sliced, like you would use for sandwiches.
. 3 lbs           Mozzarella Cheese, Sliced
. 3 lbs           Swiss Cheese, Sliced
. 3 lbs           Ham, Sliced
. 3 lbs           Salami, Sliced
3 oz.             Pepperoni, Sliced, Turkey Pepperoni preferred

3. Pre-heat your oven to 400F.
4. Unfold your puff pastry onto your counter top.  If is it still firm give it a few minutes to warm up.  Flatten
    out the puff pastry with your fingers until it is an even thickness and is about 1 inch larger all around.
    -If you are using pizza crust dust the counter with flour and shape the dough into a rectangle.  You
    want the dough to be an even thickness not too thin in any one spot.
5. With the long side of the dough facing you, take half of your provolone and layer it in the middle of
     the dough.  Leave 2 inches at the top and bottom of the dough uncovered.
6. Layer half of the salami on top of the cheese.  Then layer half of the Swiss cheese on top of the meat,
    then layer half of the pepperoni on top of the cheese, then layer half of the mozzarella on top of the
    meat and then layer half of the ham on top of the cheese.
7. Repeat this process until all of the meat and cheese are layered.
8. Fold the 2 inches of dough up onto the ends, over the meat and cheese layers.  Then fold one of the long
    sides up over the layers.  The long side should hold the dough ends in place.  Make sure the ends are
9. With your finger brush a little water on the top of the dough to make it tacky (tacky is another word for
10. Take the remaining dough and fold it over the top.  It will look like a package
11. Line your cookie sheet with foil and spray with pan spray.
12. Carefully roll the Stromboli over and place it folded side down on the cookie sheet.
13. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
14. Let the Stromboli sit for 10-15 minutes.  Slice the Stromboli and serve.  If you like your sandwich
      cold put in the refrigerator and slice into pieces for lunch.

If you do not like any of these ingredients then use whatever you like.  Turkey and American, Ham and Swiss, Roast Beef and Cheddar.  If you like vegetables add spinach to one of your layers or onions, or roasted peppers, or hummus, or mushrooms.  Just use your imagination.

- ChefElla

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/21/13 ChefElla's Sage "Dressing" Biscuits


With Thanksgiving coming up I know that everyone wants to make something special.  But making something special can be hard.  Not all of us cook special things everyday and so it makes us nervous when a special event comes up.  Lucky for you and me I have a special recipe.  Everyone will think that you really worked hard on these biscuits, but we will know that they just look that way.  These biscuits taste just like the dressing you serve with your turkey.  The fun part is that if you make enough biscuits to have leftovers after Thanksgiving, you can use them to make turkey biscuit sandwiches the next day.

For this recipe you will need to use the oven.  If you are not allowed to use the oven by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a fork, a 2 inch round cutter, a knife, a cutting board, a large mixing bowl and small mixing bowl, cookie sheet and a whisk.

ChefElla's Sage "Dressing" Biscuits (This recipe will make 10-12 biscuits)
2 Cups.         All Purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp       Baking Powder
2 tsp             Sugar
1 1/4 tsp       Poultry Seasoning     
1 Tbl.            Celery Salt
2 tsp             Dried Parsley
1 tsp             Onion Powder
1/8 tsp         Garlic Powder
1/8 tsp          Black Pepper
1 tsp             Boullion Base, Turkey, Chicken, or Poultry Flavor
                      -I chose base over powder because I do not like to use products with MSG, and dried
                       boullion usually has MSG in it.
1 3/4 Cups.   Heavy Cream

3. Pre-heat your oven to 425F.
4. In your large mixing bowl add all of your ingredients except the Base and Heavy Cream.
5. Whisk slowly to blend all of the ingredients.
6. In your small bowl whisk your heavy cream and bouillon.
7. Make a well in the bottom of your flour mixture and pour in your liquid mixture.
8. Blend the mixture slowly with a fork until it turns into a ball and all of the flour is incorporated.  The
    mixture will look a little wet.
9. First clean and dry your countertop.  Dust countertop with flour.  Put biscuit mix on the flour.  Kneed
    the mixture one to two times and then flatten out into a 1 inch disc.  If the mixture sticks you can
    spread a little more flour.
10. Cut out out 2 inch rounds.  Spray cookie sheet with pan spray.  Place biscuits on your cookie sheet.
11. Take remaining dough and form into a disc again.  Cut out more biscuits.  Continue this process
      until all of the dough is gone.
      -Note: If you want to use a different shape cutter you can, but it might change the cooking time if
       the biscuits are larger or smaller.
12. Bake biscuit for 10 -12 minutes or until they just look golden on top.

