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Get out of your comfort zone

When it comes to cooking, we all have things that we stay away from for one reason or another. It’s human nature to stick with what you know. I’ve always kept my distance from:

1) Seafood because, well…it’s seafood.

2) Non-traditional meat because I just have no interest in eating Thumper, Rudolph, or Daffy Duck’s relatives. This category also includes organs and insects for the obvious reasons. 

3) Phyllo because it is so stressful having to work quickly and keep it moist so it doesn’t dry out on you before you’re done using it. 

Well, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone!! As some of my Facebook friends already know, I took my first crack at Baklava yesterday…and it calls for LOTS of phyllo! I will be honest and say that although it is quite time consuming, it wasn’t quite as difficult as I thought it would be. I was pretty proud of myself!

I now challenge all of our followers to get out of your comfort zone and try something new! I think next month I’ll attempt some sort of seafood since my daughter and husband really like it….and I know I’ll never make anything out the #2 category!!! 

Melissa…that would make for a great video!!!

Get out of your comfort zone

Win a Six-C Spice Blend!

Here is our first contest. The first person who answers the question below correctly wins a jar of McNack’s Six-C Spice Blend. Please be advised that this will be posted to Facebook simultaneously so time is of the essence. Get your vote in now. Just comment on the post with your guess. Good luck!

Note: Denise’s sister and aunt in New York are not allowed to play! 

Question: Denise’s husband is out of town. What is she having for dinner tonight?


1) There are TWO things. (You have to get them both right)

2) It is NOT the same thing that the kids are having. 

3) We would be shocked if many of you have not also had this dinner when you’ve been flying solo! 



McNacks Mystery Challenge: Basket Number 1

Braised short ribs with puff pastry and blackberries

Last week we told you about a new concept that will be doing about once a month called “McNacks Mystery Challenge.” If you missed that post, click here for the details, or better yet, just watch this little video for the background and the unveiling of the first basket!

McNacks 1st Mystery Challenge is now complete!!! We had our good friend and loyal supporter, Kayla Taylor, bring over an amazing basket. We really had no idea what to expect, but she came through with a killer basket!

The first mystery challenge included the following five ingredients:

  • Blue cheese from Point Reyes
  • Puff pasty
  • Blackberries
  • Rutabaga
  • Short ribs

Denise felt like she was in good shape until saw the short ribs and heard Melissa going on about how she was so glad we didn’t have to cook these in just 30 minutes and all the amazing things she could do with the short ribs. (Denise has never cooked short ribs…the main ingredient..nice one)!

Melissa was trying to remember what that giant round thing was in the middle of the basket but tried to cover up her lack of knowledge by deflecting it onto Denise (as you will see when you watch the video,  Denise had no problem showcasing her ignorance).

After five short minutes of research (Melissa was done in about 3 and Denise needed 10, but rules are rules), this is what we decided we were going to make:

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Chipotle Beer Braised Short Ribs with Puff Pastry and Blackberry Sauce and a side of Roasted Rutabaga and Brussels Sprouts


Blackberry and Red Wine Braised Short Rib Pie with Blue Cheese and Roasted Rutabaga Puree. Melissa made a green vegetable too but hated it. She attempted a simple garlic sautéed broccoli rabe (rappini) but it was uber bitter and she hated it. Have to figure out a better way to cook that next time but luckily, it wasn’t part of the basket!!

McNack’s Throwback Thursday

marinated bacon wrapped chicken thighs

We always see people with Throwback Thursday Facebook posts and we thought we might do one of those every now and again. So for this Throwback Thursday, we thought we’d share with you our #1 viewed recipe over the last 13+ months.

Any guesses?

Let me help you out. How about Denise’s Marinated Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs done two ways – a sweet version with pineapple and brown sugar and a spicy version with jalapeno and cream cheese. Both delicious.

Here is a link to the original post and to the video that shows you how to do it.

Happy Throwback Thursday and enjoy some bacon wrapped chicken tonight!!

McNack’s Mystery Challenge

Yesterday we came up with a new concept to throw into our mix. We decided to start doing a McNack’s Mystery Challenge once a month! We will have a friend and loyal supporter bring us a mystery basket of 5 ingredients and we will have to create a dinner or appetizer out of what’s in the basket. Here are the official rules:

  • No desserts (because we just don’t like doing them)
  • No seafood (because Denise is a wimp and refuses)
  • No weird animal parts that no one would eat (and Denise…..and Melissa won’t touch)
  • We have to use all ingredients in some way, shape, or form
  • We have 5 minutes to think about what to make and create our shopping list
  • We have to announce our dish after the 5 minutes
  • We will then have a limited amount of time at the store to get what other ingredients are needed to complete our dish, plus add whatever we have in our pantry and fridge
  • We will cook the meals separately within 1-3 days and have YOU, the viewers, judge which one you would be most likely to try to recreate!

The unveiling of the mystery basket and introduction of special guest will all be on video…the recipes will be written up as traditional recipe posts. 

Our first one will be posted next week…and it is an AWESOME basket! We hope you enjoy!

Meals Two Ways – A New McNack’s Experiment

We’ve received a lot of feedback from our followers (by the way, thanks for following!!) that some of their favorite posts we have done are when Denise and I poke fun at each other and highlight our differences in how we both like to cook.

We decided that our one-year anniversary of McNack’s was a perfect time for us to begin highlighting some of your favorite things we do on a more frequent basis. 

One of these new post types will be Denise’s version and my version of the ‘same’ meal. We’ve done this a couple of times in the past (for example Denise’s Chicken Parm and Melissa’s Chicken Parm) but we will do this most weeks going forward. You can look for this to start this upcoming week. We hope you love it and please keep your feedback coming! We love your ideas and even love to hear where we ‘have room for improvement’ (the PC way of saying, that idea sucked, try again).two ways to cook the same meal

For a little sneak peek at other upcoming changes, we will also add more funny and informative videos and our version of ‘Chopped’ where we will use the same ingredients but make different meals. So, stay tuned!!

Happy Anniversary, McNack’s Kitchen!

Happy Anniversary, McNack’s Kitchen!

It’s hard to believe that one year ago today, we launched McNack’s Kitchen. We didn’t really know what to expect when we started on this adventure, but we can now say that we have been pleasantly surprised. We have had lots of fun and have learned a tremendous amount along the way. We hope that you have, too! 

As we enter into year two, we decided that we needed to do a little “makeover”. We have updated our Recipe List page, added a separate place for food for entertaining, and have created a place to see all our videos (which if you have not watched them all, you should!).

In the coming weeks, we will do more to make the website easy to navigate, provide more pictures and revamp some of our services too! We are super excited so be on the lookout.

Also, as we’ve learned this past year, evidently Facebook has been doing some ‘learning’ too….learning how to report to a Board of Directors as a public company expected to make money! So, as they learn, we must adapt. In the past we have essentially shared much of the same content on the website as we have Facebook with a few exceptions of things we only posted on Facebook such as funny e-cards, quotes, personal stories, etc. In the future, we will continue to use Facebook for your cooking inspiration and some of the lighter side topics about our antics in the kitchen, but we will rarely be posting recipes there. Recipes will be on the website and will continue to come into the email inboxes of our subscribers.

You are receiving this post because you already are a subscriber to our website. For your continued support, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. If you have not already done so and you are a Facebook user, you will also want to ‘Like’ our Facebook page to stay up to date on all the funny stories and inspirational quotes and personal lessons too! It is a great way to connect with the McNack’s Community.

Thank you again for your continued support and here’s to year two!

Melissa and Denise