Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Two new pies to try for Thanksgiving: Festive twists on key lime and chocolate cream pies

This is a sponsored post by Challenge, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I was lucky enough to finish my first baking class in culinary school one week before Thanksgiving. How convenient! I developed a passion for pies during the class. Two of my favorite pies we made were key lime pie and chocolate cream pie. I made them for Thanksgiving, but with a few festive changes.

I swapped the graham cracker crust on the key lime pie for a gingersnap cookie crust and topped it with candied cranberries. And I added a little Grand Marnier, which is an orange liqueur, to the chocolate cream pie.

The key lime pie is traditionally made with key limes, which are more tart than regular limes, but fresh key limes are hard to find and key lime juice is difficult to track down. A good substitution is to use half lime juice and half lemon juice.

I only used Challenge butter when making these pies. Superior ingredients make superior products, and you can really tell a difference when making the crusts how much better Challenge butter is than its competitors.

Candied cranberry key lime pie


For the gingersnap crust

For the filling

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 ounces key lime juice (if no key lime juice, use 2 ounces lime juice and 2 ounces lemon juice)
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest (or zest from 1 lime)

For the candied cranberry topping

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 ounces cranberries


For the crust

  1. Mix the gingersnap crumbs, butter, and sugar together until crumbs are well coated.  
  2. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of pie pan, and set aside to prepare filling.

For the filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk smoothly by hand with whisk. 
  3. Add in key lime juice and zest.
  4. Pour filling into crust and bake for 20 minutes or until filling is just set.
  5. Remove from oven and cool. Once cool, chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

For the candied cranberry topping

  1. Cook 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in heavy saucepan on low, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add cranberries and cook until they soften but don’t break open, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from stovetop and drain cranberries.
  4. Transfer cranberries to baking sheet lined with wax paper and dry for at least 1 hour.
  5. Roll cranberries in remaining sugar until well coated.
  6. Adorn key lime pie with candied cranberries and serve.

Chocolate cream pie with Grand Marnier


For the crust

  • 330 grams pastry flour (use all-purpose flour if no pastry flour available)
  • 16 grams granulated sugar
  • 7 grams (about 1 teaspoon) salt
  • 231 grams (about 8 ounces) Challenge unsalted butter
  • 98.5 grams (about 3/8 cup) cold water

For the filling

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted 
  • 6 ounces Challenge unsalted butter, room temperature
For the whipped cream topping
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the crust

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and butter until pieces of butter are about the size of a pea.  
  3. Add the water to flour mixture and mix until just incorporated.
  4. Allow dough to rest in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Refrigerate overnight for best results.
  5. Transfer pie dough to floured work surface. Roll out pie dough until crust is larger than diameter of pie dish.
  6. Move dough to pie dish and trim excess dough from edges. Return to refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from refrigerator and crimp pie dough edges.
  8. Line pie dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans to rim of pie crust.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, remove paper and weight, and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.

For the filling

  1. Whisk together eggs, sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla and salt in top of double boiler. Stir constantly until mixture turns pale in color and thickens, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Add chocolate and butter and stir until smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Pour filling into cooled, pre-baked pie crust and smooth top.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. It’s best to refrigerate overnight.

For the whipped cream topping

  1. While heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract on high speed until medium peaks for, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Spread whipped cream on top of pie.
  3. Garnish with chocolate shavings and serve.

Non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes for a non-traditional Thanksgiving

This is a sponsored post by Challenge, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

"What are you doing to help your family stay safe this Thanksgiving?" It's a question we all should ask this week. For everyone making the tough but important choice to not travel and gather in person, perhaps this is the year you try out new recipes.

I've spent the past month testing fun twists on traditional Thanksgiving foods, and after many hours of work, I finally settled on our menu.

Main Course

Roasted Cornish game hen


Chorizo cornbread dressing

The creamiest, cheesiest macaroni and cheese

Loaded sweet potatoes

Brussels sprouts on a stalk

Pumpkin-shaped soft yeast rolls

Harvest salad with warm bacon dressing


Candied cranberry key lime pie

Chocolate cream pie with Grand Marnier

The recipes for the macaroni and cheese and the dressing took me the longest to develop.

I hate it when you eat macaroni and cheese, and you know it’s supposed to be good because the main ingredients are cheese and pasta, but it’s bland. The keys to a good macaroni and cheese for me are melty, stringy cheese, a crunchy top layer, and lots of flavor.

