Savor The Active Age’s Holiday Recipe Contest Winners

By The Active Age | December 1, 2020

Who says all holiday meals have to be based around turkey and ham? A bierock casserole recipe submitted by Mindy Wooten of Halstead would make a great brunch or lunch main centerpiece, especially considering Kansans’ fondness for bierocks. That’s why Wooten’s recipe was chosen the winner of The Active Age’s first holiday recipe contest. 

As Wooten wrote in her entry, “This is a great recipe for those who love bierocks but do not have the time or patience to make them from scratch. It is an easy, very good and a complete meal.”

First Place

Mindy’s Bierock Casserole

1 lb. ground beef

½ large onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 pkg. Lipton onion soup mix

½ head cabbage, finely chopped

1½ cups grated cheddar cheese

2 cups instant rice

2 cups water (add more if necessary)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 pkg. crescent rolls

Salt and pepper, to taste


Brown ground beef with garlic and onions; drain liquid.

Add cabbage, soy sauce, onion soup mix and water, simmering until cabbage is cooked. Add instant rice, cover and let sit until liquid is absorbed by rice (you may need to add water).

Pour into 9 x 13 pan, top with cheddar cheese.

Roll out crescent rolls in one big sheet to top the pan. Roll between two sheets of wax paper that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Peel off top sheet of wax paper, then place dough face down on top of casserole and peel off bottom sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees until crust is very brown, about 20-25 minutes. Let sit about five minutes, then cut into square and service.

Second Place

This fudge, a favorite of Stephanie Mankins while growing up, earned her second place in the recipe contest.

“My mom added oats for a little extra texture,” Mankins said. “Sounds weird, but you can’t stop at just one piece!”

Creamy Oat Fudge

Combine in 2-quart heavy saucepan:

1 cup sugar

1 jar marshmallow creme

¼ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup evaporated milk

¼ cup butter

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture boils.  Remove from heat and add:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Stir until completely melted, then add:

1 teaspoon vanilla

¾ cup quick rolled oats

½ cup chopped nuts

Pour into buttered 8-inch pan. Refrigerate.


Recipe tasters liked the sweet-salty-meaty mix of flavors in this appetizer, submitted by Rhonda Boggs of Wichita.

Bacon Pineapple Smokies                                             

1 (14-oz.) package smokies 

10 oz. bacon                                                                                                                                                  ¼ cup brown sugar                                                                                                                                    

2 tablespoons honey                                                                                                            

1 small can crushed pineapple (drain and reserve juice)                                       



Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet or large baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. 

Cut each slice of bacon into thirds. Wrap each of the smokies in one of the bacon segments. Insert a toothpick through each of the smokies to hold the bacon in place. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining smokies and bacon.

In a bowl, stir together brown sugar, honey and drained pineapple. Top each of the smokies with 1/4 teaspoon of the sugar mixture. If you want a little heat, sprinkle smokies with red pepper flakes. Pour reserved juice around the edges and transfer to oven until bacon is cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Note: For even more flavor, brush cooked smokies with any remaining sugar mixture after removing from oven.

Beer and Cheddar Fondue

4 cups (16 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon flour

1 can beer

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ teaspoons ground mustard

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Pretzel sticks, sliced smoked sausage, bread cubes and/or apple slices, for dipping

      In a large bowl, combine cheese and flour. In a small saucepan, heat beer, garlic, mustard and pepper over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan. Reduce heat to medium-low, add a handful of cheese-flour mixture. Stir constantly, using a figure-eight motion, until almost completely melted. Repeat with remaining cheese-flour mixture. Keep warm while serving.

Melissa De Winter

Irish Eggs

2 dozen large eggs

½ cup milk

½ cup butter

2 cans cream of celery soup

1 cup grated cheese

Salt and pepper



Scramble eggs, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add two cans cream of celery soup. Spoon into greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle 1 cup cheese and top with paprika. Refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 325 degrees about 60 minutes before serving.

