Rice Bowl recipes connect us with our global family

Janet Dusek, administrative assistant for the Office of Marriage and Family, and Sheila Reineke, Natural Family Planning program coordinator for the diocese, enjoyed the lunch — which included two Rice Bowl soups — at the retreat.

Yesterday diocesan employees gathered for our second all-staff retreat centered on StrengthsFinder, a program that we’ve been using to learn more about our own strengths and those of our co-workers and to assist all of us in exploring how we can best minister together as a team. Leisa Anslinger, a national leader in StrengthsFinder work, parish engagement and stewardship, led the retreat. We had a great day with team building activities, collaboration, self-reflection and prayer.

Iraqui lablabi (chickpea soup) and Haitian vegetable stew were on the menu at the February 21 Lenten retreat for diocesan employees.

Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl played an important role in our day, too. Two of this year’s meatless Rice Bowl recipes were featured at lunchtime — vegetable stew from Haiti and chickpea soup from Iraq. Both soups received good reviews from those who attended the retreat!

CRS Rice Bowl is a Lenten program sponsored by Catholic Relief Services that helps parishes, schools and families learn more about its work around the world and the people it serves. Participants are urged to put the money they save from eating simple, meatless meals into a symbolic “rice bowl” to be donated to CRS. Perhaps you have saved the Rice Bowl pullout section from our February 9 issue or have viewed the section online. This year’s theme is “Who is my neighbor? Called to be companions on the journey.”

Kateri Mancini, who has recently been named the new director of social concerns for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud, coordinated the preparation of the Rice Bowl dishes with staff of The Visitor. Kateri has worked as the coordinator of mission education at the St. Cloud Mission Office for the last 12 years. (The Mass collection taken at the event was earmarked for Rice Bowl.)

This year Rice Bowl offers recipes for cheese soup with fritters from Nicaragua, bean cakes from Burkina Faso and vegetables with rice from Malawi in addition to the Haitian stew and chickpea soup.

Perhaps you remember a Rice Bowl recipe you’ve enjoyed from past years or would like to explore other meatless options during Lent — or any other time. Recipes from 2013 to the present are featured on their website. One that I want to try soon is the bean soup with squash and rice from Honduras. It is a Rice Bowl favorite of our editor, Joe Towalski and his wife, Dianne, Visitor multimedia reporter and graphic designer.

Here’s the recipe for the Honduran bean soup with squash and rice. I hear it’s delicious!


Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”




Candy cane coffee cakes create custom of giving

Janet Dusek (left) and her mom, Marilyn Muellner, pose with the well-worn “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook” from 1971.

Janet Dusek’s mother, Marilyn Muellner, has always had a knack for making the Christmas season special for her family. As long as Janet can remember, her mom lovingly decorated their home and tree with angels and other treasured ornaments, baked cookies of all kinds and one year sewed each of her children special stockings that they cherish to this day.

A holiday tradition that warms Janet Dusek’s heart is baking Candy Cane Coffee Cakes with her mother, and her sister, Jill Muellner. Marilyn has been creating the festive sweet breads since Janet was in elementary school.

Jill Muellner, Janet’s sister, kneads the dough for the coffee cakes.

“I really have fond memories of these coffee cakes,” Janet said. “They are rich and full of fruit — and also encourage the act of giving. The recipe makes three beautiful cakes. Our family tradition was (and still is) to keep one and give the other two away. Making these cakes is time-consuming as there are several steps in the process and the dough has to rise for about an hour. But, I love that as it allows us to spend more time together and we can use the time to drink coffee and catch up with each other.

“My assignment this year was to chop the sticky fruits,” Janet added. “Jill kneaded the dough and, after all these years, Mom is a master at braiding it.”

