Highland Village Balloon Festival – We’ll Be There!

We hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. For us, this means we hope you’ve been grilling and relaxing with friends and family.

There are still summer grilling evenings ahead! Check out this blog post we published earlier this summer for grilling tips for chicken and this one for tips on grilling the perfect steak.

We put away our own cooking tools for awhile in July and took a family trip to Big Sky, Montana, and Yellowstone National Park. It was crazy and fun. (What else can it be with four cars and 16 people?)

Now we’re back home, refreshed, and ready to get back at it!

30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival

One of the next big public events we’ll be doing is the 30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival on August 18-19 (the festival will continue for part of August 20th) at Unity Park.

This will be Seven Loaves’ third year to have a food booth at the festival. We’ll be serving brisket tacos, Mexican street corn, bratwursts, turkey legs, sausage on a stick, and drinks.

Besides food, the festival features fun for the entire family with a kid’s zone, live music, a car show, arts and crafts booths, and of course the beautiful, iconic hot air balloons. Entry to the festival is free. A $5 donation is requested for parking.

The Highland Village Lions Club hosts the annual Balloon Festival. Their motto is, “We want everyone to see a better tomorrow,” and their principle service project is detecting vision and hearing problems in local pre-school children.

Parking donations collected at the Balloon Festival help the Highland Village Lions Club screen children at day care facilities around Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village and surrounding cities. The Highland Village Lions Club have completed five years of screening children, serving over 4000 local children last year alone. Proceeds raised through the success of the Balloon Festival has enabled them to purchase state-of-the-art vision and hearing equipment to detect early warning signs of problems.

The annual Highland Village Balloon Festival is a great cause and a lot of family fun. We’re happy to be a part of it again. Come by and see us!

Vote for Seven Loaves as Best Caterer in Denton County

One more thing!

We’re excited to be nominated again for Denton County’s Best Caterer. We would love to have your vote—it takes just a minute! Voting closes August 23rd.

Please click the link below and scroll down to item #9 for Best Catering in Denton County . We really appreciate your support!

http://bestofdentoncounty.com/voting/restaurant-and-food-service-voting/

Come See the Hot Air Balloons and Seven Loaves

 

Enjoy these last remaining days of summer, and please come by to say hi at the 30th Annual Highland Village Balloon Festival on August 18 – 19.

 

How to Grill the Perfect Steak: Expert Tips and Secrets!

We told you in our last post about grilling no-fail, delicious chicken that we wouldn’t leave out the red-meat lovers, so this one’s for you!

Seven Loaves grilled steak

Just in time for your 4th of July celebrations, we’re going to share our tried-and-true tips for cooking a perfectly grilled steak.

Gas vs. Charcoal

Many people have moved to gas grilling because of the convenience, but there’s little argument that using charcoal produces a more flavorful meat. We all love convenience, but what if you could have hot coals in the same amount of time that it takes to heat up a gas grill? You can by using a charcoal chimney!  We use one and we love it. If you want to learn more about it, you can read about it here.

Seven Loaves grilling tips

The charcoal chimney gets started by using either lighter cubes or newspaper. Since newspaper can sometimes be hard to get your hands on right when you need it, you can buy unprinted newspaper in bulk at your local moving supply store (like U-Haul). Keep a box of it in your garage, and you’ll always have it on hand to get your fire started.

Gauging the Temperature of the Grill

Grilling at the right heat level is probably more important than any other aspect of grilling. You can’t expect great results if you just grill everything at the same temperature.

If your grill has a thermometer in the lid, then it’s easier to be sure you’re cooking at the correct heat level. If you’re using a charcoal grill, however, it may not have a thermometer. Then you can use the old-school hand test instead.

Seven Loaves grilling steak

To use the hand test, extend your palm over the charcoal at a safe distance. Imagine a soda can standing over the cooking grate. If your palm was resting on the top of the can, it would be about five inches from the cooking grate─just where you should measure the heat of the charcoal.

Always pull your hand away from the heat BEFORE it hurts.
And be sure that nothing flammable, such as a sleeve, is dangling from your arm!

  • If you need to pull your hand away after 2 to 4 seconds, the heat is high
  • If you need to pull your hand away after 5 to 7 seconds, the heat is medium
  • If you need to pull your hand away after 8 to 10 seconds, the heat is low

Grilling Classes

We’re going to share tips here, but we also want to let you know that we occasionally host grilling classes. We not only demonstrate our tips for grilling success, but everyone has a lot of fun, too.

