Leftover Mashed Potato Puffs

recipe - left over mashed potato puffsIngredients

1 egg

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped chives

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes



1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Generously butter 6 muffin tin cups

3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg, then whisk in the sour cream. Add the cheese and chives. Mix to combine.

4. Taste the potatoes and season them with salt and pepper if needed. Add them to the egg mixture and mix well.

5. Spoon the potato mixture into the muffin tins, filling them just to the top or a little below.

6. Bake 25-35 minutes until they pull away from the sides of the cups and are golden brown all over.

7. Removed from the oven and let them cool 5 minutes in the pan. Turn them out onto a platter. Serve with sour cream.


Yield: Serves 6

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Still Under $50 for 10 People

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 29th annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.41, a 37-cent increase from last year’s average of $49.04.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at $21.65 this year. That’s roughly $1.35 per pound, a decrease of less than 1 cent per pound, or a total of 11 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2013.


“Turkey production has been somewhat lower this year and wholesale prices are a little higher, but consumers should find an adequate supply of birds at their local grocery store,” AFBF Deputy Chief Economist John Anderson said. Some grocers may use turkeys as “loss leaders,” a common strategy deployed to entice shoppers to come through the doors and buy other popular Thanksgiving foods.

The AFBF survey shopping list includes turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of carrots and celery, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and beverages of coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10. There is also plenty for leftovers.

Foods showing the largest increases this year were sweet potatoes, dairy products and pumpkin pie mix. Sweet potatoes came in at $3.56 for three pounds. A half pint of whipping cream was $2.00; one gallon of whole milk, $3.76; and a 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix, $3.12. A one-pound relish tray of carrots and celery ($.82) and one pound of green peas ($1.55) also increased in price. A combined group of miscellaneous items, including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) rose to $3.48.

In addition to the turkey, other items that declined modestly in price included a 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing, $2.54; 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, $2.34; two nine-inch pie shells, $2.42; and a dozen brown-n-serve rolls, $2.17.

The average cost of the dinner has remained around $49 since 2011. thanksgiving graphic_1

“America’s farmers and ranchers remain committed to continuously improving the way they grow food for our tables, both for everyday meals and special occasions like Thanksgiving dinner that many of us look forward to all year,” Anderson said. “We are blessed to be able to provide a special holiday meal for 10 people for about $5.00 per serving – less than the cost of most fast food meals.”

turkey chart

The stable average price reported this year by Farm Bureau for a classic Thanksgiving dinner tracks closely with the government’s Consumer Price Index for food eaten at home (available online at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm), which indicates a 3-percent increase compared to a year ago.

A total of 179 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 35 states. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey.

Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages. Another option for busy families without a lot of time to cook is ready-to-eat Thanksgiving meals for up to 10 people, with all the trimmings, which are available at many supermarkets and take-out restaurants for around $50 to $75.

The AFBF survey was first conducted in 1986. While Farm Bureau does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation. Farm Bureau’s survey menu has remained unchanged since 1986 to allow for consistent price comparisons.



Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Recipe - Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole2This recipe uses leftover chicken and ham.


1 lb. pasta (penne is suggested; rotini was used in the photo)

1 cup cubed leftover cooked chicken breast

1 cup leftover cooked and cubed ham

1 1/2 cups milk

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons dried minced onion

2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of cayenne pepper

1 cup Panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted



1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente (follow package directions). Drain and return to pot.

2. Add chicken and ham. Toss to combine.

3. Preheat the broiler.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk, cream cheese and minced onion over low-medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until is becomes a smooth sauce (about 15 minutes).

5. Stir the milk mixture into the pasta.

6. Add the Swiss cheese. Stir. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper.

7. Transfer the pasta mixture into a baking dish and top with Panko crumbs.

8. Pour melted butter over the crumbs.

9. Broil until golden brown ( approximately 4 minutes).

Protecting the Furture of Farming and Ranching

With the first snowfall in southeastern Nebraska earlier this week, we are reminded that summer is definitely over. Harvest is wrapping up and we are all gearing up for a long winter. There are still a few farmers in the state who are rushing to get everything out of their fields, but if a drive across the state this week is a snapshot of where we are, I would say harvest is in a good place. It was nearly 200 miles west of Lincoln when I saw a field with corn standing.

Now, thoughts turn towards 2015. Each year Nebraska Farm Bureau members get together to discuss serious issues they are facing in their counties. They can be anything and everything from taxes and education to agriculture and natural resources. These men and women meet for a day and a half and hash out the changes they want to see. At the end of the retreat, recommendations head to the Nebraska Farm Bureau annual meeting for a vote. SLPC blogWhat comes out of these meetings guide the organization’s efforts at the state and federal level to make sure the farmer and rancher voice is heard by our Nebraska Representatives . This helps ensure a law or policy is not enacted that could hurt farming and ranching in Nebraska.SLPC blog2

The grassroots…farmers and ranchers, are the heart and soul of what makes up Nebraska Farm Bureau.. Now you might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t farm. How does this affect me?” I answer with another question. Do you enjoy eating? By making sure the farmer and rancher voice is heard, we are throwing support behind those who raise food for our dinner tables, here and around the world.

Blog Bio Pic with Color

Easy as Tamale Pie

With this recipe, you can use leftover shredded pork, beef or chicken.Recipe - Easy as Tamale Pie


1 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup flour

1 tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 can enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded pork (or chicken, or beef)

1 tablespoon taco seasoning

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, optional

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

chopped cilantro, flat leafed parsley, or chives for garnish



1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9″x9″ pan or a 10″ cast iron skillet.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, eggs and buttermilk. Pout the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined. Your batter will be lumpy.

4. Pour the batter into your baking dish/skillet.

5. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove pan/skillet from the oven and reduce hear to 350 degrees. Using a fork, poke holes all over the top of the cornbread (it won’t be quite set in the center.) Pour the enchilada sauce over the cornbread.

6. Combine shredded meat with taco seasoning and optional chipotle peppers and spread this mixture over the top of the cornbread.

7. Top with shredded cheese.

9. Cover the dish or skillet with foil and place in the over for an additional 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted. If your cheese isn’t quite melted, removed the foil and bake for another 5 mintues.

9. Top with cilantro, parsley or chives and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


Yield: 6 Servings