Candy Cane Coffee Cakes
Submitted by Janet Dusek

Coffee Cake:
2 cups sour cream
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115°F)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
About 6 cups flour
1 1/2 cups finely chopped dried apricots
1 1/2 cups drained, finely chopped maraschino cherries

Extra soft butter or margarine

Thin Icing:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp. water

Heat sour cream over low heat just until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, sugar, salt, eggs, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough of remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto well-floured board; knead until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375° F. Punch down dough; divide into 3 extra parts. Roll each part into 15×6-inch rectangle; place on greased baking sheet. With scissors, make 2-inch cuts at 1/2-inch intervals on long sides of rectangles.

Two of the braided candy cane cakes are ready for the oven.

Combine apricots and cherries; spread 1/3 of mixture down center of each rectangle. Crisscross strips over filling. Stretch dough to 22 inches. Curve to form cane. Bake the cakes at 375°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Create icing by blending confectioner’s sugar and water. If icing is too stiff, stir in a few drops of water.

While coffee cakes are warm, brush with butter and drizzle canes with the thin icing. If desired, decorate with cherry halves or pieces.

Yield: 3 coffee cakes

Notes from Janet: Mom always uses butter for this recipe. The original recipe is from the 1971 edition of “Betty Crocker’s Cookbook.”

A note from Carol: Janet Dusek is the administrative assistant for the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family. She and her husband, Rod, and their children, Katie and Andrew, are members of St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. Marilyn is a member of St. Joseph Parish in Grey Eagle. (Katie took the pictures for this blog post.)

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Gingersnaps — time-honored cookies baked with spices and love

One of the first Christmas cookies, gingerbread has been around for centuries. The dough for this traditional, spiced treat is generally rolled out and cut into holiday-related shapes. Gingerbread men and dwellings — from simple cottages to elaborate castles — abound this time of year. Gingersnaps are a variation of this historic confection.

Today Mary Beth Hanson shares one of her family’s favorite Christmas cookie recipes — Dipped Gingersnap Cookies. She discovered the recipe in 1997 in a “Taste of Home” magazine and has been making them ever since. When she first started making these cookies for her then high-school-aged sons and their friends, she couldn’t keep enough on hand — the boys really liked them and were able to find these classic treats in all the locations where she “hid” them.

“For me, baking is equated with love,” Mary Beth said. “I’ve always enjoyed baking and cookies are my favorites. They make people happy, make the house smell good and are truly something I love to give to others.”

Dipped Gingersnap Cookies
submitted by
Mary Beth Hanson

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup molasses
4 cups flour
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
Additional sugar (for rolling cookies)
10 oz. pkg. Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melting Wafers

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a mixing bowl, combine sugar and oil; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in molasses.  

Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake cookies at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookie springs back when lightly touched. Remove them to wire racks to cool.

Melt the white chocolate wafers according to the directions on the package. Dip the cooled cookies halfway into the melted white chocolate and shake off the excess. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheets to harden.

Yield: About 14 dozen

Notes from Mary Beth:
Temperatures seem to vary from one oven to another. I had to adjust mine to a little cooler temperature for baking this recipe. My family prefers these cookies to be soft and chewy. Consider slightly under-baking them as they continue to bake a bit when removed from the oven. I bake them until they crackle on top.

I dip the cookies halfway in the white chocolate, as noted in the recipe, and sprinkle some with decorative sugar before they cool. (White chocolate baking chips or almond bark also work well for dipping.)

A note from Carol:
Mary Beth Hanson has been married to Curt Hanson, the diocesan director of stewardship and development, for 40 years. They are members of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Little Falls, Minnesota.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”


Pumpkin, spice and everything nice

Pumpkin shells have been used to cook or serve just about everything from soup to nuts. Trendy and creative ideas abound employing every size, color and shape of this edible gourd.

Wendy Gessell, who recently shared her Raspberry Ribbon Pie recipe, has been making a comforting mushroom, rice and sausage hotdish in a pumpkin shell for over 10 years. Wendy’s recipe has a nostalgic feel to it — like a casserole one might have sampled at grandma’s table back in the ‘60s. Her browning paper copy is typed on two half-sheets of paper, perhaps from a church cookbook published back in the day. This charming Pumpkin Shell Dinner recipe and quaint, personal notes are those of Mrs. Clayton Anderson.

