Montana Noodles

Recently Neal wrote about one of the physical challenges we tackled as part of the MSU Fitness Center’s Summer Fitness Challenge.   In addition to the physical challenges, one of the tasks included on the list was to cook a meal with all local foods –just my kind of challenge! I teamed up with Neal’s wife, Val, a wonderful cook and friend, and together we made the following:

  • Homemade noodles using Wheat Montana flour and Mission Mountain eggs
  • From-scratch tomato sauce with tomatoes from Terra Nueva garden (Melville), homegrown garlic & basil, and ground turkey from Seder Ridge Farms (Ballantine)
  • Sauteed local zucchini (Bozeman) & mushrooms (Clancy)
  • Salad made with green lettuce & arugula from my garden and spinach from Springhill Farms (Bozeman)
  • Beer bread with Wheat Montana flour and Bozone Amber Ale (Bozeman)
  • Lee Metcalf Summer Ale from Bridger Brewery (Bozeman)

I usually try to purchase and incorporate as many local foods into my diet when possible (See my post on local food for rationale).  But this challenge to make a meal with all local foods was something new. Defining ‘local’ depends on where you live and what’s available. For our purposes, we defined local as Montana-grown, although the closer the ingredients to our community, the better. We didn’t make it to a farmer’s market due to our Hyalite adventure the day before, so as you can see from the list above, our local foods came from the regular grocery store, the Community Food Co-Op (which strives to carry a broad selection of local products), and our backyard gardens. It’s surprising how many local food items are available when you do a little searching. Many of the basic cooking items, like olive oil, salt/pepper, baking powder, and tomato paste weren’t local, but we tried our best!

Of course, we could have chosen something simpler than homemade tomato sauce and pasta, but as Neal mentioned, I tend to be an over-achiever, and so is Val. The recipes turned out to be a little time intensive, but technically easy and delicious. Here are a few of the recipes if you’d like to try them: (We omitted some of the extra veggies because we couldn’t find them locally grown, and we added cooked ground turkey)

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with meal choices; this was a fun adventure that pushed us to branch out and get creative with dinner. Although you may not have the opportunity to participate in a sponsored challenge like we did, you can still challenge yourself!  If you make a meal with all local foods, we’d love to hear about it. Send us pictures and/or a description to  We’ll even consider this an “extra-credit” challenge, and enter you into our monthly prize drawing!

Happy (local) Eating!


Noodle prep!
Noodle prep!
Fresh Montana noodles ready to eat!
Fresh Montana noodles ready to eat!
Fresh basil from the backyard.  We used the basil in the pasta sauce.
Fresh basil from the backyard. We used the basil in the pasta sauce.
Cooking and eating local is FUN!
Cooking and eating local is FUN!
The Montana table is set!  Let's eat!
The Montana table is set! Let’s eat!

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