Unheralded

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Stovetop Chicken

Comforting, affordable, versatile. Those are three attributes of chicken breast that make it a great go-to meat for many people. Plus, there’s something about golden-brown chicken breasts that make them hard to resist. A new favorite of mine is preparing the breasts on the stovetop. And more often than not, I like to substitute pheasant for chicken, a perk of …


Unheralded

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Boiled Dinner

My dad was a heckuva cook, and boiled dinner was one of his specialties. He generally made it in the winter, when a bowl of something warm was the perfect answer to the cold weather. I have many fond memories of big bowls of boiled dinner, served with dash of vinegar. It was a meal in itself and one that …


CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Venison Tips With Egg Noodles

Red meat cooked in a sauce has probably been popular since the earliest humans first tasted it — albeit in a much cruder form than we know today — thousands of years ago. Over centuries, this type of food has evolved into dishes such as beef Stroganoff, Salisbury steak and even the ubitquitous hamburger and gravy; the list goes on …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Arrabiata Sauce With Peppers And Mushrooms

Sometimes tomato sauces can get bogged down with too many flavors and laden with meat. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good spaghetti sauce that is spiced up with herbs such as basil, thyme and oregano as well as containing good Italian sausage seasoned with fennel. But there are times when I’m in the mood for pasta and just …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Hershey Dream Bars

As promised to one of my readers, here is my Mom’s recipe for Hershey Dream Bars, which I mentioned in an earlier blog, as well as a few other favorites, including Grandma Menard’s recipe for Rolled Butter Cookies. I hope you have time to make these before Christmas! Hershey Dream Bars 1 cup brown sugar 1 cup shortening (butter or …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Carrot Bars

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a good assortment of cookies, bars and the like. At least that’s the way it was in our house when I was growing up. My mom always made sure we had plenty of goodies around Christmas, which was very pleasing to her three growing boys and their dad. I have fond memories of her …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Tortilla Soup

If there was ever a food that lends itself to leftovers, it is chicken. From casseroles to salads to enchiladas to pizza to sandwiches, the list goes on and on and on. Once every week or two, we roast a regular or smoked chicken, which we get from the Hutterites of the Forest River Colony, in a Dutch oven. This …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Or Pheasant Fricassee

The late, great American chef Julia Child, in her “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” described fricassee as “halfway between a sauté and a stew.” In a fricassee cut-up meat is first sautéed, then liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking. A stew includes liquid from the beginning. For me, someone who doesn’t think cooking is a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pheasant, Peppers and Onions

Skillet entrees have a lot of appeal. Not only do they cut back on the cleanup, they are also quick and easy. There are some foods that are just conducive to being cooked on the stovetop. Two of those are peppers and onions. Many a tasty dish starts off with that duo being sautéed in a little butter or olive …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Turkey Noodle Vegetable Soup

Leftovers are usually a given when you host Thanksgiving Day dinner, even if everyone eats too much. There is always some leftover stuffing, squash, scalloped corn and the like besides the star of your feast — the turkey. Even if you sit down for a slice or two of turkey on a bun(s) around suppertime, there often is plenty of …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pheasant Cordon Bleu

Most people have heard of chicken cordon bleu, but there’s a good chance that many of them have never tasted it. And that would be a shame. The origin of cordon bleu dishes is somewhat in dispute. Some say it has its roots in France (chicken). Still others credit the Swiss (schnitzel) and the Austrians (veal). Wherever they came from, …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — German Potato Salad

I’ll have to admit, traditional potato salad the way Mom made it and Therese’s version are high on my list of favorite foods. But a good German potato salad is hard to beat. Therese made the following recipe, an update of one in her Better Homes and Garden cookbook. It was the perfect complement to a ring of cooked beef …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Beef And Cabbage Skillet

Skillet meals are a quick and easy way to cook fresh garden vegetables, especially tomatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage. Add a little meat to the mix, and you have a well-balanced dish that is full of vitamins, fiber and protein. The following recipe took only about a half an hour to prepare, which gave me plenty of time to work …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Gumbo Soup

Okra isn’t a vegetable kids who grew up in northern Minnesota would hear much about in their formative years. In fact, many of them probably never had an inkling about the flowering plant in the mallow family. I can attest to that. My first exposure to the plant known in many English-speaking countries as ladies’ fingers or ochro was probably in the …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Orzo Soup With Pesto

Pesto is often associated with pasta. So it stands to reason that the basil-based sauce would be a nice fit for chicken noodle soup or the like. I recently came across the following recipe, which was adapted from one in “Better Homes and Gardens Quick Homemade: Fast, Fresh Meals in 30 Minutes” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). It’s not your mother’s …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Shrimp Pesto Linguine

