Taste the love for family in Terri's kitchen
Monday, April 4, 2011
Growing up on a farm near Templeton Terri learned to cook and bake by helping her mother, Audrey Weitl, of Carroll, prepare meals. Terri now cooks for her sons and husband.
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Terri Vetter of Carroll, has three sons: Chris, of Roselle, Kolby, a junior at Kuemper Catholic School, and Collin, an eighth-grader at Kuemper Catholic School.
They all enjoy their mom’s cooking, but all of them may not realize how good they really have it.
If you ask Terri’s youngest son, Collin, what he wants for dinner, his response is “McDonald’s.” If she bakes homemade cookies, he’ll ask for Oreos. Terri is hoping Collin appreciates her skills with age. Oldest son, Chris, already has it figured out and likes his mom’s cooking. Terri’s friends, neighbors, and co-workers also look forward to her cooking and baking.
Growing up on a farm near Templeton Terri learned to cook and bake by helping her mother, Audrey Weitl, of Carroll, prepare meals. Terri was the oldest daughter of six children and this meant assisting her mom in the kitchen. Together they would make breakfast, dinner, and supper, with two additional “lunches” in between those three meals. She and her mom cooked and baked up a storm to keep the family fed and the farm running.
Terri was a single parent for many years and worked two jobs.
Back then, she also kept extremely busy baking and decorating cakes for weddings and graduation parties. There were nights she would come home from work and stay up all night baking, frosting and decorating cakes for upcoming events. Terri thinks back to that time in her life and wonders how she managed to do it all, especially since those were the days when she washed all her dishes by hand since she didn’t have a dishwasher.
Terri’s cake-baking schedule has slowed down these days, although she still makes an occasional cake for close friends and family.
Terri works at Carroll County State Bank. Her husband, Denny, is up bright and early to begin his day at Farner Bocken. Even with a busy schedule, Terri and Denny both believe eating dinner together as a family is important. Terri may not prepare the fancy feast she would like each evening, but feels it’s key to connect and catch up with her family each day.
Upside Down Pizza
Terri was given this recipe by a friend, and she has used it often. It is a meal that is fast and easy and her boys love it.
In a skillet, brown 1-1 ½ lbs hamburger along with any of these optional ingredients: chopped onion, green pepper, sliced mushrooms, garlic powder
Add 1 jar/can pasta sauce to meat mixture and spoon into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 (round or square) casserole dish. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese. On top of the cheese place Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits and bake according to the directions on the package. Halfway through baking, press down on the biscuits and continue baking.
To serve, place a plate on top of the casserole dish, flip it over and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Chicken and Biscuits
Terri came up with this recipe based on the recipe for Upside Down Pizza. It’s also a family favorite.
Using, Watkins chicken soup base, make gravy according to directions on can. Add diced chicken (She buys cooked diced frozen chicken for fast meals and thaw in fridge). Heat through until warm. Cover with Pillsbury biscuits and bake according to directions on package.
A few years ago Terri and Denny opened their home to a woman who was interning at St. Anthony Regional Hospital. During her time with them she cooked a meal the family continues to enjoy.
Cook 5 whole bone-in chicken breasts in a 9 x 13 cake pan lined with foil for 1 ½ hours at 325 degrees. Remove skin and bones. Cut in chunks or strips. Reserve broth and set aside.
To make sauce, whisk together:
broth from chicken
1 can enchilada sauce (we use mild, but it’s whatever you prefer)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
In a casserole dish, layer in this order:
8 large flour tortillas (cut into fourths)
chicken sauce mixture
shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Repeat layers (2 layers total) Bake covered for 1 1/2 hrs at 325 degrees.
*Can be served with sour cream and salsa.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Terri and her neighbors love seeing all the trick-or-treaters that come to Collision Addition on Beggar’s Night. They get a kick out of all the children coming and going in their Halloween costumes. It has become a Vetter tradition to invite friends over to pass out candy and then finish the evening with hot, homemade soup.
Cook a whole chicken with onion, salt and parsley in 3 quarts of water. Reserve broth. Pull chicken from bone and dice.
Parboil the following in the chicken broth:
1 cup diced celery
1 ½ cup diced carrots
2 tsp salt
½ tsp thyme
¼ tsp oregano
Boil noodles in a separate Dutch oven (I use Kluski or frozen egg noodles). Add noodles and chicken to veggies and spices.
Note from Terri: “This is very good the next day. Sometimes when I don’t have time I just use the frozen diced chicken and use the Watkins chicken soup base instead of the other spices.”
When Terri’s uncle, Edward Weitl, was at Regency Park Nursing and Rehab Center in Carroll, she would visit him weekly. He had moved to Carroll from Waterloo to be closer to his brother and Terri’s father, Floyd Weitl. Sadly, Terri’s father passed away shortly after Edward’s move. Terri and her uncle became close and shared many special times together.
She found her uncle really enjoyed her banana bread. Her uncle had difficulty chewing, but each time she would visit, he would say, “If you are making that bread, I would sure love some.”
