Coulee Region Cooks (140)

Join Mike Hayes each Thursday morning on WIZM for Coulee Region Cooks, the area's only live radio cooking show. Mike is joined by some of the best chefs and home cooks throughout the La Crosse area as they share their favorite recipes. Catch Coulee Region Cooks Thursday mornings at 10am on WIZM.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:34 pm

Brussels Sprout Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

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¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp whole grain mustard

1 tsp sugar


2 Tbsp minced onion

4 slices bacon cut into ½ inch pieces

1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts trimmed, halved and sliced thin

1 ½ cups romaine lettuce cut into ¼ inch ribbons

2 Oz Parmesan shaved into thin strips using a vegetable peeler

¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted


Whisk vinegar, mustard, sugar and ¼ tsp salt together in a bowl. Add onions, cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until steaming (30-60 seconds). Stir to submerge onions and let cool to room temperature. Cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently until bacon is crisp. Remove from heat and whisk in shallot mixture. Add Brussels sprouts and romaine and toss with 2 forks/tongs until dressing is evenly distributed and sprouts darken slightly (1-2 minutes). Transfer to a serving bowl. Add Parmesan and toasted almonds & toss to combine. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:31 pm

Ground turkey with Peppers

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Cooking spray

1 cup chopped yellow onion

1 bell pepper (red or yellow preferred), chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced


1 lb ground turkey, preferably ground turkey thighs

1 teaspoon chipotle powder or chili powder (or to taste)

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro


Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and bell pepper and cook until onions and peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Push the vegetables to the edge of one side of the pan and position that side of the pan so that it is off the burner, away from the heat. The empty part of the pan should be right over the burner. Put crumpled chunks of ground turkey in the pan, sprinkle with salt and chipotle or chili powder. Cook the turkey without stirring until it is browned on one side, then turn the pieces over to brown the other side. Once the turkey is just cooked through, stir in the onions and peppers, and sprinkle with more salt and chili powder to taste. Remove from heat. Stir in fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. Serve alone, or with steamed rice or noodles.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:28 pm

Pork Chops with Thyme Pan Sauce

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1 Tbsp canola oil

4 – 4 oz. boneless center cut pork chops

¾ tsp salt-divided

½ tsp coarsely ground pepper, divided

1/3 cup chopped shallots (or leeks)

½ cup white wine

¾ cup chicken stock

¼ tsp dried leaf thyme

1 ½ Tbsp butter


Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and swirl to coat pan. Sprinkle pork chops with ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Add pork to pan. Cook 4 minutes, turn and cook an additional 3 minutes or until done. Remove from pan & keep warm. Add shallots to pan and sauté for 90 seconds. Remove pan from heat and add wine. Return pan to heat and cook 2 more minutes or until reduced by ½ scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add stock and bring to a boil. Cook 4 minutes or until reduced to 1/3 cup. Add thyme, remove from heat and whisk in remaining ¼ tsp salt, remaining ¼ tsp pepper and butter. Spoon sauce over chops to serve.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:23 pm

Steak with Peppered Mushroom Gravy

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2 cups uncooked egg noodles

Cooking spray

1 pound sirloin steak, cut into ¾ inch pieces

1 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots or leeks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp soy sauce

3 Tbsp flour

1 ½ cup beef broth

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp dried thyme leaves


Cook noodles according to package directions omitting salt & fat. Drain. While noodles cook, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak and sauté for 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan and cover. Melt butter in pan over medium heat. Add shallots (leeks) and mushrooms. Saute 4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture and cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Once all broth is added add salt, pepper and thyme. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until sauce is thickened. Return beef to pan and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated through. Serve over egg noodles.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:17 pm

Mixed Green Salad with Oranges, Craisins and Pecans

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1 cup + 3 Tbsp orange juice

6 Tbsp craisins

4½ Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp grated orange peel

6 cups mixed greens

3 oranges, peeled & white pith removed, segmented

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted


Bring 1 cup orange juice to a simmer in a small pan, remove from heat, mix in craisins and let stand until softened (about 30 minutes). Drain well and discard soaking liquid. In a small bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, orange peel and remaining 3 Tbsp orange juice. Mix in cranberries and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place greens in a bowl and toss with dressing. Place dressed greens on a large platter. Top with orange segments and toasted pecans.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016 1:09 pm

