Pictured in back (from left) are Alyssa, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Kevin and Michelle Caltrider. In front are Trevor, 12, and Paige, 11.
Pictured in back (from left) are Alyssa, 21, Benjamin, 19, and Kevin and Michelle Caltrider. In front are Trevor, 12, and Paige, 11.
Kevin and Michelle Caltrider of Carroll have a lot for which to be thankful.

They just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary, have four children, fulfilling jobs, and are actively involved with their church. They were high school sweethearts, dating for three years. Each year for their anniversary, they enjoy spending time at a Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Michelle, an in-home daycare provider, who also works part-time at their church, First United Methodist, and husband, Kevin, a Carroll County deputy sheriff, have four children. Oldest, Alissa, is a 2010 graduate of Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in animal science. Currently, she is applying to law schools. Benjamin, 19, is a student at Iowa State University and is leaning towards a career in physical therapy. Trevor is 12, and a seventh-grader at Carroll Middle School, and Paige is 11 and in fifth grade at Adams.

Kevin and Michelle both enjoy cooking. Sometimes they split up kitchen duty, taking turns cooking meals and other times, they work as a team side by side in the kitchen. All four kids enjoy cooking, too, and aren’t afraid to try new things.

The family gathers new recipes from family and friends, as well as cooking magazines such as Midwest Living. Michelle credits her cooking skills to her mom and grandmother and estimates she cooks dinner for her family six days a week.

Grandma Lowe’s Sugar Gems
These scrumptious cookies have been a family tradition for as long as Michelle can remember. It is her late grandmother, Helen Lowe’s, recipe. Michelle was fortunate to grow up one block away from her grandmother’s home in Adair and remembers her grandmother always baking special treats. Michelle’s kids look forward to baking these cookies. Michelle describes these as really soft sugar cookies that melt in your mouth. One recipe makes a batch large enough for sharing. These cookies are so good the Caltrider family has given them away as holiday gifts.

1 c powdered sugar
1 c white sugar
1 c oil
1 c butter
2 eggs  
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
4 ½ c flour
1 T cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
Cream the first 4 ingredients. Beat in the eggs and vanilla then add the dry ingredients. Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets. Press with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Mom’s Brownie Pudding

Even though Michelle’s mom, Carla Eggen, of Adair, is a fabulous wedding and birthday cake baker and decorator, Michelle always chose this yummy dessert as her birthday “cake.” Even though this dessert was a favorite growing up, the recipe was almost forgotten. Michelle dug out this old recipe last winter and it’s already become a hit with her kids. Be sure to time it so you can serve this chocolately dessert warm. The outside is like a soft brownie and the center is melty, almost like a hot fudge sauce. Michelle says this is extra special served alongside vanilla ice cream.

1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 T cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ c milk
2 T oil
1 tsp vanilla
¾ c brown sugar
¼ c cocoa
1 ¾ c hot water
Sift together first 5 ingredients. Add milk, oil and vanilla, mix together until smooth. Pour into an 8x8 greased glass baking dish. To make sauce, mix together the brown sugar and cocoa, sprinkle over the top of the batter, pour hot water over the top and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream.

Caramel Apple French Toast
Michelle and Kevin enjoy trying out new Bed and Breakfast Inns for their anniversaries. At one particular B&B, the innkeeper was kind enough to share this recipe. Michelle says it’s a personal preference whether you want to keep the skin on the apples or not. Her family (especially husband, Kevin) enjoys eating this brunch dish as is, but if you like, you could top it with whipped cream. However, the caramel sauce made by the apples is sweet enough for most.

1 1/4 c packed brown sugar
½ cup butter
3 T light corn syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
4 Granny Smith apples
10-12 slices day old french bread (3/4 inch thick)


2 c milk
½ c sugar
2 tsp vanilla
6 beaten eggs
In a medium sauce pan over medium heat bring brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Add apples and cinnamon, reduce heat and cook just until sauce begins to thicken, about 3 to 5 minutes. Pour into a greased 9x13 baking dish.

In a separate 9 x 13 pan place French bread slices in the bottom of the pan. Whisk together the ingredients for the topping and pour the mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate both pans overnight. In the morning, remove the pans from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Place bread slices on top of caramel apple mixture. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean for bout 35-40 minutes. Serves 10-12.

Sicilian Meatloaf

When the older two, Alissa and Benjamin, are home from college, this is the most requested meal. Kevin found this recipe at least fifteen years ago, tried his hand at making it, and it’s become a family favorite. The addition of the Italian seasonings, ham, and mozzarella cheese add a unique and extra special alternative to old-fashioned meatloaf.

2 eggs beaten
1 slice soft bread, cubed
½ cup tomato juice
2 T parsley
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 lbs lean ground beef
6-8 thin slices of ham
6-8 slices mozzarella cheese
Combine eggs, bread cubes, tomato juice, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix in ground beef, mixing well. On foil or waxed paper pat meat into a 12x10 inch rectangle. Arrange ham slices and then cheese atop meat, leaving a small margin around edges. Starting with the short end, roll meat carefully up using foil or waxed paper to lift seal edges and ends. Place meat seam side down in a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Note: the center of the meat roll will be pink due to the ham. Makes 8 servings.

Potato Cheese Casserole

Michelle says this casserole feeds a crowd and goes well with ham balls, ham, and meatloaf. Kids, especially, always seem to like this side dish.

4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
½ c butter
1/4 c milk
1 1/2 c shredded Cheddar cheese
1 c finely chopped green pepper
1 (2 oz) jar diced pimientos, drained
Cook potatoes in boiling water until tender, drain and mash. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Transfer to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake, uncovered at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes until golden and heated through.

Colorful Chicken and Rice

This a colorful dish to serve around the holidays with the addition of the red tomatoes and the green chilies. It’s relatively simple to throw together to bring to a friend in need, a potluck, or serve to company.

1 (10-3/4 oz) can cream of chicken soup
1 c sour cream
1 (3 oz) cream cheese, cubed
3 cups cooked cubed chicken
3 cups cooked rice
1 ½ c shredded Monterey jack cheese
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 (2 oz) can sliced ripe olives
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 ½ cups crushed corn chips
Mixed together soup, sour cream and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in chicken, rice, cheese, chilies, olives and tomatoes. Pour into a greased 2 quart baking dish and bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until heated through. Just before serving top with crushed corn chips. Serves 6.

Beer Bread

The Caltriders have given this recipe away as much appreciated gifts at Christmastime. They have given away baked loaves as well as pre-measured bread “kits” consisting of the dry ingredients, with or without a can of beer. This recipe is so simple, it’s easy for anyone to bake homemade bread. Michelle says sometimes she adds a bit of Italian seasoning to the bread dough before baking to give it bit of zip.

3 cups self-rising flour
½ cup sugar
1 room temperature beer (12 ounces)
2 T melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease bread loaf pan and set aside. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and beer (with a spoon) until mixture is no longer dry. Pour dough into loaf pan and place in preheated oven. Bake for 55 minutes. Remove from oven and brush with melted butter. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Optional: add 1-2 tablespoons of dry Italian seasoning for a variation to this bread.