Sunday, January 16, 2011

If cooking were a religion, Bobby Flay would be a god.

He's an Iron Chef, owner of several restaurants, appears on countless cooking shows and specials, and his books are like bibles.  Bobby Flay ( ) is a born New Yorker who specializes in Southwestern cuisine.  He's personable, handsome, intelligent, and just an overall good guy; so what else would you want in a food god?

I'd love to meet him someday.  I'd be too scared to do a throwdown with him, but I'd love to just shake his hand and tell him what an inspiration he is to us foodies.

Well, I'm a born New Yorker, and since moving out West, have become quite adept at Southwestern cuisine, but that's about where the similarity ends.  I can live with that.  Since moving out to Utah, I have learned that the restaurants out East, that advertise Southwestern cuisine, don't have a real clue; except those chefs that have bothered to learn it and get the real training to excel in it.  The tastes and flavors not only explode your taste buds, but give you a "feel good" feeling...nothing like fresh chiles to get the blood flowing.

It's also healthy for you.  When I moved to Utah, my A1c (I'm a type 2 diabetic) was 11, had been on insulin for about 3 years, and just was having a heck of a time getting myself in control.  But there was something about the area that changed my whole life.  The air was the coolest and cleanest I've ever inhaled.  Where I could only walk for 15-20 minutes in Pennsylvania before getting tired and weak; here I could walk the trails for hours, and still feel energized.  The spirit of the mountain goat entered me, and my husband could only say, "She's going to f***ing kill herself", as he watched me climb the red rock formations, and jump from outcropping to outcropping.  I lost weight, and am keeping it off...still have a long way to go, but I'm not so cranky about it.  My blood sugar numbers are improving, and in 1 1/2 yrs, my A1c is now down to 6.5, the recommended number.  My insulin intake has decreased, and my blood pressure is always normal.

Yep, I'd say that moving out West was one of the best things I've ever done in my life, besides marrying Roy that is.

Southwestern Chicken Stew
(for a slow cooker)


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 jar (16 oz) chipotle salsa (if not available, use medium salsa), chunky style
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained
1 bag (16 oz) frozen red/green pepper with onion mix (sometimes listed as stir-fry mix)
1 bag (16 oz) frozen shoepeg (white) corn
1 Tbsp. chili powder
Corn bread


Spray slow cooker dish with cooking spray. Add all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set cooker on low, cook for 5-6 hours; stir occasionally. Place corn bread in soup bowl, ladle stew over bread. Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour
May 21, 2008

A salad isn't a salad...yes it is.

If you've glanced at my profile, you've seen that one of my interests, a passion really, is cooking.  It's something I've been interested in since I was a little girl.  It began via necessity, but has turned into something more.  The idea of, one day, owning one of those old fashioned roadside diners, and serving up a variety of comfort foods to traveling motorists, truckers, or folks just out for an adventure, is always on my mind.  Roy loves the idea, but finances are not our friend when it comes to the idea of starting, owning and maintaining a business.  So, I'll just dream on for now.

Ah, the purpose of this post today, Miracle Whip.  It's called a salad dressing, but basically it is mayonnaise with sugar (and lots of preservatives) added in.  Personally, the taste of it is quite nasty, but then again, I wouldn't eat plain mayonnaise either.  Roy loves it on sandwiches, and I don't know how many times I have felt insulted by his putting a blob of it upon my luscious....yes, luscious, meatloaf, or freshly roasted beef.  I do use the product in my macaroni salad, coleslaw and deviled eggs.  Why are deviled eggs called deviled in the first place?  I mean, if you really look at them, they should be called "bloody, mutilated chicken fetuses" with all that red paprika sprinkled over the yellow gob.  So, I make mine really "deviled" by adding ground cayenne pepper to the mixture, but this post is not supposed to be about all that.

If something is a salad dressing, then stick to the game plan; otherwise, don't just change the picture on the label, change the concept too.  Say what you mean, and mean what you say.  Make a decision, and stick to it.  There I go running off again......

Ok, so I'm being stubborn and saying that Miracle Whip should stick to salad enhancing, and mayonnaise should be, as it has always been, versatile.....all purpose.  That being said, here's my recipe for "Amish Macaroni Salad":

Amish Macaroni Salad


1 lb elbow macaroni
½ cup each carrots, onions, red bell peppers, finely diced
5 hard boiled eggs, diced
2 cups Miracle Whip salad dressing
¼ cup white vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard


Cook macaroni; drain, let cool in a large bowl.  Gently mix in the carrots, onions, peppers and eggs.

Whisk together Miracle Whip, vinegar, sugar and mustard to make the dressing; gently fold into the macaroni mixture, making sure all macaroni is covered by dressing.  Cover and let sit overnight.

Makes 10 – 1 cup servings.

Mary Cokenour 
May 29, 2007