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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

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From My Kitchen to Yours

Wildtree Recipes

Rainy Day Baking: Cinnamon Raisin Buttermilk Bran Muffins

Cinnamon Raisin Buttermilk Bran Muffins | www.chefjenswitzer.com
You'll often find me in my galley of our Hatteras motor yacht on rainy day.  This weekend was no exception.  Saturday was a wash out so I decided to bake muffins.  My husband had been asking for bran muffins for an easy week day breakfast so I pulled out an old recipe that I had in my recipe box.  This recipe box is filled with all the family favorites that I collected growing up.  You know, the hand written, food stained recipes that remind you of warm family memories?

Quick and Easy Entertaining: Stroganoff Meatballs and Teriyaki Chicken Drummettes

Last minute entertaining is something that has never bothered me; however, I know it stresses other people out. Last night was one of those nights were I made the call to entertain instead of going out.  The cable guy was coming over to fix our cable and the only time slot was from 4 to 6 pm.  We had originally planned to meet friends out for happy hour that night so our choices were, wait until the work week and have to deal with the cable guy then or bring the happy hour to our home instead.

Wildtree Buffalo Ranch Dip

Wildtree Buffalo Ranch Dip | A party perfect alternative to those store-bought dips.

Wildtree Buffalo Ranch DipAdd 1 package of Wildtree ranch dressing blend, 7 ounces of plain Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup of mayo (organic), 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Wildtree Wing Sauce and 1/2 cup of Gorgonzola cheese in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Serve with veggies or crackers or drizzle on a salad.

For a fun spring or summer presentation, plant a few baby carrots in a flower pot lined with tin-foil along side carrot chips arranged in the shape of a carrot topped with parsley for the greens.

Wildtree 5 Minute Blender Salsa

Wildtree 5 Minute Blender Salsa |  A smokey, spicy restaurant-style salsa.

Combine a 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, a 14.5 oz can of tomato puree, a 14.5 oz can of fire roasted piqiuillo peppers (SECRET ingredient) and 1 can of green chilies with Wildtree seasonings: 1 tablespoon fajita seasoning, 2 teaspoons Garlic Galore garlic seasoning blend, 1/2 cup Fiesta salsa seasoning blend. Blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir a minced jalapeno or two for extra kick...

Wildtree Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies

Love buffalo wings?  Looking for something different to serve at your next party or event?  Try this buffalo chicken hand pies featuring some of my favorite all naturalWildtreeproducts.  

It also makes a great main dish if you use a jumbo muffin tin instead of the regular size.

For a fun presentation, bake hand pies in individual silicon muffin cups.  Place on a platter for your guess to grab their own individual hand pie.

Wildtree Buffalo Chicken Hand Pies

Buffalo Chicken Mixture

Condensed Cream Soup from Scratch

I grew up in the Midwest, rural Minnesota in a small farming community of Breckenridge.  The Midwest is home of casseroles and hot dishes, the comfort food of the north country.  Although often joked about, the cold winter really do cause you to crave that kind of food. Hot and creamy casseroles held together by can of a creamy condensed soup is standard. Canned soup is a staple of the Minnesota hot dish.

After leaving the frozen tundra for the south in recent years, I still love a good casserole and crave that comfort food on the 2 chilly nights each winter in Florida.

Slow Cooked Cheesesteak Sandwiches

I often think that people assume that dinner at a chef home at night is a gourmet meal. That is not the reality for me.  After a long day in the kitchen, dinner at home needs to be planned in advance and needs to come together quickly so I can relax and spend time with my family.  My slow cooker is one way that I ensure supper come together with ease when I get home.

Slow Cooked Cheesesteak SandwichesI also often like to prepare something that my husband can also enjoy for lunch later in the week.  Cheese steak sandwiches is one such recipe that I will prep the night before and turn on low in the morning and let is slow cook all day while I am at work.

In Season February: Chicken and Barley Soup

It is the season in many parts of the country for heart warming comfort food.  Even in Florida, we get damp, chilly evenings where a hot bowl of soup is just want you crave. 
On one such evening when we were in the mood for some comfort food, I was inspired to use barley in a different way. 

I love beef barley soup but I wanted to try my hand using barley in a chicken soup. Think of it as similar to chicken with rice soup but with more flavor.   Whole grain barley is high in fiber and protein.

In Season for Winter: French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley

French Onion Soup with Beef and Barley from www.chefjenswitzer.comHappy 2015 to all my clients and blog followers.  I wish you all a year full of joy and contentment.

It is also that time of year where we crave comfort food.  I love to make soups and stews during this winter months as not only are they warm and comforting, then are just plain warm your soul.

I love french onion soup and I was craving it but I was also looking for a one dish supper as well and although french onion has depth of flavor with its caramelized onions, I felt on this particular night, I need to add some meat to make it a complete meal.

In Season: October at the Farmers Market featuring Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Bradenton Farmers Market | www.chefjenswitzer.comOctober marks the start of the farmers market season in Florida.  What is in season is the southern part of Florida is quite a bit different than what you might find available in other parts of the country. You can find fresh produce of almost all varieties from sweet corn to potatoes to kale and collards.  Then there is the fresh seafood vendors and the bakers specializing in Italian breads and pastries. There is truly something for everyone.

Last weekend was the first weekend of the Bradenton farmers market that I feel blessed to be able to walk just a short 2 blocks to!

DIY Shaving Cream with Coconut Oil

DIY  All Natural Shaving CreamLook for a unique gift idea?  Prefer to know what your beauty products are made of? This is a fun DIY project that takes minutes to do and can be decorated for about any season or occasion.

I liked this idea because it allowed me to select all natural products to use in my shaving cream.  I selected ones that had were sulfate free and parabon free for the shampoo and conditioner.

For best results, look for a conditioner and lotion or cream that is very thick.  You will end up with a nice consistency then that is easily applied and not too runny.

Green Goddess Meets Parmesan Ranch Dressing

Green Goddess Meets Parmesan Ranch DressingI needed a salad dressing that would go well with pasta night at our house yesterday. BUT, unwilling to head up the the store at the last minute just to get anchovy paste to make Caesar dressing.  I hate it when I am missing key ingredients from my pantry!

However, necessity is the mother invention.  So I opened my refrigerator and looked for inspiration.

The fresh basil and parsley that I had on hand along with Parmesan cheese both fit the menu theme. After mulling it over for minute or so, the light bulb eventually went off.

Game Day Loaded Baked Potatoes with Chicken and Sweet Onion & Bacon Dip

Football season is upon us and impromptu entertain is not uncommon at our home.  Yesterday was no exception.  We finished watching the New Orleans game next door and then move over to our place for the Tampa Bay game.  I had decided that instead of serving just appetizers, I would make game day casserole that would feed a crowd, feel like an appetizer but be hearty enough stand in as dinner for the gang.I

 found a recipe for Loaded Baked Potatoes with Chicken online that inspired me to create something similar.

Rainy Day BBQ Ribs

Rainy Day BBQ RibsI don’t remember the last time we have had a dreary rainy day since we moved to Florida.  Maybe it is because the frequent sunshine fades the memories faster here.  None the less today is one of those rainy days.I know that I often crave comfort foods even on a steamy rainy day has we have here.  100% humidity and 77 degree outside, but inside it is cool and comfortable.  Thankfully.

So I decided that tonight I am going to make a favorite recipe that was shared with me many years ago for slow cooked pork ribs.

Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling and Pecan Praline Frosting

 Banana Bread with Cream Cheese Filling and Pecan Praline FrostingFall gets me in the mood to bake.  I am not sure why that is but it does.  And since it started to cool down here a bit in steamy Florida (like into the 80s versus the 90s), I got the itch to bake this weekend.I was inspired by a recipe that I found Baked by Rachel’s blog for Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake and a box of Wildtree Banana, Banana Bread Mix. The recipe for the bundt cake was first featured in Southern Living back in September 2011.  

But since I didn’t have any apples on hand but I was still craving a fall spice cake, I opened my pantry door to see how I could improvise.

Dinner Tonight: Chicken Parmesan with Quinoa

I found this recipe from Chelsae’s Messy Apron on Pinterest the other day and it inspired me for dinner that night.  It is made with basic pantry ingredients that most of us have on hand. I love the creative use of quinoa for a nice change of pace from pasta.  A healthy twist on a classic and family friendly. As I generally do with most recipes, I tweak them along the way to fit my style of cooking and personal tastes. 

