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“Just because you cook in a crappy little kitchen does not justify a crappy meal!” So says Chef Jennifer Schaertl, author of GOURMET MEALS IN CRAPPY LITTLE KITCHENS. In it she tackles the myths about gourmet cooking and shows home cooks how to make fun and delectable meals despite the lack of counter space and high-tech, expensive appliances, and gadgets. She offers practical hints and tips that help make the most of any crappy little kitchen

This week Jennifer’s offering four brand-new, never before published, recipes developed just for you.  The FREE recipes are Holy Moly Chicken Pasole, which is a gourmet version of the Tortilla Soup, No Body Better Lay A Finger on My Corn Fritter, Make No Mistake Coffee Cake & Rhubarb Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend. It’s her way of saying “thank you” to her cookbook fans and friends.

So, enjoy these new recipes, and if you have your own blog, you have our permission to reprint them on your site.  Enjoy the upcoming holiday weekend. Hope it’s delicious!!

Holy Moly Chicken Pasole

Makes 2.5 Quarts

A gourmet version of tortilla soup, this rustic version is actually thickened with finely diced pieces of corn tortilla that break down as the stew simmers. It’s also a great way to utilize leftover chicken, which makes it a standard on my rotation of Soupe du Jour in my restaurant. There’s always leftover chicken laying around!

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded off the bone

8 c chicken stock

1 onion, diced

6 cloves garlic

1 green bell, diced

1 rib of celery, diced

2 T chili powder

1 T ground cumin

½ c tomato puree

1 large tomato, diced

1 T oregano

5 corn tortilla finely minced

½ tsp red pepper

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

½ c cilantro, chopped

  1. In a large stock pot over a medium-high heat, bring the shredded chicken, stock, onion, garlic, bell pepper, and celery to a gentle simmer. Once simmering, add all of the other ingredients except for salt, pepper, and cilantro.
  2. Once the tortilla has begun to break down and thicken the stew (about 30 minutes), season to your tastes with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chopped cilantro.

Nobody Better Lay a Finger on My Corn Fritter

Makes 15-20 fritters

Beautiful little side dishes, but I usually put them in bread baskets along with the rolls at my restaurants. The corn is sweet and juicy inside this fluffy pan fried biscuit. The kids will eat with butter and the adults will dip it in the soup, but everyone will be all over this moist and flavorful fritter.

3 ½ c all purpose flour

1 T baking powder

1 T sea salt

5 eggs

2/3 c whole milk

3 ¾ c yellow corn kernels, canned or defrosted, but well drained

2 T butter, melted plus more for frying

  1. Preheat your oven to 500°. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in large bowl. Add the eggs, milk, corn and melted butter and fold until completely moistened. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be lumpy!
  2. Place a large sauté pan over a medium heat. Add just enough melted butter to cover the bottom of the pan, and drop corn batter by tablespoon full into the hot butter. Fry until brown on both sides, and transfer to a baking sheet to bake at 500° for 5 minutes once all the fritters have been fried. Cool slightly before serving.

Make no Mistake Coffee Cake

Makes approximately 18 pieces

Whether for brunch, dessert, or coffee table edible décor for company, this is a fool proof classic. It mixes together easily, looks beautiful, and tastes a buttery and divine. I’ve served it as a complimentary table gift at brunch serves, but my good friend and wonderful pastry chef friend, Tsuki, makes it for her family all the time.


1 cup sugar

1 cup butter, unsalted, room temperature

½ tsp salt

2 eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 T Baking powder

1 cup milk, room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla


1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 T Cinnamon

4 T Butter

4 T all purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and spray a 9 x 13-inch disposable pan with pan spray.
  2. Make certain that the butter is a soft, room temperature to make sure it creams easily. Using a whisk cream the butter, sugar, and salt together until they become light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time.
  3. Sift the remaining dry ingredients into a clean bowl or plate using a fine wire strainer. Fold in half of the dry ingredients to the cake batter and then half of the milk and vanilla. Repeat with the last of the dry and wet. Combine the filling ingredients in a separate container.
  4. In prepped pan layer add ½ cake batter, sprinkle ½ filling, and then the other ½ of the cake batter. Carefully spread the batter evenly with a spoon or spatula, trying to keep the filling in place. Sprinkle remaining filling over the top.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes and serve.

Rhubarb Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

Makes approximately 18 pieces

Use the same bowl for the crust and the filling with this recipe, rather than making multiple dishes for washing. This is also a crazy adaptable recipe. Substitute berries or any other fruit that is in season for the rhubarb, or even ½ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of lemon zest to make a traditional lemon bar. Feel free to dust them with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer, but I don’t feel the distraction is needed.


2 c flour

¾ c sugar

1 c butter at room temperature


5 eggs

1 ½ c sugar

½ c flour

½ tsp salt

4 c rhubarb, medium dice

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. In a bowl, work the flour, sugar and soft butter together until a soft dough ball forms. Press this dough evenly into the bottom of a 9×11 baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. Work quickly because this filling works best if poured over the crust while it’s hot from the oven. Simply whisk together the filling ingredients in the same bowl that you made the crust.
  3. Pour over the piping hot crust and put back in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set. When cool, cut into desired shapes, but I prefer diamond shapes. They stack just as well as squares, but look far more striking to the eye.

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes by Jennifer Schaertl, author of Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens

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