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Boredom led him to the kitchen

By Staff | Nov 23, 2012

Junior Reetz, of Arthur, pours batter for banana bread into loaf forms. He said he started learning to cook while house-bound due to recovering from an accident.

By DOUG CLOUGH

douglasclough@gmail.com

ARTHUR – One thing’s for certain: Junior Reetz doesn’t sit well, even under a doctor’s orders.

“I stopped to help a girl who was stuck in a car during a snowstorm,” Reetz said. “I got hit by a vehicle breaking a couple bones, one sticking out of my leg.”

It was January 2010 when Reetz was laid up, and after a couple weeks in the hospital, he was sent home for rehabilitation and recovery time.

“I got bored real fast,” Reetz said. “I hate sittin’ around, so I learned how to bake and cook.

“I started to experiment in the kitchen to pass the time.”

Reetz mother and grandmother did a lot of cooking and may of those talents rubbed off onto Reetz.

Experimenting is nothing new to Reetz who has had his hand in a variety of agricultural professions since he was in fourth-grade. “I’ll try anything once,” he said.

“When I was 10, my dad bought a farm a mile east of Deloit. We had crop ground and fed out cattle and hogs.”

At age 15, Reetz had plans and needed a job to accomplish them. He began working at a hog confinement during nights and weekends.

“I bought a ’72 Torino with an eight-cylinder, 302-cubic-inch engine with the money,” he said.

After high school, Reetz worked a variety of agriculturally oriented positions.

In Dunlap, he built livestock trailers.

In Storm Lake, he loaded turkeys. “That was probably my least favorite position,” Reetz said. “Some mornings began at 2 a.m. just so we could be sure to have the product at plants when the first shifts came in first thing in the morning.”

Reetz admits that he was young and ready to take on the world when he began a full-time job on IBP’s cutting floor, working double-shifts frequently.

“When I worked for Farmland later on,” Reetz said, “doing the same type of work, I came home after work to sleep and then get up at to work the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift to disc chisel conservation reserve program ground in a big Caterpillar.

“I was young and could handle it back then; not so much anymore.”

He also drove for Krager Trucking, of Ida Grove.

“I really enjoy working for good families,” said Reetz, who now works for Kyle and Dudley Ullrich in Kiron.

At the Ullrich Farm, he plants and combines and drives truck as well. As a sideline, Reetz promotes and manages the Crawford County Speedway in Denison.

Reetz took charge immediately, shortening the track and soliciting his son Justin, 32, and a few locals to help prep the track for races.

“We have a race every Friday night during our season,” Reetz said. “We had a good car and people count for our first year managing the race track. We expected 70 to 80 cars, and we averaged 99 per week.

“We hoped for 600 to 700 people and ended up with 1,100 people per week on average. On our fan-appreciation night – the last night of the season – we had 2,000 people show.”

For one of this week’s recipes, he offers a chicken melt sandwich, but he believes a tuna melt will work just as good.

Prepping for Thanksgiving hasn’t been any different.

“I’m going to try a smoked turkey this year,” said Reetz. “I like to try something different; you never know, but I think it could be good.”

Banana bread

3 bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

2 cups flour

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients, separate into three loaves and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Take out of oven and spread or brush on butter. Let cool and enjoy.

Pizza burgers

1 pound ground beef

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 package of 8 hamburger buns

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown hamburger. Let cool. Add cheese and mix well.

Spoon on bun halves and put buns on cookie sheet. Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until cheese is melted.

Cheesy hashbrowns

1 bag Southern or shredded hashbrowns

1 can of cream of cheddar soup

1/2 cup of butter

In large skillet, melt butter. Add hashbrowns. Cook on medium heat until almost done.

Add cheese soup and a little water. Heat thoroughly.

Chicken melts

(A fast and easy recipe to make during the busy season.)

1 13ounce can of chicken breast meat

1 can cream of mushroom soup

Velveeta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix chicken and soup until well-blended.

Spoon onto eight hamburger bun halves.

Put on cookie sheet.

Put slice of Velveeta cheese on top. Bake about 20 minutes. Enjoy.

Makes approximately 8 halves of full bun.

Hashbrown casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 bag hashbrowns, Southern style

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

1 can whole corn

Velveeta cheese

Preheat to 400 degrees.

In 9-by-13-inch glass pan, add hamburger. Spread evenly. Add mushroom soup and corn.

Add sliced Velveeta cheese and hashbrowns and then place more cheese on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 1 and a hours.

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