We provide the instruction and drinks, and those attending get to sample a variety of food from the grill as we cook. To keep an eye out for future grilling classes, “like” our Facebook page or fill out your contact information. Just put grilling classes in the box for event description.

In the meantime, we’re going to share our tips on grilling the perfect steak. It all starts with a good cut of meat…

Perfectly grilled steak

Seven Loaves grilled steak

To grill the perfect steak, you only need three ingredients: a good cut of steak, a small amount of oil, and your seasoning.

Steak cuts we recommend for grilling:

Boneless rib-eye, 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick, about 12 ounces each
New York Strip steaks, 1.25 to 1.5 inches thick, about 12 ounces each
Filet mignons, trimmed, about 8 to 10 ounces each

For oil, you’ll need 2 tablespoons canola or extra-virgin olive oil (per every four steaks)

Lastly, you’ll need your favorite steak seasoning or seasoned salt.

What we recommend for steak seasoning

Over the years we’ve developed our own house blend seasoning, but you can make a delicious, simple blend on your own. We recommend one of the following:

  • Equal parts of Lawry’s Seasoned Salt + Mrs. Dash Seasoning
  • Equal parts Lawry’s Seasoned Salt + Montreal Steak Seasoning

Apply seasoning liberally before grilling the meat. We recommend using about twice as much seasoning blend as you would if you were using just salt alone.

Steps for grilling the perfect steak:

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steaks from the refrigerator and let sit, covered, at room temperature.

Heat the grill to high.

Brush the steaks on both sides with oil and season liberally with your steak seasoning.

Place the steaks on the grill and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Turn the steaks over once, and continue to grill until they reach the perfect amount of doneness. (What that means is up to you!)

  • Cook about another 3 to 5 minutes for medium rare (an internal temperature of 135 degrees)
  • Cook about another 5 to 7 minutes for medium (an internal temperature of 140 degrees)
  • Cook about another 8 to 10 minutes for medium well (an internal temperature of 150 degrees)

Transfer the steaks to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 5 minutes before serving or slicing.

Have fun grilling

The most important thing is to just enjoy working on your grill skills! Attack your outdoor grilling as a fun experiment, not a chore. Most things in life that require skill don’t come naturally, so cut yourself some slack and be ready for trial and error. Take notes on what you do so you can make adjustments or do the same things next time, depending on the outcome.

And if you’re worried about ruining dinner, then just keep a package of good ol’ tube steaks (hotdogs) on hand as a backup!

Have a safe and happy July 4th!

 

 

9 Tips for Grilling Perfect No-Fail Chicken (Plus a Favorite Recipe!)

Seven Loaves grilling tips

Many guys dream of mastering the perfect steak on the grill. But more and more, we see the ladies tackling the grill and sometimes they just want a well-cooked, flavorful piece of chicken. And guys, let’s face it. Sometimes you simply need to whip out a weeknight dinner, so learning how to master chicken that’s juicy and tasty, rather than dry and bland, is important.

Red meat lovers─you’re next!

Don’t worry─we’ll get to the red meat! Watch for our next blog post (soon) on grilling the perfect steak.

In the meantime, here are 9 tips for grilling delicious, no-fail chicken:

1) Start with the right cut of chicken

Seven Loaves grilling tips Some pieces of chicken take longer to grill than others, so if time is a factor, you’ll have to choose your chicken pieces accordingly. You’ll need more time for thicker pieces or bone-in breasts. If time is limited, choose boneless breasts or cut boneless chicken into small pieces and thread onto a skewer.

Skewer tips:

If you use wooden or bamboo skewers, soak them in water for 20-30 minutes before using. Skewer meat and veggies from end to end leaving no skewer exposed. (If necessary, buy shorter skewers or trim off excess skewer with kitchen shears.) Following these tips will keep the skewers from catching on fire.

2) Pound boneless chicken breasts before cooking

The uneven shape of boneless, skinless chicken breasts makes them difficult to grill. Take just a few minutes to pound the thicker part of the breast so that it’s thinner. This helps in two ways─you’ll shorten cooking time and the meat will cook more evenly.

3) Add flavor to the chicken before grilling

Seven Loaves grilling tips

Take a little bit more time to add some flavor to the meat before grilling. It can be a brine, a rub, or a marinade. Something simple will do the trick─don’t worry about needing anything complicated. Adding a little flavor to the meat before cooking has several benefits.

