Robert Banik says he is a man of simple tastes.
“Steaks, burgers and hotdogs with Heinz ketchup and Ball Park buns,” he said. “The simple things in life.”
He isn’t much of a cook he said, but has several special grilling tricks that make his steaks and burgers a hit when he fires up the grill.
“I use Rick’s Salt a lot when I’m grilling,” he said. “I use Crazy Jane’s for the steak strips. I have tried other seasonings but just keep coming back to these two.”
Robert is a Mobridge native and graduated from Mobridge High School in 1999. He attended North Dakota State College for a year taking Ag classes. He has also taken special training in vehicle detailing. He owns a detailing business, Banik Auto Spa in Mobridge and also farms with his brother, Ben, his dad, Dave, and his Uncle Harry, on two farms located west of Mobridge.
Robert said his biggest connection with food is through his late grandmother, Hilda Banik, with whom he spent a lot of time in his youth.
“She would bring full meals out to the farm to feed the family. She did that until her health wouldn’t allow it,” he remembered. “One of my favorites was roast beef, potatoes, gravy and carrots.”
He said she would load a cardboard box with the beef, peeled potatoes and vegetables (mostly carrots) and head for the farm. The potatoes and gravy were prepared at the farmhouse.
Everything was ready at noon. Hilda would ring the dinner bell and call the family to the house for the meal.
“She would yell ‘Come and get it or I will throw it out’,” he laughed. “No matter what you were doing, whether on the tractor or in the middle of repairing a combine, you made sure you got there.”
Robert admits he wasn’t much help to his grandmother while she prepared the meals. He said he watched her, did dishes for her, but more often was outside mowing her lawn or washing her car.
“I had to get all the bugs off,” he said.
He remembered that sometimes he and his grandmother hit a rummage sale or two before they headed west.
While they drove to the farm, Robert said they listened to Jim Reeves cassettes, (“Billy, Billy Bayou,” was his favorite song) and talked about the condition of the crops, the weather or the cattle. He said she mostly worried about the safety of the family while they worked and how nature impacted the farm work.
“She would pray for rain but said if the good Lord didn’t bring it He had other plans,” recalled Robert. “She was reassuring to me because of her calm demeanor.”
He said she made a goulash meal she called “Sunday Delight” which was one of his favorites. The best thing his grandmother made was her chocolate cake, but that recipe is a best-kept family secret.
“Only one person in my family knows how to bake it,” he laughed, “but she is not giving that recipe up.”
When he is not working Robert likes to travel for first-time experiences in new locations, whether it is job-related or just for fun. Whether it is concerts in Las Vegas or seminars in Ohio, he has been to Salt Lake City, Big Bear, Atlanta and other U.S. cities.
He is not much of a gardener, but does have a patch of sweet corn on the farm. It is a family tradition to give it away to family and friends in the fall.
He said he tried grilling the sweet corn once, but didn’t remember whether he soaked it first to keep the husks from burning. They did and the corn was ruined.
Robert Banik’s Recipes
Use rib eye steak, one-half to three-quarters inch thick.
Remove excess fat. Cut into strips about one-half inch thick.
Season with Crazy Jane’s seasoning salt. Let set to absorb seasoning.
Pre-heat grill to desired temperature used for preparing steaks.
Grill to preferred temperature.
A1 Steak Sauce is great for dipping the strips.
3 lbs. hamburger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 cup onion
1/2 cup bread crumbs or dry oats
Roll mixture into a meatball the size of a small hotdog.
Roll in cornflake crumbs.
Place meatballs in a cake pan and bake – uncovered.
After meatballs have baked for 45 minutes, cover meatballs with one can of cream of mushroom soup diluted with 1/4 can of water. Bake until soup has thickened – about 20 minutes.
Warm 3 cups of chopped leftover chicken or turkey in microwave.
Heat (do not boil):
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
8 oz. sour cream
Chopped onions if desired
1/4 tsp. chili pepper
Optional- 1/4 can chopped jalapeños (more if you like hot foods)
Heat 1 cup olive oil or vegetable oil.
Fry corn tortillas on each side in the hot oil.
Drain on paper towels.
Fill each tortilla with the following:
2 Tbsp chopped chicken or turkey
2 Tbsp Soup mixture
1 Tbsp Mozzarella cheese
Spread 1/2 cup soup mixture on bottom of 8×12-inch casserole pan. Roll each tortilla and place in pan.
Cover all 12 tortillas with remaining soup mixture
Sprinkle 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese over the top of the tortillas and soup mixture.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Boil lasagna noodles as directed on package.
Fry 1-1/2 to 2 lbs. hamburger until brown and drain off any fat.
Heat Rio marinara pasta sauce in sauce pan.
Mix hamburger and pasta sauce.
Spoon 1/2 cup pasta sauce and hamburger on bottom of casserole pan.
Place cooked lasagna noodles in single layer in casserole pan.
Spoon pasta sauce and hamburger on top of noodles.
Spread mozzarella (or other cheeses) on top of pasta.
Add another layer of noodles, sauce and hamburger, and cheese.
Final layer should have sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Cover with aluminum foil.
Bake in 350-degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes.
Cut and serve with garlic toast.