It wasn’t until after his death, Terri found out that after she left the building, he would call for a nurse to come and help him eat Terri’s banana bread.
Terri says the Regency Park staff was great to her Uncle Edward and each Christmas, she brings this bread to the nursing home in memory of him.
3/4 cup oleo or butter, softened
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (the riper the better)
1 tsp vanilla
In a separate bowl combine:
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
Alternate adding dry ingredients and ½ cup sour milk (She uses milk mixed together with a tablespoon of vinegar and let it sit in the fridge for an hour or so before making the bread).
Grease and flour loaf pans and bake bread at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes depending on the size of loaf pans. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Freezes well.
Holiday Yeast Braid
Around the holidays, Terri bakes goodies to give as gifts to her friends. She enjoys taking the time to share her talent. Her father always reminded her “the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.”
Terri received this recipe from a very good friend several years ago and it’s become a family favorite. She admits it is a bit time consuming, but it’s worth it. She usually makes several batches at a time.
Growing up, Terri’s three sons had the “cream of the crop” childcare provider, the late Jan Malone. Jan especially loved this braid filled with apricot filing. Each year, Terri makes special braids to bring to Jan’s husband, Tom. Terri and her boys take time to visit and reminisce about how much their special “Grandma Jan” meant to them.
Scald 2 cups of milk. Remove from heat and add 1/3 cup cold butter cut into pieces. Set aside and let butter melt. Cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup warm water and 2 packages yeast and set aside.
To milk mixture, add:
2/3 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
Beat with mixer. Slowly add 7 to 8 cups flour. Knead into ball form and grease sides of bowl (She generally kneads for 5-8 minutes by hand). Let stand until double in size.
Divide dough into 3 sections and roll out. Cut strips at least 3 inches wide by 12 in long. Spread almond, cherry, or apricot filling down the middle. Fold each strip over lengthwise and pinch ends. Braid the 3 strips together and set aside until double in size (She covers with flour sack towels). Bake at 350 degrees for 12-20 minutes. These freeze well. Frost with icing of choice after removing from freezer.
Terri’s Dump Cake
When Terri bakes wedding cakes, she cuts off the tops to level the layers. When she was making cakes on a regular basis, she would end up with lots of extra cake and would stick it in the freezer. She found this was a good way to use the extra cake.
Now Terri bakes cakes and freezes them so she has cake on hand when she needs to make a dessert in a hurry. Terri says her co-workers like this sweet treat and it’s her boys’ favorite dessert… besides Oreos.
Mix 2 boxes instant vanilla pudding (sometimes I use one vanilla and one chocolate mixed together) with 3-½ cups cold milk. Set aside and when semi-set, add desired amount of Cool Whip (I use 6 oz).
In a glass bowl, layer slices of frozen white cake, pudding and additional Cool Whip. Repeat layers ending with Cool Whip.
Coconut Cream Pie
Terri’s husband, Denny, is not big on sweets, however this dessert is one of his favorites. Terri’s says it’s very simple to make and it makes its own crust.
½ cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flake coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together all ingredients and pour into a greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake for 45 minutes. Though the filling will seem unsettled, do not cook pie any longer. Refrigerate the pie and it will settle without spoiling its creamy consistency.
Grandma’s Sugar Cookies
Another favorite treat at Christmas time are Grandma’s sugar cookies. Terri makes these cookies to give as gifts. Terri likes to use a round cookie cutter and frost them so they look like wreaths. Her neighbor, Jim Strautman, especially loves these frosted cookies and was disappointed this past Christmas when Terri didn’t get them baked.
Terri’s grandma, Frances Danzer, lived near Kuemper and Terri spent a lot of time with her after school in her kitchen. She can still see her Grandma in her kitchen baking these cookies.
With an electric mixer, cream together the first four ingredients:
2 eggs beaten
1 ½ cup sugar
1 cup sweet cream
½ cup oleo or butter
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
Dough will be very sticky. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt and add to first mixture. Roll out using cookie cutters on floured board. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10 minutes. (Terri does not like them overbaked. Frost and decorate, as desired.
Double Treat Cookies
These cookies were the favorite of her late father, Floyd Weitl. Terri hasn’t made them for many years, probably since he passed away twelve years ago, but she would love to make them again just to see the smile on his face. Although Terri and her dad didn’t always see eye to eye during her teenage years, she came to rely on him as an adult. He was her handy man and she leaned on his shoulder many times when she needed support. Back then, Terri only trusted her dad to deliver her wedding cakes. According to Terri, he knew how to avoid every single bump in the road. It was during those times together they became a great team. Terri misses her father greatly, especially their long talks.
Terri has countless memories of her dad that make her smile. Terri recalls how her dad always seemed to find the can of peanuts or mixed nuts at the reception hall meant for the cake table. He would also sneak a handful or two and give Terri a big smile, much to her chagrin, so Terri feels it’s only fitting her dad’s favorite cookie included peanuts.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat together the following:
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
Sift together the following:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 pkg chocolate chips
Shape into small balls, place on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 8 minutes or until brown