Friday, November 21, 2014

Mexican Rancher's Eggs, My Way.

Rancher's Eggs, or Huevos Rancheros in Spanish, has become a common breakfast item on the menus of many Southwestern restaurants. This dish, traditionally a large, mid-morning meal on rural Mexican farms, originated in northern Mexico; bringing it over the border into the southwestern United Stated was not unexpected. The basic dish consists of fried eggs served upon lightly fried corn tortillas, topped with a tomato-chili sauce. Refried beans, Mexican-style rice, slices of avocado or guacamole are usual accompaniments, but salsa, cheese and sour cream are becoming more common in USA located restaurants.

So, what do you do when you have extra shredded potatoes, no tortillas, and don't want to run out to the local store? You make do with what you have and create Huevos Rancheros in your own style!

Huevos Rancheros Skillet


2 Tbsp. butter; divided in half
1 cup shredded potatoes
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup diced ham
2 eggs
¼ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (or Mexican mix)
¼ cup salsa (mild, medium or hot dependent on taste)
1 buttermilk biscuit
1 Tbsp.  butter, divided in half


In a 10 inch skillet, medium-high heat, melt one tablespoon butter; spread shredded potatoes inside pan and cook for 5-7 minutes; till potatoes begin to brown.  Sprinkle black pepper, salt and diced ham over potatoes.  Carefully lift potatoes, add one tablespoon butter into pan before flipping potatoes over; cook another 5-7 minutes.

In a smaller skillet, prepare eggs over easy; do not break yokes.  Carefully place eggs over browned potatoes; spread cheese all.  Turn heat off, place cover on skillet to allow cheese to melt quickly and evenly.  Slid onto plate; pour salsa over middle.

Cut buttermilk biscuit in half; lightly toast and spread a half tablespoon of butter over each.

Makes one serving.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Turkey or Chicken, This Stir Fry Works for Both.

Whenever I can find turkey tenderloins on sale, I buy up several packages which go towards turkey paprikash, tetrazzini, pasta bake, pot pie, even soup.  This time I wanted to do a little twist on the usual chicken stir fry, but with turkey instead.

Turkey Noodle Stir Fry


2 lbs. turkey tenderloin, cut into 1/4” medallions
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. canola oil, divided in half
3 (3 oz.) packages chicken flavored Ramen noodles
4 cups water
1 (12 oz.) package frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
1 (15 oz.) can straw mushrooms, drained
½ cup Hoisin sauce




In a large bowl, combine the turkey with the five spice powder and cornstarch.  Heat two tablespoons of oil, medium-high heat, in a Wok or large skillet; brown the turkey until no longer pink; remove.


Prepare the noodles according to package directions, in the same Wok or skillet, using only four cups of water plus the mixed vegetables; drain any excess liquid, if any, when finished cooking; remove.


Heat remaining two tablespoons of oil, medium-high heat, in same Wok or skillet; pan fry the noodle/vegetable mixture, plus the straw mushrooms, for five minutes.  Add in the browned turkey plus Hoisin sauce; mix thoroughly and let cook another five minutes.
Straw Mushrooms


Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, November 10, 2014

Navajo Fry Bread Demonstration.

Recently, at the Monticello Welcome Center, a demonstration was given on the making of traditional Navajo Fry Bread. I wrote up the event for their blog and now want to share it on my own.  For the recipe I originally posted on this blog, click HERE.

One food item we always encourage visitors to try out is Navajo Fry Bread; a traditional bread made simply of salt, baking powder, water and flour; then fried on both sides to a golden deliciousness. On Friday, November 7, 2014, local Navajo Weaver and Jewelry Maker, Anita Hathale, introduced locals and visitors to the art of making Fry Bread. Using an electric skillet and a deep fryer, Anita was able to show us the dos and don’ts of preparation.

Melt shortening in skillet; or put one quart canola oil into deep fryer; temp must reach 375 degrees minimum.

Add salt and baking powder to flour.

Mix together dry ingredients.

Add warm water little by little; mix as you add.

The dough will form into a large, soft ball.

From the large ball of dough, portion out 1/2 cup smaller balls of dough.

Begin to stretch the dough using knuckles on hands.

Flatten and continue to stretch the dough using a flip-flop motion between the hands.

The 1/2 cup ball of dough becomes a 10 inch flat, round.

Yep, looks right and ready to be fried.

Now Anita shows us what happens when the melted shortening in the electric skillet could not reach that minimum 375 degrees.
Carefully place flattened dough into skillet.

Even though the oil is bubbling around the dough, it is not hot enough for frying, so the dough only absorbs the oil and does not puff up.

The result...a hard, browned Frisbee.

Monticello local, Kim Young, came in specifically to learn about this traditional Navajo food item; Anita was not one to disappoint and happily educated us all on this art.

The correct way; flattened dough goes into a 375 degree hot oil for frying.

Immediately large bubbles form in the oil, while the dough begins to puff and brown.

One side browned, a quick flip to brown the other side.

Hot fry bread...oh, so yummy!

Anita loves making fry bread!

Navajo Fry Bread

Navajo Taco

Even Monticello Welcome Center Manager, Dorothy, couldn’t resist Anita’s fry bread.

Anita’s husband, Rick Jim, waits impatiently for his lunch. Sorry Rick, but we want the good stuff too!

Again, when you’re traveling through the southeastern end of Utah, tasting Navajo Fry Bread is a must if you want to have the full Southwest experience!  Thank you Anita for putting this wonderful demonstration on for us; providing us with delicious eats, and see you next year for the 2015 season!

~ Mary Cokenour ~

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

State Line Bar & Grill is Just What This Area Needed.

State Line Bar & Grill

69576 Highway 491 (just east of the Utah/Colorado borderline)
Dove Creek, Colorado, 81324

Phone: (970) 677-2649

Facebook Page:

For seven years, a rustic building sat alone and lonely along Route 491; it had once been a bar/restaurant/antiques shop, but no longer was it loved.  Then came along Tim and Shelly Meyer to breathe life back into, not just the building, but business along this stretch of highway bordering Utah and Colorado.

After a long day at work, hubby and I decided to finally try out State Line for a much deserved dinner out; thank goodness we did!  First off, the parking lot was almost full with license plates of both Utah and Colorado; the locals liking this place says a lot around here.  We found an empty spot in front of the bar and it was busy!  There is a separate entrance for the restaurant as you walk towards the right of the building.  We were greeted cheerfully and told to sit anywhere we wanted to; specials are on a board in front of the reception stand.  Shelbee was our waitress (she is the niece of Shelly Meyer) and we tested her out immediately with some sass; she sassed us right back and knew we had a good waitress helping us.  Shelbee answered all our questions without having to check with the cook; she knew her stuff well.  After placing our orders, I began taking photos of the interior; there were also present other couples and families with children.  Yes, this is a family friendly restaurant; but if you decide to go into the bar, you can order food in there also.



Food time!  Now besides the specials board, State Line has a five page menu; it has typical bar food, but so much more!  Many of the items are house made, some not, but they are cooked up so well that you have a difficult time telling.  We ordered the Fried Mozzarella Sticks and Italian Breaded Zucchini; two items we thought were house made, but were fooled.  The marinara and buttermilk ranch sauces are though, and they were delicious!  The marinara has loads of garlic and is thicker than what is usually served with an appetizer.  My hubby also had the buttermilk ranch on his dinner salad and it was hard not to lick the plate clean.

Fried Mozzarella

Italian Breaded Zucchini

Dinner Salad with House Made Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Then came the main dishes, Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken for me; Ribeye Steak and sweet potato for my husband; both meals came with grilled zucchini.  The steak was perfectly cooked; a huge 12 ounces (lean, very little fat) that almost filled up the cast iron skillet it was served on.  The chicken was also grilled and had so much flavor; the grilled zucchini was a very welcome vegetable; we're so tired of the typical steamed or microwaved limp veggies most places serve up.  The Fettuccine Alfredo was buttery rich, pasta cooked perfectly and the chicken was an excellent addition to it.  Now the sweet potato has its own story; nicely baked and good plain; better with butter; but the best was the house made cinnamon butter.  Talk about a mouthful of pleasure!  The portions are generous and we ended up taking some of each meal home.

Fettuccine Alfredo with Grilled Chicken

Ribeye Steak with Sweet Potato
But wait, there's more...dessert!  We were too full to eat it at State Line, so took it home for a late time snack.  Most desserts are not house made, but purchased from a coffee establishment in Dove Creek where they are made fresh.   Crème Brulee Cheesecake which was thick, rich and decadent.  Zango which is a deep fried burrito filled with in the mouth!

Crème Brulee Cheesecake

Zango - Deep Fried Cheesecake Burrito

State Line Bar & Grill is only open Thursday through Sunday which is great for the area on Sunday when most of the towns close up tighter than a duck in water.  The restaurant hours are 11 am to 9 pm; the bar is 11 am until...?

State Line is a must try place!  Great for a rest and good bite of food; great to pick up food and take on your trip; just great.  Oh, there are t-shirts for sale with the State Line logo on the front and a saying on the back. "Ever been to Nowhere? Now you have!"  We like eating at this Nowhere.

Mary Cokenour

State Line Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cottage Pie with a Southwestern Twist.

Cottage Pie (made with ground beef) is the American version of Shepherd's Pie; a staple of the UK, Scotland and Ireland made with ground lamb; both have simple vegetables added and a mashed potato topping. This new version of mine is going to have a Southwestern twist by using a cornbread topping, adding beans, chili powder and cilantro. A time saver with this recipe is that the topping bakes along with the casserole, instead of having to make it ahead.

Beef Casserole with Cornbread Topping


2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 (12 oz.) frozen mixed vegetables
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with sweet onions
1 (15.5 oz.) can white kidney beans (Great Northern)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp crushed, dried cilantro
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 (8 oz.) package medium sharp Cheddar cheese
2 (7 oz.) packages cornbread muffin mix
1 (8.25 oz.) cream style sweet corn


Preheat oven to 375F and lightly spray a 4-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet, over medium-high heat, until there is no more pink color.


In a large mixing bowl, mix together the browned beef with the mixed vegetables, diced tomatoes, white beans, salt, black pepper, paprika, cilantro and chili powder; spread out into the baking dish.  Spread out cheese over the mixture.


In a medium mixing bowl, prepare cornbread mix according to directions, but leave out the water and ¼ cup of oil; instead add in the creamed corn.  Mix thoroughly and spread out over the cheese and beef/vegetable mixture.


Bake for 25-35 minutes; until cornbread is golden browned; let rest 15 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour