All posts by Gary Huber

Open House at Maple Grove Church

The Iowa Food Cooperative is excited to announce Maple Grove Church has offered to host our West Des Moines distributions!

What is the Iowa Food Cooperative?
-We are a dedicated group that facilitates connections between Iowa producers of food and Iowa consumers of food (You!).
-We care about the local food community and building relationships between farmers and consumers. We believe it is important to understand how the food that nourishes you is produced. The cooperative supports farmers who use sustainable practices in order to improve our water and soil quality along with supporting ecosystems for our pollinators.

How does the Iowa Food Cooperative work?
-The co-op operates a year-round online farmers’ market. Our members (we have a 6 month free trial membership) place orders online every two weeks; our producers deliver the goods to our main site in Des Moines. From there our volunteers sort orders and pack the goods to go out to our satellite locations. The consumers then pick up their goods at the chosen site.

Visit our open house at Maple Grove Church on Thursday, February 13th from 5P-6:30P to sign-up + learn more about what makes the Iowa Food Cooperative the best source for local food.

Budget-Stretcher Beef & Noodles

Beef & Noodles
Beef & Noodles

Budget-Stretcher Beef & Noodles

Because eating local doesn't need to mean breaking your budget, I present this super easy beef & noodles recipe using local ingredients. Not only is this budget friendly, but it's flavorful and perfect for these chilly winter days!
Servings 8


IFC Ingredients:

  • Ground beef:
  • Carrots:
  • Onions:
  • Egg noodles:
  • Rosemary:


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup of chopped carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup + 3 TB cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 oz dry egg noodles


  • In a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, bring beef broth to a low boil. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch with 1/2 cup water. Slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry followed by the thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the gravy thickens to your desired consistency. Turn off the heat and let the gravy stay warm on the burner.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and egg noodles and cook until the noodles are cooked through – this will take about 10 – 13 minutes. Begin testing the noodles at the 10 minute mark. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the gravy followed by the frozen peas. (Note: there is no need to warm the peas, the heat from the noodles will perfectly cook them from frozen.)
  • Steam carrots – there are many ways you can do this, I typically opt for the easy way out and put them in a bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for 2 minutes. Stir into the noodles.
  • Meanwhile, cook the ground beef and onions in a skillet, breaking up the beef, until cooked through. Drain off any grease, and stir into the noodles. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.


Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or frozen in an air tight container for up to 3 months.

Iowa Food Co-op: Your Year-Round Farmers’ Market Solution

Stop by the Iowa Food Cooperative (IFC) on alternate Thursdays and you will see the “scramble” in action. What’s getting scrambled is the result of hundreds of local food enthusiasts, who create custom food orders on the co-op’s website. Iowa farmer producers deliver a bounty of vegetables, eggs, meat, dairy products, baked goods, sauces and more to fill these orders over a day and a half. The scramble begins at 2 p.m. Thursday when all the deliveries are quickly reorganized so consumer buyers can receive their individual orders as early as 4 p.m.

Ryan Marquadt, IFC general manager, will tell you just how much fun a team of mostly volunteers have on the scramble days. Not only is it a challenge, it supports Iowans who care about where their food comes from and how it’s produced. Located on Franklin Street in the Merle Hay neighborhood of Des Moines, the IFC is in its 11th year of operation. 

As a producer member for over ten years, past board president, and now the general manager since March, Marquadt is well equipped to lead this effort to build a food community.  Along with his wife, Janice, and their two children the Marquadts are 5th generation famers near Van Meter.  In their farm operation, Wild Rose Pastures, they provide pasture raised, chemical-free and antibiotic-free turkeys, broiler chickens, eggs, and grass-fed beef at the IFC on-line store. 

“As farmers markets are ending their season, the IFC continues year-round access to hundreds of food and non-food products directly from Iowa farmers and artisans,” states Marquadt.  He adds, “This is a tremendous opportunity for Iowans to support fellow Iowans in eating quality local foods.”

