Cooking Up A Storm In Kansas

I have performed over 150 Taste Of Home Cooking Schools in 23 states.  Most of my shows however are scheduled in what we call the “Mountain Territory” which means I could be doing shows anywhere between Chicago and the Rocky Mountains.  I spend a lot of time in the Spring touring through “Tornado Alley” both as a Culinary Specialist for Taste of Home, and when I am off tour, as a storm chaser.  I have seen so many amazing sights in my travels and have met so many amazing people I feel very blessed.  It is easy to be awed by the majestic and dramatic scenery of the Rocky Mountains but I have also come to appreciate the understated beauty of the Great Plains and Heartland.

Kansas is on my mind today.  I have travelled extensively throughout Kansas and I truly appreciate those famous words Dorothy uttered when she said “there is no place like home”.  Did you know that in Crawford County Kansas they have some of the best fried chicken in the world?  I am not just talking about one restaurant, but actually four or five different ones that each have their own recipe and each are amazing in their own way.  There is also the World’s Largest Ball Of Twine in Cawker City.  Did you ever wonder where the geographic center of the United Sates is?  Yep, in Kansas just outside Lebanon.  Another thing Kansas is famous for is wheat.  Wheat fields for as far as the eye can see in some areas.  Oh yes and they have more than their share of severe weather and tornadoes like the EF4 Bennington tornado I witnessed this past May.  My best memories however are about the audiences and helpers that always made me feel so welcomed and supported.

So in honor of my Kansas food family I have two recipes to share with you.  The first is Kansas Whole Wheat Bread, homemade and delicious.  The second is Twister Cheddar Rolls which are a perfect quick and easy bread side when you don’t have time to make the bread from scratch.

Kansas Whole Wheat Bread

24 ServingsPrep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 35 min.


  • 2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes (without added milk and butter)
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour


  • In a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, oats, wheat germ,
  • yeast and salt. In a saucepan, heat the water, cottage cheese,
  • potatoes, butter, milk, honey and molasses to 120°-130°. Add
  • to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add eggs; beat until
  • smooth. Stir in enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn
  • onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10
  • minutes.
  • Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let
  • rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in
  • half. Shape into two flattened balls. Place on two greased baking
  • sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • With a sharp knife, make a shallow X-shaped cut in the top of each
  • loaf. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Cover loosely with foil if
  • top browns to quickly. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool.
  • Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).

Twister Cheddar Rolls


8 ServingsPrep: 20 min. Bake: 15 min.


  • 2 tubes (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt or garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes


  • Separate crescent roll dough into eight rectangles; press seams to
  • seal. Combine cheese and onions; spoon about 3 rounded
  • tablespoonfuls lengthwise down the center of each rectangle to
  • within 1/4 in. of each end. Fold dough in half lengthwise; firmly
  • press edges to seal. Twist each strip four to five times. Bring ends
  • together to form a ring; pinch to seal. Place on a greased baking
  • sheet.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg and water. Brush over dough. Combine the
  • sesame seeds, garlic salt and parsley; sprinkle over rings.
  • Bake at 375° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to
  • wire racks. Serve warm. Yield: 8 rolls.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 200 calories, 13 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 49 mg cholesterol, 472 mg sodium, 12 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 8 g protein.

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