One of the great joys of cooking is preparing food with fresh herbs and vegetables straight from the garden. Making pesto is one such experience that I relish. It’s also one that holds great appeal to Kim Holmes. Kim, longtime owner of Sanders 1907 in downtown Grand Forks who retired in 2017, told me making pesto was one of his …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Mama And Michael’s Meat Sauce

When it comes to meat sauces for pasta, just about everyone has their favorite. Spaghetti lovers generally prefer a sauce that contains ground beef and Italian sausage. Some people even like to add ribs to the mix. Ragu is also a popular choice, both the Bolognese (finely chopped ground beef, veal or pork) or Neapolitan (chunky beef or pork taken …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Cold Macaroni Salad

Picnic season is in full swing in the Midwest with the dog days of summer and its hot and sultry weather blanketing the area. And there’s nothing better to serve friends and family on those steamy days than a cold salad to go with what’s cooking on the barbecue grill. There are many good cold salad recipes floating around the internet …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Rhubarb-Strawberry Pie

The thought of homemade pie conjures up warm memories of good times past for many people who grew up on farms or in the small towns that dot a map of the Plains and Midwest. During the summer, I could usually count on finding a pie, often rhubarb, on the counter at our house or Grandma and Grandpa Menard’s almost every …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Noodle Hotdish

Most hotdishes or casseroles are perfect for those working folks who don’t have all day to prepare a meal — or those who are just looking for a something that is quick and tasty to put on the table for supper. As a retiree, I usually have a lot of free time, so it doesn’t matter if it takes an …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Bell Pepper And Mushroom Marinara

Marinara sauce can be thick and chunky or smooth and silky. Either way suits me, but if I had my druthers, the former rather than the latter would be my preference. Hardly any two of my marinara sauces are the same. But assuredly, they all contain tomatoes, garlic, some fresh basil, onion and seasoning. And they can be used on anything from …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Beef Stroganoff With Green Beans And German Cabbage

Fusion cuisine, the combining of two or more culinary traditions, has become quite popular worldwide over the past couple of decades, particularly in culturally diverse and large metropolitan settings. Many believe it was started in the 1980s and ’90s, when the public was introduced to creations such as buffalo chicken spring rolls, grits with butter and soy sauce and sautéed foie …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Honey Garlic Salmon

Anybody who’s cooked with honey and garlic in tandem knows that combination can produce some pretty tasty results. Honey garlic chicken and honey garlic shrimp are just two popular recipes that come to mind. But there just might be another good reason to combine the two: Both have been linked to healthy eating. And when combined, honey and garlic become a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Pumpkin Bread

It just doesn’t get much better than homemade bread. There’s nothing like it when it’s fresh out of the oven and topped with a dollop of butter or some peanut butter and jelly. In our house, I leave the “real” bread-making up to Therese. There’s no way I can top the bread — or the buns — she bakes. I’ve …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Red Beans, Sausage And Rice

Beans and rice are a popular combination. Add sausage and green bell pepper to the mix and you have a dish that many people, especially those from southern Louisiana, might say is a touch of heaven. For Cajuns and those of Creole descent, red beans and rice is classic comfort food that has been around for a couple of centuries. …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken And Rice Soup

Dietary fiber is essential for healthy living. Found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, dietary fiber offers a variety of health benefits. They include relief from constipation; lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer; lowering cholesterol levels; and helping to maintain a healthy weight. Most healthy eating plans such as the U.S. Department of …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Rotelle With Mushroom Tomato Sauce

Most people think of a meat sauce when considering dishes such as spaghetti, lasagna, ravioli or Alfredo. A good sauce can make or break a pasta entree. But sauces without meat can be just as tasty and often are more heart-healthy. I’ll be the first to admit that a ground beef/Italian sausage tomato/marinara sauce is hard to beat when it comes …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Black Bean Vegetable Soup

Beans and legumes rank near the top of the list among the most nutritious vegetables. Most professional agree that they are a key food group for helping prevent disease and for optimizing health, particularly in the areas of cardiovascular and blood sugar problems, including Type 2 diabetes. That fact is borne out in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans developed by …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Great Northern Bean Stew

Good recipes can come from a variety of sources. Some people are fortunate enough to have ones that have been in their family for years. If you are really lucky, you might have you mom’s recipe box like I do. The internet is also a good source as are friends and newspapers. The publication that I worked at for more …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Baked Cod With Tomatoes and Olives

