Food: Wendt family serves up variety
One shelf in Coleen Wendt’s kitchen could make any cookbook collector drool. Well worn, dog-eared books of recipes she has either tried or wants to try. On the kitchen table an open three-ring binder awaits. Its pages are dotted with splotches of food and full of multi-colored sticky notes.
“These are the recipes we use most often,” Wendt says of the binder. “As I was going through these to decide which ones to submit, I realized that we have pretty eclectic tastes.”
Many of the pages contain ingredient lists and instructions printed from some of the zillions on the internet. Many others were acquired from family and friends. Some are more involved, others have only a few ingredients.
“One of my family’s favorites is my Mom’s Caribbean Salsa Chicken. I give her a lot of credit,” she said. “She was a full time working mom, and always made interesting foods for dinner when I was growing up.”
Coleen has also noticed that her recipe choices have grown along with her family.
“We used to make spaghetti and things like that as a special occasion. Now that’s a weekly option.”
Coleen, who works in education and development for Ministry Health and her husband Mike, a supervisor at the Department of Transportation have two teenagers. Isaac is a senior at Rhinelander and Emma is in the 8th grade at James Williams Middle School. Cooking for teens can be a challenge, but Coleen said her two are pretty good about trying new things.
While neither of them is ready to take over the kitchen just yet, Emma is becoming the family smoothie expert. She says she blends together yogurt and any kind of fruits. She is also involved in Girl Scouts and the student Lion’s Club, Leos.
Son Isaac is a mountain bike racer, ran on the cross country team and plays basketball. He likes to ‘carb load’ before a competition.
“One of Isaac’s favorites is the Bowtie Chicken Alfredo,” she said. “It has the carbs he likes, plus it’s very good and is fairly easy.”
Chicken shows up in many of the Wendt’s meals, as does pork and wild game. Right now they have a freezer full of elk, the result of Isaac’s first hunt in Colorado. The pork loin sauce is one Coleen makes frequently and one shared with her over a church supper. Friends have supplied the white chicken recipe, hamburger gravy, peanut butter bars. Coleen’s love of blueberries brought her to the lemon blueberry bread.
“While we don’t have the most adventurous meals, I am proud of how creative we’ve become over the years,” Wendt concluded. Below are some of favorites from her collection. Find more online at starjournalnow.com.
Lemon Blueberry Bread
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts
2 tbsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar
In large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition. Fold in the blueberries, nuts and lemon peel.
Transfer to a greased 8 x4 in. loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over warm bread. Cool Completely.
Pioneer Woman Bowtie Chicken Alfredo
12 ounces Bowtie pasta
4 Tbsp butter
2 whole chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup half-and-half
3 Tbsp heavy cream
3/4 cup parmesan cheese
chicken broth as needed for thinning
Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until deep golden brown on both sides and done in the middle. Remove from the skillet, slice into thin strips, and set aside.
Add additional 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet, followed by the minced garlic. Stir the garlic around the pan to avoid burning, and cook for 1 minute.
Add half-and-half, cream, and extra salt and pepper (if desired), whisking constantly until it’s all combined. Allow liquid to heat up and thicken for a few minutes. If it gets too thick, you may thin it with a little chicken broth.
When the sauce looks good, remove it from the heat. Add Parmesan to the pan and throw the hot pasta right on top of it. Toss it a bit. Add the chicken and continue tossing until it’s all combined. Again, if it gets too thick, splash in a little broth (you may return the pan to low heat if it needs it.)
Taste it, adjust seasonings, and top with extra Parmesan. Serve immediately!
Caribbean Salsa Chicken
2-3 cups hot cooked rice
1 tbsp. oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves – cut in pieces
1 cup Old El Paso Homestyle Garden Pepper or Thick n Chunky Salsa
1/4 cup orange marmalade
1 tbsp. Br. Sugar
2 tbsp. lime juice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Heat oil until hot. Add chicken, cook and stir until no longer pink. In a med. bowl combine salsa, marmalade, br. Sugar, lime, allspice. Mix well. Add to chicken. Simmer. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice.
Bill’s Pork Loin Sauce
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup whole berry cranberry sauce
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Melt butter. Add onion, sauté three minutes. Add broth, cranberries and vinegar. Whisk until cranberry sauce melts, about two minutes. Serve over any type of pork roast.
