Monday, May 28, 2012

Make your Holiday Barbecue Hot and Cold.

Memorial Day, we honor all those who fought for our country; all those who gave their lives to keep us free. This holiday also is the jumpstart for the summer season; even though the calendar still tells us that it's springtime. Family and friends gather for games of touch football, volleyball and horseshoes; picnics in the park or barbeques in the backyard.

This won't be a long post, for like you, I'm going to be enjoying my day off. A simple dinner of grilled chicken breasts with a chipotle citrus sauce glaze and a side dish of "confetti salsa". The salsa is a freshly made salsa, the ingredients cut small and they're colorful just like confetti, hence the name. The cool, fresh salsa is a perfect balance with the hot, spicy chicken breasts.

To cook the chicken, trim off any excess fat and season both sides with salt and pepper. Get your grill up to medium heat, about 300F; lay the chicken bone side down first and cook for 3 minutes. Flip it over and cook another 3 minutes; flip it over to the bone side again and slather on a generous dose of the chipotle citrus sauce, close the barbecue lid and leave it alone for 5 minutes. Now slap on another layer of sauce, cook another 5 minutes with lid closed and you are done. The glaze will be sweet and spicy; the chicken moist and juicy.

Now if you cannot grill outside, this can be done inside under the broiler. First preheat your oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Salt and pepper the chicken, place it bone side down on the pan; 3 minutes, flip, 3 minutes, flip, but take the pan out of the oven now. Set your broiler to high; slather on the first layer of sauce and place the pan under the broiler for 5 minutes; repeat with sauce and cooking time and like the outdoor grill, you are done!

Now remember, I use boneless, skinless chicken, so if you're using bone in and skin on or off, you'll have to adjust your cooking time for the added thickness. Using a cooking thermometer is your best bet on making sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Oh yeah, this sauce and salsa works great with pork too.

Enjoy the day!!!

Confetti Salsa


3 medium sized tomatoes, ripe and firm
1 ¼ cups whole kernel corn
1 small red onion, diced
1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
¼ cup each diced red, green and orange bell peppers
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup chopped, fresh cilantro


Cut tomatoes in half and scoop out fleshy pulp and seeds; cut into strips and dice. Steam the corn over boiling water until just tender; place in refrigerator to cool. Into a medium mixing bowl, add all ingredients and gently mix. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.

Makes 4 cups of salsa.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, May 25, 2012

More Garlic, More Spice, More Asian Cuisine.

Now back on April 6th, I gave you a recipe for Garlic Chicken with Soba Noodles and it's a fantastically good dish. As with many recipes, including my own, I like to play with the ingredients; perhaps improving further, perhaps not. That's the adventure!

Crushed red pepper flakes give the heat, but I wanted more than an overall heat in my mouth; I wanted a bite. A bite on the insides of my cheeks, on the tongue; something to make me stand up and take notice of the intense flavor of the dish, not just the heat. What better to work with than freshly cracked black pepper?

The chicken is a bit different too as I coated it in cornstarch, fried it in oil and immediately seasoned the still moist strips with salt and cracked pepper. As the chicken drained, the seasonings adhered to the chicken ensuring flavoring. I use peanut oil because it can reach a high temperature quickly, the food cooks quickly itself. The oil is not heavily absorbed, so your food is light and not greasy; and no, there is no peanut taste to the finished product.

This is a one pan meal, prep and cooking times are minimal and it is a meal that you and a family member can prepare together. While a large skillet can be used, I highly recommend investing in a Wok; they're relatively inexpensive, cut cooking time and easy maintenance.

Now on to today's recipe....

Garlic and Pepper Chicken


1 lb boneless, skinless chicken (breasts, thighs or combination); cut into ½ inch strips
½ cup cornstarch
1 cup peanut oil
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper, divided in half
1 ½ cups broccoli florets
¾ cup diced red bell pepper
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chili sauce
2 Tbsp mirin wine
¼ cup dark soy sauce
¼ cup hoisin sauce


Coat the chicken strips in the cornstarch; shake off excess. In a Wok or large skillet, heat the oil on medium-high heat; add the chicken, cook until done; drain chicken on paper towels, but season with sea salt and 1 tsp black pepper immediately.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons oil; add in broccoli and bell pepper; cook for two minutes. Whisk together garlic, chili sauce, mirin wine, soy and hoisin sauces, remaining teaspoon black pepper; add back chicken to Wok or skillet; pour in liquid, mix thoroughly to coat. Cook for additional two minutes before serving over rice (white, brown or fried) or rice noodles.

