Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak

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Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak

By: Monikah J. Ogando

You've heard marketing and advertising gurus quip, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Advertising initiatives best reach their target audience with benefits and the "wow" effect, not the value or features of their product or service. This may work well to get customers in the door. But once they're in, you better have some substance. How can you ensure you uphold the integrity of your business and still maintain the "Wow Effect"? It just takes well executed strategic steps for business AND personal development:

1.) It's Already Done

Act like the goals you are working so diligently to achieve have already been reached. Walk with that confidence. Treat your leads like customers, your customers like guests in your home, and your staff like family. When you approach goals like a "done deal", you open up creativity reserves to think outside the box, access resources you didn't know you had and create opportunities for success previously unforeseen.

2.) Get There From Here

It is not enough to act like you have arrived; you also get to devise a strategy map to get you there. Ask for your customers' input through surveys, polls, feedback forms. Have your sales force pay customers' a visit, just to see how things are going. Send a birthday card, send flowers, and send an article clip that can prove useful to a client. Never miss an opportunity to create relationship. The best way to ensure you don't miss opportunities is to create a plan.

3.) Who Cares?

Make it fun and fulfilling to work in your company. Engage your human resources department to implement career development initiatives and placement programs that allow employees to choose their career tracks. Keep them in alignment with their skills and experience, as well as your staffing needs. Develop opportunities for your employees to volunteer in the community. Build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Run a marathon, or half-marathon. Sponsor a scholarship with your local high school and choose employees to be part of the selection committee. It increases your visibility, their corporate involvement, and your company gets to be a good corporate citizen. All for a good cause. Invest in your employees and in your community. Show you care.

4.) Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say

Address issues as they come up or as soon as appropriately possible. Sometimes we let things slide or leave things unsaid. This devalues what's important to you and insults the intelligence of the other person. Be open in your communication.

5.) Create Win-Win Solutions

The belief of "looking out for number one" is so embedded in our collective consciousness that we have forgotten we are ALL #1 because we are all one. When you create win-win solutions, you not only generate good will among peers and supervisors, but you develop a reputation for fairness and professionalism. Everyone collaborates with a collaborator.

6.) Acknowledge the Feedback

When customers take the time to write a scathing letter or make an irate phone call about horrific customer service or product quality, they are providing you with a valuable opportunity: Free feedback that you didn't ask for, didn't pay for, didn't market for or followed up on. It just fell on your lap. So thank your customer for being committed enough to your company to give you feedback on how you can improve your service. Give something away or at a steep discount. You have a choice: Swallow your pride, or dwindle your profits.

7.) Invest in Your Employees

Celebrate birthdays. Give your Employee of the Month the coveted parking spot for the whole month. Offer direct deposit. Reimburse tuition 100% for courses in which they received an A grade. Publish accomplishments in the company newsletter. Have a company picnic. Offer discounts with common vendors (cell phone company, local bookstore, banks, dry cleaners, etc.). Host a company-wide, week long brainstorm session on how each department can increase its productivity and profitability by 30% within a certain timeframe.

8.) Go Back to Kindergarten

When you take lunch, take a walk to a park, eat leisurely, and come back to the privacy of your office for a quick 20 minute power nap. You'll feel refreshed and replenished. Don't have an office? Build a nap center for all employees. Make it fun and, most importantly, nourishing.

9.) Tie Up Loose Ends

Pay the parking ticket. Write that letter. Clean out your files. Make up with that client. Enroll in school. Back up your computer systems. Run the Clean Sweep Program on yourself, then your department, then the company (for more information, email us at monikah@ogandoassociates.com).

10.) Give Yourself a Makeover

Lose the 15 pounds. Get that haircut. Buy fresh makeup. Reinvent your wardrobe. Give your car a paint job. Rearrange the furniture in your office or lobby. Give away old clothes. When you get in the habit of installing new practices and letting go of old ones that no longer serve you, you generate and circulate fresh energy.

11.) Keep Your Commitments

When you say you are going to do something, do it, or else renegotiate another arrangement. Very few things are as difficult to earn back as your credibility and the trust of those who deal with you.

12.) Play a Big Game

When setting your goals, ask yourself if you are stretching. Set your goals high enough to have to stretch for them. Make your growth systematic and strategic. If your goal is to call 20 leads this week, to close one sale, what would you have to do and believe about yourself to make it possible to call 50 and close three sales? If your goal is to go to dinner with your brother, just to reconnect, how about stepping it up and actually saying "I love you?" You know you are playing a big game when your first reaction is a big whine "I can't do that!" Yes, you can. Surprise yourself.