To achieve this, I used three types of cheese: extra sharp cheddar, gruyere, and parmesan. Also, after testing crunchy toppings, I decided I prefer Ritz cracker crumbs to bread crumbs.

Also, it’s important to note I grated blocks of cheese for this recipe—I did NOT purchase shredded cheese. Shredded cheese contains preservatives that prevent the cheese from clumping together, but the preservatives also prevent the cheese from melting well.

The combination of flavors in the chorizo cornbread dressing is very unique. The subtle sweetness of the cornbread pairs so well with the spicy chorizo, and tart dried cherries. For a little crunch, I added roasted pumpkin seeds. Toasted pecans or walnuts would work well, too!

Note: You can make the recipe with gluten-free cornbread and with soy chorizo, depending on diet preferences.

My most-used ingredient when preparing our Thanksgiving feast was Challenge butter.

Their product is far superior to everything else on the stores’ shelves. It’s 100% natural without the use of the synthetic hormone rBST. You can smell the difference as soon as you unwrap a stick.

I hope by sharing this menu and my recipes I inspire you to try something new this holiday season.

(Stay tuned for a separate post about my pie recipes!)

Ultra creamy macaroni and cheese


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 ounces Challenge unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces flour
  • 5 cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 2 cups gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup cracker crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 3-quart (or similar size) dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Boil macaroni 1 minute shy of al dente (about 4 minutes). Drain and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk constantly until flour starts to foam and it forms paste.
  4. Slowly whisk in milk and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil and reduce sauce to a simmer.
  5. Add bay leaf, mustard, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and nutmeg, and continue to simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and remove bay leaf. Stir in 3 cups extra sharp cheddar.
  7. Add drained macaroni to cheese sauce and mix until combined.
  8. Pour half of pasta mixture into baking dish. Top with 1 1/2 cups gruyere cheese. Add rest of pasta mixture to baking dish.
  9. Top with 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup gruyere cheese, and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake about 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  11. Remove baking dish from oven and crank heat up 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Return baking dish to oven for about 3 to 5 minutes or until top is golden brown and crunchy.
  12. Let macaroni and cheese set up for about 10 minutes before serving.

Chorizo cornbread dressing


  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 cups cornbread (from 8x8 pan), crumbled and dried overnight or toasted
  • 1 pound Mexican chorizo
  • 8 ounces yellow onion, medium dice
  • 4 ounces celery, medium dice
  • 1-2 jalapeños (depending on spice preference—personally, I used 2), small dice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons sage, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons thyme, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 4 ounces Challenge unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (or pecans)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 2-quart (or similar size) dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. Soak dried tart cherries in vinegar and set aside.
  3. Spray medium-sized baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  4. Put cornbread in large bowl.
  5. Cook chorizo in large skillet over medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add onion, celery, and jalapeño to skillet, and sauté until onions are soft.
  7. Add garlic, sage, and thyme. Cook until fragrant—about 2 minutes. 
  8. Season with salt, black pepper, and smoked paprika. Add to bowl with cornbread.
  9. Whisk together egg and chicken stock. Pour over cornbread mixture.
  10. Pour melted butter over cornbread.
  11. Stir cherry/vinegar mixture and pumpkin seeds into cornbread mixture.
  12. Transfer to baking dish, cover with foil, and bake 30 to 35 minutes.
  13. Remove foil and allow to brown on top by cooking another 10 top 15 minutes.
  14. Garnish with additional chopped sage and thyme.
  15. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Spaghetti and meatball eyeballs

About a year ago, I saw squid ink pasta for sale at Trader Joe’s, and I thought to myself, “This would be perfect for Halloween!” I didn’t know what I was going to do with the pasta, but I knew I needed to find a use for it. 

Finally, it’s making its debut as the perfect accompaniment to meatball eyeballs.

This super simple and spooky dinner would be perfect to serve on Halloween night. Of course, if you prefer to use your favorite meatball or spaghetti recipe, that’s perfectly fine! 