Pumpkin Shell Dinner

1 (12-14 in.) pumpkin (prepared as directed below*)
1 lb. bulk sausage, cooked and drained
1 c. brown, wild or white rice (or a mixture), cooked
1 (10 1/2 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 (4 oz.) can mushrooms; those in butter sauce are good
Celery and onion, chopped as desired
Butter, salt and pepper, brown sugar

Brown the sausage in a large sauté pan. Mix sausage with rice, soup, mushrooms and cooked celery and onions. Spoon this mixture into the prepared pumpkin shell. Put pumpkin shell “lid” in place. Set in a large shallow baking pan, add 2 cups water to the pan and bake at 350°F for 2 hours. Serves 4-6.


* Choose a small (not more than 12-14 inches in diameter) pumpkin that will sit evenly in a pan. Cut a fairly large lid from the top. Scoop out the seeds and stringy portions and wash the pumpkin inside and out.

To serve, it is best to carry the whole, baked pumpkin to the table on a platter and have one person serve it. Spoon out the sausage and rice mixture and then cut squares of pumpkin from the opening to serve alongside. Have butter, salt, pepper and a small bowl of brown sugar on the table to season the pumpkin squares.

If any of the pumpkin shell is left, you can peel it, scrape away the remaining food, mash it and use as canned pumpkin. A pumpkin shell dinner retains heat well. Because the pumpkin shell “lid” keeps the steam inside, some moisture may accumulate. Mixtures that are not watery should be used. Foods with rice and noodles will absorb this mixture, but removing the cover the last 30 minutes of cooking will solve the problem.

A note from Wendy:

I try to make this recipe at least once a year and prefer one-half pound ground beef and one-half pound pork sausage and a mixture of one cup cooked wild rice and one cup cooked brown rice. I use two four-ounce cans of mushrooms but have never seen the ones in butter sauce that Mrs. Anderson proposed. Of course, fresh sliced mushrooms could be sautéed, as well. I suggest sautéing three stalks celery and one medium onion. I put a bottle of soy sauce on the table when I serve this hotdish — it seems to be a tasty addition.

A note from Carol: It’s Thanksgiving Day tomorrow. I feel blessed — and ever so grateful — for many wonderful people, experiences and things in my life. I hope you do, too.

If you are making one last trip to the grocery store perhaps you will consider picking up a pumpkin to fill with Wendy’s hotdish or a creation of your own. I think it’s an innovative, enticing way to serve just about anything this time of year.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Taste autumn’s bliss in this raspberry ribbon pie

I love raspberries! And, it brings me joy to be able to pick the deep-red gems in my own backyard. I try to pick the precious little jewels almost daily during the growing season and choose only those that are fully ripe and delightfully sweet. Of course that puts me in competition with bees, birds and Asian lady beetles that prefer their raspberries plump and juicy, too. That’s OK — I don’t mind sharing a few with them. Mother Nature makes sure that there is an abundant harvest.

I have been raising the Autumn Bliss variety since 2009 and can vouch that this fall-fruiting plant lives up to its enchanting name. The canes start bearing large, delicious raspberries in August and continue until Jack Frost pays us a visit.

Recently, Wendy Gessell, who works in the Office of Marriage and Family at the Pastoral Center, baked a scrumptious dessert with some of the Autumn Bliss berries she and her husband, Steve, grow. I can only say that sampling Wendy’s Raspberry Ribbon Pie took me straight to “pie paradise”!

Raspberry Ribbon Pie



1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. vegetable shortening
2 1/2 tbsp. very cold water


1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla instant pudding mix
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
Dash of salt


4 cups raspberries, divided
1 cup water, divided
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp. cornstarch


Preheat oven to 475°F.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the water until the mixture the forms a ball. Roll the dough on a floured surface and fit into a nine-inch pie pan. Flute the edges as desired. Prick bottom and side of pastry thoroughly with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown — cool on wire rack.


