Category: Recipes

Empanadas + Enchiladas–Double Recipe!

“You know when dinner time rolls around and you’re thinking about takeout or a restaurant because you’re exhausted, only that requires actually, well, going out. To that end, I give you these options for empanadas and enchiladas take-out fake-out!”


Empanadas + Enchiladas
  • 1/2 lb ground chorizo, unseasoned ground sausage, or ground beef
  • 5 cups fresh spinach (or other greens such as kale or Swiss chard)
  • 2 pre-made pie crust pieces (think pie crust for a top and bottom crust pie)
  • 2/3 cup salsa (you pick how spicy you want it – just use your favorite, but the more kick, the more flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or jack, or a combination)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Salsa or sour cream for serving
  • 1 jar enchilada sauce
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1.5 – 2 lbs of chicken or capon breasts (boneless or bone-in, skin removed – see cooking times below)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar or jack, or a combination)
  • Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped, for serving
  • sour cream for serving
  2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a skillet, cook the ground meat over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes, or until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain any grease. Return to heat, stir in the spinach and salsa. Once the spinach has wilted, stir in the cheese. Remove from heat.
  3. On an ungreased cookie sheet, unroll the pie crusts. Cut each pie crust in half. Divide the meat mixture between the 4 crust pieces, placing it on half of it and spreading to about 1/2″ from the edge – leave enough room to fold the crust over and seal the edges.
  4. Fold the untopped portion of each crust over the filling, and then slightly roll the edges up. Press down along the edges with a form to make sure they’re sealed. Prick the tops several times with the fork and brush with the beaten egg.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with extra salsa or sour cream.
  7. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Add chicken to the Instant Pot and pour the enchilada sauce over it. If using boneless, cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes. If using bone-in chicken, cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes. Quickly release the pressure. Check the chicken for tenderness – it should easily shred with a fork. If needed, put the lid back on and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes on HP and repeat the quick release.
  8. Turn off the Instant Pot. Remove the chicken to plate and shred with two forks.
  9. Soften the tortillas by wrapping in damp paper towels and microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
  10. Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, or rub with olive oil. Spread 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.
  11. Divide the shredded chicken between the tortillas and top with 2 TB of shredded cheese. Roll up and place seam side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolled tortillas and top with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
  12. Serve with a sprinkle of cilantro or parsley and sour cream.




Cheesy Chili Mac

Sometimes life gets busy and you want something easy for dinner. In about the amount of time it takes to open the box with the talking white glove – you know the one I’m referring to, you can have this healthier version of chili mac on the table. You probably already have all the ingredients in your pantry!

Cheesy Chili Mac
Author: Robin Meadows West
  • 1 TB oil (canola, vegetable, or olive)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 tst salt
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 TB brown sugar, packed
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups of elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. jack cheese, shredded
  • 2 TB fresh parsley, chopped (optional for garnish)
  • Garlic bread for serving
  1. In a large skillet with a lid, add the oil and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper (if using). Cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add the ground beef and brown slightly, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks, until there is no more pink in the meat.
  2. Add the water, salt, and tomato sauce to the skillet and stir to combine. Stir in the pasta and cover, increasing the heat to medium-high. Cook the mixture, stirring often, and adjusting the heat down to maintain a simmer. Continue to cook for 9 – 11 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
  3. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the cheddar and jack cheeses. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary. Cover and allow to sit until the cheese is fully melted. Stir again, and serve with chopped parsley (if using) and a slice of garlic bread.

Pork Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy

Break out the lederhosen, crank up the polka, and let’s enjoy this fall weather in true German Oktoberfest fashion!


