Category Archives: Recipe of the Week

Say ‘Cheeeeees-y Cornbread’!

Chef Molly served up some to-die-for cornbread for our Pop-Up Lunch at The Culinary Center of Kansas City on Friday, and we also served it Friday night at Local Life. We had lots of requests for the recipe, so here it is.

Our recipe calls for making it in a half sheet pan, but go with how the spirit moves you… try it in an 8.5×11″ pan, or bake it in muffin tins, or make it in a cast iron skillet.  However you make it, this family-friendly favorite is going to have them coming back for seconds. Enjoy!

Cheesy CornbreadCheesy Cornbread

  • 2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread Mix
  • 1 can creamed corn
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 cups cheese, your choice
  • 1 cup scallions, cut on a bias

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a half sheet pan well.

Combine the cornbread mix, creamed corn, eggs, sour cream, sugar, cheese, and scallions in a mixing bowl. (Small lumps are okay.)  Pour batter into prepared sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.  Serve warm.


Rudolph’s Red Nosed Very Merry Cocktail

Very Merry CocktailCheers to the holidays!

Holladay Distillery joined us for 3rd Friday Local Life at The Culinary Center of Kansas City in Downtown Overland Park this month, and they brought along the idea for this tasty holiday cocktail!

It would be delightful any time of the year, but makes a particularly nice, festive addition to your holiday party with its red color and refreshing flavor.

Enjoy at your next party!

Rudolph’s Red Nosed Very Merry Cocktail

  • 1.5 parts – 360 Madagascar Vanilla Vodka
  • 1 part – Orange Liqueur
  • 3 parts – Cranberry Juice
  • Top with Ginger Ale


Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo

Chef made up some Soup Shots for 3rd Fridays Local Life in December. ‘Tis the season when a warm, hearty bowl of soup tastes delicious and warms your body and soul.  We have featured our ever-popular Tomato & Cognac Soup recipe on our Kitchen Talk blog in the past (find the recipe here), and it’s often available for sale by the quart in our Dinners on Demand™ freezers also.

Today, we feature our Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo. #Yum – Try it at home and enjoy!

Chicken, Sausage & Shrimp GumboChicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

  • 2 red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, sliced
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 chicken thighs
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, cooked and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 8 ounces shrimp
  • approx 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallion greens, minced
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 12 cups white rice, cooked

Mix onions, bell pepper, celery, 1/4 cup parsley, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, cayenne and black pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Cook chicken in large pot over medium heat until browned. Set chicken aside in large bowl.

In same large pot, cook sausage over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add to chicken in bowl.

Pour remaining fat from pot into measuring cup, and add vegetable oil to make 2/3 cup total. Pout back into large pot and heat on medium-low, gradually mixing in flour with whisk, about 30 minutes. Stir frequently, careful not to burn.

Add broth to brown mixture in pot. Combine tomato paste with 2 cups water, and add along with chopped tomatoes. Add chicken and sausage. Bring to a boil on high heat; reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, until thickened.

Chop shrimp and add, stirring in remaining 1/2 cup parsley, scallions and vinegar, then cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.

Discard bay leaves before serving over rice.


Cranberry Sauce Still Lurking In The Fridge?

Cranberry SauceWhat should we do with our leftover Cranberry Sauce from Thanksgiving dinner?  You know, the stuff that we always make way too much of?  Is it still sitting in a bowl in your refrigerator? 

Let us know how you re-purpose your Cranberry Sauce… and we have a couple other ideas for you in addition to the uses that everyone thinks about, which are using it as a sandwich spread or on toast.

idea #1 – Heat, strain and create a craft cocktail syrup out of it.  (see recipe below)

Idea #2 – Turn those tangy cranberry sauce leftovers into a Cranberry Pie.

Idea #3 – Make Cranberry Muffins or Bread.

Idea #4 – Add the sauce to Grilled Cheese Sandwiches or Chicken Quesadillas.

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Heat your chunky cranberry sauce leftovers along with a bit of water, then fine-strain it. Use your new ‘cranberry cocktail syrup’ in this colorful drink:

Cranberry CocktailCranberry Sauce Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry sauce coctail syrup
  • 1 1/2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry liqueur

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake vigorously, then strain into an ice-filled rocks glass to serve.  Garnish with a candied cranberry rosemary or mint skewer, if desired.

Enjoy Thanksgiving (and the leftovers!)

Happy Thanksgiving!

ThanksgivingThe Culinary Center of Kansas City is closed today on Thanksgiving, so that staff and instructors can enjoy the day with family and friends.  We’ll be right back at it on Friday with cooking classes in our kitchens and Dinners on Demand and kitchenwares for sale in our Kitchen Shop!

We will have tastings available in our Kitchen Shop all weekend. PLUS, with the purchase of $150 or more on Friday or Saturday in-store or online, you can enjoy a FREE meal at our Pop-Up Lunch on Saturday. Get your shopping done in one stop, and enjoy a free lunch to boot! Think gift certificates, gifts for your favorite foodie or Dinners on Demand to stock your freezer… Bring that receipt back with you on Saturday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. – it’s your free lunch ticket. (Click here for information about our Pop-Up Lunch).  Merchants throughout Downtown Overland Park will have free hot drinks and great holiday sales and promotions on Saturday, so plan on making a day of it!

We also love Thanksgiving weekend because of the leftovers! Turkey dinner with all the traditional ‘fixins’ on the holiday is wonderful, but there is a bounty of follow-up dishes that are heavenly, as well.  Here’s a casserole recipe we love that makes use of leftover turkey and dressing. Hope you love it too! Enjoy…

Turkey Casserole

This simple dish will make perfect use of your Thanksgiving leftovers!

  • Spray oil, for pan
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10 ¾ oz.) cream of mushrooms soup
  • 1 pound turkey, cooked, chopped
  • 8 ounces turkey dressing (leftover or prepared bread dressing mix)
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup turkey or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup chives, minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with oil.

In medium mixing bowl, combine sour cream and mushroom soup.  Add the turkey and stir to combine.

In separate bowl mix dressing, butter, broth, and chives. Spread out half of the stuffing on the bottom of casserole. Top with the turkey mixture; then add the remaining dressing on top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Holiday Appetizers To Wow Your Guests

We’re feeling jolly at this month’s Local Life. The holidays are practically here, the temperatures are crisp, the Mayor’s Christmas Tree was lit tonight in Downtown Overland Park, and we’re starting to plan menus for entertaining.  In that spirit, Chef prepared some of our favorite appetizers. Try these at your next gathering – your guests will love them!

Chocolate HummusChocolate Hummus

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, high quality such as 60%

Combine the chickpeas, maple syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla and blend in a food processor to desired consistency.  Add the chocolate chips toward the end of the processing.  Serve with sliced apples or cinnamon-sugar pita crisps.  Makes 2½ cups

Blue Cheese, Bacon & Onion Savory Cheesecake

savory cheesecakeCrust

  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted


  • 2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup bacon, cooked, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ pound blue cheese, crumbled
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 to 4 drops hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ cup scallions, finely chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 260 degrees. 

For the crust, line a 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil.  In a mixing bowl add bread crumbs, cheese, and butter and stir to combine.  Transfer to pan.  Using hands (or back of spoon) press crust into the bottom of pan.  Set aside.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, eggs, and cream and mix thoroughly.  Add bacon, butter, onion, blue cheese, salt, pepper, and hot sauce and stir to incorporate all ingredients well.  Using a spatula, transfer cheese mixture to prepared springform pan, scraping sides to remove all of the mixture and smooth to cover entire pan.  Place in oven and bake for 90 minutes or until puffed and golden.  Turn oven off and allow cheesecake to sit in oven an additional 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and place in refrigerator overnight or until thoroughly chilled and set.  (Cheesecake can be made up to 3 days ahead of time.)

To serve, remove cheesecake from refrigerator.  Top with scallions, for garnish.  Serve with crackers.   Makes 20 to 40 appetizer servings

Serve with salted rice crackers which are usually packaged in tubes and can be found in the deli section of most grocery stores.  The combination of the salted crispiness of the cracker with the smooth and tangy texture of the cheesecake is perfect! 

Sweet Potato Empanadas with Beef Picadillo Filling and Harissa Sauce

Sweet Potato EmpanadasHarissa Sauce

  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
  • 2 whole jalapeno peppers washed, stem removed (or other hot pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup mayonnaise


  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ large onion, peeled, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (or raisins)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, unsalted, roasted, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons green olives, chopped (or capers)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • ¼ cup cilantro, fresh, washed, chopped (or parsley)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for rolling
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound butter, unsalted, cold
  • 2 cups sweet potato puree, chilled
  • 1 large egg white, beaten

For the sauce, in a food processor add red peppers, garlic, hot peppers, cumin coriander, caraway seeds, and salt.  Pulse until mixture is consistency of paste.  While processor is running, slowly add oil and continue to blend until mixture is smooth.   Turn off processor and add mayonnaise.  Pulse mixture until smooth.  Set aside.

For the filling, in a skillet heat oil.  Add beef, onion and garlic. Sauté until beef is no longer pink, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Add cranberries, almonds, olives, salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, and cilantro. Stir to combine well.  Set aside.

For the pastry, in a food processor add flour, cornmeal, salt, and butter.  Pulse until pieces of dough form to the size of a pea.  Add puree and egg white.  Continue to pulse until dough is moistened throughout.  Transfer dough to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place in refrigerator to chill for an hour.  Remove from refrigerator and set aside until dough is pliable and able to be rolled out. Transfer dough to a lightly floured countertop (or pastry cloth).  Using a rolling pin dusted with flour, roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter, cut dough into 3-inch rounds and transfer to a baking sheet. 

To assemble empanadas, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 1 tablespoon of the filling into the center of each dough round. Using a pastry brush (or your fingers), paint edges with beaten egg.  Fold dough over filling and pinch (or press with the tines of a fork) to seal edges.  (Make sure that edges are completely sealed so that the filling doesn’t bubble out when baking.)  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and transfer to a serving platter.  Serve warm with Harissa Sauce for dipping.  Makes 16 to 20 empanadas.

To prepare the sweet potato puree, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash outside of 2 small sweet potatoes. Using a fork (or sharp knife), pierce each potato 2 to 3 times so that steam can escape during cooking.  Place directly on rack in oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until potatoes are soft and sharp knife can be inserted easily.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool to the touch.  Remove peels and place flesh in a food processor.  Puree just until mixture is smooth.  Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerator until chilled. (Puree may be made up to one day in advance and stored refrigerator.)

Serving Up Pumpkins

The theme for our 3rd Fridays Local Life celebration in Downtown Overland Park in October on Friday was OPtoberfest: Pumpkins Everywhere!

In the spirit of the theme, and because we do so LOVE a good pumpkin recipe at The Culinary Center of Kansas City, we offered up pumpkin-themed samples and small plates in our kitchens tonight.  We’ll start with a Savory Pumpkin Dip, followed by a Harvest Pumpkin Pizza, and enjoy it with our Après-Raking Pumpkin Whiskey Cocktail

Then try them at home… and enjoy!

Savory Pumpkin DipSavory Pumpkin Dip


  • 1 (8 ounce) brick cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • 4-6 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy and crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, still the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, pumpkin puree, pecans, bacon, onions, salt and cinnamon together until combined.  Serve garnished with extra bacon and green onions if desired, or cover and refrigerate until use.  Makes about 2 cups.

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Harvest Pumpkin PizzaHarvest Pumpkin Pizza


  • Extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme, fresh and chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 homemade pizza dough (recipe follows or prepared ready-to-bake)
  • 1 cup arugula or other bitter green
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 cups Havarti cheese, freshly grated (or similar substitute)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For those that have a pizza stone, put the stone in the oven to warm.

While the oven is heating, heat the stove on medium low heat and cook half of the onions with olive oil. You’ll want to cook them on low heat for…a while to caramelize the onions. When they are about halfway caramelized, sprinkle sugar on them. As they cook, continue to stir and move them around with a spatula.

Next, add the pumpkin puree, garlic, shallot, thyme, and the other half of the onion to a mixing bowl. Mix in the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

On a lightly floured flat surface, roll the pizza dough into a circle, transfer it to your pizza stone and top it with the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle the arugula and caramelized onions on top of the pumpkin mixture, and then add the grated cheeses. You can add a dash of salt and pepper here, too, if you would like.  Cook the pizza till brown and bubbly.

Pizza Dough

(Prepare the day before)


  • 1½ cups water
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Start with a large bowl and add water, bread flour, and yeast on one side of the bowl and 1 ½ tsp of salt on the other side of the bowl.

Stir the mixture until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Then stir in extra virgin olive oil. Remove the dough from bowl and knead dough until smooth.

Oil the bottom of the sheet pan, divide the dough into four similar skins (or balls), continue to knead and then place them on the sheet pan.

Lay one side down, press gently then flip over and press down again, gently. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Makes enough dough for 4 (12-inch) pizzas

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Pumpkin Whiskey CocktailAprès-Raking Pumpkin Whiskey Cocktail


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 (1-inch) chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Small pinch of ground cloves
  • Small pinch of ground allspice


  • Sugar & cinnamon, for the glass rims
  • Whisky, as needed
  • Soda water, as needed
  • Ice cubes, as needed


In a saucepan over medium-high heat add the water, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for about 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Taste test and adjust seasonings if necessary. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Discard the ginger root.

Mix sugar and cinnamon on a plate.

Wet the rim of each cocktail glass.  Dip each glass into the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

For each cocktail, combine 1-2 tablespoons of the simple syrup with 1 1/2 ounces of whisky and top with soda water. Stir vigorously (a little separation may happen) until well combined. Add a few ice cubes and enjoy!

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If you love pumpkin as much as we love pumpkin, register today for our ‘Pumpkin Love: Clean, Simple and Delicious Recipes’ class at The Culinary Center on Oct. 30, 2017. Click here for more information!