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By Betty Street

Catie Peterson

Catie Peterson

When Catie Peterson gets an idea for a new dish or sees a recipe she wants to try, she thinks about it for awhile first. She mulls it over while working as a hairdresser/cosmetologist at the Hair Shoppe in Mobridge. Then when Catie gets home that evening, she has a good idea of how she wants to prepare this new dish or perhaps make a change to an old one.
Catie likes to change things around in her cooking and rarely makes the same thing twice. At every stage in the cooking process, she tastes and samples each recipe to see how it could be improved; and the only one she has not successfully tweaked is Hot Cheesy Spinach Dip (see below). Catie said that no matter what she did to this spinach dip, she always came back to the original recipe because that one was best.
Catie was born in Hot Springs and grew up in both the Hot Springs and Rapid City areas. She graduated from Hot Springs High School in 2009 and beauty school in December of 2010. She said she moved to Mobridge for a new beginning and found it here. Judy Fiddler at the Hair Shoppe has become Catie’s mentor.
Catie learned a lot of her cooking skills from her grandfather. “He was a seasoner,” she said. For example, rosemary, Catie said, brings out flavor in a dish. Basil is a heavier herb and goes best with tomato dishes and stews.
She said her tastes change by her mood and the season of the year. For example, in the spring, she wants to eat light things and strawberries, whereas in the fall and winter her mood is heavier and she tends more towards soups and stews.
Catie loves cooking, but like many others dislikes the cleanup afterwards. She makes a lot of casseroles and says the leftovers are easy to freeze. Also, she can bring a portion of casserole to work for lunch.
One recipe Catie wants to try is lasagna soup. She has an idea of how to make it although she hasn’t gotten around to it yet.
Catie’s hobbies include cooking, reading (romances mostly) and watching shows, medical shows by preference. She listens to a lot of talking books, especially while she’s in the kitchen adjusting a recipe to suit her taste buds just so.
In describing herself, Catie said she is an impulsive shopper, after first checking an item’s price. But she’s never an impulsive doer. She “can’t do things that don’t improve life.”
And Catie keeps busy. She bartends at the golf course and also two days a week at the Caboose. She enjoys being with people, but she also enjoys being by herself. Her residence, Catie said, is “simple and plain.”
When asked about a kitchen mishap, Catie was painfully honest: “I started a fire.” Then she explained. She was making garlic toast in a countertop toaster oven, but she stepped away and forgot it for about 25 minutes. When she returned, the  toaster oven was on fire. So grabbing a broom handle, she knocked it to the floor and poured a pot of water on it. The water made no difference, but a box of baking soda doused the flames. When everything cooled off, Catie threw the toaster oven in the trash. Disaster over.
That was one action she did not need to repeat to get right.

CATIE PETERSON’S RECIPES

Cheesy Spinach Dip
2 Tbsp. butter
¼ cup chopped onion
2  cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup half-and-half
2 pkgs. (9-oz. each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained
1 can (8-oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 pkg. ( 1 oz.) dry vegetable soup mix.
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until onion is crisp-tender and garlic is fragrant, 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in flour; cook and stir an additional minute. Add half-and-half and cook, stirring constantly until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes.
3. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in chopped spinach, water chestnuts, cheddar and vegetable soup mix. Spoon dip into a 1-quart casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
4. bake dip until it is bubbly and cheese is melted, 10-15 minutes. Serve warm.

Wontons
1 bag broccoli slaw
Sweet chili sauce
Soy sauce
Red chili pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg. thawed wonton wraps
2-4 cups diced chicken or pork
Dash of sugar
Cilantro for garnish
Vegetable oil for frying
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Make sauce in saucepan with sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, sash of sugar, minced garlic clove. Taste as you go. If you want more heat, add 1 tsp. red pepper flakes. If you want less heat, add 1 tsp. lime juice. Wilt down broccoli slaw to your texture preference. Add diced pork or chicken and simmer together while broccoli slaw boils to your soft or medium crisp texture preference. Get wontons ready, i.e. read instructions. Coat bottom of skillet with oil and heat it up. Add spoonful of mixture to center of wonton. Pull up corners of wonton so they meet in the middle like crab Rangoon. Brown bottom of wonton. Remove wonton to baking sheet. When all wontons are browned, place baking sheet in 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until crispy.

Fiesta Lime Chicken
(Applebee’s inspired)
4-2 white chicken breasts
1 lime cut in wedges
Chipotle spice
Ranch, Mexican Blend or Colby Jack shredded cheese
Spanish or Rice-A-Roni Mexican style
Fajita spice packet
Bottle of Italian dressing
1. Marinade chicken with fajita dressing packet and Italian dressing in one-gallon zipper plastic bag.
2. Cook chicken in skillet with juices.
3. Blend chipotle spice with ranch (mix to taste).
4. Start rice (pre-made is my preference).
5. When chicken is cooked, top with chipotle ranch and choice of cheese. Let melt.
6. When ready to serve, take 1 lime wedge and squeeze over chicken. Add rice to plate and enjoy a great meal.

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