If the newly minted head chef in your kitchen is—well—you, it might be time for a little inspiration from local culinary experts. Thanks to Shabu’s Robert Valaika, Twisted Fern’s Adam Ross, and Deer Valley Resort’s Jodie Rogers, we've compiled a trio of entrées for your home menu. Fear not, these dishes do not require exotic (or expensive) ingredients. We've tiered them from simple to somewhat involved—none require Cordon Bleu-quality skills, though. Bon appétit!
Kid-Friendly: Cheez-It Chicken
Courtesy of Robert Valaika
Chef Valaika is known for Shabu’s sophisticated “freestyle Asian" fare, but give the man a box of Cheez-Its and he can work wonders. When his wife Jennifer Valaika left a box of Cheez-Its out on the counter, hoping their kids would polish them off, Chef Robert decided he had a breadcrumb substitute. “By that evening, the Cheez-Its were gone, but the kids hadn’t eaten them,” recalls Jennifer. “Instead, I was surprised by my chef/husband Robert Valaika with the tastiest chicken fingers I have ever had...This isn’t Chef Robert’s typical style of cooking, but it is a simple recipe you can make at home with the kids to use up an old box of Cheez-Its."
Cheez-It Chicken Recipe
2 Large Chicken Breasts
1 C. Flour
1 C. Cheez-Its
1 tsp. Pepper
3 C. Canola Oil
Directions: Grind the Cheez-Its in a coffee grinder or put them in a Ziplock bag and have the kids pound on them with their fists. Dump them into a bowl. Put the flour in a second bowl. In a third bowl, scramble the eggs.
Butterfly cut the chicken breasts, then cut them into strips. Season with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken strips in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the Cheez-Its. Set aside.
Heat canola oil to 350 degrees in a heavy bottom or cast-iron pan. Place chicken strips in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and the middle is cooked through. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. Makes 4 servings.
Wholesome and simple: Chicken and Chorizo Soup
Courtesy Adam Ross
Looking for a quality meal that doesn’t require a bunch of prep time? This scrumptious soup “is great for us that are now juggling working from home, taking care of kids, and trying to save a few bucks here and there,” says Twisted Fern's Adam Ross.
Chicken and Chorizo Soup Recipe
3 cups Chicken thigh Seasoned with salt, pepper and chili powder, seared and then diced
½ lb Chorizo
1 1/2 Carrots (diced small)
1/2 bunch Celery (diced small)
1 medium yellow onion (diced small)
2 C. chickpeas (Canned are great, just drain and rinse well)
3 Tbsp garlic (minced)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp paprika
1/2 C white wine
1 ½ qt roasted vegetable stock
2 Roma tomatoes (seeded and diced)
2 C. hearty greens of your choice (beet greens, spinach etc., chopped)
Directions: Brown chorizo and add the mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery). Sweat the mixture until onions are translucent. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are soft. Season. Finish with the chopped greens and diced tomatoes right before serving. Makes one gallon.
Step up your game: Roasted Butternut Squash and Anasazi Bean Enchiladas
Courtesy Deer Valley Resort
Should you have a little extra time on your hands, Deer Valley Resort’s culinary team has got you covered with a mouthwatering vegetarian dish sans shortcuts (okay, you don’t actually have to hand-make the tortillas, but everything else is from scratch).
Roasted Butternut Squash and Anasazi Bean Enchiladas Recipe
Start to finish: Two hours Servings: 8
For the filling:
3 C. butternut squash, roasted and diced
2 C. Anasazi beans, cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 C. shiitake mushrooms, julienned and sautéed in olive oil
1 C. frozen corn, roasted
¼ C. pumpkin seeds, roasted
1 C. cilantro, chopped Salt and pepper to taste
Eight 8-inch white corn tortillas
1 C. cheddar cheese, grated
1 C. jack cheese, grated
½ C. cilantro sour cream (see recipe below)
Directions: Heat oven to 350 F. Mix the ingredients for the filling together, careful not to overmix (don’t make into a purée). Lay tortillas flat, top each with approximately 1 cup of the filling mix, a dollop of cilantro sour cream and 1/3 cup of both cheeses. Roll tortillas and place into baking pan. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the Roasted Tomatillo Cilantro Sauce (see recipe below) and remaining cheese. Return to oven to melt cheese over the top of the enchiladas. Use remaining cilantro sour cream as a garnish over the top of the heated enchiladas
Cilantro Sour Cream Recipe
Start to finish: 10 minutes Servings: 8
½ bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 ¼ tsp. garlic, puréed
14 3/8 ounces sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend thoroughly by hand
Roasted Tomatillo Cilantro Sauce
Start to finish: 45 minutes Servings: Approximately 8 - 10
6 pounds, 10 ounces tomatillos, peeled and roasted
4 1/3 bunches cilantro, washed
2/3 C. garlic, puréed
¾ C. cup plus 4 teaspoons shallots, chopped
3 pounds 5 ounces Anaheim chili peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled
3 pounds 5 ounces poblano peppers, roasted, seeded and peeled
8 tsp. salt
4 cups water
10 ounces butter, room temperature, cut into half-inch pieces
Directions: Purée all ingredients together in a food processor. Bring mixture to a boil in a large sauté pan. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and mount (add cold butter divided into small tabs) butter into sauce. Chill in refrigerator. Sauce may be kept refrigerated for up to five days.
And should you need a break from cooking...
Here's your delicious chance to support local business. A slew of restaurants are serving up curbside, drive-through dining. Just pick up the phone, order, prepay and pick up at the designated hour. Check out this list of local eateries: parkcityrestaurants.com. If you don't want to pick up your eats, outfits like Savoury Kitchen, are also offering delivery-to-your-door options (try their make-your-own pizza kits for a yummy, family-friendly activity). And almost every establishment will also happily sell you gift certificates for when they reopen their doors.