Ann Renze, of Arcadia, with her two daughters - Kyrsten, in 8th grade, and Paige, in 5th grade, both at Ar-We-Va Community Schools. Ann hopes to pass along her love of cooking to her girls and hopes when they are older they will enjoy cooking as much as her.
Ann Renze, of Arcadia, with her two daughters - Kyrsten, in 8th grade, and Paige, in 5th grade, both at Ar-We-Va Community Schools. Ann hopes to pass along her love of cooking to her girls and hopes when they are older they will enjoy cooking as much as her.
Monday, May 2, 2011

Ann Renze, a 1995 Carroll High School graduate, loves to have friends and family over for dinner at her Arcadia home. As she puts it, she likes to cook for “any and all that show up.”

Ann’s friend, Steve Staples, benefits the most from her cooking. Since most days Ann is cooking up a storm Steve is served homemade meals on a regular basis. When Steve’s son, Sean, is on Army leave from Ft. Riley, Kansas, Ann likes to cook especially for him. Ann admits she always makes too much food, but can always count on her father, Jeff Renze, of Carroll, or friends to gladly take the leftovers.

Ann credits her late grandmother, Ethel Landon, of Carroll, for teaching her the cooking basics. Ann’s grandma passed away when she was 11 or 12, but she still has fond memories of helping her grandma in the kitchen.

Ann started to cook when she was 8 years old. She can remember persuading her younger brother, Nick, to peel potatoes. At one time, there were seven people in Ann’s household and it was her responsibility to cook. Back then, it was a bit of a chore, but as an adult, cooking and baking have spun into a passion for Ann.

Ann credits her father for inspiring her to reach for a dream. She says he is very supportive of everything she does. Recently, Ann was accepted to The Art Institutes International Culinary Program in Kansas City and is currently deciding if she will attend.

Ann’s two daughters enjoy cooking as well. Kyrsten, an 8th grader, and Paige, a 5th grader, both attend Ar-We-Va Community Schools. Ann is very proud of her girls and loves to spend time with them and cheer them on at their sporting events.

Both girls have grown up helping in the kitchen. Ann describes them as eager learners. Ann has taught them everything from chopping and stirring to cooking and baking.

Her younger daughter, Paige, asked to help Ann in the kitchen at a very young age. As a little girl, she would watch her mom cook and was given the duties of assistant chef.

Guy Fieri, is Ann’s favorite chef on the Food Network. Fieri is known for traveling across the country sampling comfort food on his show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Ann’s ultimate dream would be to travel abroad to study culinary arts and one day, open a bed and breakfast or an “old school” diner.

Some of Ann’s most well-liked dishes include her homemade barbeque sauce and baked beans in the warm months and her chili and chicken noodle soup in the cold months. Her friends also rave about her fettucine alfredo. Besides cooking, she loves to bake treats and desserts to share with family and friends.

Ann isn’t afraid to try new recipes. Her kitchen is full of trial and error. Recently, she found a recipe for a buttermilk pie and decided to give it a whirl even though she’d never tasted one before. She gathers recipes from TV and friends and also likes to add her own touch to her grandma’s old recipes.

As for Ann’s own creations, it can be tough for her to write down exact measurements. She says she measures by eye and cooks by taste. She tastes as she goes and adjusts accordingly. Some recipes are all in her head. Ann’s family and friends don’t mind, as long as they’re invited to a delicious dinner at her house.

Jalapeño Poppers

This appetizer is perfect for any get-together or Game Day. Ann borrowed the recipe from a friend in California, but put her own spin on it.

1 fresh jalapeño, seeds and veins out, diced finely (If u want extra hot, leave whole and dice)

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like)

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened

2 cups buttermilk

½ to ¾ container of Italian bread crumbs (Panko kind)

In a small bowl, combine shredded cheese, cream cheese and jalapeño and place in freezer for 15 minutes. Pour buttermilk into one bowl and breadcrumbs into another. Remove cheese/jalapeño mixture from freezer and roll into 1 inch balls. Dredge balls in buttermilk and then coat with breadcrumbs. Place in large dish or on plate and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees and fry until golden brown. Makes about 20 poppers.

