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Taste of Tri Lakes Cares

2011 April 26
by Ryan

Last night (4/25/11) we participated in the Taste of Tri Lakes Cares. Tri Lakes Cares helps people get back on their feet after any number of reasons, and we felt it was only right to help with a fundraising benefit.

For the Taste, we had to come up with meals from a set list of items usually handed out from their food pantry:

  • Instant Mashed Potato Flakes
  • Canned Peaches
  • Dried Pinto Beans
  • Corn Flakes
  • Dry Nonfat Milk
  • Velveeta Cheese

When Carla and I sat down to talk recipes, we were stumped on how to make anything from this mix, especially one item. Yes, we were able to add any other ingredient that we needed. After much thought and deliberation, we decided that instead of one entree, we needed to come up with an entire meal. This way we could show that, yes, you can make some good meals using common products. We kept additional ingredients to what you would expect to see in a common pantry, and started banging away.

So what we ended up with for a menu:

  • Baked Potato Soup
  • Peachy Ranch Chicken
  • Baked Beans
  • Peach Cobbler

From what we could tell at the event, our meal was received pretty nicely, even though our baked beans were more … well… al dente than we would have preferred.

We would like to share those recipes with you now…

Baked Potato Soup


1/2 bag dried nonfat milk

water to reconstitute dried milk

4 strips bacon

1/4 medium sized onion, finely diced

1/2 block Velveeta Cheese

1/2-3/4 box mashed potato flakes

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the raw bacon in the bottom of a stock pot
  2. Set pot on a burner set on medium heat
  3. Allow bacon to cook thoroughly
  4. Break up the bacon into little pieces
  5. Add the onion, sautee in the bacon grease.
  6. Continually stir the onion and bacon to prevent burning
  7. Once the onion is translucent, add the dried milk and enough water to reconstitute
  8. Continually stir the milk until steaming
  9. Break up the Velveeta cheese into small pieces, add to milk mixture.
  10. Continually stir until all the cheese is melted
  11. Slowly add the 1/2 box of potato flakes while stirring
  12. Once all the flakes are added check the consistency. If still very runny, add more potato flakes. If really thick, add more water and milk powder to thin. The consistency should be slightly runny since it will set up over time.
  13. Reduce heat to low, stir every few minutes for 10 minutes
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste


  • You MUST keep the burner no hotter than a medium heat. The milk will burn into the bottom of the pot very quickly and ruin the soup.
  • If the bacon doesn’t produce enough grease to properly sautee the onions, you can add a touch of oil to speed up the process.
  • Stopping stirring for any longer than a minute or two can cause the milk to burn to the pan.
  • Don’t let the milk come to a full boil: you’ll deaden the flavor of the milk.

Peachy Ranch Chicken


1 pound skinned chicken breast

2 cups Ranch dressing

1/2 box corn flakes, finely crushed

29oz can of sliced peaches with juice

1/8 tsp vinegar

Dash of salt and pepper


  1. Drain peach juice into medium sized bowl. Reserve peaches for the cobbler recipe!
  2. Mix in the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready for use
  3. Rinse chicken breast in cold water and pat dry
  4. Place chicken into ziploc bag and pound to about 1/2 to 3/4″ thickness
  5. With a fork, poke the chicken multiple times on all sides
  6. Place chicken into bowl of peach juice mixture
  7. Allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator 4-6 hours. Flip the chicken halfway through the marinate time to ensure total coverage.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Pour ranch dressing into bowl large enough to dip the chicken in
  10. Place crushed corn flakes on a plate
  11. Remove chicken from marinate, dip into ranch dressing then roll in the corn flakes.
  12. Place chicken on non-greased baking sheet
  13. Bake for 7 minutes, flip the chicken over, bake for another 7 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked.


  • To ensure best flavor, make sure the chicken breast is completely covered in the corn flakes.
  • No ranch dressing? Make a mix of milk (you can use the reconstituted dry milk), and two eggs.

Baked Beans


1 pound dry pinto beans (soaked in water overnight)

1/3 pound of bacon cut into small pieces

1/2 small onion diced

1 cup plus 1/4 cup brown sugar packed

1/4 cup mustard

1/4 cup honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Rinse beans in cold water until water runs clear
  3. Spray a 9×11 pan with non-stick spray
  4. Place beans in pan and mix in the bacon, onion, 1 cup of brown sugar, and mustard.
  5. Add enough water to barely cover the beans (approximately 2 cups)
  6. Cover with foil and place in the oven.
  7. Bake 5-6 hours
  8. Check beans every hour, adding water to keep beans fully covered.
  9. Once beans are soft remove from oven
  10. Add remaining brown sugar and honey, stir thoroughly


  • If the beans are not fully softened at the end of 6 hours, you can keep roasting or place beans in pot and boil on the stove until the desired softness is reached.
  • The beans can be made in a crock pot if you like! Just put everything together, set on low, and forget about them overnight.

Peach Cobbler


1 29oz can Peaches, mostly drained

2 Tbsp Corn Starch

1/8 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup quick oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Dice the peaches into bite-size chunks
  3. Mix peaches, corn starch, sugar, and cinnamon
  4. Add to greased 8×8 pan
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together oats, brown sugar, and butter. You should have a good soft crumble when mixed thoroughly
  6. Add crumble to top of peach mixture
  7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until oats have a deep golden color
  8. Allow to cool before slicing

As you can see, we only added ingredients commonly found in pantries to make this killer meal.

Enjoy, and we welcome tips, modifications, or other ideas in our comment section!

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