Dana Sota likes to be pushed outside of her comfort zone. She thrives in a challenging atmosphere and is excited to tackle the new adventure in her job as the Mobridge Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.
A 2010 graduate of Bowdle High School, Dana is glad to be back in the area after spending time in Fargo N.D., working at Bodyworks Physical Therapy.
She attended South Dakota State University for a couple of years, but it wasn’t the right fit for her. Soto then decided on Lake Area Tech in Watertown.. She was pushed outside of her comfort zone at the school and with the support of the staff and her advisors, had a challenging three-month intern experience that lasted more than a year.
“They pushed me further than I ever thought I could be pushed,” said Dana. “They told me to ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable,’ and I had to.”
Dana said she learned a lot in her internship and that going to Lake Area Tech was one of the best decisions in her life.
She moved back to this area and took the reins at the Chamber office last week. She and Catrick Swayze, a rescue cat (“We rescued each other”) have settled into Mobridge and are looking forward to a new adventure.
Mobridge is not a new place to Dana as she has been involved with activities here since her high school days in Bowdle. She was raised by her grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Eisenbeisz, on the family farm after her mother, Sandy, died at a young age. She said she is related to about half the town of Bowdle and it is good to be closer to home.
Dana grew up hunting with her grandpa.
“Mostly pheasant and deer,” she said. “I haven’t got my first deer yet unless you count the one I got with my pickup when I was 15.”
She is happy to be back in an area where outdoor opportunities are close at hand.
“In Fargo the hunting and fishing opportunities were not as good,” said Dana. “I am excited to be living next to the water again.”
Dana has been connected to the Dakota Radio Group since her high school sports and Future Farmers of America days in high school and worked with Dawn Konold on the Wild Dakota Girls calendar. She has helped with the Mobridge Tourism Committee annual ice fishing tourney and the Denny Plamer fishing tournament. She has also been involved with July 4 activities like Rockn’ on the River.
As a Chamber director, she has set a plan of action.
“I want to get out more into the community,” she said. “It costs business owners time and money to come here to talk with me. I want to be supportive to them and their businesses.”
One of her goals is to bring more people into town for activities in Mobridge. That includes more opportunities for the people of Mobridge and the area that depends on Mobridge.
She and Catrick have settled into their new town and she is ready to tackle her new job.
She learned to cook from Amy Wipf in Bowdle and said she learned a lot more than just cooking from her. Although she said cooking for one is no fun, Dana’s idea of a good meal revolves around pasta.
“My grandma was not much of cook, everything was pretty bland tasting,” she said. “Baking was more my thing in college. When I was supposed to be studying for a test, I was in the kitchen baking.”
She said she learned through trial and error and said it comes easy to her.
“I haven’t killed anybody yet,” she laughed.
Her favorite is Chicken Alfredo roll ups and anything with pasta. She said she orders mac and cheese where ever she goes.
Dana is an avid reader and will read anything that has to with history, especially war history. Her favorite book is Lisa Wingate’s “Before We Were Yours.”
Dana Soto’s Recipes
4 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small bunch of kale
2 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsps. red wine vinegar
1/2 Granny Smith apple, unpeeled and diced
1/4 cup currants (have used raisins in the past)
2 tsps. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Add pancetta to large sauté pan set over medium-low heat. Cook until brown and most of the fat has been rendered, approximately 10 minutes. While pancetta cooks, wash the kale, remove tough inner ribs and cut into 1-inch ribbons. Once pancetta is brown, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil and the shallots. Cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until shallots are golden around the edges and cooked through. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, mustard, and red wine vinegar. Pour warm vinaigrette of over the kale. Add apples, currants, and lemon juice. Toss to combine. Finish with parmesan over the salad.
Bacon Cheeseburger Bombs
1 can Pillsbury biscuits (10 biscuits)
1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 slices bacon, chopped
1/3 cup cream cheese
1 Tbsp. ketchup
2 Tbsps. barbecue sauce
1 tsp. yellow mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
5 oz. cheddar cheese, chopped into 10 squares (I’ve used shredded in the past)
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, brown ground beef, bacon, and onion until cooked. Drain grease. Add cream cheese, ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir over low heat until cream cheese is melted. Allow to cool. Roll each biscuit very thin. Place 2 Tbsps. beef mixture on each biscuit and add 1 square of cheese. Wrap the biscuit around the beef/cheese and tightly seal edges. Place biscuits on parchment lined pan, seam side down. Brush with egg white and sprinkle sesame seeds. Bake at 350 degrees, 13 to 16 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.
Chicken Alfredo Roll-ups
9 lasagna noodles
2 1/2 cups alfredo sauce (optional homemade recipe to follow)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Spray 8×8-inch pan with nonstick spray and pour 1/2 cup alfredo sauce, or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan. Boil 8 to 10 cups water in large pan, cook lasagna noodles until al dente (cook one or two extra in the event that a noodle rips or breaks). Drain and rinse noodles with cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Then, lay out each noodle individually and blot dry with a paper towel. Spread about 2 Tbsps. alfredo sauce over each noodle (if there is too much, it gets very messy). Sprinkle oregano and garlic salt on top of sauce. Take 1/9 of shredded chicken and spread out evenly over each noodle. Add approx. 3 Tbsps. cheese. Start at one end of noodle and begin to roll—you will need to lift a little in order to prevent squishing out the inside ingredients while rolling.
Place roll ups in the pan, one by one, seam-side down so they don’t come undone. Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining Alfredo sauce over the top, then top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream
2 tsps. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. fresh minced garlic
Salt and fresh black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
In medium to large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add fresh minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add cream cheese and whisk to smooth and melted. Whisk in heavy cream.
Season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and whisk frequently until sauce thickens, around 15 minutes. Stir in cheese and when melted, remove from heat and serve. Makes 2 1/2 cups.
Oven Roasted Ranch Potatoes
2 lbs. small red potatoes, quartered
1 package dry ranch seasoning mix
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Quarter your small red potatoes and put them in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. Pour in olive oil, ranch seasoning, and salt; seal and shake until potatoes are coated. Place in a lightly greased baking dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden brown.
Pizza Pasta Casserole
2 lbs. ground beef
8 oz. pepperoni
1 large onion
2 jars of spaghetti sauce
1 package spiral pasta, cooked and drained
4 cups mozzarella cheese
Brown hamburger and onion. Combine meats, sauce, and noodles. Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.