“Home Cooking with Love” and Habitat for Humanity

Chef Ro inspires cooks with flavor, spice and love without breaking the budget

Chef “Ro” Roshara Sanders serves as celebrity ambassador for Habitat for Humanity International, working with Habitat partner Whirlpool Corporation. Winner of Food Network “Chopped”, Forbes Fellow recipient at the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, featured chef at the 2019 South by Southwest Festival, Chef Ro grew up in a Habitat home, and now inspires homeowners to cook delicious, healthy meals. Her passion for cooking grew while serving with the U.S. 395th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and she cross trained as a food supply specialist. “I was passionate about cooking,” If it weren’t for the GI Bill I wouldn’t have gone to the Culinary Institute of America or any college for that matter. It was a blessing and it made my dream a reality.”

Chef Ro's Labor Day Recipes

Nacho Average Nachos

A Labor Day Tradition

For 32 nachos

There is a certain truth that some professions don’t take days off on America’s treasured Labor Day holiday. Some jobs are specifically designed to serve the people. For me, one of these is the Army and the other is the kitchen.

The relationship between the discipline of the army and the culinary scene are heavily aligned. There is a dedication to serving no matter the day or time. While you enjoy Labor Day this year, I’d like to share with you a recipe with love from my kitchen to yours.

Growing up, nachos have always been my favorite snack! Every Sunday during NFL season my mother and I would watch the game on television and snack on nachos with cheese sauce. With fall ahead it seems like the right dish for Labor Day sharing.

I truly believe that nachos are a blank canvas to create and experiment with delicious proteins, vegetables, cheeses, and sauces. I merged my love for this original dish and elevated it using wontons in lieu of chips. Wontons have always given me the best sensation when it comes to the perfect crunch. So in honor of Labor Day, I added BBQ chicken, cheese and a variety of toppings! I hope you’ll join me in the fun on your day off.

Chef Roshara Sanders

Wontons

  • 8 oz cracker barrel shredded cheddar block extra sharp
  • 32 square wonton wrappers, 1/2 inch (1 1/4 cm)
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin spice
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh chives

BBQ Sauce Chicken

  • Chicken seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sesame oil (optional)
  • ¼ cup white onions, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ lb diced chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder

BBQ sauce

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup smoked brown sugar or (light brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne powder (use less or omit if desired)
  • ⅛ cup molasses
  • Kosher salt, Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • White Sesame seed garnish

Toppings

  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 15 oz black beans, canned, drained and rinsed ( or dried beans soak overnight)
  • 12 oz pickled jalapeno, canned, thinly sliced ( or fresh diced jalapeno)
  • ½ small red onion, small diced or pickled red onions
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Sour cream, to taste
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  • Chopped chives for garnish
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  • A dollop of sour cream garnish

Instructions

Season and cook chicken: Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more, until softened but not browned.

1. Add the diced chicken breast, cumin, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the pan. Stir saute chicken until lightly golden brown. Then let sit undisturbed for about 3 minutes to let the meat brown. Stir and continue cooking until no pink remains 5-7 minutes total. Add 2 tablespoons of the pickled jalapeño liquid and cook until slightly evaporated, about 1 minute. Set cooked chicken to the side.

2. To Make the wontons: In a medium bowl, mix together the seasonings and set aside.

3. Fill a large, deep pot about ⅔ of the way with vegetable oil. Heat the oil until it reaches 350°F (180°C). Set a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.

4. On a clean work surface, lay out 10 wonton wrappers at a time. Fry until golden brown, flipping once, 2-3 minutes total. Transfer directly to the bowl with spices and toss around in the seasoning mix.

5. Arrange the season wontons on a baking sheet. Cover with ½ cup (50 g) of the shredded cheddar, chicken and bbq sauce. Top with the remaining wontons and cheddar cheese. Broil, light torch, or leave in 400-degree oven until cheese is melted and bubbly; about 2 minutes.

6. Top the wonton nachos with the remaining black beans, jalapeños, red onion, tomato, sour cream, avocado, and cilantro or any other topping you desire! Serve with lime wedges on the side and enjoy!

To Make BBQ sauce:

Add all ingredients in a saucepot and allow to simmer until sauce flavor and thickness builds ( about 10 minutes- 20 minutes) Stir occasionally!

Note: Exclude chicken to make a vegetarian option

Chef Ro's 4th of July Recipes

Bourbon Moscow Mule BBQ Beef Ribs

Serves 10

4 pounds BBQ Beef Ribs

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Directions

Marinate Ribs for minimum 2 hours. Char Ribs on the grill once removed from the marinade. Brush with BBQ sauce and continue to on both sides for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer ribs to a roasting pan and finish in the oven. Roast ribs and baste ribs until internal temperature is 155. Add beef stock to the bottom on the roasting pan to avoid BBQ sauce from burning.

Moscow Mule BBQ sauce

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ¼ cups Dark brown sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups Apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup unsulfured molasses
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 ½ ounces bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup light ginger beer, such as Fever-Tree Naturally Light

Directions

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, molasses, and butter. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, paprika, celery seed, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper.

2. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for up to 20 minutes. Add Bourbon, ginger beer, and lime juice. Let the bourbon evaporate until it reaches a good balance in the sauce. For thicker sauce, simmer longer, and for thinner, less time is needed. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary. Brush sauce Beef during the last 10 minutes of cooking to get a crisp finish.

American Summer Potato Salad

Serves 8

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed in water
  • 6 hard-boiled large eggs, chopped
  • ½ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup of red diced onions
  • ¼ cup chopped sweet pickles
  • ½ tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup of chopped chives
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender. Drain and chill. Add eggs, onions and pickles; toss well. Stir in mustard, celery seed and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.

 

Grilled Mexican Street Corn

Serves 8

  • 6 to 8 medium ears sweet corn, husks removed
  • ½ cup Mexican sour cream
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup minced cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest, from one lime
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice, from one lime
  • ½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled
  • Lime wedges, to serve

Directions

Heat your gill, in a separate bowl whisk together the crema, mayonnaise, cilantro, garlic, chipotle pepper, lime zest, cumin, salt, pepper and lime juice. Set aside and rub on corn after corn comes off the grill.

Place the husked corn directly onto grill grates. Grill the corn for about 3 minutes, undisturbed, or until kernels begin to turn golden brown and look charred turnover and repeat. When all sides are browned, remove from the grill onto a plate. Sprinkle with Cojita Cheese once finished.