Metro-East Living

Help fill food pantries at Empty Bowl in Collinsville, O’Fallon

The Empty Bowl in Collinsville draws a big crowd annually. The event, now in its fifth year, benefits the Collinsville Food Pantry.
The Empty Bowl in Collinsville draws a big crowd annually. The event, now in its fifth year, benefits the Collinsville Food Pantry. Provided

It still astounds me that people in our country go hungry, that children go to bed without a proper meal.

Local food pantries are godsends for many of our residents who struggle to find a way to put food on the table.

If you’d like to help stock the shelves of two area food pantries, attend an Empty Bowl event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday in Collinsville and O’Fallon. Tickets at each fundraiser are $10 and you’ll get a bowl of soup, bread and water, symbolizing the plight of the hungry. At both events, tickets are sold at the door and carryouts are available.

Here are the particulars: The Collinsville Empty Bowl will take place at the Gateway Center in Collinsville. This is the fifth year for the event and profits will be donated to Collinsville Food Pantry.

Choose from 40 types (meat and meatless) donated by local restaurants and licensed vendors. Taste as many as you like and vote for your favorite. Pie will be available for purchase, just in case you need dessert. Plus, there will be a stage show, with Collinsville resident and former radio personality Derrick Keith Cox as master of ceremonies. Stick around to hear 11-year-old singer Jon Wesley Hopkins, a rising star in country music. In addition, there will be a silent auction, 50/50 and gift card raffle. The event is sponsored by the Collinsville Woman’s Club.

The seventh annual O’Fallon Empty Bowl Luncheon will take place for the first time at Gateway Classic Cars in O’Fallon. Soup will be served up by a wide variety of restaurants, local clubs and groups. Plus, you’ll go home with a hand-painted bowl designed by the O’Fallon Woman’s Club and other local groups. Profits will benefit the O’Fallon/Shiloh Food Pantry. Sponsored by the O’Fallon Woman’s Club.

Shortcut meals

I have a sister-in-law who makes homemade pierogi at Christmastime. I came across this shortcut version and thought I’d send it to her, to see if it would be just as good as the ones she makes. If you’re tempted to try to make them, this might be an easy place to start.

Sloppy Joe Pasta is a casserole that is sure to entice kids to sit down to dinner — plus it’s easy to pull together.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Shortcut Pierogi

2 cups cooled mashed potatoes

1/2 cup (1/2 of 8-ounce tub) chive & onion cream cheese spread

1/4 teaspoon pepper

36 won ton wrappers

1 egg white, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons butter, divided

1/2 cup sour cream

Bring large saucepan of water to boil. Meanwhile, mix potatoes, cream cheese spread and pepper.

Cut won ton wrappers into circles with 3-inch biscuit cutter; brush edges with egg white. Spoon 1 tablespoon potato mixture onto center of each wrapper; fold in half. Press edges together to seal. Add, in batches of 12, to boiling water in large saucepan; cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until pierogies float to surface. Drain in colander. Rinse with cold water; drain well.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add 12 pierogies; cook 2 to 3 minutes, on each side or until golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining butter and pierogies. Serve with sour cream.

Yield: 9 servings.

Sloppy Joe Pasta

1 pound ground beef

1 envelope sloppy joe mix

1 cup water

1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 package (7-8 ounces) medium shell pasta, cooked and drained

1 cup (8 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in the sloppy joe mix, water, tomato sauce and paste; heat through. Remove from the heat; stir in pasta.

Spoon half into a greased 2 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with cottage cheese and then remaining pasta mixture. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.

Bake, uncovered, 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Each 1-cup serving: 291 calories, 11 grams fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 904 mg sodium, 24 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams sugars, 2 grams fiber, 23g protein.

Taste of Home Casserole Cookbook 2001