Inner Chef

Enjoy your kitchen, your food and your inner chef

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BLT Pizza



Don and I love BLT’s and we love pizza! So we decided to combine the 2 into one amazing dish. This works out great for company (I hate making toast!).

The ingredients are simple:

1 Pre-made pizza crust

Mayo or Miracle Whip

Fresh crisp bacon pieces

Lettuce and tomatoes

Toast the pizza crust, then top with mayo, bacon, lettuce and tomatoes. Easy as pizza pie!

IMG_20160130_115806189  IMG_20160130_115921343 IMG_20160130_120042961 IMG_20160130_120157884



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Zesty Calzone

Zesty Calzone             Serves: 4

(Simple & Delicious)

1 tube (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

8 thin slices deli ham

8 thin slices hard salami

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup chopped green pepper

¼ cup chopped tomato

1 cup (4 oz.) mozzarella cheese (part skim mozzarella may be used)

In a greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan, pat dough into a 13×8 inch rectangle. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to within ½ inch of edges.

On half of the dough, layer the ham, salami, onion, green pepper, and tomato to within 1 inch of edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal. Cut slits in top.

Bake at 425° for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces.


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Italian Meatball Mini Subs

Italian Meatball  Mini Subs

This was another sandwich for the Sister Schubert’s house party. I changed up my usual meatball recipe for this.


Sister Schubert’s Artisan Style Mini Baguettes

Meatballs (recipe below)

Marinara sauce (recipe below)

Fancy shred Mozzarella cheese


Prepare baguettes as directed on package. When cool to the touch, slice lengthwise until almost through.

Add 2-3 meatballs, a spoonful of marinara sauce and cheese. Place in oven and toast until cheese is melted.


Italian Meatballs

1 pound lean ground beef

2 eggs, lightly stirred

4-6 oz. Italian breadcrumbs (You don’t want the meat to be too wet and sticky)

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425°

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and then roll into ball the size of a ping-pong ball.

Place on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Let the meatballs rest on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and remove to a plate layered with white paper towels (this will remove any grease that is on the bottom of your meatballs).

Marinara Sauce                                             Makes: About 3 cups

(Taken from Bucca de Beppo’s cookbook and altered)

This recipe can be doubled and frozen in serving sizes in ziplock freezer bags. Use this marinara sauce for meatball subs, pizzas, and as a light pasta sauce.

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

½ Red onion, chopped

3 Garlic cloves, small chop

1 (28 oz.) can Crushed tomatoes


2-4 Tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped (use more or less depending on your love for basil)

1-2 tsp. Sun-dried tomato paste


  1. In a 3-qt. saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook until golden brown, approximately 8 minutes. Watch the carefully so the garlic does not burn.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, and then cook over low heat for approximately 30 minutes, stirring often so that the tomatoes do not burn.
  3. Turn off heat and add fresh basil and taste for more salt. Let stand for about 6-8 minutes so that the basil flavor can marry into the tomatoes.


You can freeze leftovers by allowing to cool, then placing amount desired into ziplock bags and seal tightly. Marinara can be frozen for up to 3 months. I usually put about 1-2 cups per bag depending on what I plan to use it for and how many I am serving.

Remember that once you defrost the sauce you cannot re-freeze it.

This can also be canned using the hot water bath method.





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Turkey & Prosciutto with Pineapple Salsa

Turkey & Prosciutto with Pineapple Salsa

I think this was the winner at my Sister Schubert House Party. Don’t let the sound of the salsa scare you away….it changed many people’s minds positively.


Sister Schubert’s Hawaiian Rolls

Oven Roasted Turkey (sliced about ¼”)**



Pineapple Salsa (recipe below)



Prepare the Hawaiian rolls as directed on package. Let cool to the touch and slice horizontally.

Layer sandwich in this order:


Prosciutto (you need very little of this; ½ of a strip will do nicely)


Pineapple salsa

Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple, small dice**

¼- ½ red onion, small dice

Cilantro, to your liking

Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients together, cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

**Inner Chef Notes:

I used deli turkey, but this is a great way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

I purchased a pineapple that was already peeled and cored (saved me the hassle of doing it myself) and I used just over ¼ of the pineapple.

