By Kristen Cervantes-Rodgers
Special to the Chief
A self-taught cook who enjoys getting creative in the kitchen, Jenifer Cool had a lot of motivation to learn how to cook.
As a teenage mom learning to fend for herself and her child, discovering how to prepare food for herself and her family was a necessity that developed into a hobby. She even started selling Pampered Chef products recently.
Her kids love eating her foodâ€”her daughterâ€™s favorite is chicken alfredo, while her son prefers pizza or Mac Nâ€™ Cheese.
When sheâ€™s feeling creative, Jenifer likes to make Mini Pear Brie Bites or Bistro Egg sandwiches. She draws inspiration from cookbooks, cooking magazines, the internetâ€”just about anywhere she can find it.
Like every good cook, Jenifer has her share of cooking disaster stories. She remembers turning a frozen pizza into a burnt black frisbee, exploding a baked potato all over the interior of her microwave, and setting her hair on fire while lighting a gas stovetop.
When asked about her favorite foods, Jenifer admitted that she considers herself a breadaholic. Jeniferâ€™s favorite place to eat is the Swanini Thai Restaurant in Kearney, and the Venue, which serves a little bit of everything.
To get a hold of Jenifer regarding Pampered Chef products, contact Barb at the Prairie Grounds coffeeshop.
Mini Pear Brie Bites
1 - can (8 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1-can (8 oz) Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
1 - pear, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 - tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/8 - teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne), if desired
1 - tablespoon honey
1 - round (8 oz) Brie cheese, rind removed, cut into 24 (1/2 inch) chunks
1/3 - cup finely chopped pecans
Heat oven to 375Ëš. Grease or spray 24 mini muffin cups.
If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough; cut into two long rectangles; firmly press perforations to seal.
If using dough sheet: Unroll dough; cut into two long rectangles.
Cut each rectangle into six rows by two rows to make 12 squares, for a total of 24 squares. Gently press squares into mini muffin cups (dough will not completely cover inside of cup; do not press too much).
In small bowl, mix pear, brown sugar, red pepper and honey. Place one cheese chunk in each cup. Top with 1 heaping teaspoon pear mixture. Sprinkle with pecans.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes.
Honey Oatmeal Cookies
1 - cup honey
1 - egg
3/4 - cup butter
1 - teaspoon vanilla extract
3 - cups quick oats
1 1/2 - cups whole wheat flour
1/2 - teaspoon baking soda
1/2 - teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 - teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 - teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 - cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 325Ëš. Beat together shortening, honey, egg, water, and vanilla until creamy. Add combined remaining ingredients; mix well.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350Ëš for 14 to 17 minutes.
1 - box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
2 - tablespoons pure vegetable oil
1/2 - teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 - medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 - cup cooked real bacon pieces
1 - cup chopped cooked chicken
1 - box (9 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
1 - container (8 oz) sour cream
1/4 - teaspoon salt
1/4 - teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 - teaspoon pepper
2 - cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 1/2 - cups shredded Asiago cheese (6 oz)
3 - eggs
1/2 - cup whipping (heavy) cream
Heat oven to 375Â°F. Unroll pie crust and press firmly against bottom and side of 9-inch regular or 9 1/2-inch deep glass pie plate; flute edge as desired. Prick bottom of crust several times with fork. Bake 10 minutes; cool.
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Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender. Reduce heat. Stir in bacon, chicken and spinach; toss to combine. Remove from heat; transfer mixture to large bowl.
Stir sour cream, salt, garlic powder and pepper into spinach mixture until well blended. Stir in cheeses.
In small bowl, beat eggs and whipping cream with fork or wire whisk until well blended. Gently fold into spinach mixture until well blended. Pour filling into pie crust.
Bake 15 minutes. Cover crust edge with strips of foil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until center is set and edge of crust is golden brown. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.