Makes four servings.

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Finally, the Vegetable Garden is a Go!

For three years I have been trying to develop gardens on my property here in Monticello, Utah. The ground here is horrible; a mixture of dry dirt, sand and clay; and it didn't help that the previous owner abused, not just the house itself, but the land around it. Respect was not a priority to this person at all, but we've loved up the house and made it into a home. Not for anything, but the previous owner should have paid us for the house and land, considering everything we've had to do to improve it.  Now I've been trying to get top soil to build up the front and back yards; no luck so far. One construction company wants to charge an arm and a leg for each cubic foot; and then there are those who would rather dump good top soil into the local landfill than give it away to neighbors. Sorry, but that is retarded thinking on their part.

For the past two years, I've done container gardening for my vegetable plants. Nice concept for small spaces, but you don't get those large, beautiful and numerous veggies like you would with a garden. We found a rototiller on sale at the Home Depot in Durango, Colorado last year and put it to good use this year. Choosing a section of the yard that is bordered by the wooden fence and the home (also gets 8 hours of sun), my hubby cleaned it all up and loosened the dirt with the rototiller. Amazing the junk that was buried from years of neglect, but we did happen to find a silver and turquoise ring; and a gold and turquoise belt buckle. I wonder what other buried treasure is around here? Roy built barriers from 8 foot (4" x 4") cedar posts, two on top of each other and then secured with half inch rebar (steel posts). For drainage, we put down a layer of gravel in the designated areas and then filled it with organic soil. For a walkway, I laid down shredded cedar; it's rustic looking and smells great.

There is still about 3 feet of space from the initial garden area to the edge of the house. Roy is going to finish those off with more cedar posts; then I'll plant herb plants that I'll harvest and dry for storage.

Then the planting began; a beefsteak tomato, zucchini, straight neck yellow squash, bell peppers and hot peppers of various heat intensity. I plan on adding plum (Roma) and yellow tomato plants; the yellow tomatoes are less acidic then the red.

Now here in Monticello, we could get frost up to June 15; not good for a vegetable garden to thrive in. I had a roll of heavy duty plastic (the type used for winterizing windows), tented it over the plants and created a hothouse effect to help them survive just in case that cold snap does occur.

So now it's a matter of wait and see; fingers are crossed, but I've got a really, really good feeling about it all.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, May 18, 2012

R & F Restaurant is Welcomed Comfort.

R & F Restaurant

149 East Center Street (Route 491)
Monticello, Utah, 84535

(435) 587-2440

Website: N/A

After reading many reviews online, I was a bit hesitant about having a meal in this local establishment. However, I wouldn't be very useful at restaurant reviews if I just went by what others wrote. Camera and reading material in bag, off to R & F I went to get my own conclusions.

As I was walking up to R & F's door, I was greeted cheerily by employees standing outside; and even had the door opened for me. My hostess and waitress was Fana; and if you want to feel like a little kid in grandma's kitchen, she'll oblige you with a smile. Now I could have been a tourist passing through or a local dining alone, the employees there didn't know, but they treated me very, very well.

The interior is reminiscent of an old time country kitchen and that decor is intentional; just like the feeling of being in grandma's kitchen. The entire place is clean and that includes the kitchen area which I was allowed to visit. R & F is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner; 90% of the menu items are house made.

For dinner, I chose the Chicken Strips which came with a choice of potato, vegetable of the day and a cup of soup or a salad. I tried the soup of the day which was Chicken Noodle. A savory seasoned thick broth with old fashioned noodles, carrots and shredded chicken; a real stick to your ribs kind of soup. Just writing about it is making me crave more.

The chicken strips are coated in a mixture of flour and cornmeal; then deep fried to a crispy golden brown. At a half inch thick, the chicken was tender and juicy; it came with a spicy bbq sauce on the side, but you didn't really need it. The fries were crispy on the outside, fluffy inside and piping hot. The corn on the cob was hot, sweet and a perfect side for what I had ordered. No dessert for me; the meal I had just eaten was just right.