13.) Be a Contribution

How can you make your customers' life more livable, your employees' work more enjoyable, and your community more cohesive? Everyone wants to know, what's in it for me? When you focus out, you immediately speak their language and enroll them in playing yours. No one plays with you if they think you are not on their team. So join them. And they will join you.

Please tell us how we can improve this article: info@ogandoassociates.com

Monikah J. Ogando, President & CEO

Ogando Associates, Inc.

305.) 331.) 7084


Copyright 2004, Ogando Associates, Inc.

About The Author

Monikah Ogando is a highly skilled facilitator and charismatic speaker. With workshop and platform experience, she continues to inspire her audience through her expertise in Business Development, leadership effectiveness, individual accountability and the values that guide excellence. Monikah believes that the new workplace, with shifting values and technology, calls for authentic leaders to partner with people to energize their hearts and enhance their performance.

Monikah received two degrees from the University of Miami, where, with her independent spirit and entrepreneurial motivation, she graduated by the age of 20.)

Partnering with industries such as retail, communications, and online and financial services, her clients range from family businesses to Fortune 500 companies. She practices what she speaks: an entrepreneur, Monikah leads her own two companies, consulting firm Ogando Associates, and Exodus House Publishers.

Monikah brings timeless principles to life through a masterful blend of humor, real life stories and captivating illustrations. Her coaching and consulting challenge people to live a life of meaning and to work with purpose, building better relationships and increasing individual effectiveness in our companies and families.



Erik Y 03.08.2006. 15:28

What is in the sizzle sauce on fajitas? I'm looking for the marinade/ sizzling sauce that is on fajitas in restaurants such as chili's or Applebee's. I have tried many recipes that claim to be it and nothing is even close to the flavor. If anyone who works at a restaurant that serves fajitas could tell me what is in it I would appreciate it.

Erik Y

Admin 03.08.2006. 15:28

Hope this helps!
"Chili's" Fajitas

Menu Description: "A pound of steak, chicken or combination on a sizzling
skillet. Peppers available with Fajitas by request".

Chili's is perhaps the restaurant most responsible for introducing the famous
finger food known as fajitas to the mass market. Company CEO Norman
Brinker discovered the dish at a small restaurant on a visit to San Antonio,
Texas. When Chili's put the item on its menu in the early eighties, sales
immediately jumped 25 percent. That revolutionized Chili's."

Today just about every American knows what fajitas are, the Southwestern
style grilled chicken, beef, or seafood, served sizzling on a cast iron skillet.
Everyone has their own method of arranging the meat and onions and peppers
in a soft tortilla with globs of pico de gallo, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, sour
cream, and salsa. The tough part is trying to roll the thing up and take a bite
ever so gracefully without squeezing half of the filling out the backside of the
tortilla onto the plate, splattering your clean clothes, while goo goes dripping
down your chin. This recipe is guaranteed to be as delicious and messy as the

Serves two as an entree

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/3 cup water (may be slightly reduced, if preferred)
2 Tb vegetable oil
1 lg clove garlic, pressed
3 teaspoons vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce (Yoshido's preferred)
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Dash onion powder


2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or 1 pound top sirloin or a combination of 1 chicken breast half and 1/2 pound sirloin
1 Spanish onion, sliced
1 Tb vegetable oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 Tb water
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
Dash ground black pepper
Dash salt

On the Side
1/2 cup pico de gallo
1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded ettuce
6 to 8 6-inch flour tortillas Salsa
Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Soak your choice
of meat in the marinade for at least 2 hours. If you are just using the sirloin, let
it marinate overnight, if possible. When the meat has marinated, preheat your
barbecue or stove top grill to high.

Preheat a skillet over medium high heat. Saute the onion slices in the oil for 5 minutes.
Combine the soy sauce, water, and lime juice in a small bowl and pour it over the
onions. Add the black pepper and continue to saute until the onions are translucent
and dark on the edges (4 to 5 more minutes). Salt to taste.

