Cooking with Co-Workers: HLM's Staff Help Out in the Kitchen

Posted: in HLM News

A smiling group of friends prepare a meal together in the kitchen.Plans are important to make big things happen.

Most times, it takes a team to put their heads together, consider all the options, brainstorm ideas, add in thorough research to support these ideas, then create a list of goals before moving forward with a plan. Other times, someone makes the right suggestion and everyone jumps on board.

Here at High Level Marketing, we are always on the lookout for ways to connect, learn from each other, do big things for our clients, and also share some of our personal lives. This month, Ryan got us talking and helping each other with some cooking tips. 

The Start of a Cooking Conversation

Our general company chat is popping all day long. From company updates, co-worker shout-outs, and requests for help to sports analysis, weekend plans, and memes, there is always something this lively group has to say. 

Ryan Hegedus came up with the idea for a cooking-focused chat. Taking after the example of his grandmother and mother, he goes for the “Chopped” method of throwing together random meals based on what is in the house. His wife lets him do most of the cooking, but she takes over when she finds a good recipe. He said “I've always loved cooking, but with the pandemic, it's kind of sapped my enthusiasm for new ideas. I know we've got a lot of unique culinary perspectives and skillsets in our company, so I figured it would be a great way to get all of those thoughts together in one chat thread.”

What HLM Has Cooked Up - So Far

We started shooting out what we were having that day and the conversation took off from there. Here are some of the highlights:

Sweet Potato Burritos

“Mashed together sweet potatoes and white potatoes with favorite taco seasonings. Stir in black beans. Add to tortilla and top with salsa. 

Pretty much any toppings or additions work. Did not taste sweet potato-y at all. Very cold-weather friendly!” - Penny Mayry

Feta Tomato Pasta

Lauren Anderson hit us with a good idea about this dish. She recommends this recipe as the best she’s had.

Name Guinea and the Joys of Puerto Rican Cooking

Taking advantage of the possibilities of remote work, Adriana Zardus flew down to Puerto Rico and has been working in the sunny glory of the little island. Along with enjoying the heat, she has been loving the local foods. Name Guinea is a local root veggie that she has been getting creative with lately. She recommended us to:

  • First, you peel, chop, and boil the root vegetable.
  • In a non-stick pan, saute a bunch of butter, onions, and garlic until soft and translucent.
  • Then add in spices and tomato paste (or really any other flavoring agent).
  • And then once the root vegetable is really tender you add it to the skillet and basically mash it all together. I added coconut milk and quite a few local spices to add some creaminess and flavor. I also added a bunch of salt and more butter until it tastes like heaven.

As she tells it, everything can be improved with garlic and butter. She is good people.

Marvelous Marinades

Robb LippitRobb Lippitt is a great cook. He often tantalizes us with stories of the dishes he gets going. After he described his steps to roasting a chicken, I had to clean up a puddle of saliva from my desk. Fortunately, someone else kept it together and got some of his marinade recipes:

Cumin Chicken Marinade

  • 2 Cups Soy Sauce
  • 3 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Canola Oil
  • 3/4 Cups Dry Sherry
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 3 TBSP Cumin
  • 1 Bunch Chopped Scallions
  • 6-7 Cloves Minced Garlic
  • 2 TBSP Crushed Red Pepper
  • 2 TBSP Ground Black Pepper

Add all to food processor and purée. Marinate chicken (this will cover about 4-5 pounds, can be whole chicken or parts) for at least 3 hours (or overnight). Reserve marinade when ready to cook chicken and put into pan on stove and reduce by half. Use as sauce for chicken.

Honey Harissa Roast Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP prepared harissa (such as NY Shuk)
  • zest and juice of one lemon (bottled lemon juice can work)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together well in a bowl. Place chicken in 1 gallon ziploc bag and pour marinade in. Close bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Mush marinade so it’s all over chicken on both sides. Marinade at least 2 hours but ideally 24 hours. 

Take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit for 60-90 minutes before cooking. Preheat oven to 425. Remove chicken from bag and put on rack in roasting pan (cover bottom of pan with foil). Pour excess marinade over the top of chicken. Cook for 45-60 minutes, until breast is 160 internal temp. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before carving.

Garlic Curry Chicken


  • 1 Large Head Garlic
  • 2 TBSP Curry Powder
  • 1 TBSP Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt 
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 12 Chicken Thighs


  • 1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup cooked juices from pan
  • Salt to taste

Peel all garlic cloves and use an immersion blender to purée them with the olive oil. Combine the purée with yogurt, salt, Curry powder, and water in a bowl. Whisk together until well combined. Pour mixture over the chicken thighs in a large sealable plastic bag and mush (technical term) well to coat chicken. Marinade for 24 hours in refrigerator. 

Remove chicken from the refrigerator about 60 minutes ahead. Preheat oven to 425. Remove chicken from bag and put onto roasting rack, skin side up. Cook to 165 degrees without turning, about 40 minutes (skin should get brown and crispy). 

While cooking, combine yogurt, salt, and lemon juice into a bowl. After remove chicken from oven combine about 1/3 cup pan juices into the mixture (making it thin enough to pour) and combine well. Serve as a sauce along with chicken.

Planted Detroit

We also are firmly rooted (couldn’t help myself) in the Metro Detroit area and have love for our fellow small and mid-sized businesses. One local business adding fresh ingredients to our meals is Planted Detroit. According to their website, 

“At Planted Detroit, we’re shortening the supply chain. We harvest our greens every day, package mixes, micros, and ready-to-eat salads to order, and deliver them ourselves, right to your door. We never sell any product that’s more than 6 days from harvest and are actively working to reduce food insecurity in our community by donating our leftovers, so even the greens we’re giving away are days fresher than what you can buy in the store.” 

What is the Future of HLM’s Cooks?

Who is to say, really. Maybe we will plan some kind of a COVID-safe cook-off. Or perhaps we’ll add a cooking component to our digital company happy hours. Could be that we get some Zoom demonstrations going. One thing is sure, we will keep learning from each other and growing together, improving our digital marketing prowess and our skills in the kitchen.

Jake Belknap
Content Manager