R & F is on Route 491 as you are going to or coming from Colorado; and if you're hungry, make sure to stop on in. There are many hotels and motels in Monticello, Utah and I hope they're giving their guests a hint about R & F. Oh, and if you're there on a Wednesday, stop on in for Mexican night; we're talking authentic Mexican cuisine. Whether you're a tourist or trucker passing through, or one of the locals; you'll feel welcomed comfort at R & F.

Mary Cokenour

R & F Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pancake Haus' Breakfast is What They Do Best.

Pancake Haus

196 S. Main Street (next to the Ramada Inn)
Moab, Utah, 84532

(435) 259-7141

Website: N/A

Open daily from 6:30am to 1 pm, the Pancake Haus is always busy and they focus on one type of service, Breakfast. So it's no wonder why they brag about doing it best; and I've never had a complaint.

The staff is buzzing around, but that doesn't deter them from being polite, friendly and attentive. Our waiter, Ugur, is an immigrant from Turkey and talk about being a pro; we had our coffee in seconds, and the other diners around us didn't have to wait long either. Order taken immediately after and served up about 15 minutes later; and considering how packed they were, that was fast! However, Ugur did have a few moments to answer some questions and that pleasant attitude and friendly smile never left him. We made sure to tip him very well.

So lets talk about the food at Pancake Haus; having eaten there before I can attest to the fluffiness of their pancakes, the awesome flavor of the French toast, crisp and fluffy waffles. I often favor the Pigs in a Blanket; savory sausages wrapped in those fluffy pancakes. Then there are the omelettes.

When I was there last, I ordered the Cheese Omelette with hash browns and toast (you can get silver dollar pancakes if you prefer). The omelette is large and puffy; loaded with cheddar cheese and simply delicious. The eggs were not dry and overcooked, or runny and undercooked; they were just right!

My husband had the House Omelette; eggs done up the same as mine and it was loaded inside and out with vegetables. He did not leave a scrap of omelette on his plate!

If you're looking for a great breakfast to start off your day in Moab; definitely go to the Pancake Haus. You may have to wait a bit because it's always busy, but it's worth the wait.

Mary Cokenour

Arches Dining & Pancake Haus on Urbanspoon

Ramada Inn on Restaurantica

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Soup, Stew or Goulash; Paprikash is a Hungarian Best.

Traditionally, the Hungarian dish of Paprikash is made with chicken; the two other main ingredients are paprika and sour cream. When I first made this dish, I used turkey tenderloins I had found on sale. It came out so delicious, I didn't even try using chicken afterwards. Depending on the paprika used, the recipe can turn out to be mild and reddish in color; or spicy and brown in color. I use the mild paprika and once you add it into your skillet, you'll be amazed at how it makes your entire dish pop with color. I also add a little cayenne pepper, just enough to let you know it's there at the back of your throat, but not enough to overwhelm the entire dish.

The quantity of liquid added plus noodles or spaetzle, will help determine the final thickness of the dish. Personally, I like adding extra wide egg noodles directly into the pan; allowing the noodles to be infused with the flavors of paprika, cayenne pepper, vegetables and sour cream. If you're like me and prefer egg noodles, let me recommend a brand to you. "Amish Kitchens" of Millersburg, Ohio ( ) make their noodles primarily of wheat flour and eggs. They are absolutely fantastic and make the brands of egg noodles seen in supermarkets taste like garbage.

Don't be worried that there will be too much liquid at first, the noodles will eventually sop it up as they rest in the sauce.

Turkey Paprikash


1 ½ lbs turkey tenderloin, cut into ½ inch strips
½ cup flour
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided in half
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ Tbsp paprika
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup half n’ half
1 cup sour cream
1 lb medium size egg noodles, cooked and kept warm


In a plastic bag, coat the turkey with the flour. Heat half the oil in a large skillet, medium-high heat; brown turkey and set aside. In the same skillet, heat the other half of the oil; sauté’ the onions and peppers until they just start to soften.

Return the turkey to the skillet and add the paprika, cayenne pepper, chicken stock and half n’ half; bring to a soft boil; stir, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the sour cream thoroughly; add noodles and toss to coat; let cook for 2 minutes.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Devil made me Cook it.

Fra Diavolo loosely translated means "brother devil", but don't expect to find this dish on a menu in Italy. This is an Italian-American invention and is basically a simple pasta sauce heated up with crushed red pepper flakes. Another facet of this dish is that it usually incorporates some type of seafood: shrimp, lobster, calamari (squid), crab, scallops and a firm white fish such as pollack, haddock or cod. The pasta served is one of the long pastas such as linguine, fettuccine or spaghetti. Considering it is not a traditional Italian recipe, I don't see why one could not substitute chicken or pork for the seafood.

First off, lets recap my Homemade Pasta Sauce:

Homemade Pasta Sauce


1 large onion, diced
3 Tbsp garlic
3-28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
1-28 oz can diced tomatoes
1-12oz can tomato paste
2 Tbsp dried basil, crushed
1 Tbsp each dried oregano, thyme and marjoram, crushed
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese


Add all listed ingredients into a 6-qt crock pot (previously sprayed with non-stick spray); mix thoroughly. Set on low heat; let the sauce cook for 8 hours.

Yields about 14 cups.


This recipe can be made on the stovetop, but should be stirred every 1-2 hours to keep sauce from sticking and burning on bottom of pot.

The long cooking time allows for the sauce to become richer and thicker. If a thinner sauce is desired, cut the tomato paste by half, leave out the diced tomatoes, and cut cooking time in half.

Now since I was making my Vegetarian Pasta Sauce yesterday, I decided to use that instead of starting another sauce from scratch. Why not? It's just the homemade pasta sauce with veggies added; just a little more nutrition thrown into the mix.

Lets put this dish together. You'll need, to serve four:

1/2 lb pasta (linguine, spaghetti or fettuccine)
2 1/2 cups seafood (a single item or combination of shrimp, crab, lobster, calamari, scallops or cut up firm white fish such as pollack, haddock or cod)
3 cups sauce
crushed red pepper flakes (1 tsp for mild, 2 for medium, 3 or more if hot or hotter)
chopped fresh parsley

Prepare the pasta according to directions. While the pasta is cooking, place a large, deep skillet on medium-low heat and add the sauce and seafood; cover. If it begins to bubble up, lower the heat to keep the seafood from over cooking and the sauce from burning.

Once the pasta is done, strain it and add it to the skillet plus the crushed red pepper flakes; toss to coat the pasta; let it all cook together for about 1 minute to allow the pasta to pick up the flavor of the sauce.

Plate it up and sprinkle the parsley over.

Could this be any easier!?!

So have a little brother devil for dinner and spice up your night. Enjoy!

Mary Cokenour

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op.

Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op


I was told about this great program, where every two weeks you can fill up a basket with wonderful fruits and vegetables. Not only that, but breads, oils and bulk fruits or vegetables are also available. So with website in hand, I decided to check it out for myself.

Bountiful Baskets is a cooperative run by volunteers, so no salaries to boost up the prices on the goods you buy. Items are bought at discounted prices, but they're high quality, not seconds or cast offs. I go to the Monticello, Utah distribution point every two weeks; some places have it every week, so you need to check your state and area when participating.

Still wondering if this is right for you and your family? Lets take a look at the above photo of what I just picked up on Saturday, May 12th. Bag of grapefruit, container of black raspberries, avocados, large apricots, spinach, 4 bags of carrots, mangoes, honeydew melon, apples, tomatoes, bananas (green and ungassed, so they turn yellow naturally and don't brown quickly). That was just the usual basket of 50% fruit, 50% vegetable. Then I purchased the additional Italian Veggie Pack which contained onions, garlic, fresh herbs, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, lemons and eggplant. Let me tell you, I kicked myself all day for not ordering two of that Italian Veggie Pack - yes, you can order more than one of everything, depending on your need.

Right now I have a 6 quart crock pot simmering with a wonderfully scented Vegetarian Pasta Sauce and I added shredded carrots for more sweetness. The great thing about the abundance of food you receive is the ability to not only make great meals for yourself and your family, but to store the excess for later meals. Don't forget though, you can share the wealth too with other members of your family or maybe a neighbor who is in need.

So go to the Bountiful Baskets website, register and begin your journey to a more bountiful, healthy way of eating.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hungry? Eat some pillows.

Light, small dumplings made from semolina or wheat flour, potatoes or ricotta cheese; we're talking about Gnocchi (nok-ki). Tracing back their history to ancient Roman times, gnocchi is a popular dish, not only in Italy, but in coastal Croatia as well. The making of it is similiar to pasta making; simple ingredients of a "flour" whether a ground grain or potatoes, egg and salt. Some recipes can be quite inventive, inducing cheese, sweet potatoes, or a vegetable such as spinach into the mix.

