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The Recipe Card: September 2015

We talked to clients from Irvington, IL to get their favorite recipes for some of the produce items we distributed that day.

With produce items like potatoes, onions, bananas, apples, and watermelons there was no shortage of inspiration! Now that it’s starting to feel like Autumn, it’s the perfect time of year for a warm Potato Cheese Casserole or Apple French Toast.
What are some of your favorite recipes for the Fall months?


Potato Cheese Casserole


1 Onion, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

3-4 potatoes, chopped

½ bar of velveeta cheese

Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Layer vegetables and cheese in a casserole dish.
  3. Sprinkle top with salt and pepper to taste and top with a layer of cheese.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, until cheese is melted over top.


Apple French Toast


1-2 apples, sliced

½ cup white sugar

2 Tbs butter

6 slices bread

2 eggs

½ cup milk



  1. Preheat a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Whisk eggs and milk together in a bowl. Dip bread in egg mixture and cook both sides 1-2 minutes until toasted. Set bread aside.
  3. Melt butter in skillet, add sugar and stir until the sugar begins to melt.
  4. Add the apples, stir occasionally until the apples are tender and juices mix with the sugar mixture.
  5. Sprinkle toast with cinnamon and top with apple mixture. Serve warm.

Tammy and Mary’s Fruit Salad Bowl


1 whole watermelon

Assorted Fruit, sliced/balled/chopped


  1. Cut watermelon in half. Carve melon out of the rind, but save the rind to use as the bowl.
  2. Mix melon and fruits together and place in watermelon rind.

Easy Black Beans and Rice

For National Rice Month, we’re sharing an easy rice and black beans recipe.

This recipe is great for a side dish, and by adding a protein, it works well as a main dish, too. (Try it with chicken or sausage!) Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily modified- you can add your favorite vegetables or proteins to suit you and your family’s tastes.

What would you add to this recipe?

Easy Black Beans and Rice


  • 1 cup uncooked white rice (substitute with brown rice as a healthier option)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced (for added flavor you can use roasted red bell peppers)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 16-ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook rice according to package instructions. White rice usually takes 15 minutes to cook once the water is simmering, and 10 minutes to sit.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sauté onions and bell peppers for 3-4 minutes, until just beginning to soften, then add garlic and sauté a minute more. Add the black beans, vinegar and cayenne. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in rice and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Quick and Easy Chicken Salad

It’s National Chicken Month, and we’re celebrating with a classic favorite.

With only five ingredients, this makes for a fast, versatile chicken salad. Eat it on a sandwich, with crackers, or scoop it up with some celery.

What is your favorite chicken recipe?

Quick and Easy Chicken Salad


  • 3 cups cooked chicken breast, diced or shredded
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or almonds
  • 1/3 cup red grapes, cut in quarters
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well incorporated.

2. Serve immediately or refrigerate and enjoy later.


Find more easy recipes like this one on!

Happy Corn on the Cob Day!

National Corn on the Cob Day is Sunday, August 16.

We’re celebrating with a delicious and healthy corn salsa recipe. What are some of your favorite ways to use corn on the cob?

Zesty Corn Salsa


  • 2 large ears corn
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • Can of black beans
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeds slightly removed and diced
  • 1 serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  1. To grill corn (preferably over charcoal for best flavor), leave the husk on and grill it first until charred. Then remove the husk and strings and put it back on the grill for a little color – 2-3 minutes – rolling to heat all sides.
  2. Once grilled, slice corn off of the cob and add to bowl with remaining ingredients and stir.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt, pepper or lime juice for added flavor.
  4. Serve immediately. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days, but is best when fresh.

The Recipe Card: July 2015

Toward the end of July, we were in Pitsburg, IL, and Warrenton, MO, for Food Fairs.

We distributed produce like carrots, potatoes, apples, radishes, and watermelons. We hope the recipes we collected will be a good resource for the community.

Kay’s Homemade Applesauce


  • 7-10 Apples, peeled and cored
  • 3-4 TBS lemon juice
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ bag marshmallows
  • 1 cup water


Place all ingredients in a pot and cook until apples are tender. Add water if needed. Mash. 

