But this doesn’t mean they miss out on all the fun of the holiday season.
On Dec. 4-5, West County EMS/FPD took to the streets with the Jolly Old Elf himself, giving Santa and Mrs. Claus a ride on the back of fire truck and giving area children a chance to share their Christmas wishes.
On Dec. 15-17, Monarch will take its turn chauffeuring Santa through district streets.
Kids and Christmas also have been top of mind in many area firehouses where Toys for Tots have been collected. In fact, the B-Shift House 2 crew [shown at left] in Monarch took their “food kitty” and purchased toys for the annual toy drive. The food kitty is money out of their own pockets that firefighters use to purchase groceries. According to Monarch, the B-Shift House 2 crew is leading the district’s charity campaigns, having collected the most money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association [over $2,000] and Pedal the Cause [over $1,000] during those fundraising campaigns.
You know the cause is near and dear to their hearts when those in the house are willing to give up their groceries. After all, firefighters and cooking go together like Mac and Cheese – or in the case of SCUZ* – macaroni, cheese and beef.
This Christmas, while you’re enjoying baked ham, roast turkey, homemade cookies and fresh baked pies, the firefighter-paramedics in Metro West, Monarch and West County fire protection districts will be enjoying their own often-requested holiday fare, recipes for which they have generously shared.
Submitted by Monarch Deputy Chief Nick Harper
1 box macaroni and cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1-1/2 cups 2 percent milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Several splashes of hot sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Cook macaroni according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink, then drain and set beef aside.
- Drain macaroni, them combine the milk, butter reheat and mix. Pour over beef mixture.
- Sprinkle with cheese and hot sauce to taste or to the tolerance of the crew.
- May be served with regular saltines with butter spread on top. This helps to temper the hot sauce.
Submitted by West County EMS/FPD Engineer Joe Carey
4 large chicken breasts
2 sleeves Ritz crackers
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk
3 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 14-ounce can of cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons butter
- Cut each chicken breast into three large chunks.
2. In a small food processor grind up the Ritz crackers.
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into three separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk, then the cheese and finally into the cracker crumbs.
5. Spray a 9- by13-inch pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken in the pan.
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken.
7. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 400º F for 35 minutes. Remove the foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.
8. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken.
Submitted by West County EMS/FPD Firefighter/Paramedic Kim Keys
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound Italian sausage
1 can of tomato paste
2 large cans of whole tomatoes (cut up)
Salt and pepper
1 sauté celery
1 red pepper
2 bay leaves
1. Place the vegetables in the crock-pot with the meat.
2. Add two bay leaves.
3. Add the special ingredient, “lots of love.”
4. Stir from time to time, add more seasoning as needed.
5. Simmer for 6-8 hours.
6. Serve over pasta.
Sausage potato soup
Submitted by Metro West Firefighter/Paramedic Luke Holestine
1 small onion, diced
1 pound Italian sausage
1 red pepper, diced
8-10 medium potatoes cut in 1/2-inch cubes
32 ounces of reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 to 1 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/8-1/4 top kosher salt – a good pinch or two
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon thyme
- Add one tablespoon olive oil to 4 quart, or larger, pot and turn stove to medium high heat.
- Add onion and soften. Add Italian sausage and cook until no longer pink. When sausage is cooked, drain grease and return to stove.
- Add uncooked, cubed potatoes to meat and stir to absorb any remaining grease. Pour in chicken broth, which should just cover the potatoes. Broth will cook down some. Add diced red pepper.
- Bring to a boil, remove lid and reduce heat to medium/medium high. Add garlic, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme.
- Cook potatoes until they are fork tender, approximately 10-15 minutes. When potatoes are soft, reduce heat to medium/low and add half and half. Do not boil.
- Stir. Re-season to taste and serve.
Submitted by Metro West Firefighter/Paramedic Sean Johnson
1/2 pounds of bacon
1/2 pounds of sausage
1/2 pounds of your choice f cheese
Precooked pizza crust or uncooked crust
- Follow the cooking instruction for your choice of crust.
- Cut bacon up into pieces, fry and drain.
- Cook sausage and save grease in separate pan.
- Scramble eggs and cook.
- Add flour to the reserved grease a little at a time until a paste is formed. Add milk to grease mixture, cooking over medium heat slowly and stirring until thick gravy is made.
- Apply gravy to cooked crust. Spread egg, bacon, sausage and cheese evenly. Put pizza back in the oven at 350º F for approximately 10 minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese.
- Remove pizza, cut and serve.
White Chicken Chili
Submitted by Metro West Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Coppin
3 cups chicken stock
2 pounds cooked chicken, shredded
36 ounces great white northern beans
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
12 ounces chopped green chilies
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
Sour cream, optional
Green onions, chopped, optional
- Mix all ingredients with the exception of the Monterey Jack cheese in a large pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer. Stir in cheese until completely melted. Simmer to allow flavors to blend.
- When serving, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with green onion.