Serve warm with butter.  The day after Thanksgiving break biscuits in half and top with your favorite sandwich ingredients.

- ChefElla

Saturday, November 9, 2013

11/7/13 ChefElla's No-Cream Cream of Potato Soup


It's cold!  It is so cold where I live that I even had to wear my snow pants at recess the other day.  It is cold when I get up, and cold when I go to school, and cold when I get home.  I wondered what could make me warmer, and lucky for me I had just the recipe.  I would make my no-cream cream of potato soup.  This way I could take something healthy with me for lunch, and I could keep warm too.  This is also a great recipe for anyone with allergies.  So keep warm and enjoy the soup.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife, the mixer, and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife, mixer or the stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, , a wooden spoon, a knife, a cutting board, a potato peeler, a small stock pot, a saute pan, a colander, and a whisk.

ChefElla's No-Cream Cream of Potato Soup(This recipe will make 4-6 servings)
2 lbs.     Baking Potatoes
8 oz.      Cauliflower
              -You can use fresh or frozen Cauliflower.  If you use frozen you will need to pre-heat it in the
              microwave for 3-4 minutes.
1 ea.      Leek, Medium Sized (If you do not want to use leeks use 1/2 a cup of diced yellow onion.)
              -Directions for cutting the leek are in step 5.
3 Cups.  Vegetable Stock or Broth     
2 Tbl.     Olive Oil
1/4 tsp  Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp  Black Pepper
2 tsp     Kosher Salt

3. With your potato peeler, peel your potatoes.  Take your time.  Keep the hand holding the potato away
     from the peeler.  Rinse your potatoes and put them on your cutting board.  Throw the peels away in the
4. Cut your potatoes into quarters and then into 1 inch chunks.  Put your potatoes in your pot.  Fill the pot
    with water until the potatoes are covered.  Put the pot on the stove and turn on high heat.  While the water     is getting hot prep your leek following the directions in step 5.  When the water begins to boil set your
    timer for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes add your cauliflower.  Bring to a boil again and Cook the potatoes
    and cauliflower for another 5 minutes.  When done strain your potatoes and cauliflower through your
    colander in the sink.
5. While the potatoes are cooking cut up your leek.  Cut the leek one inch above the white part where the
    leek begins to turn green.  Throw the tough green end away.  Then cut off the root end.  Leeks can be
    very dirty so it is important to wash them.  Wash your leek and return to the cutting board.  Cut the leek in
    half lengthwise (the long way).  Take one half of the leek and cut lenghwise again.  Holding the quartered
    leek together, flat side down, cut into thin half moon strips (The strips will actually be quarter moon strips.)
    When done cut the other leek in half and cut into strips.
6.  Pre-heat your saute pan on high.  Add your olive oil and leeks.  Turn the pan down to low and cook for
     5 minutes stir occasionally so that the leek gets soft but does not burn.
7. Add your potatoes, cooked leeks, kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your mixing bowl.  Add one
   cup of vegetable stock and turn the mixer on speed 1.  Mix until all of the lumps are gone.
  -NOTE:  If you quit now the mixture in the bowl will be wonderful mashed potatoes, and you are done.
   To finish the soup follow the rest of the directions.
8. Return the mixture to the stock pot, return it to the stove and heat on medium heat.
9. Add the remaining vegetable stock and mix with your whisk until smooth. When the soup comes to a
    simmer it is done. 

Top your soup with cheese, croutons, crackers, or toasted bacon and enjoy.

