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Recipes from The Buzz

RCC employees are sharing their recipes as part of The Buzz Remote "Food & Family" edition. Check out the great appetizer, meal and dessert recipes from our "at-home" chefs! If you'd like to submit your own recipe to be included, please email it to Janice Goldstein at

Comfort Cooking during Covid

Culinary Corner with Chef Chris Spezial

Our lives have changed so much during the last few months, as we all deal with a global pandemic. We have been forced to settle into our homes and apartments, which, for many, have also become our workplace and classroom. We have been taking shelter, filling our pantries and freezers, and gardening. Many of us have gotten creative in the kitchen; trying new recipes or rediscovering and reviving old family favorites. If I have learned one thing over the years in my career, it is that cooking is a way to bring some order and pleasure to confusing and unknown times.

However, it’s important to be kind to yourself. Not every meal will be of four-star quality! You may often find it difficult to find an ingredient, and must improvise. As a chef, I create many elaborate recipes, but these days, I am focused on cooking simple and comforting meals. Homemade bread is one of those comforting favorites, but so many people were baking bread, that yeast was not to be found in any store! Now that yeast is back on the shelves, the smell of fresh baked bread is back in my kitchen.

I have experimented with many types of breads. Some are more rustic, while others are baked with fresh rosemary from my garden. I have even tried one with leftover dried cherries and chocolate I had in my pantry! Although the pandemic keeps my daughters hours apart from my wife and me, we FaceTime while I am kneading, molding and baking bread! Being together virtually gave us all a sense of family, and I love filling my home with the wonderful and comforting aroma. Whether you smear it with butter, hummus, peanut butter or Nutella, this simple and easy food takes our troubles away from us, slice by slice. Here is a recipe for homemade bread. Give it a try!


  • 3 ⅓  cups all-purpose or bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Optional add-ins:
Fresh rosemary, anise seed, fennel seed, caraway seeds


  1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
  2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
  4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Culinary Corner with Chef Chris Spezial

Celebratory Mac & Cheese Bar

Celebratory Mac & Cheese with bowls of toppings1 lb. uncooked elbow macaroni
½ cup butter
4 Tbsp flour
6 cups milk
4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
4 Tbsp butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Cook macaroni according to the package directions. Drain.

In a saucepan, melt ½ cup butter over medium heat. Stir in flour to make a thick paste (it’s called a roux). Add milk to roux slowly, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses, and cook over low heat until cheese is melted and the sauce is a little thick. Put macaroni in a large casserole dish, and pour the sauce over macaroni. Stir well.

Melt the remaining 4 Tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and brown. Spread over the macaroni and cheese to cover.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Serves 10

Here are some toppings I would recommend to have on the side for your guests to create their own personal version of this classic dish:

Diced Ham, Shredded Pork, Grilled Chicken, Chopped Bacon, Chopped Hot Dogs, Ground Beef Chili, Shrimp, Lobster/Crab Meat, Fried Chicken, Extra Cheese (Cheddar, Pepperjack, Grated Parmesan, Salsa Con Queso, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Crumbled Cheese Doodles) Chopped Tomatoes, Cooked Mushrooms, Sauteed Onions, Shredded Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Beans, Corn, Scallions

Sauces and Seasonings: Ketchup, Truffle Oil, Hot Sauce, Teriyaki, Ranch, Blue Cheese Dressing, Cayenne Pepper, Sour Cream

Recipes from Our Faculty and Staff

Sweet Grape Tomato Salad with Halloumi Cheese and Asparagus

Dr. Beth Coyle's SaladFrom Dr. Beth Coyle

1 1/2 lb trimmed asparagus
Salt, to taste
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 oz. halloumi cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch thick squares
3 cups grape tomatoes, halved
15 basil leaves torn

1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat Oven to 400F
Place asparagus spears on a spray-coated baking sheet
Sprinkle with salt. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil, toss to coat
Roast 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven, cool slightly.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat, just until shimmering. Pat cheese squares dry. Fry in batches for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients. In a mixing bowl, toss tomatoes, fried halloumi and the vinaigrette together.

Assemble asparagus on a serving platter and top with the tomato and halloumi mixture. Top with basil leaves. Makes 6 servings.

Monkfish in Lemon Butter Wine Sauce

Dr. Beth Coyle's MonkfishFrom Dr. Beth Coyle

1 1/2 lbs monkfish fillets (2 fillets about 1-inch to 1 1/2 inches thick)
3/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons white wine
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Salt & teaspoon of white pepper

Cover broiling pan (at least 1/4" deep) with foil. Heat broiler to low.
Place monkfish fillets in pan and season with salt and pepper.
Slice sticks of butter in 1/8 inch pieces and lay on top of fish.
Sprinkle lemon and wine over fish.
Sprinkle fish with parsley
Place in the broiler for approximately 15 to 30 minutes checking it every few minutes, take it out of the oven when the fish starts to flake.