DSCN9397 3


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Mozzarella Cream Dream Sandwich

Mozzarella Cream Dream Sandwich   Makes: 1 sandwich


2 tsp. Olive oil

2 (1/4″) slices of fresh mozzarella

2 slices of sourdough bread

1/4 tsp. Aleppo pepper**


Heat oil in a 10″ nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Place mozzarella between slices of bread, and add to skillet. Press sandwich with a spatula or plate and cook, adding more oil if needed and turning once, until golden brown and cheese is melted, 6–8 minutes. Sprinkle with pepper before serving.


*Inner Chef Note:  Aleppo Pepper:

A dark red, robust, sweet and sharp chili pepper from the Aleppo region of Syria, with moderate heat that doesn’t overpower its fruity flavor. With a high oil content, dried crushed aleppo pepper has a deliciously deep, aromatic flavor, with a bit more heat than paprika. It is delicious in chili, grilled chicken breast, steak or chops. Aleppo Pepper is attractive to sprinkle on potatoes, deviled eggs or chicken/tuna salads. In Syrian cuisine it is used for many dishes, especially soups, salads, and fish.

Substitutions: Ancho peppers OR 4 parts sweet paprika plus 1 part cayenne pepper.

Saveur Magazine

Saveur Magazine

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Philly Steak Sandwich

Philly Steak Sandwich

(Food Network with adaptions)


2 to 2 ½ lbs. strip loin, trimmed**

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soft hoagie rolls, split ¾ open

Provolone Sauce, recipe follows**

Sautéed Mushrooms, recipe follows

Caramelized Onions, recipe follows

Sautéed Peppers, recipe follows**


Place steak in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes; this makes it easier to slice the meat. Remove the meat from the freezer and slice very thinly.

Heat griddle or grill pan over high heat. Brush steak slices with oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 45 to 60 seconds per side.

Place several slices of the meat on the bottom half of the roll, spoon some of the cheese sauce over the meat, and top with the mushrooms, onions, and peppers.

Provolone Sauce:

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk, heated

1 cup grated aged provolone cheese

¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

1 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and whisk in the provolone and Parmesan until combined; season with the salt and pepper.

Sautéed Mushrooms:

2 Tbsp. olive oil**

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter**

1 ½ lbs. mushrooms, coarsely chopped

3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Caramelized Onions:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter**

1 Tbsp. canola oil**

3 large onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced

1 tsp. kosher salt

¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter and oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and cook slowly until golden brown and caramelized, stirring occasionally, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.


I used leftover cooked prime rib for the meat so I didn’t have to cook the meat as directed above. It was amazing!

I omitted the oils and unsalted butter; using clarified butter instead.

On my sandwich; I used smoked Provolone cheese slices instead of the provolone sauce.

I did not use the peppers in my sandwich (I don’t like heat)


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Chicken Soup with Drop Biscuits

 Chicken Soup with Drop Biscuits                Servings: 4-6


3 ½-4 cups chicken broth

Generous dash of pepper

1 medium carrot, sliced

1 stalk celery, sliced

½ cup uncooked medium egg noodles

2 cup cubed, cooked chicken

2 tsp. fresh parsley, chopped

Drop biscuits (recipe below)


  1. Heat broth, black pepper, carrot and celery in 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil. Simmer until carrots are fork tender.
  2. Stir noodles and chicken into saucepan with broth mixture. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 10 minutes or until noodles are tender, stirring often.
  3. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with biscuit. Serve immediately.


Drop Biscuits


2 cups all-purpose flour, leveled

½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp.  Kosher salt

1 cup whole milk


Heat oven to 400° F.

In a food processor, combine the flour, butter, baking powder, and salt; pulse until pea-size clumps form. Add the milk and pulse just until moistened.

Drop 6-8 large mounds of the dough onto a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes or until golden.