About The Saturday Chef

Midwest, United States
I am NOT a professional chef. I am what I affectionately dub a Saturday Chef—a weekend warrior of the culinary variety, fortified by the education I have gleaned from two high school cooking classes, the Food Network and my own gastronomical experiments. While I’m not ashamed to spend all day making bagels by hand, and proudly call myself a foodie, I’m not a food snob. I enjoy an Extra Value Meal as much as the next girl. My culinary escapades are still relegated to the weekends, but my love for cooking is stronger than ever, galvanized by more successes than failures, and the beautiful fact that the more I cook, the more people there are to feed. So please stay tuned for fun recipes, inevitable disasters and hopefully, a lot of good food.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Saturday Chef's Heavenly Fruit Salad

I’ve shared a lot of recipes with you, and I’ve done so eagerly. There are some dishes that I love so fiercely that you’ll have to pry their recipes out of my cold, dead fingers. This is one of those recipes. And I’m only sharing it because I have a feeling that if I post one more baked good or dessert bar, the people set on actually accomplishing their New Year’s resolution of slimming down might revolt. I’m stuck in a baking groove. Sorry.

So, with much selfish hesitation, I give you my most cherished recipe: Heavenly Fruit Salad. You won’t find the cheftestants of “Top Chef” banging this out in a quickfire, because it is a straightforward mixture of fruit and sour cream that is amazingly fresh and gives you a happy, sated feeling that I usually associate with heavier comfort foods with loads of butter and cheese. This recipe is open to interpretation and experimentation, add more of your favorite fruits, nix what you hate.

It was given to my mother by a relative when I was a baby and has since be a part of every celebratory meal that I could remember. I even had a bowl at my birthday dinner last week. And yes, I said BOWL. It’s traditionally a side dish, but I have been known to consume it by the pound. In college, during exams, I requested nothing but a vat of this sweet, crunchy, citrusy dish to power me through a hellish week of studying and paper-writing.

So enjoy this recipe in the spirit in which it was given, and enjoy a Saturday Chef favorite!

Heavenly Fruit Salad


1 ½ cup red seedless grapes, halved

1 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained well

1 red apple, cored, diced

2 to 3 medium bananas, sliced thin

1/3 to ½ cup light sour cream

1 ½ cups colored miniature marshmallows

Coconut flakes and nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, chopped, for garnish

Prepare fruit. Cut grapes in half or in quarters, if they are large. Slice apples to be about the same size as the pineapple tidbits. Add the bananas last.

Mix all fruit in a large bowl. Add 1/3 cup of sour cream. Mix to combine. Add more sour cream if needed. Fruit should be covered well, but not too wet. Mix in marshmallows. Serve. Feel free to garnish with sweetened coconut and/or your favorite nuts before serving. Fruit salad will last up to three to five days in the refrigerator, depending on the freshness of the fruit.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel

It’s no secret that life isn’t always easy. You get your heart broken. You lose your job. You find yourself on a completely different path than you planned. My favorite way to de-stress is to turn on a guilty-pleasure reality show and dive into a recipe.

After a few hard weeks, I was in need of some serious culinary comfort, and there are few foods more comforting than a warm, blueberry muffin. These particular muffins, adapted from a recipe by Emeril Lagasse, can be mixed and baked in less time than it takes the “I’m Not Here To Make Friends” contestant on your reality show to get sent home. The addition of the sweet, nutty streusel topping is a great way to add some personal pizzazz. So the next time life hands you lemons (and blueberries), bake some blueberry muffins. It’s so much better than lemonade.




1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1 cup buttermilk

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (optional)


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Make topping. In a small bowl, add flour, butter, sugar, pecans and zest and mix with fingers until well-incorporated and crumbly . Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In another large bowl, beat the eggs with the melted butter. Add the buttermilk and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir by hand until just combined. Do not overmix. Batter may be a little lumpy. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scoop into cups until two-thirds full. Crumble the streusel topping over the muffins. Bake until light golden brown and until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Let cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Saturday Chef Original: Pan-Fried Catfish Sandwich with Lemon Aioli


The ball has dropped. You're finding confetti in some very strange places. The champagne is gone. It is a new year! 1/1/11! Time for a new beginning. While I’m not exactly singing about it like Jennifer Hudson on the Weight Watchers commercials (she looks great!!!!), I am starting this New Year, like many of you, with a new outlook on life, food and where I want to be in 2011. And I’d like to be a few pounds lighter, and you know what that means…

Wait. Stop. Don’t leave! I’m swear on my new baking sheets that I’m not abandoning the delicious, often decadent things that you and I love. I’m just going to make healthier recipes too, use more vegetables and fruits, maybe even some whole grain. No brussell sprouts (yet) and rice cakes here. Promise!

We’ll start with one of my favorite foods EVER: Catfish. I love it the most out of all of the fishes in the sea. Sorry, salmon. I was a picky eater as a child, but I would eat an entire catfish happily.

I’m used to eating catfish breaded in cornmeal and fried with a side of spaghetti or my mom’s famous fruit salad. To switch it up, I’d decided to riff on blackened fish and just play with a bunch of spices. The result was a flavorful, healthier sandwich that is ready in 20 minutes or less. It’s a great meal to ring in 2011 or any day of the week!

Catfish Sandwiches with Lemon Aioli

2 medium-to-large catfish filets, fresh or thawed
Garlic Powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 to ½ cups wild arugula
4 hamburger buns, toasted

Lemon Aioli, recipe as follows


Rinse fish. Pat dry. Cut in half cross-wise.

Season both sides of fish with all spices. Make sure to be a bit more generous with the paprika and more conservative with the cumin and cayenne, unless you want it spicy.

Heat a cast iron and 1 teaspoon of olive oil in pan over medium heat. When skillet is very hot—but not smoking—add two filet halves. Cook until golden to dark brown on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes per side.

While fish is cooking, toast buns if desired.

When fish is done, place it on skillet to rest for 1 to 2 minutes. Spread aioli on the bottom bun. Add fish fillet. Add arugula and top bun. Enjoy.

Lemon Aioli

½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt, Pepper

Mix mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic powder together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If possible, chill in fridge to marry flavors.