Tag Archives: Father’s Day

A Simple Guacamole for Father’s Day

Written by Chris – 

Guacamole Recipe

Father’s Day falls on the third Sunday of June, which also coincides with the U.S. Open. It’s been a standing tradition in my family to celebrate Dad while watching this major golf championship together. My husband actually dabbled in professional golf early on, but once the triplets arrived, he put his golf aspirations on hold (he has his eye on the Champions Tour!). Our kids are now in a Junior Golf League, so golf is just part of our life. As is good food!

We usually keep it simple (as in little time spent in the kitchen) when it comes to food. So in the spirit of keeping it simple, I wanted to share a new Guacamole recipe with you! Whether you are entertaining or lounging, this appetizer is sure to please!

A few weeks ago I tested Natalie’s guacamole recipe – Natalie is a culinary professional in our test kitchen. If you haven’t met her, you can check her out here. She’s awesome, trust me! I noticed the guacamole used Maggi Seasoning Sauce. I’ve been splashing Maggi Seasoning over my avocado and scrambled eggs for years – it’s full of umami-rich flavor and adds depth to stir-fries, gravies, soups, stews and such. A little goes a long way, so go easy! This guacamole uses classic ingredients like avocado, tomato, peppers, cilantro and lemon, then adds a little cream for a smooth and creamy texture. The cream is really optional.

Here’s a few avocado and guacamole tips…

Avocados are best ripened at room temperature. You will know they are ripe if they give to gentle pressure. You can speed the ripening process by putting the avocado in a paper bag in a warm place (like on top of the refrigerator) or in a bowl with other fruit; the ethylene gas they emit will ripen the avocados. It’s best to not refrigerate avocados after they are ripe as this weakens their flavor.

Guacamole Recipe

To dice the avocado, I find it easiest to make cross-hatch incisions in flesh with a knife, cutting down to but not through skin. With a spoon, scoop out the cubes.

You really can’t keep guacamole from turning brown, but you can slow down the process. Use Hass avocados and add citrus (lemon or lime) to your guacamole, cover with plastic directly on its surface, and keep it cold. That’s the best advice I can give.

Ok, here’s Natalie’s delicious recipe…

Guacamole Recipe


Ingredients for 3 ½ to 4 cups of guacamole:

  • 1/4 cup NESTLÉ Media Crema Ligera Lite Table Cream or light sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon MAGGI Seasoning Sauce
  • 4 medium ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 jalapeño, deveined and seeded, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
  • Baked tortilla chips


MIX media crema, seasoning sauce and avocados gently in a medium bowl. Add tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and lemon juice; mix until incorporated. Serve with tortilla chips.

It’s best to serve guacamole right after it’s made. If you want to make it in advance, place plastic wrap directly over the surface of the guacamole and place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

If you are looking for a last-minute gift for Dad, I highly recommend this cookbook, Absolutely Avocados by Gaby Dalkin. I’ve made several of Gaby’s recipes and all are outstanding!

Happy Father’s Day!

Related Recipes:

Avocado Cilantro Dip Recipe Avocado and Tomato Salad with Confetti Vinaigrette Recipe
Cilantro Dip
Avocado and Tomato Salad
with Confetti Vinaigrette

Happy German Chocolate Cake Day & Early Father’s Day

Written by Liz -

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

My dad’s favorite cake has always been German chocolate cake. Early in this cake’s life, that meant using Samuel German’s baking chocolate to make a light-bodied chocolate layer cake, then adding coconut, caramel and pecan icing or glaze in between the layers and on top. You can see why he liked it so much!

When I was young, this was not my favorite cake to eat (no nuts or coconut for this girl, thank you) and it wasn’t the easiest cake to make either. My dad sometimes received a leaning tower of cake mess, other times a whole new version of the cake without layers or coconut or nuts after misreading the salt measurement — I accidentally switched the salt and sugar amounts — and dumping the entire first attempt into the creek behind our house. And for this, he should be thankful.

