WESTON — Almost all the food groups make an appearance in Laura Schonlau’s Tomato Pie.
“I am a huge fan of casseroles,” said the busy mom, who has three children, ages 4-17, with husband Isaac.
This casserole includes tomatoes, onions, chiles and bacon and is a hit with the family.
“It’s kind of all in one,” Schonlau said. “But you have everything — vegetables, meat and carbs.”
“It’s a lasagna-y, bacon-y casserole,” added her son Conner, 11.
Schonlau got the recipe from a family friend. She changed out the pie shell that was initially called for as the base — for tortilla strips, which hold up better, she said.
“It just kind of gets soggy and I’m not a big fan,” Schonlau said of the pie shell.
She added the chiles, which the family grows in the garden, to spice up the dish. The recipe could probably be changed up further, with shaved Brussels sprouts.
If everyone doesn’t gobble it up for dinner, don’t save it, she said.
“It’s a first-day casserole. It’s not good for leftovers.”
The casserole can also be made any time of year, not just when tomatoes are in season, she said.
“They’re cooked, so it doesn’t affect whether it’s super fresh.”
In addition to cooking, Schonlau also bakes. The family favorites for dinner are Mexican dishes, chicken ones and lots of casseroles.
Schonlau said she didn’t start cooking until she got married.
“I hated cooking. My mom and sister loved it,” she said about growing up.
Isaac taught her a lot about cooking after they got married in 2001.
For a time, when the newlyweds were waiting to move into their first home, they lived with Isaac’s grandmother.
“She taught me everything,” Schonlau said. “She had so much knowledge. I learned and learned and fell in love with it.”
The couple still team up in the kitchen, annually cooking for the St. Aloysius Church retreat, which includes a breakfast and dinner for 40 people.
The family has an extensive garden, growing green beans, tomatoes, green chiles, zucchini, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, sweet peas, radishes and garlic. They also raise rabbits and chickens.
Also in the backyard is an extensive composting operation that Isaac started. It includes “hot” composting, which is an elaborate recipe of waste.
Schonlau also has an Etsy store, “A Creative Soul Studio,” where she sells stickers that she designs and makes on a Cricket. They feature fun sayings and mascots.
“I dabble in a lot of stuff,” Schonlau said.
The Schonlaus moved to Wood County nine years ago, seeking out the low elevation of the area to help daughter Dakota, 17, who has pulmonary problems.
Laura and Isaac grew up in Colorado and had planned to live out their lives in the mountains. That changed when Dakota was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension.
Doctors said Dakota’s life would be prolonged by a lower elevation, and Isaac landed a job here. The family, which includes Penny, 4, relocated to the outskirts of Bowling Green in July 2012.
Dakota has a hole in her heart, which actually helps her because it acts like a pressure-release valve. She will eventually need a transplant for her lungs, which are diseased.
She recently had a Potts Shunt put in the heart to help relieve the pressure created by the lungs.