Mabel Penner

Figgy Pudding Shortbread Biscuits

1½ cups sugar, divided use

1½ cups flour

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided use

Pinch salt

16 oz. FROG (figs, raspberries, orange, ginger) jam

2 oranges, peeled and squeezed for ½ cup juice

2 cups diced apple 

1 ½ cup dried Medjool dates

2 teaspoons ground ginger (can substitute nutmeg, cinnamon or allspice, depending on taste)

¾ cup heavy cream

½ cup water

1 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds

Make the shortbread:

Combine the flour, ½ cup sugar, 12 tablespoons butter and salt in a bowl. In a food processor, or using pastry blades, cut the butter into the flour and sugar until the dough is crumbly. Wrap dough in plastic and leave in refrigerator for at least an hour. The butter needs to be cold before putting it in the pan. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 baking pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Put cold dough in pan. Press gently to fill the bottom of the pan, using a spatula, fork, or spoon to keep your warm hands away from the dough. Pierce dough with fork in a dozen or so places to allow steam to escape. Bake at 325 F for 30 minutes.  Turn off oven and let cool in the oven.

Make the figgy jam:

In a saucepan, combine FROG jam, orange juice, diced apples, diced dates, and ginger. Bring to boil, then cook over low heat until the apples are soft. Mash the mixture with a fork until the apples are pureed. Continue simmering over low heat until the mixture reduces to the texture of chutney. Very thick but spreadable, no runniness. Remove from heat and cool. Pour over shortbread and spread to the edges of the pan. Refrigerate.

Make the caramel sauce:

Combine 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water in saucepan and put on medium high heat. Use a spatula to make sure the sugar is evenly distributed on the bottom of the pan. Watch it carefully.  Do not stir. When the mixture comes to a rolling boil, continue cooking the mixture until it turns amber. Reduce heat to lowest setting, and gently add cream. Whisk while adding butter. Remove from heat. Add the pecan pieces and stir to coat. Cool to a pourable consistency.

Final assembly: Pour caramel sauce over jam and shortbread, and smooth to edges of the pan. Refrigerate. When time to serve, bring to room temperature and cut into individual servings.

Michael Webb

Maple Baked Butter Beans

Olive oil cooking spray

½ large sweet onion (Vidalia if available), thinly sliced to make 1½ cups

2 slices applewood smoked thick-cut bacon, finely chopped

2 cans (14 to 15 oz. each) seasoned butter beans, drained

¾ cup tomato ketchup

½ cup maple syrup, preferably pure

2 teaspoons chipotle-roasted garlic seasoning, such as McCormick’s

Nonstick aluminum foil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 9-inch baking pan with spray.

Preheat large nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook bacon for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Add onion and saute until softened. 

Stir beans, ketchup, syrup and seasonings into bacon mixture; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Transfer bean mixture to baking dish and cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake about 5 more minutes or until top begins to brown. Serve.

Clyester Peters, Goddard

Peanut Butter Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

¾ cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons milk

16 oz. Cool Whip or other frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided use

1 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped

Chocolate sauce, optional


Chill pie crust. Mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add peanut butter and milk; blend wel. Slowly add half of the thawed frozen whipped topping into mixture and blend well. amaining cool whip and chopped nuts. 

If desired, swirl chocolate topping over all. Freeze 20-30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Note: This recipe freezes well.

Frances McNeal, Wichita

Cherry Pistachio Bread

1 pg. yellow cake mix

1 pkg. instant pistachio pudding

4 eggs

1 cup sour cream

½ cup water

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 drops green food coloring

¾ cup chopped maraschino     cherries

½ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Combine cake and pudding mixes. Combine eggs, oil, water and food color. Add dry ingredients. Beat until blended; batter will be thick. Fold in cherries and nuts. Grease bottom and sides of two loaf pans. Sprinkle half the cinnamon-sugar mixture over sides and bottom of pans. Divide batter between pans, then sprinkle rest of mixture over batter. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until done.

Wanda Phelps