Keep reading for the recipe and instructions for my adaptation of this recipe.

Fresh Start: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Fennel

I am attempting to turn a new leaf this fall. Time to eat healthier and exercise more. After being on sabbatical since the first of the year, there has been a little too much decadence and indulging and I am just not pleased with the results when I put on a swim suit. Ugh.

So since we are changing our scene to the gulf side, I thought it was a good time to change up the menu at our home as well as my exercise plan. I have been walking and exploring each morning to learn more about our new neighborhood (which I am loving by the way).

In Season July: Oven Roasted Vegetables

Don’t know what to do with all the zucchini, tomatoes and summer squash that you have in your garden or from your CSA?  Give this recipe a try for dinner tonight.  It goes great with grilled chicken or steak or just about anything Italian…And, it doesn’t get much easier than this…
Preheat your oven to 450 F.

Cut up your zucchini and summer squash into similar size pieces, I like to do about 1/2 to 1 inch pieces. Add in some mushrooms, cut into similar size pieces if they are large. Toss in some cherry tomatoes along with red or yellow peppers and red onions cut into 1 inch pieces.

Dinner Tonight? Simple Pantry Chopped Salad

When it is raining in Florida on a summer afternoon, the humidity is high and it is just steamy.  Grilling isn’t an option and often it is just a bit to hot to fire up the gas stove and, well, I often find myself craving a salad. 

Salads in the summer just hit the spot, cool and crisp lettuce topped with just about anything you have in the fridge or the pantry.  Last night we enjoyed a smokey grilled pork chop salad with raisins, freshly grated nutty goat Gouda and sharp cheddar, sunflower seeds and peanuts.

Busy Schedules, Simple Solution: Protein + Pasta + Seasonings = Dinner Tonight

Short Rib Stroganoff
We have had a very busy few weeks and it has definitely taking a chunk of time out of my time to blog.  However, I have some quiet time to write today so I want to catch you up one way that I have been managing dinner tonight at my home during this summer season.

I am generally not a fan of packaged, just add protein boxed meals. They contain so many add ingredients….fillers, preservatives, MSG, etc. and they really don’t have much flavor, just a lot of sodium.

Mandarin Salad with Teriyaki Chicken

It’s a hot one outside today in Vero Beach.  Steamy after all the rain so I am inspired to cool us down at dinner tonight with a tangy salad with teriyaki chicken.  It is also a way for me to transform some dressing in the fridge into something new using some of my pantry staple Wildtree products.

Usually when I make this salad I used a peanut ginger dressing but today I am going to try something different.  I use 1/2 cup of honey balsamic dressing which is creamy with a sweet tang, similar to a creamy honey mustard.

Wildtree 4 Cheese Buffalo Dip

I needed to bring an appetizer to a Power Squadron happy hour the other day. I was in the mood for buffalo dip and this is what I came up with.  I think it was well received, the dish came back empty!

4 Cheese Buffalo Dip
You can serve it hot or cold, depending upon what you are craving.  You could also make into a cheese ball but eliminating the mayonnaise and only adding enough yogurt / sour cream to hold the cheeses together and form a ball.

- 1 (6 ounce) container of plain Greek yogurt
- 1 (  ounce) container of sour cream, regular or light

Easy No Crust Pizza Cups

This is a great idea for a kid-friendly weeknight meal: no crust pizza cups made in your muffin tin!  I made these for a client this week who is on a special diet and needs a healthy protein and low fat, low carb meal.

I started with turkey bacon for the crust.  I used Applegate Farms uncured turkey bacon.  I cut each piece in half and placed them crisscrossed in the muffin tin.

Placing Apple Gate Farms Turkey Bacon in the Muffin Tin for a Crust
Then in a saute skillet, I sauted my favorite pizza toppings: onions, green peppers and mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of garlic grapeseed oil until they were tender.

Slow Cooked Smokey Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta with Smoked Gouda

Slow Cooked Smokey Short RibsA slow cooker is a must have tool for everyone.  It gives you another option to help get dinner on the table allowing you to cook the meal while you are at work or enjoying a beautiful summer day.

This recipe is one of my favorite go to recipes for a slow cooked supper and is my answer to what’s for dinner tonight.This is my version of Sandra Lee’s recipe for Smoke House Ribs from her show Semi-homemade Cooking.  

