Buttered Mushroom and Herb Gnocchi

Mushrooms are like little fungus sponges full of liquid that can be manipulated to soak up flavor, which sounds gross but tastes delicious! When cooked with lots of butter, they first release all their own moisture and then soak it back up along with the melted butter. It’s magical and creates these incredibly delicious savory morsels that work perfectly with gnocchi. Squeeze lemon on top for an acidic finish and sprinkle with a little cheese for richness. Tip- rinse your mushroom tops without flipping them over. The gills on the underside of the cap will hold onto the rinsing liquid, making the mushroom mushy and slimy.

Buttered Mushroom and Herb Gnocchi

Makes 4 servings


  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, rinsed, hard ends trimmed, and sliced
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • 2 oz fresh grated parmesan
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon


  1. Start a pot of boiling water for the gnocchi (don’t cook gnocchi yet).
  2. Add butter to medium fry pan at medium heat. Once melted, add garlic and stir for about 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add all mushroom and stir to coat. Let cook at medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms soften and turn brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add thyme and sage to mushrooms and stir until mushrooms are coated. Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.
  4. Add gnocchi to boiling water. Drain when gnocchi float to the top of the water. This will only take a few minutes. Once drained, add gnocchi to mushroom pan. Stir all together so gnocchi are also covered in herb butter blend.
  5. Divvy into bowls, squeeze lemon over each and top with 1/2 oz of cheese.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

Chocolate covered strawberries are a Valentine’s Day classic. Turn this treat into the perfect February breakfast with this simple overnight oat recipe. It takes less than 5 minutes to throw together the night before, with only a few quick stirs in the morning. You can adapt the recipe to suit your taste, leaving out the chia seeds, adding a banana or yogurt, or mixing in any of your favorite supplements.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

Makes 1 serving


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced strawberries
  • 3/4 cup almond milk


  1. Add all ingredients to a mason jar, adding almond milk last. Stir together, cover, and place in fridge overnight.
  2. In the morning, stir well and enjoy!

Cantina Egg Rolls with Southwestern Avocado Sauce

These tasty egg rolls are great for a few reasons. They are easy to make, filling, packed with veggies, a healthier baked version of fried egg rolls, and freeze really well. They’d be a perfect appetizer for a Super Bowl party or eat a few more for a tasty meal. The dip will only keep for about a day but ranch is a good substitute if you want something quick after reheating.

Cantina Egg Rolls with Southwestern Avocado Sauce

Egg Roll Ingredients:

  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers (typically 15 wrappers per package)
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 block frozen spinach, thawed and wrung out using cheesecloth so it’s very dry
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Spray cooking oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400º. Mix all ingredients (except wrappers) in a bowl until combined. Make sure spinach has been thoroughly drained before mixing. You can do this by thawing in a microwave, putting into cheesecloth or a floursack cloth, and wringing out over the sink.
  2. Prepare an egg roll wrapper by placing on counter with a point facing towards you (diamond shaped, not square). Place 1/4 cup of filling mixture into the middle of the egg roll wrapper. Wet the edges the furthest away from you with water. Fold bottom flap up, then fold side flaps in, and roll upwards. Push upper flap into roll to seal. Repeat until all egg rolls are sealed. (See silly diagram below.)
  3. Place all rolls on a cookie sheet and spritz the tops with cooking oil. Bake for 18-20 minutes, flipping halfway. Spritz the other side of the rolls once flipped. Let cool a bit before eating as the filling will be very hot.
How to fold an egg roll. I should have been a graphic designer. 😉

Southwestern Avocado Sauce

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Serve with egg rolls.

Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breast with Ginger Blackberry Sauce

South Dakota has incredible berries! We are lucky in Brookings to be close to Sanderson Farms and their delicious pick-your-own strawberries and raspberries. However, when it’s not summer, fresh berries can get crazy expensive, like $6 for a 6 oz container of blackberries. That’s nuts but makes sense as the berries need to be flown or trucked in quickly at the peak of freshness as they don’t stay ripe for long. Now imagine my shock when I saw containers of blackberries available at a Brookings grocery store for only 69 cents. I bought four and have been savoring every single berry, including using a container for this herby, bright, and just sweet enough blackberry sauce served over a savory Gouda cheese stuffed chicken breast.