While the onions are sauteeing, grill the meat for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done.
While the meat and onions are cooking, heat up another skillet (cast iron if you have
one) over high heat. This will be your sizzling serving pan. When the meat is done
remove it from the grill and slice it into thin strips. Remove the extra pan from the heat
and dump the onions and any liquid into it
If you've made it hot enough the onions should sizzle. Add the meat to the pan and
serve immediately with pico de gallo, Cheddar cheese, guacamole, and sour cream arranged on
a separate plate on a bed of shredded lettuce. Steam the tortillas in a moist towel in the microwave
or 30 seconds and serve on the side. Serve salsa also, if desired.

Assemble fajitas by putting the meat into a tortilla along with your choice of
condiments. Roll up the tortilla and eat up.


Yofault M 06.04.2013. 00:16

Whats the best method to pan fry a steak? what is the best way to pan fry a steak, besides finishing it in a pre-heated 350 degree oven, marinating i know but how long for well done?? And what cooking oil is best??

Yofault M

Admin 06.04.2013. 00:16

A hot cast iron skillet is great for this. The cast iron really helps sizzle and caramelize the steak.

I season my steak, the smear some butter on the outside of the steak and then place it on a hot cast iron skillet.

Time really depends on thickness, so I can't tell you how long. But give it 2 to 4 minutes and then flip the steak.

One warming though, pan frying a steak on a hot cast iron skillet will make a lot of smoke.

Looks like Siamvelvet does it the same way I do.


Carandy1 14.02.2009. 19:05

How do you broil the perfect steak? I have tried every method. I want a well flavored, medium, tender, juicy steak, like you get at the better steak houses. I would like to do this for valentines. Can you ever achieve anything like that with a cheaper cut like sirloin or what cut should I buy. Can anybody help?


Admin 14.02.2009. 19:05

Broil your steak. Cooking times will vary greatly based on the cut of steak, cooking altitude, type of oven you're using, and how hot the broiler runs; cooking times can range from 3 to 18 minutes. A good rule of thumb to go by is to watch it! If it looks "done" on one side, flip it over with tongs. There are several tests you can do to determine how "done" a steak is (remember to always use oven mitts when reaching into the oven):

Listen to it. When the outside of a steak goes from cooked to overcooked, the sound of the sizzling will become louder and sharper.
Check the edges. If you have a thicker steak, the color of the edges is often a good way to tell how done the middle is. When the edges change from red to pink to brown, the inside is probably moving from rare to medium rare to medium.
Test the "fleshiness." Pinch the flesh stretching between your thumb and forefinger--the muscled part, not just the skin--with your other thumb and forefinger. Can you feel how it's firm, but supple? How it gives under pressure, but bounces back? That's the way the middle of a medium-cooked steak feels. To test for this, prod the steak with your tongs or the flat edge of a knife (don't pierce it with a fork). Test to see if it "wiggles" or not. If it still feels too fleshy, give it another minute or two.
If you're still not sure, cut into the thickest part of the steak and check the color. A rare steak will still be blood red and have red juices; a medium steak will be pink and have almost clear juices; a well-done steak will be brownish gray and have brown juices.

Remove, rest, and serve. Remove the broiler pan from the oven and test the steak once more for doneness. If it's cooked to your liking, don't be tempted to cut it up immediately! Letting a piece of meat "rest" for a few minutes before slicing it is the number one way to make sure it stays juicy. Wait until most of the steam from the steak has slowed and the juices stop running off--usually around 4 or 5 minutes--before digging in.

There is a lot more detail here and I urge you to read it, the identifiction of the type of steak and thickness is critical.


Lola 12.10.2007. 07:22

How can I make sirloin steak? I'm a very simple cook. I'm usually the "just add water" kinda gal, and I usually just make food for myself and one other.

Any way to make some really good, really easy sirloin steak on the stove? (I like mine medium rare, and my boyfriend likes them well-done)


Admin 12.10.2007. 07:22

Since you like your steak medium rare and he likes his well done, you obviously have to cook his steak longer.

If the steaks are about an inch thick, his will probably take about 7 minutes on each side, but your's will only take about 4 minutes on each side.

Start by heating your pan (frying or skillet or griddle) on medium-high heat with a little butter. When the butter starts to sizzle, add his steak! When his steak looks like it might be about ready to turn, add your steak! Only turn the steaks once. You can check how done they are by slicing into a corner of each. Don't forget they keep cooking after you plate them. Pour any of the good juices onto the tops of the steaks. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.