Facts about the impact of the Iowa Food Cooperative in Iowa:

  • All of our products are sold by producers who have grown, made, or raised each item
  • 1,600 different products are offered for sale
  • The top 4 selling items are eggs, ground beef, yogurt and leafy greens
  • We offer 10 different distribution sites for consumers to pick up their order
  • Over 300 farmer producers and 1400 consumer buyers are members
  • Producers provide profiles that describe their production practices
  • Annually over $400,000 in sales occur at the cooperative
  • 82.5% of the purchase price goes straight to our farmer-owners
  • We have 8 part-time staff and 60 volunteers; both are essential to the success of the cooperative
  • We help protect Iowa’s air, water, soil and wildlife by supporting farming practices that enhance the environment

To become a member or learn more about the Iowa Food Cooperative check our website at or contact Ryan Marquadt at or 515-978-1034.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

Let's talk chili, Cincinnati chili, in particular. When I explain this particular chili to folks, I start by saying it's not the reddish, tomato-based Tex-Mex chili they're used to eating; it's best to think of Cincinnati chili as a mole of sorts since it contains both chocolate and cinnamon. Yes, I know that seems like an odd thing to put on spaghetti or hot dogs, but trust your Recipe Lady on this one, it just works and it works well.

How did this strange dish come to be?

The history of Cincinnati Chili – a heart felt story of two Macedonian refugees who fled to America from Argos Orestiko in order to escape the Balkan Wars in 1921: Macedonian immigrant Tom Kiradjieff created Cincinnati chili in 1922. With his brother, John, Kiradjieff opened a small Greek restaurant called the Empress. The restaurant did poorly however, until Kiradjieff started offering a chili made with Middle Eastern spices, which could be served in a variety of ways. He called it his “spaghetti chili.” Kiradjieff’s “five way” was a concoction of a mound of spaghetti topped with chili, chopped onion, kidney beans, and shredded yellow cheese, served with oyster crackers and a side order of hot dogs topped with more shredded cheese.

The 'ways' of the chili:

Two-way: spaghetti topped with chili

Three-way: spaghetti topped with chili and shredded cheddar

Four-way: spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, and chopped onion

Five-way: spaghetti topped with chili, cheese, chopped onion, and beans

For a Cincinnati coney, substitute a hot dog in a bun for the spaghetti


IFC Ingredients:

Ground beef

Cheddar cheese


Crushed red pepper

Hot dog buns

Hot dogs


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 TB vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 ounce unsweetened chocolate about 1/2 of a square of baker’s chocolate or 3/4 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 TB apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes or 1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper


  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Diced onion
  • Cooked kidney beans

For serving: cooked spaghetti or hot dogs


    • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 6 minutes.
    • Add beef, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Stirring frequently, cook until browned.
    • Add chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, chocolate, beef broth, tomato sauce, cider vinegar, and red pepper. Stir to mix well. Bring to a boil. Add the bay leaf and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
    • Remove bay leaf and serve over cooked spaghetti with the toppings of your choice, or on hot dogs.


    Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 days; or, frozen in an airtight container for up to 9 months.

    Egg Nog French Toast

    Egg nog is one of those holiday traditions that many of us look forward to as soon as the air turns crisp in autumn. This decadent French toast allows you to extend that tradition to brunch! Whether you’re making breakfast for a crowd, or a cozy morning for two, this French toast will quickly become one of your favorites. –Robin

    Egg Nog French Toast


    French toast:

    • 1/2 loaf of brioche or other dense bread, but I highly recommend using brioche, sliced into 1" thick slices - about 5 or 6 slices
    • 1 1/4 cup of egg nog
    • 1 to 2 TB rum or bourbon add to your personal preference (optional, but recommended)
    • 2 TB whole milk
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp vanilla exract
    • About 3 TB ghee
    • Whipped cream see below for fresh whipped cream for serving
    • Maple syrup for serving

    Fresh whipped cream:

    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp powdered sugar


    Whipped cream:

    • Using a hand or stand mixer, whip the heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Set aside until serving time.

    French toast:

    • Combine the egg nog, rum or bourbon (if using), milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the eggs and milk are completely combined with the egg nog.
    • In a large skillet or griddle over medium heat, melt about 1 tsp of ghee per toast slice.
    • Dunk the bread slices into the egg nog mixture and allow to soak for 10-15 seconds per side (more or less depending on how you like your toast - though the longer it soaks, the more batter you'll need). Place in the skillet and cook until lightly golden brown on each side - about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
    • Serve topped with maple syrup and fresh whipped cream.