Printer takes simple approach to family meals

There is a pretty logical reason why Steve Maggiore has taken over the majority of cooking duties for his family in the last 10 years.

“I like to eat!” he laughs.

Steve, a printer by trade, typically gets home from work earlier than his wife does.

“If we want to eat before 8 o'clock, I've got to do it.”

The Elk Grove Village resident is not the only one he knows assigned to kitchen duty. A lot of his co-workers find themselves in charge of dinner as well because of their earlier hours. The men often exchange recipes and bring in samples to share for lunch.

“My boss is Italian and he's a great cook,” says Steve, a hybrid American, with Italian, German and Hungarian roots.

Steve prefers fast and easy recipes that pack a lot of flavor.

“I like to make food like braised chicken with red wine, my own salsa, guacamole and barbecue chicken thighs,” said Steve.

When his son is home from college the request is for dad's homemade pan pizza. His daughter asks for his chicken and rice with gravy or one of his pasta dishes, like today's Shrimp Linguine.

On the day we spoke, his Italian sausage was in the oven at the request of the in-laws.

“I grill the sausage first and then roast it in the oven with onions, garlic, peppers and stewed tomatoes. It stays in the oven for hours and comes out so tender you can cut it with a fork,” Steve says.

Steve takes a simple approach to meal planning.

“I just take whatever I have and throw it together. I usually fly by the seat of my pants – sometimes I don't know what I'm cooking until it's done!” he laughs.

Steve doesn't remember being taught how to cook, it was more a hands-on, learn-by-doing sort of experience.

“Everybody learns by making mistakes. I might overcook something here and there, or I won't time things out well. And there are some of those odds and ends kind of meals that just don't make it.”

For recipe inspiration, Steve tunes into celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse, Giada De Laurentiis and Rachael Ray; he doesn't care for the competition shows.

“I'm just looking for a good recipe that is something you can take out of the fridge and then get it done.”

Steve is also motivated by his wife of 29 years, who still does some of the cooking at home. And there is always the household rule: If you cook, you don't have to do dishes.

”It's a pretty good rule … though it doesn't always work though,” he admits with a smile.


Steve’s Pan Pizza

  Steve Maggiore stirs the cheesy sauce for his shrimp linguine. Patrick Kunzer/
  Steve Maggiore serves linguine with a cheesy, shrimp sauce. Patrick Kunzer/