Inner Chef

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Artichoke & Spinach Dip

Artichoke Spinach Dip in Bread Bowl            Yields: 4 cups


3 jars (7.5 oz each) marinated quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

¾ cup mayo

3 green onions, sliced

1 package (10oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1 cup (4oz) shredded Swiss cheese

1 round loaf (1#) rye or pumpernickel bread


  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Cut a thin slice off the top of bread and hollow out the bottom half; leaving a ½” shell. Cut removed bread into 1” cubes. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Broil 6” from heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
  2. Place bread shell on an ungreased baking sheet. Spoon dip into bread shell. Bake uncovered, at 350˚ for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Serve with bread cubes.



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Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Bread

Sugar and Spice Pumpkin Bread   Makes 2 loaves

(BGH Fall Baking Magazine)

3 ⅔ cups sugar

1 cup finely chopped pecans

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

⅓ cup water

¼ cup bourbon or water (I used the water)

1 recipe Bourbon Icing (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom and ½ inch up sides of 2 9×5 loaf pans. Combine 2/3 cup of the sugar, the pecans, and 1 ½ tsp. of the pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In an extra-large bowl stir together flour, baking soda, salt and the remaining 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 cups of sugar, the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and bourbon (or water). Add egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until combined. Spoon about 2 cups batter into each prepared pan. Sprinkle half the nut mixture over batter in pans. Carefully spread the remaining batter in pans. Sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.
  3. Bake 65-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean. If needed to prevent overbrowning, cover loaves loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then remove from pans and cool on wire rack. For easier slicing, wrap and store overnight. If desired, drizzle with Bourbon Icing before serving.


BOURBON ICING: Stir together 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 TBSP. bourbon, and enough milk (2-3 tsp.) to make drizzling consistency.


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Bacon & Egg Potato Salad

Bacon & Egg Potato Salad                            Serves: 8

6 cups cubed red potatoes (about 2 ½ pounds)

4 hard cooked eggs, chopped

1 small onion, chopped small

4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

2-3 stalks celery, diced small

1 cup real mayo

2 Tbsp. dill pickle relish

3-5 tsp. yellow mustard

½ tsp salt

½ tsp celery salt

½ tsp pepper

  1. Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool.
  2. Place potatoes in large bowl. Add the eggs, onion, and celery.
  3. In a small bowl, combine mayo, relish, mustard, and seasonings. Pour over potato mixture and toss gently to coat. Gently toss in bacon pieces. Refrigerate until chilled.





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Rosemary Spaghetti with Roasted Asparagus


Rosemary Spaghetti with Roasted Asparagus

(Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce)

Here is the original recipe, as in the book. I used a lemon-infused olive oil and added diced chicken. This serves about 4-6 people.


1 pound asparagus, trimmed 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1⁄2 teaspoon coarse salt, such as kosher 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use (see Cook’s Note) 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped 5 medium cloves garlic, sliced 1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth 1 1⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves 1 pound spaghetti, thick spaghetti preferred 1⁄4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus cheese for optional topping Salt and freshly ground black pepper Garnish: 8 sprigs fresh rosemary


  1. Adjust oven rack to upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spread asparagus on rimmed baking sheet in a single layer; brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until fork-tender, about 7 to 12 minutes, shaking pan halfway through cooking to redistribute stalks (roasting time varies depending on thickness of asparagus). Cut stalks into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside.
  2. In large, deep skillet melt 4 tablespoons butter on medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until nicely browned, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add chicken broth or vegetable broth and chopped rosemary; increase heat to high and reduce by half.
  3. Meanwhile, bring large pot of salted water to boil on high heat. Add spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente (tender with a little bite); drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta water.
  4. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to butter mixture. Add cheese, 1 tablespoon butter and asparagus. Gently toss. Season with salt and plenty of pepper. Garnish each serving with rosemary sprig.

Inner Chef Note: I made a homemade Roasted Garlic Butter:

Cut about 1/3 of the top of a large garlic bunch, drizzle a little Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the cut part and wrap garlic bunch in foil, open side up. Open foil just a bit so that the garlic can caramelize. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 35-45 minutes, until garlic is tender. remove from oven and let rest. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from paper. Add to unsalted butter and enjoy.


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Product Review: Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats

Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats

(Douglas Combs, Inner Chef Member)

Alright now went to Walmart (aka Wally World) the other day and came across the Yoshi Grill & Baking Mats®. Been a bit of a skeptic on these “As Seen on TV” items, but I went ahead and bought one.

I used it tonight for cooking chicken on the grill. I was duly impressed. Most of us know chicken can be very hard to cook on a grill without it flaring up because of the grease drippings. The Yoshi Mat did a very good job of controlling the flare ups, it cooked very evenly and it kept the chicken moist rendering great flavor.

Very underrated product, so if you’re interested, here is what they look like:

Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats

Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats


Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats

Yoshi Grill & Bake Mats

Douglas is an Inner Chef member and has given Inner Chef permission to post this product review. Douglas Combs was compensated by Yoshi for this review.


No Bake Cookies

No-Bake Cookies

2 Cups granulated sugar

8 Tablespoon (1 stick) unsalted butter

½ cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

⅓ cup baking cocoa

½ cup peanut butter

3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)


In medium saucepan, combine sugar, butter, milk, and cocoa.

Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Continue boiling 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter, oats and vanilla.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let stand until firm. Store tightly covered.

Serving Tips: *If using old fashioned oats, cool mixture in saucepan 5 minutes.