Meet the People Behind the Recipes - Machine Shed

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The Machine Shed Cookbook was released a few months ago and we are still very excited about sharing our favorite recipes with all of our patrons. The cookbook has been dedicated to all of our Shedheads who are either past, present or future, all of our guests and to all of the American Farmers. If you are interested in purchasing the cookbook, you can buy it in our gift shop!

Meet the Shedheads who submitted a recipe for the cookbook.

Jeff Grunder

Let us introduce you to Jeff Grunder. He has been with the company for 35 years and has worked at many of our locations, but is currently our General Manager of the Davenport Machine Shed. Jeff has contributed a lot of recipes to the cookbook, but the recipe near and dear to his heart is the Pilgrim Pie recipe that you can find on page 264. This cookbook would not have been possible without Jeff – thank you for your recipes and your commitment to The Machine Shed.

  • What Machine Shed location do you work at?
    • For the last 14 years, I have worked at the Davenport Machine Shed – but a total of 19 years altogether – and prior to that, I worked at the Rockford location for 7 years. I have also worked at other Heart of America properties such as the Iowa Trucking Company, Gramma’s Kitchen & Checkered Flag and Thunder Bay.
  • Where did the recipe come from?
    • Several of the recipes that I have in the cookbook are ones that I have created myself, but the Pilgrim Pie recipe came from my Mom and we make it every holiday. My entire family loves it – and we usually eat five pies every Thanksgiving.
  • What family events do you take this dish to?

    • I always have to make the Pilgrim Pie for Thanksgiving and Christmas. A lot of the other recipes in the cookbook are ones I have created when I am having the itch to eat some good home-cooking food.  

  •  Who do you like to cook with?
    • I like to cook with my daughter, Falloyn, she is a great baker. Plus, it’s fun to share my passion for cooking with her.

  • What is your favorite Machine Shed recipe/dish?
    • Wow, what a hard choice. My favorite Machine Shed items are hard to say.  If I had to pick one or two items, I would say the Parmesan Crusted Americas Cut or the Prime Rib.
  • Do you have any cooking tips that you would like to share?

    • If I could give one advice, it would be to have fun, cook with passion and enjoy the people you cook for. One tradition that we have at our house is to host a Sunday Funday with many of our friends and family – everyone cooks their favorites for everyone to enjoy and it is always a good time.

 

Karen Grunder

This is Karen Grunder, who is the wife to Jeff Grunder. She currently is at the Davenport Machine Shed, but like Jeff has worked at different locations within our company. Karen has been with the company for 40 years. She has submitted the Bacon Bloody Mary recipe that you can find on page 58.

 

  • What Machine Shed location do you work at?
    • I work at the Davenport Machine Shed and have been there for years.
  • Where did the recipe come from?

    • Bloody Mary’s have always been a favorite of mine and I have been making them every Sunday since I can remember.

  • What family events do you take this dish to?

    •  We have a Bloody Mary Bar at all of our family events, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have tried many different mixes and all sorts of garnishes. So, after many trial and errors, we have come up with a pretty good recipe.

  • What ingredients make the Blood Mary so great?
    • Pickle Juice is a must, along with lemon pepper and Worcestershire sauce.  

Jill Houle

Jill has been a Shedhead since 2001. She submitted the Roasted Lemon Pepper Turkey recipe that you can find on page 208.

“This is a recipe that we started making as a family for Thanksgiving and we look forward to preparing this turkey once a year. I love cooking with my family. We have started many lifelong traditions by making dishes that our parents and grandparents have passed down to us. I have worked at the Lake Elmo, Minnesota Machine Shed since we opened in 2001. I enjoy all the people that I work with and cherish all the wonderful new and returning customers that we get to serve every day.”

Michelle Sparkman

Michelle has been with the company since 2013. You can find her recipe for the Pork Tenderloin with a Cabernet Reduction on page 185.

  • Where did the recipe come from? I wanted to combine my love for food and wine – and the flavors complimented each other very well!
  • What family events do you take this dish to? This dish is perfect for a small family dinner or great for entertaining friends.
  • What Machine Shed location do you work at? I am part of the Machine Shed marketing team.
  • What is your favorite Machine Shed recipe/dish? My favorite dish at the Machine Shed is the Mac and Cheese, but the Pork Tenderloin is a close second!
  • Do you have any cooking tips that you would like to share: When it comes to cooking, I always see recipes as an idea or a jumping off point. Unlike baking, cooking isn’t an exact science. It’s all about using ingredients you like and creating a dish that you enjoy. I personally love garlic, so I always add more than what a recipe calls for – on the other hand I am not a big fan of the herb Oregano, so I will omit it or swap for something like parsley or basil.

 

 Nick Corbin

We want to introduce you to our General Manager of the Lake Elmo Machine Shed. He has been a Shedhead since 2008. He submitted the Autumn Stew, which you can find on page 103.

“This recipe has been passed down my family for generations. I first enjoyed it after a long, cold fall day cleaning the yard at my grandmother’s house. She would have a big, hot bowl ready for all of us after a hard day’s work. It was a great way to warm and fill us up. This tradition has been kept alive by my mother and now by my siblings.”    