Today, I join my dad in loving German chocolate cake. And even though I now know how to make chocolate layer cakes (thanks to you Chris!) I really love to make these German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes instead. It’s easy and satisfying and I don’t even have to turn on my oven! The ice cream even has little bites of chocolate cake in it (and if you can’t find this summertime flavor, any chocolate ice cream with brownie chunks will do). The flavor takes me right back to countless Father’s Days and birthdays for my dad, which I can now make taste richer and creamier.

Here’s to you dad!

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes



German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

COMBINE evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolk and butter in a large saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until thickened, as shown above.

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

Remove from heat; stir in vanilla extract, pecans and coconut. Pour into a bowl; cool to room temperature.

German Chocolate Cake Ice Cream Sundaes recipe

PLACE scoop of ice cream into each of 6 bowls; drizzle with topping. Garnish with whipped cream and cherries, if desired as shown above. Serve immediately.

Related German chocolate recipes:

Rich & Creamy German Hot Chocolate recipe German Chocolate Brownies recipe
Rich & Creamy German
Hot Chocolate
German Chocolate

Grilled Panzanella: A Twist on the Traditional Italian Bread Salad

Written by Chris -

Grilled Panzanella recipe

For a summery appetizer, nothing’s easier than fresh, seasonal produce and firing up the grill. Traditional panzanella is an Italian summer salad incorporating semi-stale bread which has been moistened by presoaking in water or vinaigrette. Garden-fresh produce like tomatoes, cucumbers and basil are common ingredients and it’s typically dressed with a simple vinaigrette. And it’s great for Father’s Day!

In this recipe, grilled bell peppers and zucchini, fresh cucumber, ripe tomatoes, fresh basil and sliced shallot are tossed with a pesto-spiked vinaigrette, and then placed on top of rustic grilled bread slices (like a bruschetta). I prefer less bread, so serving the salad over bread is a simple solution. If you want to go the more traditional route, tear or cut the grilled bread into pieces and add to the salad. Be sure to toss it well so that the bread can soften and soak up the tasty vinaigrette.

Served atop bread, I find it to be the perfect summer appetizer, especially with a medium-bodied white wine, like a Pinot Gris. It’s also wonderful with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. To make this a light meal (something I do all the time), pile the vegetable mixture into a bowl and serve with grilled bread.

A few tips before you get started:

  • Sweet bell peppers, yellow and red in particular, are especially tasty when grilled. They take on a complex, smoky flavor. Simply cut them in quarters, brush with a little oil, and then throw them on the grill. Once their skin wrinkles and blisters, they’re done.
  • Grilling zucchini couldn’t be easier – it’s the easiest way to cook zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise or into thick strips, coat with a little oil and grill.
  • I’m a huge fan of grilling bread. But watch it carefully – all it needs is about 30 seconds on each side. Any Italian-style rustic bread will be great. If you are using a larger/wider loaf, cut the slices in half for serving.
  • Cut the veggies into bite-size pieces so that they don’t fall off the bread slices as you take a bite (I’m speaking from experience here).

Grilled Panzanella

Ingredients for 20 individual appetizers or 4-6 light servings:



  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 loaf (1 pound) rustic Italian, whole-wheat or French bread (10 to 12 inches long), sliced into 1-inch pieces, cut in half
  • 2 large bell peppers, any color, quartered
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, sliced thin
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh basil, plus more for garnish


WHISK together ¼ cup oil, pesto, vinegar and garlic in small bowl; season with salt and pepper.

GENTLY toss tomatoes with ½ teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Transfer to colander and set over bowl or in sink; set aside to drain for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally (this will allow water to drain out).

Grilled Panzanella recipe

HEAT grill to medium-high. Brush bread pieces on both sides with some of the remaining oil (you will need about 2 to 3 tablespoons); sprinkle with a little sea salt. Grill for about 30 seconds on each side or until nicely browned. Set aside.

BRUSH peppers and zucchini with a little of the remaining oil (about 1 tablespoon will be needed); grill on each side for about 4 minutes. Cool; cut into bite-size pieces.

ADD tomatoes, cucumber, shallot and basil to large bowl. Add grilled vegetables and vinaigrette; toss to coat.

