Steinauer Convent Breakfast

Come and get a blessed breakfast! This Steinauer convent is now a baking haven.

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Frosty Strawberry Squares

Rose Wischmeier, Lewiston

The recipe was sweetly donated by a Sacred Heart Church parishioner, but Marilyn Wenzl, one of the founders of the Convent House, also remembers growing up on this tart and tasty dish. She says the frozen dessert always was a cool escape from hot summer nights.


1  cup flour 

1/2  cup packed brown sugar 

1/2  cup walnuts            

1/2  cup melted butter     

2 egg whites, room temperature

1/4  cup white sugar

1  10-oz pkg frozen strawberries, or 2 cups fresh berries

2   Tbsp lemon juice

1   4 1/2-oz carton whipped topping


Serves 9

Mix flour, brown sugar walnuts and butter in 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350°, stirring occasionally, to create the crumble crust. Reserve 1/3 of crumble crust for topping. Combine egg whites, sugar, strawberries, and lemon juice in large mixer bowl. Beat on low until it begins to thicken, then put on high for 10 to 12 minutes, until peaks form. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread over crumbs in pan and top with remaining crumbs. Freeze 6 hours or overnight.


Sister Helen's Meat Loaf

Ronald Vrtiska, Filley

The heavenly aromas at the Convent House inspired nearby Gage County. Ronald Vrtiska, a Filley relative of Steinauer residents, provided this version of a much-craved comfort food. It was created by a nun at St. Joseph’s Church in Beatrice.


2  lbs ground-round beef

2  eggs

1 ½  cups bread crumbs

3/4   cup ketchup

1   tsp Accent Flavor Enhancer

1 pkg onion soup mix

1   8-oz can tomato sauce

1/2 cups warm water         


Serves 6

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly, except for the tomato sauce. Put meat loaf in pan, then spread entire can of tomato sauce over meatloaf. Bake for 1 hour at 350°.


Kelly’s Lunchroom Reuben Sandwich

Derek Gyhra, Steinauer

It’s fitting that one of the most popular family names in this village of about 75 folks in Pawnee County offers a classic recipe. This version of the famed Reuben adds local flavor to a historic sandwich invented in Omaha.


1 ½  cups chopped roast or corned beef 

1   5-oz can drained sauerkraut

2  Tbsp pickle relish

1/4  cup  of standard yellow mustard 

2/3   cup Miracle Whip

1/2  cup grated Swiss cheese, or more


Serves 6

Mix in all ingredients, including relish and mustard. Spread butter on outsides of 12 slices of homemade bread. Put scoop of filling on 6 slices, and add Swiss cheese to other slices.  Join sandwiches,  and brown on both sides in skillet cooked on medium heat. Serve warm.


Marinated Vegetable Salad

Barb Steinauer, of Steinauer

This dedicated volunteer at the Convent House is the wife of Robert Steinauer, a descendant of the three brothers who helped settle this village. Those Swiss immigrants would’ve arrived early for a meal with Barb’s recipe.


 2   cups sugar  

1 ¾  cup cider vinegar             

1   15 1/4-oz can, white or shoepeg corn, drained            

1/4  cup vegetable oil 

1   Tbsp salt 3  medium carrots, chopped          

1 14 1/2-oz can, French-style green beans, drained                                   

2  celery ribs, chopped

1  medium onion, chopped          

1  green pepper, chopped 

1 8-oz can sliced water chestnuts          

1   4 1/2-oz jar sliced mushrooms, drained

1 14-oz can or fresh bean sprouts, drained

1  small head cauliflower, broken into florets       


Serves 25

Combine sugar, oil, vinegar and salt, and bring to boil in saucepan. Mix vegetables in large bowl, add cooled dressing, and toss to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with slotted spoon.

(This story originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Nebraska Life Magazine)

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