Cheryl’s Cuisine: Nov. 2016


Dunmore resident Executive Chef P. J. Lemoncelli of Preferred Meals, Moosic, center, is flanked by his staff in the Research and Development Kitchen. Shown are: Chef Gino LaRusso, Scranton, and Chef Kate Gabriela, Wallenpaupack.

By Cheryl Radkiewicz

Dunmore resident Chef P. J. Lemoncelli  has won the prestigious International Flight Services Association Best In-Flight Executive Chef of 2016 at the 8th Annual Chef’s Competition held this fall at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center.   

Lemoncelli, a graduate of Lakeland High School and the Pennsylvania College of Technology Culinary Arts Program,  wowed judges with his winning dishes,  Langoustine sauteed in butter/olive oil with an Israeli Couscous Salad with Sea Asparagus and garnished with lightly seasoned microgreens and Lemon Oil  and Pan-Seared Asian Beef Tenderloin with a Sweet and Salty White Miso Trumpet Mushroom Glaze and Pan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes.   

Lemoncelli competed against the most talented chefs from around the world winning  a personalized chef jacket and two round-trip tickets to Hawaii. Judging was based on presentation, flavor, textures and doneness.  

The Dunmore chef began his career cooking at the former Alora Room in Peckville.  For the past nine years, he has served as Executive Chef at Preferred Meals in Moosic where he oversees all Research and Development, Production, and Quality Assurance.   

He has been recognized by corporate headquarters in Chicago for his creative and innovative recipes and meticulous, organized approach to meal preparation. Preferred Meals is one of the country’s largest, innovative suppliers of healthy, well-balanced meals to public and private school districts, charter schools, senior citizen facilities and airlines.  It operates three central kitchen operation facilities located in Moosic, Chicago and Brooklyn.   

During an interview with Chef Lemoncelli, he noted that the three facilities all have different capabilities with Moosic’s emphasis on pasta, rice, sauces, and meals, while Chicago is known for its bakery and pizzas, and Brooklyn’s main capability is sandwiches and salads.  The Moosic plant employs 300 employees with 80 percent of its production going to inner city schools and 20 percent to airlines.

Lemoncelli’s staff includes only two other professionals, Chef Kate Gabriele, a graduate of Baltimore Culinary Institute, and  Chef Gino LaRusso, a graduate of West Scranton High School and currently a student at Lackawanna College’s Culinary Arts Program.   The three chefs have the monumental tasks of not only menuing for schools, which includes following nutritional guidelines for students’ lunches, but also developing new meals for airlines.

Chef Lemoncelli credits his 100 percent Italian background and his family for his love of food and cooking.  He is the son of Paul and Diane Mecca Lemoncelli, Scott Twp., and resides with his wife, Shelly, an administrative assistant at the Commonwealth Medical College.

After spending a delightful and informative interview with the chef, he agreed to share some of his personal recipes with our readers:

Apple Cider Sangria:

apple_cider_vinegar3 Cinnamon sticks
1 Gala apple, sliced
1 Granny Smith apple, sliced
1 Anjou pear, sliced
1 Orange, sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1-750 ml. bottle Pinot Grigio
3 cups Apple Cider
1 cup Brandy
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar

Add cinnamon sticks to the bottom of a gallon container.  Slice up the apples, pear and orange.  Add into the gallon container along with the cranberries.  Next, add the Pinot Grigio, apple cider, brandy, and freshly squeezed juices into the gallon container.  Add the sugar.  Close the container and shake so all of the ingredients start to marry with each other.  Let sit for a minimum of 12 hours to let flavors develop.  Note:  When serving, you can fill the glass 3/4’s of the way and top with cranberry ginger ale.   Yield: approximately 3 quarts;  To serve:  Rim the glass with an orange wedge and cinnamon sugar.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick, apple wedge and orange wedge.   Chef P.J. add that the number of portions depends on if you want to share any.


Shrimp Scampi: 

shrimpy4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. Shrimp, 16/20 count, peeled and de-veined
1 shallot, minced
1 whole head garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken stock
1- 4oz. stick unsalted butter
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 box thin wheat spaghetti, cooked and drained
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil to a large nonstick pan.  Once the oil is heated, saute’ shrimp for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil to the  pan.  Add shallots and garlic and saute’ over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.  Turn heat up to high and add white wine.  Bring to boil and reduce amount by half.  

Add chicken stock, unsalted butter, and lemon  juice to pan.  Heat over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes.  Add grated cheese and fresh parsley.  Add cooked spaghetti and reserved shrimp.  

Toss or mix with tongs to combine and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper.  Yield: 2 lbs., 4 portions.

To serve:  Garnish with Parmesan cheese, fresh chopped parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.  Substitute pasta of your choice, regular or wheat.


