I'm Dreaming of a Midwest Christmas
Illinois agriculture products take the stage this holiday season
by Catrina McCulley Wagner
If Illinois has been your home for many, many years, you may have overlooked the remarkable things for which this central state is known. For instance, did you know that the world’s first Skyscraper was built in Illinois? Or that Metropolis, the home of Superman, really exists in Southern Illinois? Or how about that Illinois had two capital cities, Kaskaskia, and Vandalia, before Springfield became the final choice? And did you know that more than 28 million acres of land across Illinois are farms? That’s nearly 80 percent of the state’s total land area.
So it’s no surprise that Illinois’ agricultural commodities generate more than $9 billion annually. With more than 950 food-manufacturing companies across the state, Illinois is well equipped to turn its crops and livestock into food and industrial products. Food processing is the state’s number-one manufacturing activity, adding almost $13.4 billion annually to the value of Illinois’ raw agricultural commodities.
What better way to celebrate the holidays than to showcase a few of those fantastic Illinois food products? For a full list of Illinois products, go to http://www.agr.state.il.us/markets/mis.
Ahruns Famous, Inc.
P.O. Box 582
Crystal Lake, IL 60039-0582
Established in 2003 and located in Crystal Lake, Ill., Ahruns Famous offers an array of sauces with very unique names, as well as tastes. Ahruns Famous products include: Voodoo Magic hot sauce, Carolina mustard barbecue sauce, Zombie Boogie barbecue sauce, Outrageously Applicious barbecue sauce and Outrageously Delicious Bloody Mary mix.
Cugino’s Gourmet Foods
9174 Trinity Drive
Lake In The Hills, IL 60156-1666
Cugino’s Gourmet Foods was established in 1995 in Lake In The Hills, Ill. and features award winning soup and dip mixes, spice rubs, garlic spread, pasta sauce and Italian dressing/marinade.
Gramp’s Gourmet Pickles
801 Franklin Street
Scales Mound, IL 61075-9613
Toll Free: 800-277-3135
Located in Scales Mound, Ill., Gramp’s Gourmet offers a variety of pickles including original sweet, original sour dill, horseradish sweet or sour, garlic sweet or sour, jalapeno sweet or sour, habanero sweet or sour, as well as pickled beets and the intriguing “Apple Pie in a Jar.”
201 N. Pitt Street
Virginia, IL 62691-1000
Kathy’s Kitchen, located in Virginia, Ill. offers an array of wonderful home-canned products including bread and butter pickles, blue ribbon sweet pickles, beet pickles, dilled asparagus, dilled jalapeno slices, sweet jalapeno slices, jalapeno relish, chili sauce, chow chow, corn relish, lime pickles, salsa, hot salsa, Mexican salsa, green tomato pickles, inferno relish, onion relish, red cinnamon pickles, sweet basil peppers, zucchini pickles, zucchini relish, sweet pepper relish, apple butter, blackberry jam and jelly, black raspberry jam and jelly, grape jelly, jalapeno jelly, sweet pepper jelly, onion jelly, pumpkin butter, red raspberry jam and jelly, red tomato preserves and honey.
Futter’s Nut Butters
P.O. Box 4934
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089-4934
Futters Nut Butters is a family-owned business in Buffalo Grove, Ill. that produces all natural and certified organic nut butters. Products include almond butter, cashew butter, pistachio butter, hazelnut butter, pumpkin butter, sunflower butter, brazil butter, macadamia butters, walnut butter, pecan butter chocolate nut butters, chocolate almond espresso, chocolate walnut butter and cinnful pecan butter.
1393 County Road, 1900 E.
Roanoke, IL 61561-7686
In 1991, Beverly’s Dressing was established in Roanoke, Ill. and offers Original Raspberry Poppy Seed and Fat-Free Raspberry Poppy Seed Salad Dressings. The unique sweetness of the dressing is what put her on the map as the best raspberry poppy seed dressing to be tasted in Illinois.
720 “E” Street
Charleston, IL 61920-1840
Hannah’s Granna’s is located in Charleston, Ill. The original product that started the business was a sweet zucchini relish from a recipe that is more than 50 years old. Since then, the products have expanded to include hot zucchini relish, zesty zucchini relish, cinnamon apple spread and homemade pies.