- ChefElla

Monday, October 28, 2013

10/28/13 ChefElla's Granny's Ghoul-ash


Halloween always seems so busy.  We hurry home from school, hurry to get our homework done, hurry to get our costumes on, and then hurry to get home and eat dinner.   It seems like there are so many busy nights like this that we end up eating something not so good for us for dinner.  Luckily my Granny taught me how to make goulash.  Now my Granny does not like Halloween, but she does like me to eat good food, and while this recipe is not a traditional goulash it is just as good.  This recipe is really easy to make and also good out of the refrigerator the next day.  So give it a try and enjoy your Ghoul-ash.
Happy Halloween, ChefElla.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the stove.  If you are not allowed to use a knife or the stove by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons, a knife, a cutting board, a large stock pot, a colander
    and a heat proof spoon.

ChefElla's Granny's Ghoul-ash (This recipe will make 6-8 servings)
1 Box      Whole Wheat Elbow Noodles (16oz)
1 Lb.       Ground Beef 85/15
1/2 ea     Small White Onion, Small Diced
2 Cup      Corn, Frozen     
1 Can      Condensed Tomato Soup (Family Size 26oz)
1 Can      Condensed Tomato Soup (Single Size 11oz)
1/4 tsp   Garlic Powder
2 tsp       Salt
2 Tbl       Olive Oil

3. Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook noodles following directions on the box.
4. Drain the noodles, but do not rinse them.  Return your pot to the stove and turn heat on medium
5. When the pan is hot add the Olive Oil.  Add small diced onions and cook for 3 minutes.  Stir
    occasionally so that the onions do not burn.
6. Add ground beef to the onions and mash and break up the meat as it cooks.  When the meat is no
    longer pink it is done.
7. Add spices and corn.  Open both cans of soup and add them to the beef.  Do not add any extra
    water to the beef mixture.
8. Add noodles and mix all the ingredients together.
9. Bring the mixture to a simmer and it is done.

Top your Ghoul-ash with cheese, onions, hot sauce, chips or whatever else you can think of.  
Enjoy and Happy Trick or Treating.

- ChefElla

Sunday, October 20, 2013

10/20/13 Sloppy ChefElla's


At school this week they served Sloppy Joe's for lunch.  After watching my friends eat their lunch I can understand why they call them sloppy.  The meat came out of their sandwich and went all over their hands, their plates, and the table.  I think that sloppy joe's are a dish best served with a lot of napkins.  Besides being messy the Sloppy Joe's looked so good.  My friends let me try some and I while they were good, they were also very sweet.  I asked my parents what was in Sloppy Joe's that make them so sweet.  The answer was sugar.  I agree that sugar tastes good, but I wanted a sloppy joe that tasted good, was good for me, and was not full of sugar.  After a few tests I came up with my own Sloppy Joe, and while I was able to make the Sloppy Joe's less sugary, I could not make them less messy.  So give them a try and enjoy your Sloppy ChefElla's

For this recipe you will need to use a knife, the stove, and a blender or food processor.  If you are not allowed to use a knife, stove or blender by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring spoons, a large mixing bowl, a knife, a cutting board, a large non-stick sauté pan, a rubber spatula, and a strainer.

Sloppy ChefElla's (This recipe will make 4-6 sandwiches)
1 Lb.       Turkey Meat, Ground
3 ea         Tomatoes, Rough Chopped
                -Medium sized tomatoes.  You can use vine ripe or hot house tomatoes.
8oz.         White Mushrooms, Sliced
2 tsp        Salt
1/4 tsp    Onion Powder
1/4 tsp    Garlic Powder
1 tsp        Brown Sugar
1/2 tsp    Worchestershire Sauce
2 Tbl        Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3. Heat sauté pan over high heat.
4. Add ground turkey to pan and mash and break up the meat as it cooks.  When the meat is no longer
    pink it is done.
5. Put strainer over your large bowl and drain the meat in the strainer.  Do not throw away the
    drippings (the liquid from the cooked turkey).
6. Rough chop your tomatoes.  Return the sauté  pan to the stove and heat on medium.
7. Add olive oil to the pan, add mushrooms, and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and liquid from
    sautéed turkey and simmer for 5 more minutes.
8. Put mixture into blender and add salt, onion and garlic powder, brown sugar and Worchestershire
    sauce.  Puree mixture until it is smooth.
9. Return meat and sauce to the sauté pan.  Heat on medium and bring to a simmer.  Turn off heat
    because your Sloppy ChefElla's are done.