Gouda Stuffed Chicken with Ginger Blackberry Sauce


  • 4 small chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
  • 4 oz smoked gouda cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 6 oz fresh blackberries
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ginger root (I use the pre-grated kind that comes in a jar or tube.)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Water as needed
  • Salt & pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pat at chicken breasts dry. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cut a slit in the side to make a pocket into the chicken breast. Stuff 1 ounce of gouda into each chicken breast pocket. Use tooth picks to seal the hole shut so cheese doesn’t melt out.
  2. Heat a large oven-safe cast iron or stainless steel skillet on the stove over medium heat with the butter. Sear both sides of all chicken breasts in pan at the same time, about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown. Cover pan with foil and place in oven for about 15 minutes or until thermometer inserted in the center of the breasts reaches 165 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, put blackberries, red wine, and sugar in a small sauce pan with lid over medium low heat. Heat with lid on until sugar is melted and berries begin to break down, about 10 minutes, opening lid to occasionally stir and check. You are basically steaming the juices out of the berries. Once berries begin to break down, reduce heat to low and add ginger, thyme, and lemon juice. Stir together until heated through, pushing berries against the edge of the pan to further break down. If sauce gets too dry or thick, add water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. When chicken is done, let rest briefly and remove toothpicks before moving to plates. Top with a generous spoonful of sauce. This is delicious served with green beans and mashed potatoes or wild rice.

Scotcheroo Chocolate Layer Cake

There’s some debate on whether the sticky, peanut buttery, chocolate topped rice krispie bars are called “scotcheroos” or “special k bars.” Personally, I believe they are scotcheroos unless they are made with Special K cereal, and only then should they be called special k bars. Makes sense, right? Regardless of which side of the debate you land on, we can all agree the bars are delicious. This cake is next level play on the famous bars, adding a chocolate cake layer to wow your guests. It’s made in three parts: bar layer, cake layer, and then the frosting and assembly. If you only have one cake pan, start with the bar layer as it can easily be removed from the pan within about a half hour. If you have two pans, start with the cake layer as it can cool while you work on the bar layer. When assembling, keep the bar layer on the bottom as it is heavier and would squash the cake layer when cutting if they were reversed.

Scotcheroo Chocolate Layer Cake

Chocolate Cake Layer Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa, plus more for dusting pan
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 hot coffee, boiling water with instant coffee crystals or reheated coffee from breakfast (haha!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8″ cake pan with oil (or use butter) and use cocoa powder to dust the inside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low to thoroughly combine.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, add egg, vegetable oil, vanilla, milk, and lemon juice. Whisk together. Slowly pour in hot coffee while briskly whisking so it doesn’t cook the egg.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined, scraping edges of the bowl as needed. It will be very runny.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean.
  6. Once baked, let cool for about 15 minutes and then flip onto a cooling rack, gently tapping the outside of the pan to release. Let cool completely.

Scotcheroo Layer Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 5 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Grease an 8″ layer cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Pour corn syrup and sugar into a 4 qt or larger pan. Bring to a boil on medium heat on the stovetop, stirring frequently. (Tip for corn syrup- spray your measuring cup before pouring syrup in. It’ll come out of the cup much easier.)
  3. Remove from heat and add peanut butter and salt, stirring until completely melted and combined.
  4. Add rice krispies and stir until well mixed.
  5. Press into prepared cake pan with greased hands. Smoothing out the top as best as you can.
  6. Let cool about 30 minutes and then flip onto a plate to cool completely.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5-7 tbsp of milk


  1. Add butter, peanut butter, and vanilla to a mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until smooth and fully combined, scraping edges of the bowl as needed.
  2. Add powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt and mix in on low speed. It will be very dry and look like coarse sand.
  3. Beat in milk until desired consistency is reached. Beat well so it’s light and fluffy.


  1. Put a clump of peanut butter on the middle of a plate and place the scotcheroo layer on top (this keeps it from moving around). Top with frosting and a few small dollops of peanut butter, if you want.
  2. Place cake later on top. Stick three toothpicks into the cake about 1″ in from the edge (this keeps the top layer from shifting off).
  3. Frost sides first using a frosting spatula and then frost the top. Decorate by pressing rice krispies into the sides of the cake. Enjoy!

