Marinated Berries with Shortcake and Whipped Cream


This dessert is perfect for using up berries that are a little past their prime. The balsamic vinegar hides any berry imperfections while providing a tangy sauce to contrast the sweet whipped cream. We used sliced strawberries and whole raspberries, but this recipe can easily work for blueberries and blackberries too. Mint adds depth and color for the perfect summer treat.


  • 1 package Cannon River Traditional Shortcake Mix
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar
  • 1/4 cup Coteau des Prairies 18 Year Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 sprigs of fresh mint, minced (about 1 teaspoon when minced)
  • 2 cups berries of your choice, sliced (fresh or thawed from frozen)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar


  1. Make shortcakes according to package instructions by combining mix with 1 stick melted butter and 1/2 cup water. Place nine spoonfuls on baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 375º for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, then move shortcakes to a rack to cool completely.
  2. While shortcakes are baking, prepare the marinated berries. In a medium bowl, mix together balsamic vinegar, granulated sugar, vanilla, and minced fresh mint. Stir until combined. Add berries and stir to completely coat. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
  3. To prepare whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream with an electric mixer on medium high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar at the very end, beating until just combined.
  4. To assemble, cut shortcakes in half. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a scoop of berries. Drizzle with balsamic mixture if more sauce is desired. Top with other shortcake half. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig.

Tomatillo Salsa

Tomatillo Salsa
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Tomatillo Salsa
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  1. Preheat a grill and grill pan on medium-medium high heat
  2. Place tomatillos, jalapeno, garlic cloves, and onion on the hot grill pan and grill until the skins of the tomatillos and jalapeno are charred
  3. Remove from grill and place in a blender or food processor
  4. Add the cilantro, cumin, salt, & pepper
  5. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed together well
  6. Eat as a dip with chips, on tacos, or as a seasoning in your white chicken chili!
  7. **Alternative to grilling** The tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic, and onion can also be roasted in the oven at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or broiled until charred. If broiling, watch closely to prevent burning!
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Crockpot Taco Dip

Crockpot Taco Dip



  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1/2 lb Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 lb shredded chicken breast (or 2 cans of chunk chicken, drained)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons southwest/taco seasoning of your choice (We used 1 tablespoon each of spicy chili lime and chipotle parmesan corn on the cob seasoning from Urban Accents.)
  • 1 can black beans, drained

Add all ingredients to the crockpot besides the beans. Cook on high until heated through (about 1 hour), stirring every 20 minutes or so. Stir in beans and let cook for about 20 more minutes. Turn to low/warm before serving. Best served with tortilla chips and Day of the Dead Salsa.

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Bread Pudding:

  • 1 Cottleston Italian Loaf
  • 4 tbsp butter, melted
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • .5 tsp cardamom
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Pull the loaf of bread into small chunks and place in a greased 4+ qt dutch oven or a greased 8.5×11 glass baking dish. Pour meted butter over the bread pieces and gently mix.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla. Pour over bread mixture and gently mix until most of the bread is moist.
  4. Cover cooking vessel with lid or foil and bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove when top is toasted and pudding no longer jiggles when shook. Serve warm with caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  1. Add all ingredients to a 2+ quart sauce pan on medium low heat. Whisk together. Stir occasionally until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.
  2. When butter is melted, increase heat to medium and whisk until the sauce thickens.
  3. Serve warm or refrigerate till cold. Sauce will thicken a bit as it sits.

Caramel Sauce recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman’s “Easy Caramel Sauce.”

Spanish Style Gazpacho

Prep Time:  30 Minutes

Cook time:  0 minutes!!

Chill Time:  Up to 6 hours
Total time:  Up to 6 hours, 30 minutes

Difficulty Level:  Easy
Serves: 4-6
Modified from this recipe on Epicurious




10 oz. of day old bread, crust removed
21 oz. of fresh summer tomatoes, seeds removed, chopped
1 tsp Ellbee’s Original Garlic blend
1 medium sweet onion chopped
2 red bell peppers, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground Cumin
8 tablespoons of good Spanish Olive oil, extra virgin
2 tablespoons of good Spanish Sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons cold water, or more as needed


1 cucumber, peeled and finely diced, for garnish

Sour Cream, for garnish
Croutons (preferably homemade, optional) or crostini (grilled bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil)

Cracked Peppercorns


In a bowl, soak the bread in 1/2 – 1 cup of water for 10 min. Squeeze out, by hand, as much water as possible from the bread.

In a food processor (a Vitamix purees everything quickly and like a dream!) puree all the chopped vegetables.  Add the cumin, garlic, the soaked bread, sherry vinegar, olive oil and 2 Tbsp cold water. Puree in the food processor until the mixture is entirely pureed and smooth. Add more cold water if needed to get the right consistency; it should be slightly thick but should pour easily. Add salt to taste (start with 1-2 tsp).

