Nature, Natural, and Cowgirls in Big Sky Country!
Montana’s name comes from the Spanish word montaña, meaning "mountain" or more broadly "mountainous country.” You probably know it by its unofficial nickname given by the Montana Highway Patrol in 1962, “Big Sky Country”, which is in reference to the unobstructed skyline which seems to overwhelm the landscape at times.
We at My Girlfriendships® like this fact: Jeannette Rankin from Missoula was the first woman elected to the United States Congress in 1916—four years before the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. Ms. Rankin is a lot like My Girlfriendships—ahead of the trend!
Did you know there is an Amish community in Montana? I didn’t! They’re known for their hearty pull-out-all-the-stops casseroles. Hearty Montana Cowgirl Casserole is a favorite among the Amish in St. Ignatius and Rexford, two of the oldest Amish settlements in Big Sky Country.
There are a couple of casserole recipes—there is Montana Cowboy Casserole, then there is Montana Cowgirl Casserole. Of course when we’re making something for My Girlfriendships crew, we’re making the Cowgirl!
Ingredients for 5 | Multiply by degree of hunger, divide by number of girlfriends!
- 1 pound sausage, browned
- 1/2 pound bacon, cooked then crumbled
- 12 ounces frozen shredded hash browns
- 1 medium green pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- 1 cup Bisquick®
- 3 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 eggs
Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with oil or cooking spray.
Combine sausage, crumbled bacon, hash browns, pepper, onions, and 1 cup of cheese in a large bowl.
Spread in a baking pan.
Whisk together Bisquick®, milk, salt, and eggs until blended.
Pour over potato mixture.
Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Next day, bake for 30 minutes at 375º until golden brown.
Looking for a place to gather with girlfriends for a dinner for a night out? Here’s an option for Billings and one for Bozeman.
- Jake’s Downtown, Billings | Jake's Downtown is a locally owned and operated steakhouse that was established in 1979. Jake’s is located in the Historic Grand Building (one of Billings’ finest hotels in its day) and offers two separate bars as well as casual and fine dining. They have deep roots in the community, and they take pride in playing a part to ensure that downtown Billings continues to thrive.
Though deep in cattle country, Jake’s menu includes their delicious Coco Crunchy Shrimp. This is jumbo shrimp coated with coconut panko breading, deep fried until golden brown, and served with a side of Mango Habanero sauce. (Take care to watch out for the zing in the Habanero sauce, girlfriends!)
- Montana Ale Works, Bozeman | Montana Ale Works partners with more than 50 farmers, ranchers, and culinary artisans to offer locally-sourced, sustainably-grown produce, pasture-raised meats, herbs, mushrooms, and locally crafted cheeses. Curbed only by the length of the Montana growing season, their commitment helps limit their food just miles from pasture to plate. Since 2013, Montana Ale Works has served only Montana pasture-raised beef burgers, sourced exclusively from a cooperative of family ranchers. Supporting local, sustainably grown, handcrafted products serves their guests and helps local artisans and land stewards thrive while doing what they love, preserving rural Montana landscapes and way of life. Here at My Girlfriendships, we are all about community so this fits with what we’re looking for.
Speaking of Montana pasture raised beef, doesn’t their Steak Frites sound good? It’s a 4-5 ounce tenderloin with a red wine demi-glaze, buttermilk Bleu cheese, and house-made fries. Delicious and shareable between me and a girlfriend…or two. Then I’ll be indulging in their strawberry Moscow Mule—house-infused strawberry vodka, ginger beer, and fresh lime. Yummy!