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Back to School Part 2

Posted: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013

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Chef Troy Gagliardo

CChef Troy Gagliardo is a self-taught chef that has parlayed his years of kitchen experience into many other culinary ventures. Including a proprietary spice line, cook books, commercials, food styling, cooking/restaurant columns, endorsements, cooking classes, and live appearances. Troy has been voted as one of the Charlotte’s Top Five Chefs two years in a row by Creative Loafing readers. Chef Troy has appeared in two national commercials with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and joined him for a media tour day just days before Dale Jr. won his second Daytona 500 to start the 2014 NASCAR season. For the past seven years, Chef Troy has appeared each week on Charlotte's morning show WCCB News Rising, cooking his way through "Troy’s Everyday Eats". Filmed live each week at the WCCB Charlotte studios, Chef Troy teaches his unique style of food with a simple Warren publishing recently signed Chef Troy to publish his new cookbook entitled Pseudo Southern-a playful twist on the art of southern cooking, which has been endorsed by Top Chef Alum and best-selling author Fabio Viviani and also star of “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard. Fabio said of Pseudo Southern, "Southern food is my second home. It's as close to my heart like Italy is, and that is why I love Troy's recipes so much. They remind me of the childhood I would have had if I was born in the south”. Vivian had this to say, “Troy’s take on southern food is just left of center, fun, and refreshing. His recipes are approachable that even the most jaded cook will be intrigued to try.” Chef Troy is also a free-lance food writer for the Charlotte Observer and Examiner.com and lives in Mooresville, NC with his wife Tracy, of twenty-three years, and their two daughters, Ally and Isabella. He can be seen every Tuesday morning from 7-9 am on WCCB News Rising.

OK…by now almost every student is back in school; and so the task of feeding them after school begins. Whether a parent is home or not kids are ready to eat as soon as they get off the bus. Finding decent tasting and sort of good for you snacks can be difficult, so here I am to the rescue with a couple of my kicked up favorites along with a few tips to help you along the way.

Tip one: anything you can make at home from real food is better than anything your kids will pull out of a frozen package, can or bag.

Tip two: utilize leftover foods to make after school snacks such as chicken in quesadillas that just can be warmed. Or leftover rice with stirred in vegetables drizzled with a little hosin sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Tip three: have after school snacks pre-packed in ready to be reheated containers. Stage separate items in baggies and leave instructions as how to assemble and reheat.

Tip four: encourage your kids to be creative using fresh vegetables, fruits and leftover proteins to create their own after school snacks.

For this killer tuna melt have the bread toasted, tuna mixed and cheese grated. When the kids get home simple have them build by piling the tuna on the bread, topping with cheese and warming through in the oven.

The mini burritos are even easier. Preheat the oven, place them on a lightly oiled sheet tray and bake until golden and warmed through. These burritos are one of those items where left over rice and chicken can be turned into an after school snack that your kids will be asking for again and again.

Toasty Tuna Melt with Pepper Jack

• 12 Ounces-Tuna-packed in olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons-Red Onion-fine diced
• 2 Tablespoons-Sundried Tomatoes-fine diced
• 1 Tablespoon-Lemon Juice
• 3 Tablespoons-Mayo
• 1 Tablespoon-Fresh Parsley-leaves only, chopped
• To Taste-kosher Salt/Black Pepper/Crushed Red Pepper
• 4 Slices-French Bread
• To Brush-Olive Oil
• 1 ½ Cups-Pepper Jack Cheese-grated


1. Preheat oven to high broil with rack in middle of oven.
2. Brush both sides of bread lightly with oil.
3. Place on a sheet tray and into oven.
4. Cook until lightly toasted on both sides, about 1 minute per side.
5. Remove from oven (leave on) and allow to cool while preparing tuna.
6. Drain off most of oil from tuna, but not completely.
7. Place in a bowl with onion, sun dried tomato, lemon juice, mayo and parsley.
8. Season with salt and both peppers to taste.
9. Gently fold together until combined.
10. Evenly distribute tuna on bread and top with cheese.
11. Place back in oven until cheese is melted and tuna is warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.

Mini Chicken Burritos

• 2 Cups-Roasted Chicken-picked off bone and rough chopped
• 2 Tablespoons-Olive Oil-plus extra to brush
• 2 Each-Green Onions-slice thin
• 1 Each-Garlic Cloves-chopped fine
• 1 Each-Red Bell Pepper-roasted, stem, seeds removed, medium dice
• 1 Each-Limes-juice of
• 4 Ounces-Cream Cheese-1/2 cup
• ½ Cup-Cooked Rice
• To Taste-Kosher Salt/Black Pepper
• 6-6 Inch-Flour Tortillas
• To Dip-Sour Cream


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Warm oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
3. Add onion, garlic, peppers and cook stirring frequently.
4. Continue to cook until onions are soft and starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
5. Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, cream cheese, rice and season with salt/pepper.
6. Incorporate until cheese is distributed throughout.
7. Warm each tortilla in a pan for about 15 seconds on each side.
8. Keep tortillas warm in a kitchen towel.
9. Place about a 1/4 cup of filling in center of each tortilla.
10. Fold over sides, gently press and fold over top and bottom.
11. Brush seam side with olive oil, flip and brush top.
12. Place on a sheet tray spray with food release spray.
13. Place in oven and cook until warmed through and crispy, 8-10 minutes.
14. Serve immediately with sour cream or cool and refrigerate.
15. To reheat warm in microwave for about 1 minute or until filling is just warmed through.
16. To reheat in oven preheat to 350 degrees.
17. In a single layer, wrap burritos in aluminum foil.
18. Warm in oven until just warmed through, 5-7 minutes.

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