Mixed Sausage Paella

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4 cups chicken stock

½ teaspoon saffron threads

Cooking spray

2 Andouille sausages, sliced

2 hot Italian sausages, sliced

2 chicken-apple sausages, sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1 ½ cups white rice (use basmati)

8 oz. can tomato sauce

Salt, Freshly ground black pepper

½ tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley


Heat stock in a saucepan. Add saffron and set aside. Spray a large cast-iron skillet or heavy frying pan with cooking spray. Add sausages and sauté on medium heat until lightly browned. Remove. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic to same pan. Sauté until soft. Stir in paprika and rice. Stir in tomato sauce. Add stock. Return sausages to pan. Stir once, season liquid to taste and cook, uncovered, on medium about 25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove skillet from heat and place sheet of parchment paper on surface for 10 minutes. Remove parchment, scatter parsley on top and serve, making sure to include any crusty bits that cling to pan with each portion.

Thursday - March 24, 2016 12:00 am

Irish Bangers

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Prep Time: 90 minutes, if you have made sausages before. Longer if you’re a newbie

4 pounds venison, pork or other meat cut into chunks

1Ib pork or duck fat

36 grams kosher salt, about 2 tablespoons plus a teaspoon

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons white pepper

1 teaspoon minced sage

1 teaspoon porcini powder (optional)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon mace

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

8 ounces of coarsely ground oats, barley, or, alternately breadcrumbs

3/4 cup malty beer

Hog casings


Get out about 15 to 20 feet of hog casings and soak them in warm water. If you don’t trust your source, run water through them to check for punctures or weak spots. Make sure all your equipment is cold, as in freeze the grinding plate and blades, and the bowl you will put the meat into for 30 minutes to an hour. Do the same for the meat and fat. When everything’s nice and cold, mix the meat and fat with all the spices (leave out the oats and beer for the moment). Grind it all through a coarse plate; I use a 10 mm plate. Test the temperature of the mixture, and if it’s 35°F or colder, go ahead and grind it all again through a fine die, like a 4.5 mm or somesuch. If it’s warmer than 35°F, put the mix back in the freezer to chill. This might take an hour or so if you’ve let the meat warm up too much. Once the sausage has been ground twice, test the temperature again to make sure it’s 35°F or colder. I prefer to chill the mix down to 28°F to 32°F for this next stage. Chill the mix and when it’s cold enough, take it out and add the oats and beer. Now, mix and knead this all up in a big bin or bowl with your (very clean) hands for a solid 2 minutes — your hands will ache with cold, which is good. You want everything to almost emulsify. Stuff the sausage into hog casings rather loosely. I like bangers to be about 6 to 8 inches long, but it’s your choice. To twist them into links, tie off one end of the coil you just made. Pinch off links with your two hands and roll the link between them forward a couple times. Move down the coil and repeat, only this time roll backwards a few times. Repeat until you do the whole coil. Now look at the links, which will probably have air pockets in them. Use a sterile needle or sausage pricker (set it aglow in your stovetop flame) to puncture the casing over all the air pockets. Gently compress the links together to squeeze out the air pockets and rotate the links a bit more to tighten; this takes practice. Hang your links for at least 1 hour if your room is warm, and up to overnight if you can hang them in a place that’s 40°F or cooler. Don’t let them freeze yet. If you are not hanging overnight, let the sausages continue to dry uncovered in the fridge overnight before you seal them up and freeze. Bangers will keep a week in the fridge and a year in the freezer, if you’ve vacuum sealed them.

Thursday - March 3, 2016 12:00 am

Baked Pasta with Sausage and Spinach

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Olive oil spray

1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano

8 ounces fat-free ricotta

8 ounces part-skim mozzarella, shredded

14 ounces uncooked sweet Italian chicken sausage, removed from casing

12 ounces high-fiber or low carb rigatoni pasta

1 tsp. olive oil

2 cloves smashed garlic, roughly chopped

10 ounces package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid

Salt and fresh pepper to taste

4 cups marinara sauce


Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with olive oil spray. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 6 tablespoons of the Pecorino Romano cheese and half of the mozzarella cheese. Meanwhile, in a large deep skillet, brown the sausage breaking up into small bits until cooked through; set aside. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté garlic about a minute, careful not to burn. Add spinach and season with a little salt and pepper and cook another minute. Return the sausage to the skillet and add the marinara sauce; cook on low about 2-3 minutes. When the pasta water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to instructions for al dente, but undercook them by 4 minutes less; drain and return to pot. Put half of the cooked pasta into the prepared baking dish and top with half of the meat sauce. Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the sauce in an even layer. Cover with the remaining pasta and the remaining sauce. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Pecorino Romano cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes or until the mozzarella is melted and the edges are lightly browned.

