Our St Louis Foodies & Contributors

Chef Lexi Linsenman

Join us in welcoming Lexi Linsenman as a contributing foodie that uses our produce to create amazing food.


It’s me! Here is just a short bio and recipe for “Fiesta Butternut Squash Soup”. I promise my schedule will free up after next weekend to buckle down more. Attached are some selfiesss, not sure which theme you’re going for (;

My name is Lexi Linsenman and all I do is think about food!
Designing different dishes and plating it in a colorful way is my creative outlet. Essentially it’s “edible art”! I then use these wonderful dishes to feed friends, family, and fuel my workouts.

I recently graduated from Fontbonne University with my Dietetics degree. Once my internship is complete and I pass the RD exam, I hope to inspire others that healthy food can taste amazing! Eventually I would like to start my own company centered around food marketing and designing menus for facilities such as elementary schools and nursing homes.

Fiesta Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 3-4
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 diced onion
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 packet fiesta ranch dip
2 tomatoes, cubed
4 tbsp heavy whipping cream or greek yogurt (optional)
3 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups of water (depending on consistency you want)
1-2 Thai chilies, diced (depending on if you want heat)
Fresh bread, croutons

Heat the oven to 400. Wrap butternut squash in tinfoil and cook for 45-60 minutes. If it is a larger squash it may need more time. Wrapping the squash in tin foil steams it from within and saves your hands from cutting up such a hard vegetable.
Once done, cube the squash and peel off the skin. Save the seeds for roasting and topping the soup.
In a large pot, combine olive oil, butter, garlic and onions. Cook for 2-3minutes
Add squash, tomatoes, fiesta ranch packet, water, and Thai chilies.
Let come to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 25-30 minutes

Once done, top soup with heavy cream/yogurt if desired, croutons or bread. If you want to add more protein too, black beans and shredded chicken add nicely to the mix.

Marie Cooks shares one of her delicious pasta dishes…

I ran into my friend Tony White on Friday. We worked together at the last corporate job either of us had. He was always bringing in good stuff from his garden, tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, etc. Well, he gave up corporate life and became a full-time farmer and now he supplies fresh produce to the restaurants around town. He is the “farm” in “Farm to Table”.

I had been saying I need to reach out because I was seeing so much good stuff on his Facebook page but just hadn’t gotten around to it. So, imagine my surprise when I was sitting at lunch on Friday and the hostess came up with a big paper bag and asked if we were the cooks – Tony had seen us come in and put together a care package for me.


Needless to say, I was thrilled. (Tony stopped by on his way out and said he threw in the eggplant because he wanted to see what I would do with it. I’ve never cooked eggplant before so I’ve been doing some research and I think I have come up with a good recipe, but that’s a post for another day.)

Today we are talking Pasta Amatrice, Friday evening I looked at my husband and said, “What am I going to do with all those cherry tomatoes? That’s a lot of salad…” He suggested Pasta Amatrice.

Pasta Amatrice is super easy and so good, especially if you have fresh tomatoes. So Saturday I set off for the store for provisions. I really didn’t need much; all it takes to make this sauce is some pancetta, onion, garlic and basil and, of course, tomatoes. The salty pancetta with the sweetness of the tomatoes is just wonderful and it is so easy to make. Bacon and tomato pasta, give it a try!

prep 10 mins
cook 45 mins
total 55 mins

yields 2 servings


1/2 pound pancetta cut in 1/4″ slices (you can use bacon if you can’t find pancetta)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil
Parmesan cheese


Cut the pancetta in 1/4″ cubes and add to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until brown and crispy. This will take 15-20 minutes if you are using pancetta, 8-10 minutes for bacon. Remove from the pan and drain off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat. Add pancetta back to the pan with the onion and saute until the onion starts to get soft, about 8 minutes. Add the quartered tomatoes, red chili flakes and garlic and simmer for another 15 minutes or so until the tomatoes break down and become saucy. Add the basil and serve over pasta with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.


Marie Cook is a retired Grandma from St Louis and she loves to cook. Her mother knew fifty ways to feed a family of six on a pound of hamburger and had a knack for making something wonderful out of whatever she happened to have on hand at the time. She was a great teacher and taught Marie well. Today she cooks for her husband and herself on a regular basis, but she also feeds the family they all get together. She has recipes that are easy weeknight dinners, others suitable for date night or entertaining a large crowd. Her recipes are flexible and easy to adapt and prepare. You can view more of her recipes at mariecooks.com.


This recipe features our MightyVine yellow heirloom tomatoes, grown exclusively for St. Louis chefs!



13-14 large yellow tomatoes
1/2 c EVOO
12 whole cloves of garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, grated in sauce
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 – 3/4 tsp fresh ground
1/4 – 3/4 tsp fresh ground white pepper
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. raw sugar (add more to taste)
3 shots vodka
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 C bone broth (chicken or beef your preference)
1 small can tomato paste (2 if you want thicker sauce)
10 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 C fresh parsley chopped. 10 bay leaves whole


1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and salt the water generously. Prepare an ice bath for the tomatoes by filling a medium bowl with cold water and some ice cubes. Use a slotted spoon to plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 1 to 2 minutes. The skin should show evidence of peeling away from the flesh of the tomatoes. Remove them from the water and plunge them into the ice bath. Allow the tomatoes to sit in the cool water so they stop cooking.

2. In a medium skillet, heat 2-3 tablespoons of the olive oil and add the garlic, chopped parsley and basil and onions. Add salt, pepper, oregano and sugar, stirring and cooking over low heat until the garlic and onions are translucent.

3. Remove the tomatoes from the ice bath, peel off skins and put in a strainer or cheesecloth while placing the tomatoes in a separate bowl. Scoop out the seeds and jelly into the strainer or cheesecloth as well. Once finished, put the strainer over the tomatoes and push the remaining skis and seeds through the strainer into the bowl of tomatoes or squeeze the cheesecloth essentially doing the same. Throw out the remains.

4. Add the tomatoes and stir in vodka, vinegar, tomato paste, bay leaves, & 2-5 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until the tomato flesh starts to lose shape, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the bone broth, simmer on low for 15 to 20 minutes and season to taste.

5. Once cooked, remove from heat, put the tomato sauce in the blender and puree until smooth.

6. Seve with penne or your favorite pasta.


Sue Donze creates recipes for her blog, Pretty Much Paleo STL. When she’s not in the kitchen, she is a special education autism teacher and loves to Crossfit and spend time with her awesome husband.