Brenda Langenberg

Jul 02 2014

Favorite Summer Recipes and Grilling Tips from Hills Bank Employees

Do you need fresh recipes for your summer celebrations? Hills Bank employees have shared some of their favorite recipes and cooking tips for you to enjoy this summer.

Kayla Duwa, Administrative Assistant
“I like to throw peach pie filling on mixed fruit for a good fruit salad. You can use whatever fruits you like or have on hand, and the pie filling coats the fruit so bananas don’t brown.”

Fruit Salad


  • Strawberries to taste
  • Blueberries to taste
  • Bananas to taste
  • Grapes cut in half to taste
  • 1 can of pineapple drained
  • 1 can of peach pie filling

Mix fruits together and cover with peach pie filling.

Angie Greiner, Marketing Communications, Online
“This is a recipe I found online and modified a bit to make it low sodium. ”

Strawberry Spinach Salad


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 pint sliced strawberries
  • Crumbled feta cheese to taste
  • 1 package baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Add the sugar to a nonstick fry pan, and turn the pan on medium heat stirring frequently. Add almonds after sugar starts caramelizing. Keep stirring until all the almonds are coated, and then spread into a single layer on a cookie sheet. Let cool completely. Make the dressing and combine all the ingredients right before serving.

Josh Holst, Information Systems, Vice President
“I like to grill in the summer. Here’s my grilling secret for meat and veggies. For steaks, season with Butt Shaker seasoning, which can be found at your local grocery store in the spice aisle. Let set until room temperature if possible. Grill on direct high heat for 1-2 minutes per side. Move to indirect heat and cook until desired doneness. Use tongs and never poke the meat.  For everything else, heat low and slow. Veggies can be done the same way. Take your favorite fresh vegetables, season with canola oil and Butt Shaker, and cook low and slow while wrapped in foil or cook in a veggie tray.”

Grilled Potatoes


  • 3-4 potatoes
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 3/4 cup of fresh cut chives

Mix butter, sour cream, and chives until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Put into the freezer until solid in either plastic wrap or small container. Clean potatoes and cut slits about ever 1/3” – 1/4”.  Take the frozen butter mixture and place a slice into each slit of the potato. Wrap in foil and cook on low, indirect heat on the grill for 45 minutes.

Josh’s Tips for Cleaning Your Grill
Put aluminum foil shiny side down on the grill grates. Start the grill and turn burners on high, letting cook for 10-15 minutes. Be careful, the grill will get very hot and if your drip pan isn’t clean, it may catch on fire. After 10-15 minutes, turn off the burners and carefully remove the foil and discard. Give the grates a quick brushing. Start the grill and turn burners to high again.  While it heats up, cut an onion in half, place on a grilling fork, and rub the cut side of the onion on the grill, which does two things: cleans the charred residue from the foil cleaning and seasons your grill grates.

Dawn Lyons, Branch Manager, First Vice President
“My favorite summer recipe is homemade lemonade.  It is really refreshing and easy to make.  It is a good balance of sweet and tart, which is good because it is gone within a day at my house.”

Homemade Lemonade


  • 4 oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 4 limes
  • 1 cup-1 1/2 cups of sugar
  • Water

Squeeze all of the citrus into a gallon pitcher, add water and sugar to taste.

Annette Miller, Sales & Service Administrator
“I like to add this to tacos, use it as a side, or even eat it with chips. I usually double the recipe and I don’t always simmer for an hour, depending on how much time I have. It’s my new favorite recipe!”

Sweet & Spicy Black Beans (from


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash chili powder
  • 1 dash cumin
  • 1 dash ground cinnamon
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans

Warm oil in skillet over medium heat.  Stir in onion and cook about 2 minutes; then stir in garlic, and cook until onion is soft and translucent.  Stir in tomatoes, cilantro, and sugar.  Season with cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin and ground cinnamon.  Cook for 10 minutes.  Stir in black beans, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 1 hour or longer.

Holly Randall, Real Estate Loan Officer
“I love little smokies wrapped in bacon, I mean, who doesn’t love bacon? It’s always a hit at parties, I can never make enough.”

Little Smokies Wrapped in Bacon


  • 1 package of little smokies
  • 1 lb of bacon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut bacon strips in 3rds. Wrap each little smokie in bacon and place in a large baking dish in one layer. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the brown sugar is bubbly. To serve, place the smokies in a slow cooker to keep warm.

Mary Ann Schlabaugh-Gaffey, Lending Compliance, First Vice President
“This recipe also works well with fresh peaches and peach Jello.”

Easy Strawberry Pie


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pkg Jello – strawberry
  • 1-2 quarts fresh strawberries
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust

Combine 1 cup water and sugar in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and 1/2 cup water and add to saucepan. Cook until mixture thickens. Add the package of dry Jello. Cool filing in refrigerator. Slice fresh strawberries. Combine with sauce. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Tracy Stotler, Director of Retail Linn County, Senior Vice President
“The best part of these s’mores bars is no bonfire is required!”

S’mores Bars


  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 3 cups milk chocolate chips (18 oz)
  • 4 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Stir together cookie mix and crumbs. Stir in melted butter until soft dough forms. Press into ungreased 13×9 inch pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips over crust.  Let stand 3 to 5 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Spread chocolate evenly over crust. Set oven control to broil. Sprinkle marshmallows over melted chocolate. Broil with top 5 to 6 inches from heat for 20 to 30 seconds or until marshmallows are toasted.  Cool 10 minutes and serve warm.

Tim Webber, Director of Operations, Senior Vice President
“Here is an awesome marinate I do for pork chops, but it would be good for chicken breasts too.”

Pork or Chicken Marinade
Servings: Marinade for 8 pork chops or chicken breasts


  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary crushed (or just place couple fresh sprigs in marinade)

Marinate 8 bone-in pork chops for 8-24 hours and grill.

Molly Wilson, Coralville Receptionist
“This recipe involves a lot of chopping, but it is best in the summer with fresh vegetables. It’s totally worth the time it takes to prepare!”

Conchiglie Tutto Giardino
Servings: Serves 8-10


  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 large red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced radishes
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley, packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
  • 7 medium-sized tomatoes (about 3 cups chopped)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 pounds shell noodles (conchiglie)
  • Garnish: additional Parmesan cheese

Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in large saucepan and add the carrots, both the green and the red onions, the radishes, parsley, basil, and garlic.

Sauté the vegetables, stirring often, until they begin to color—about 20 minutes. Cover the saucepan and simmer the vegetables for about 15 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, wine, salt, pepper, and sugar. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter and stir in the flour. Cook this roux for a few minutes over very low heat, stirring constantly. Heat the cream and milk (microwave it for 45 seconds) and stir it into the roux with a whisk.

Add the tomato paste and whisk the mixture again until it is perfectly smooth.

Stir it into the vegetables and wine, along with the grated Parmesan cheese. Continue simmering the sauce over low heat, stirring often, until it is as thick as you want it to be.

Cook the shell noodles per package instructions, drain them completely, and pour them into a large, heated serving dish. Ladle as much of the sauce over them as you like, toss them, and serve immediately, with more grated Parmesan cheese.

Don’t these recipes make your mouth water? We’d love to hear some of your favorite summertime recipes in the comments below!


Brenda Langenberg

About Brenda Langenberg

Brenda Langenberg is Vice President and Branch Manager at Hills Bank’s Mount Vernon and Lisbon locations. She has been at Hills Bank since 1992 helping customers with their banking needs. Brenda can be reached at

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