This one's easy to adjust to "refrigerator door" ingredients. Make it yours, and it will be so good.

Thursday - March 3, 2016 12:00 am

Sausage & Potatoes

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Ingredients 14 oz. smoked sausage, sliced

2 lb. russet potatoes, cleaned & sliced

1/2 medium onion, sliced or diced

1 Tablespoon olive oil or bacon fat

1 1/2 teaspoons sage

1 clove garlic, minced

dash cayenne or hot sauce (opt)

Cooking Directions

*In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium high heat , add in sliced potatoes. (You can lay them out flat to get more crispy on each side, If you do this it will take about 10 mins to cook on each side. And I usually use 2 large skillets for this to make it go faster. Or you can just throw them in the pan stir them around it will give you more of a softer potato.) Brown potatoes, stirring occasionally. When potatoes are about 85% done or your last 5 minutes of cooking add sausage, onion, garlic, sage, and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium, and cook until sausage is heated and the onions are soft. You want about a 60/40 ratio with potatoes and sausage

Feeds 4

Thursday - February 11, 2016 12:00 am

Amazing No-Knead Bread

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6 cups bread flour (recommended) or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

1/2 t. instant or active-dry yeast

2 1/2 t. salt

2 2/3 c. cool water

In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated; the dough should be wet and sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest 12-18 hours on the counter at room temperature. When surface of the risen dough has darkened slightly, smells yeasty, and is dotted with bubbles, it is ready.

Lightly flour your hands and a work surface. Place dough on work surface and sprinkle with more flour. Fold the dough over on itself once or twice and, using floured fingers, tuck the dough underneath to form a rough ball. Place a full sheet/large rectangle of parchment paper on a cotton towel and dust it with enough flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran to prevent the dough from sticking to the parchment paper as it rises; place dough seam side down on the parchment paper and dust with more flour, cornmeal, or wheat bran. Pull the corners of parchment paper around the loaf, wrapping it completely. Do the same with the towel. Let rise for about 2 hours, until it has doubled in size.

After about 1 1/2 hours, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot, such as a cast-iron Dutch oven, in the oven as it heats. When the dough has fully risen, carefully remove pot from oven. Unwrap the towel and parchment paper from around the dough and slide your hand under the bottom of the dough ball; flip the dough over into pot, seam side up. Pull the parchment paper off, scraping any stuck dough into the pan. Shake pan once or twice if dough looks unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes, until the crust is a deep chestnut brown. The internal temperature of the bread should be around 200 degrees. You can check this with a meat thermometer, if desired.

Remove the bread from the pot and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.

This is a 'basic' bread that I have altered dozens of times, each time a little different. One time it's Cheddar, Olives, and Bacon. Next time It's Onion and Herbs and different cheese. Play with it, and love it every time. Add the new ingredients AFTER the overnight rising, not before, otherwise it may not rise as well.

Coulee Region Cooks Podcasts

  • 05-18-2017 by Mike Hayes
    Tony Szak shared some Rubs, some Salmon, and a few tasty tricks of his kitchen.
    Created on 2017-05-23 10:53:39
  • 05-11-2017 by Mike Hayes
    Joe Foster shares tips and some great recipes from his desk at Signatures in Winona.
    Created on 2017-05-15 10:55:07
  • 04-27-2017 by Mike Hayes
    Alice P Clark shares some fun, easy, tasty treats.
    Created on 2017-05-03 10:45:26
  • 04-14-2017 by Mike Hayes
    New Head Chef at Twisted Moose Tim Fuhrman shares favorite recipes, and a few tricks.
    Created on 2017-04-15 10:56:28
  • 04-06-2017 by Mike Hayes
    Jim Bressi Brought news from the Kwik Trip Dairy, Switzerland and a few fondue recipes too
    Created on 2017-04-07 15:53:58