Your Sloppy ChefElla's will not be red but more of a pink color.  This is because most Sloppy Joe's are made with ketchup and one of the biggest ingredients in ketchup is sugar.  Serve your Sloppy ChefElla's on a bun with pickles, mustard, cheese or whatever other toppings you like.  

- ChefElla

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9/23/13 ChefElla's Mini Cheeseburger Meatballs


There is a restaurant where I live, and I heard that all they serve is meatballs.  That made me think, if I had a meatball restaurant what kind would I make?  The only meatballs I had ever seen were the meatballs I ate in my spaghetti.  What other kind of meatballs could there be?  My mom helped me look at the menu for the restaurant and it turns out there are all sorts of meatballs.  There were so many meatballs, that there were even vegetable meatballs, although they really aren't called meatballs.  After looking at the menu I decided that I would like a cheeseburger meatball.  I tried a few other kinds of meatballs, Swedish Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Chicken Meatballs, Turkey Meatballs, Spicy Meatballs, and a few others, but I like cheeseburgers, so it sounded fun to make a cheeseburger meatball.  After you try this recipe you can make up your own meatball using your favorite ingredients.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife and the oven.  If you are not allowed to use a knife or the oven by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a cookie sheet, a large mixing bowl, a knife, aluminum foil, a small scooper and a cutting board.

Mini Cheeseburger Meatballs (This recipe will make about 15-20 small meatballs)
1 Lb.       Hamburger Meat 80/20
               -80/20 means that for every one pound of meat that a little over three quarters of the mix is
                meat and the rest is fat.  Remember a little fat is ok, but when you eat a lot of fat and sugar it
                can be really bad for you.  If you would like less fat in your meatball you can choose 90/10
                meat or another meat like turkey or chicken.
3-4oz.      Cheddar Cheese, Medium Diced
                Cut the cheddar cheese into squares about 1/4 inch by 1/4 inch.  A little bigger or smaller will
                still be o.k.
1 tsp         Salt
1/4 tsp      Black Pepper
1/4 tsp      Garlic Powder
1 ea          Egg

(Pre-Heat your oven to 425F.)
3. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with pan spray.
4. Crack the egg into your bowl.  Mix the egg with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
5. Add the hamburger and blend the mixture with your hands.  Squeeze all of the ingredients together.
6. When the ingredients are mixed it will be time to make your meatballs.
7. With your small scoop, scoop out your meatballs.  Each meatball should be about 1oz.  If you make
    bigger or smaller meatballs it is ok, you will just need to adjust your cooking time.
8. After all of your meatballs are made take one and pull it in half.  Put a piece of cheese in the center,
    and mold the meatball around it.  Roll the meatball in your hands until it looks like a ball again.
9. Put the finished meatball on the pan and then finish the rest.
10. When all of the meatballs are finished wash your hands really well with soap and water.  Put the
       pan in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.  Don't worry if some of the cheese comes
       out when you cook them, they will still taste like cheeseburgers.
      -Note:  If you make bigger or smaller meatballs they make take a minute or two more or less to

These meatballs would be a great addition to your macaroni and cheese, served with fries or chips, or turned into a cheeseburger meatball submarine sandwich.  Remember the next time you make your meatballs you can change or add ingredients to make them your favorite.  Try bacon, blue cheese, peppers, onions, parmesan, or whatever else you can think of.

