Friday, July 29, 2011

Oven Fried Chicken stays crispier.

My family loves fried chicken, but I hate the mess and any excess grease in the crust ruins the crispiness the next day. Making fried chicken with pieces that still have the bone inside are also sometimes difficult to get done correctly. Sometimes undercooked, so finished off in the oven; sometimes overcooked and the crust is dark brown to burnt while the chicken is still raw inside.

After some trial and error, I have come up with this recipe for oven fried chicken; the chicken stays crispy when cold, reheats well in the oven, and tastes delicious. I served the vegetable medley I had made from the zucchini and yellow squash I had purchased from Fresh for Less.

Oven Fried Chicken


10 pieces of chicken (thigh, leg or breast), bone in and leave some skin on
1 quart buttermilk, divided in half
1 1/2 cups dried Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 tsp each ground black pepper and ground cayenne pepper


Place chicken into sealable bowl; pour half of the buttermilk over, making sure to coat all the pieces. Seal and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a large aluminum roasting pan with foil; spray rack with nonstick spray and place inside pan.

Set up dredging station - chicken in buttermilk, large bowl with bread crumbs, cornmeal, black and cayenne pepper mixed together, large bowl with other half of buttermilk. Dredge each piece of chicken in the dry mixture, coat again with buttermilk and dredge in dry mixture a second time. Place on rack (meaty side up); once all pieces are double dredged, place pan in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Do not open oven door, do not move chicken around until then. Check internal temp of meatiest section of breast; should be at 185 to 190F.

Makes 10 pieces of oven fried chicken.

Mary Cokenour


It has come to my attention that someone has had the nerve to steal my blog posts and post them as their own at: ; the user name is either MS, Adsense Blogger or Muhammad Salman, as he keeps changing it. His profile states he is from Pakistan and obviously has nothing but disrespect for those of us who work hard on our own personal blogs. He is simply nothing more than a thief.

I have contacted Blogger to report this and have requested that it be deleted from their system. I have also posted a comment on each of the stolen posts that they were stolen from my blog.

I would appreciate if everyone reading my blog would also contact Blogger and report as a PHONY and that they have stolen their posts from my own blog.

Thank you,
Mary Cokenour

He is now stealing blog posts from and I have already emailed the owners, alerting them to the theft.

~ Aug 01, 2011 ~

Update: Google has removed the stolen blog posts. Thank you Google!!!

~ Aug 02, 2011 ~

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hiding Vegetables is not exactly a new concept.

So someone did a study on children and came up with the conclusion that if you hide vegetables in the meals you create, the kids won't know. Not exactly a new concept, especially for people who are good cooks and creative in the kitchen. Where was I when the grant money for this study was given out!?!

It doesn't work for just children, but for adults who don't like or won't eat their veggies. Personally, I'm very picky about what vegetables I eat, so I have to come up with recipes that can fool even me; and I'm the one who cooked the dish!

One vegetable I dislike is eggplant; I don't like the texture and it tastes bitter to me. I have only tried it in dishes where it has been fried in oil, and being the sponge that it is, the eggplant is oily in taste and texture. However, they do have nutritional value, low in calories and high in fiber, so how to include them in a recipe without having to fry them?

Well, two dishes I know how to make are Eggplant Lasagna and Eggplant Parmigiana which both involve the use of homemade pasta sauce.  Wonder what it would be like if I used the eggplant in the sauce as an ingredient, like tomatoes?  After a bit of trial and error, I discovered that it worked very well indeed, and the eggplant substituted as a thickener for the sauce instead of having to use tomato paste.

Even though the sauce works well with any pasta, I like to use a ribbon pasta such as Tagliatelle or Papardelle.  I leave the sauce chunky and any eggplant chunks have absorbed the flavors of the sauce itself, so no bitterness.  Being a homemade sauce, I control what I put in it; salt and sugar, like in jarred sauces, really have no place, since the ingredients used already contain them naturally.

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
3 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
3 Tbsp Italian herb mix
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
Set a 6-qt crock pot on low; put all ingredients into crock pot, mix thoroughly and let cook for 8 hours. 
Use an immersion blender or a potato masher in the crock pot to break up some of the eggplant chunks; this will thicken up the sauce.  The sauce will be chunky; if a smoother sauce is desired, use the immersion blender or potato masher until desired consistency is achieved.
Makes 5 quarts.
Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Japan invades New Mexico!

Mikasa Japanese Cuisine

400 W. Main Street
Farmington, NM, 87401

(505) 327-2255

Website: N/A

Upon entering Mikasa, you are immediately greeted by a cheery receptionist, led to a table or booth; your waitress is quick to take your drink order and leave you to peruse the menu.  Mikasa is open and airy and features what you expect to see at an authentic Japanese restaurant....a sushi preparation station.

First we decided to try one of our favorite appetizers at any Asian restaurant...Crab Wontons.

The wontons skins used are thin, so they fried up perfectly crisp and light; the cream cheese is creamy, well seasoned and you can see the crab meat. This dish is served with its traditional sweet and sour sauce.

Next we ordered 3 Specialty Sushi Rolls and a Hibachi Bowl; while the rolls were created at the Sushi station; the Hibachi is done in the back kitchen...not all Japanese restaurants feature individual Hibachi grill tables.

Tiger Roll - inside is perfectly done shrimp tempura with thinly sliced salmon and green seaweed strands on top.

Dragon Roll - a traditional California roll topped with smoked eel.

Las Vegas Roll - Avocado, Cream Cheese, Salmon and Crab Meat; the cream cheese so smooth, it felt quite decadent inside the mouth,

The Hibachi Special Bowl - Hibachi grilled chicken, shrimp and beef and vegetables over fried rice (or white if you choose); served with a seasoned mayonaisse similiar to Utah's famous "fry sauce". The proteins had a wonderful grill flavor and the sauce helped to enhance this flavor even more so.

Our waitress, Lara, was very sweet and attentive...she helped make our meal even more pleasant with her happiness, and was very knowledgeable about the food served. All in all, this meal was worth every penny paid, we tipped Lara well and will gladly make the trek to Mikasa anytime we're in Farmington, New Mexico.

Mary Cokenour

Mikasa Japanese Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fresh for Less in New Mexico

This past weekend, I decided to surprise my hubby with a little road trip to Farmington, New Mexico.  I had read that there was a Farmers' Market at Animas Park on Saturday mornings and wanted to see what they had to offer.  So, after a 2 and 1/2 hour drive we got to the park by 9:30am and found....nothing.  No stands with fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers, no fresh baked goods; absolutely nothing there at all, but the park itself.  Talk about a big disappointment.  Ok, so it was still too early to go for lunch and decided to do a bit of driving about and window shopping....until I saw the sign, "Fresh for Less" on Main Street.  I had heard about this place from an acquaintance; it offered fresh fruits and vegetables at low prices, so we pulled into the parking lot.

Fresh For Less 
2330 E Main St
Farmington, NM 87401

(505) 327-4400

Up and down the aisles we walked, around the little tables offering melons, apples, and peppers galore; racks of spices and herbs; bags of rice and beans.  I had found my own little Farmers' Market inside this small building.   Half the trunk of the car was taken up by the loaded box of huge fruits and vegetables, plus a 10 lb bag of Colorado potatoes, and it only cost $43.  The photo below only shows a sampling of all we had purchased.

My biggest thrill was the bell peppers, only costing 99 cents each, instead of the $2 per pound that the supermarkets are charging.  The bell peppers were huge, some weighing in at 1 to 1 and 1/4 lbs; and they were as big as our hands.

In fact, some were so large, they almost covered up my hubby's face.

I was able to find a few smaller peppers and I used these to make my Tamale Stuffed Peppers. I did find a bargain bag ($1) containing 3 baby green zucchini and 3 baby yellow squash.  I cut these into 1/2 inch pieces, combined them with a pound of fingerling potatoes, olive oil, salt, black pepper and garlic.  Baked in a 375F oven for 45 minutes, and oh so good.  Except for a little discoloring here or there on the outside skin, the zucchini and squash were firm inside, so nothing got wasted when I made the vegetable medley.

...and if you are big fan of chile peppers, you need to visit "Fresh for Less"; the peppers are huge and beautiful; and they have them labeled for mild, medium or hot; so if you are not familiar with the chiles, at least you'll know the heat intensity.

I miss the Farmers' Markets I used to visit back in Pennsylvania, but this store acts as a great substitue.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, July 25, 2011

Philly Cheesesteak: the sub and the pizza.

The Philly Cheesesteak Sub - a massive amount of meat, onions and melted cheese crammed into a sub (hero, grinder, hoagie - depending on your area) roll. Sometimes sauteed bell peppers (use red and/or yellow; the green is too overpowering in flavor), sometimes hot peppers; it depends on who is making it.  Same thing for the cheese - maybe provolone or an orange cheese sauce called "Cheez Whiz"  I use good old American cheese slices; 12 slices for every pound of meat.  The meat is normally thinly sliced Ribeye; just the right amount of fat and meat to keep it moist and tender.  You can have it sliced by the butcher, do it yourself, or find it already sliced and packaged in the frozen food section; the frozen Ribeye looks like small steaks, but when cooking, they break apart easily.

Philly Cheesesteak Sub


1 lb thinly sliced Ribeye steak
1 medium onion, cut into strips
1 medium bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
12 slices American cheese
3 (6") sub rolls


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown the steak; it will be tender enough to break apart in the skillet while browning.  Remove to plate; leave 2 Tbsp grease in the skillet.

Put the onions, bell pepper, black pepper and garlic into the skillet; saute' until the vegetables just begin to soften.  Add back the steak; add the cheese and use two spatulas to break apart the cheese and mix with the meat and vegetables thoroughly.  Turn off heat.

Pack each sub roll with the mixture.

Makes 3 subs.

Now to make the Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, use the pizza dough recipe that I posted on January 21, 2011,  After the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450F; put some flour on the dough and your hands and begin to spread it out to fit whichever method of pizza baking tool you use (traditional pizza pan or stone).  I usually put the dough mound over my two fists; using my knuckles and working from the inside out, start spreading the dough until I get the size I need, and then lay it on my pan or stone.  Nope, I don't toss it like you see some makers do....I'm not that dexterous.

Depending on what size you're making, spread 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups of sauce (I use my homemade pasta sauce) over the dough, leaving about 1" room from the edge.   Now after I browned my meat and sauteed my vegetables, I set aside a good handful of each before bringing them together to make the subs.  So over the sauce, I evenly spread out the meat and veggies; then I topped it all with a generous helping of an Italian 6 cheese blend I had found at the supermarket.

I have 5 rack settings in my oven, so I put the pizza pan on the second from the bottom rack setting.  Bake the pizza for 20-25 minutes; check the bottom for doneness by slightly lifting up the pizza and looking for browness.  Remove from the oven, cut into slices and enjoy.

There you have it; the Philly Cheesesteak done as the traditional sub, or as a pizza.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I would just about kill for a....

"I would just about kill for a..." is an offhand phrase usually meaning that you desire something greatly; so much so that you might do just about anything to get it.  When I say offhand, I mean it is said without any real intent of doing any bodily harm to any living creature.  Oh yes, there are a few out there who would do just that, kill to possess, but they have emotional and/or mental problems, and I'm not going to get into such a serious topic as that.

So let me finish my offhand comment, "I would just about kill for a knish" and not any old type of knish, but a Gabila knish ( ).  I grew up on these as they were always available at any hamburger/hotdog place, and most especially at the hotdog wagons seen on the streets of New York City.  Eventually they became available in the supermarkets, so you could heat them up at home at your leisure; baked in the oven or deep fried, they were the ultimate handheld comfort food.  Squares of seasoned mashed potatoes encased in a pastry type crust; slicing open one end and creating a pocket, so spicy brown mustard could be squeezed into it.  Lordy, lordy, I am drooling even while writing this!!!

Once I moved to Pennsylvania, I either traveled to New York (only 4 hours away from home) and stocked up at a supermarket there; or had them shipped to me directly from an online store.  Being close in distance, the shipping cost was just as much as the gas expense going to New York, so no big deal.  However that has changed greatly since moving to Utah; the shipping cost is almost as much as a plane ticket to New York from Utah.  As much as I enjoy knishes, going bankrupt to have them is just not on my list of things to do.

I have searched the internet high and low for a copycat recipe and so far nothing.  I have found the round Jewish style, but I have never really enjoyed those; the taste was always a bit off for me.  So I will simply just have to remember and who knows, maybe Gabila's will see this blog post, have pity on me and send me a case.  One can only hope.

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You take your chances when going to Denny's.


2059 E. Main Street
Cortez, CO, 81321

(970) 564-0832


Every once in a while we want breakfast out, so we're not novices to Denny's.  The problem with the Denny's in Cortez is when it's busy, the service is slow and the food is low quality; when it's slow, service is better and so is the food.  We were there on Sunday morning and it was busy.

Create your own Grand Slam breakfast: I asked for soft scrambled, they came out hard and cold; the bacon was barely crisp; the pancakes and biscuit though were fluffy and hot.

From the new All American menu, hubby chose the Philly Cheesesteak Omelet.  It smelled great, not so with the taste though.  The eggs, again, were hard and cold; the steak was tasteless; actually it had a sort of artificial taste to it; the best part of the omelet was the grilled peppers and onions.  The hash browns were the typical, nothing to write home about, hash browns.

Our waitress though did make sure our coffee cups were filled throughout our time there, so kudos to her for that.

Another short, but not so sweet, restaurant review.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, July 18, 2011

Time Constraints? Consider Wok Cooking.

Many years ago I discovered the advantages, and ease, of cooking meals in a Wok.  Originating in China, the Wok is a deep pan with a rounded bottom and slanted sides; it is usually made of rolled or stainless steel, aluminum or cast iron.  The shape of this pan allows one to cook food at high heat with very little oil.  Besides the traditional stir fry method, Woks can be used to stew, braise, steam or deep fry.  Depending on the dishes you intend to create, a meal can be prepped and cooked in about 30 minutes if using a Wok. 

As with many plans, they do go astray; I'd planned a day at home, catching up on chores and giving myself plenty of time to plan out and make dinner.  Instead, a simple one hour drive to find the location of a copper mine to explore turned into a three hour drive; we never did find that mine.  Needless to say, as soon as I returned home I jumped into those chores and before you knew it...dinner time had arrived.  I was tired, really tired and then I saw the wok hanging from my kitchen ceiling rack.

Chinese Chicken and Broccoli

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into ¼” thin slices
1 large egg, beaten
2 Tbsp cornstarch
4 Tbsp canola oil, divided in half
1 lb broccoli, cut up into ½” pieces and blanched in salted water
3 Tbsp oyster sauce
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp minced garlic
Mix together chicken slices, egg and cornstarch; place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat 2 Tbsp of oil, on high heat, in Wok; sauté broccoli with oyster and soy sauces.  Remove to plate and keep warm.  Add remaining oil to Wok, sauté chicken till just starting to brown; return broccoli to Wok and add in garlic.  Mix together and let cook together for 5 minutes; remove to serving platter.
Makes 6-8 servings.

Fried Rice

2 Tbsp plus 4 Tbsp canola oil
½ cup diced onion
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
4 cups cooked long grain rice
3 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
Heat 2 Tbsp oil, on high heat, in Wok; sauté onion till just beginning to soften, add in peas and carrots, salt and black pepper; sauté together for 3 minutes; remove to bowl and keep warm.
Add remaining oil to Wok; add in rice, soy sauce and ginger; keep mixing together for 5 minutes, making sure to break up any clumps in the rice.  Add back the vegetables; mix thoroughly and remove to serving bowl.
Makes 6-8 servings.

The copper mine?  Roy went onto Google, found its exact location and we'll be trying that adventure again at a later date.  In the meantime, enjoy your own adventure in discovering the Wok.
Mary Cokenour

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Twice baked and smothered; now that's a potato!

Potatoes are a versatile root vegetable; they can be eaten alone and in so many ways: mashed, boiled, fried, steamed, baked, au gratin, get the idea. They can also be combined with other vegetables for a medley or with a protein (beef, chicken, pork) in a stew or casserole. Twice baked potatoes (baked potatoes, insides scooped out, combined with other ingredients, returned to the skins and baked again) usually have some mixture of cheese, sometimes bacon, in them.

I have never tried making twice baked potatoes from scratch before. I have tried the ones sold in the freezer section of the supermarket, and they are usually pretty disgusting; no matter the brand. The skins are tough and the insides are dry and tasteless. I gave myself the challenge and believe I have won with this recipe.

Twice Baked Smothered Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup each diced green and red bell peppers, diced onions
1 Tbsp minced garlic
3 Tbsp each sour cream and warmed milk
1 cup cheese mixture (equal parts shredded cheddar and Swiss and crumbled goat cheese)
 ½ tsp each salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup crumbled bacon
Pinch of ground cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 450F.  Wash potatoes; make ¼” deep incision down center length of each potato, wrap in aluminum foil and bake in oven for one hour.  Remove potatoes and let cool until they can be easily handled, but are still warm.  
While potatoes are cooling, melt butter, on medium heat, in small skillet; sauté bell peppers, onion and garlic until just beginning to soften; set aside.
Cut potatoes in half lengthwise (use ¼” incision as a guide); scoop out insides, but leave a ¼” layer against the skin.  Place potato insides in a large bowl; add in sautéed vegetables and other ingredients.  Mix together thoroughly; mixture will be chunky; if a smoother filling is desired, mash the insides with the sour cream and warmed milk first, then add remaining ingredients.
Fill the potato skins and place in a 3 qt rectangular baking dish; place back in 450F oven for 15-20 minutes; until tops are browned. **
Makes 8 servings.
**Option: instead of filling potato skins, spoon mixture into buttered 2 qt baking dish, bake as instructed and serve as a side dish.

Mary Cokenour              

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

You don't deserve this break, so stay away.


Hwy 160
PO Box 1470
Kayenta, AZ 86033

(928) 697-8169


This review is short and definitely not sweet.

Unfortunately, if you're traveling from Utah to the Grand Canyon on a Sunday morning, and looking for a little breakfast to tide you over; Kayenta gives you a choice of this place or another fast food place. We chose McDonald's and it is definitely set up to trap "tourists".

The prices are much higher here and the food is actually smaller in size than usual; so getting your money's worth is not their policy. Service was very slow; and while clean inside, the exterior had a pest problem.

When entering or exiting the building, or just standing by your vehicle, don't be surprised to be approached by males, obviously intoxicated, panhandling. We were approached and we watched as it happened to many others. We were there almost an hour and no employee from McDonald's asked these men to leave the premises. Not a safe environment.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Update your own recipes to keep it new.

Basically, anyone who cooks has their own "recipe book", whether it's kept in an actual book, on a computer, recipe cards, or just scraps of paper, we like to know what we've cooked and how to repeat it. Many cooks use the same recipe always and never think to alter it in any way; and sometimes that's the way it should be depending on the recipe. Some recipes are meant to be played with; they invite our imagination and creativity.

Back on January 31st, I posted my Basic Meatloaf recipe, and even gave ideas on how to alter it. Well, this weekend I played with it once again, and hubby and I both swear that it's the best I've ever come up with. Totally simple, totally awesome in texture and taste.

So, into a very large mixing bowl, I first put in my 4 lbs of lean ground beef (for 2 loaves). Now chunky salsa (medium heat) was on sale at the local market and I picked up a couple of jars; I added one jar (15.5 oz) to the mixing bowl. I opened up the cabinet door to get the dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs, but sitting next to it was a bag of seasoned bread cubes to make stuffing. There was only 2 cups left in the bag and I figured....why not? So into the bowl that went with 1 cup of milk; and a good thorough hand mixing; covered the bowl with plastic wrap and waited 15 minutes.

Preheating the oven at 375F, I sprayed 2 - 1 and 1/2 qt baking dishes with nonstick cooking spray; uncovered the bowl and divided the mixture evenly in half. When taking out each portion, I noticed that the mixture stayed together well, didn't try to come apart and I formed the loaves easily in the baking dishes. I then gave each loaf a good coating of ketchup, popped them in the oven for 30 minutes; I gave each loaf another coating of ketchup before letting the loaves cook for another 45 minutes. Removing each loaf from the dish was an easier task than usual; they usually crack and break apart even if using two large spatulas, but not this time.

Then came the cutting and tasting; the slicing was so easy; again, no cracking, breaking or crumbling. The taste...the sweetness from the ketchup glaze, a little heat from the salsa, but you could really taste the peppers and onion. Here and there a bread cube was visible, but the meat was was addictive and hard to stop eating it. Amazing, simply amazing meatloaf.


The next altered recipe was to a one pan meal I make with Ramen noodles,
Oriental Chicken, Vegetables and Noodles
which I originally posted on April 15th.

I basically used the same recipe, but made these changes:

Instead of stir fry vegetables, I used 1 bag (12oz) thawed peas and carrot and 1 can (15 oz) baby corn. At the end of cooking, I quickly stirred in 2 beaten eggs to give the dish richness and shine. Absolutely delicious!

So there you go, a little alteration to two separate recipes which creates something a little more awesome for the dinner plate. Enjoy!

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A One Pan Meal when projects overwhelm.

Currently I am trying to sort through years of digital photographs...pets, people, vacations, neighborhoods and miscellaneous.  Roy took all the photos off my hard drive, put them on to DVDs, but without sorting them into folders with names that made any sense.  So, I need to upload each DVD one at a time, copy the photos back onto my computer, name or delete photos, put in properly named folders and try not to go insane.  When this is all done, they will be downloaded onto new DVDs and stored for safe keeping.

"Honey, what's for dinner?"  Seriously....I mean seriously!!!!

So the options are, "whatever you want to make", "go get take out", "starve!!!" or "fine, I'll make something".  I made life easier for myself and made a one pan dinner that is easy and delicious....Smothered Chicken.  I used only a bit of cayenne in the dish, so while the heat could still be felt in the back of the throat, it was mild and comforting. 

Smothered Chicken


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 2 inch pieces
4 Tbsp butter, divided in half
¼ tsp each of ground black pepper and paprika
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 cup each chopped yellow bell pepper, onion and tomatoes
2 cups long grain rice
4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp turmeric
2 Tbsp crushed dried parsley


In a large skillet, medium-high heat, brown chicken in 2 Tbsp of butter; season with black pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. Remove from skillet; add in 2 remaining Tbsp of butter and sauté bell pepper and onion until just beginning to soften.

Add in rice and stir to coat with buttered peppers and onion; mix in broth, soy sauce, turmeric and parsley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, add in tomatoes and return chicken to skillet. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 6 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elk Burgers, Sirloin Steak and Fish...oh my!!!

This 4th of July weekend was one of quality time - adventures away for the home, barbecuing food up for the family, and doing something I have put off for way too long - cleaning out the garden shed.

Saturday was a day out to Durango, Colorado; a relaxing drive through the mountains, a visit to an Italian eatery (see yesterday's review of Guido's) and just strolling along the streets of historic Durango.

Sunday was a very long day for us both; a 4 1/2 hour drive to Flagstaff, Arizona for lunch before heading off on scenic Route 180 to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Yes, I said the Grand Canyon, and folks around here are amazed, for some strange reason, that it is only a 4 hour drive from our area if you travel directly there. This was the second time we'd visited in a year, the first time was cool and sunny; this time it rained a bit, so it was cold, yet exhilarating.  I took over 200 photos on this little trip (we traveled through Monument Valley also - Doctor Who alert - this was the area the Doctor started this season's first show in), and I'll be posting a few of those at a later date.