Stuffed Mushrooms

This is an original creation by Ann. She has given this recipe to many over the years. After her friends try these mushrooms, they want to know how to make them at home. Ann enjoys making this appetizer/side dish year round, especially in the summertime alongside meat on the grill.

1 lb sausage
1 carton fresh mushrooms (Clean and remove stems. Cut a sliver off the bottoms so the mushrooms sit flat)
¼ c onion, diced finely
¼ c shredded cheese (I use a mix of Parmesan and Cheddar)
1 egg, beaten
¼ c Italian breadcrumbs. grill seasoning to taste
Combine all ingredients except mushrooms and stuff into mushrooms and top with more cheese. If grilling, use non-stick foil and place mushrooms on top rack or low heat for about 40 minutes. If baking, bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. When done, the mushrooms should be soft and the meat will be browned and cooked through.

Ham, Garden Green Beans and New Potatoes

Ann’s mom, Roberta Barker, who lives in South Dakota, taught Ann how to make this for dinner. It’s a complete meal made all in one pot. Ann enjoys making this dish in the spring and fall and loves to share it with her dad, Jeff Renze, of Carroll.

approximately 2 lbs. fresh green beans

1 lb. ham, cut into cubes
1 ham hock
approximately 2 lbs.
new potatoes
seasonings to taste (salt and pepper)
1 small onion, quartered

Wash green beans and snap off ends. Snap into bite-size pieces. Wash potatoes. In a large pot, place ham hock and onion in cold water and boil down hock until the meat falls off. Remove hock let it cool along with the stock. Pick meat off hock and skim fat off stock. Place meat back in stock and add green beans, potatoes and ham. Cover ingredients with more cold water. Add salt and pepper or other seasonings to taste. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.
*Ann’s Note: If you don’t have a hock, any ham will do. Works well with leftover or boneless ham as well. If no hock, just throw everything into a pot with cold water and boil until the potatoes are tender. Also works well in a crock pot. After cooking, I like to butter and mash the potatoes.

Sage Dressing

This recipe originally came from Ann’s late grandma, Ethel Landon, of Carroll. Over the years Ann has made it her own and only makes it for holidays and very special occasions. It is perfect alongside any roast meat.

2 loaves of bread, torn up and allowed to dry overnight (I use white bread)
approximately 5 to 6 small cans chicken broth
¾ of an onion, diced (I like sweet onion)
4 to 5 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp poultry seasoning
½ tsp salt and pepper (or more based on taste)
3 chicken bouillon cubes
3 eggs

ground sage to taste (I use enough to change the bread to a light green color)

Boil broth with bouillon. Add spices and veggies and boil until tender. Cool completely and set aside. Cool completely as not to cook the eggs. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and place bread in a large bowl. Add eggs and then add broth, stirring constantly. Mix well. This is very important so you can make sure you do not add too much. The bread should be just wetted through. Cover and refrigerate for about three hours or overnight. Stir again. Place in greased covered 9x13 pan. Cover with foil and bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half, but it can take up to 2 hours. Check and stir every half hour. During the last half hour or so, leave uncovered. The dressing should be a bit browned and crusty on the top and sides.
*Sometimes I will brown a pound of sausage and add it before baking, mushrooms can also be added.

Paige’s Easy Twice-Baked Spuds

This side dish is a great alternative to plain baked potatoes. Ann taught her younger daughter, Paige, to make them and dubbed them “Paige’s Spuds.”
1 spud per person. (wash and poke with fork)
¼ to ½ c sour cream
¼ to ½ c milk
¼ tsp garlic salt
dash of pepper
1 to 2 green onions (use green tops as garnish)
shredded cheese for topping (I use Cheddar)

Place spuds in microwave. For four, I usually cook them for around 5 to 6 minutes. Check - you don’t want them to be too soft. Take out potatoes and cool. Cut in half. Scoop out the insides and place in bowl. Add sour cream and milk and whip to create a firmer mashed potato consistency. Add spices to taste. Scoop potato back into skins and top with cheese. Microwave for a minute or 2 or bake or grill until cheese is melted. Top with green onion tops.