Salmon Burger:

1/2 lb. fresh Salmon filet, medium dice
4 Tbsp. red onion, minced
4 Tbsp. red bell pepper, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
2 scallions, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs

In medium bowl, place medium-diced salmon.  After cutting up veggies and herbs, add into bowl with salmon.  Zest lemon into mixture.  Next, add egg, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.  Season mixture with black pepper, salt, garlic powder and onion powder.  Add panko bread crumbs into mixture.  Time to get your hands dirty and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed and incorporated.  Let sit for 1/2 hour.  Preheat oven to 375F.    Portion into 6-6 oz. burgers or to the desired size of your liking.   Place burgers on greased sheet tray to avoid sticking.  For the 6 oz. portion, bake for 20 minutes.  If you portion a smaller size, decrease by 5 minutes  and if your portion a larger size, increase by 5 minutes.  Yield:  Approx. 6-6 oz. burgers.  Portions: 6.  To serve:  Serve on an Onion Roll with Dill Lemon Yogurt and Spring Mix.


Dill Lemon Yogurt:

dill2-5.3 oz. containers of plain Greek yogurt
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. honey
4 Tbsp. red onion, minced
3 Tbsp. red bell pepper, minced
2 scallions, sliced
3 Tbsp. fresh dill, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder

Add the plain Greek yogurt to a medium bowl.  Whisk in lemon juice and zest, Sriracha, and honey.  Add prepped vegetables and herbs into the mixture.  Whisk to incorporate.  Season with salt, black pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  Whisk for 1 minute until well combined.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  

Note:  This has a looser consistency.  If you’d like to make a thicker consistency, substitute 4 Tbsp. of mayonnaise for 1-5.3 container of plain Greek yogurt.  Yields approx. 2 cups.  

To Serve:  Serve with Salmon Burger (above), as a dressing for a salad or as a dip for chips.

Calendar of Events: November 2016

calendarJeanne Jugan Bus Trip

The Jeanne Jugan Associates, a lay group of the Little Sisters of the Poor, will sponsor a bus trip to the Sands Casino and Outlet Shopping complex, Bethlehem, on Saturday, Nov. 19. The bus, which will be provided by Martz Trailways, will leave the parking lot of Holy Family Residence, 2500 Adams Ave., Scranton, at 9:30 a.m. and return to the residence at 6:30 p.m. All bus ticket proceeds will be donated to the Little Sisters of the Poor to purchase Christmas gifts for the residents of Holy Family Residence.

Bus tickets are $35 which includes $20 of slot play, a $5 food voucher, an outlet store coupon book, and snacks for the bus ride.  For reservations, contact Mrs. Jackie Galvin, M.S., director of development and communications, at (570) 343-4065 ext. 3144 by Nov. 14. Attendees must be 21 or older to attend. Valid photo ID required.


Paint Brushes for the Dunmore High School Music Boosters

On Saturday, November 12, the Dunmore High School Music Boosters will host a painting fundraiser at the Dunmore VFW. The event will benefit the high school’s music programs.

Brushes will meet the canvas at 6:30 p.m., and a donation of $30.00 is asked of each participant. Bonnie Black-Edwards will be the featured instructor for the evening.

If you are interested in attending, contact Lesly Culkin at (570) 862-9528 or Lee Manning at (570) 309-9523. Seating is limited!

crimson-company-crucibleCrimson Company Presents “The Crucible”

The Dunmore High School Crimson Company Drama Club will present Arthur Miller’s award winning drama  “The Crucible”  

The Crimson Company is proud to present Miller’s masterpiece of drama, which is part of Dunmore’s curriculum. The show presents many opportunities for cross-curricular conversation and analysis of important events in both American literature and history.

This year’s fall play will run Nov. 16 through 19 in the DHS Auditorium. The curtain will rise at 7 p.m. each evening.

High School Sports Day at Marywood

Marywood University’s department of athletic training and exercise science will offer a high school open day on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, from 9 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., at the Center for Athletics and Wellness at the University. This event is free and open to high school students who are interested in studying athletic training, exercise science, or related academic programs, which include kinesiology, exercise physiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and nutrition. The high school open day will include a full day of fun, hands-on learning experiences; a tour of campus; the opportunity to meet with faculty and students about the programs offered, specific areas of study, and career opportunities. Lunch will be provided to students.

For additional information or to obtain a participation waiver, please contact Angela Hillman, Ph.D., EPC, assistant professor of athletic training and exercise science at Marywood University, at, or call (570) 340-6069.

Living Christmas Village

Grace Bible Church in Dunmore (located behind Sheetz gas station next to PSU Worthington) will host its eighth annual Living Christmas Village for the community. This free event for families will feature live-music from Dunmore High School Jazz Band and Choir, PSU Worthington Jazz Band and Choir, the Serenity Harpists, and other local artists. The walk-through village includes an interactive journey through Biblical times, games and crafts for children, puppets, a Live Nativity, hot cocoa & cookies and much more.

The event will run on Dec. 3 and 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. Everyone in the community is encouraged to stop by and walk through the Living Christmas Village. For more information please call Grace Bible Church at 570-342-5651 or visit the church website.

