Panther Bites: Recipes for Gathering Season

As summer comes to a close, we welcome fall and all it has in store: holidays, tailgates and gatherings galore. ‘Tis the season for kitchen catchups, big meals and sweet treats—hopefully, with the people we care about most. With help from the Panther community, we curated a list of recipes that are sure to have your taste buds tingling. So, let’s get cooking!

Sal’s Spaghetti house Sicilian Chicken

From left: George Poidomani and his father, Salvatore.
About the Cook
NAME: George Poidomani FLORIDA TECH CONNECTION: ’73 B.S., management science RECIPE FUN FACT: Originating from Ragusa in Sicily, Italy, this recipe was handed down from father to son and was one of the most requested entrees at Sal’s Spaghetti House, Poidomani’s father’s (Sal’s) restaurant in Allentown, Pennsylvania!

Serves 4

4 bone-in or boneless chicken thighs (sub chicken breast if preferred)
Dry vermouth, enough to cover chicken
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus a few tablespoons for coating baking sheet
2 peeled russet potatoes cut lengthwise, then in quarters
4 peeled small onions cut in half
7 ounces of fresh or jarred mushrooms
½ cup of oil-cured dried black olives
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichokes rinsed in cold water
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
Flour, enough to coat chicken
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parsley (chopped fresh or dried) to taste


  1. In a bowl or plastic bag, cover chicken with dry vermouth and let marinate for about a half-hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  3. Coat a large baking sheet with olive oil, and spread vegetables across in one layer.
  4. Heat ½ cup of oil in an oven-safe frying pan, preferably cast iron.
  5. Mix flour, salt and pepper, then dredge the chicken in the mixture.
  6. Brown the chicken, then place it on top of the vegetables.
  7. Sprinkle everything with oil (can use the leftover oil from browning chicken).
  8. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
  9. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. Remove foil, and bake for another 15 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes. Any extra oil can be poured on top of each portion.

Chef’s Tip: Freeze portions that are not used. To reheat, defrost portioned container for at least 24 hours, then microwave on power level 4 for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Pozole Rojo

Panther Dining Hall Executive Chef Jon Skoviera.
About the Cook
NAME: Jon Skoviera
FLORIDA TECH CONNECTION: University Executive Chef
RECIPE FUN FACT: This year, Florida Tech’s Campus Dining team won the bronze Loyal E. Horton Dining Award in the Residential Dining–Special Event category for PDH’s Global Kitchen special event on Mexico/Day of the Dead, featuring this dish! The award, which celebrates members’ innovative ideas and program implementation, is named after a founder and past president of the National Association of College & University Food Services and is one of the industry’s leading awards.

Serves: 12

2 pounds boneless pork (loin or butt)
4 ounces olive oil, divided
12 ounces yellow onion
2 tablespoons garlic
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart beef stock
4 tablespoons mild New Mexico chile powder
2 tablespoons hot New Mexico chile powder
1 tablespoon oregano leaves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 (25-ounce) can hominy


  1. Dice the boneless pork into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Preheat a one-gallon pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and half of the cubed pork. Cook, stirring until browned.
  4. Remove the cooked pork and repeat with the remaining pork until all is browned. Set aside.
  5. Dice the yellow onion. Place the remaining olive oil and diced onions in the pot, and cook for 3–4 minutes, or until they begin to become translucent.
  6. Chop the garlic, and add it into the pot with the onion, cooking it all together for 1 minute. Add the browned pork to the pot.
  7. Add the stocks and spices, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for 75–90 minutes, or until the pork is tender but not falling apart.
  8. Add the hominy, and simmer an additional 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat and serve.

Chef’s Tips:

  1. New Mexico chile powder can be purchased on Amazon or in some specialty shops.
  2. Purchasing cumin seeds, toasting them in a dry pan and grinding them fresh will totally change the flavor of the spice.
  3. Customize your bowl with diced/ sliced radish, shredded cabbage, lime wedges, minced onion, chopped cilantro and/or hot sauce.

Florida Key Lime Pie Dip

Professor Emerita Mary Bonhomme
About the Cook
NAME: Mary Bonhomme
FLORIDA TECH CONNECTION: Professor Emerita, Extended Studies
RECIPE FUN FACT: Bonhomme first brought this appetizer to a work reunion in Florida with former colleagues from Cabot Corp. in Indiana. She wanted to bring the “Florida vibe” and thought this would do the trick!

Serves: 8

½ cup marshmallow creme (such as Marshmallow Fluff)
⅓ cup sweetened condensed milk
¼ cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes or bottled Key lime juice)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Lime zest for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, whisk the marshmallow creme, condensed milk and lime juice.
  2. In a medium bowl and using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add the whipped cream to the marshmallow creme mixture, and fold gently to blend.
  4. Top the dip with lime zest.
  5. Serve.

Chef’s Tip: Serve with graham crackers, cookies (such as Nilla Wafers), pound cake and/or fresh fruit for dipping.

