Young cooks see a need, fill it
By Betty Street
Becky Maciejewski of Timber Lake and her friend Megan Bickel of Isabel observed that if people don’t belong to a church, they don’t have anyone to help with organizing a meal after a funeral except for family members. And it’s the same with a wedding: nobody to help but relatives. So these young stay-at-home moms decided to create a two-person catering firm to see if they could fill a niche in West River South Dakota.
Last October they hit the ground running and they haven’t looked back.
Becky said, “It’s a learning project on a per-plate feasibility for everybody. We kind of found that people have had to miss out on their event by being in the kitchen. We do it so it just gets done so one has to be in the kitchen and has to miss out.”
The women would like to expand the standard menu of beef sandwiches served with baked beans, chips, two salads, dessert, coffee and punch. They want to include other beef main dish choices and perhaps chicken as a main dish option. Maybe other choices in the future.
Becky and Megan have different specialty interests in their catering business. Becky prefers cooking desserts like bars and cookies or individual desserts. She likes using recipes with precise measurements.
Megan, meanwhile, enjoys working on main dishes and hearty meals where spice measurements are often made in the palm of her hand, and liquids are measured by the glug. Together they create an entire meal or event; hence the name of their catering company, Complements.
The night before an event, each woman prepares as much of her own share of the menu in her own kitchen as she can. Then the day of the event, all the food is assembled at the occasion destination.
Their first event was a wedding with 300 people, and this is also where their worst cooking mishap occurred. The wedding was to begin at 5 p.m. The pair arrived at 10 a.m. with plenty of time to get set up, start the coffee, and take care of other preliminaries.
Except the percolator did not work. There were two percolators already on the premises, they chose the wrong one and did not know how to handle it …, and there was no coffee. Imagine, a South Dakota wedding with no coffee!
So Becky went across the street to borrow her husband’s grandma’s Bunn coffeemaker. Unfortunately, she did not exactly know how to run it, because soon the Bunn “was spewing cold coffee all over and the big one didn’t perk. But someone who knew how came in and got it working.”
“Moral of the story,” said Megan, “buy your own coffeemaker! And we did.”
Megan and Becky both have two young children. Megan, married to rancher Edward J. Bickel, lives in Isabel. She’s originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, and met John during a semester of travel in Europe from St. Cloud College. Their sons are Mason, 4 years old, and Baylor, 17 months.
Becky’s husband is John and he’s a rancher just outside of Timber Lake. Their two children are daughter Meredith, age 6, and son Preston, age 3.
When the moms are catering events, the dads and grandparents can be counted on to babysit the kids.
The women have catered groups as small as 30 people and are willing to go as far as 60 miles away, meaning Mobridge. This includes graduation celebrations, groom suppers, bull sales, reunions, bridal or engagement celebrations, or any event that needs a meal served.
In Megan’s spare time, she’d like to do more traveling. Although she’s been to about seven European countries, she’d love to visit more countries and stay longer. She also loves to cook.
Becky enjoys reading, photography, baking, and antiquing. She also does freelance interior design with her Bachelor of Arts degree from North Dakota State University. She and John together designed their home’s floor plan.
Very friendly, talented and reliable, these young women would make anybody’s celebration go off without a hitch.
Megan Bickel’s Recipes
Philly Steak and Cheese Stuffed Green Peppers
8 oz. thinly sliced roast beef
8 Slices Provolone cheese
2 large green bell peppers
1 medium sweet onion
6 oz. baby bella mushrooms
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds. Slice onions and mushrooms. Sauté over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper. Sauté until onions and mushroom are nice and caramelized, about 25-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture. Allow to cook 5-10 minutes. Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese. Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing.
Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown. Serve and Enjoy!
Roasted Green Beans
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1½ Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner, which is what I did.) While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.) Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.
Put cut beans and mushrooms into a Ziploc bag or plastic bowl. Whisk together olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pour over, then squeeze bag or stir so all the beans and mushrooms are lightly coated with the mixture. Arrange on large cookie sheet, spreading them out well so beans and mushrooms are not crowded. Roast 20-30 minutes, starting to check for doneness after 20 minutes. Cook until beans are tender-crisp, mushrooms are cooked, and all liquid on the pan from mushrooms has evaporated. Season beans to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper, then sprinkle with finely grated Parmesan. Serve hot.
Snicker Apple Caramel Salad
A great dessert salad that combines so many amazing flavors and textures!
6 regular size Snickers candy bars
6 apples (I used Red Delicious… Granny Smith would also be great)
1 (5-oz.) package Vanilla Instant Pudding dry, do not prepare
½ cup milk
1 (12-oz.) tub Cool Whip
½ cup caramel ice cream topping
Whisk vanilla pudding packet, ½ cup milk and Cool Whip together until well combined. Chop up apples and Snickers. Stir chopped apples and Snickers into pudding mixture. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
Becky Maciejewski’s Recipes
2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
12 Oreo cookies
Fruit of choice or pie filling for garnish
Line a muffin tin with paper baking cups. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating on low. Place one Oreo on the bottom of each muffin cup, cover with cream cheese mixture. Bake for 20 minutes, cool completely and refrigerate for three hours. Garnish with fresh fruit or pie filling.
Mandi Forester’s White Chicken Chili
1 32-oz. box chicken broth
3 cans white beans, undrained
5 cups cooked chicken
1 16-oz. jar salsa
1 8-oz. block pepper jack cheese, grated
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
Black or white pepper to taste
½ cup finely crushed corn chips (optional, if you like your chili thicker
Sour cream for garnish
Place all ingredients, except corn chips and sour cream, in a Crock Pot. Cook on high until the cheese is melted. Chili may also be cooked on the stovetop over medium-high heat until cheese is melted. When chili is ready, add the crushed corn chips, if using, and simmer for 10 minutes to thicken. Garnish with more chips, cheese and/or sour cream and serve.
BLT Bow Tie Salad
1 12-oz. pkg. bow tie pasta
2½ cups diced fresh tomatoes
¾ cup cooked, crumbled bacon
½ head romaine lettuce, torn
¾ cup mayonnaise
¾ cup ranch dressing
1 pinch onion powder or to taste
1 pinch garlic salt or to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Bring a large pot of lightly salted to a boil. Cook bow tie pasta at a boil, stirring occasionally, until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes; drain. Transfer to large bowl.
Stir tomatoes, bacon and romaine lettuce into bow tie pasta. Whisk mayonnaise, ranch dressing, onion powder, garlic salt and black pepper together in small bowl. Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat. Chill in refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.