Leonard’s Apple Crisps


  • 1 pkg of crescent roll dough
  • 3-4 apples peeled and chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1  tsp cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350°. Combine apples, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl. Place crescent roll dough flat on a baking sheet, fill with a spoonful of apple mixture, fold dough over top of apple filling (it’s ok if the apple filling shows). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden and crisp.


Texas Potatoes


  • 5-6 potatoes peeled (optional) and cubed
  • 1 pkg ranch seasoning
  • Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to 350°. Mix potato cubes with seasonings. Bake for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.

Radish Coleslaw


  • 4 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 10 radishes, shredded
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS malt vinegar
  • 1 cup mayonnaise


Combine cabbage, carrots, and radishes and mix well. Mix sugar, salt, vinegar, and mayonnaise until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour mayonnaise mixture over vegetables and toss thoroughly. Serve cold.


Have a good recipe to share? Looking for more ideas? Feel free to email your ideas to Maddie Smith, the Communications Coordinator at

The Recipe Card: June 2015

During our June Food Fairs in Potosi, MO, and Carlyle, IL, we distributed over 45,000 pounds of food, including fresh produce like cabbage, potatoes, carrots and corn.

As we were preparing the distribution line, we asked multiple clients their favorite ways to cook the produce they were getting that day. Our goal is to make it easier for families that receive bulk produce distribution to come up with new and creative ways of preparing the food for their families.


Joe’s Homemade “Hamburger Helper”


  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of celery soup
  • seasoning



Heat oil in a skillet and fry potatoes, onions, and hamburger meat together. Add the cream of mushroom and cream of celery to the skillet. Season to your liking using anything from salt and pepper to chili powder or garlic. Warm the mixture on the stove on low for 15 minutes.


Teresa’s Cole Slaw


  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 jar of mild banana peppers
  • 1 tomato
  • Italian salad dressing
  • Salt and pepper



Chop cabbage, banana peppers and tomato. Toss together with Italian dressing and add salt and pepper to taste.

Crockpot Corn


  • 3 lbs. corn
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese


Combine corn, butter, and cream cheese in a crock pot and allow to melt together for a warm, tasty dish.

Carrot Fries


  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • garlic salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375℉. Coat carrots in olive oil. Arrange on a baking pan and sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.

Struggling Families Pay It Forward

Sandra is battling breast cancer. But she is also battling hunger.

Last week, she skipped a chemotherapy treatment just so she could go to the Chester Area Christian Food Pantry to pick up the food she and her husband so desperately need.

And yet, Sandra doesn’t expect to take without giving back.


Sandra and her husband have a lush garden, so every time she comes to pick up food from the pantry, she brings in bags full of tomatoes and other vegetables.

She is just one of the many people in this small southern Illinois community who share what little they have with others in need.

Food pantry staff tell countless stories of families in need who bring in homegrown fruits and vegetables or handmade items, hoping to share their own bounties with other families in need.

Yesterday, at a food fair in Chester, Ill., Foodbank staff watched nearly 180 of these families in need wait patiently in line for hours for their share of food.


Some families lined up as early at 5 a.m., knowing the Foodbank truck wouldn’t arrive with food until after 10 a.m. They waited, in their cars, without complaint for nearly six hours.

This is a testament to how much these families truly need the food.

By 1 p.m., the nearly 20,000 pounds of food we delivered to Chester was gone, divided up amongst the families.

Every family I spoke with expressed gratitude for the food, and said without it, they would not have enough to eat.

They were also quick to tell me that when they get food from the pantry, if there is any extra or anything they can’t use, they share it with their neighbors in need.

Perhaps it is the common ground of hard times that motivates families in need to help one another. Or perhaps, they help each other when they can, simply because they want to pay it forward.

See some moving pictures from the Chester food fair here.

By Bethany Prange

Social Media Specialist

It’s My Turn to Give Back

When I was a kid, my family needed help and organizations like the Foodbank were there for us. Now it’s my turn to give back.