- ChefElla

Sunday, August 11, 2013

8/11/13 ChefElla's Shrimp Salad San Diego


It is fun to go new places and try new things.  Recently my family and I visited San Diego, California.  We played on the beach, swam in the ocean, built sand castles and tried some new food. On our last night of vacation we tried a restaurant right on the beach.  It was beautiful.  The sun was setting and there was a nice breeze.  My little sister likes plain shrimp and the closest dish they had at the restaurant was a shrimp cocktail.  When the dish arrived, my sister was not happy because the shrimp came in a red sauce with vegetables, more like a salad.  My parents explained that in Southern California the food people eat is influenced by Mexico, because it is close, the ocean, because it is easy to get fresh seafood, and American traditions because many people in California are from other parts of the country.
I tried the sauce and I liked it even though my little sister did not.  This is my quick and easy version of the shrimp salad we tried that night.

For this recipe you will need to use a knife.  If you are not allowed to use a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a rubber spatula, a large mixing bowl, a grater, a knife and a cutting board.

Shrimp Salad
Ingredients: (This recipe will make 4-6 servings.
1 Lb.       Shrimp 60-70 count, cooked, and peeled.
                  -60-70 count means how many pieces of shrimp will be in 1 pound.  For example if you
                   had 10 count shrimp you would get 10 pieces of shrimp in a 1 pound bag.
2/3 Cup   Cocktail Sauce   
1 1/3Cup  Fresh Salsa, or Pico de Gallo
                  -Pico de Gallo is a fresh uncooked salsa, usually containing tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
1/2 Cup    Green Pepper, small diced
2 2/3 Cup Jicama, Grated (12oz)
                  -You can buy jicama at your local supermarket.  There are two kinds whole and cleaned.
                    Jicama are large so I would recommend buying cleaned jicama from the produce section.
                    If you purchase a whole Jicama you will need to remove the skin and then cut it up before
                    you grate it.  Jicama has a fresh and almost sweet flavor and is good by itself with
                   vegetable dip.
1 Head     Bibb Lettuce, this can also be known as green leaf or boston.
4-6 Each  Hogie Rolls.  Hogie rolls look like hot dog buns only bigger.
Optional: 2 Avocados

3. Add cocktail sauce and salsa to your mixing bowl.
4. Shred Jicama, dice green peppers and add to your bowl.
5. Add shrimp and mix well.  Look surprised because you are all done.
6. Line your hogie buns with lettuce and fill with your shrimp salad.
7. As a nice addition you can top your sandwich with sliced avocado.

-This is a great quick recipe for any summer night.  Keep cold and serve with chips, salads, and something cool to drink.


- ChefElla

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

6/11/13 ChefElla's Pulled Pork Sandwich with Broccoli Slaw


It is finally warm, school is out, and I have plenty of time to play and cook.  When it gets warm out, I change how I cook, and oven is definite no, no.  The oven warms up the whole house and cooking in a hot kitchen on a hot day is just no fun.  My Dad is a good sport.  He would cook on the grill every night for us, but I do not want to stop cooking just because it is summer, so I help by using some of my own recipes for a summer dinner.  BBQ pulled pork, chicken or beef can take many, many hours to cook properly and that is why people usually go to a restaurant to eat it.  BBQ and braising are types of cooking that people use to make tough pieces of meat tender and tasty.  While my pulled pork does take a few hours to cook it does not take a lot of time to make, and it is great for a backyard picnic.  If you do not eat pork you can substitute beef or chicken in this recipe.  So give Dad the night off and enjoy.

For this recipe you will need to use the stove and a knife.  If you are not allowed to use the stove or a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups, a rubber spatula, a small bowl, a large mixing bowl, a stand mixer with a paddle, a small whisk, a sauce pan, a knife and a cutting board.

Pulled Pork
Ingredients: (This recipe will make 8 servings.)
2 Lbs.    Boneless Pork Butt, Shoulder, or Stewing Meat.
1 Btl      BBQ Sauce 15-20oz.  
                -You can use whatever your favorite kind of BBQ sauce is your favorite.  If you do not
                  have a favorite kind of sauce I would recommend starting with a red or brown BBQ
                  sauce like a Kansas City style.  
1/2         Medium Red Onion, minced.
                -Minced is when you cut something into a small dice and then you chop down so that it is
                 in really small pieces.
8 each    Hamburger Buns or 16 slices of Texas Toast.
(Optional)  1 Cup Fresh Pineapple, Small Diced.  If you like sweet BBQ you can add pineapple.

