Wife and mother, Chef Diana Riley is the owner of catering company,The Kitchen Table, LLC, and a multi-tasking, passionate, and purposeful woman. Chef Diana Riley graduated from Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University. She is also the author of “Cooking on Purpose: Life Lessons Learned in the Kitchen”. When not doing business or studying, she spends most of her time with her family and is thought of fondly as the “chef next door”. “I’m a mama, just like many other mamas trying to instill values in their kids and be an example of working to achieve any goals you desire. I discovered my purpose through my passions. It just happened to be a chef.”
Chef Diana Riley’s mission is to serve others through her catering company and teach the fundamentals of cooking and the significance of sharing simple, nutritious, affordable and pleasing meals with family. In her best selling cookbook, she shares her journey and readers can gain insight to the “chef life”. Read our Q&A with Chef Diana below.
SwagHer: How would you describe your swagher? What makes Diana, Diana?
Diana: What makes Diana, Diana is her humility to be a steadfast, gracious leader. I recognize that my confidence comes from God, I cannot do anything without Him. He is first, and then my family. My positivity and hospitality exudes in my attitude. I’m at season in my life where I seek adventure, I was given this life to live, purposefully.
SwagHer: Tell us a little about your book, “Cooking on Purpose: Life Lessons Learned From the Kitchen”. What inspired it?
Diana: My book is my journey and lessons learned along the way to discovering my purpose and learning what my passions are. The book was inspired by culinary adventures and the desire to tell my story in hopes of inspiring others to fulfill their dreams and discover their purpose. After reading “Cooking on Purpose”, readers will gain a knowledge of what it takes to become a chef and some results of becoming an entrepreneur. It is a distinctive cookbook that share recipes with each story chapter.
SwagHer: Is there a certain kind of chef or cook your book would be best for?
Diana: “Cooking on Purpose” is for passionate home cooks, aspiring chefs, culinary students, and culinary graduates searching for the next step of their journey.
SwagHer: Are there any recipes that hold sentimental value to you in your book?
Diana: All of them, each recipe was wisely contemplated and chosen because of the nostalgic memories from growing up as a Louisiana girl.
SwagHer: Summer is approaching and we are sure you know what it’s like to be a busy mom. Can you share a quick and easy recipe with our readers?
Diana: As a mama, I love quick and easy. I consider anything pasta or baked is quick and easy. This is a recipe that takes under 1 hour from start to finish.
Baked Parmesan Chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic crushed and finely chopped
Salt, white pepper, garlic powder to taste 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
1 (5 ounce) package garlic croutons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat the bottom of a 9×13 inch casserole dish with olive oil, and sprinkle with garlic.
Arrange the seasoned chicken breasts in bottom of the dish, and pour marinara sauce over chicken. Sprinkle basil over marinara sauce, and top with half the mozzarella cheese. Followed by half the Parmesan cheese, sprinkle on the croutons. Then top with the remaining mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
Bake in preheated oven until cheese and croutons are golden brown, about 35 minutes to an hour, depending on the shape and thickness of your chicken breasts. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a chicken breast should read at least 165 degrees F.
SwagHer: Where can your book be purchased?
Diana: I appreciate everyone who purchases a copy and I love signing it for them so to get a signed copy purchase from website bit.ly/dianariley or purchase from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million, or Between the Lines Bookstore.
SwagHer: Are you working on any new projects that you care to share?
Diana: I’m working on forming my nonprofit girls’ organization to teach young girls service and leadership skills that are vital in professional careers, especially culinary arts, which will be launched in August.
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