Camp Point woman likes making 'good food'

Randi Bobier’s versatile Red Sauce, left, is delicious over pasta, spaghetti squash or Chicken Parmesan, while other favorites like an Arnold Palmer drink “is great company for spending time outdoors” and a charcuterie board creatively combines mat, cheese, fruit, nuts and other food items.
H-W Photo/Deborah Gertz Husar
By Herald-Whig
Posted: May. 20, 2020 12:01 am

Randi Bobier believes one of the most important ingredients in her cooking just might be love.

"Like with anything you have to be passionate about what you're doing," she said. "Lots of love makes a huge difference no matter what you're doing."

It's a lesson passed down by her grandmothers, and something she and her husband Trey are passing down to their boys — James, 8, Harrison, 6, and Jonny, 3.

"They love to make food with me," Bobier said.

The boys routinely help in the kitchen. They stir, cut up some ingredients and taste – whether it's chocolate chip or snickerdoodle cookie dough or Bobier's homemade spaghetti sauce.

"We like good food. We like to make good food. We do a lot of gardening," Bobier said. "We make our spaghetti sauce from the tomatoes we grow in our garden, from basil and oregano that we grow, onions, garlic, all that good stuff."

Red Sauce, initially based on a recipe from her grandmother-in-law Wilma Green and adapted for more savory flavor, is delicious over pasta, spaghetti squash or Chicken Parmesan, another family favorite. Rainy spring nights are perfect for Randi's Chili, while Randi's Tomato Soup with a hearty grilled cheese and salad is a summertime favorite and Chicken and Rice Soup makes a meal any time of year.

Another favorite, an Arnold Palmer, "is great company for spending time outdoors," Bobier said.

The boys are just as happy to help build, then eat, a charcuterie board, essentially a meat and cheese board with fruit and nuts. Bobier often adds favorite crackers, pretzels, dips and pickles to boards made for the holidays or sometimes "just because" for a family meal.

"You can do a board really any way you want to," she said. "It can be semi-homemade or homemade, as far as you want to take it and what you want to do with it."

The creativity involved in cooking and cake decorating appeals to Bobier, who also enjoys painting, drawing and spending time in what she calls a "working kitchen" for the family.

"If we're not making food in here, we're creating something in here most of the time. Recently we're also having school in here. A lot of things happen in this kitchen," she said.

Surprising someone with a special treat, even young people at Camp Point Assembly where Bobier is youth pastor, is another part of the family's cooking tradition just like gathering together when they can to enjoy a meal.

"We love to cook, and we love to eat. It's a big part of our life," Trey Bobier said. "It's just a testament to how we grew up with parents and grandparents who loved to cook, involved us in cooking and didn't think it was an inconvenience for us to be around when they were trying to make supper. That's what we try to do with our boys, to get them involved."

SClBRed Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

4 green sweet peppers, chopped

1 (eight-ounce) can tomato paste, no salt added

1 quart fresh tomato juice (substituting store-bought works just fine, but choose a no-salt option)

3 tablespoons fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh basil

cup pure maple syrup

Heat and simmer garlic, onion and green pepper in olive oil. When softened, add tomato paste. Heat for two minutes Add tomato juice, oregano, basil and maple syrup to your taste preference. Use an immersion blender to puree.

NOTE: If you prefer a sweet sauce, use two peppers instead of four and more maple syrup.

Chicken Parmesan

4 chicken breasts, pounded thin

Egg wash

Italian bread crumbs

4 tablespoons olive oil

Red Sauce

Cover chicken breasts in egg wash, then bread crumbs. Fry in olive oil until cooked through. Cover in red sauce to serve.

Randi's Chili

2 cloves garlic, mined

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 bunch celery hearts, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound Kabrick's Spicy Pork Sausage

1 jar medium to hot salsa, freshly canned or store-bought

1 packet chili spice

2 cups frozen sweet corn

1 quart fresh tomato juice

1 can black beans, rinsed

Heat garlic, onion and celery in olive oil, and simmer until soft. Add sausage and chili spice; cook until sausage is browned. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer for one hour before serving.

Randi's Tomato Soup

2 cloves garlic

1 medium onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 quart fresh tomato juice

1 quart Bent's Family Foods chicken broth

Fresh oregano and basil to taste

Heat garlic and onion in olive oil, and simmer until soft. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree.

Chicken and Rice Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 bay leaves

teaspoon ground turmeric

2 teaspoons adobo seasoning

1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash original seasoning-salt free

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

8 cups Bent's Family Foods chicken broth

1 pound long grain wild rice blend or 6 ounces wide egg noodles

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

1 teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

cup chopped parsley

1 teaspoon ground cayenne, optional

Cook onion, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add chicken and cook through. Add bay leaves, turmeric, adobo, Mrs. Dash, thyme, chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, parsley and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Add rice or noodles, and cook until tender.

Arnold Palmer

Combine equal parts freshly brewed black tea and fresh lemonade. Garnish with lemon.