Grilled Panzanella recipe

SPOON a few tablespoons vegetable mixture over each bread slice and serve bruschetta-style. Or, for a light entrée, serve two bread slices with about 1 cup of the vegetable mixture. Garnish with additional shredded basil, if desired.

Here’s to a joyful, relaxing summer! Bon appétit!


Related Buitoni recipes:

Chicken & Four Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Basil recipe
Chicken & Four Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Basil
Vegetable Tortellini soup recipe
Vegetable Tortellini Soup with Pesto

Summer Grilling: Beat The Heat By Bringing Cooking Outdoors

Written by Liz -

Grilled Fruit with Apple-Maple Syrup recipe

It’s the time of year to retire the oven and do a little backyard cooking, especially with Father’s Day just around the corner! With just a grill and tongs, the great outdoors can provide a natural setting for creative menus. Here are some tips and tricks for firing up your mealtime in the warm months ahead:

  • Arm Yourself with the Right Tools. If it’s always grill season for you, consider investing in a high-quality grill that can be used year after year. Next, buy a set of flat metal skewers—they do not require soaking and they will not fall apart like the wooden ones. The flat edge keeps food from turning, which is an added bonus.
  • Master the Classics. No barbecue is complete without hamburgers and hot dogs. Toasted buns should be placed butter side down for a few minutes until golden brown. Make handmade patties 3⁄4 of an inch thick and use chopped onions, dry onion-soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to season. Hot dogs should be turned often until slightly blistered on all sides. For veggie lovers, portobello mushrooms marinated in equal parts olive oil and balsamic vinegar are a tasty alternative.
  • Experiment. Grills are for more than just meat! Pizza, fruits and vegetables gain new appreciation when cooked on an open flame.

Kids and adults will both love this Grilled Fruit with Apple-Maple Syrup as a summertime treat. Brushed with a warm blend of 100% apple juice and pure maple syrup, this grillable dessert is ideal with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Fruit with Apple-Maple Syrup

Ingredients for 4 servings:


COMBINE Juicy Juice and syrup in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

PREHEAT grill. Brush fruit lightly with a small amount of syrup. Grill fruit, brushing occasionally with additional syrup, for about 2 to 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned.

REMOVE fruit to individual dishes and top each with a scoop of ice cream. Drizzle with remaining syrup.


Related grilling recipes:

Linguine with Lemon and Grilled Baby Artichokes recipe
Linguine with Lemon and Grilled Baby Artichokes
Grilled Pound Cake with Seasonal Berries and Apple-Ginger Syrup recipe
Grilled Pound Cake with Seasonal Berries & Apple-Ginger Syrup

Chinese Inspiration: Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables

Written by Liz -

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

Eating out is probably my very favorite thing to do. I love to pick out a new restaurant, then go check out its neighborhood and decor, imagining myself living nearby and becoming a regular, noting coffee shops on the corner I might frequent in the morning and places to find new wines after work. I always ask the server what the chef recommends – after all, he is the expert. She is the one who knows what’s fresh, what’s done best in her kitchen.

I especially love small, family owned, neighborhood Chinese joints, where you can find dishes so authentic you could only dream of recreating them at home. On a recent visit to one such place, I promptly asked “What should I eat?” Chef sent several dishes: all traditional Chinese slightly tweaked to accommodate local ingredients and Chef’s recent culinary obsessions. My favorites were the Szechuan Lamb Loin in Traditional Orange Peel Sauce and the Braised Fresh Black Cod with Szechuan Chili Sauce. Chef gallantly shared his black cod recipe with me, which was 3 pages long and included ingredients I couldn’t pronounce! I immediately set about making a simpler version that’s also easy to cook (based on Chris’ fish packets recipe).

I love Szechuan cooking: really spicy but also a sweet or cooling element to balance it. In this recipe, you can adjust the amount of red pepper flakes to get just the right level of spice that you will love. Gourmet Chinese food at home!

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Grated peel and juice from 1 Mandarin orange or tangerine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 1 bunch green onions, half bunch sliced thinly lengthwise and other half diced for garnish
  • 4 quarter-sized slices fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 (4 to 5 ounces each) about 1-inch-thick Alaskan or Black Cod fish fillets (can use other white fish such as wild halibut, red snapper, orange roughy or talapia)
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups total)
  • 2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch circles (about 1 1/2 cups total)
  • Heavy-duty foil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish


Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

PREHEAT oven to 450° F.