Spaghetti and meatball eyeballs

Yield: Makes about 12 meatballs


For the sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 ounces onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 56 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the meatballs

  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 12 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 12 olive slices
  • 12 candy eyes

Other Ingredients

  • 1 pound squid ink pasta (or spaghetti), cooked


For the sauce

  1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat and add onion. 
  2. Cook, stirring often, until onion begins to brown slightly, or about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes, bay leaf, salt, oregano, and black pepper.
  5. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, stirring often, until sauce reduces slightly, about 30 minutes.
  6. Make meatballs while sauce simmers.

For the meatballs

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheet that has raised edges with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Combine egg, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add ground beef to bowl and use hands to mix ingredients.
  4. Add breadcrumbs to beef mixture and mix until just combined.
  5. Use hands to form 1 1/2-inch meatballs and place onto baking sheet.
  6. Bake until cooked through, about 18-22 minutes. 
  7. Remove baking sheet from oven and place cheese slice on top of each meatball.
  8. Return to oven for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cheese slice is melted.
  9. Remove from oven and place olive slice on top of each cheese slice.
  10. Place candy eye in center of each olive slice.


  1. Plate desired amount of pasta with about 1/2 cup sauce and 2 meatballs.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Bloodshot Eyeball S'mores Bars

This is a sponsored post by Challenge, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

These s'mores bars may very well be the easiest dessert I've ever made. The graham cracker crust requires one bowl and a spoon for mixing; everything else gets layered in an 8-inch square pan.

S'mores bars would be a delicious dessert for any time of year, but they are especially fun to turn into a spooky treat for Halloween. I'm not sure what made me think to turn marshmallows into bloodshot eyes, but I guess that's where my mind is right now.

I used Wilton Red Sparkle Gel to create the squiggly bloodshot lines, and then I stuck colored candy eyeballs on top. If you can't find the gel, use any type of red icing. You can find candy eyeballs in the baking section of most grocery stores this time of year, but if you have issues finding them, use an M&M or a Spree and draw a little black pupil on the candy with an edible marker.

You could also adapt this recipe for winter and draw snowman faces on the marshmallows.

Because this recipe has so few ingredients, it's important to make sure everything you use is of the best quality. For example, I used Challenge butter because they use fresh, hormone-free milk, and they don't add any unnatural additives which results in a superior product.

Bloodshot Eyeball S'mores Bars

Yield: One 8 x 8-inch dish, about 20 bars


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted Challenge butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup (150 grams) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 cup (100 grams) graham cracker crumbs 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 king size chocolate bars (milk or dark chocolate, 7 ounces each)
  • 20 marshmallows or 10 jumbo marshmallows cut in half
  • Wilton Red Sparkle Gel or other cookie icing
  • Candy eyes


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit; butter 8 x 8-inch pan and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment paper.
  2. Mix butter with brown sugar, egg, and vanilla extract. Stir in flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Spread evenly into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes on middle rack.
  4. Cover top with chocolate bars and return to oven for about 1 to 2 minutes, or until chocolate just starts to melt.
  5. Remove from oven and top with marshmallows.
  6. Set oven to low broil. Return pan to oven for 1 to 2 minutes or until marshmallows start to turn golden brown. Watch marshmallows carefully to ensure they don't burn.
  7. Remove from oven and cool.
  8. Decorate marshmallows with red gel in squiggly lines to resemble bloodshot eyes. Place candy eyes in center. Allow icing to set before removing from pan. 
  9. Cut into bars and serve.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Amaretto Brown Butter Apple Crisp


This is a sponsored post by Challenge butter, but the text and opinions are all mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make Kylee's Kitchen possible!

I can't think of a more classic fall dessert than apple crisp. It's warm, it's comforting, and it's a great way to use up the excessive amount of apples you picked over the weekend when you got caught up in the moment doing all the fall things. 

One of these best things about apple crisp is you can't really mess it up. Even a bad apple crisp is better than no apple crisp. That being said, I really wanted to elevate an already delicious dessert with two special ingredients: amaretto and brown butter. It's the difference between good and WOW! 

I tested this recipe with apple slices and diced apples. I liked the look of sliced apples better, but the diced apples may have been a little easier to eat. You decide what you like best, though!

I used Challenge butter in this recipe because I like that they use hormone-free milk from local dairies, and they don’t add any unnatural additives.

