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Welcome to Principalchef.com!

My wife Jill and I do a lot of cooking and entertaining in our home. My older son Ryan is living on his own and now teaching me some new tricks, and my younger son Dawson is now in college and suffering through dorm food. Cooking is such an important part of life in our home. My cooking influences are my Mom, my Arkansas roots, my friends and amazing cooks in our neighborhood in Malibu (thanks Chris, Karen, Laurie, Pete, and Sheri!), and my California living since 1980.

I love using this site to share recipes and stories with my family and friends. I am a retired public school educator, spending 32 years of my career as a principal and district administrator (hence the name principalchef!). I now spend my time writing, swimming, golfing, and reading, and I love to cook whenever I get the chance. I hope you enjoy the recipes. Please comment and – Cheers!

Mike.

Jill’s Green Sauce/Dip/Dressing

This is one of the best things to happen in our house in 2018. Jill found the “Magic Green Sauce” recipe from Pinch of Yum. It’s so easy and so awesome! We have served it over chicken, tofu, as a dip, on a sandwich, on potatoes, and so many other ways. It’s like chimichurri sauce without the bite and the smooth jazz feel of avocados!

Fried Rice

I love fried rice. For us, it’s not a side dish. It’s a one bowl meal. The key is thinking a little bit ahead and having some one to three-day old rice in the fridge. If you keep some shrimp (Trader Joe’s Argentinian) in your freezer, or if you have some crab (Costco) in your fridge, you are ready. Take stuff that’s already in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, add some cooked rice from the night before, and go out there and be a fried rice hero!

Not That Bad for You Banana Cream Pie

That pie shaped empty space that’s been in my life so long? It’s all good now.

When I was in my mid-forties, I remember telling Jill that I missed the days when I could eat anything and my weight just remained constant. I told her, “I was living the good life and I didn’t even know it.” Well, those days are long gone, but, to quote Joel Goodson’s dad in Risky Business, “Every once in awhile you just got to say, ‘what the heck’ and take some chances.” It’s a pretty sad testament to my risk taking at this point in life that banana cream pie is up there. But there you have it. I just have repeat my Stuart Smalley mantra, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it people like me.”

Skillet Apple Blackberry Pie

I adapted this recipe from the amazing chefs at Cooks Illustrated. It’s fun to use when you have fruit, and you ALWAys have apples and frozen blackberries. It’s super tasty, it’s easy, and it’s one more chance to showcase your cast iron skillet.

BBQ Chicken with Balsamic Glaze

BBQ Chicken. It’s a pretty perfect food. The only food more perfect than BBQ chicken may be fried chicken. And I don’t have that perfected yet. But it will be mine. Oh yes. It will be mine.

Where was I? Oh yes, the virtues of BBQ chicken! You can serve it at a dinner, a lunch, a picnic, or anything, and if you do it right, it makes great leftovers. Don’t be that chef who cooks the chicken over a hot grill, ending with the outside burned and the inside raw. You’re better than that! Here’s my version.

Heather’s Crab Cakes

My friend Heather is well known as the person who does just about everything in our school district. She’s amazing at work, and to top it off, she’s a spectacular cook! This is one of her favorite recipes, and now that she’s shared it, it’s one of mine too.

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