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Quarantine cuisine: Bellino kicks off new recipe column featuring local chefs
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Quarantine cuisine: Bellino kicks off new recipe column featuring local chefs

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With everyone at home for the time being, there is bound to be a heck of a lot of meals cooked. And while you could choose to experiment with your own flavors and recipes, we thought a little advice from the pros could go a long way. So for each week of the quarantine – or stay-at-home mandate to be specific — we will pick the brain of a local chef and feature one of their favorite recipes to cook at home.

This week we kick things off with Chef Chris Bellino, former head chef at The Smithville Inn and current owner of Bellino’s Market in Galloway.

A.C. Weekly: As a chef, what kinds of dishes do you gravitate toward when you are cooking at home?

Chris Bellino: When I cook at home I try to be quick about it. I don’t like spending time in the kitchen at home. At work, it’s a different story, but at home I like simple dishes like chicken fajitas.

ACW: How has business been during the coronavirus? What kinds of things are people buying a lot of?

CB: My business has increased recently because people are looking to avoid the big supermarkets where there are larger crowds. We are a family-owned specialty market as well as a new business, so it’s helped us. We offer prepared foods, a full line of Boar’s Head products, cut-to-order steaks, chicken, fresh salmon, scallops, ground beef, house-made bacon, Italian sausage, plus a bakery with everything made in house. People are buying all of it, plus we have staples like bread, eggs, milk, flour, pasta and produce.

ACW: Why did you select chicken fajitas as your at-home recipe to share?

CB: Chicken fajitas are one of my favorite dinners. We make it all together, and everyone helps. The best part is when we sit down to eat. Everyone makes their own fajita and does something different to each. It’s personal.

ACW: What are the most important rules to follow for a great home-cooked meal?

CB: Don’t spend too much time cooking. You can make a great meal ahead of time by prepping ahead of time and using fresh ingredients.

Chef Bellino’s Chicken Fajitas:

1 package chicken breasts

1 large onion

2 bell peppers, various colors

1 package tortillas

1/2 cup olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

1 lime

Salt and pepper

Instructions: Chop the garlic and combine it with the olive oil, the zest of the lime and some salt and pepper to make a marinade. Marinate the chicken in the morning and leave it in the refrigerator until you pull them out at dinner time to grill the chicken breasts (4 minutes on each side). Cut up the bell peppers and onion to the size you prefer and sauté them till they are at your desired softness. Set chicken and pepper/onion mixture on table in bowls alongside tortillas and various toppings like shredded cheese, guacamole, sour cream, or whatever your favorite add-ins may be. Enjoy!

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Associate Editor, At The Shore/ACWeekly

Freelance reporter for At The Shore/Atlantic City Insiders from 2011-2015; Editor in Chief,,2014-2015; Writer for Zagat, 2013

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