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NCC chefs offer cooking classes during the pandemic

Cooking more at home could become the new normal as Americans adjust to less dining out due to the pandemic.

The number of people who are returning to their kitchen has soared. Many say they will carry on with their cooking habits even after the world returns to a new normal, according to a new food study Hunter PR.

If you want to learn new recipes and skills in the kitchen, chef Francine Marz, culinary director at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem suggests you sign up for one of the Northampton Community College’s Culinary Zoom presentations.

Just recently the culinary department presented Conversations with NCC Chefs.

“It was a great opportunity to hone your cooking skills,” Marz said.

Chef Cindy Litzenberger

Chef Cindy Litzenberger has been at Northampton Community College for 20 years, and she is a graduate of the program.

“I had a catering business for a number of years. When I was invited to come back as part of the staff and substitute faculty, I jumped at the chance,” she said.

“The students all become like one big family and we really look out for each other as we’re going through the day-to-day routines, and we try to assist everyone in making it the best outcome and have the best time they can,” she said.

Litzenberger explained the recipe she is using is not a dessert cheesecake.

“It would be something that you could use as an appetizer or if you were going out to a party,” she said.


2 bags tortilla “cups” small tortillas such as Doritos scoops work well

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies, drained

1 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper

1/3 cup chopped tomato

½ cup chopped scallions

1 can sliced black olives

In a mixing bowl using a paddle attachment, mix the two packages of cream cheese until smooth.

Scrape down sides occasionally until no lumps appear. Make sure the cream cheese is creamy before eggs are added. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until blended. Add shredded cheese and drained green chilis and mix just until cheese and chilis are evenly dispersed.

Place tortilla “cups” in mini muffin pan. They will not fit down into the pan but will sit on top.

Fill each cup with 1 tablespoon or 1 #100 scoop of batter. Don’t worry if it doesn’t go all the way into the cup; as it bakes it will fill the center.

Bake at 325 degrees F about 8 minutes or until center is set.

Allow to cool thoroughly or overnight in a refrigerator until ready to serve.

Before serving the cheesecakes, top with the mixture of yellow peppers, tomato and scallion. Top with slices of black olive.

Optional: Add or top with jalapeño pepper rings (omit green chilis), add hot sauce to the batter per taste.

Chef Katie Horan

Chef Katie Horan is the college’s full-time pastry chef and said she chose this cookie recipe because, “They are my favorite cookies to make for Christmas or any time.”

“It’s a very simple recipe and doesn’t use a lot of ingredients. This is a recipe from my childhood that is just delicious,“ she said.

Normally, Horan said when she bakes she is an all butter person, but this recipe is too good to mess with.


2 sticks unsalted soft butter (you can use salted butter, just eliminate the salt from the recipe.

1 cup Crisco shortening (butter flavored shortening adds to the buttery flavor)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour and salt until just combined.

Pipe on a parchment lined sheet tray or use a cookie press, top with sprinkles.

Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your cookie.