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Oxford Exchange executive chef leads cooking class | Community Spirit

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Oxford Exchange executive chef leads cooking class
Oxford Exchange executive chef leads cooking class

Directions For Living clients are treated to an intimate holiday cooking tutorial by one of Tampa Bay’s finest chefs.

Clearwater, Florida -- On Friday, Dec. 14, the Oxford Exchange Executive Chef Erin Guggino led a Holiday Cooking Class for Directions For Living clients enrolled in the Enhanced Outpatient Life Skills program.

Accompanied by the Curator of the Oxford Exchange Bookstore, Alison Powell, Erin taught the class how to prepare a savory Rosemary Chicken dish served over egg noodles and butternut squash. Spreading holiday cheer through the senses, the meal showcased seasonal vegetables and spices, even converting some of the most wary into supporters of all things leafy and green.

Ms. Guggino and Ms. Powell not only came prepared with yummy food and practical cooking tips (be sure to shock pasta after straining), but also brought so much joy to a group of people who might not get a proper holiday.

Amanda Sciarrotta, the therapist who leads the class, highlighted the great work her clients do and was overjoyed to see them celebrated.

"Each week this group of individuals spends time preparing lunch for their fellow peers. Today, it was great to see them sit back and relax as a chef came in to do the same for them. Lunch is so important to these clients, because for some it is the biggest meal they get for the day. It was wonderful hearing them state they were full as well as hear how grateful they were for the experience."

Below is Erin Guggino’s holiday recipe for the Directions For Living cooking class:

Rosemary Chicken (serves 5)

1 clove of garlic
3tbs of fresh rosemary
½ cup of olive oil
¼ cup of white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup of white chopped onion
salt and pepper to taste
1lb of chicken breast tenders
1lb of egg noodles
1lb bag of baby spinach
2 cups of roasted butternut squash
¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ cup of grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 convect, or 425 if not convection oven.

Put sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until emulsified and the rosemary is blended.

Once the sauce is made, cook the egg noodles in a large pot with 3 gallons of water and a touch of salt and olive oil.

Bring to boil, once boiling add noodles, stir every 8-10 minutes. Make sure the noodles are slighting al dente.

Once cooked, shock the noodles (run in cold water) *this prevents them from further cooking.

Peel butternut squash, take the seeds out, cut into a medium dice.

Lightly toss the squash in olive oil, season them with salt and pepper and ground cinnamon.

Spread them out evenly on a sheet tray. Roast on middle rack of the oven until just tender, check with fork as you do not want them to be mushy.

Heat up a large sauté pan, pour in your sauce, add your chicken and, turning it frequently, allow it to cook on medium heat all the way through.

Once the chicken is cooked, place your noodles into the pan and toss a few times, just enough to bring them up to temperature.

When the noodles are hot, gently fold in the squash and the spinach. Cook just until everything is hot.

*If you prefer to drain some of the sauce, it makes a great vinaigrette for a salad.

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