3. Cut pork into 2 inch chunks.  Add pork to your sauce pan and mix with diced pineapple, minced
    onion and BBQ sauce.
4. Put pork on the stove and cook on medium / low heat.  Check the pork after 20 minutes.  The pork
    should simmer slowly, meaning you should see some bubbles coming up regularly.  If it is boiling, or
    rapidly simmering turn the heat down.  Cover and simmer for 2 hours.
5. After two hours turn off the stove, uncover the pork and let it sit for 15 minutes.
6. Pour BBQ pork into your stand mixing bowl.  Using the paddle attachment, turn your mixer onto
    speed one.  When the pork is shredded it is done.  Do not put the mixer on a higher speed.  If you do,
    you will be cleaning BBQ sauce off of everything in your kitchen for days.
    -Traditional pulled meats are shredded by using two forks to pull the meat apart.  This takes a lot of
      time, but if you want, you can try the two forks method.
7. Return the pulled pork to your sauce pan and when ready serve on texas toast (thick toasted bread) or
    a bun.

Broccoli Slaw
Ingredients: (This recipe will make 8-12 servings.)
12 oz.      Broccoli Slaw Mix
                -If you do not like broccoli slaw or cannot find it you can use 16 oz. of cole slaw mix.
1 each     Medium Red Pepper, Julienned
                -First, wash the pepper.  Second, cut off the top and bottom of the pepper and remove the ribs
                 and seeds.  Finally, cut the red pepper into thin strips.
1/2          Medium Red Onion, Julienned
                 -To julienne an onion, cut off the root and plant ends of the onion.  Place the onion on one of
                  the flat sides and then cut in half.  Remove the paper skin of the onion.  Place the onion with
                  its new flat side down.  It should look like a half moon on your cutting board.  Cut the onion
                  into thin strips by following the lines on the back of the onion.  If you cut the onion by
                  following the half moon side you will end up with onion half moons.  
Coleslaw Dressing
1 Tbl.     Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbl.     Sugar
1/ 2 tsp   Garlic Powder
1 tsp       Celery Salt
1 tsp       Salt
1 tsp       Black Pepper
1/2 Cup  Mayonnaise
                 -I use canola or olive oil mayonnaise because it has less calories then regular mayonnaise
                  and it tastes just as good.

8. In a large mixing bowl mix Broccoli Slaw, Red Pepper and Onion.
9. In a small mixing bowl mix add vinegar and spices.  Mix well until ingredients turn into a paste.
10. Add mayonnaise and mix until all the ingredients are blended.
      -If you use Miracle Whip or salad spread you can omit the sugar and vinegar.  Miracle Whip and
       salad spread already have vinegar and sugar in them.
11. If you like your coleslaw dry then use half of the dressing.  If not then add all of the dressing and
      mix well.

-Many people top their pulled pork with coleslaw.  It adds so many flavors to your sandwich and it is really good.  If you do not like your sandwich with coleslaw you can eat it separately.  You can also top your sandwich with cheese or extra BBQ sauce.  However you eat your BBQ enjoy your picnic and have a happy summer!!!


- ChefElla

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

5/7/13 ChefElla's Lemon Pasta With Asparagus & Prosciutto


There are so many good tasting foods. Chocolate, fresh bread, pizza, cookies, cake, and of course bacon. While all of these foods taste wonderful and while they are fun to eat, eating too much of them is not good for you. Adding just a little of these good tasting foods in with your healthy recipes can give your meals extra flavor. Because I like bacon I thought it would be fun to add some to my pasta, and since pasta is Italian I thought I would find some Italian bacon. While prosciutto is not exactly bacon it can add the same great flavor of bacon to sandwiches, pizza, salads, and pasta. Prosciutto is a dry cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served uncooked.

