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Cooking with the Café Chefs

Chef’s Specials


Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 Mins
Total Time: 1 hour 10 Mins

3 tbsp – extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 lb – beef chuck stew meat, cubed into 1″ pieces
Kosher salt or regular salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 – onion, chopped
2 – medium carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
2 – stalks celery, chopped
3 – cloves garlic, minced
3 – medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 (16-oz.) bottle Guinness
2 tsp of fresh thyme
Freshly chopped parsley, for serving

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Season beef with salt and pepper, then add to pot and cook on all sides until seared, 10 minutes, working in batches if necessary.
Transfer beef to a plate.
In same pot, add remaining tablespoon oil and cook onion, carrots, and celery until soft, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
Add beef back to Dutch oven, then add potatoes, broth, beer, and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let simmer until beef and potatoes are tender, 30 minutes.
Garnish with parsley before serving.



Serves: 6
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup butter
1-1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup white rice
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half – cut into cubes
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream, heated

Sauté onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot. Add flour and curry, and cook 5 more minutes. Add chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour.
Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done.
When serving, add hot cream.

Nutrition Facts
Per Serving:
223 calories; protein 6.9g; carbohydrates 13.5g; fat 15.8g; cholesterol 62.2mg; sodium 733.9mg.



Serves: 6 to 8

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 1 hrs and 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hrs and 45 mins

2 lbs of stewing beef (or lamb or eye of round)
Salt and pepper
3 packages of OXY (or other brand) of low-sodium beef broth
2 tbls oil
8 ozs of sliced mushrooms
3 cups mirepoix (just combination of chopped onion 2 large thinly sliced carrots)
6 to 8 minced cloves of garlic
7 cups of low sodium beef BROTH
10 tbls of Worchester Sauce
3 bay leaves
¾ tsp dried thyme
1 large sweet potato diced
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
Crusty bread or crackers
Red pepper flakes or Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (optional)

Season the stewing beef with a good pinch of salt and pepper and 3 packages of OXY (or other brand) of low-sodium beef broth. Heat 1 tbls of oil in a large pan or in an Instant Pot over medium to high heat. Add ½ of the stewing beef and brown on all sides for about 2 to 3 mins total. Remove stewing beef to a plate.
Repeat with second batch of stewing beef and 1 tbls oil. Remove stewing beef to plate.

Add the mushrooms to the pot and brown the mushrooms for 1 to 2 mins or until they start picking up the brown bits left by the stewing beef. Remove the mushrooms to the same plate as the stewing beef.

If needed add a little more oil to the pan or Instant Pot and the mirepoix mix. Cook the veggies for 4 to 5 mins or until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.

And the softened veggies, stewing beef, bay leaves, dried thyme, Worcestershire Sauce and beef broth to a slow cooker and allow to cook on high setting for 3 hours or on a low setting for 6 hours.

Add the stewing beef, mushrooms, bay leaves, dried thyme, Worcestershire Sauce, and beef broth to sautéed veggies in the Instant Pot, cover and pressure cook the meat for 13 to 16 mins depending on the size of the pieces of stewing beef. Allow the pressure to release before removing the lid.

Add the diced sweet potatoes and barley and allow the soup to cook on the high setting of the Slow Cooker for 1 hour or until the sweet potatoes and barley cook through (for the Instant Pot, you hit the slow cook button). Season with additional seasonings to your taste. Serve with chopped parsley on top and a loaf of crusty bread or crackers

Note: If you like spice, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes or 2-3 tbls Thai Sweet Chili Sauce along with dried thyme- but this is optional.

Note: For Instant Pot make sure you fill your pot ONLY ½ full as the barley expands while cooking. You may have to make 2 batches if the Instant Pot is not large enough for all the ingredients. Always remember to turn valve to sealing position while cooking.



