From My Kitchen to Yours
Jen's Personal Chef Service - Creating dining experiences exclusively for you!
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Recent Posts

Rainy Day Baking: Cinnamon Raisin Buttermilk Bran Muffins
Quick and Easy Entertaining: Stroganoff Meatballs and Teriyaki Chicken Drummettes
Wildtree Buffalo Ranch Dip
Wildtree 5 Minute Blender Salsa
Wildtree Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies

Most Popular Posts

St. Kitts: Discovering Conch
Easter Leftovers Magic: Ham and Barley Soup with Potato Puree
Bahama Adventures: Compass Cay Lobster Bisque Pasta
Why Wildtree??
Osso Buco Cruiser's Style


Galley Gourmet
Ideal for Entertaining
In Season
Kitchen Confidence
Leftover Magic
Travel Journal
What's for Dinner Tonight?
Wildtree Recipes
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From My Kitchen to Yours

Mango Salsa

.While in the Bahamas, we decide to take a late afternoon snorkel at the reef just in front of us in Waderick Wells.  It was another one of those moments where we took a step back and said, how luck are we to be able do this?  We saw quite a few fish - blue ones, yellow and black stripped, white with yellow on the top and bottom.  We experienced how they blended in with their surroundings, the white sand, the green brain coral and the purplish blue coral fans that wave back and forth with the movement of the water.

Italian Meatballs

My husband loves spaghetti and meatballs.  Here's a quick and easy recipe for meatballs featuring Wildtree's Just Like Mom's Meatloaf Mix and the Hearty Spaghetti Blend.

As Wildtree's spice blends do not have fillers or added preservatives, they are fairly potent.  I generally use less than what some of the package directions recommend as a result.  Best to add a little and adjust to add more than over power the rest of the ingredients as a result.

Wildtree Italian MeatballsItalian Meatballs

1 lb pork sausage

Greek Orzo Salad

For my product launch parties, I wanted to prepare a pasta salad that would feature a couple of Wildtree's most popular products as well as their versatility.  Greek Orzo Pasta was the result!  It is both bright in color and in flavor.  

The dressing can also be used as a marinade for chicken. You could even grill boneless skinless chicken breasts that had been marinated in the dressing to the salad and make it an entree salad!

Greek Orzo Pasta Salad

1/2 pkg of orzo pasta, cooked

Dr. Pepper Pot Roast, A Wildly Good Comfort Meal

Cruising this winter on the ICW, we got hit with the polar votex and enveloped in a cold for a couple of days.  Comfort food is what sounded good to me for those days.  I had a beef roast in the freezer and contemplated what I could make with it in my crock pot.  My first thought was the traditional Pepsi pot roast but I did not have any regular Pepsi on-board.  I did have; however, Dr. Pepper from when the girls were here over the holidays.

So, why not use that?  So that is just what I did.

Wildtree Banana Bread

We are now on the second day of our two week journey on the Destiny cruising south to our new home in Vero Beach, Florida.  It has been a very calm and relaxing trip thus far down the Intercoastal Waterway.  This has given me some cherished time to work on recipe development as well as begin work on my first cookbook!!  (Watch my website and my Facebook page for more information in the near future on the cookbook project!)

This recipe is one I adapted to make is a bit healthier by using grapeseed oil as well as Greek yogurt.

Easy Chicken Tacos with Broccoli Slaw

This time of year the slow cooker comes in handy for making a easy and delicious hot meal.  The recipe below is one that I develop for a tasting party a few weeks back.

It is simple and easy and a nice twist on traditional chicken tacos.

The best part is that you can do all the prep the night before and then just put the crock in the slow cooker and let it cook all day!

Chicken Tacos

2 pound of boneless chicken breasts or thighs (or a combination)
1/2 cup of water
2 tablespoons Wildtree Fajita Seasoning Blend (adjust to your taste)

Tomato Feta Salad with Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil

One of my favorite summer salads to make is tomato feta.  It is simple and fresh.  You can elevate the flavor profile even more by using Wildtree Zesty Lemon grapeseed oil in this dish.

This recipe has been adapted from one originally published by Ina Garten. 

Tomato Feta Salad

4 pints grape tomatoes, red or mixed colors
1 1/2 cups diced red onions (2 small onions)
1/4 cup white balsamic wine vinegar
3 tablespoons Wildtree Zesty Lemon Grapeseed Oil
3 tablespoons Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil

Sensational Sunrise Breakfast

The sun was slowly rising to peak over the horizon on a beautiful Saturday morning and the smell of freshly brewed coffee was wafting through our boat.  Anchored near Crystal Lake in the back bays the Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach for the weekend, I was taking in the beauty of Seashore State Park while I sipped my first of cup coffee that morning. 