Oakland Noodle Company
10 W. Main
Oakland, IL 61943-0644
The Oakland Noodle Company was established in 1991 in Oakland, Ill. They offer homemade egg noodles that are done completely by hand.
Uncle Joe’s Sauces
201 North Ave.
Ina, IL 62846-1010
Located in Ina, Ill., Uncle Joe’s Sauces offers four different flavors of sauces and an all-purpose seasoning rub that can be used for anything you can imagine. Uncle Joe’s sauces come in Original, Sweet Smoke, Chipotle and XXX Hot.
For more recipes using these products visit our click here.
Hazelnut Butter Cookies with Chips
Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter, Futter’s Hazelnut Butter and both sugars in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using 1 level tablespoon for each cookie, roll dough between palms of hands into 1-inch balls. Arrange 1 inch apart on prepared sheets and slightly flatten. Bake about 12 minutes or until cookies are brown. Let cool on sheets on racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool. Makes 48.
Pepper Jelly Cheesecake Dip
Mix cream cheese, cheddar cheese, eggs and garlic with a mixer or in a food processor. Blend in half Kathy’s Kitchen Jalapeño Pepper Jelly. Oil an 8-inch spring form pan and pour in the mixture. Place on top rack of a preheated 350° oven. Place another pan filled with water on the bottom rack of the oven beneath the spring form pan to keep the cheesecake from drying. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake is brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on rack. Refrigerate for several hours before serving. When ready to serve, remove ring from spring form pan. Spread remaining Kathy’s Kitchen Jalapeño Pepper Jelly over the top. Serve with crackers. Best served at room temperature.
Mexican Egg Noodles
In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic until beef is evenly brown. Drain. Add the corn, olives, tomatoes, chili beans, green onions and water into the skillet. Season with taco seasoning and salt. Cover, and cook 15 minutes. Add Oakland Egg Noodles into the skillet. Cover, and continue cooking 12 minutes, or until egg noodles are tender. Top each serving with a sprinkle of Cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
Uncle Joe’s Zesty Meatballs
Raspberry Poppy Seed Pasta Salad
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne pasta, and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain, and rinse under cold water until the pasta is cold; drain well. Place the drained penne pasta into a large mixing bowl, and stir in the chicken, celery, cranberries, and green onions. Pour in Beverly’s Raspberry Poppy Seed Dressing; stir until evenly mixed.
Zombie Boogie Baked Beans
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large casserole dish, combine the beans, pineapple, onion, pepper, garlic and bacon. Stir to blend. Add Ahrun’s Famous Zombie Boogie Sauce, soy sauce, mustard and sugar. Mix well. Cover and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 45-55 minutes. Serves 6-8.
Gramps’ Delicious Deviled Eggs
Place eggs in saucepan covered with about 1-2” cold water. (Starting them in cold water gets the shells off easier.) Once they reach the boiling point, boil for 10 minutes. Run under cold water and peel when cool. Slice each egg in half the long way and place all yolks in a bowl. Add dill weed, curry powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mayonnaise and Gramp’s Sweet Pickles and mix well. Add more spices to your liking if desired. Divide mixture evenly in each egg and place in plate, sprinkle with paprika. Serves 4-6.
Hannah’s Granna’s Apple Cinnamon Rolls
Thaw bread dough in a warm place. Roll out on a floured surface in a rectangle. Spread soft butter over dough. Sprinkle cinnamon over butter. Spread Hannah’s Granna’s Apple Cinnamon Spread over dough. Roll up starting at long end of dough. Seal edges with warm water. Cut into pieces about 1 inch wide. Place pieces into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Cover with a towel and let rolls rise in warm place until double in size (about 30 minutes). Bake at 350° for about 15 minutes. Frosting: In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Spread onto warm rolls. Sprinkle tops with chopped pecans or toffee pieces.
Cuginos French Onion Soup
Melt butter on the stovetop, add onions and cook until soft and starting to brown. Add water, beef stock and Cuginos Baked Burgundy French Onion Soup Mix. Bring to a slow boil for 20 minutes. Arrange the sourdough slices in single layer on baking sheet and bake in a 400-degree oven until the bread is dry, crisp and golden at edges, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Set individual broiler-safe crocks on baking sheet and fill each with about 1-3/4 cups of soup. Top each bowl with 1 or 2 baguette slices (do not overlap slices) and sprinkle evenly with Gruyere. Broil until cheese is melted and bubbly around edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
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