Chef’s  Specials


Serves: 6 to 8 people
20 oz can of crushed pineapple
1-1/2 oz package instant pistachio pudding mix
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup miniature marshmallow (optional)
Container non-dairy whipped topping, defrosted (Cool Whip)

Combine pineapple and juice with pudding mix.
Add nuts and marshmallows (if desired) and stir until combined.
Fold in Cool Whip and mix well.
Place in individual serving bowls or medium bowl
Chill for at least one hour



Serves 10
3 lbs fresh or thawed boneless turkey roast in casing
2 tbsp minced garlic cloves
3 sprigs of fresh minced rosemary
1 tsp minced fresh or dried thyme
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup liquid low sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 tsp salt
Ground black pepper to taste
2 packages of low sodium chicken broth
2 Cups of water or low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 Ground black pepper to taste

Marinade: Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, liquid and packaged ow sodium chicken broth, minced garlic, rosemary and thyme
Pour marinate over roast and marinate overnight in a large covered pan or Dutch oven turning and basting frequently with marinade mixture
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Pierce entire roast deeply with skewers.
Bake uncovered in a medium roasting pan or Dutch oven for 90 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Remove from the oven, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Internal temperature will reach 170 degrees F and juices settle.
Remove the casing and slice.
Place roasting pan with juices from turkey roast on medium heat. Shake casing into pot to get additional spices.
Add water or broth and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes and whisk while cooking.
Add white wine, butter, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, add a bit of gravy from the pot and cornstarch. Whisk well with a fork, pour back into the pot and whisk until gravy starts boiling.
Cook for 2-3 minutes or until thickened a bit. Serve with turkey roast.
Boneless turkey roast: This recipe calls for fresh boneless skinless turkey roast. If you have a frozen one, thaw it first.
Fresh rosemary: For herb roasted turkey roast I highly recommend to buy fresh rosemary. I am all for shortcuts but Holidays and roasts call for fresh herbs. You can freeze leftover fresh chopped rosemary and use later.
Garlic: There is really no substitute for garlic, which has a very distinctive flavor. if you are allergic to garlic, maybe bake with a bit of lemon juice and zest. And/or sprinkle with fresh chives after.
Olive oil: Can also use avocado or grapeseed oil. I do not recommend to use melted butter because it will solidify as soon as you brush it on cold meat and herbs will not stick.
Don’t remove the casing before cooking: Under any circumstances please don’t. Casing is holding pieces of meat together. If you remove it, meat will fall apart. Do not worry, we will season it inside. It will come out juicy and delicious.
Bake roast uncovered: If you cover it, meat will steam instead of roasting.
Extra large roast 5-10 lbs: Cook for 30 minutes per lb but check with thermometer 30 minutes before calculated total time. Just to avoid overcooking as oven gets hotter with time.
Storing leftovers: Refrigerate roast whole or sliced in an airtight container for up to a week. It tastes so good cold. And warm with gravy. This recipe is so versatile!



Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 16 muffins

These whole wheat, maple-sweetened banana muffins are so fluffy and moist, I bet no one can guess they’re healthy muffins. They’re easy to make, too, with basic ingredients and only one mixing bowl! Feel free to add mix-ins of your choice, like chocolate chips, raisins or chopped walnuts.

1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
2 eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 cup packed mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup milk (any type)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 – 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
1/3 cup old-fashioned oats plus more for sprinkling on top
¾ cup each raisins and chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (or 165 degrees Celsius). Grease muffin tins with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or by hand with a whisk, beat the applesauce and maple syrup together. Add the eggs and beat well. Mix in the mashed bananas and milk, followed by the baking soda, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon.
Add the flour and oats to the bowl and mix with a large spoon, just until combined. Add any additional mix-ins**, like nuts, raisins, chocolate or dried fruit, fold them in now.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a small amount of oats (about 1 tablespoon in total). Bake muffins for 22- 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
Place the muffin tins on a cooling rack to cool. You might need to run a butter knife along the outer edge of the muffins to loosen them from the pan. These muffins will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. They keep well in the freezer in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months (just defrost individual muffins as needed).
**Change it up: You could really go crazy with add-ins here. Fold in up to 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped dried cranberries or crystallized ginger and/or chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts. With add-ins, your muffins require the full 25 minutes in the oven. Serving suggestions: These muffins are great on their own, with a pat of butter, or spread with almond butter. Make it vegan: Substitute flax eggs for regular eggs, use dairy-free milk like almond milk and use maple syrup instead of honey. Make it gluten free: Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose blend works well instead of the whole wheat flour. Make it oat free: Simply omit the oats.