Cooks keep local seniors fed

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By Betty Street

Peggy Jackson and Marcia Bieber

Peggy Jackson and Marcia Bieber

Peggy Jackson sold her restaurant in Mobridge, The Wheel, in 2004, but said she “couldn’t get the hospitality out of my blood.” Now Peggy is going on six years as head cook for the Mobridge Senior Meals Program.
The Mobridge Senior Meals Program is one of three separate concerns that operate out of the Senior Citizens Center. The other two are the Mobridge Senior Citizens, of whom Chuck Fenske is in charge; and Senior Transportation, which is overseen by Daniel Schilling and Janet Kalsbeck. Daniel drives the van for elderly and handicapped persons who, for a small fee, need a ride to their doctor or another location in Mobridge, and Janet delivers meals to people who cannot drive or are homebound for some reason.
Peggy says her work at Mobridge Senior Meals has been a joy. She and assistant cook/baker Marcie Bieber prepare the noontime meal for around 80 people, which includes meals delivered to those unable to travel to the Senior Center, down about 20 from two years ago.
Peggy said, “Meals are prepared for individuals age 60 and older at a cost of $4 each, but anyone can dine at the Senior Meal Site for the full cost of the meal for $7.”
All Senior Meal Sites are nonprofit, self-supporting organizations that rely on federal and state government funding, participant donations and local community support to help cover meal costs. With the head count down, government funding doesn’t cover all costs, so Peggy initiated the annual Valentine Banquet fundraiser. This year $4,600 was successfully raised to meet rising costs.
The Senior Meal Site menu is published in the Mobridge Tribune and is also on display at the Senior Citizens Center. If the meals on Tuesdays for a particular month, for example, are not to an individual’s taste, they can tell Peggy that they won’t be at the Center on those days. That way Peggy and Marcie adjust the amount of food they prepare so nothing is wasted.
Marcie Bieber has been assistant cook and baker at the Senior Meal Site for about two years. She is married to Rod and they have two children, Ariel and Wyatt.
Marcie said she “loves her job, loves cooking and baking, and so this job is perfect and the hours are great. I enjoy visiting with the people and listening to stories from the past.”
Marcie’s worst cooking disaster happened at the Senior Meal Site when she made oatmeal cookies and did not know the oven wasn’t working properly—it was way too low. “The cookies didn’t look so good,” she said, “but they ate them anyway.”
Peggy was testing a homemade product—she cannot recall now what it was—in the convection oven on a lightweight aluminum pie plate. But the fan sucked everything up into itself. There was no more food and the pie plate was smack against the fan in the oven.
So Peggy cleaned the fan, the oven and pie plate, made more of whatever it was, put it in a heavier plate, and it turned out fine.
Meals at the Senior Meal Site are designed to be a healthy meal that includes one-third of the dietary intake as guided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Peggy and Marcie make sure they taste good. To make a reservation for Senior Meals, call the Mobridge site at 605-845-7204.

PEGGY JACKSON’S RECIPES

Ranch Chicken Breasts
8 (3-4 oz.) chicken breasts
1 cup ranch dressing
1 pkg. onion soup mix
½ cup apricot jelly
Mix together ranch dressing, onion soup mix and jelly. Pour over chicken breasts. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Makes 8 servings. Should work in Crock-Pot too.

Lemon Bake Fish
1½ pounds cod fillet (if frozen, oven it for a few minutes to drain excess water)
¼ tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup bread crumbs
2 Tbs. parsley flakes
¼ cup melted butter
Place fish fillets in baking dish. Combine pepper, salt, lemon juice and mayonnaise and pour over fish. Mix bread crumbs, parsley flakes and butter and spread over fish. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Roasted Veggies
Red, yellow and green peppers, cut into bite-size chunks
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
Onions, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 small zucchini, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. olive oil
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Mix all ingredients. Place in baking dish and bake at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.

Honey Fruit Salad
1 20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
1 16-oz. can mandarin oranges, drained
½ lb. grapes
1-2 bananas, sliced
1 6-oz. ctn. plain or any flavor yogurt
¼ cup honey
Spray cup before measuring honey. Combine all fruits. Mix yogurt and honey, pour over and mix with fruits. Serve.

Zucchini Muffins
3 cups flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. salt
4 eggs at room temp.
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
14 oz. shredded zucchini (3-4 med. zucchini)
Mix all dry ingredients together. Whisk all wet ingredients together, then add dry to wet and fold together with spatula. Place in paper cups in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

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