Pam Wells is a woman of many talents. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and educator. Pam is an award-winning science teacher at Mobridge-Pollock High School, where she has educated the young minds of our community for the past seven years. She currently resides in New Evarts where she lives with her husband, Sid Wells, and her two dogs. She has six children and 20 grandchildren that keep her on her toes.
Pam hasn’t always lived in South Dakota. She was born in Minnesota and lived there for 12 years. Her family then moved to Bismarck, N.D., where her father farmed sugar beets and wheat and her mom had a catering business.
“My mom used to be a caterer, and that’s where I learned how to make some fancy German dishes,” said Wells.
She attended college at the University of Mary. After graduating in 1982, she set out to start her career in teaching. She taught in school districts throughout southwest North Dakota for 29 years before moving to New Evarts in 2011. She teaches physical sciences at Mobridge-Pollock High School.
In her spare time Pam enjoys fishing, quiltmaking, making crafts, reading, spending time with family and playing her guitar or ukulele.
“My husband and I both play guitar,” said Pam , “It keeps things interesting.”
Pam enjoys her spare time but she keeps herself busy. She is actively involved in the Delta Kappa Gamma teachers group and is a volunteer member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church as well as teaching classes at Sitting Bull College.
“Teaching takes up most of my time,” she says, “but I love baking pies and cakes. I can make a wonderful pie crust, and meringues are no problem. But bread on the other hand, not so much.”
Pam recalls her struggles in making homemade bread.
“I wanted to make bread so I found a never-fail recipe to make fresh rolls. I made them. They weren’t very big. They were golden brown. They looked good. My husband picks it and says ‘What is this?,’ threw it at the wall and the roll thumped against the wall. They were hockey pucks!” she said. “I would even put bread in a bread machine and it wouldn’t turn out.”
Though the rolls were a failure and breads seem to be an Achille’s heel for Pam, she’s found success in a homemade pizza recipe.
“I gave you this recipe because it’s the only bread that I can make that actually turns out good!” she exclaimed, “So if I can make it, anyone can make it.”
Some of her favorite family meals are hearty, protein-rich, breaded pork chops served with twice baked potatoes and leafy green salad or a grilled vegetable medley. She also likes to make bread pudding for her husband.
“My husband loves my bread pudding,” she said, “I think it’s okay but he loves it.”
Pam only learns from the best. Her cooking influences include her mom and a world famous TV chef.
“My mom and Julia Child on PBS taught me how to cook.” Pam said, “She was so fun to watch and gave me great tips and advice.”
Pam finds her recipes on the internet, using apps like Pinterest, to find interesting new ways to make meals. However, she still prints out her recipes so she never loses a hard copy.
Pam has inspired young minds of students for almost 40 years, and it shows. She is always giving out good advice, educating everyone with her words of wisdom. She left me with some words that will inspire everyone to try their hand at cooking.
“I think one thing people have to remember about cooking is that you’re not a bad cook, it’s just the recipe didn’t fit what you or your family likes.” Pam said. “There are some things you just don’t care for..and that’s ok.”
Pam Wells’ Recipes
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105 – 115 degrees)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups flour
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the rest of the ingredients in and mix. Dump onto floured surface and knead into a smooth dough for 5 minutes. Roll out and press down onto a greased pizza pan. Add toppings of choice. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the crust is lightly browned.
Pam’s favorite variety of this homemade pizza is alfredo sauce, chicken, spinach, artichokes, and shredded mozzarella! Try it out!
Blueberry Bread with Sugar Crumble
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
3 Tbsp salted butter softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, milk, oil, egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold blueberries into batter. Pour the bread batter into a greased and floured 9×5 bread pan. Make the crumble by mixing together flour, sugar, and butter. Spread the crumbs on top of the bread batter in pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes. Allow bread to cool for 10 minutes. Enjoy!
Best-Ever Chocolate Cake
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp baking cocoa
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cold whole milk
1 3.9 oz package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 8 oz carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Add the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on low for 1 minute. Beat on medium for 1 minute. Pour into a greased 13×9 in. baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Frosting: In a bowl, beat the milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Beat in whipped topping. Spread on cake and enjoy!
Grandma’s Corn Chowder
1/2 cup diced bacon
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups water
1 can drained corn
2 tsp salt
Ground pepper to taste
2 cups half-and-half
Place bacon in a large pot over medium high heat, cook until crisp. Drain and crumble, reserving about 2 Tbsp drippings in the pot. Mix potatoes and onion into the pot with the crumbled bacon and reserved drippings. Cook and stir. Pour in water and stir in corn. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover pot. Simmer 20 minutes and stir frequently until potatoes are tender. Warm the half and half in a small saucepan and mix into chowder just before serving.
Cauliflower Au Gratin
6 Tbsp butter, cubed
4 oz cooked ham, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 head cauliflower, broken in florets
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
Preheat broiler. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add ham and garlic; sauté for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower. Cook just until crisp tender. Combine cream and flour; stir into skillet and blend well. Add salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Pour into 2-qt baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil until lightly browned, about 2-4 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.