Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef

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BBQ Pork Fries

BBQ Pork Fries

Don and I love french fries but we tire of the same old plain fries or cheese fries or chili cheese fries. Then we thought of what else we really enjoy eating. BBQ!

So, we put our BBQ pork (made with Wolf’s Hickory BBQ sauce), fries, cheese and bacon together and came up with an amazing dish.

Shred up some smoked pork and mix it with your favorite BBQ sauce (our favorite is from a restaurant in Evansville, Indiana called Wolf’s).

Crisp up some fries; I mean really crisp up the fries! Lay those over the BBQ pork. Now, add the shredded cheese…lots of cheese (we used Colby-Jack). Next, sprinkle on the bacon pieces. Pop it back in the oven until the cheese melts. Drizzle with more BBQ sauce before serving and prepare to have your taste buds dance in delight!

The smokiness from the meat and the sauce pairs so well with the potatoes and cheese.

It’s a meal in itself! We won’t go back to chili cheese fries again!

1 bag frozen French fries

3/4 pound shredded smoked pork

BBQ sauce

8-10 oz. finely shredded cheese

bacon pieces

Preheat oven to package directions for fries.

Make fries according to package directions; making sure they are VERY crispy.  Set aside when done.

Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup BBQ sauce to pork and heat through.  Spread on foil lined baking sheet. Cover pork with crispy fries. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and then bacon pieces. Return to oven until cheese melts. Drizzle with BBQ sauce after plating and serve.


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The Great Mayo Retreat

The Great Mayo Retreat

I have never been a fan of Miracle Whip. I have always been true to mayo…always. Now, the brand of mayo was always Hellmann’s. Oh sure from time to time I went with a cheaper brand to save some pennies here and there but I always went back to Hellmann’s because it was the best. The best texture, the best color, the best flavor.  It was the best.

Shortly after we moved here to Kentucky, I needed some mayo for a recipe and something new caught my eye; Duke’s Mayonnaise. I had never heard of it before, never seen it before but something about it was calling out to me. Even though I had that container of Hellmann’s in my hand and I would have saved 12 cents with the Hellmann’s; Duke’s was calling out to me to try it. I don’t know if it was the retro looking label that reminded me of the good old days with my grandma in the kitchen or just the simplicity of it all. I don’t know if it was the idea that it was a family recipe since the early 1900’s. But whatever it was; I put back the Hellmann’s and tossed caution to the wind with Duke’s.

The best decision I have ever made with mayo. In culinary school, we made our own mayo and it tasted amazing. The flavor is like nothing you can explain; fresh, delicious; your taste buds work overtime with the flavors. You don’t get that with store bought (or you shouldn’t); not even with Hellmann’s. But, you get that with Duke’s! Duke’s Mayonnaise tastes like you took the time (and it takes lots of time and patience) to make your own mayo. The flavors burst with homemade goodness! The texture, the color; everything about it screams out “I AM HOME MADE MAYO!”

So, if you can find this at your local supermarket, if you know someone that can find it at their local market and will send you some; beg them to send you some because you are missing out on the one mayo that will enhance your recipes, your sandwiches, your burgers, your sauces; whatever you use mayo for. Hellmann’s is gone from my pantry. I have retreated from their side of the isle, I am in Duke’s neighborhood now and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.


(Photo from Duke’s Mayonnaise)


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Roasted Winter Veggies

Roasted Winter Veggies   (Serves: 2-4)


4 Tbsp. unsalted butter; softened to room temperature

8 oz. butternut squash; cut into 1/2 cubes

8 oz. rainbow carrots; cut into 1/2 pieces

4 oz. parsnip; cut lengthwise and then into 1/2 slices

1 small red onion; sliced thin

1 lemon

1/4 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1/4 oz. cilantro; minced very small

1/4 oz. parsley; minced very small

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt

Black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line baking sheet with foil. Toss veggies with olive oil, 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Arrange in a single layer and roast until lightly browned and tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  2. While veggies are roasting, make butter. Mince garlic and while garlic is still on cutting board; sprinkle with 1/8 tsp. salt. Using a large knife at a 45 degree angle; scrape over garlic and salt, pressing down. Repeat this process to make a paste from the garlic. Transfer the garlic paste to the softened butter. Add smoked paprika, crushed red pepper, half of the cilantro and half the parsley. Mash with fork until fluffy and combined together well. Set aside.
  3. Once your veggies are roasted, remove from oven and squeeze juice from 1/2 lemon over veggies, add 1/8 tsp. Kosher salt and black pepper. Toss to coat well.
  4. Serve veggies with a dollop of butter and extra herbs. This pairs well with steak. The butter tastes great with the steak as well.

