A lifetime of great taste:
By Darcy Dougherty Maulsby
EAGLE GROVE – On any given day, Katie Schultz isn’t just sitting around.
This 96-year-old great-grandmother might be sewing a baby quilt for charity, preparing homemade candies for holiday get-togethers or baking a batch of her famous butterhorn dinner rolls.
“I like to stay active,” said Schultz, who grew up on a farm northeast of Ottosen and has lived in the Eagle Grove area for decades.
Schultz also likes cooking simple, healthy, filling meals.
As the oldest of Herman and Philomena Veerkamp’s 12 children, Schultz began fine-tuning her cooking skills as she helped her mother prepare meals.
“Cooking for threshers was always a big job, too,” she said, noting that there were six to seven families in the local threshing ring. “I didn’t mind it, though, and I liked to cook about anything.”
Most of the family’s food was home-grown, since they raised beef cattle, dairy cattle, hogs, crops and a big garden.
“My parents pretty much only bought sugar, flour and coffee at the grocery store in Bode,” said Schultz, whose family sold cream in Ottosen. “I was about 20 years old before I ever ate in a restaurant.”
After completing eighth grade, Schultz began working full-time on her family’s farm. In addition to helping in the house, she drove a Farmall F20 tractor and worked with her brothers and sisters to help their father with fieldwork.
“I’d work the ground ahead of the planter and would later cultivate the corn, which was in a check-row arrangement,” she said.
When Schultz was 19, she began working for other farm families in the area.
“I’d fix the meals and handle other jobs for $4 a week, plus room and board,” she said.
After later working for farm families in the Eagle Grove and Clarion for a few years, Schultz answered an ad in the paper for a job in Fort Dodge and began working in the home of Mrs. Fantle, the wife a prosperous ladies’ read-to-wear store owner.
For nearly two years Schultz helped take care of the family’s three children, and her work days would start as early as 6 a.m. and might not end until 8 p.m.
“I didn’t get home to visit much, because gasoline was rationed then,” said Schultz, who would ride the bus to St. Joseph, where her family would pick her up.
Around 1944, Schultz landed a job at the legendary Fort Dodge restaurant Treloar’s, where she worked as a waitress for about a year and a half.
“I remember when a meal with a quarter of chicken, fries and salad was 65 cents,” she said.
Fort Dodge is also where Schultz met her future husband, Joseph “Bud” Schultz, at the Laramar Ballroom. The couple married in 1946 in Fort Dodge and settled in the Eagle Grove area, where Bud Schultz was working on area farms following his service in the U.S. Army during World War II.
The couple lived on a farm northeast of Eagle Grove, where they raised their family.
Katie Schultz expanded her culinary skills as a young mother when she decided she wanted to make pretty cakes for her four children.
“I was too cheap to buy a decorated cake, so I ordered a book of instructions about cake decorating,” Schultz said. “That led to me making multi-tiered wedding cakes for others for nearly 20 years.”
She also put her cooking skills to work at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Eagle Grove, where she has attended services since 1941. She served as the chair or co-chair of the church’s funeral dinner committee for 33 years.
She continues to help make noodles each year for Sacred Heart’s chicken noodle dinners, which have been a fixture at the Wright County Fair for more than 50 years.
Though she has decades of cooking experience, Schultz continues to explore new recipes at her home in Eagle Grove, where she has lived since 1985.
About a dozen years ago, she started noticing that more people, including the local parish priest, were sensitive to gluten. She began using more recipes with rice, corn, tapioca and other gluten-free ingredients for church potlucks.
Schultz has also passed along her love her love of cooking to many of her children and grandchildren, who enjoy gathering at her home for the family’s annual Christmas meal.
“It’s the care you give it.”
Katie Schultz has been baking these rolls for decades, and they are always a hit at family reunions. This basic dough recipe can make butterhorn dinner rolls, caramel rolls, and more.
2 packages yeast
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons shortening
1 cup warm milk (or 1/2 cup powdered milk mixed with 1 cup water)
5 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. In a separate bowl combine sugar, salt, shortening and milk. Add eggs and yeast mixture to sugar mixture. Add flour; mix well. Knead dough thoroughly. (You can’t knead the dough too much, but you can add too much flour, Schultz said. If there’s too much flour, the butterhorn rolls take on a tougher texture. “I like to leave the dough a little sticky,” Schultz said. “It makes for softer rolls.”)
On a floured surface (either the counter or on a pastry cloth), roll out the doll. Shape into butterhorns. Let the dough rise about 45 minutes to an hour. Bake rolls at 375 degrees for approximately half an hour. Brush rolls with melted shortening or butter after they are removed from the oven for a nice, golden brown appearance.
This classic holiday treat is always on the table when Katie Schultz hosts her family Christmas meal.
2 large packages chocolate chips (4 cups)
1 1/2 cups crunchy peanut butter
1 cup chopped peanuts
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup oleo margarine
Pinch of salt
2 small packages cherry chips*
12 large marshmallows
1 tablespoon vanilla
*If cherry chips aren’t available, melt white chocolate chips and add cherry extract to taste and red food coloring.
For the bottom layer, melt chocolate chips and peanut butter in a saucepan over low heat. Stir to combine; add peanuts.
Line 10-inch by 15-inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the pan.
Boil sugar, evaporated milk, margarine and salt for 5 minutes. Add cherry chips, marshmallows and vanilla. Spread mixture over chocolate layer; cool.
Pour remaining chocolate mixture on top of cherry layer. Let the bing bars cool overnight. Cut into bars.
Chicken rice casserole
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/3 cups water
3/4 cup uncooked white rice
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 cups fresh or frozen vegetables
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Combine soup, water, rice, onion powder and vegetables in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Top with chicken. (Season chicken as desired.) Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until done. Top with shredded cheese.
Chicken bacon ranch casserole with Alfredo sauce
4 slices bacon, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon ranch seasoning and salad dressing mix, or more, to taste
8 ounces rotini
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream, or more, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
To make the Alfredo sauce, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in heavy cream. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more heavy cream as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon and cook until brown and crispy, about 6-8 minutes. Drain excess fat; reserving 1 tablespoon in the skillet. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
In a gallon-size plastic zippered bag, add chicken, 1 tablespoon olive oil and ranch seasoning, shaking to coat thoroughly. Add chicken to the skillet and cook, flipping once, until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side; set aside.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions; drain well.
Add pasta to the prepared baking dish and layer with chicken and alfredo sauce; sprinkle with cheeses and bacon. Place into oven and bake until bubbly and heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
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