HEAT 1 tablespoon sesame oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes or until brown.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

COMBINE remaining 3 tablespoons sesame oil, browned garlic, orange juice and grated peel, chicken stock, seasoning sauce, sake, thinly sliced green onions, ginger, brown sugar, chili flakes and cinnamon in large bowl. Mix well, as shown above.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

ARRANGE four 12 x 13-inch pieces of foil on work surface. Divide asparagus and zucchini evenly down center of each foil sheet. Place one fish fillet over vegetables.

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

FOLD up foil sides to create small foil bowl. Pour about one-quarter cup of the sauce over fish and vegetables for each packet. Double fold top and ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place on 15 x 10-inch jelly roll pan or rimmed baking sheet.

BAKE for 17 to 20 minutes or until fish is just opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Carefully open packets, allowing steam to escape away from you and let cool briefly. Using a spatula, gently push the fish and vegetables onto plate. Top with sauce, diced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. (This is also great served over rice.)

Steamed Shanghai Black Cod with Summer Vegetables recipe

Cook’s Tip:

Fish packets are also great on the grill! Preheat grill to medium. Place packets on grill; cover and cook over indirect heat for 20 minutes or until fish is opaque in center and vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from grill and open carefully.


More fish recipes:

No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto recipe
No Mess Summer Fish Packets with Pesto
Lemon-Dill Salmon recipe
Lemon-Dill Salmon recipe

Perfect for Dad’s Day & Summer: Grilled Sticky Ribs + Asian Coleslaw

Written by Chris

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Celebrate Father’s Day and kick off your summer festivities with these succulent ribs. They are first baked then grilled with a sweet chili glaze for a delightful Asian-inspired finish. With only 20 minutes of preparation time, and mostly-unattended cooking time, this meal is hard to beat!

Asian Coleslaw recipe

Asian Coleslaw recipe

I like to serve this with the Asian Coleslaw above, and here’s a little tip: If you have leftover glaze from the recipe below, use it in the slaw dressing; you only need 2 tablespoons. Just replace the sweet chili sauce with the glaze. Mmm, finger-licking good I tell you!

Grilled Sticky Ribs, shown at top

Ingredients for 5 to 6 servings:

  • Aluminum foil
  • 2 racks (about 4 pounds total) baby back ribs
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup MAGGI TASTE OF ASIA Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine (mirin)


PREHEAT oven to 300° F.

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Using a knife, remove the membrane (that’s the shiny white coating) from bone side of ribs. This step is very important for tender ribs. You basically just need to get that knife under the membrane to loosen it and then start easing the membrane away from the meat. If the membrane feels slippery, use a paper towel for a good grip. If you are lucky, the membrane will come off in one piece as shown above. Just keep working at it, it will come off. 

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

PAT ribs dry with paper towel; season both sides liberally with garlic salt and black pepper as show above. Place ribs in a large roasting pan, overlapping as needed. Add about ½ cup water to pan. Cover tightly with foil.
BAKE for about 3 hours or until meat is very tender but not quite falling off the bones. (If you are short on time, just make sure the ribs bake at least 1 ½ hours.)

For the Sweet Chili Glaze:

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

HEAT oil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until soft. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook for 1 minute. Stir in sweet chili sauce, Juicy Juice and rice wine. Reduce heat to low; cook for 8 minutes or until sauce is reduced to about 1 cup. It should be thick and sticky as shown above. 

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

PREHEAT grill or broiler. Brush glaze over tops of ribs. Grill over medium flame for 4 to 5 minutes or broil about 4 inches from heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce caramelizes as shown above. Cut between the bones to separate; serve with any remaining glaze.

Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe

Happy Father’s Day to all the sweet (and spicy) dads and husbands out there! 


Related recipes – make it a meal:

Mini Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Fresh Mint Ice Cream recipe
Mini Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches with Fresh Mint Ice Cream
Asian Coleslaw recipe
Asian Coleslaw (don’t forget to add sticky rib sauce!)

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