Refrigerate at least 2 hours and re-taste for salt.

Serve chilled with garnish of chopped cucumber, cracked peppercorns, and/or croutons as desired.  You can also serve with crostini.

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Strawberry Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  10 minutes
Total time:  20 mins
Serves: 4 servings

1 pint strawberries, hulled and finely diced

2 kiwi, peeled and finely diced

1 Granny Smith apple – finely chopped
1 jalapeno, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
Half of a small red onion, peeled and finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro, loosely-packed
Juice of 2 limes, about 4 tablespoons
¼ tsp salt

1 tsp Golden Fig brand basil pepper

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 flour tortillas (10 inches in diameter)

PS – if you don’t want to make your own – there are pre-packed cinnamon-sugar chips (Stacy’s pita chips) that are also delicious, or you could use a variety of graham crackers for dipping.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  

Combine strawberries, kiwi, granny smith apple, jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine lime juice, salt and basil pepper – whisk to combine.  Pour over salsa and mix until combined.  Taste for seasoning – add additional salt and pepper, if needed.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. 

In a small bowl combine cinnamon and sugar.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. Brush top of first tortilla with melted butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Cut with a pizza cutter in half, then each half into 4 segments; you should have 8 wedges from each tortilla.  Arrange wedges in a single layer on baking sheet.  Bake until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Repeat with any remaining chips.  Let chips cool before serving.  Serve with chilled fruit salsa.  

Veggie Noodle Lo Mein

Prep time:  20 minutes

Cook time:  20 minutes

Total time:  40 mins

Serves: 4 servings


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 baby bok choy, or 1 large bok choy, thoroughly washed, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced length-wise
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, ends removed and spiralized into noodles.  If your carrots aren’t big enough to spiralize thinly slice
  • 8 oz mushrooms.  I prefer baby portobello or crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 4-8 zucchini (around 2 lbs), spiralized into noodles – I find the medium size works best, but you could also do the fine or angel hair size
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • 3 tsp Ellbee’s Asian Zing Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons ginger, minced
  • Whites of the green onions sliced below


  • 1 ½ Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 ½ Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon mirin
  • 2 tsp brown sugar


  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced.  Separate the sliced greens from the whites.  Use the whites in the aromatics above, reserve the greens for topping at the end



  1. Make sure all your veggies are prepped before starting the stir fry.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and soy sauce until cornstarch is dissolved.  Add in sesame oil, mirin and brown sugar.  Set aside
  3. Preheat a very large skillet (at least 15″) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil into the pan along with the garlic, ginger, and whites of the green onions.  Stir fry for 1-2 minutes until fragrant and the green onions have wilted.  
  4. Increase heat to high.  Add mushrooms and stir fry for 3-4 minutes.  Add bok choy, bell pepper, and carrots. Stir fry for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the veggies are starting to soften.
  5. Transfer the stir fried veggies to a large serving bowl
  6. Place the stir fry pan back over high heat, and add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of oil to the pan. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and stir fry just until the noodles are beginning to soften, around 5 minutes.  Drain off the excess liquid.  
  7. Add the veggie mixture to the noodles and toss completely to combine. Add the salt and sauce mixture, stir to coat and simmer for approximately 5 minutes.   Taste and adjust seasonings.  Remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Transfer to serving bowl, top with the greens portion of the sliced green onions, and serve. 


  • You can easily add a cooked protein (chicken, shredded pork, etc) if desired.  Add the cooked protein in Step 4 with the mushrooms and other vegetables.  

Cucumber, Strawberry, and Avocado Salsa

Cucumber, Avocado, and Strawberry Salsa

  • 1 large Seedless Cucumber
  • 1 cup hulled and chopped strawberries
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped purple onion
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Spiralize cucumber, cutting noodles every turn. Or, you can chop the noodles after they are spiralized.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together honey, lime juice, and salt & pepper to taste. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl mix cucumber noodles, strawberries, avocados, cilantro, jalapeno, and onion.
  4. Stir in sauce. Serve with chips.

Pumpkin Bread


As the weather cools down, the stock of pumpkin in my pantry goes up. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin everything! I don’t need a Pumpkin Spice anything. Give me that straight pumpkin flavor!

And nothing screams “FALL” to me more than pumpkin bread. My mom has only ever made one recipe, and she makes it several times a year. It makes two loaves, but with five people in the house, you would be hard pressed to find any after the first week. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I bring this to lots of potluck events in the fall and winter, and I ALWAYS get asked if it’s homemade. It’s just that good!


First start with 3 1/3 cups of flour in a large mixing bowl. Like, really large…

Add to that, 2 tsp. of baking soda,

1 1/2 tsp. salt,

1 tsp. cinnamon,

1 tsp. nutmeg (or 1/4 tsp. ground cloves)

and 3 cups of sugar.