Marywood Graduate Open House

Marywood University will hold a graduate open house on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 10 a.m. until noon, for future graduate and doctoral students. The program will begin with registration at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireplace Lounge at Nazareth Student Center on the university’s campus. The event will include an overview of Marywood, financial aid and scholarship sessions, as well as the opportunity to meet with academic departments. Optional tours of campus will be available. For more information, please call Marywood University’s graduate admissions office, at (570) 348-6234.

Friends of the Arc Auxiliary: Night at the Races

The Friends of the Arc Auxiliary will be presenting “A Night at the Races” fundraiser at St. Mary’s Center, 320 Mifflin Ave., Scranton, on Friday, Nov. 4,  beginning at 6 pm. There will be door prizes, basket raffles, 50/50, food/ soft drinks and a beer/wine cash bar until 10 pm. No BYOB. Donation is $10.. For information, contact Eileen Rempe at the ARC NEPA office 570-346-4010.

lrca-benefit-concert-adRock ‘n River Benefit Concert

The second Rock ‘N the River Benefit Concert for the Lackawanna River Conservation Association (LRCA) will be held on Friday, Nov. 4, in the Ballroom of the Hilton Scranton & Convention Center. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door (cash only).

Music will include The Dishonest Fiddlers, Jung Bergo, The Far Future, Mountain Sky Orchestra, and Mickey Spain. There will be a cash bar, food, raffles, and LRCA information.

GI Issues Seminar at Moses Taylor

Gastroenterologist Pardeep Bansal, M.D., will present a free seminar on GI issues at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, in the 2 West Conference Room, Moses Taylor Hospital. Dr. Bansal is affiliated with Commonwealth Health Physician Network and is on the medical staff of Moses Taylor Hospital and Regional Hospital of Scranton.

His seminar will include heartburn, acid reflux disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and other related upper GI disorders. He will discuss common causes, ways to combat symptoms, testing and treatment, along with ways in which diet, lifestyle changes or minimally invasive surgery can achieve long-term relief for these issues.

Light refreshments will be served.

The seminar is open to the public free of charge though reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 570-552-7423.

Kids for Cash Screening at Marywood

Marywood University’s communication arts department, in collaboration with the electronic storytelling and documentary production class, will host a free screening of the award-winning documentary, Kids for Cash, on Thursday, Nov. 17,  at 7 p.m., in the Latour Room in the Nazareth Student Center. Director and producer of the documentary, Robert May, will be the special guest and will give a talk following the screening. Kids for Cash tells the story of a once-respected Luzerne County judge who received kickbacks for sending juvenile offenders to prison, despite committing only minor infractions of the law. Light refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

Additionally, the documentary screening will be preceded by an open house of the new Center for Communication Arts, which is located on the terrace level of the Learning Commons. Doors will be open from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

For additional information, please contact Lindsey Wotanis, associate professor of communication arts at Marywood University, at (570) 348-6211, ext. 2576.

Pet Vaccination Clinic

In Pursuit of Grace will sponsor a low-cost vaccination clinic for cats and dogs on Saturday, Nov. 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Bunker Hill Veterinary Hospital.  Rabies vaccinations are $6; distemper vaccinations are $14, on a cash only basis. Flea prevention will also be available for purchase. Jennifer Critchley, In Pursuit of Grace’s executive director, will provide nail clipping for $5. Dogs must be on leashes and cats must be in a proper carrier. No appointment is needed. For information, call (570) 468-6063.

animal-fundraiser-adIn Pursuit of Grace Animal Fundraiser

In Pursuit of Grace will host its fifth annual fundraiser event on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Waldorf Park Social Club. Tickets are $20 for adults; $10 for kids ages 5-12, and children under five are free. This includes beer, soda, coffee and food, There will be entertainment, a basket raffle and fifty-fifty drawing, and a cash bar. The menu includes tossed salad, pasta with vodka sauce, wing bites, sandwiches, and desserts. All proceeds benefit programs such as Operation Mutt Fix, Operation Grace pet food pantry, low cost vaccination clinics, and TNR for feral cats. In Pursuit of Grace is a 501(c)3 non-profit animal based community outreach organization. For more information, call (570) 468-6063.

Marywood University Recycled Art Exhibit

Millions of pounds of “trash” are discarded around the world on a daily basis. Second Time Around: The Hubcap as Art is a proactive response to the growing concern for human impact on the environment. This traveling exhibition opens on Thursday, Nov. 10, with a reception at 4 p.m.  in the Mahady Gallery, located in the Shields Center for Visual Arts, at Marywood University, and features work by artists who answered a challenge to reclaim rusted automobile hubcaps and transform them into their own statements. Not only are these metal scraps saved from the landfill, but they are repurposed to convey creative and political messages about consumption in American culture.

The gallery talk, Repurposing and Fine Art, a Conversation with Ken Marquis, curator and founder of Pennsylvania-based nonprofit Landfillart, Inc., will be Wednesday, Nov. 16,  at 3 p.m. The Mahady Gallery is located on the first floor of the Shields Center for Visual Arts. The gallery is open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1– 4p.m. Additional information about the exhibition and the gallery can be found online.