Mr. Q 28.06.2008. 18:05

How are omelettes typically made at breakfast restaurants? Do they use omelette makers? I had one recently and it was so fluffy and good with cheese and mushrooms inside and avocado on top. But it didn't look like the typical half-moon looking omelette. It was more like a rectangular shape. Maybe they made it more French-style. But French omelettes don't traditionally have ingredients inside them I dont think. More likely on top or as a side. Is there some trick restaurants use that I don't know about?

Mr. Q

Admin 28.06.2008. 18:05

Tips on Making a Great Omelette

Cooking Instructions
- Whisk three fresh organic eggs in a copper bowl. According to Llapitan, copper produces a chemical reaction with the eggs, making them fluffier.

- Once the eggs are whisked in a liquid consistency, season them. "This is a step that most people miss but seasoning the eggs while they are liquid is much better than seasoning the top of a cooked omelette," Llapitan says. He likes to use sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. (Another trick, try sautéing your peppercorns in a pan before putting them into your pepper mill. "It creates a totally different flavor," Llapitan says.)

- Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and add butter. Llapitan recommends clarified butter but whole butter is fine, too, he says. "You'll know your pan is hot enough when the butter sizzles a little in the pan but it should never burn," he cautions.

- If you are using vegetables or meats that require precooking, sauté those first, then pour the egg mixture over the top. Flip once, cook for another minute or two, and then serve.

- For ingredients such as cheese or salmon that do not require pre-cooking, just pour the whisked eggs into the middle of the, pan cook for a few minutes, and add the remaining ingredients.

- To serve, fold over one edge of the omelette to create a half-moon shape or flip the flat round omelette onto the plate and turn under the edges to create a perfect circle.

Serve with fresh fruit or slices of heirloom tomatoes and grapefruit juice.

World's Tallest Omelet

3 ounces cooked thinly sliced steak (London broil or sirloin)
2 ounces cooked fresh spinach
3 ounces shredded Cheddar
5 eggs
2 tablespoons club soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the broiler to high.
Warm up the steak and spinach in a saute pan or in the microwave. Place all ingredients, except butter, leftovers and cheese in a blender and process on high speed for about 10 seconds to incorporate air into the mix; the club soda and baking powder will help the omelet to rise. (You may also use a hand-held blender with a deep cup).

Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Pour in the egg mixture, and using a rubber spatula, slowly push the cooked egg from 1 side of the bottom of the pan to the other to allow new raw egg to reach the bottom of the pan and cook (this creates height and keeps the bottom from burning).

When the omelet is cooked on the bottom and the top is still runny, you can either flip the omelet in the pan to finish, or to make the "Tallest" omelet possible, place the pan just below the broiler with the oven door open and the handle sticking out (it could melt otherwise) for about 30 seconds until the omelet rises and lightly browns.

Remove from heat, add warmed leftover filling and the cheese, and fold in half. To serve, slice into pieces. If desired, save a little filling and cheese to put on top after folding.


A seasoned 10-inch omelet pan or skillet with a heatproof or removable handle
2 bowls
Rotary beater
Warm platter or plate
4 eggs, Fresh Fancy, Grade AA or Grade A
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. water

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Step 2 - Separate eggs.

Step 3 - Add pepper to yolks and beat until thick and lemon-colored.

Step 4 - Add salt and water to whites and beat until stiff and shiny and whites have peaks when batter is withdrawn.

Step 5 - Fold yolks carefully into whites.

Step 6 - Heat butter in omelet pan which is hot enough to sizzle a drop of water.

Step 7 - Pour in omelet mixture; level surface gently.

Step 8 - Cook slowly on top of range until puffy and lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Lift omelet at edge to judge color.

Step 9 - Bake 12 to 15 minutes in 325 degree oven until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Step 10 - To serve, score omelet down the center with a spatula, fold in half and serve on warm plate or platter. Or, tear gently into pie- shaped pieces, using 2 forks. Makes 2 to 3 servings.

hope these help. good luck and enjoy.


Uya-chan 13.05.2010. 08:15

What can I pair Philosophy with for a double degree? I'm a high school student looking forward to become a writer or work in the field of journalism, but still accept other possibilities too. I've made up my mind on philosophy and want to take a double-degree program. If I take creative writing, will it help me on journalism career? Or are there any other options? I don't want to take law, business, or economy, but I heard philosophy is also good in advertising. What should I take for a job in advertising?

Thanks before.