Shopping list:



German Schnitzel w/Mushroom Gravy
Author: Robin Meadows West
  • For the mushroom gravy:
  • 2 TB butter, lard, or bacon grease (lard or bacon grease will give the best flavor)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup of diced yellow onion
  • 1 lb of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 TB salted butter
  • 4 TB all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme)
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the pork schnitzel:
  • 4 pork chops (boneless or bone-in w/bone removed) or tenderettes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Canola or other neutral oil for frying
  • Mashed potatoes (potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper) or German spaetzle for serving.
  1. Melt butter, lard, or bacon grease in a large skillet. Sauté the onions until translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 – 7 minutes, or until golden brown and the liquid from the mushrooms has mostly evaporated.
  3. Add the butter and stir until melted. Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the beef broth, vinegar, thyme, sugar, salt and pepper. Whisk continually until gravy thickens. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 5 – 10 minutes. If gravy becomes thicker than you prefer, stir in a little additional beef broth to thin it out. Keep warm while the schnitzel cooks.
  5. If using pork chops, place between two sheets of plastic wrap, and pound until 1/4″ thick. If using tenderettes, you may need to pound them until slightly thinner.
  6. Place the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs in 3 separate shallow bowls. Dredge the pork in the flour, then the egg, and finally the breadcrumbs, coating both sides and shaking off the excess breadcrumbs.
  7. Heat 1/2” of oil (oil should be deep enough to come about 1/2 way up the chops) in a large skillet to approximately 325 degrees – oil should be hot enough that flour sprinkled in it browns in 2 to 3 minutes, but does not burn.
  8. Fry the schnitzel for approximately 3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. If it’s browning too quickly, lower the heat slightly. Transfer cooked chops to a paper towel lined plate.
  9. Serve immediately topped with the mushroom gravy and a side of mashed potatoes or spaetzle. A local Oktoberfest beer is optional, but greatly encouraged.

Ditch That Can Sloppy Joes

Fall… football… tailgating… and sloppy joes… who’s ready?

This easy recipe will have you ditching that can in no time. Taking to a tailgate? You can make this a day or two ahead of time and keep it warm in a crockpot, or warmed on a portable grill or camp stove (use a disposable foil pan for easy clean up!). Want to cook once and eat a few times? Double it, and divide it into freezer bags – it will easily keep for 6+ months.

Ditch That Can Sloppy Joes
Author: Robin Meadows West
  • 1 TB butter
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (Note: you can substitute ground capon, chicken, turkey, lentil, or a soy meat product)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 TB brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 TB tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Shredded cheese for serving (optional)
  • Hamburger buns for serving
  1. Add the butter to a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat, followed by the ground beef. Cook until the browned, breaking up any large clumps of meat. Drain the fat and discard.
  2. Add the onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Stirring to combine. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and let reduce for another 5 minutes, or until desired consistency.
  4. Serve on toasted buns, topped with cheese, and your favorite side.
  5. Any leftovers freeze well.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Another winning recipe from Robin–butternut squash is in season now and the forecast keeps promising cooler temps!


For this recipe you’ll need the following local ingredients: butternut squash, heavy cream, butter, onion, and fresh parsley. All are available now!

Butternut Squash Risotto
Author: Robin Meadows West
Butternut squash risotto–with vegan alternatives!
  • 3/4 to 1 lb. Cubed butternut squash
  • 3 TB Butter (or Earth Balance Butter Substitute)
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 cup Diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice (use actual arborio for an authentic risotto)
  • 6 cups Vegetable broth
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/4 cup Heavy cream (or 2 TB soy/cashew milk, unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cups Shaved parmesan (or your favorite vegan cheese such a parmesan, mozzarella)
  • Finely Minced Parsley, For Serving
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add squash and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Cook for several minutes, turning gently with a spatula, until squash is deep golden brown, with some darker bits and tender (but not falling apart.)
  2. Remove to a plate and set aside. While the squash is cooking, heat the broth, in a saucepan, over low heat and keep warm – it’s important to only add warm broth to risotto, otherwise it is a constant start/stop with the cooking and will be a grainy consistency to the rice.
  3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent. Add Arborio rice and stir, cooking for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce heat to low and stir in the turmeric. In 1-cup increments, begin adding broth to the skillet, stirring to combine and gently stirring as the broth is absorbed. As soon as the liquid disappears, add in another cup of broth. Continue this process, stirring gently as the broth incorporates and the rice starts to become tender. Add salt, pepper along the way. You do not have to constantly stir the rice, just keep an eye on it.
  5. Taste the rice after about 5 cups of broth have been absorbed to check the consistency – it should be tender, with just a tiny bit of bite left in the center. Add another 1/2 cup of broth and continue the process until the rice is the consistency you want.
  6. When the rice is tender, add in the cooked squash, gently stirring to combine it, followed by the cream and Parmesan, stirring until just combined. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Serve with a sprinkle of minced parsley.