You can prep the slow cooker the night before, place in the refrigerator overnight and then start your slow cooker in the morning before you leave for work or whatever you had planned for the day.

Take Out at Home: Kung Pao Chicken

Love Asian take out but don’t love the MSG, preservatives and high sodium? Try this version of Kung Pao Chicken tonight for dinner.  It is made with Wildtree Hoisin sauce which is all natural and has no preservatives or MSG as well as low-sodium chicken stock and soy sauce.  

The recipe is based on a Weight Watchers recipe that I have adapted so it is also a healthy choice that put dinner on the table in 30 minutes, faster than deliver or take out!  It also freezes well so consider making a double batch…

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

I have been making this dish for my family for years.  It has also become popular with my clients as well.  It comes together quickly and is a great freezer meal option so consider making a double batch.When I make enchilada casserole for my clients, I often will make in several small glass baking dishes with a lid that hold 2 enchiladas.  Then you can pop the extra servings right in the freezer and they are ready to be pulled out and reheated for a quick weeknight meal or lunch at the office.

Stuffed Peppadew Peppers with Gorgonzola and Garlic

This is a quick and easy appetizer that gets rave reviews and looks great too!

Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Garlic
Peppadew Peppers Stuffed with Gorgonzola and Garlic
  • 1 jar of peppadew peppers, drained
  • 1 block of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon garlic seasoning blend, preferrably Garlic Galore by Wildtree
  • 1 (4 ounce) container of gorgonzola crumbles, 1/2 ounce reserved
  • milk, as needed
  • parsley, minced for garnish

In a bowl combine all filling ingredients and stir until combined, adding milk as needed to thin. Break down any large chunks, as needed.

Cinco De Mayo Fiesta

Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday commemorating their army's victory over France in 1862 is tomorrow.   In the US, we join in celebrating the culture and heritage of our neighbors to the south on May 5. In some areas of the country, this is a major event with parades and street festivals.  For others, it is a reason to have a party to enjoy some our favorite cuisines that have their roots in Mexico.  

This menu is inspired by some of my favorite Mexican cuisine.  It is a great make ahead party plan works for Cinco de Mayo party or your next Mexican fiesta!

Why Wildtree??

WildtreeFor those of you that are not familiar with Wildtree products, I thought I would share a little bit more about why I personally use Wildtree product in my own kitchen and recommend them to others.

I was introduced to the products by a friend from Colorado when she heard I was starting my personal chef business.  I dabbled with the products at home after she sent me a few samples to try.  I really liked the seasonings and the grapeseed oils but I was still not sold on why I should replace my well stocked pantry with more Wildtree products.

Citrus Avocado Ranch Dressing

Love ranch dressing? Love avocados? Try my recipe for avocado ranch dressing featuring some of my FAVORITE Wildtree all natural products.

 Drizzled the dressing over romaine lettuce topped with grilled chicken breast, sliced thin, and mango salsa. 

 This recipe is also a nod to my Wildtree Team Leader who loves guacamole that has freshly squeezed orange juice instead of the traditional lime.

 Avocado Ranch Dressing

 This would also make a great creamy dip by just increasing the mayo by 1/4 cup or enough to thicken.

Osso Buco Cruiser's Style

While in Compass Cay in the Bahamas, I needed a change of pace from grilling out interchanged with pasta.  I decided to get the veal shanks out of the freezer and leverage the pressure cooker that I had to make osso buco.  Slow braising in a propane powered oven in a warm, humid climate just do not mix all that well.  We love to have the AC off when there is a nice trade wind blowing. The pressure cooker is a great go to gadget!

This is the recipe that I resulted in an osso buco that tasted like it had been braised for hours in the oven:

Curry Dip

I created this dip on our cruise of the Bahamas for a potluck at Compass Cay.  I think it was a hit, especially when the owners son said he could sit down and eat the whole bowl. 

Curry Dip for Vegetables or Crackers

1 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of Greek yogurt
4 ounces of cream cheese
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon grated shallot
1 tablespoon Curry Garlic Blend 
1 tablespoon Garlic Garlic
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
10 dashes of hot sauce (to taste)

Blend ingredients together and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight to allow flavors to combine.

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

Ingredients:
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

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.
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