Kel’s Café on Hiatus (plus eating and drinking our way through Europe)

Hello Dear Readers,

I just wanted to let you know that Kel’s Café will be on hiatus until early 2020. I recently had shoulder surgery and need to take off a couple of months to fully heal before getting back into the kitchen. I look forward to when I can start creating, cooking and photographing new dishes again!

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Right before my surgery, Brad and I had a whirlwind vacation to parts of northwestern Europe and made it a point to try some of the dishes famous from most of the countries we visited. So please enjoy these photos of us eating and drinking our way through Europe and I’ll see you early next year.

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Kel’s Bourbon-Infused Peach Upside-Down Cake

Kel's bourbon infused peach upside down cake

With peach season in full swing here in the South, this is my recipe for an upside down, bourbon-infused, peach cake that will delight old and young. The honey bourbon gives the peaches a nice little kick and the cinnamon adds just enough spice to this delicious dessert. This cake is easy to assemble – the hard part is waiting for it to come out of the oven!

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Kel’s Decadent Avocados Stuffed with Chicken and Cheese

Kel's Cafe chicken stuffed avocado

These stuffed avocados are so creamy and delicious, you’ll be coming back for more! They are perfect to serve for brunch or dinner – just add a side salad or some fresh fruit and your meal is complete. Make extra as they keep in the fridge for several days and easily reheat in the microwave in just a couple of minutes.

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What’s Up, Doc? Kel’s Honey and Garlic Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Kel's honey garlic roasted rainbow carrots

This is one of the easiest and tastiest side dishes in the world, especially if you can find mini rainbow carrots that have already been peeled. Consider it for your upcoming Easter holiday feast or later in the year at Thanksgiving. Yum, yum, yum, and easy, easy, easy!

The honey brings out the sweetness of the carrots and the roasted garlic granules are an easy alternative to using fresh garlic cloves. If you want to use fresh garlic, press 2 cloves and add them to the butter, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

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Kel’s Puff Pastry Reuben Roll

Up close slices of Reuben roll

Got leftover corned beef from St. Patrick’s Day? Here’s a fun twist on the traditional Reuben sandwich, where rye bread is replaced with puff pastry and, instead being grilled, it is baked in the oven.

I make my own Thousand Island dressing (with mayo, ketchup, sweet pickle relish, a bit of vinegar and paprika), but use store bought if you have a favorite brand. If you’d rather have something more savory, replace the sweeter 1000 island dressing with a nice Dijon or spicy mustard.

This reheats nicely in the microwave – just place your slices on a microwavable plate, zap for a minute or so, and you’re good to go.


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Kel’s Easy Cheesy Cheddar-Garlic Drop Biscuits

Kels' cheddar garlic drop biscuits

These cheddar-garlic drop biscuits are so easy to make – just a handful of ingredients, minimal prep time, about 10 minutes in the oven, and Viola! you have warm, delicious homemade biscuits that go great as a side to a variety of soups, stews, chilis, and other main dishes.

I prefer smaller biscuits and usually make a dozen at a time. If you want larger biscuits, just divide the dough into larger spoonfuls. I also like to cook these on a baking stone, which keeps the bottoms of the biscuits from turning too brown.

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Kel’s Manhattan Clam Chowder, Version One


Garnish with parsley

When most people think of clam chowder, the creamy and popular Boston clam chowder usually comes to mind and rightfully so, because it’s so darn good. But to lighten it up a bit, especially if you love anything tomato based, definitely give this delicious version of clam chowder a try!

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Not Your Average Avocado Toast


kel's avocado toast

I came up with this recipe for avocado toast when I was wanting a delicious and filling breakfast/brunch that was Weight Watchers® friendly (7 points!), and it has become one of my favorite go-to meals. While I love fresh guacamole (check out Kel’s Cafe’s recipe), I usually cheat and use a spicy Wholly Guacamole®   mini serving, which is convenient and keeps things easy in the morning. If you haven’t tried Wholly Guacamole, it really is a decent replacement for the fresh stuff.

I recommend that you when you fry your eggs to leave the yolks runny so you can sop them up with the toast. I use Sara Lee 45-calories multigrain bread for my toast, but you can substitute that with your favorite brand, especially if you’re not counting calories.

Pair with some fresh fruit, and your day is off to an awesome and tasty start!

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Kel’s Honey Bourbon and Apple Cider Punch, Party On!

Kel's Cafe honey bourbon apple cider punch

Love apple cider? Love bourbon? If so, you must try this adult beverage at your next gathering. I like to make pitchers of drinks for my guests whenever we celebrate any occasion — usually mimosas, bloody Marys and/or sangria. It’s just so easy to let people serve themselves without making individual cocktails, allowing more mingle time for all.

This festive punch is inspired by a recipe I saw on the New York Times cooking website and is perfect for winter gatherings, such as New Year’s or Super Bowl parties. It combines bourbon, pressed apple cider, fresh citrus juices and a hint of cinnamon for an easy-to-make and yummy seasonal drink.

I altered the ingredients a bit (of course I did) and substituted a honey bourbon for the regular variety because I thought the hint of honey in the booze would go great with the apple cider (it does). I used diet tonic water instead of club soda due to personal preferences and swapped the dark brown sugar with a lower calorie brown sugar blend (in this case Truvia.) This is party in a punch bowl that will have your guests coming back for more!

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Kel’s Chicken and Black Bean Empanadas and/or Puff Pastries – You Choose


Kel's chicken and black bean empanadas

Puff pastry is my new best friend of late — I just love how it’s light, buttery, flaky and so, so tasty when making both sweet and savory dishes, from appetizers to entrees to desserts.

The chicken and black bean filling for these empanadas/puff pastries is based on a recipe I’ve been tweaking for years for my delicious quesadillas. You can make it as spicy or mild as you want by adjusting the amount of hot sauce and cayenne pepper.

So here’s the deal — this recipe is great as an appetizer with the empanadas, or as an entrée with the puff pastry. The empanadas naturally take more time to make since they are smaller, but the results are stellar, especially if you have the preparation time.  The puff pastry version of this is simply divine and easier to prepare, and is more like a meal instead of an appetizer.  Serve with salsa, guacamole, and/or sour cream.

Kel's Cafe up close empanadas

Chicken puff pastries out of the oven

Can’t choose? Make both like I did, which yielded 12 empanadas and 4 puff pastries – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum!  Continue reading

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