This past weekend, I participated in my second food fair with the St. Louis Area Foodbank.


This time, I donated my time on behalf of the Friends of the Foodbank, a new group of professionals committed to volunteering and representing the Foodbank at community events.

The Foodbank partnered with one of their partner agencies, a church in Washington, Mo., to provide almost 20,000 pounds of food to more than 130 families in need. Read more

Summertime Equals Fresh Produce, Even for Families in Need


Summertime means fresh fruits and veggies at local farmers markets, in your own garden, and even right here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

This week, the Foodbank held two food fairs – one-day food distributions to several hundred families in need.  At those events, we were lucky enough to give out tens of thousands of pounds of fresh produce.

Girl packing corn

On Wednesday, Foodbank drivers and staff delivered 26,215 pounds of food to Owensville, Mo.  Included in that food was an amazing 18,380 pounds of fresh produce!

More than 180 families in need received fresh-picked corn, watermelon, potatoes, cantaloupe, strawberries and onions.  A special thanks to Rep. Tom Hurst and the staff of Rep. Dave Schatz for helping volunteers hand out the food! See the photos on Facebook »

On Thursday, Foodbank staff visited Irvington, Ill., where we handed out more than 26,000 pounds of food to more than 170 families.

At the food fair in this small Illinois town, individuals struggling with hunger received carloads of canned goods, fresh corn, cantaloupe, onions, watermelon, cabbage and potatoes. Check out the photos on Facebook »

We are especially grateful to the volunteers and pantry staff who help us hand out food on these hot summer days.

We are also grateful to you – the donors – who provide the funds we need to be able to provide fresh produce to families in need!

Would you like to help provide more healthy food for our communities most vulnerable families. Donate now »

By Bethany Prange
Communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

Small Town Families Face Big Challenges


Volunteers load a vehicle with groceries at a recent Food Fair in Louisiana, Mo. / Photo by Bethany Prange

 When you think of small towns, it’s easy to picture the Americana image portrayed in good country songs.

Just take a drive through a rural farming town, and you’ll likely see the quaint downtown square, the little white church, and the barber shop where everybody knows your name.

What you won’t see – at least as a casual passerby – is the struggle that many small town families face. Just like their urban counterparts, rural families face issues like hunger and poverty.

While the “country image” may add a veil of old-world charm to the strife faced by rural families, it doesn’t make living in poverty any easier for the men, women and children who deal with it every day.

In Louisiana, Mo., a rural town with a population of almost 3,800 people, the reality of hunger and poverty is evident.

Like many small towns, Louisiana is far from an urban metropolis. While this is good for those wanting to live the country life, it can make getting every day necessities a challenge. Rural families rely on the assets of their own communities to get by.

So when the only grocery store in Louisiana closed recently, it left many families wondering how they’d be able to buy food. The nearest store is now 20 miles away, and for many, the extra gas needed to get there is not in the budget.

If a store closes in an urban community rich with dozens of places to buy groceries, it doesn’t necessarily make a huge impact. But in a small town where many families don’t even have access to a reliable car, the closing of the only store can mean the difference between having food and going hungry.

Another issue presented by rural living is a lack of social service agencies. In St. Louis, families in need literally have hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and programs to help them get through tough times.

In a rural community though, there may be only one food pantry in the entire county.

While we can’t solve the problems faced by rural families, the St. Louis Area Foodbank wants to help as much as possible. When we learned of the grocery store closing in Louisiana, we knew we had to provide families in need with some extra help.

This Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, we delivered more than 32,000 pounds of food to Louisiana, Mo. With the help of our partner agency there, Heart to Heart Community Outreach, we gave that food to almost 150 families in need.

Despite the chill in the air, families in need lined up hours ahead of time, waiting for their turn. Students from Louisiana High School helped load cars with potatoes, meat, bread and baby food.

In just three hours, all that food went to rural families who desperately need it.

Foodbank staff are glad we could provide some relief to this small town, even if our efforts can’t solve all the problems of rural life.

We hope another grocery store will consider opening in Louisiana soon.

Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank