HTC Team News and Honors

Employee Highlights

Soup Cookoff

We thoroughly enjoy our culinary events at HTC! To kick off the new year, we hosted a soup cookoff. 

Our winners:  

1st Place: Jace Gilleshammer (knoephla) 

2nd Place: Kayla Kranda (lasagna)  

3rd Place: Maureen Jelinek (chicken enchilada) 

Lasagna Soup 

1lb Italian chicken sausage 
1/2 onion, chopped 
2 crushed cloves garlic 
4 T chopped fresh parsley 
1 T tomato paste 
6 cups chicken broth 
2 cups marinara sauce 
2 bay leaves 
Fresh cracked black pepper 
6oz broken lasagna noodles or mini farfelle 
8oz ricotta cheese 
1. Heat large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, spray with oil, and add sausage; cook until browned, breaking it up as it cooks with a wooden spoon about 4-5 minutes. 
2. Add chopped onion and crushed garlic and cook 2-3 minutes. 
3. Add the parsley, tomato paste, broth, marinara sauce, bay leaves and fresh black pepper and bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes. 
4. Add the pasta and cook uncovered according to package directions.  
5. Once the pasta is cooked stir in ricotta cheese. 

Chicken Enchilada 

  • 2.5 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (I use a rotisserie chicken 😊) 
  • 28 oz Green enchilada sauce 
  • 24 oz Chicken broth (I use chicken stock) 
  • 1C Half & Half or heavy cream (I used 1/2&1/2) 
  • 2C Monterey jack cheese 
  • 4 oz cream cheese (cubed and softened) 
  • 4 oz Green salsa (Mrs Renfro’s is my go-to) 
  • Salt & pepper to taste 
  • 1 bunch of cilantro 
  • 1 small can of hot green chilis 

In a 6-quart slow cooker add chicken breast or thighs, green enchilada sauce, and chicken broth.  Cook on Low 6-8 hours. 

Remove chicken and shred.  Add shredded chicken, jack cheese, cream cheese, half & half, and green salsa to slow cooker.  Turn slow cooker to warm and stir until cheeses are melted.  Add hot sauce or additional salsa to taste. 

Serve and enjoy!  Delicious topped with avocado, cilantro, green onion and sour cream.   

Knoephla Soup 

  • 8 ounces bacon chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 med sized onion chopped (approx 1 cup) 
  • 3 carrots chopped 
  • 3 celery stalks chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped finely 
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 10 cups low-sodium chicken broth  
  • 3 large potatoes cut into cubes 
  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 Tablespoons of Salt 
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper 

Knoephla Dumplings 

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 2 teaspoon chopped parsley 
  • 2 teaspoon chopped dill 
  • 2 teaspoon chopped thyme 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 egg 

Put bacon in a stockpot or Dutch oven and cook on medium to low heat, stirring often. Once the bacon is crispy use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place it on a paper towel. 

Discard about half of the bacon grease, leaving 3 tablespoons in the pan. Add butter to the 3 tablespoons of grease and melt on medium-low heat. 

Add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and increase the temperature back to medium heat. Cook until the onions are soft, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds 

Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously, then add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and potatoes. Increase the heat to high and bring to a bowl, then reduce to low heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. 

While the soup simmers, prepare the Knoelpha. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs. 

Whisk the egg and milk in a small bowl or measuring cup. Then fold into the flour. 

Once combined, knead for 5 minutes by hand on a floured surface, or knead using the dough hook of your electric mixer on low speed. 

Roll dough ½” thick, then slice into ½” squares.  Drop into boiling water for 2-3 minuets to ensure they are fully cooked, then use a slotted spoon and transfer into soup (after blending) 

OPTIONAL- once soup has simmered for 20-30 mins I use an immersion blender (you could also work in batches and use a blender) to make the soup creamy rather than chunky. This is purely preference (Remove the bay leaves before blending) 

Stir in heavy cream and cook until heated through. Taste the soup and add additional salt and pepper. Keep in mind potatoes need a lot of salt. Don’t be surprised if it needs another tablespoon of salt.  

Top with bacon to serve. 

Chili Cookoff

We concluded 2023 with a chili cookoff, sampling eight different varieties of chili 

1st Place:  Ethan Linder 

2nd Place: Lori Theis 

3rd Place: Gary Hanson 

Festival Of Trees

Heartland Trust sponsored and decorated two trees for the 23rd annual Fraser, Ltd. Festival of Trees. This event supports programs for local children, youth, and adults on their life’s journey towards independence.

Annual Heartland Open House

*Welcome committee: Mary Fridgen, Kayla Kranda, Amy Remmick and Ethan Linder* 

HTC hosted its annual open house on Thursday, December 7! It was a pleasure to bring together our clients, vendors, and partners to celebrate the holiday season! 

Save the Date for 2024- Thursday, December 5th!  

Annual Ugly Sweater Contest

Celebrate Brian’s Prairie Business 2024 40 Under 40

The annual awards honor young professionals in the Dakotas and western Minnesota, each under the age of 40. These nominees come from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds who have made significant impacts in their chosen professions and communities.


Quote from Steve Halverson (Heartland’s Chairman of the Board)

“Brian is perfectly suited to manage the Heartland Trust Company.  His client centered attitude aligns perfectly with our core values that were set 34 years ago.  Brian is perfect to carry out our mission: “to provide a lifelong commitment to the well-being of the clients we serve”.

Quote from Gary Hanson (Heartland’s Chief Financial Officer)

“Since assuming the role of President in 2018, Brian has brought innovation and forward-thinking to Heartland Trust. His leadership has driven the implementation of new systems and essential software needed for our future growth.”

Read the full article here.


At Heartland Trust, our relationships go beyond colleagues; we consider ourselves a family. Supporting our team and contributing to their futures are integral parts of our mission.

  • Sheryl Bernier ( SVP and Board Member)- Celebrating 34 years in January
  • Denise Lies ( RS Senior Operations and Compliance) – Celebrating 31 years in January
  • Jill McAndrew- (Operations Associate)- Celebrating 19 years in January
  • Jan Nelson (Trust Officer) – Celebrating 11 years in January
  • Jana Samek ( VP/ Director of Retirement Services)- Celebrating 7 Years in January
  • Jen Johnston ( Trust Officer)- Celebrating 7 Years in January
  • Michelle Hoppe ( Trust Officer Associate) -Celebrating 6 Years in February

Giving Hearts Day

Each year, Heartland Trust donates funds to a charity of each employee’s choice. Our mission, “To provide a lifelong commitment to the well-being of those we serve,” is reflected in our dedication to giving back to our communities.

List of all the charities who received a Giving Hearts Day Gift:

  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Red River Valley
  • Hospice of the Red River Valley  
  • Churches Untied for the Homeless
  • Great Plains Food
  • Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN
  • 4 Luv of Dog Rescue
  • Memory Café
  • DMF Enough with the Stigma
  • DMF 4-6-3 Foundation
  • Arthritis Foundation of North Dakota
  • Grace Lutheran School 
  • West Fargo Area Education Foundation
  • Park Christian School
  • Badges of Unity Fund
  • Jeremiah Program Fargo-Moorhead
  • Bio Girls
  • Lend A Hand Up
  • St. Gianna & Pietro Molla Maternity Home
  • Red River Zoo
  • Cat’s Cradle
  • Kitty City
  • Veterans Memorial Cemetery
  • Landon’s Light
  • American Society of Suicide
Heartland TrustHTC Team News and Honors

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