In a large bowl, whip the cream and add the vanilla pudding mix. In a second bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and salt until smooth. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream. Spread half into pie shell. Chill for 30 minutes.


Set one cup of raspberries aside and crush the other three cups. Put the crushed raspberries and 2/3 cup water into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until raspberries are soft. Mix together the sugar, cornstarch and remaining water and add to the raspberry filling. Cook until this glaze thickens. Cool to room temperature.

Carefully spoon half of the glaze mixture over the cream cheese layer. Chill until set — about 30 minutes. Set aside the other half of the glaze mixture, keeping it at room temperature.

Spread the last of the cream cheese mixture over top of pie, taking care not to disturb the glaze layer beneath it. Chill for 30 minutes. Top with the rest of the glaze. Gently place each of the remaining raspberries over the top of the pie. Chill until firm.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Notes from Wendy:

  • I found the original recipe for this tasty treat in a “Taste of Home” magazine several years ago and have been tweaking it ever since.
  • The piecrust recipe is one I have used for several years — it almost never fails. (Double it to make crusts for two pies.)
  • I prefer to use butter-flavored Crisco® in my piecrusts.
  • Occasionally, I have made this pie without the cream cheese layer. When I prepare it that way, adding a dollop of real whipped cream or ice cream takes it “over the top.”
  • I use this recipe for strawberry pie, too. It’s equally delicious. We’ve raised our own Honeoye strawberries for years — it’s a dessert we look forward to in June when the berries start appearing.

A note from Carol:

Wendy’s husband, Steve Gessell, is the maintenance worker for properties of the St. Cloud Diocese. Brilliant when it comes to growing just about anything, he formerly worked (for 10 seasons) as the rose gardener at the spectacular Clemens Rose Garden in St. Cloud. Steve spent 16 years developing the Honeybelle Honeysuckle Vine, which was introduced to the market in 2009. He’s the one who recommended the Autumn Bliss raspberries to me. (Thanks, Steve!). The Gessells are members of St. Mary’s Cathedral.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”




What’s more fun than State Fair fare?

The 187,066 people who attended the Minnesota State Fair on Friday, Sept. 1, set a record for ninth-day attendance. They also consumed a colossal amount of food — from wacky concoctions you never dreamed could be deep-fried and served up on a stick to healthier dietician-approved options — and everything in between.

With a nod to the “Great Minnesota Get-Together,” those of us who were at work in the diocese that day enjoyed sampling goodies at our “Potluck on a Stick.” The brainchild of Bailey Ziegler, diocesan director of human resources, and Kristi Anderson, multimedia reporter at The Visitor, the event was loads of fun and we didn’t have to wait in line or battle huge crowds to relish the tasty food.

The table decorations were gigantic “blue ribbon” vegetables with fictitious notes about our co-workers “who grew them.” There was even a pie-baking contest to round out the occasion.

Kevin Powers, the new superintendent of Catholic Community Schools, snapped this photo of Bishop Donald Kettler savoring candied bacon at the Sept. 1 diocesan Potluck on a Stick.

Teriyaki chicken on a stick. Candied bacon on a stick. Mini-corn dogs on a stick. Fruit and veggies on sticks. Three flavors of DQ Dilly Bars — on sticks, of course. Grilled corn-on-the-cob, hamburgers and brats, BBQ meatballs, crazy cake, lemonade, pop — and more!

Jill Lieser, Catholic Foundation administrative assistant, shares tips for creating her enticing candied bacon on stick.

Candied Bacon on a Stick

  • Use any amount of bacon that you wish. Make sure it is a thicker cut of bacon.
  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Line a low flat pan with parchment paper and also spray it with cooking spray.
  • Using either a full piece or half piece of bacon, place bacon on skewer. (Envision ribbon candy.)
  • Stretch the bacon back to (sort of) lie flat on skewer and place it on the pan.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over the bacon and pat it down just a bit. (Amount is to your liking.)
  • Drizzle with maple syrup. (Amount, once again, is to your liking.)
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bacon is completely cooked but not crispy. (The sugar and syrup should have created light caramel syrup.)
  • This treat is best served at room temperature. If you must store it in fridge, make sure the bacon pieces are in an airtight container.
Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”




Energy bites and a happy marriage

Recipe for a Happy Marriage

4 cups of love
2 cups of loyalty
2 1/2 cups of laughter
3 cups of forgiveness
1 cup of friendship
5 heaping spoons of hope
2 spoons of tenderness
3 1/2 spoons of compassion
4 quarts of faith

Blend love, loyalty and laughter. Stir in forgiveness, friendship and hope. Add tenderness and compassion. Mix thoroughly with faith. Garnish with hugs and kisses, kindness, understanding and a pinch or two of patience.

There are zero calories in this marriage medley but a generous serving provides a limitless amount of energy!

Bailey Walter’s “No-Bake Energy Bites” can boost one’s endurance, too.

Bailey and Jason

Bailey, director of Human Resources for the St. Cloud Diocese, will wed Jason Ziegler this Saturday at St. John’s Abbey and University Church in Collegeville. He works at St. John’s Abbey in the Marketing and Communications and Vocations offices.

“I make these frequently when Jason and I are traveling or doing something outdoors — they’re perfect for a day on the lake or hiking through the woods,” she said. “And, anybody can create them very quickly, which is what I like in a recipe! They’re really easy and tasty and healthy, too.”

No-Bake Energy Bites

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Thoroughly mix all ingredients together in a medium-size bowl and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour.

Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (I usually make them about the size for two bites!)

Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Yield: About 20 “two-bite-sized” balls.

Notes from Bailey:

  • I recommend creamy peanut butter for this recipe. I usually use a natural one with no added sugar or salt.
  • When I don’t have ground flaxseed on hand, I just leave it out.
  • 1 cup shredded coconut can also be added.
  • Maple syrup or agave can be substituted for the honey.
  • Raisins can be substituted for the chocolate chips, if you wish.
  • I found this recipe at http://www.isthisreallymylife.com/2013/03/pinterest-no-bake-energy-bites/.
Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”

Cookies bring the story of Jesus to life

It’s easy for children to associate Easter treats with chocolate bunnies, jellybeans and brightly colored hard-boiled eggs. But, resurrection cookies turn a simple morsel of meringue into a powerful teaching tool by blending verses from Scripture with the five ingredients throughout the preparation phase. While these tidbits can be made at any time, the process coincides ideally with the Easter story if they are made during the evening of Holy Saturday.

Resurrection Cookies

1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar

Zipper baggie
Wooden spoon
Holy Bible

Preheat oven to 300° F.

Place the pecans in the zipper baggie and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. (Explain that after Jesus was arrested the Roman soldiers beat him. Read John 19:1-3.

Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl. (Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given common wine, sometimes translated as vinegar, to drink.) Read John 19:28-30.

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. (Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life.) Read John 10:10-11.

Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. (Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sin.) Read Luke 23:27.

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. (Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us, he wants us to know that and he wants us to love him as well.) Read John 3:16.

Beat ingredients with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. (Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.) Read Isaiah 1:18 and 1 John 3:1-3.

Fold in the broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet. (Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid.) Read Matthew 27:57-60.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. (Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed.) Read Matthew 27:65-66.

At bedtime, discuss with the children that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. (Explain that Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed.) Read John 16:20 and 22.

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! (On Resurrection morning, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty.) Read Matthew 28:1-9.


Rejoice. The Lord Jesus has risen! He is alive!

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”



St. Paddy’s Corned Beef Reuben Spread

Faith and Begorrah! If you love Reuben sandwiches, you are going to thank your lucky stars for this easy recipe!

My longtime favorite Corned Beef Reuben spread came to mind when I read that Bishop Donald Kettler granted a St. Patrick’s Day dispensation from the Lenten Friday obligation to abstain from eating meat because the Irish saint’s feast day — March 17 — falls on a Friday this year.

Usually I serve this warm, appetizing concoction with slices of old-fashioned dark pumpernickel or cocktail rye but it is also a delectable dip for crackers or chips. If you are into the “wearing of the green,” top with fresh, finely chopped shamrocks. (No, just kidding.)

It is delicious when prepared grilled cheese sandwich-style between two pieces of buttered pumpernickel or seeded rye. I’ve tried the cold leftovers spread on a tortilla, rolled up and sliced for pinwheel appetizers — refrigerating them rolled up in waxed paper or plastic wrap for a few hours or overnight makes for easier cutting.

I think the mixture would be great on top of a toasted everything bagel or baked potato. It could become a pierogi or lasagna filling, stuffing for a savory puff pastry or deep-fried in an egg roll. I haven’t tried preparing a Rachel version with pastrami or deli turkey but believe either of those would be “top of the morning, afternoon or evening” tasty, as well.

Dreaming of the possibilities for enjoying it could be nearly as much fun as finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow or having three wishes granted by a leprechaun!

St. Paddy’s Corned Beef Reuben Spread
By Carol O’Jessen-Klixbull
(Who doesn’t love being Irish for a day?)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweet Bavarian style sauerkraut with caraway seeds (do not drain)
3/4 pound corned beef (sliced at deli)
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup Thousand Island dressing
1 (4 oz.) jar horseradish sauce

Combine the softened cream cheese with the sauerkraut. Rough chop the corn beef and add it with the Swiss cheese. Stir in the dressing and horseradish sauce.

Spoon mixture into either a slow cooker or a casserole (grease container with non-stick cooking spray.) For slow cooker, cover and cook on high for 45 minutes or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted. For casserole, bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 35 to 45 minutes or until mixture is hot and cheese is melted.

Serve with dark pumpernickel or rye bread, crackers or pretzel chips.

Yield: 6 cups

A note from Carol:

According to canon law, when feast days fall on Fridays during Lent (as is the case this year with St. Patrick’s Day), the local bishop can make the decision to grant a dispensation so that Catholics can fully participate in the celebration. As I mentioned earlier, this year Bishop Kettler granted a dispensation for the people of the Diocese of St. Cloud. 

I also want to share that Catholic Relief Services Rice Bowl recipes are not only interesting to try during Lent but are a good reminder for us that many throughout the world are challenged by hunger and poverty. The program focuses on a different country for each week of Lent — providing stories, prayers and information to help us connect with some of those who are most in need, as the money saved from preparing these simple meals can be donated to this special Lenten program. The Visitor has featured Rice Bowl recipes from India, Zambia and El Salvador so far this year.

Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”


Bishop Kettler shares mother’s recipe in honor of Crêpe Day, February 2

February 2 is the Christian holiday of Candlemas, called “la Chandeleur” in France. It is also “le Jour des Crêpes” (the Day of the Crêpes) in this European country known for good food and wine.

Crêpes — both savory and sweet — will be created in home kitchens and quaint little “crêperies” all over France to celebrate this special day.

St. Cloud’s Bishop Donald Kettler

Recipes abound for these scrumptious super-thin pancakes but the one that his French mother, Marguerite, followed stirs up special memories for Bishop Donald Kettler, ordinary of the St. Cloud Diocese. The options for filling them are endless though his family especially enjoyed them served with butter and syrup or sugar (or sometimes fruit) for breakfast.



(Submitted by Bishop Donald Kettler)

4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tbsp. butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

In large bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Heat a medium-sized skillet or crêpe pan over medium heat. Grease the pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. Using a serving spoon or small ladle, spoon about 3 tablespoons crêpe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that the bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

A note at the bottom of Marguerite’s recipe advises, “You might add a couple more eggs.”


Marguerite (Raiche) Kettler passed away at the age of 100 on October 13, 2013.


Carol Jessen-Klixbull is a copy editor at The Visitor. She is a former Family and Consumer Science teacher who has a passion for all things “food.”