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Keepin’ busy

By Staff | Aug 8, 2014

THE FILLING FOR HER Ho-Ho salad or dessert is made of pudding, cream cheese, whipped topping and crushed chocolate sandwich cookies. Schroeder said the bowl comes back empty every time she takes it to an event.

REMSEN – Janet Schroeder said she likes to keep busy.

She does that as much outside on the farm as she does in the kitchen-it’s a matter of the way she grew up.

Schroeder grew up on a farm south of Marcus, where her siblings worked outside as well as in the house.

Her mother worked, so it was a matter of the children needing to help out in the house when necessary.

“She would have potatoes peeled and the roast ready to go,” said Schoeder of her mother, “so when we were young we just needed to make a cake or something.”

JANET SCHROEDER’S Ho-Ho salad or dessert can take on a more elegant look for special occasions, when served in these glass dessert cups.

Family time was always special growing up, and life on the farm meant there was just a lot of cooking to be done.

“Growing up on the farm, a lot of time was spent with family and friends at the dinner table,” she said. “I remember one year on Thanksgiving Day, the kitchen was busy with a neighbor, his wife, an aunt and uncle along with our family of eight.

“The men had finished picking corn that morning, which meant it was an extra special holiday just having harvest done.”

She said corn shelling day was a busy day with extra help outside, and extra cooking to feed anyone who helped on the farm.

Schroeder takes meals to the field today, and said it can be challenging, though she said it’s always a more welcome plan than more sandwiches.

FROZEN DINNER ROLLS are something Janet Schroeder said she likes to have on hand because they lend a fresher option than store-bought. Placing them on pans and covering with these plastic totes to raise is also a space-saver when there are many to be baked, and not a lot of counter space.

“I have used coffee thermos containers to take mashed potatoes and Salisbury steak to the field,” she said. “… or a thermos container for chicken noodle soup or for barbequed beef, to make warm sandwiches in the field.

“It’s a matter of how creative you can be to add variety to the meals in the field.”

She said all of her children know how to cook and have had many opportunities for practice over the years – between 4-H projects and just plain living on the farm.

“When you live out in the country, it does not make sense to run into town for fast food,” Schroeder said. “Cooking becomes the faster food compared to driving.”

Some of their family’s favorites include Salisbury steak, whipped cream Jell-O, and sugar cookies, which she makes each year at Christmas.

Her older daughters have called her to get that particular recipe, she said.

She still makes “Ranger Cookies” today, which was one of her 4-H projects she did as a member of the “Tilden Tillies” 4-H group.

Her family still enjoys her homemade chocolate cake.

“My mother-in-law taught me how to make pie crust ahead of time and freeze a ball of dough for the right size of pie pan. They could also be rolled out and in a pan, but frozen and ready for use.

She used to give those as birthday gifts when our kids were small, and they were so handy.”

Baking is a favorite kitchen activity for Schroeder, who said she tries to keep a good assortment of food and ingredients on hand for last-minute meals.

“One evening some friends stopped by and we made mini pizzas with English muffins,”said Schroeder. “They were quick and easy. They had never had those.

“They thought we could run to town for a pizza, but living out in the country, that doesn’t happen too often.”

Saving time is something Schroeder finds important.

“Last year was a very good apple year,” she said. “I froze quite a few bags with apples and measured for pie (or apple crisp) use. Some are ready for pie – with sugar, cinnamon and flour already mixed in.

Others were just apples for applesauce or whatever recipe I may decide to try.”

Schroeder also decorates cakes and enjoys cooking in large quantities.

She and her husband, Jim, have a grain and livestock operation near Remsen. They have five children.

Ho-Ho and Dirt salad

or dessert

1 or 2 boxes Hostess Ho-Ho’s, frozen

1 pound chocolate sandwich cookies, finely ground

1 16-ounce container whipped topping

8 ounces cream cheese

2 3.5-ounce boxes instant vanilla pudding

3 cups milk

Place chocolate sandwich cookies in a gallon bag and roll with rolling pin until finely ground. Set aside.

Mix 3/4 of whipped topping and all of the cream cheese together.

Mix pudding and milk.

Set aside 1/2 cup crushed cookies. Mix remaining cookies with cream cheese mixture and add pudding.

Slice Ho-Ho’s thin and line them in a clear bowl along the bottom and up the sides. Place the cookie/cream cheese mixture inside the Ho-Ho-lined bowl.

Top with a layer of whipped topping, the remaining crushed cookies and place a few slices thinly sliced Ho-Ho circles in the middle.

Apple squares

3-1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened

3 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs, separated

2/3 cup milk

Combine flour, salt, butter, sugar, milk and egg yolks to form crust. Roll out half of the dough to fit bottom of jelly roll pan.

Fill with any favorite filling.

Roll out second half of dough to make a top crust and cover fruit filling.

Beat egg whites until stiff and brush on top of the crust.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Drizzle or glaze with powdered sugar frosting.

Roll-out sour cream cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

3 1/2 cups flour

1 3/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

Salt to taste

Blend butter, sour cream, soda, vanilla and almond flavoring.

Slowly add flour and sugar. Add eggs and salt.

Chill dough, roll and cut. Bake 12 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Frost with powdered sugar frosting. Cookies can be frozen and frosted later also.

Powdered sugar frosting

1 cup butter, melted

1 bag powdered sugar

1 reaspoon almond flavoring

Start with 2 tablespoons milk and adjust amount of milk to desired consistency.

(Note: Schroeder said she sometimes uses melted vanilla ice cream for a vanilla flavor, or that any flavor of melted ice cream could be used for flavoring.)

Brownie desset

2 boxes brownie mix

2 8-ounce boxes cream cheese, softened

2 cups powdered sugar

2 8-ounce containers whipped topping

3 3-ounce boxes instant vanilla pudding

5 cups milk

2 cup mini chocolate chips

Mix brownie mixes according to directions. (An extra egg can be used to make the brownies more cake-like.)

Bake in deep jelly roll pan. Mix cream cheese and powdered sugar. Add whipped topping.

When brownies are cooled, spread mixture on top.

Blend pudding and milk. Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips.

Spread on top of cream cheese mix.

Top with layer of whipped topping and remaining mini chocolate chips.

(Note: Recipe can be halved and made in 9-by13-inch pan, but substitute 2 3-ounce boxes instant vanilla pudding and use 3 1/4 cups milk.)

Tuna and noodles

3 cups medium noodles

1 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 tespoon dry mustard

2 cups milk

9 ounces can tuna

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or American cheese cubes

Cook noodles and drain.

In medium sauce pan, saute celery and onion in butter until tender.

Add flour, salt, mustard, milk and pepper.

Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Combine cooked noodles, tuna and cheese. Pour into 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Bake at 375 degrees until cheese is melted.

Can top with crushed potato chips and bake a few minutes uncovered, to brown the chips.

Hamburger steak

2 pounds ground beef

1/2 cup cracker crumbs or dry bread crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

Salt, pepper, garlic powder or chopped garlic to taste

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 cup water

Form into patties and brown. Remove from pan and drain grease.

Add 4 tablespoons butter and let melt. Add 4 tablespoons flour and mix into paste.

Add 2 cups milk and 1 cup water.

Season with salt and pepper, garlic powder or chopped garlic.

Let gravy boil until thick and smooth, stirring with a whisk.

Place ground beef patties in baking dish and pour gravy over top.

Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

(Note: Pressed ground beef patties work also without the egg and crumbs, Schoeder said.)

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