Use a whisk to carefully mix the dry ingredients together. And then use your hands to create a well in the center.


Into the “well”, add one can or 2 cups of canned pumpkin

4 beaten eggs


2/3 cup of water

1 cup of vegetable oil

Then start stirring! Be sure to really scrape the bottom of the bowl while stirring, to get all of the dry ingredients incorporated into the pumpkin mixture


Spray two loaf pans well and divide the batter equally into both.


Then, bake at 350 for one hour. If a toothpick or knife inserted in the center doesn’t come out clean after that, it might need 10-15 more minutes in the oven.

Then, remove from pans and allow to cool on cooling racks before plastic wrap. Or, if you’re like me, the smell is too tempting, so just dive in & slather a slice with some butter… Yum!!


While it’s delicious on its own, another way I like to serve it is French toasted at breakfast. I make the loaves a day or two ahead of time, and I don’t wrap them very tightly. Slightly stale bread is best for this. Then I make my regular French toast batter (eggs and milk or cream), and dip cut sides of the bread quickly in it. Then I scrape off the excess and toast on a skillet until both sides are golden brown. It’s pretty rich, but so delicious! Serve with the cinnamon syrup recipe found this site. (Those pumpkin pancakes are pretty amazing, too!)

The printable version is below. Leave a comment if you try it, and let us know how it tastes!

Pumpkin Bread
Print Recipe
This dense, sweet bread is great for breakfast or as a tasty snack!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 15 minutes
Cook Time
60-75 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 15 minutes
Cook Time
60-75 minutes
Pumpkin Bread
Print Recipe
This dense, sweet bread is great for breakfast or as a tasty snack!
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 15 minutes
Cook Time
60-75 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2 loaves 15 minutes
Cook Time
60-75 minutes
Dry Ingredients
Wet Ingredients
Servings: loaves
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and all the rest of the ingredients
  4. Mix well.
  5. Pour evenly into two oiled loaf pans, bake for one hour. May need 10-15 minutes more baking time
  6. Bread is done when a toothpick or fork, inserted into the center, comes out clean.
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Dakota Grill Event Recipes

Panless Meat Loaf

Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 3/4 Cup Milk, 2/3 Cup Crushed Saltine Crackers, 1/2 Cup Chopped Onion, 1.5 Tsp “Roasting Herbs” (at Carrot Seed), 1/2 Tsp Salt, 1.5 Lbs Lean Ground Beef, 4-8 Slices Bacon (Optional), 1/2 Cup “Honey Garlic” Or “Chipotle” For A Bit Of Heat (at Carrot Seed).

Prep: In A Large Bowl, Beat Eggs. Add Milk, Saltines, Onion, Seasoning, And Salt; Mix Well With Beef. Shape Into 4 Individual Loaves (Or 6-8 Burgers). Wrap Each Loaf With 1-2 Slices Of Bacon: Under, Around, And On Top. Spread Sauce Over Loaves.

Cooking: Place Loaves Directly Onto Grate Of Dakota Grill And Insert Probe About 1″ Into Thickest Part. Set Grill At 320 Degrees And Probe At 150.

Serving: Let Stand 5-10 Minutes Before Slicing. Serve With Additional Sauce And “Rebel Yell” (at Carrot Seed) For A Gentle Kick.


Tender Pork Chops

Ingredients: 4 Bone-In Pork Chops, 2 Tbsp “Butchers Rub” (at Carrot Seed).

Cooking: Season Pork Chops Well, Then Place Directly On Grate Of Dakota Grill And Insert Probe 3/4″ Or So From The Edge Of A Chop So Probe’s Tip Is Centered In The Thickness Of The Chop. Set Grill At 320 Degrees And Probe At 145 For Medium Or 155 For Well-Done.

Serving: Let Stand 5 Minutes Before Serving. May Serve With Applesauce, “Honey Garlic”, “Chipotle”, Or “Ol West” Sauces (at Carrot Seed) If Desired.


Delectable Chicken

Ingredients: 2 Bone-In Chicken Breasts, 4 Thighs, 8 Legs, Or 16 Wings; Favorite Seasonings, Such As “Rebel Yell”, “Basil Pepper”, “Bbq Herbs”, Or “Curry Salt” (at Carrot Seed); (Optional) Sauces Such As “Honey Garlic”, “Chipotle”, Or “Ol West” (at Carrot Seed).

Prep: Thickly Cover Chicken With Favorite Seasoning. Optionally Smother With Your Favorite Sauce To Make Buffalo Wings.

Cooking: Place Directly On Grate Of Dakota Grill; Insert Probe Into Thickest Part Of Breast Or Thigh, Then Set Grill At 320 Degrees And Probe At 170. If Grilling Legs Or Wings, Set Grill At 320 And Timer For 45 Minutes For Legs Or 35 Minutes For Wings.

Serving: Serve Plain Or With Your Favorite Sauce.