If you're pasta making challenged like myself, there are many brands of gnocchi available on the market such as DaVinci, Colavita and Don Peppe. Sold in one pound packets, prices can vary from 4 to 8 dollars depending on the type of market you're buying from.



2 lbs potatoes (not baking potatoes)
1 ½ cups flour plus additional for rolling
1 egg
1 tsp salt


Boil the potatoes in hot salted water until fork tender. Let cool before removing skins; put through a ricer or grater into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 ½ cups flour, egg and salt and knead together until a ball forms.

On a floured board, cut dough into 6 portions; roll out each portion to a ¾ inch diameter. Cut the rolls into one inch pieces; use a fork to roll each piece.

The best way to prepare gnocchi is by finishing them off directly in the sauce you're serving them with. They will pick up all the flavors of the sauce, so you won't be overwhelmed with just a flour or potato flavor for the entire dish.

Tonight's dinner was gnocchi in a sauce of browned butter, white wine and shallots. Shallots are basically "onion candy"; a delicate scent and sweet taste that will make you smile with delight, not cry your eyes out in pain.

Browned Butter Sauce with White Wine and Shallots


4 Tbsp salted butter
2 large shallots, diced
¼ cup white wine
Freshly ground black pepper


In a large skillet, melt butter on medium heat; add shallots and stir occasionally to make sure butter and shallots are not sticking or burning. At same time, bring a large pot of water with salt to boil.

Remove skillet from stovetop and add wine; set skillet back on stove. Add gnocchi to boiling water; gnocchi will be ready when they float to the top; about 3-4 minutes. At the same time, the alcohol from the wine will burn off and the butter will begin turning brown. Strain the gnocchi and add directly to the skillet; let cook for 3 minutes, turning the gnocchi once in the sauce.

Plate and top with freshly ground black pepper.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Real Men Make Mom Quiche.

Mothers' Day will be this coming Sunday, but unfortunately, my son William will still be in Pennsylvania. However, he has decided to move here; the tickets have been bought, vacation time has been scheduled and he'll be arriving the weekend of May 26th. We're all feeling a bit excited and nervous at the same time; it's been three years since we moved to Utah and he decided to stay behind. Talk about new adventures!

Anyway, if he was here for Mothers' Day, I would love to see a demonstration of the culinary skills he acquired while working as a cook. Now we've all heard the saying, "real men don't eat quiche"; well I want to see it made. I know he reads my blog, so Bill, pay attention as you'll be tested soon after you arrive and settle in.

Quiche was already written about in January 2011, but I'll do a quick recap.

Basic Quiche


1 ½ cups half n’ half
4 eggs, beaten
1/8 tsp salt (can be adjusted up or down dependent on ingredients added in)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 – 9” unbaked deep dish pastry shell


Preheat oven to 350F. Combine half n’ half, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour into pastry shell; bake for 45-50 minutes, or until egg mixture is golden brown and set.

See guys, easy peasy, so now I'm going to throw in a curve ball...Asparagus. It's basically a super vegetable; low in calories and sodium; contains zinc, iron, folic acid, vitamins A, C, E and K and whole bunch of other minerals I won't bore you with. The popular type seen in stores is a green color which will become woody as it grows older. The tougher the stem, the older the asparagus, so look for those young, tender shoots.

There is a white variety which is basically the green type that has been grown inside a hill of dirt; the sun kept off of it to keep photosynthesis from occurring and turning the vegetable green. I love this type in Vietnamese Crab Asparagus soup, and I'll post that recipe one of these days.

For the quiche, I steamed 10 spears of asparagus till fork tender; and sauteed a quarter cup of diced onions in butter, on medium heat, till soft, but not browned or burned. I added the onions and a half cup of shredded Swiss cheese to the basic quiche mixture. After pouring the mixture into the pie crust, the fun really began. I started to place the asparagus spears in a tree design, cutting some of the spears in half to make smaller "branches" for the tree. Now the spears will float a bit in the liquid, so don't expect a perfect design, but from the picture above, I'd say it came out kind of cute.

So there's the challenge for you real men out there; make a quiche for your mom on Mothers' Day. It might not turn out perfect, but in her eyes, you, and it, will be.