30 Minute Meatloaf Muffins

Because sometimes you really want meatloaf on a weeknight, but you don’t have time for the traditional loaf to bake for over an hour.


Grab ground beef, bell pepper, onions, fresh herbs, eggs, and Dijon mustard for this local foods based recipe.

30 Minute Meatloaf Muffins
Author: Robin West
Packable, portable meatloaf, and did we mention quick + easy?
  • Meatloaf:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper, optional
  • 2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs – can use either panko or regular, depending on your preference
  • 7 TB ketchup
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 7 TB finely chopped fresh parsley or 2 TB + 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 tsp fresh thyme or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 TB light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 TB Dijon mustard
  1. Directions:
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 9 compartments of a muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut parchment paper or aluminum foil into 2″ wide strips and place one strip into each of the 9 muffin cups.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the meatloaf ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
  4. Divide the meatloaf mixture into 9 equal portions – I find a 1/3 cup ice cream scoop comes in very hand for this. Place the portions into the prepared muffin pan, leaving each one domed on top.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the glaze ingredients, and brush over the meatloaf muffins.
  6. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before using the strips to lift out of the pan.
  7. If you have leftovers, you put them on a parchment lined pan and freeze (as shown in the photo above) – freezing them separated will prevent them from being stuck together and the glaze won’t stick to the container. Once completely frozen, you can either transfer to a freezer bag, rigid container, or vacuum seal them. If vacuum sealed, they’ll keep for about 9 months. If stored in a regular freezer bag or rigid container, they’ll keep for about 3 months.
  8. These also pack well for lunches!


Grilled Lamb Steaks

Don’t let grilling season pass by without trying this simple but flavorful recipe–give lamb steaks a try and season it with fresh Iowa garlic + rosemary.



Grilled Lamb Steaks
Author: Robin Meadows West
  • 1 lb lamb chops/steaks
  • 2 TB fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 – 4 TB olive oil, divided
  1. In a small bowl, mix the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic with 2 TB of olive oil.
  2. Rub the mixture onto the lamb, massaging it in. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
  3. If you’re cooking the lamb on the stove, heat 2 TB of oil in a heavy skillet over high heat. Alternately, you can cook them on the grill with high heat. Cook 2 minutes on each side for rare, or 3 minutes per side for medium rare.
  4. Remove from pan (or grill) to a room temperature plate, cover, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.


One piece of beef: TWO dinners!

Robin, our local recipe wizard, is back in action with a 2 for 1 dinner combo. Buy one cut of beef and get two unique dinners.

Korean BBQ Beef

  • ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
  • ½ cup lemon-lime soda (7Up, Sprite, Sierra Mist, etc.)
  • 4 TB sesame oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 TB grated ginger
  • 2 TB packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs beef (flank/flat iron/skirt/hanger steak)


  1. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix all ingredients except the beef.
  2. Place the beef and marinade in a resealable bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days, turning the bag a few times during the marinating process.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thinly slice the beef across the grain and thread onto presoaked wooden skewers.
  4. Grill over high heat until cooked through and serve with kimchi for an easy, weeknight dinner.



Bloody Mary Tacos

  • 1 cup Bloody Mary Mix
  • ½ cup vodka
  • 1 TB prepared horseradish
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs beef (flank/flat iron/skirt/hanger steak)
  • 1 cup Bloody Mary Mix, additional, for serving.
  • If making tacos, soft tortillas, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, etc., for serving.
  • If making sliced steak salads, salad greens, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, etc., for serving.


  1. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, mix all ingredients except the beef.
  2. Place the beef and marinade in a resealable bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days, turning the bag a few times during the marinating process.
  3. Remove the beef from the marinade and discard the marinade.
  4. Grill beef over high heat, until desired doneness (I suggest nothing more than medium). Remove the beef to a platter and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.
  5. While the beef is resting, bring the additional Bloody Mary mix to a simmer and reduce by at least half.
  6. Thinly slice the beef across the grain and toss with the reduced Bloody Mary mix. Serve in tacos or in a dinner salad.

