Cooking with a Former Miss Montana and Her Kids
When she won the title of Miss Montana in 2007, Kristen Yeley’s talent was dancing. But, the Billings mom of two is also known for her cooking skills—which she’s already passing on to her boys: Griffin, 2, and Quin, 5. They forget all about their toys when it’s time to help mom measure and mix the ingredients for these two Thanksgiving Day recipes.
Both recipes have apple bases and nicely complement turkey and all the trimmings. The first recipe was passed down from her grandma, Geri Stilson of Denton, Montana, who gifted Kristen with a homemade handwritten cookbook when she moved into her first apartment. The second is a new family favorite that’s already a big hit with her husband, Jeff, and even the kids.
“Usually my boys don’t like stuffing,” Kristen admits. “But the combination of bread, apples and sausage makes this one stuffing that they really do like. Plus, they help tear up the bread, and that buys me some time to prepare the other ingredients or maybe get a head start on dishes.”
Yes, even former Miss Montanas have to do dishes on Thanksgiving.
Grandma Geri Stilson’s Applesauce Bars
½ cup shortening or butter
¾ cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup raisins (optional)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream shortening and sugar, add egg and applesauce.
- 2. Sift dry ingredients and add to sugar, egg and applesauce mixture. If desired, add raisins and/or nuts.
- 3. Place in greased jelly roll pan or drop in heaping tablespoons for cookies.
- 4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. For an extra treat, top with powdered sugar icing made with powdered sugar and milk.
Sausage and Apple Stuffing
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sausage (sliced link sausage or ground sausage)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup walnuts and/or pecans
1-2 tart apples
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
5 cups toasted ciabatta bread
¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
½ cup melted butter
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large skillet, add olive oil and begin cooking sausage.Next, add onion, nuts and apples; cook until sausage is thoroughly cooked.
- 2. Tear toasted ciabatta bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour cooked sausage mixture over the bread and sprinkle with parsley.
- 3. Add chicken stock and melted butter, tossing well to coat the mixture thoroughly. Spoon mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and cover with foil.
- 4. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until golden and crisp.