For this recipe you will need to use the stove and a knife. If you are not allowed to use the stove or a knife by yourself you can have a grown up help.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups, a rubber spatula, a small bowl, a mixing bowl, a blender, strainer, slotted spoon, sauce pan and sauté pan.

Ingredients: (This recipe will make 8 servings.)
3 Cups Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Penne Pasta un-cooked.
1/2 lb. Prosciutto Ham, 1/4 inch thick sliced. This should be about two slices.
1 lb. Asparagus Spears
1/4 Cup Red Onion, Small Diced
2 ea Garlic Cloves, smashed, or 2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Flat leaf parsley
Garnish Parmesan or Feta Cheese

3. Fill sauce pan 3/4 full with water and put on stove. Turn pan on high heat. When the water comes to a boil add pasta and cook for the manufacturers recommended amount of time. If the water begins to foam just add a little olive oil and the foam will go away. When the pasta is finished pour into a strainer over the sink. When the water is drained off put the pasta in your large mixing bowl.
-If you are saving the pasta for another time you can rinse the pasta with cold water and refrigerate or you can mix the pasta with a little oil and then refrigerate.
4. While the pasta is cooking slice your prosciutto into 1/4 inch wide strips.
5. Heat sauté pan on medium heat. Add prosciutto to the pan and cook slowly. The prosciutto will turn crispy like bacon.
6. Remove the prosciutto to a plate with a slotted spoon and leaving the remaining fat in the pan.
7. Return the pan to the heat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes but do not brown.
8. Add lemon juice, olive oil and flat leaf parsley to your blender. Using your rubber spatula transfer onions and garlic to the blender. Scrape any left over oil into the blender also. Blend the mixture until it is smooth and there are no large pieces or chunks left.
9. Fill your sauce pan 1/2 way with water, put on the stove and turn the heat to high. Cut your asparagus spears the same length as your penne pasta.
10. Fill your small bowl with cold water and ice.
11. When the water boils add the asparagus pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour the asparagus in the pasta strainer over the sink. When drained put the asparagus in the ice bath. This will stop the cooking and turn the asparagus bright green. This cooking method is called blanching(the hot water) and shocking(putting the food in the ice water).
12. When the asparagus is cold drain in the strainer.
13. Mix sauce with the pasta and then add asparagus and prosciutto and mix. Serve in bowls and top with cheese.


- ChefElla

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

4/23/13 ChefElla's Mom's After School Banana Bread


My sister and I are busy and all of our friends are busy too.  If we are not playing or doing homework after school, we are going somewhere like basketball, swimming, science club, volleyball, soccer, tennis, diving, karate or any of the other things we all do.  While all of these activities are fun, they are right after school, and I do not know about you, but I am always hungry after school.  I am lucky though, because when my Mom picks me up from school, she always has a snack waiting.  My favorite snack is my Mom's banana bread.  She says it will help give me energy for my activities, but honestly I am to busy eating to listen.  So since my Mom cannot make banana bread for all of my friends and you, I asked her to share her recipe so that you can have banana bread after school too.

For this recipe you will need to use the oven or cake ball maker and the mixer.  If you are not allowed to use the oven or mixer by yourself you can have a grown up help.

1.  Wash your hands.
2.  For this recipe you will need measuring spoons and cups, a rubber spatula, a small bowl, a mixing bowl, a whisk, and two loaf pans or a cupcake ball maker.

Ingredients: (This recipe will make 2 loaves or more muffin balls than I can count)
1 2/3 Cups     AP Flour
                     -AP stands for All Purpose flour.  This means that you can use the flour for most cooking
                     or baking recipes.  There are flours for specific recipes like cake flour for cakes and bread
                     flour for breads.
1 tsp             Baking Soda
1/4 tsp          Baking Powder
1/2 tsp          Salt
2 tsp             Cinnamon
3/4 Cup        Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup        Chopped Walnuts
                     -If you or your friend are allergic to nuts you can just leave them out.  The recipe will taste
                     just as good without them.