2-3 cans Great Northern Beans, drained
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips or equivalent amount of strips, tenders etc. ( or to cheat use a bag of grilled chicken strips already cooked! Adds a little different flavor)
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 large white onion chopped
3 small cans chopped green chilies
2 tbsp. butter
8-12 oz. whipping cream
8 oz. sour cream
2-3 cloves garlic chopped
In heavy pot combine drained beans, chilies and about 1/2 each cilantro and onions. In skillet heat olive oil (enough to just coat bottom) and melt butter. Add 1/2 to 1 tsp cumin and chili powder to taste (equal amounts work for me.) Add the other half onions and garlic, simmer until soft not brown. Add Chicken turning to brown. Add the meat mixture to the pot with beans heat and stir until warm. Add whipping cream and sour cream. Let chili cook over low heat for about an hour so the great flavors can marry. Add salt and pepper to your taste. If you like spicy, adding sliced jalapenos while the whole thing simmers will give you some nice bite.
2-8 oz. pkgs. Cream cheese
2- pkgs. Crescent rolls
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Sugar & cinnamon mixed
Spray bottom of 9×13” baking pan – unroll 1 package crescent rolls on bottom & spread out, pushing seams together so there’s no holes.
Mix together 2 pkgs cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 1 tsp vanilla & 1 egg yolk (reserve the white). Spread this mixture onto bottom layer of crescent rolls
Layer another pkg. of crescent rolls on top. Whip egg white and spread on top of bars, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Spread nuts on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Slow Cooker Tamale Pie
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp pepper
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1 can (11 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 pkg. (8-1/2 oz.) corn bread/muffin mix
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend
Sour cream and additional minced fresh cilantro, optional
In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cumin, salt, chili powder and pepper. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker; stir in the beans, tomatoes, corn, enchilada sauce, onions and cilantro. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until heated through.
In a small bowl, combine muffin mix and eggs; spoon over meat mixture. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve with sour cream and additional cilantro if desired.
No Knead Bread with variations
3 cups bread flour, more for dusting
(I use 1 cup each of white Wheat Bread flour, Prairie Gold Montana Wheat Bread flour and Regular Unbleached Bread flour.)
1 1/2 tsp. instant yeast granules
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cups warm tap water
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. of any dried seasonings, herbs or rubs (optional)
In a 2 qt. Batter bowl combine flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups warm water (105-110F) and oil mixture, stirring until blended; dough will be saggy and sticky. Dust with more flour if dough looks sweaty. Cover bowl with lid. Let dough rest about 1 1/2 – 2 hours at room temperature. (The dough will have doubled, filling bowl)
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Liberally flour a pastry mat (or parchment paper) using the flour/sugar shaker, and dump dough out on to the mat; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold dough over itself 3 or 4 times. Set the dough on a small piece of parchment paper, in the center of the mat. Fold the 2 sides of the pastry mat over the bread and let it stand on the counter for about 1 1/2 hours to rise.
A 1 1/4 hour into the 1 1/2 hour rising time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the empty covered baker with lid on in the oven for 20 minutes. You want the covered baker blazing hot. Lift ht parchment lined dough into the covered baker, cut a slit in the top of the loaf then put the lid on and put back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes then take the lid off. Bake for another 5 minutes if needed until the bread is golden brown on top. Cool on the rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing to improve the bread’s texture.
1-2 tbsp. cinnamon
1-2 tbsp. sugar (additional)
1/2 cup chopped dehydrated apples
1/4 cup raisin (if desired)
1/3 cup chopped cinnamon coated almonds
2 tbsp. melted butter instead of oil
2-4 chopped jalapeno peppers
4 oz. coarsely grated cheddar cheese
1 tbsp. cheddar cheese for top
Old Fashioned Hamburger Gravy
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Saute onion and garlic in small amount of oil until soft. Add hamburger and cook until no longer pink. Prepare gravy packet as directed, adding Worcestershire sauce. Combine gravy and beef. Heat through. Serve over mashed potatoes, rice or noodles.
Peanut Butter Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup quick oats
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (6 oz) semi sweet chocolat chips
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp milk
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Spread into a greased 9×13” baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until browned. Cool ten minutes.
Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over the top. Cool completely. Cut into bars. Makes 3-4 dozen.
1/2 tsp brown mustard
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
16 oz jar of salsa
Pour desired amount over a brick of cream cheese and serve with crackers. This makes enough for three 8-ounce bricks; refrigerate remaining sauce.