Mary Cokenour

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bugles Adds Sweet to their Salty.

In 1966, a cone shaped snack made from corn and fried in coconut oil hit the market; it became a big hit. I was a little kid then and I still remember my first box, yes, they came in a box, of Bugles. Even though they have flavors called Sour Cream and Onion, Nacho and Barbeque; the original flavor was always my favorite. If I wanted a little extra something, I would dip them in French onion dip, but that's about all.

Then they decided to add two new flavors to the line up; Caramel and Chocolate Peanut Butter. At first I was hesitant to try them, thinking that the corn taste would not pair well with the sweet flavors, but I was pleasantly surprised.

The Caramel Bugles have a tendency to be broken up in the package. Though they have a nice, smooth caramel flavor; the coating is hard and seems to make the crispy corn snack break more easily.

The Chocolate Peanut Butter has a more silky texture on the outside, so the crispy cone stays intact. The peanut butter flavor is more predominant with this snack; and it is listed higher up on the ingredients list. The chocolate flavor comes from cocoa and is very faint.

Surprisingly, a 2/3 cup serving has either 19 or 20 grams of carbs, depending on whether you're indulging in the caramel or chocolate peanut butter. However, don't get me wrong, I'm not proclaiming this to be a 100% healthy snack, but one you don't have to feel as guilty about. If making a snack mix for a party, definitely include both of these products.

Mary Cokenour

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wagon Wheel Pizza Doesn't Roll for Me.

Wagon Wheel Pizza

164 South Main
Monticello, Utah, 84535

(435) 587-2766

Website: N/A

First off, let me state that I was asked to do a review of Wagon Wheel by an anonymous commentor on my food blog page for Thatzza Pizza, a newly opened pizza competitor for Wagon Wheel. Remember folks, I'm a pizza snob and very tough when it comes to pizza reviews. I've traveled to many places in and out of the United States, and trying pizza whenever I could was always on the list of things to do.

Wagon Wheel Pizza was established in 1984 and is owned by Susan, a former resident of Florida. When entering Wagon Wheel, it looks like a typical pizzeria with booths lining one wall and a few tables here or there. After about a 5 minute wait while Susan finished prepping a pizza for the oven, my order was taken, and questions answered, with a friendly smile. I was told my order would be ready in 25 minutes, but it actually took 45 minutes which gave me time to see some of my food prepared.

The Meatball Sandwich consists of three frozen 2" meatballs that are defrosted in the microwave, mixed with sauce and then heated again in the microwave. They are sliced in half, placed on an untoasted 6" sub roll and garnished with slices of green bell pepper and onion. Once unwrapped, the sub cannot be picked up to be eaten as it has become a "hot mess" with the roll falling apart from not being toasted. A fork is a must if you order this sandwich.

If you want chicken wings, you must ask for them as they are not listed on the menu; they come with a choice of two sauces: hot or bbq. They are baked on parchment paper, so do not expect a crisp texture since the wings are basically steaming in the fat coming off the wings and caught on the paper. While the chicken was fully cooked with a mild bbq flavor, the thick, gummy skin was totally unappealing.

The pizza at Wagon Wheel does not use the typical Utah style of crust, namely focaccia bread. The crust is thinner, allowing for a browned and crispy texture.

The sauce, while having a good flavor and you can see the herbs, is smeared thin; the cheese is thick, but not the creamy, gooey type that one associates with pizza. To get a single bite of cheese with crust, you must completely bite through the slice, or the cheese comes sliding off in a complete sheet. As the pizza cools, the cheese congeals more and the crust becomes very tough.

To be fair, I have to say that Susan was busy prepping food, checking on the oven, plating food, while her two workers were either filling salt and pepper shakers, or filling a drink order for 8 people - 2 drinks at a time; guess the employee didn't know how to carry a tray. The drink order employee then completed the meatball sandwich; was going to put it in the oven for toasting and then changed her mind. That was a big mistake in my book.

Mary Cokenour

Wagon Wheel Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Got Spaghetti? Make Potpie!

Yes, you read the title correctly; I'm going to tell you how to make potpie with spaghetti. Now I know you're thinking, "how do you make a traditional potpie with spaghetti as a topping? Hint: the spaghetti is not a topping, but a main ingredient. Curious?