Amaretto Brown Butter Apple Crisp 

Yield: One 8 x 8 dish, about 6 servings


For the topping

  • 6 Tablespoons Challenge butter
  • 1 cup oats*
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour**
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons amaretto
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling
  • 6 medium apples (about 26 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour***
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup amaretto


For the topping

  1. Slice butter into Tablespoon-sized pieces and heat in skillet over medium heat
  2. Stir butter around and wait for it to melt. It will foam around the edges.
  3. Around 6 to 8 minutes of cooking butter, you'll notice light brown specks at the bottom of the pan. Smell butter; it should have nutty aroma.
  4. Remove butter from stovetop and pour into medium-size heat-proof bowl.
  5. Chill butter in refrigerator until it becomes solid again, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Add all other topping ingredients to bowl with brown butter and stir to combine. Set aside.

For the filling

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare 8x8 baking dish with nonstick spray. Add filling ingredients to baking dish and stir to combine.
  3. Sprinkle topping evenly over apple mixture and bake for about 40 minutes on low oven rack. Put aluminum foil over top of dish after 20 minutes to ensure topping doesn't burn. Mixture should be bubbly on sides when it's removed from oven.
  4. Allow it to set for about 10 minutes before serving warm with ice cream.

* Use gluten-free oats to make apple crisp gluten free
** Can substitute equal amounts gluten-free flour of choice
*** If you prefer juicier apple crisp, you can reduce flour amount to 2-3 Tablespoons

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Culinary school FAQ: A recap of the first 8 weeks

I wanted to take some time to update you all on a huge life change I made earlier this year. At the end of August, I left my job at FOX59 and CBS4 to become a full-time culinary student. In order for you all to better understand this decision, I'm going to rewind about seven years and share a little of my life story.

I had always wanted to be a journalist, and I thought I was on the right track after getting a job at FOX59 following my graduation from Indiana University. I didn't land my "dream job" out of college by any means—I was hired as an overnight assignment editor. But I previously interned at FOX59, and I loved all the people there. Also, I liked that it wasn't far from home. Indianapolis was only a two-hour drive from my parents' house in Fort Wayne. Most journalism students mentally prepare to work in a very small town in the middle of nowhere for their first job, so I felt pretty special working at a station in a top 25 market.

Unfortunately, my body could not adjust to working overnight, and I couldn't sleep. I was so exhausted by the end of my shift that I would fall asleep as soon as I got home at 8 a.m. But I wasn't able to stay asleep past noon.

Because I wasn't sleeping, I had a lot of free time, and I needed a creative outlet. So I started cooking and baking. I had never really done much of either, so I taught myself by reading articles online and watching YouTube videos. I shared a lot of my baked goods with my co-workers, and they seemed to really appreciate it. At that point blogs were becoming popular, so I decided to start my own as a way to document my progress and keep track of the recipes I made. I chose the name "Kylee's Kitchen" simply because I like alliterations. My blog launched in April 2014.

The more time I spent in the kitchen, the more I enjoyed cooking and baking. I loved working with my hands and putting my creativity and love of food to use.

At that time, there were several regular FOX59 morning show food guests, and I decided I wanted my own segment to share recipes. The thought of it makes me laugh now. I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow I convinced our news director to let me on TV. My first segment was less than stellar. I shared a recipe for cooking salmon in a foil packet. I'll never forget one of the first "mean" comments I received. Someone posted on the FOX59 Facebook page that I looked like I lived in my dad's basement. As far as mean comments go, that's actually pretty tame, but I remember it really upset me. Regardless, they kept allowing me back on TV, and it pushed me to be better.

During this time, my role at FOX59 changed. I became a web producer and fortunately worked more normal hours. I liked the work, but I didn't love it. And I knew I was never going to love it. But I knew I loved food. I loved being in the kitchen, and I dreamt of going to culinary school. However, I had no desire to work in a restaurant or a bakery. So I explored other careers in food, and I became interested in becoming a registered dietitian. I spoke with several dietitians and shadowed one for a day, and I found it very interesting.

I met with an academic advisor at Ball State, and I learned to become a registered dietitian would require me to basically earn another bachelor's degree because the prerequisites for getting into a didactic program differed greatly from the classes I took as an undergrad. It was a LOT of science. But it didn't deter me, and I enrolled in my first chemistry class. Throughout the next few years, I proceeded to take several more chemistry classes, anatomy classes, and physiology classes. I did that while working full time at FOX59 / CBS4, producing Kylee's Kitchen segments, running my blog, and planning a wedding. Honestly, it was exhausting. 