NOTE: You can keep the compound butter in the refrigerator for up to 1 week; if stored in an airtight container or freeze for up to 1 month.

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Hoisin Pork Tacos with Miso Corn and Cabbage Slaw

Hoisin Pork Tacos with Miso Corn and Cabbage Slaw   (Serves: 2-4)


10 oz. ground pork

½ tsp. Chinese 5-spice powder

6 Tbsp. Hoisin sauce

1 lime; divided

¼ cup cilantro; chopped

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 ½ cup shredded red cabbage

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

½ Tbsp. miso paste

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

1 Tbsp. canola oil

6 white corn tortillas

Kosher salt


  1. In a medium bowl; whisk together sesame oil and juice of ½ lime. Toss in cabbage and cilantro to coat evenly. Season with Kosher salt, set aside.
  2. Heat tortillas over medium-high heat in medium pan. When done; wrap tortillas in foil to keep warm. Set aside.
  3. In same pan as used for tortillas; melt butter over medium heat. When butter is foamy; add miss and corn. Cook; stirring occasionally until corn is bright yellow and fully coated; about 4 minutes. Remove from pan and put into bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm. Wipe pan clean and use to cook pork.
  4. Heat canola oil over medium-high heat, add pork and sprinkle Chinese 5-spice and ¼ tsp. Kosher salt over pork before it begins to cook. Cook, breaking breaking up pork until cooked through and no longer pink; about 5-7 minutes. Stir in hoisin sauce to coat. Remove from heat.
  5. Cut remaining lime into wedges. Layer tortillas with slaw, meat and miso corn. Squeeze extra lime juice over top of taco if you prefer.


NOTE: I have used flour and white corn tortillas for this recipe and the white corn tortillas work so much better. There is a much better flavor for everything with the corn tortilla. Don’t let the taste of the slaw get you. It all works together! I was a bit taken aback by the taste of the slaw by itself, but when paired up with the rest of the taco ingredients….a taco miracle!

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Moroccan Spiced Meatballs with Spinach Couscous

Moroccan Spiced Meatballs with Spinach Couscous   Serves: 2

(from Plated)


2 Pita breads; divided

8 oz. whole milk

1 orange bell pepper; cut into ¼ inch pieces

Herb Mix (rough chopped together)

1/8 oz. fresh mint

1/8 oz. fresh oregano

1/8 oz. fresh parsley

1 lemon; divided

4 cloves garlic; divided

½ cup Israeli couscous

2 oz. baby spinach

1 tsp. ras el hanout, divided

2 tsp. harissa; divided

12 oz. ground beef

1 (15 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

1 egg

2 tsp. Olive oil

Kosher salt



  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Bring a medium pot of water of a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Quarter pita breads. In a medium bowl, combine milk and 1 slice pita bread; set aside to soak for Step 4. Mice garlic.
  2. Once water is boiling, stir in couscous and cook, still over high heat, until tender; about 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to large bowl. Reserve pot for later. Add spinach, bell pepper, juice of ½ lemon, ¼ tsp. Kosher salt and black pepper as desired to couscous. Stir to combine and wilt spinach slightly, then cover with foil to keep warm.
  3. Line baking sheet with foil. Gently squeeze milk from milk-soak pita; discarding excess liquid and place pita bread in medium bowl with ½ of ras el hanout, ½ of harissa, ½ of herb mix, ½ of minced garlic, egg, and ½ tsp. of salt. Add ground beef and using your hands, mix well, then form into 10 equal size balls. Arrange meatballs on foil lined baking sheet, spacing apart.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, on a separate baking sheet, arrange remaining pita bread slices in a single layer. After baking meatballs for 10 minutes bake pita bread in oven with meatballs for 10 minutes longer until pita bread is golden and meatballs are cooked through.
  5. While meatballs are baking; heat olive oil in the pot from couscous over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add remaining garlic, remaining ras el hanout and remaining harissa. Cook, stirring until fragrant (1-2 minutes). Add crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to medium. Simmer for 6 minutes. Add juice of remaining lemon and ½ tsp. Kosher salt.
  6. Once meatballs are done, toss into sauce and turn to coat. Divide couscous between plates and top with meatballs. Pour over any remaining sauce and garnish with remaining herbs.