Lent is just around the corner, so that mean’s there will likely be a fish fry or two on tap in your neighborhood, not to mention Friday fish specials on many a restaurant menu. Walleye is the fish of choice at a lot of frys in my neck of the woods, although Alaskan pollock is a good substitute, especially if …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Once Around the Kitchen Vegetable Soup

Leftovers. Almost all families have them, and they can pose a dilemma — if you let them. But creative cooks know that their limitations are endless. Perhaps the best use I can think of for leftovers is a pot of soup. Consider that roast chicken or beef that you had for Sunday dinner. Either would be a great starter for soup. …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — City Chicken

Chicken is the most popular meat in the United States, more well-liked than beef or pork. That’s according to 2018 statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But why is it so? Versatility is probably the No. 1 reason. The U.S. is a very diverse country, so chicken’s mild taste and uniform texture is easily assimilated into many cuisines. But …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Almost Vegetarian Chili

There’s hardly anything better on a cold winter day than a bowl of chili and some freshly baked bread, and I’m not the only one who thinks that is a good idea. On Tuesday, perhaps our coldest day of the winter (-33 degrees) until today (-35), I made some chili and Therese baked some no-knead cheesy bread. After we finished …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Mom’s Apple Bars

Mastering the art of baking is something that can take years to achieve — if ever. It’s become one of my goals in retirement. Cooking has always come easy for me, whether it’s making soups, casseroles or main-course entrees such as a Thanksgiving turkey or an Easter ham. But I never baked much until the past couple of years, despite having …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Dad’s Vegetable Beef Soup

Winter is the perfect time to make soup. I won’t argue with that, although soup during any season with fine with me. Vegetable soups, whether they are made with fresh, frozen or canned veggies, are among the most popular of soups. The reasons are myriad: They make a great appetizer or a main courses. They are relatively quick to make and …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Anise Candy

Candy-making is one of those skills that not too many people possess. It’s not because the task is too difficult, rather it’s that a lot of people are afraid to give it a try or maybe have been unsuccessful once and don’t want to fail again. I was fortunate to come from a family (my mother’s side) that was into …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Black Beans, Rice And Sausage

Beans and rice are a staple in the diets of many people across the world, particularly in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Nutritionally, they offer a dish that is high in protein, low in fat, rich in fiber and a good source of carbohydrates. They are also cheap and can be very tasty as well. This dynamic duo …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Homemade Breakfast Sausage

Making homemade sausage is a popular pastime, especially among hunters. For many people, it’s a family tradition to get together after the deer or elk hunting season to make sausage. In the old days, the grinding and stuffing was done manually. But these days, sausage-making is made easy with electric meat grinders and stuffers, kitchen scales, premixed seasonings and readily available casings. …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Barbecued Pheasant

Fall is perhaps my favorite season of the year. The reason for my fondness is that I get to combine three of my favorite pastimes — gardening, hunting and cooking. The past couple of months have been especially satisfying. I finished my gardening, which started last March when tomato, kale and pepper seeds were planted indoors; canned more than a …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Cabbage And Ring Bologna Bake

Some say that Plato was the one who came up with the well-known and often-used proverb that states necessity is the mother of invention. That’s a distinct possibility, but I’m not so sure it wasn’t an imaginative cook who coined that phrase. The reason I say that is that some of my favorite recipes are ones that were invented because …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Fresh Tomato Salsa

The summer of 2018 will be remembered by many gardeners as the year of the tomato. Despite a dry spell the last three weeks of August, it’s been a banner season for those ruby-red orbs of sweetness. My garden was no exception. I’ve been inundated with tomatoes since mid-July. It’s partly my own fault. After a 2017 in which my …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Vegetable And Sausage Skillet

Garden production can vary greatly from year to year. Just ask any gardener. One year, a person might have tremendous crop of a certain vegetable and a dismal one of another. And the next season, the tables can turn and abundance can become a smattering and a pittance a carload. Fortunately in our 2018 garden, we don’t have any vegetables …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken, Kale And Bean Soup

Some people are calling kale the new spinach. (Pound for pound kale has up to 120 percent more vitamin C and 150 percent more vitamin A than spinach.) Others are calling it the new beef. (Kale is richer in iron, fiber and omega fatty acids than beef.) And still more are calling it the new bread and milk. (Kale is …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Sweet Potato Marinara

A week at the lake can be a nice respite when the temperatures are in the 80s and the humidity is nearly as high. And if you don’t do much fishing or they are not biting if you do, means you better have better brought along enough food from home or that your lake retreat isn’t too far from the …