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Cooking A to Z

By Staff | May 6, 2016

MAURINE ZUETLAU and Dave Ahlrichs comprise the “A to Z” cooking team that prepares home-cooked meals during each meeting of the Rockwell City Lions Club. They prepared roast beef during a recent meeting.

ROCKWELL CITY – Want to eat like a lion? Stop by the Rockwell City Public Library on Monday evenings when the local Lions Club meets every two weeks.

Home-cooked food is always on the menu, including beef.

“We’re the A-Z team, and we’ve been doing our own cooking for years,” said David Ahlrichs, a longtime Rockwell City Lions Club member who prepares the meals with Maurine Zuetlau, a fellow Lions Club member from Rockwell City.

Beef is a favorite at the Lions Club, especially since Ahlrichs is a retired farmer and cattle producer.

At a club meeting in late April, he prepared roast beef, complete with homemade gravy and roast potatoes, carrots and onions.

DAVE AHLRICHS, a longtime member of the Rockwell City Lions Club, prepares homemade gravy to serve with roast beef during a recent Lions Club meeting.

Ahlrichs typically selects a bottom-round beef roast that weighs 11 to 13 pounds.

He seasons the meat with salt and pepper, places the roast in a cast-iron pan and cooks the beef at 300 to 325 degrees.

“This is a tougher cut, so it’s best with long, slow cooking,” said Ahlrichs, who begins cooking the beef roast in the early afternoon so it’s ready by dinnertime at 6:30 p.m. “The leftovers also make good roast beef sandwiches.”

“We’re spoiled here.”

There aren’t many leftovers when Ahlrichs and Zuetlau prepare home-cooked meals to serve 25 Lions Club members, a tradition that has endured for more than 20 years.

COOKING ROAST BEEF low and slow makes for a tender, flavorful meal at the Rockwell City Lions Club meeting.

“We used to eat in various restaurants and sometimes had meals catered, but one time the caterer didn’t show up,” Ahlrichs said. “We had to run to the grocery store and get bread, luncheon meats, cheese and whatever else we could find. We decided after that we could fix the meals ourselves.”

Ahlrichs was well-prepared for this new role. He had done much of the cooking at home since his wife, Marcia, was busy with her career as a school music teacher.

For 17 years, the couple also ran the Pine Grove Bed and Breakfast near Rockwell City, where Ahlrichs prepared breakfast delicacies for guests from around the world.

Zuetlau, a lifelong baker, began refining her culinary skills as a member of the Center Willing Workers 4-H Club.

At 12, she made her first angel food cake and won a blue ribbon for her recipe at the Iowa State Fair in the 1950s.

THIS RHUBARB CAKE from Maurine Zuetlau features a crunchy topping of brown sugar and nuts.

“The most enjoyable room in my home is my kitchen,” said Zuetlau, who said she enjoys finding new recipes on Facebook. “I also love being around people and serving others through the Lions Club.”

Members agree the meals are a perk of belonging to the Rockwell City Lions Club, which supports the Leader Dog Foundation and many other charitable community projects.

“We’re spoiled here, thanks to Dave and Maurine,” said Lions Club President Ken Hupton.

Ham and bean soup

This recipe makes enough to serve 20 Lions Club members, said Dave Ahlrichs, who serves this with cornbread.

THIS DAFFODIL CAKE from Maurine Zuetlau, of Rockwell City, offers a tasty, unique twist on a traditional angel food cake.

2 pounds northern beans

Half of a ham (Ahlrichs likes Bell’s Mill ham from Webster City Custom Meats)

1 bunch celery, chopped

2 large onions, diced


1 quart tomato juice

Put beans, ham, celery, onions and enough water to cover the ingredients in an electric roaster for 6 hours. Remove meat and discard far and skin. Return ham to roaster; add 1 quart tomato juice.

Scalloped cabbage

“Lions Club members go nuts over this recipe,” said Ahlrichs.

3 cups cooked cabbage (don’t overcook)

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt


1 1/2 cups whole milk

3/4 cup cheese, grated

To make white sauce, melt butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; stir until butter and flour are combined.

Add salt and pepper. Pour in milk, stirring constantly as mixture thickens.

Alternate layers of cabbage, cheese and white sauce in baking dish. Top with buttered bread cubes.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until bread is browned.

Easy French bread

Maurine Zuetlau uses this recipe to prepare two loaves of this simple, hearty bread.

2 packages yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons shortening

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups boiling water

6 1/2 to 7 cups flour

Dissolve 2 packages yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar.

In a separate bowl combine 2 tablespoons sugar, shortening, salt and boiling water. Cool to lukewarm.

Add yeast mixture. Stir in 6 1/2 cups to 7 cups flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic.

Let dough rise in a covered bowl until dough doubles in size. Punch down dough; let dough rise for 15 minutes.

Form into two loaves. (Brush the top of each loaf with an egg-white wash, if desired. You can also make 3 to 4 slanted cuts on the top of each loaf.)

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

(Maurine said she uses a 9-by-13-inch pan, since the loaves should be longer than a normal bread pan.)

Thick fudge sauce

Ice cream is a favorite dessert at Lions Club meetings, and this thick fudge sauce from Ahlrichs makes a great topping.

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

2 tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients in heavy sauce pan on low heat.

Rhubarb cake

A special topping adds something extra to this springtime cake from Zuetlau.

3 cups finely cut rhubarb

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped nuts of your choice

1/2 cup butter

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup evaporated milk

Combine rhubarb and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Let stand. Meanwhile, cream butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, egg and vanilla.

Add flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt to butter mixture. Blend in rhubarb/sugar mixture.

Pour batter into a 9-by-3-inch pan.

In a bowl, combine brown sugar and chopped nuts. Top the cake with the brown sugar/nut mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done with a toothpick.

In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar and evaporated milk. Boil mixture for 3 1/2 minutes.

Spoon topping over cake and let cool.

Daffodil cake

with creamy glaze

Zuetlau credits her sister Kathleen with this favorite recipe, which offers a unique twist on angel food cake.

1 cup cake flour

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons, plus another 3/4 cup granulated sugar

12 egg whites

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 egg yolks

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Creamy glaze

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 to 2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine flour and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt until foamy.

Add remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating on high speed until meringue holds stiff peaks.

In small mixer bowl, beat egg yolks about 5 minutes, or until very thick and lemon colored.

Gently fold vanilla and almond extract into meringue.

Sprinkle flour/sugar mixture 1/4 cup at a time over meringue, folding gently just until flour/sugar mixture disappears. Pour half the batter into another bowl.

Gently fold the egg yolks into one of the bowls. Spoon yellow and white batters alternately into an ungreased 10-by-4-inch tube pan. Gently cut through batters to swirl.

Bake on bottom oven shelf about 40 minutes, or until top springs back when touched lightly.

Invert pan on funnel or bottle. Let cake hang until completely cooled. Carefully remove cake from pan to plate.

To make creamy glaze, combine powdered sugar, butter, almond extract and hot water until smooth.

Drizzle over cake.

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