Grab a skirt steak here and plan to enjoy these for dinner soon!

Lebanese Kofta w/ Yogurt Sauce

Another terrific recipe from IFC Recipe Wizard (and volunteer/board member), Robin!


“For this recipe, I decided to take the wonderful things that Nagi’s offers and pair it with a few of our other IFC producer items to create an entire meal that’s easy for anyone to make at home. Bonus, it doesn’t require heating up the house with the stove!”


Shopping list:

Lebanese Kofta w/ Yogurt Sauce
  • *Yogurt sauce:
  • ¾ cup Country View Dairy Greek yogurt
  • 1 medium cucumber (peeled, halved long way, and seeds scooped out)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
  • *Kofta:
  • 6 TB pine nuts
  • 1/4 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeds & ribs removed, roughly chopped (can add more if you like things spicier)
  • ¼ cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 pound of ground meat (I used ground lamb from Griffieon Family Farm, which is more traditional – however, if you’re not a fan lamb, ground beef is also very good. )
  • 1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • Rosemary springs for grilling (optional – if you’re rosemary plant is going crazy like mine, then this is a great way to impart some extra flavor while pruning your bush. If you don’t have an overzealous rosemary bush, then using wooden skewers will work just fine, just make sure you soak the skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.)
  1. *For yogurt sauce:
  2. Coarsely grate the cucumber until you have ½ cup of grated cucumber. Using your hands, squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cucumber. Save the remaining cucumber for a salad or slice it to serve as a garnish.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. *For Kofta:
  5. Place the pine nuts in a dry, nonstick skillet and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them. Transfer the pine nuts to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium size bowl.
  6. Add the spices to the same bowl as the pine nuts and stir to mix well.
  7. Place the onion, garlic, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and cilantro into the food processor and pulse until vegetables are finely minced, but not pureed. Transfer the vegetables to a fine mesh sieve and use a rubber spatula to remove as much liquid as possible. Alternatively, you can also accomplish this by squeezing it in several layers of cheese cloth, or using your hands. Add the strained vegetables to the same bowl as the pine nuts and mix to combine.
  8. Add the ground meat to the bowl and use your hands to combine it.
  9. Divide the mixture into 5 or 6 even balls. Pat into oblong patties about ¼ – ½ inch thick and then wrap it around the rosemary or wooden skewers.
  10. Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
  11. Serve topped with yogurt sauce, with falafel, tabbouleh, hummus, and pita chips on the side for an authentic Lebanese-style meal.


Carne Guisada + Mexican Rice (Delicious, SIMPLE, Local)

Check out this recipe from our recent cooking demo by IFC board member Robin. Participants loved the dish and its full-flavored simplicity.



Carne Guisada + Mexican Rice (Delicious, SIMPLE, Local)
  • 1 – 1.5 lbs. beef stew meat or chuck roast, cut into
  • roughly 1.5” pieces
  • • 1⁄2 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • • 1 red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
  • • 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • • 1⁄2 tsp dried oregano or 1 1⁄2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
  • • 1 tsp salt
  • • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • • 3⁄4 cup beef stock (can substitute water)
  • • 1 1⁄2 TB cornstarch
  • • 2 TB water
  • • Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. In a food processor or blender, combine the onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, garlic, cumin,
  2. oregano, salt, black pepper, ancho chile powder, and smoked paprika. Blend until everything is
  3. puréed.
  4. Place the beef cubes into the Instant Pot and pour the vegetable-spice mixture over it.
  5. Use the 3⁄4 cup of beef stock to rinse out the food processor or blender and pour into the pot.
  6. Stir to combine. Seal the Instant Pot.
  7. Cook on the manual setting at high pressure for 20 minutes. When the cooking cycle is
  8. complete, quickly release the pressure.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and bring it to a boil. Boil for 5 – 10 minutes to reduce the
  10. amount of liquid.
  11. Combine the cornstarch with 2 TB of water. Pour into the pot and stir to combine. Allow it to
  12. return to a boil and continue boiling, stirring often, to thicken the sauce to desired consistency.