First, you won’t have as much basting work to do during grilling. Plus, the flavor of the grilled chicken will be better. Another plus: when you don’t have to do as much basting work, you have more time to enjoy one of the best parts of grilling─kicking back with a cold drink and relaxing while dinner cooks.

4) Prep the grill

For the grill to cook well, it needs to be maintained, cleaned, and prepped. Before starting to cook, make sure you have enough fuel and that you have clean grill grates. Right before putting the chicken on, rub a little oil on the preheated grates to keep it from sticking.

Use long tongs to add oil to your grill plates. Then use either several layers of heavy-duty paper towels or an old kitchen rag saturated with vegetable oil. We recommend that once the grill is heated, your turn the burners off while oiling to avoid a flare up. (If you use vegetable spray instead, you absolutely MUST turn the burners off!) Don’t forget to reignite the grill once the grates are oiled!

5) Stay away from high heat

Unlike steak or burgers, where you want a fairly high heat to get a good sear on the outside, chicken needs to stay away from high heat. You want to cook chicken thoroughly, but without the skin burning. This works best over medium, indirect heat.

If you’re using a charcoal grill, build a two-level fire or put coals on only half of the grill. If you’re using a gas grill, keep the heat on medium.

6) Close the lid!

Seven Loaves grilling tipsOne of the biggest mistakes that novice grillers make is to leave the grill open. This not only makes cooking time longer, but you’re unnecessarily losing a lot of heat and fuel. A covered grill creates a sealed, oven-like environment where the heat surrounds your food on all sides. This is especially helpful when you’re cooking chicken because, unlike steak or burgers, chicken must be cooked thoroughly.

7) Avoid cross-contamination

You have to be careful not to get cross-contamination when handling chicken. Anything that touches raw chicken (including your hands!) needs to be washed with hot, soapy water. Never use a platter to carry raw chicken out to the grill and then put the cooked chicken back on the same platter. At least not without a good hot, soapy wash in between!

8) Baste often, but not until the end

It’s delicious when sauce glazes grilled chicken and caramelizes onto it. But wait to brush on the sauce until the end of cooking or it will burn. Don’t start basting until about five to seven minutes before the chicken is done. Then baste all over, turning the chicken a few times. That way each layer has time to cook and stick to the chicken.

9) Use a meat thermometer

Chicken needs to be cooked thoroughly to be safe. Insert a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thickest piece of chicken and make sure that it reaches a temperature of 165 degrees. Also be certain that the thermometer is not resting on a chicken bone─this gives a false reading.

If you don’t have a thermometer (we strongly suggest that you get one!) cut into a thick part of the chicken and make sure the juices run clear.

A family favorite

We found this recipe from Betty Crocker years ago, and it’s been one of our family’s favorite summer chicken recipes ever since. This recipe calls for boneless breasts, but you can certainly use thighs or leg quarters. Give it a try─we think you’ll love it!

Grilled Chicken with Chipotle-Peach Glaze

Seven Loaves chicken recipe

Ingredients

1/2 cup peach preserves
1/4 cup lime juice
1 canned chipotle chile pepper in adobo sauce, seeded, chopped*
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chiles)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 1/2 lb) SAVE $
1 teaspoon garlic-pepper blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 peaches, cut in half and pitted, if desired
Cilantro sprigs

*Please note: this is ONE pepper, not one whole can. You can always raise the heat by adding more peppers or by not seeding, if you want it hotter.

Steps

Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium. In 1-quart saucepan, mix preserves, lime juice, chile pepper, and adobo sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until preserves are melted. Stir in chopped cilantro; set aside.

Sprinkle chicken with garlic-pepper blend, cumin and salt.

Place chicken on grill. Cover grill; cook over medium heat 15 to 20 minutes. During the last few minutes, turn a few times while brushing with the preserves mixture. Cook until juice of chicken is clear and when center of thickest part reaches 165 degrees.

Add peach halves to grill for last 2 to 3 minutes of grilling, just until heated.

Heat any remaining preserves mixture to boiling; boil and stir for one minute.

Serve cooked sauce with chicken and peaches. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Happy grilling!

And don’t forget─we’re not leaving out the red-meat lovers! Watch for our next post soon on grilling the perfect steak.

Seven Loaves: Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor at Plano Race for the Cure

For the third year in a row, Seven Loaves donated food and catering services for the Plano Race for the Cure. This was our first year, however, to be the Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor for this massive event. We set up in four different locations and served over 1000 people!

Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure We donated and served all the food and coffee in both the Survivor and VIP tents. Participants there enjoyed build-your-own omelets with cheese, bacon, turkey, sour cream, and homemade salsa. Along with fresh fruit, pastries, and muffins, we also offered build-your-own yogurt parfaits with blueberries, strawberries, and granola.

In addition to the VIP and Survivor tent catering, Seven Loaves provided coffee for roughly 400 event volunteers.

We participated in the race as well. Seven Loaves had a team of eight who ran in the 5K race. Half of our team was staff members and half were friends who were eager to support the cause.

Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plano Race for the Cure puts 100% of the net proceeds of the race toward their mission. Of the net income, 75% stays in our community to help fund local programs offering breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. The remaining 25% goes toward the Susan G. Komen Research and Training Grants program.

In addition to raising funds for the breast cancer movement, Race for the Cure also increases awareness, celebrates breast cancer survivors, and honors those who have lost their battle with the disease.

Breast cancer is way too common

  • 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime
  • In North Texas, 21 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and 3 women die every week
  • 1 woman in the U.S. dies from breast cancer every 13 minutes
  • At the current rate, 13 million breast cancer deaths will occur around the world in the next 25 years

Unfortunately, breast cancer knows no boundaries. It affects people of every age, gender, socio-economic status and location.

Seven Loaves Catering Race for the Cure

Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure

 

 

 

 

Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure

Giving Back

One of the benefits of our success at Seven Loaves is the ability to give back to our community. We were happy to have the opportunity to contribute again to the Plano Race for the Cure. It’s a great cause, and we think they do incredible work. We were glad to be a part of it!

Seven Loaves Catering Plano Race for the Cure

 

 

Seven Loaves Celebrates the Class of 2017

Seven Loaves Celebrates Seniors 2017

Graduation time for the Seniors of 2017 is here! Are you hosting a graduation event? Seven Loaves has some catering specials so you can relax and enjoy your party.

And we also have some suggestions for a common problem that graduation party hosts face.

How much food do I need to order?

How much food do you need? The difficulty in answering this important question is that people don’t seem to RSVP very well any more. Unfortunately, this can be even more common for graduation parties.

People will likely RSVP if they’ve recently had a party themselves, because they’ve just experienced first-hand how frustrating this is as a host. But many others won’t. How do you know how much food to get if you don’t have an accurate guest count?

We have a simple solution– over order a bit. If you over order the right way, you won’t get stuck with food you can’t use. At Seven Loaves, we can make this work for you because we offer graduation party food that holds well. A few of the menu items we offer for catering that keep really well are brisket, fajitas, or a taco bar.

If you over order a little, you’ll make sure you have enough food if a lot of people show up who didn’t RSVP. (That’s a good thing, right?)

And if you do end up having some food left, you’ll have some great leftovers. You may have company in town for graduation who you’ll need to feed after the big event. What’s easier than pulling out your party food?

Turn your leftovers into other delicious dishes

Best of all, many of our graduation offerings can be made into other delicious meals. For example, If you order brisket and have leftovers, you can make brisket tacos or brisket enchiladas. We’re going to share our favorite brisket taco recipe below.

Likewise, if you order fajitas and have some of those left, we have an easy, yummy fajita nacho recipe that we think you’ll love.

Brisket tacos

Our favorite brisket taco recipe is very simple, but delicious. You’ll be glad you have leftover brisket when you are enjoying these.

Brisket (already have this!)
Corn tortillas
Onion (yellow or white), chopped
Cilantro, chopped
Salsa Verde (tomatillo sauce)
Monterey jack cheese, shredded (optional)

Seven Loaves brisket tacos

You should be able to find this salsa verde at your regular grocery on the salsa aisle. It’s good!

Shred the leftover brisket meat with forks.
On a warm corn tortilla, put brisket meat, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, and the salsa verde.
Done and delicious!

If you are a person who can’t eat a taco without cheese, melt a little shredded monterey jack cheese on the corn tortilla under the broiler before putting the meat and other toppings on. (But we like ours without.)

Fajita Nachos

Seven Loaves fajita nachos

Leftover fajita veggie/meat mixture
Tortilla chips (if they’re leftover chips, this recipe will bring them new life!)
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup (or more if you like) shredded cheese

Turn broiler on low.
Spread a layer of chips on a sheet pan with a rim.
Add a layer of leftover fajita mixture.
Spoon on salsa.
Sprinkle cheese on top.
Place under low broiler for about 5 minutes. Watch closely! Food can burn under a broiler very quickly.
Remove when cheese is melted and food is hot.
Add sour cream and enjoy!

