Category: Recipes

Recipe: Holiday Sausage Stuffing

Wait a minute… I was just grilling brats for Labor Day! I blinked and the holiday season is almost upon us – time to start planning those wonderful family feasts. Give this superb sausage stuffing a try for your next holiday. You can make it the day of, weeks (or months) in advance, and freeze it; or assemble it 1 or 2 days ahead, store it covered in the refrigerator, and then bake it.



Recipe: Holiday Sausage Stuffing
  • 8 cups unseasoned, dried bread cubes
  • 1/2 cup butter + extra for greasing the casserole dish
  • 1-1/2 cups diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. seasoned sausage
  • 2-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 TB fresh chopped rosemary or 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 TB fresh chopped sage or 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley or 1 TB + 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees and grease a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish with butter. Place the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a large saute pan, melt the butter. Add the onions and celery. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, or about 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook an additional 1 or 2 minutes. Add the vegetable mixture to the bread cubes, being careful to scrape out all the vegetables. Without washing it, add the sausage to the same pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Add the sausage and fat in the pan to the bread cubes bowl.
  3. Add the chicken broth, egg, rosemary, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper to the bread cubes. Mix until the bread is soft and moistened. Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, uncovered, until golden brown and crisp on top.
  4. After baking and allowing to cool, this dish can be frozen, tightly covered for up to 3 months. To reheat, defrost in the refrigerator for 24 hours, then reheat it, covered with foil, in a 325 degree oven until hot.
  5. —To make ahead, after everything is mixed together and added to the casserole dish, tightly wrap the dish with foil or plastic wrap and store, refrigerated for up to 2 days. Remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before baking. Bake as indicated above.—


Recipe: Country-Style Minute Steak w/ Pan Gravy

In the south, we call minute steak ‘bucket steak’ and it’s a regular on the dinner menu. No matter what you call them, you’re going to want to give this country steak a try – it’s tender, it’s extremely easy, and it’s perfect for fall, winter, or anytime really.



Recipe: Country-Style Minute Steak w/ Pan Gravy
Author: Robin Meadows West
  • 2 to 4 minute steaks
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic powder (depending on your preference)
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, mix flour, black pepper, seasoned salt, and garlic powder together. Set aside 3 TB of the seasoned flour to use in the pan gravy.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Dredge the steaks through the seasoned flour and brown both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Place the steaks, in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
  3. Mix the previously set aside seasoned flour into the beef stock and stir until smooth. Pour broth over the steaks, cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake until the meat is tender and gravy has thickened – about 2 hours.
  4. Enjoy with mashed potatoes, vegetables, and buttered bread for a great southern dinner.


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!