Diane Mendoza

Meet the Machine Shed’s Soup Lady – Diane. She has been with the Appleton Machine Shed since 1998, the year it opened.  “I love making my family and friends happy. I can do that because of my love for cooking, which also makes for some great memories.”

 

  • What age did you start cooking? I started cooking when I was 10 years old.
  • What inspires you to cook? My love for family, food, as well as the memories I have of my parents cooking in the kitchen together.
  • What is your favorite thing to cook? I enjoy cooking soups because I can use leftovers to create them.
  • What is your favorite kind of soup to make? Chicken tortilla soup.
  • What is your favorite soup to eat? My favorite soup to eat would have to be tomato basil.
  • What is the most difficult soup you have ever made? I can’t think of the most difficult soup, but I’m sure there’s one out there!
  • What have you never tried to cook or haven’t mastered yet? I have never tried making bread before.
  • Where does your inspiration to cook come from? My inspiration to cook comes from my late mother and father. They always showed so much love for family, which translated into the time and care they spent while cooking meals.

Brett Opdahl

This is Brett and his mother, Julie. He has been with the company since 2017. He submitted his mother’s recipe for Banana Bread, which you can find on page 228. 

 

  • Where did the recipe come from? My family has been using this for years.
  • What family events do you take this dish to? It is a staple for holiday breakfasts and snacks when visiting with our family.
  • How often do you make this recipe? Besides the holidays, we usually make this recipe 6 times a year!
  • Who do you like to cook with? Our whole family makes it, so it’s fun to see how they switch it up and the ingredients they add in!
  • What Machine Shed location do you work at? I am part of the sales team in Des Moines, Iowa.

Graig Shannon

Craig has worked with the company since 2014. He submitted his grandmother’s recipe for Chicken and Dumplings, which you can find on page 205.

“Chicken and dumplings – always delicious. From my grandma Violet Shannon. This is one of my favorite cold-weather meals, fresh from the oven. It is also one that holds its own re-heated the next day. I recommend starting with a roasted chicken from the grocery store because it saves prep time from having to cook the chicken and the added roasting spices add to the taste of the dish.” 

Megan McDaniel

Megan has been with the company since 2014. She submitted her Grandma Betty’s Chippy Dippy Squares, which you can find on page 239.

 

  • Where did the recipe come from? It is a family recipe from my Grandma Betty Hallbauer and is a family favorite!!
  • What family events do you take this dish to? We try include it at any family function or event, we love our desserts!
  • How often do you make this recipe? For every holiday or family event. 
  • Who do you like to cook with? My cousins Madison, Torie and I like to have annual baking days 2-3 times a year. We like to try family recipes and spend time together in honor of our Grandmother’s memory. 
  • What Machine Shed location do you work at? I work directly next door at Hotel Renovo in Urbandale. 
  • What is your favorite Machine Shed recipe/dish?  Can’t be a Machine Shed cinnamon roll, but can’t go wrong with the Cattlemen’s Choice! 

  Hotel Renovo

Meet the staff from Hotel Renovo. Hotel Renovo is located next to the Machine Shed in Urbandale and is also a Heart of America Group property. The hotel submitted their Bacon & Blue Dip that they serve out of their Bar & Bistro. You can find this recipe on page 148 of the Machine Shed Cookbook. To learn more about Hotel Renovo, please visit their website

Landon Powell

Landon has worked for the company since 2001. He submitted the Pumpkin Bread recipe that you can find on page 230.

“This recipe passed down from my Grandmother Roberta Powell.  My father would make dozens of these breads for the holidays. Once baked and cooled, wrap tightly in Saran wrap, and then again in aluminum foil to seal in moisture and flavor. Can be frozen to store for future eating. Enjoy!”  

Gretchen McLaughlin

Gretchen has been with the company since 1993. You can find her recipe for Beer Can Chicken on page 204.

“The inspiration to try a new way to grill chicken started when we purchased a beer can chicken rack at the Machine Shed gift shop.  After we purchased the rack, we looked for the best and easiest recipe.  Our beer can chicken recipe is a recipe that a friend shared with us and one that we have shared with many other friends.  Over time, we have added some of our favorite spices.  It is a no fail recipe so you can experiment with it. I have been told you can substitute root beer or wine instead of beer for different flavors.  I have been with the Heart of America Group for many years.  I have learned that while you must keep your traditional family favorites, you also need to try new recipes and new cooking styles.  I love looking though cookbooks, talking to friends about new recipes, and watching the cooking channel for new ideas.  When I don’t have time to prepare, I call the Shed and Jeff helps us create a great take out meal to share with our family and friends!”     

Cindy Johnson

Meet the pie lady. Cindy Johnson has been a Shedhead since 1994 and works at the Rockford Machine Shed.

“I have been employed at the Illinois Machine Shed in Rockford since 1994. That’s almost 25 years of baking delicious treats and pies. When I started, there were not a lot of orders for carryout pies – if any at all – and slowly that has changed over the years. We now have approximately 3000 pies ordered for holidays and special occasions. 

I really enjoy baking and have done so for over 4 decades. The Machine Shed has been a wonderful place of employment and I look forward to breaking that 3000 mark – and baking for many more years.”