Many delicious dishes come from our firehouse cooks

recipe box

Tasty chicken, flavorful pastas and a delectible dessert will satisfy the heartiest of appetites. (Photo provided)


by Annette Kukoy and Jackie Shayotovich


            Firemen have the reputation of being great cooks, using easy to make recipes. Retired fireman, Tom Podnar proves that true with recipes he gave us for some delicious meals. The chessecake bar will make the perfect dessert. Tom and his wife Mandy are members of Ss. Peter and Paul parish in Merrillville.


Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1-3/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 teaspoons Italian bread crumbs


            Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Combine mayonnaise and cheese. Arrange the chicken on a prepared baking pan. Spread the tops of the chicken with the mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken reaches temperature of 165 degrees.


Garlic Herb Pasta

8 oz. angel hair pasta

3 tablespoons herb garlic butter

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Grated zest of 1/2 lemon

2 cups arugula (or baby spinach) leaves

1/3  cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


            Cook and drain the pasta according to package instructions. Place the butter, oil and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add the pasta and mix until the butter is melted. Stir in the arugula, cheese and seasonings. Mix well and serve. 


Zesty Italian Ziti

(not pictured)

1-1/2 lbs Italian sausage, cut into ½ -inch chunks

2 medium onions, sliced lengthwise

2 red peppers, sliced

2 green peppers, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

16 oz. ziti or rigatoni pasta

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


            Cook the sausage in a little olive oil until brown, or the pink is gone. Add the peppers, onions and garlic; cook until tender. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Continue to cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Toss the pasta, sausage mixture and cheese together. Add more cheese if desired.


Cheesecake Bars


2 cups crushed graham crackers

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

1/8  teaspoon salt


            Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with foil, letting the edges hang over the side. Grease foil. Combine crust ingredients and mix well. Sprinkle the mixture into the prepared pan; press firmly into an even layer. Bake the crust until it begins to brown, 12 to 15 minutes.



2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

¼ cup sour cream

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


            In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add the sugar and mix well, about 1 minute. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thoroughly combined. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Bake at 325 degrees until the edges are set but center still wiggles a little, 35 to 40 minutes. Set the pan on a wire rack and let the bars cool completely. Cover with foil and refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight. Remove the bars from the pan using the foil and cut into squares to serve.


            Annette Kukoy is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Munster. Jackie Shayotovich belongs to Ss. Peter and Paul in Merrillville. For more information contact Annette or Jackie at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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