Nigerian Jollof Rice with Chicken

Alumna Oreoluwa Ariyibi
About the Cook
NAME: Oreoluwa Ariyibi
FLORIDA TECH CONNECTION: ’23 B.S., information systems
RECIPE FUN FACT: Jollof rice originates from the Senegambian area, where the Wolof or Jolof Empire dominated in the 14th century. It is a staple meal in African countries such as Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria—where Ariyibi is from and learned to make the dish from her mother

Serves: 10

4 pounds chicken, drumsticks and thighs
8 garlic cloves, peeled
2-inch ginger root, peeled and sliced into chunks
7 ¼ cups water, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
4 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder, divided
1 ½ cups vegetable oil for frying
6 cups jasmine or other long-grain rice
5 large Roma tomatoes
2 red bell peppers
2 habanero peppers
2 bay leaves
1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon curry


Chicken Stock

  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a large pot.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and about ¼ cup of water to a blender, then blend to create a paste.
  3. To the pot, add about ¼ of the chopped onion, 2 tablespoons of the garlic-and-ginger paste, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder. Toss everything together.
  4. Add 3 cups of water to the pot, and bring to a boil on high heat. Then, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 18 minutes.
  5. Use a frying spoon to remove the chicken from the stock, and set it in a colander to drain. Set aside 2 cups of the stock.

Fried Chicken

  1. Fill a frying pan with up to 2 inches of oil, and bring to medium-high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add the chicken and cook until it’s golden brown, then flip to the other side and repeat.
  2. Remove the chicken from the pan, and place it on paper towels to drain any extra oil. Set aside 1 cup of the frying oil, and let it cool before using it to cook the rice.


  1. To get rid of extra starch, wash the rice by rinsing it in water three to four times. Set aside.
  2. Add the Roma tomatoes, red bell peppers and habanero peppers to a blender, and blend into a paste. Gradually, add 2 cups of water and blend.
  3. Transfer the tomato puree to a medium saucepan. Simmer for about 20 minutes without stirring.
  4. Place the reserved 1 cup of oil into a heavy-bottomed or nonstick saucepan, and bring to medium-low heat. Add the remaining onions and the bay leaves, stirring occasionally for two minutes, or until they are aromatic.
  5. Add the tomato paste, and fry until the sour taste is gone. Then, add the boiled tomatoes, bring to a boil and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken and adhere to the bottom of the saucepan.
  6. Add the dried thyme and 1 teaspoon of curry, and whisk to let the flavor come through.
  7. Add the remaining garlic-and-ginger paste, stir and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the cleaned rice to the tomato sauce, and thoroughly stir.
  9. Add the reserved chicken stock and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon powder. Stir to combine.
  10. Add 1–2 cups of water to the saucepan, and cover completely with aluminum foil to keep the steam within the pot. Turn the heat to low, and cover the pot with its lid.
  11. Cook the rice for 20 minutes, then stir (carefully, to avoid breaking the grains) and check its tenderness.
  12. Place the foil and lid back on the pot, and cook another 20 minutes.
  13. Remove the lid and foil, fluff the rice with a fork and remove the bay leaves.
  14. Serve with the fried chicken.

Chef’s Tip: You may want to serve with salad or coleslaw.

Nicklow Chili

Serves: 16 (2-cup servings)

Florida Tech President Dr. John Nicklow.
About the Cook
NAME: John Nicklow
RECIPE FUN FACT: President Nicklow has won several neighborhood chili contests with this recipe that he created by combining the best ideas from at least six recipes—and a lot of trial and error.

4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 pounds boneless beef roast (chuck, round or rump) trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 pounds loose chorizo sausage
2 large onions, diced
2 red peppers, diced
2 fresh jalapeños, stemmed, seeded and minced
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups beef stock
4 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (regular or fire-roasted)
3 (10-ounce) cans red enchilada sauce
2 (16-ounce) cans chili beans with sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed
½ cup flour
1 cup water


  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add cubed beef roast in batches, adding another tablespoon of oil as needed. Cook each batch until brown. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the same pan, cook the chorizo until brown. Drain and set aside.
  3. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, onions, red peppers, jalapeños and garlic until softened. Remove vegetables and drain excess oil from the pot.
  4. Return meat and vegetables to the pot. Add cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder and crushed red pepper flakes, and stir.
  5. Add beef stock, tomatoes, enchilada sauce, chili beans and rinsed black beans. Cover and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  7. Uncover, simmer for another 45 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk flour and water until smooth. Add to pot and stir.
  9. Cook chili for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat, and let sit for 15 minutes.
  10. Serve.

Chef’s Tip: For serving, add shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro and/or sliced green onions.

Dr. Stacy’s Macaroni and Cheese

First Spouse Dr. Stacy Nicklow.
About the Cook
NAME: Stacy Nicklow
RECIPE FUN FACT: Nicklow wanted a “grown up” version of macaroni and cheese that would be worthy of serving on holidays. She knew that different types of cheese and a good béchamel sauce would be key. Lots of trial and error led her to this version, which is a family favorite every holiday!

Serves: 8

5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
3 ½ cups whole milk
16 ounces pasta (small-shaped, such as shells, elbows, rotini or bowties)
1 ¼ cups shredded extra/seriously sharp cheddar cheese
1 ¼ cups shredded mild cheddar cheese or smoked cheddar
1 ¼ cups shredded colby jack or gouda cheese
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
Paprika to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. In a double boiler, melt butter over boiling water. Add flour, salt, pepper and mustard. Whisk until well blended.
  3. Add milk gradually, whisking constantly, until fully incorporated. Cook over boiling water until mixture is thick and no starchy taste remains, about 15 minutes.
  4. Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for one minute short of package directions for al dente. Drain.
  5. Spray a deep (2 ½- to 3-quart) casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place a layer of pasta on the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with cup of each type of cheese.
  6. Spoon of the sauce over the cheese.
  7. Continue to add alternating layers of pasta, cheese and sauce for 3 total layers.
  8. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese, cover with breadcrumbs and a sprinkle of paprika.
  9. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes until brown and bubbly.

This piece was featured in the fall 2023 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.

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