Admin 13.05.2010. 08:15

All major advertising is built on the premise of using fallacies to catch your attention, to "sell the sizzle, not the steak". This requires the creative writing style of someone who knows the fallacies like the back of their hand. This requires logic and epistemology. It also requires ethics, but its the lawyers in advertising who must give the go/no go on the ethics situations. But you don't have to be a lawyer to be an ethicist in any profession (except maybe in the law profession!).

So there is plenty of opportunity for you to "double up" and still go into advertising. Advertising is full of all sorts of metaphysical views of the world. That Orkin commercial with the creepy termites who knock on the door and are bigger than the people play to our metaphysical conceptions of "bugs in our home"--but it also uses the fallacy of making the bugs bigger than they are.

All this advise can work in other professions too, not just advertising. Selling houses requires ethics and metaphysics (but let's hope there are no fallacies.)


rjones83 26.05.2006. 15:39

what is peking chili beef in the chinese? I'm looking on a take away menu and I'm wondering what peking style is for the chili beef.


Admin 26.05.2006. 15:39

Mongolian Beef

3/4 pound flank steak
Meat Marinade
1 to 2 egg whites -- lightly beaten
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash white pepper
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sherry
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sweet bean sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot bean sauce
1/2 to 1 tsp dried chili -- crushed
2 to 3 tbl garlic -- minced
1 sml pkg or less bean threads
6 large green onion -- cut in 1" pieces
3 to 5 or less dried chili peppers
2 cups oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water

Cut flank steak cross grain into 1/8" slices. Mix meat with marinade. Combine sauce ingred. In a wok, heat 1-1/2 cups oil to very hot. Deep fry bean threads (they will puff up instantly). Do only a few bean threads (cellophene noodles) at a time because they expand dramatically. Set aside on paper towels to drain. Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil. Cool down oil. Meat should barely sizzle. Deep fry meat until done, about 10 seconds. Drain off all but t tbl oil. Throw in peppers; pour in sauce and let reduce 2 min over high heat. Add beef and stir to coat. If sauce is too thin add a little of the cornstarch/water mixture. Add green onion for 15 seconds. Place beef on noodles.

Peking Beef

1 pound flank steak
1 egg white
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups oil
1/2 cup bamboo shoots -- shredded
1 cup green onion -- green part only
1 tablespoon sherry
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon chili paste with garlic -- optional

Combine beef, egg white, salt and 1 tbl cornstarch. Mix well. Heat oil to 400 degrees and deep fry beef 30 sec.; drain. Reheat 2 tbl. oil; stir fry shoots and scallions 1 min. Combine sauce ingred., add to vegs. Bring to a boil. Add beef and stir fry quickly till heated.


Aaron 31.03.2010. 15:56

What is the best steak you ever had? I am looking to find and try the best steak. So who better to ask than everyone here.


Admin 31.03.2010. 15:56

I am a hard core carnivore. I have eaten a lot of meat in my day.

I have eaten steaks all over.

Massive Bifteca ala Fiorentina in Italy.

Glistening Rib steaks with a quivering fried egg on top in Portugal.

Steak au Poivre in France.

Steak Frites in NYC.

Porterhouse in Texas.

Prime aged Alberta beef in Calgary, AB.

Kobe Beef Teppanyaki in Vancouver, BC.

But,, the best steak(s) I have had, consistently, have been from Ruth's Chris Steak houses. I have tried Ruth's Chris in Philadelphia, Toronto, Las Vegas and Seattle.

Their Petit Filet or Filet are the most tender, flavorful meat I have ever had the privilege of tasting.

Not every time - it hasn't always been perfect. Sometimes it is just good, not great.

But a couple of times the Gods smiled, and the right cut of meat, broiled to perfection arrived at my table.

3 inched thick - and I cut it with my fork. Seared/charred on the outside, med-rare in the middle.

Served sizzling in butter hot from a 1600 degree oven.

I like to get the baked potato, asparagus with hollandaise, and sautéed mushrooms as accompaniments.