Cheeseburger Mac

Jon Jon's Cheeseburger MacFrom Jon Jon Chua

Ground Beef
Cooked elbow pasta
Chopped Garlic
Grated Cheese
Melted Cheese
Chopped Chives
Sliced Baby Bell Peppers
Optional: Bamboo Shoots

Heat oil. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add ground beef and saute until cooked. Add cooked elbow pasta, grated cheese, melted cheese and stir to mix. Sprinkle chives and top with bell peppers.

Spinach Cheese Quiche

Carmela's Spinach Cheese QuicheFrom Carmela Raiti

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheese
Feta 1 cup and Sharp Cheddar 1 cup
4 eggs, beaten (large OK but not exlarge)
1.5 cups of milk OR
1 cup of milk and ½ cup plain yogurt
16 oz of fresh spinach
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 dashes Cayenne pepper
9 “ Pie Dough (frozen will do)

9” deep dish pie plate. Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon; large frying pan; colander

- Thaw pie dough in refrigerator
- line pie plate with pie dough. Set aside
- Shred/crumble the cheese. Place in bowl
- Add washed spinach to large frying pan
- Heat till the spinach is limp. The water from the wash will serve to steam the spinach
- Add the steamed spinach to the colander and press out the water from the spinach using your wooden spoon
-  Add the spinach to the bowl
- mix the spinach and cheese with the wooden spoon
- Combine the beaten eggs, milk, yogurt, seasoning
- pour into the bowl
- Mix all and pour into pie plate
- fold edges of pie dough  inwards so liquid doesn’t spill out

Lemon Chicken

Krista Quinn and her daughter at the stoveBy Krista Quinn (courtesy of the Food Network)

1 1/2 pounds chicken breast or chicken tenders, cut into chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
Coarse salt 
2 tablespoons wok or vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan (preferred brand: House of Tsang)
1 tablespoon (a splash) white or rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
8 ounces (1 cup) prepared lemon curd
1/4 cup hot water
1 lemon, zested
2 scallions, thinly sliced or 20 blades fresh chives, finely chopped

Coat the chunked chicken lightly in flour, seasoned with a little salt. Heat a large skillet or a wok-shaped nonstick pan over high heat. Stir fry chicken until golden, 3 or 4 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and return pan to heat. Reduce heat to medium.

Add a splash of vinegar to the pan and let it evaporate. Add stock or broth to the pan and scrape up any drippings with a whisk. Thin curd by stirring in a little hot water. Add curd to broth and whisk to combine. Add chicken back to the pan and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes to thicken sauce and finish cooking chicken pieces through. Remove the pan from heat, add the scallions or chives and zest, and toss chicken pieces well to combine zest and scallions or chives evenly throughout the sauce.

Cheesy Cheddar Grits

Natalie's Cheesy Cheddar GritsFrom Natalie Scott

2 cups Quaker grits
4 ounces shredded yellow cheddar (1 heaping cup)
2 table spoons of Parmesan cheese
2 cups of water
2 cups of whole milk
2 tablespoons butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste
A pinch a sugar (optional)

1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs
16 large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact
Old bay seasoning, seasoning salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying

  1. For grits: Bring 2 cups water and 2 cups of milk to a boil. Generously salt water and stir in grits. Lower heat to medium and simmer mixture for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick and creamy. Stir in the cheese, corn and butter until fully incorporated. Adjust seasonings.
  2. For shrimp: In a shallow bowl combine eggs whisk together. Set an assembly line up with a shallow bowl of flour, the beaten eggs, a shallow bowl of panko, and a clean baking sheet lined with wax paper.
  3. Lightly season shrimp on each side with salt and pepper. Dredge each shrimp in the flour, followed by the beaten eggs, and finally into the panko until completely coated (making sure to shake any excess coating on the shrimp after each dredging).
  4. Place all coated shrimp onto the prepared baking sheet and refrigerate the shrimp for 30 minutes while you preheat the oil.
  5. Fill a tall sided saucepan or Dutch oven with 2 inches of oil and heat to 350˚F.
  6. Carefully add the shrimp into the hot oil, a few at a time and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, carefully flip each shrimp and continue to fry for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer fried shrimp onto baking sheet lined with a cooling rack and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Fry remaining shrimp in batches and set aside.
  8. To assemble: Ladle grits into bowls and top each with a few fried shrimp and more grated cheese for extra cheesiness.