Hearty Tuscan Soup with Creamy Poached Egg

Chicken sausage is an overlooked yet delicious meat that is lean, easy to cook, and flavorful! This hearty soup is packed with veggies while also being filling due to the chicken sausage and beans. The creamy poached egg adds beautiful color and another layer of flavor. It can easily be omitted if poaching eggs isn’t in your skill set! This recipe makes about 8 bowls.

Hearty Tuscan Soup with Creamy Poached Egg


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 carrots, peeled & chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups broth/water with bouillon
  • 15 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz canned cannellini beans, drained & rinsed
  • 4 fully-cooked chicken sausage links (favorites are Al Fresco Roasted Pepper & Asiago OR Johnsonville Three Cheese Italian Style), sliced into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 head of kale, ribs removed and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I used about 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper)
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar to garnish


  1. Warm olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onion and carrots, seasoning with salt & pepper. Cook until onion is soft & translucent. Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes, until fragrant.
  2. Add broth/water with bouillon to deglaze and get brown bits off the bottom of pan. Add tomatoes, rinsed beans, sliced sausage, seasoning, pepper flakes, and salt/pepper. Bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in chopped kale. Cook for additional 5 minutes until kale is bright green and wilted. Keep soup warm until eggs are cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, fill a small sauce pan with water. Add 1 tsp vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer. Crack egg into a small heat-safe dish. Take a spoon and stir water briskly so it swirls. Pour egg into swirling water and cover with lid. Let cook ~3 minutes and gently remove to a paper towel to drain. (Swirling water keeps egg compact and stops it from “growing legs.”)
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning in soup if needed. Ladle into individual bowls and place poached egg on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark


  • 1 15 oz bag of pretzel twists
  • 1 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I use a mix of semi-sweet and milk)
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Completely cover a half sheet pan in parchment paper. Pour bag of pretzels onto pan and lightly crush. Set aside. 
  2. Add butter and brown sugar to a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir until bubbling. Stop stirring and let mixture bubble without touching for 3 minutes. Pour over pretzels in pan. Put pan in oven and let bake for 5 minutes. This will spread the caramel out to connect all the pretzels. 
  3. Remove from oven and immediately top with chocolate chips. Place back in oven for about 2 minutes, until chocolate chips are melty. 
  4. Remove from oven and immediately use an offset icing spatula or silicone scraper to smooth chocolate over pretzels. Sprinkle with salt. 
  5. Place in fridge for a few hours to set. Use a sharp knife or your hands to break into pieces. Enjoy!

Pecan Balls

Pecan Balls

Submitted by Jeanne Anderson

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature (do not substitute)
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped very fine ( I used a food processor and measure before chopping- do not substitute with walnuts)
  • 2 cups cake flour unsifted (do not substitute)
  • 2 cups or more powdered sugar sifted into cereal-sized bowls
  1. In a mixer, combine butter, sugar, and vanilla and cream together.
  2. Add finely chopped pecan and mix.
  3. Add cake flour and mix well.
  4. Chill slightly for easier handling
  5. Roll dough into one-inch balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.
  6. Bake at 300º for 35-40 minutes. Do not brown.
  7. Immediately roll in powdered sugar twice while still hot. Cool & enjoy.

This recipe has been passed down in Jeanne’s family for at least five generations!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies – 3rd Place Winner

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (Easy Version)

Submitted by Donna Behrends

  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 4 oz melted chocolate chips, cooled slightly
  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Granulated sugar, for rolling cookies in
  • Powdered sugar, for rolling cookies in
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Beat sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in oil and cooled chocolate. Add dry ingredients just until combined.
  3. Form dough into 3/4 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, then in powdered sugar. Smash down slightly with the bottom of a cup.
  4. Bake 10-12 minutes.

White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

White Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprints

Submitted by Linae Svennes


  • 3/4 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1/4 c baking cocoa
  • 1 1/4 c finely chopped pecans or walnuts


  • 4 oz white baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 c seedless raspberry jam
  1. In large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in yolks. Combine flour and cocoa. Gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. In a shallow bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Place nuts in another shallow bowl. Shape dough in 1-inch balls. Roll in eggs whites and then in nuts.
  3. Using a wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in center of each cookie. Place 1-inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes or until set. Remove to wire rack to cool.
  4. In microwave, melt white chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 tsp into each cookie. Top each with about 1/4 tsp of jam. Let chocolate set. Store in airtight container.