Monica Weninger-Schmaltz (Phehín ša Wašté Wín) is a staple in the Mobridge community. She was born and raised in Mobridge and has built her life here. She grew up in a busy household as she is the youngest of eight siblings. She currently resides with her husband, Kurt Schmaltz, her daughter, Phoebe Schmaltz and her two large labradors, Lucky Duck and Ruby-BearBear. After graduating high school in 1998, she went to college at Northern State University and Bismarck State College. She moved back to Mobridge in 2012 and began her position as JOM/Title Six Director where she has inspired the Native American Youth for the past six years.
Monica loves her job and the opportunities it has given her but she also enjoys her time off during the summer months. She likes the hands-on work that summer has to offer.
“I work at the greenhouse at ACE Hardware during the summer,” she said, “I am also an all-around worker at New Evarts.”
She enjoys the work and activity, but she also enjoys down time with her family and her favorite TV shows.
“I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead,” she said. “Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead are probably my biggest hobbies.”
Aside from her shows, she takes pleasure in baking some nostalgic recipes. She has many baking favorites but one of her standout recipes is her mother’s pistachio cake, a secret family recipe that is a favorite among the Weningers.
“We make it every single birthday and holiday” She said. “I have the recipe, but I can’t give it to you. It’s a super secret Weninger recipe.”
She likes baking and cooking for her family, but finds time to enjoy the restaurants around town.
“My family enjoys La Cabana,” she said, “My daughter’s favorite meal is Pizza Ranch.”
Since she grew up in such a big household, she had to learn to do things on her own. Cooking is a skill she had to acquire on her own.
“Nobody really taught me how to cook,” she said. “I taught myself and found recipes and tips on the internet. I recently got an Instapot so I’m working on finding recipes for that.”
She is proud of her accomplishments as a self-taught cook. But as with anything self taught, there is a learning curve.
“One time over Thanksgiving, I was cooking my first turkey and I left the whole neck and giblets in the bag and cooked them in there with the stuffing,” she said, “My brother Joey still makes fun of me every Thanksgiving!”
Monica is already a busybee, but she finds time to be actively involved in her community.
“I am a lay minister at the Saint James Church. I play the music and run the community garden. I am the main go-to lady for Saint James,” She said, “I’ve organized culture clubs, hosted powwows, and been involved in the school art shows.”
She is temporarily retiring from her Mobridge-Pollock position to continue pursuing her education in Native American Language and Studies at Sitting Bull College.
“I want to go back to school so I can teach Native American Studies to my students.”
She also hung up her reins as the cheer coach for the Mobridge-Pollock cheerleaders this year.
Monica looks back on her time at Mobridge-Pollock and recognizes some of the important people that made her love her job.
“I want to give a special shoutout to Debbie Walker, the legend,” said Monica. “We would run the art shows together and she has been my lunch buddie for the last six years.We laughed and traded recipes for the past six years!”
Monica is excited to see where her further education will take her. She is planning on teaching Native American Language and Native American Studies after completing her college work.
Monica Weninger-Schmaltz’ Recipes
Tater Tot Casserole
1 lb browned ground beef
1 can cream of condensed soup (your choice)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 package of frozen tater tots
1 package of frozen sweet corn
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir in the frozen sweet corn and cream soup with your already browned beef. Add salt and pepper to taste along with any other seasoning your heart may desire. Pour mixture evenly into a baking dish. Layer the tots evenly over the mixture. Bake until tots are golden brown and hot, 30-45 minutes. Add cheese for the last 5 minutes over your dish until it is bubbly and scrumptious looking. Enjoy!
Mean Lean 5-Bean Chili
1 lb browned lean ground beef
2 large cans of tomato sauce
2 packets of chili powder (mild, medium, Texas)
1 can of each bean: light kidney, black, pinto, red
2 cans of dark kidney beans
2-3 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Bag of tortilla scoop chips
Mix all together and place in large crockpot for 5 hours on medium. When you are ready to eat serve in bowl with scoops and garnish with cheese and sour cream.
Gather the amount of ears of corn you need and shuck them.
Place in a clean cooler with a drain. Bring 2 pots of water (2 quarts per dozen) to a boil and pour over the ears. Place lid on the cooler. In 30 minutes, you have perfectly cooked corn. Drain cooler and keep the lid closed. The corn will stay warm for 2 hours.
French Dip, Crock Pot Style
4 lb of English roast
1 can of beef broth
1 package of Au Jus seasoning pack
1 stick of butter
6 hoagie rolls
Swiss or provolone cheese
Trim excess fat from roast before placing it in the crockpot. After the roast is added, add the beef broth. Sprinkle seasoning over the meat next. No need to mix. Place stick of butter on roast and cover. Set on low for 8 hours. Your house is going to smell so good.
When ready to feast, warm your rolls in the oven if desired to melt the cheeses. Slice the meat and place on the roll. Serve with juices from pot for dipping. (Cooler corn makes a great side dish.)
Sister Secret Summer Watermelon Arugula Salad
1/2 lb baby arugula leaves
2 lb seedless watermelon (diced)
1/3 cup good olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb chunk parmesan cheese
Mix in a bowl and serve on pretty plates to make a great summer lunch for you and your family.