Everybody cooks but Alexis

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By Travis SvihovecCook Big

Alexis Hettick has something in common with a well-known television character.
“I like to compare myself to Debra off of “Everybody Loves Raymond” because she only knows how to make one thing good, Lemon Chicken, kind of like my specialty is Chicken Delight,” Alexis said.
Alexis, 33, is the daughter of James and Gwenn Ackerman of Selby. She is the math interventionist at Mobridge-Pollock elementary schools and her husband Chris is a teacher and coach in Selby. They have three children: son Tray is 8, daughter Taryn is 5 and daughter Taelyn is 2. Alexis is a 1999 graduate of Selby Area High School. She and Chris met at Northern State University in Aberdeen. They dated through college and married in 2003, the year they graduated.
“I’m not a very good cook,” she said. “My husband does most of the cooking at our house.”
Alexis has mastered her chicken delight dish, and also makes strudels the way her grandmother Ardella Ackerman taught her.
“It took me three or four attempts before I got it and I had to watch her,” Alexis said. One of Ardella’s tricks involves rolling the dough over a pillow that’s covered with a couple flour sacks.
“People laugh when I bring out the pillow, but it works,” Alexis said. “It’s handy.”
Alexis is surrounded by cooks in her family. Her grandparents, Merle and Joyce Kosters, ran the Berens Café and Joyce has passed along her peach pie recipe. Her mother is a good cook too, she said, and Chris and his brother Josh learned to cook from their mother, Sandy Hettick of Roscoe.
“All my family can cook but me,” she said. Part of the problem, she said, is that she’s a perfectionist. When a recipe isn’t turning out right she gets frustrated, and that led to her letting Chris do most of the cooking.
“He cleans up, too,” she said. He offered to do the dishes when she was pregnant because it was hard for her to get over the sink. They lived in Timber Lake for a few years, remodeled a house there and installed a dishwasher. It was a good solution, but it wound up being temporary because they moved eight months later.
“Now it’s back to him,” she said.
Alexis tried to branch out from the Chicken Delight (her Grandma Kosters’ recipe, still served at the Berens Cafe) and once attempted orange chicken. It was not good, she said.
“It tasted like orange juice poured over chicken. It was awful. We threw it out,” she said. “I thought I was following the recipe, but apparently I didn’t.”
Daughter Taryn is learning from grandmother Gwenn, and the two of them often get together to make chocolate chip cookies.
“She likes to be in the kitchen and likes to help,” Alexis said.
“I want to learn how to make cheese buttons. Ardella makes them and the kids like them,” she said. “We like our German food, that’s for sure.”
Alexis and her family love sports, whether they are players or spectators. With Chris as head basketball coach for Herried-Selby Area, they attend a lot of games throughout the year. They also enjoy college and professional sports.
“If we’re not at a game, we’re watching one on TV,” she said.

ALEXIS HETTICK’S RECIPES

Chicken Delight
4 chicken breasts                                                                           1 cup of sour cream
1 package of bacon                                                                       1 package of shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can of cream of celery soup                                                     1 package Knorr’s cheddar broccoli rice
First, wrap a couple slices of bacon around each chicken breast.  Then, lay the 4 bacon-wrapped chicken breasts in an 8-inch x 8-inch pan. Next, in a small bowl, stir 1 can of cream of celery soup with 1 cup of sour cream, and pour it evenly over the bacon-wrapped chicken breasts. Bake for 1 hour at 325 F.  Fifteen minutes before it is done, sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake for the remaining time. Serve with Knorr’s cheddar broccoli rice.

Philly Cheese Steak Eggrolls
1 pound of steak, roast, or cut of your choice (we use leftover steak)
1 green pepper
1 red pepper                                                                                                               1 large onion
3/4 cup brown sugar                                                                                                        1/2 cup soy sauce
1 chunk of pepper jack cheese                                                                                1 pkg. of egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying
Cut peppers, onions, and steak in slivers
In a large skillet, cook the peppers and onions until they are soft and caramelized.  Add cut up steak.
Add the brown sugar and about 1/2 cup of soy sauce to the pan. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes. Cool.
Lay out the egg roll wrappers and wet the edges. Cut a piece of pepper jack cheese and place it in the center of the wrapper. Add about enough of your pepper and steak mixture (be careful not to take any liquid) to cover the cheese and wrap the mixture like you would a traditional eggroll.
Deep fry the egg roll until it is a golden brown.  Serve with soy sauce for dipping or enjoy plain.

Strudels
2 cups flour                                                                                    1 egg
1/2 tsp. salt                                                                                       1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup warm water                                                                        1 cup heavy cream
Mix the 3/4 cup warm water and egg in a standing mixer.  Then, add 1/2  tsp. salt, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 2 cups flour and mix until it makes a soft dough.  Let the dough rest for 1/2 hour.  Preheat the oven to the lowest setting while you do the next step. Split the dough into two halves and roll out each about the size of a dinner plate.  Spread melted butter on half of each piece of dough and fold the dry half over the buttered half.  Place on a cookie sheet and lay a flour sack towel over them. Turn off the oven and put the dough in it to rest for about 15 minutes.  While the dough is resting in the oven, cut up 3-4 potatoes and place in the bottom of an electric frying pan along with 3 Tbs. butter and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Take the dough out of the oven and stretch to paper thinness, tumble lightly into a roll and cut into 2-inch lengths.  Add strudels to the boiling potatoes and cover.  Cook slowly after a boil has been reached for about 30 minutes.  Do not uncover while cooking.  When finished cooking, pour 1 cup of heavy cream over them and serve.

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