Food Network Chef takes food from bland to bold

We're getting a little taste of the Food Network in the WDRB Studio. Food Network star Aaron McCargo shows how to make a bourbon glazed skirt steak that's low in sodium, diabetes-friendly and a good source of protein for those with kidney disease.

McCargo is traveling the country on behalf of Fresenius Medical Care North America. They are a major provider of patient care for renal failure or kidney disease.  He is working to educate people about eliminating salt without cutting flavor.

McCargo competed on and won Season Four of The Next Food Network Star in 2008, beating out thousands of culinary hopefuls for the ultimate dream job - his own Food Network show. He is host of Big Daddy's House on the Food Network. To find out more about him, go to:

From Bland to bold: Five spices to use instead of salt:

1. Chili powder* - tastes great in chili or taco meat flavoring. Also try adding it to rubs.

2. Smoked paprika - adds a deep brown color to bread-crumb casserole toppings, barbecue rubs or to seasoning blends for sautéing or searing any proteins. Also adds a great smoky flavor to marinades.

3. Lemon zest  - adds a lively taste to bread crumbs, breaded chicken tenders and fish sticks or to renal-friendly vegetables like eggplant or string beans. Also great in dressings and marinades, or mixed with dry spices and used as a rub for broiled or baked seafood.

4. Dried oregano - enhances the flavor of scampi sauces and combines well with lemon zest. Gives steamed vegetables or tossed salads a fresh, earthy taste and aroma. Or add it to fajita seasonings, along with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and lemon zest.

5. Italian seasoning* - a blend of thyme, oregano, and basil is great for finishing off sauces such as stroganoff or gravies. Works well on baked, grilled, or sautéed proteins with lemon zest and a little oil. Or add it to lemon zest, juice, and olive oil to make dressings or marinade.

* Most brands are salt-free, but check to be sure you're using a salt-free product.

Bourbon Glazed Skirt Steak

Bourbon Glaze


· ¼ cup diced shallots

· 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold diced

· 1 cup bourbon

· ¼ cup dark brown sugar

· 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

· 1 tablespoon black pepper


In small sauce pan on medium-high heat brown shallots in 1 tablespoon butter. Reduce heat to low, remove pan from heat, add bourbon and place sauce pan back on heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until reduced slightly, by about one-third. Add brown sugar, mustard and black pepper and stir until bubbly. Turn off heat and stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons cold cubed butter, stirring constantly until well incorporated.

Skirt Steak


· 2 tablespoons grape seed oil

· ½ teaspoon dried oregano

· ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

· 1 teaspoon black pepper

· 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

· 2 pounds beef skirt steak


Mix first 5 ingredients in gallon-size storage bag, add steaks and shake well. Allow steaks to rest in bag at room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Remove steaks from bag, grill for 15-20 minutes each side, then remove and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with a drizzle of sauce or leave whole and brush with glaze and put in pre-heated broiler for 4-6 minutes or until desired look.

Serves 8

1 serving = 3 ounces

Nutrient analysis:

Calories: 261, Protein: 16g, Carbohydrate: 4g, Total Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Potassium: 232mg, Phosphorus: 122mg, Sodium: 107mg

Optional Serving Suggestion: Bourbon Glazed Skirt Steak Sandwich


Add sliced bourbon glazed flank steak to a toasted baguette roll with gorgonzola cheese, caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms for a different look and great-tasting steak sandwich.

Serves 6

1 serving = 4-inch sandwich

Nutrient analysis:

Calories: 296, Protein: 16g, Carbohydrate: 25g, Total Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 40mg, Potassium: 291mg, Phosphorus: 108mg, Sodium: 402mg

About Fresenius Medical Care North America:

Fresenius Medical Care North America: FMCNA is the world's leading company devoted to patient-centered renal therapy. Through more than 3,119 clinics in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and Africa, we provide kidney dialysis treatments to approximately 253,041 patients worldwide. We are also the world's leading maker of dialysis products, such as dialysis machines, dialyzers and related disposable products.

Chronic kidney failure is a condition that affects more than 2.1 million individuals worldwide. For more information about the company's more than 2,100 U.S. dialysis facilities, visit You may also go to


How Do The Kidneys Work?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located just above your waist in your back. They

perform the vital function of filtering waste products and fluids from the blood. Your body's

entire blood supply flows through the kidneys every two minutes. In addition, the kidneys:

Balance the fluid and chemicals needed by your body

Help produce red blood cells

Help control blood pressure

"Turn on" Vitamin D to keep your bones healthy

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a progressive, usually permanent, loss of kidney function that can take place over a period of months or years.

People should talk to their doctor to find out if they are at-risk or if they are experiencing any symptoms. Symptoms should not be interpreted without consulting a medical professional.

Signs and symptoms


High blood pressure

Bone disease

Muscle cramps


Blood and/or protein in the urine

More frequent urination, particularly at night; difficult or painful urination

Puffiness around eyes, swelling of hands and feet

Causes of CKD

The two main causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure. Other causes include inflammation of the nephrons (glomerulonephritis), diseases that are inherited like polycystic kidney disease and some birth defects, lupus, malformed kidneys, immune diseases, kidney stones and repeated urinary tract infections.