Monday, for us Americans, was the 4th of July holiday; the day we celebrate our declaration of independence from the British realm.  It was a quiet day in the neighborhood and likewise in the evening; very few fireworks were set off.  I spent the morning doing a task I'd  promised myself would get done, no matter out the garden shed.  Actually, it only took me about 3 hours to accomplish; not as much junk as I'd originally thought was inside; it became more of an organization task.

Then the cooking began of much of the food I'd prepped on Saturday evening.

Elk Burgers

1 lb ground Elk
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1 tsp each ground black pepper and onion powder
3 Tbsp Worchestshire sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl; form patties (1/2 inch thick) and keep separated with squares of wax paper.  Place in refrigerator.

When ready to barbeque; set heat of grill to 300F.  Grill burgers for 5 minutes on each side.

Makes 5 burgers.

Sirloin Steaks

All I did for these beauties is rub both sides of the steaks with a no-salt seasoning mixture, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until ready to grill.  I used the same temperature as the Elk burgers (300F); 7 minutes on each side.  There were 4 steaks, each a 1/2 inch thick.

Steamed Fish

I had a 2 lb package of frozen Swai filets, so I simply seasoned them with a sprinkle of salt and crushed dill; dashed lemon juice over all.  Then I placed them inside an aluminum foil grilling bag, placed it on the top rack of the barbeque and let them cook for 20 minutes.  Perfect.

Roy enjoys a good grilled hotdog, so a package of 8 Ball Park Angus Beef hotdogs went on the grill for his snacking pleasure.

All that protein!!!  But I did veggies too.

Grilled Root Veggies

Take one pound each of butternut squash and sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed), 1 lb of fingerling potatoes, a large onion chopped, thinly sliced garlic (4 cloves), 1 cup olive oil and 1 Tbsp sea salt; mix together and place in aluminum foil grilling bag.  Now this has to go on the top rack of the barbeque, set at 300F, for one hour; so plan your grilling to accomodate the cooking time.

Grilled Mixed Veggies

3 each of baby green zucchini and yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices; 1 lb of large mushrooms (quartered), 2 packages of sweet mini bell peppers (tops removed and cut in half lengthwise), 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix. 

Mix all ingredients together and place in aluminum grilling bag.  Place on top rack of barbeque and let cook for 20 minutes.

....and there you go, the Cokenour 4th of July Family BBQ Feast.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, July 4, 2011

Guido's is Upscale Italian in Durango.


1201 Main Avenue (corner 12th St and Main Ave)
Durango, CO, 81301

Fax: (970) 259-5029


Guido's is located in the Historic section of Durango, Colorado; the main floor of a modern building of apartments. There is a patio section outside, but we opted to sit inside, so we could get a good look at the deli area, and shelves of food stuffs for sale.

We were able to find tubs of mascarpone cheese (17.5 oz for $12.98), dried pastas and many other specialties. However, this was very far from the typical deli/restaurant one would expect in the Little Italy section of New York City or Philadelphia. It reminded me more of an upper East side restaurant where more posh clientele would dine; not folks like ourselves who were dressed in jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. So, if you're looking for a more upscale Italian restaurant, Guido's is for you.

Since we were there, we decided to sit in the dining area anyway, and try out a couple of menu items. I opted for the Italian Meatball sandwich; the meatballs were most definitely real and delicious; not the typical frozen rubbery type many places use. The sauce was awesome, and I used the toasted bread to sop it all up. The corn salad contained cut up cherry tomatoes, onions and chunks of Gorgonzola cheese (a much stronger version of bleu cheese).

Hubby had the Guido's Specialty Panini with Italian meats and cheese; freshly sliced meats, rich cheese and the bread was toasted perfectly and buttery. He had the pasta salad as his side; bow tie pasta with spicy pepperoni.

While the food was very good, the prices ($11.95 per entree) were a bit steep for a sandwich plus one side; making Guido's definitely a more upscale restaurant.

Mary Cokenour

Guido's Favorite Foods on Urbanspoon