Well it all began when I was reading some recipes at an online recipe site and saw "Spaghetti Alfredo". Curious, I checked out the ingredient list and preparation. Basically it was cooked spaghetti mixed with cream of mushroom soup, milk, chopped broccoli and topped with sharp cheddar cheese. My thought was, "Alfredo?" I was not getting the picture, especially with the sharp cheddar cheese.

Now I needed to make dinner and thought (yeah, I do a lot of that) that it was time to be adventurous once again and play with my food. I make an awesome chicken pot pie, but didn't want to deal with a pie crust or biscuits. Remembering the recipe I just mentioned, the lightbulb flashed on, why not use potpie ingredients, but mix it in with spaghetti? The result? Not only was it a quick meal to put together, but the scent made me salivate, and the taste was just oh so good!

So here you go, "Spaghetti Potpie Casserole". Now doesn't that look num yummy?  Needing a recipe for a get-together; consider this one next time and prepare to be praised.

Spaghetti Potpie Casserole


2 Tbsp butter, divided in half
½ cup each diced red onion and red bell pepper
1 lb cooked spaghetti, kept warm
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken breast
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1 cup parboiled, diced carrots
1 can (10.5 oz) each cream of celery and cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp each crushed, dried thyme and parsley
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup finely shredded Mexican blend cheese


In a 10” skillet, medium heat, melt one tablespoon butter; add onion and bell pepper; sweat till softened, about 3 minutes; do not let vegetables brown or burn.

Preheat oven to 350F; smear bottom and sides of a 3 qt. casserole dish with other tablespoon of butter.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix softened onion and bell pepper together with all ingredients, except the cheese. Spread evenly into casserole dish and top with cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes; until cheese is completely melted, but do not let brown.

Makes 8 servings.

Mary Cokenour

Friday, May 4, 2012

Village Inn Restaurant and Bakery

Village Inn Restaurant and Bakery

3715 N Kasper Ave
Flagstaff, AZ 86004

(928) 526-5330


After a long five hour drive to Flagstaff, we decided to stop at the first diner looking place we saw, and that was the Village Inn Restaurant and Bakery. Considering it was lunch time, there were very few customers inside; but we were greeted in a very friendly manner and drinks were served immediately.

The food here is average, budget friendly for travelers, and while average, still tastes fresh and good depending on what you order. I had the Club Sandwich with Fries; what I really liked about this sandwich was that they used real, roasted turkey breast and baked ham; not thinly sliced cold cuts you can get in any supermarket. The fries were seasoned, crispy outside, fluffy inside; I was pretty satisfied with my choice.

My husband though was not very happy with his sandwich; the Grilled Chicken with Swiss cheese and Avocado slices. He said that the chicken was dry and rubbery, he could barely taste the cheese, but the avocado was a nice touch to an overall "blah" sandwich.

Since it was Wednesday when we ate there, we received a free slice of pie. We both chose the Blueberry Lemon Supreme, since the photo staring us in the face looked so enticing. The pie was very good; crust was light and flaky, the cream cheese filling was smooth and creamy and the mixture of lemon with blueberry was perfect. The hostess and waitress bragged about the pies at the Village Inn, and rightly so.

To be fair, if I was staying in Flagstaff for an extended period, I would give Village Inn another try; most likely the breakfast menu, so I could try the Eggs Benedict.

Mary Cokenour

Village Inn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Flagstaff Chocolate Company

Flagstaff Chocolate Company

120 North Leroux, Suite 103
Flagstaff, AZ, 86001

(928) 779-5611


On the corner of Birch and Leroux are located the Old Town Shops of Historic Downtown Flagstaff, Arizona; and this is the home of Flagstaff Chocolate Company.

Besides their handmade chocolates, truffles, brittle and fudge; there is an assortment of covered apples. They sell many of the popular name brand, and not so famous, candies; also bulk candies such as jelly beans and gummies. I purchased a one pound box of assorted chocolates, and as you can see from the photo, they not only look pretty, but delectable. I can attest to the fact that they are! The chocolate is smooth and luscious; the fillings are packed with flavor.

Walking around the historic downtown of Flagstaff, there are many little shops to browse and buy in; but don't go home without stopping at the Chocolate Company and purchasing some of their delicious candies. Not going to be in Flagstaff any time soon, then go to their website and order excuses there, just delicious indulgence.

Mary Cokenour