If you have leftover guacamole or beans, these can make great additions to the fajita nachos. Add the beans before your fajita layer, and the guacamole after cooking.

Call us soon!

If you’re hosting a graduation party and want Seven Loaves to take care of the food, give us a call before June 15th. Take a look at our graduation specials here. We’ll help you decide how much you’ll probably need to order and deliver delicious, hot food right before your event. There’s no additional charge for local delivery! Then you can just relax and enjoy your party.

And congratulations on having a graduate! That’s a milestone worth celebrating!Seven Loaves graduation catering

 

 

Seven Loaves Serves the 18th Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast

Seven Loaves had the opportunity to serve at an important community event on Wednesday, May 3, when we provided the meals and staff to feed all the participants of the 18th annual Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast.  This is our third year to cater this meaningful event.

Serving 450 people at 6:30 a.m. is no small feat, but Seven Loaves was ready and able, and it went off without a hitch. We served scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, ham, biscuits and gravy, skillet potatoes, fresh cut fruit, and cinnamon rolls.

Attending the breakfast were community leaders from Lewisville, Flower Mound, and Highland Village including local law enforcement officials, LISD School Board members, Denton County Commissioners, Denton County Sherriff’s Department, local Fire Department officials, and numerous multi-denominational Christian leaders from around the community.

seven loaves mayor's prayer breakfast

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast is held each year in observance of the National Day of Prayer. This year’s keynote speaker was home run hero Darryl Strawberry and music was provided by local group Legacy Voices.

We were pleased to be able to again provide our food and services to this important, annual event.

Would your next event be better with this popular, new trend?

These days, whether you are hosting a corporate event, a personal celebration, or a wedding, more catering options are available than ever before.

Seven Loaves Catering stations

Stations

One of our favorite catering trends, growing in popularity, is the use of creative catering stations . Stations can best be described as mini-buffets placed throughout the venue. Each offers a different food theme and many times provides customizable toppings or ingredients to choose from.

 

Seven Loaves catering stations with waffles

You can see the appeal of stations at a morning corporate event. Instead of the regular buffet of scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns, you could offer your guests pancake, omelet, and waffle stations–complete with a wide variety of toppings. Seven Loaves has catered this corporate breakfast, and it’s always a great success.

You can also offer what is called an “action station.” Here, a chef mans the station and cooks something to the exact specifications and requests of your guests. (Think of the hotel omelet bar where you choose your ingredients and a chef cooks it for you.)

 

Seven Loaves Catering stations with quesadillas

We offered an action station at a corporate event we recently catered. It was a quesadilla station. Dishes of pork, chicken, beef, and lots of various toppings were provided. Then our chef cooked each individual quesadilla for the guests–they loved it!

How stations can improve your next event

Stations provide a lot of benefits, both for the host and the guests:

  • People enjoy stations and have fun building their own food items.
  • Stations allow people to mingle more easily. Instead of sitting at the same table throughout the event, people are able to move around and talk to others at different stations placed around the room. This set-up easily leads to more networking and interaction. And isn’t that one of the main purposes of a corporate event?
  • Stations reduce the long lines that you can find at buffets. When the crowd is heading to three, four, or more stations spread around the room, there won’t be one long buffet line. When you offer stations, the food is ready when your guests arrive and the lines are much shorter–if you even have any!
  • Leaving food stations open throughout your event allows your attendees to munch when they feel like it.
  • You don’t have to provide seating for everyone when offering stations serving. People can stand and nibble on their smaller stations plate, and then go get a different serving of something else. You can even provide tall tables for plates and drinks that people can stand around while eating, drinking, and visiting.
  • Although servings are smaller than a standard plated or buffet meal, stations allow you to offer a wider variety of food items.
  • With people’s dietary restrictions (vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.) becoming more and more prevalent, stations allow you to offer menu items to these guests.

Seven Loaves Extensive Stations Menu

Seven Loaves Catering stations

At Seven Loaves, we offer a broad variety of 31 different food stations for our catering customers. You can definitely find something for everyone! Take a look at the stations menus we offer here:

Our most popular catering stations lately have been our mashed potato mini bar, macaroni and cheese bar, pasta station, and southern biscuits and chicken station.

We’re getting hungry just thinking about them!