Healthy Cooking Made Simple

Guest blog by Kilah Hemesath, Latham Hi-Tech Seed’s Marketing Intern

Real people, real food, real stories.

Nothing brings a family together more than a home-cooked meal at the end of a long day. The Iowa Food & Family Cookbook does just that – offers delectable recipes submitted by real people like you. Intertwining the scrumptious story of where food comes from and tasty dishes is the best type cooking you could do for your family.

The Iowa Food & Family Project, along with state commodity groups, retailers and other sponsors including Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, helped sponsor the making of the Iowa Food & Family Cookbook. Bloggers Kristen Porter of Iowa Girl Eats and Cristen Clark of Food and Swine are two of the faces behind the scenes discovering and sharing the real story of agriculture.

In conjunction with the cookbook, these two bloggers set out on a mission to share their experiences with others across Iowa. I had the privilege to attend their July 30th Recipe Refresh event in Mason City, Iowa. The event consisted of a cookbook signing by Kristen and Cristen. Local farmers were also on hand, so North Iowa residents could engage in conversation about their food, farming or any topic concerning their food.


I was even able to enjoy the event with my 2nd cousin and  Iowa Dairy Princess, Mikayla Lien!

This event also featured a contest winner, Amy Stoeffler, who received a $250 check to Hy-Vee, and her choice of a recipe to be “refreshed.” In attendance was Hy-Vee store Dietician Megan Conlon, who hosted a store tour while providing tips on reading food labels and shopping for healthier ingredients. Also in attendance were bloggers Kristin and Cristen, North Iowa bloggers, cattle farmer Cindy Greiman from Garner, Nancy Degner from Iowa Beef Industry Council, the Iowa Dairy Princess Mikayla Lien and the Iowa Soybean Association.

The recipe chosen to undergo a recipe refresh was the Three-Cheese, Veggie and Beef Calzone recipe. Megan Conlon gave the recipe from the Iowa Food & Family Cookbook a makeover by choosing to use a premade whole wheat pizza crust, so the calzone was quickly transformed into a pizza version! She replaced pepperoni with lean roast beef. She also sautéed the vegetables in soybean oil, which contains heart heathy Omega 3s. How easy is that? Healthy, delicious pizza at your fingertips!

Find the recipe below and try it in your own kitchen at home! You can also find this in the Iowa Food & Family Cookbook on page 25.

The Iowa Food & Family Cookbook is filled with recipes to help you cook up memories with your family in the kitchen. Find recipes from farm families, cooking tips & tricks and food facts in the cookbook. To receive your own copy of the cookbook, simply post your family’s favorite meal below.

You can also receive a complimentary of the cookbook by visiting the Iowa Food & Family Project’s booth at the Iowa State Fair, August 13-23. Located in the southeast atrium of the Varied Industries Building, the IFFP display will showcase the many ways farming contributes to Iowa and the quality of life enjoyed by those who live and work here.

Three-Cheese, Veggie and Beef Calzone


1 tablespoon olive or soybean oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

1 cup sliced button mushrooms

1/4 tablespoon red pepper flakes (optional)

2 cups baby spinach leaves

1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained

6 slices (6 ounces) deli roast beef

3 slices provolone cheese

1/2 cup (2 ounces) reduced-fat shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 jar (4 ounces) roasted red peppers drained

4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in onion and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until soften and lightly browned at edges. Stir in spinach and red pepper flakes. Remove skillet from heat and set aside. In a blender, add the 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes and puree until smooth; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

On a lightly floured work surface, cut dough into 6 equal pieces. With a rolling pin, roll each piece into a 6-inch diameter. Spread 1 teaspoon of the sun-dried tomato paste over 1 dough circle. Place 1 slice of beef in center. Top with 1/2 a provolone slice, some of the mozzarella, some of the vegetable mixture, a piece of the roasted red pepper and Parmesan cheese. Fold circle of dough in half and press with fork to seal edges.

Place calzone on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Repeat with remaining dough and ingredients. Bake about 30 minutes or until evenly browned and heated through. Serve hot or warm.