Mac and Cheese BitesSweet Honey-Lime ChickenPressure-Cooker Spiced Short RibsCauliflower SaladSpinach Pasta with Roasted Broccoli & Bell PepperGarlic and Herb Grilled Sweet Potato FriesLow Sugar Cranberry Bread

Recipes for the New Year - Try New Foods!

We have a hodge-podge of recipe ideas for you this week. It’s a new year, try new foods.

If you have a favorite dish, that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Recipes, with photo (and a short story/history), if available, can be submitted to

Mac and Cheese Bites 


8 oz. elbow macaroni

2 T. salted butter

1/4 T. paprika (use smoked paprika if you have it)

2 T. flour

1/2 c. whole milk

8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese grated

Chopped chives or scallions for garnish

Butter for greasing the pan


Grease a nonstick mini muffin pan very well with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, then cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package says.

After pasta is cooked and drained, set aside. Heat empty pasta pot to medium. Melt the butter and add the paprika. Add the flour and stir the mixture around for 2 minutes. While whisking, add the milk. The mixture will be very thick. Be sure to stir out any lumps. Remove the pot from heat and add the cheeses and drained pasta, stirring it all together until the cheese and sauce are well distributed.

Portion your mac and cheese into the mini muffin cups, either with a spoon or a 3-tbsp cookie scoop. Pack the mac and cheese into the muffin cups with your fingers really well, so they’ll hold their shape and won’t fall apart when you take them out after baking.

Bake the mac and cheese mini cups for 15 minutes, until bubbling and gooey. Remove them to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes, then carefully run a plastic knife or toothpick around the edges to loosen. Remove the mac and cheese cups from the pan and garnish with chopped chives or scallion greens.  24 bite-size servings.


Sweet Honey-Lime Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 oz. each)

1 c. white wine

1/2 c. honey

2 T. lime juice

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

Hot cooked couscous, opt.


Place chicken in a large resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl, whisk wine, honey, lime juice and ginger; add to chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate 2 hours, turning once.

Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 5-6 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°F. If desired, serve with couscous. 4 servings.


Pressure-Cooker Spiced Short Ribs


1 T. olive oil

6 lbs. bone-in beef short ribs

2 T. butter

1 medium leek (white portion only), finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 c. chicken stock

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

2 T. ground mustard

2 T. red wine vinegar

2 T. Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. celery salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. pepper


Select sauté or browning setting on a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Adjust for medium heat; add oil. When oil is hot, brown ribs in batches; set aside.

Add butter to pressure cooker. When melted, cook and stir leek until tender, 2-3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Add stock to pressure cooker. Cook 1 minute, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Press cancel.

In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; spread over ribs. Return ribs to pressure cooker. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. 12 servings.


Cauliflower Salad


4 c. sliced cauliflower florets

1 c. sliced stuffed olives

1/2 c. chopped green peppers

1/2 c. chopped onions

1/2 c. chopped celery



1/2 c. salad oil

3 T. lemon juice (Real Lemon)

3 T. wine vinegar

1 tsp. salt

3 T. sugar

1/4 tsp. pepper


Combine first five ingredients in large bowl. In separate bowl, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Pour over vegetables.

Chill at least four hours, stirring a few times.

Can be made a couple of days in advance.


Spinach Pasta with Roasted Broccoli & Bell Pepper

Roasted vegetables


1 lg. bunch of broccolis (about 1-1/2 lbs.), florets removed and sliced into bite-sized pcs.

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1” squares

1 T. olive oil



Spinach pasta

8 oz. whole wheat linguine or spaghetti

2 T. olive oil

1 shallot bulb, sliced very thin (about 1/2 c., sliced)

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

12 oz. baby spinach

2 T. balsamic vinegar

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. butter or olive oil

Optional: 1 oz. finely grated Parmesan cheese* (about 3/4 c., grated), plus extra for garnishing

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


To prepare the roasted vegetables (optional, skip for a simpler spinach pasta): Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Transfer the sliced broccoli florets and bell pepper to the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and toss until the vegetables are lightly coated in oil (add a little more olive oil if necessary). Sprinkle with salt, arrange the vegetables in an even layer and bake until the broccoli is tender and caramelized on the edges, tossing halfway, about 25 minutes.

Once the vegetables are in the oven, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta just until al dente, according to package directions. Before draining, carefully reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain and return the pasta to the pot.

To prepare the balsamic spinach, in a large Dutch oven or large sauté pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering (glistens and ripples-hot but not too hot). Add the sliced shallot, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot is translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. While stirring constantly, add several big handfuls of spinach at a time until they have wilted, then repeat until all of the spinach is in the pot. Once the spinach has reduced a bit but is still bright green in parts (this happens quickly!), pour in the balsamic vinegar and remove the pot from heat.

In your Dutch oven or in a large serving bowl, combine the roasted vegetables and cooked pasta with the spinach mixture. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil and optional Parmesan. Drizzle in about 1/3 cup reserved pasta cooking water and gently toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Divide into bowls and serve immediately, with extra grated Parmesan on top for bonus presentation points. 4-6 servings.


Garlic and Herb Grilled Sweet Potato Fries


6 large sweet potatoes


5 T. olive oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/4 tsp. red chili flakes

2 T. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Place the potatoes in a large pot of cold water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and cook until potatoes are tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.

Heat the grill to high.

While the potatoes are cooling, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a small sauté pan on the grates of the grill. Add the garlic, thyme and chili flakes and cook until the garlic is just soft, about 45 seconds. Remove from the heat.

Slice each potato in half lengthwise then slice each half into 3 or 4 wedges, depending on the size. Brush the wedges with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and season with salt. Grill until lightly golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Remove to a platter and immediately toss with the garlic mixture and chopped parsley. 6 servings.


Low Sugar Cranberry Bread


A lower sugar cranberry bread recipe that is easy to make.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins

Servings: 1 loaf


2 c. flour (Stone ground, whole wheat flour was used)

1 c. sugar alternative, equivalent to sugar

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1-1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 c. orange juice or alternative (used orange flavored Vitamin Zero Water®)

3 T. butter softened

1 egg

1-1/2 c. chopped cranberries

Optional items: 1 T. grated orange peel or 1 tsp. zest, 1 c. raisins or similar fruit, and/or 3/4 c. chopped nuts


Preheat your oven to 350 and prep a loaf pan for nonstick.

In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add the orange juice (or alternative), butter and egg to the mixing bowl and continue to mix. If using zest or peel, add it in this step.

Fold in the cranberries and any additional fruit or nuts.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool on a wire rack.


Quote of the Week:

“Resilience is a precious skill. People who have it tend to have three underlying advantages: a belief that they can influence life events; a tendency to find meaningful purpose in life’s turmoil; and a conviction that they can learn from both positive and negative experiences.”

~ Amanda Ripley



The Drummer and The Wright County Journal Press

PO Box 159
108 Central Ave.
Buffalo MN 55313

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