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Class act

By Staff | Aug 1, 2014

WHEN MARILYN BUEHLER is busy, but wants to put a home-cooked meal on the table, she relies on her slow cooker and a beef roast to make her famous French dip sandwiches.



LAKE VIEW – When Marilyn Buehler attends local high school graduation parties, she said she’s always pleased when her former elementary school students display their third-grade cookbooks among their favorite keepsakes.

“Cooking is creative, and I always liked to incorporate it with my lessons,” said Buehler, who taught for 35 years, first in Pomeroy, and then in the Odebolt-Arthur area. “There’s a lot of learning in cooking, including math, science, reading, vocabulary, nutrition awareness and more.”

Known as “the teacher who cooks,” Buehler’s culinary lessons helped her earn a National Board Certification in 2004.

THE SECRET to great potato salad, said Marilyn Buehler, is her potato salad dressing, which came from her grandmother, Helfrid Wahlgren, who lived in Fonda.

Achieving this milestone remains a career highlight for Buehler, whose passion is teaching.

“Cooking with kids is fun,” Buehler said, who also enjoyed cooking for her daughter, Erin, and son, Brett, when they were growing up.

A Sac City native, Buehler learned cooking skills from her mother, Dorothy Ninneman, and the Jackson Jolly Juniors, an all-girls 4-H club that focused on cooking, sewing and home decor.

When school was closed due to snow days, 12-year-old Buehler and a friend would fire up the stove and bake homemade cinnamon rolls.

“I’ve always liked to experiment and have fun in the kitchen,” said Buehler, who exhibited food projects at the Sac County Fair.

WITH ONLY THREE ingredients, these simple individual strawberry cheesecakes are fun and easy for children to make.

During her teaching career, Buehler relied on these skills, along with trusty recipes from family and friends, to help serve tasty, nutritious meals for her family, including husband, Ben Buehler, a farmer who prefers hearty “meat-and-potatoes” dishes.

After retiring from full-time teaching in 2010, Buehler relished the opportunity to remodel the kitchen in her Lake View home, complete with a bi-level island, pull-out shelves in the cabinets and a well-stocked pantry.

“I call the kitchen my shop,” she said. “I like to spend time in here, just like my husband enjoys spending time in his farm shop.”

While she continues to substitute teach, Buehler said her family remains her primary focus.

When her children are home to help farm, there are always plenty of home-cooked meals.

THIS TASTY pineapple cheese ball is Marilyn Buehler’s go-to recipe for church events, potlucks and other gatherings.

“The family table is where you bond,” Buehler said. “Food is comfort, and cooking sends the message, ‘You are important to me.'”

Caramel apple dip

(Buehler noted that 7- and 8-year-old children can easily prepare this healthy snack with little adult supervision.)

8 ounces soft cream cheese

3/4 teaspoon caramel flavoring extract (Buehler uses the Watkins brand)

THESE SIMPLE French dip sandwiches can be topped with pepper jack cheese, sauted onions, mushrooms or green peppers for extra flavor.

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (press into the measuring cup firmly)

Apples, washed and sliced

Wash hands with soap and water.

Put 8 ounces of soft cream cheese into a bowl. Add caramel flavoring extract to the cream cheese and stir.

Add vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and stir.

Add brown sugar to the cream cheese mixture and stir well.

Dip apple slices into the mixture, and enjoy.

Purple cow

(This fun, kid-friendly recipe makes 2 servings.)

1 6-ounce can frozen grape juice concentrate

1 cup milk

2 cups of vanilla ice cream

After washing your hands with soap and water, put 6 ounces of grape juice and 1 cup milk into blender.

Put the lid on the blender, and blend for 3 to 5 seconds.

Add 2 cups of vanilla ice cream. Put the lid on the blender, and mix together till smooth and creamy.

Pour into two glasses and enjoy.

Individual strawberry cheesecakes

(These simple, elegant cheesecakes make a great snack. They also offer kids an easy way to treat their family to a pretty dessert, said Buehler, who added that these are best eaten right away.)

Fresh strawberries

Vanilla wafer cookies

8 ounces strawberry cream cheese

After washing your hands with soap and water, gently wash and blot (pat softly) the strawberries dry.

On a cutting board, cut the stems off the strawberries. Slice the strawberries into four equal parts from the top to the bottom.

Spread cream cheese onto each vanilla wafer cookie (like frosting) – don’t be skimpy.

Put one of the strawberry pieces on top of the cream cheese on each wafer.

Quick delicious French dip andwiches

3 pounds beef roast (arm or rump.)

1 14.5-ounce can beef broth

1 1-ounce envelope dry au jus sauce mix

1 7-ounce envelope dry zesty Italian dressing mix

In a deep bowl, whisk together the broth, au jus mix and dry Italian dressing mix.

Put beef roast in slow cooker and pour the broth mixture over the meat.

Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Remove beef from slow cooker and shred meat using two forks.

Pile shredded meat onto hoagie buns. Strain the broth, and pour into small bowls for dipping.

For extra flavor, add a slice of pepper jack cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms or green peppers to each sandwich before serving.

Pineapple cheese ball

(Buehler said this is her go-to recipe for church events, potlucks and other gatherings.)

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 tablespoon seasoned salt

1 15-ounce can crushed pineapple, well drained

1/3 cup diced green pepper

3 tablespoons chopped fresh onion

Chopped pecans

Mix cream cheese and seasoned salt until well blended.

Add crushed pineapple, green pepper, and onion. Stir well. Chill thoroughly.

Form into a ball, and roll in chopped pecans.

Serve with assorted crackers.

Potato salad dressing

3 whole eggs

1 cup sugar

2 heaping tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons prepared mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon butter

In a microwave-safe bowl or 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup, beat the eggs and sugar together.

Add the flour, mustard, salt, vinegar and water. Beat together well.

Add butter, cut into small pieces. Cover and microwave on high 2 minutes.

Whisk then microwave again in 1-minute intervals until mixture thickens, whisking in between intervals.

Makes 4 cups.

(Note: Buehler said she sometimes adds some whipped salad dressing with this for potato salad.

“This is great when making deviled eggs or as a ham sandwich spread instead of mayonnaise,” she said.)

Freezer sweet corn

(Enjoy a fresh taste of Iowa summer throughout the winter with this simple recipe, which the Buehler family has used for years.)

16 cups corn, cut off the cob

3 cups water

4 teaspoons pickling salt

1 cup sugar

Cut corn off the cob by positioning one end of the cob onto the middle tube of an angel food cake pan.

Corn kernels will fall into the cake pan. (This eliminates a lot of corn spatters and makes clean-up easier.)

Combine water, salt, and sugar in large pan on stove. Bring to a boil and add cut corn. Stir well.

Return to a boil, and cook for additional 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove.

Set pan in tub of ice water to cool (stir every now and then). Bag the corn and freeze as soon as possible.

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