During my annual meeting with my academic advisor in 2019, I learned the Commission on Dietetic Registration elevated the entry-level RD education to graduate level, and in order to take the examination to become a dietitian I would have to get a masters degree. I didn't feel good about the situation. In fact, it devastated me. But after talking with my husband, I realized that wasn't even my dream. Culinary school was my dream. So I started exploring what it would look like for me to go to culinary school.

We live just about one mile from Ivy Tech in downtown Indianapolis, which is a top-20 culinary school in the United States. I took a tour of the facility, and I immediately felt like I belonged there. I enrolled to start in August 2020.

Since I just reached the midpoint of the semester, I wanted to share a little about my experience thus far!

The two lab classes I've taken are Basic Food Theory and Soups, Stocks, and Sauces. The amount of knowledge I've learned in such a short time is truly mind-blowing, and I can't wait to share more with you all (I already have a soup master post in the works!). I don't even know how I was cooking before taking the classes. I also took several online classes: Sanitation and Safety, Nutrition, and Human Relations Management. I'll finish the semester with Introduction to Baking and Classical Pasties and Chocolate.

I’ve compiled a few FAQ to share all the fun details of my experience thus far!

Trying on my uniform for the first time

Why are you going to culinary school? Don't you already know how to cook?

Food is always on my mind—I love talking about it, experimenting in the kitchen, and dissecting recipes, and I truly want to learn everything I can about it. Even though I am a proficient home cook, I only know what I've been able to teach myself, and I am really excited to learn from industry professionals. Also, I feel like this is a great investment in myself since cooking is obviously a skill I will use my entire life.

What is your class schedule?

I go to class Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and I start a new class every four weeks. We spend the entire time in the kitchen. As far as schoolwork goes, there's a lot of reading, and I've had several research projects about industry topics.

Are you doing the culinary arts or baking and pastry program?

I'm currently enrolled in the culinary arts program, but I plan to do both! There are quite a few classes that overlap, so when I finish culinary arts, I'll pick up the remaining classes necessary for the baking and pastry program. I decided to pursue culinary arts first because I thought it would better provide me with a well-rounded culinary education.

How long will it take to complete?

I will finish the culinary arts program next fall, and I hope to finish the baking and pastry program by spring 2022.

Do you like it?

I love everything about it. I truly feel like it's where I belong. The classes are really small (there were only four people in my last class), and I'm getting a lot of individual attention and instruction. Also, the instructors at Ivy Tech are some of the leaders in the food industry in Indianapolis, and I feel like I'm making a lot of great connections.

What happens to the food you make?

We eat it! It's a learning experience to try each other's food. Any leftovers go to the cafe. Ivy Tech has a full-service cafe run by students.

What are your exams like?

The exams are a bit nerve-racking. During my most recent exam, I had to fabricate (cut up) a whole chicken into two breasts (one airline and one boneless, skinless), two thighs, two legs, two wings, and the carcass had to be cut into four pieces to be used for stock. I then used the carcass to make chicken stock. I was also randomly assigned a soup to make. Also, I had to cook the two chicken breasts with a randomly selected cooking method and sauce. I was assigned to make pan-fried chicken with cream sauce. I had to serve it with pan-roasted brussels sprouts and rice pilaf. We were allotted two-and-a-half hours to finish.

What are your plans for after culinary school?

I would love to combine my love for food and journalism. Food publications need culinarians as writers, critics, recipe developers, and food stylists, and all of those options excite me. My dream is to some day write and publish a cookbook.

Final prepared dish for my last practical exam:
pan-fried chicken with cream sauce, brussels sprouts, and rice pilaf.

Parmesan tomato soup with parmesan crisps on top

Cream of carrot soup
Cream of mushroom soup that kind of looks like winter sludge

Shrimp bisque! This was my first time flambéing.

Beef consommé. It's a clear soup that's a pain to make and not all that enjoyable.

New England Clam Chowder—I also had to make this for the practical exam.

French onion soup

Beef vegetable soup

Poached chicken with béarnaise and rice pilaf

Fabricating a chicken

Eggs benedict

Cream of broccoli soup

Submerge poached whitefish with beurre blanc

Shallow poached whitefish with hollandaise

Roasted chicken with pan gravy and potatoes

Cheddar and leek soup

Grilled steak with cabernet compund butter

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