Not cheap, but not prohibitive for an occasional treat for dinner.


yoooooooomama 14.03.2013. 18:34

Staek and BJ day , how do I cook a freakin steak? Im pry going to go to the store an get a cheap steak , not ribeye at all , and I have to cook it in a frying pan . What temperature should I cook it? and how do I know it is Medium rare without cutting it or usuing a meat thermometer.. I know to use olive oil or butter , pepper, and salt . But what kind of seasoning would be best ? and how to keep it juicy. Also , any suggestions on how to make good corn bread... lol
Im only 16 so I cant use wine.
Thank youu:)


Admin 14.03.2013. 18:34

First, the length of time to cook it depends on the thickness of the meat.
Rinse steaks with cold water, then pat dry. Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking, taking it out of the fridge 30 to 60 minutes before it hits the pan).
Pour oil into frying pan, preferably stainless steel or cast iron. Use a larger amount than you think is necessary, because it can always be drained off later. Heat up to medium/medium high heat. When the oil is just about smoking, put the meat into pan, You should hear an audible sizzle.
Check the sear. After a few minutes, check the underside of the steak to see how the sear is developing. You are looking for a deep, brown/mahogany crust.
Adjust the heat as necessary to avoid charring or overcooking the meat ? you do not want to heat it too long or it will become dry.
Cook through. When the cut is well seared, flip it and wait a few more minutes, depending on the thickness of your cut and how long the sear took to develop.
Remove the steak just before it's done. Let the meat "rest" for 5 to 10 minutes. The residual heat of the steak will cook it to medium-rare perfection.
You can put aluminum foil over the meat to prevent heat loss, but always let the meat rest so the juices have a chance to settle in the steak.
This technique produces an extremely well-done steak when the meat is less than one inch thick. Even changing the time of the second section to three minutes on each side may overcook your meat. For steaks that are about one inch thick, try reducing the time of the second section to two minutes on each side if you want a rare to medium rare steak'.


Speak 15.03.2008. 14:20

What To Make With Chicken Breasts? So, I have chicken breasts, and I'm looking for something to make other than fried chicken, BBQ chicken or chicken parm.
Do you have anything?
I have most ingredients so I can probably make anything.
And please, no generic recipe links.


Admin 15.03.2008. 14:20

Balsamic Lemon Chicken

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbsp. dry basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 whole boneless chicken breasts, halved

Mix all ingredients and pour over chicken. Broil in 9x13? pyrex dish for 15 minutes each side. Lest rest 10 minutes, slice in strips.

Sizzling Fajitas

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Dash hot sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds meat (boneless, skinless chicken breast, skirt steak or peeled and deveined shrimp)
1 medium onion, halved and sliced lengthwise
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1 lime, juiced, for topping
Sour cream, for topping
Salsa, for topping
Guacamole, for topping
Cheddar cheese, shredded, for topping

In a heavy duty resealable plastic bag, combine 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper and your choice of meat. Seal and toss the bag around to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator. *Cook's Note: 15 minutes for shrimp, 20 minutes for chicken and 1 hour for skirt steak.
Preheat your cast iron servers in a preheated 400 degree F oven for at least 20 minutes, to get a good sizzle when you plate the fajitas.
Heat the outside grill or a large indoor grill pan to medium-high heat. Remove the meat from the marinade and place it on the hot grill, discard the marinade. Cook chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side, skirt steak about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and about 2 minutes for shrimp. Slice the chicken and steak into strips if you are using.
In a large skillet heat up the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and fry the onions and bell peppers until crisp-tender with some salt and pepper.
Wrap the tortillas in foil and warm them in the oven with the servers for 15 minutes.

When you are ready to serve, remove the cast iron servers from the oven and quickly arrange the meat and peppers and onions on it. It will immediately start to sizzle from their fat and moisture. Serve sizzling immediately with the warm tortillas and other accompaniments.
--Paula Dean


1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 (10 3/4-oz) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 (10 3/4-oz) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (10-oz) can diced tomato and green chiles
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
Sauté onion and bell pepper in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in chicken and next 7 ingredients; remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third of tortilla pieces in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of chicken mixture and 2/3 cup cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.
Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

--Southern Living, NOVEMBER 2000

Exotic Chicken Salad

1 cup mayo
1½ tsp. curry powder
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice (I have used lime, too)
Optional: ¾ cup Major Grey?s Chutney
4 cups chopped cooked chicken meat
1 (5 oz.) can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup finely chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
1 pound fresh seedless grapes, halved
1 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 (16 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained

Mix first 4 ingredients together in large bowl w/ tight-fitting lid. Mix in chutney at this time, if so desired. Add remaining ingredients and toss gently. Refrigerate. Serves 8-10.

--"River Road Recipes 2" cookbook


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