Morning coffee is one of my favorite times of the day when out boating with friends, whether we are relaxing on the aft deck or enjoying the view from the bow.

Holidays Aboard

This is an article that I recently wrote for the Virginia Beach Sail and Power Squadron newsletter.  I hope you enjoy it as well!

The weather is turning colder now and the holiday season is fast approaching.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner!  For some, the boating season has all but ended and you are busy getting ready for the holidays and all fun and festivities they bring.

Introducing the Galley Gourmet

My husband, Jamie and I have been essentially living aboard our 56' foot Hatteras Motor Yacht, the Destiny now for two years.  Prior to purchasing our motor yacht in 2011, I was a life-long resident of the Midwest where I was a cabin girl with a pontoon boat.
For me it was a significant adjustment to transition from a suburban home with a gourmet kitchen to a motor yacht with a modest galley.  At the same time I moved east and launched a second career and Jen's Personal Chef Services.

Wildtree Garlic Galore and Roasted Red Pepper Greek Yogurt Dip

As you may have seen on my webpage, I have added Wildtree products to my business as an option for my clients or customers who are looking for a healthy alternative to the middle section of the grocery store. 
I use the products personally and I will be sharing recipes that I have developed on my blog and my Facebook page so you can reference them in addition to those found on the Wildtree website directly. 
This was my first new recipe creation that I prepared for my product launch last month.

Boston: Lobstah and Scallops Fra Diavolo

Boston.  What comes to your mind when you think about this wonderful New England city?  Its rich history and the Boston Tea Party? The Red Sox and the World Series?  Newbury Street and its fine shops?Harvard, MIT or Cambridge?  Sail boats on the harbor?
Boston is a beautiful and engaging city with so much to offer.  I had the opportunity to revisit this awesome place this past week during the first leg of a girls week in New England with two of my dearest friends.

Fresh Flavorful and Fast: Tuna Salad with Basil & Apple and Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Soup

Ever get stuck in a rut going out to eat because you think it is faster than cooking at home? Especially in the summer when it is hot outside?  Well, it is time to get out of that rut.  Some of my favorite recipes are fresh, flavorful and fast.  Not only that, they are good for you!!

Do you like tuna sandwiches?  Do you make them with canned tuna?  Once you try this recipe that I have made a bit healthier from the original, I bet you won't go back canned tuna.

Tuscan Fall Soup - A Picture Journal

When I was in Tuscany in 2010, we made this traditional local soup with the chef at the restaurant in Petrognano.  My husband did an excellent job of capturing the recipe through photos.  I hope you enjoy this picture journal of the recipe! 
  • Start by making a vegetable stock using celery, celery carrots and onions.
  • Meanwhile, prepare onion, celery and carrot for the mirepoix. Saute mirepoix in olive oil.
  • Prepare the vegetables for the soup:  pumpkin, potato, kale and garlic.

Memories of Tuscany

 For my 40th birthday, my husband treated be to an extra special birthday present: a two week trip to Italy.  The memories of that trip are many but one of the extra special highlights was an opportunity to spend an afternoon cooking with a local chef in his restaurant kitchen and then come back later that evening to indulge in what we prepared while the hostess paired it with local wines.
It all started when we stopped for dinner at the local restaurant in our village of Petrognano with a population of 50.

Flavors of the Mediterrean

My husband and I just recently returned from a two week trip to the Mediterranean.  We were blessed to have this opportunity to celebrate our first anniversary as well as a successful business year with colleagues from Tennant on a Western Mediterranean cruise.
For me, part of each country's story is told through the local cuisine in addition to its architecture and natural environments.  The Mediterranean is a wonderful place to explore both history and cuisine.

Easter Leftovers Magic: Ham and Barley Soup with Potato Puree

Big holiday meals generally mean the fridge is crammed with leftovers for a week.  As I was cleaning up the kitchen after our Easter dinner last Sunday, I asked my husband if there was anything he was craving for me to make with the leftover ham.  His response: ham and barley soup. 
With that as an inspiration when I opened the fridge door and also perused the pantry to assess what else I could use up that would make a yummy soup. Here's what I came up with.

St. Kitts: Spicing things up!

We spent a lot of just time relaxing and recharging our batteries on our St. Kitts vacation but we did take a full day catamaran cruise while we were there. We stopped to snorkel at small reef near a sunken ship on our way to the island of Nevis. 
After snorkeling,  the crew feed us a Caribbean-style local lunch featuring chicken with rice and peas, pasta salad with peppers and olives and rum cake for dessert.  It got me thinking about the spices of the Caribbean and how I really don't know a lot about them.

St. Kitts: Discovering Conch

We spent our spring break getaway week in St. Kitts in the Caribbean this year.  Having been to most of the major Mexican vacation spots over the years, it was time to switch things up a bit and explore the Caribbean, our future cruising grounds for our Hatteras.  Neither of us has been to St. Kitts so it seemed like a great choice for this year's getaway.
St Kitts and Nevis are two sister islands that neighbor Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago. The islands gained their independence from Britain fairly recently, in 1983.

Acapulco Sunset Shrimp

While I was in St. Kitts last week, I decided it would be fun to blog about some the food I have enjoyed on various adventures and some recipes that I have acquired or developed along the way. 
For many years now, starting in college, I began collecting cookbooks where I traveled to help me capture the spirit of the local food and expand my own culinary repertoire.  My cookbook collection has grown into a fairly comprehensive library.  Some may even call it an addiction.

Entrée Salads: The Basics

Have you ever thought, why do salads always taste better at a restaurant?  I did for many years. I often avoidedmaking entrée salads at home when I was younger as they were just never as good. However, as the years wentby, I began to take it as a challenge.  It can't be that hard, I told myself, so I began to spend more time researching salad recipes, deconstructing my saladwhen out for dinner and learning techniques that  I could apply to making entrée salads.  The result?

Kitchen Confidence: From Failure to Successful Save

So you're frustrated because something you made didn't turn out like you thought it would?  You think you are the ONLY one that this every happens too?  Let me reassure you that you are not alone, every the most experienced chefs run into to challenges in the kitchen.
I have been baking and cooking since I was old enough to stand on a kitchen chair and reach the counter.  (I still have the vivid memory of me with my Ernie and Bert overalls standing on a chair in my mom's kitchen to reach the mixer to bake a cake.

Pesto: In Progress

In yesterday's blog I shared my recipe for Walnut, Parsley and Arugula Pesto and my basic formula for making any pesto.  Today, I experimented in the kitchen with using Manchego cheese with Basil and Pecans.  I think the result was quite delish. 
If you have not used Manchego cheese before, I recommend giving it a try.  It is one of my favorite cheeses.  Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain.  It should be aged for at least two months in the local caves.

Pesto: It's not just for basil and pine nuts anymore.

If your fridge is anything like mine, you often have extra herbs that you purchased to go in a specific recipe but you have a bunch left over afterwards.  And you say to yourself, I need to do something with these before they go bad!!!
My solution lately?  Make pesto!!!  It is great on a sandwich, as a dip with crackers or you can use it many recipes.  It is a great way to take a bland and boring grilled chicken breast to a tasty salad topper.
The basic formula is:  herb + nuts + cheese + garlic + olive oil.

Eat Your Veggies

I have clients, friends and family that are looking to eat healthier, need to restrict gluten from their diet or have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. This has encouraged me to find and develop recipes are both vegetarian and gluten-free, but still have flavor and substance.
One such recipe that have added to my recipe "inventory" is a Snow and Snap Pea Stir-Fry. Even my carnivore husband enjoyed this one.  I love the variety of texture and colors in this recipe from the Vegetarian Times (see link at the end of this blog for the original recipe).

Potatoes, Take 2

Growing up on the farm as a child, our family was a traditional Midwestern "meat and potatoes" family.  Supper generally included potatoes as a side dish and mom usually made more than we could eat.  (I think this is something that I inherited from her!) 
As a result, I learned at a young age that leftover potatoes can be easily be turned into a whole new potato dish.  It also allowed mom to create a simple and speedy side dish that could be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Fish Tales

A few members from our local chapter of the USCPA spend a couple hours with local fish market proprietor, Richard Welton fromWelton's Seafood Marketon Laskin Road in Virginia Beach. What a fabulous time we have with Richard!  He walked us through both what to look for when purchasing seafood and fish and his personal tips on how to cook each type.
For me, being originally from the Midwest, I was especially interested in learning more about some of the local fish like rock fish.

Valentine's Day Dinner for Two

Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day and I have received several requests for dinner ideas as the lover's holiday draws near, I decide I would share one of my favorite menus to make my husband when we are looking for a cozy, romantic dinner for two.  In fact, I just made a variation of this recipe on Sunday night for a belated birthday dinner.  We enjoyed a lovely bottle of Foote Path Cabernet Franc, 2007 from Temecula, California. It paired wonderfully.  A bold, robust Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel would also pair nicely with this menu.

Welcome to My New Website and Blog!

I am very excited about the launch of my website this week!   I now have another way to promote my business and also share my passion for food and entertaining with others!
You can still follow me on Facebook by "liking" my professional page where I share tips and highlights from my kitchen and my business .
I am super pumped to have an integrated website and blog to work along side of my Facebook page.
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