Black Beans over Cheesy Grits

Chris carrying a platterFrom Chef Chris Spezial

Black Beans:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained
1 ( 8 oz) can sweet corn kernels, drained ( or ½ cup frozen)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, just until the onions & pepper begin to soften. Add the black beans, corn, cilantro, cumin, and salt. Stir well and reduce heat to medium low. Allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

2 cups water
1/2 cup quick grits
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup grated parmesan
dash of garlic powder
dash cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

Bring water to a boil; slowly stir in grits; return to a boil Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 4-5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until cheese is melted.
Serving Suggestions:

Put warm grits in a bowl and ladle black beans over grits. Sprinkle with additional cheddar cheese and top with jarred salsa and chopped cilantro.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Kathy Hopkins in the kitchenFrom Kathy Hopkins

Makes 3 ½ dozen

Preheat oven to 350°F.

1 ½  cups butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Mix butter, sugars, vanilla and eggs in large bowl using spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop dough by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.

Thumbprint Cookies

Danielle's Thumbprint CookiesFrom Danielle Kobryn

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

In large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the softened butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the almond extract and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon, until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes so it's firm.

Use a 1-inch cookie scoop for the dough, then roll them into balls. Use your thumb to create the hole for the jam (you can use seedless raspberry jam, or any kind you like, even lemon curd). Be sure not to press all the way through so the jam doesn't leak out the bottom. It's probably about a teaspoon of jam for each cookie, try to fill the hole without it overflowing.

Bake on parchment paper for about 9-10 minutes at 350 until cookies have spread and edges turn golden brown. Remove to rack, cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

The Food Report Recipes

Sofia showing limesFrom Sofiia Rolbina

Bourbon Chicken

Courtesy of BigOven

You will need:
2 pounds chicken breast-bite size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic-crushed
1/4 teaspoons ginger
3/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
1/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup Soy sauce


  1. Heat oil in skillets
  2. Brown chicken and set aside
  3. Add remaining items.
  4. Heat over medium heat until mixed
  5. Add chicken and bring to a boil
  6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
  7. Serve over a bed of rice

Garlic Butter Brazilian Steak

Courtesy of Yummly

You will need:
1 pound skirt steak
6 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped parsley (plus 1/8 cup)
5 tablespoons butter


  1. Pat the skirt steak dry then season both sides generously with salt and pepper
  2. In a heavy duty skillet large enough for the steak, heat oil over medium-high heat until it’s very hot.
  3. In skillet, melt the butter over low heat then add the garlic. Cook swirling or using a spatula to move the butter and garlic around until lightly golden. Don’t over cook, or the butter and garlic will burn. As soon as you see the golden color, it’s done. Pour the garlic butter into a bowl.
  4. Slice the steak against the grain. Garnish with parsley and then spoon or pour the garlic butter over the steak serve with a simple salad.

Maple Salmon

Courtesy of Allrecipes Dinner Spinner

You will need:
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon


  1. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
  2. Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

Low-Carb Gluten-Free Cheese Bread Pizza Crust

Courtesy of Tasty

You will need:
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese (170 g), divided
2 oz cream cheese (55 g)
⅓ cup almond flour (35 g), or coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon italian seasoning
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup tomato sauce (65 g) (for the topping)
5 large pepperonis, slices (for the topping)


  1. Melt ¾ cup (75 g) mozzarella and cream cheese together in the microwave for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds, or until fully melted.
  2. Combine almond (or coconut) flour, baking powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and egg. Mix well, then stir in the melted mozzarella until fully incorporated. Shape into a ball, cover, and chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C).
  4. Place chilled dough on a floured piece of parchment paper. Roll out into a circle about ¼- to ½-inch (6 to 13-mm) thick. Bake for 10 minutes, just until it starts to get golden brown.
  5. Top with tomato sauce, remaining mozzarella, and pepperoni, then bake again for another 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Cauliflower and Squash Cream Soup with Toasted Hazelnuts

Courtesy of Vegamecum

You will need:
17 oz of cauliflower (only the flowers)
17 oz of squash (peeled and deseeded)
1 leek
¼ teaspoon of ground pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 oz of toasted skinless hazelnuts
500 oz of water


  1. Separate the flowers from the trunk of the cauliflower, remove the hard part and wash well.
  2. Wash the pulp of the squash, cut into pieces and set aside.
  3. Remove the first layer of the leek and the green part, make some longitudinal cuts to eliminate the soil that it may have and wash it well. Then we cut it small and set aside.
  4. In a pot, put to heat the oil over medium heat and, when it is warm, add the leek and let it poach for 5 minutes.
  5. When the leek is poached, add the cauliflower and squash and sweat for couple of minutes. Then add salt and pepper.
  6. Pour the water and let cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the hazelnuts.
  7. After the cooking time, remove from the heat, blend everything well in a blender until you get a puree, without pieces.
  8. Plate with a handful of crushed hazelnuts on top and serve.