Recipes, Cooking, Menus and More

As you can no doubt imagine cooking for eight residents, staff, and staff kids, is no small undertaking – especially during the summer. State guidelines require all meals/snacks be documented, one snack given daily (we do two – after school and before bed) and within  those meals/snacks there must be three servings of fruit and four of vegetable – every day. Menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking take up a great deal of our time – to which I am sure many of you can relate.

So, with this in mind, and in the spirit of a “true” blog, we thought we’d have each of the house- parents pass on their favorite go-to recipe(s). What recipes work well within the cottages tends to change as the population within the cottage changes but these have become favorites. We have tried to include several different types of recipes so you can find one that works for you – just in time for Thanksgiving!

 Enjoy!

Gene and Bethany Collins, Main HP’s at Exodus Cottage (Girls)


With four required servings of vegetables daily, keeping a variety can be challenging – the recipe below has become a group favorite even though everyone always immediately says: “Eww, I hate brussel sprouts!” A shout out to the Brown Family – hello Glennys! – for this recipe.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 ½ lbs fresh brussel sprouts

3 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp each of: garlic powder, pepper, salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the bottom of each brussel sprout and then slice them into  quarters. Place the sliced sprouts in a large bowl  and add the olive oil. Toss to coat. Add the spices – toss to coat. **While the recipe calls for ½ tsp salt, pepper and garlic powder I usually “eyeball” it and season to taste. I add seasonings, toss, then add more and toss again. Roast for 25 minutes or until slightly browned.  

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You’ve no doubt heard of Muddy Buddies – some folks call it Puppy Chow – square oat cereal with chocolate and powdered sugar, etc. This is a spin on that with all the sweetness and cinnamon-y goodness of a churro.

Churro Chex Mix

9 cups rice chex cereal

1 cup cinnamon chips

¼ cup butter or margarine

½ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

Place the cereal in a large mixing bowl (preferably one with a lid). In a small bowl microwave cinnamon chips and butter for one minute and stir until smooth. (You may need to microwave them for a few seconds more before they completely melt.) Poor melted mixture over cereal and stir until cereal is evenly coated. In another small bowl combine powdered sugar, sugar and cinnamon. Dump in with the cereal mixture, cover and toss – or mix – to coat. Store in the fridge.

Jason and Michelle Rash, Main HP’s at Leebrick Cottage (Boys)

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup milk

2 eggs

½ cup melted butter

2 tsp vanilla

¾ cup dried cranberries

¾ cup chocolate chips (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Beat in milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Stir in dried cranberries. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes.

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Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef

1 envelope taco seasoning

1-1/2 cups water

1 can (16 ounces) mild chili beans, undrained

1 can (15-1/4 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained

1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes

1 can (10 ounces) diced tomato with green chilies

1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies, optional

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

  1. Cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. 
  2. Add taco seasoning and mix well. 
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. 
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  5. Top with some Fritos corn chips, shredded cheese and sour cream!

Ethan Pratt and Kelley Bracken, Relief HP’s

Ms. Kelley’s family has a farm so they like to make this recipe with “farm sausage”!

Spaghetti Sauce

1 large onion 

2 lbs italian sausage

4 cups fresh (or canned) tomato sauce

Salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning, to taste

½ lb broccoli 

½ lb green beans

Dice  large onion and fry along with 2lbs of italian sausage. Stir this mixture in with the

tomato sauce and add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and italian seasoning. Add broccoliand/or green beans. (They were funny about this before trying it, but learned to try it and now they enjoy the veggies soaked in the sauce.) Heat and serve with your favorite pasta.

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