3.  Measure flour, baking soda and powder, cinnamon and salt into the small bowl.  With the whisk
     blend the ingredients slowly.  If you mix too fast you will get your dry ingredients all over the

1/4 Cup     Low Fat Organic Vanilla Yogurt
4 Tbl.        Organic Applesauce (This is the same amount as one 3.9oz snack pack cup)
1 tsp          Vanilla
2 ea           Large Organic Eggs
2/3 Cup     Light Brown Sugar
3 ea           Organic Bananas, medium sized

4.  Pre-heat oven to 350F, or turn on your cake ball maker.
5.  Add yogurt, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla to your mixing bowl.
6.  Mix on a low speed (1or 2) until all of the ingredients are blended well.
7.  Add your eggs and brown sugar to the bowl.  Take your bananas, break them into pieces and add
     them to the mixing bowl.  Blend the mixture on a low speed until all of the ingredients are blended
     and there are no large pieces of banana left.
8.  Turn your mixer off and add half of your dry ingredients.  Mix on low until the batter looks like
9.  Add the rest of your dry ingredient, dark chocolate chips and walnuts, and mix again until the batter
     looks like mud.  Take care not to over mix the batter or it will be chewy like bread when you bake
10.  Spray your loaf pans with pan spray.  Using your rubber spatula, divide the batter equally between
       the loaf pans.
11.  Bake the loaves for 20-25 minutes.  Test the loaves by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the
       loaf.  If the toothpick comes out clean the loaf is done.  If it is coated with batter it needs more time.
       Try adding 2-3 minutes at a time until the loaves are done.  Remove from the oven and let the
       loaves cool, cut and enjoy.
If you are making muffin balls, spray your cake ball maker with pan spray.  Using your scoop, scoop batter into each divot.  We cook our muffin balls for 3 minutes, but you will have to test your cake ball maker for the proper time.  When the muffin balls are done, take them out, let them cool and enjoy.

I like to take my cake balls and cut them in half.  Then I put some peanut butter in the center and eat it like a mini sandwich.  You can try different ingredients with you banana bread or just enjoy it plain.


- ChefElla

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

4/9/2013 Clean Up: A Note From ChefElla's Dad


As ChefElla learns more about cooking and baking she continues to ask for more responsibility in the kitchen.  I think this is great, but one of the biggest jobs in the kitchen, is clean up.  Now it would be easy to just tell her, if you cook, you clean, and those are just the rules, but I have learned over the years that this kind of logic can have the opposite effect on a child.  When ChefElla was 4 she wanted to help in the kitchen.  We made lasagna and she had the best time.  When we were done I told her the rules of cooking.  You have to eat everything you make.  She did not cook with me again for 6 months.  After that we changed the rule to, you must try everything you make.

Now admit it.  We all hate cleaning, and because we cook 2-3 times per day it seems as if we are always cleaning.  Add child size cups and plates, school lunch boxes, snacks and the blender from ChefElla's Mom's Secret Strawberry Smoothie, and it is a wonder we ever make it out of the kitchen.

So what do you do?  Start small.  Start with one job.  We have talked in the past about your little ones helping set the table, and hopefully all of the little ChefEllas are helping with that.  Think of this as the the same thing.
Start with one job:
Clearing your place setting.
Putting your dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
Putting clean silverware away.
Drying dishes (dependent on age).
Putting unused ingredients away.
Helping pack up leftovers.
And any of the other one million small chores we do to clean up before or after a meal.

Start with single job.  When your little one gets good at that job, and remembers to do it on their own, it is time to give them another job ( I know that this can take a while and I cannot promise your little one will ever master their first job, but you have to start somewhere).

Do not get discouraged if you get some resistance at first, but if you do, offer two cleaning choices and let your little ones pick.  Again start small and increase the difficulty as they get more accustomed to kitchen chores.

Believe me I am not an expert and some days ChefElla says NO when I ask her to do things, but we cannot give up.  Keep at it, and on the days you do not hear a no, or when dirty dishes magically make it into the dishwasher without you asking, it will be worth it.


-ChefElla's Dad