The teachers at Minot Consolidated School would say that Joan Dyer, an educational technician at their school, learned her cooking lessons well.

“They nominated me. I bring in things for them all the time. They really are like my guinea pigs, but they haven’t refused anything I’ve put in front of them, yet.” The experimenting seemed to pay off, and she is thankful to her friends and co-workers for thinking of her as a Cook of the Week.

Dyer got firsthand experience in the kitchen as a little girl. “My mom worked, so she would leave things on the stove for me when I got home. I’d keep an eye on it and then when she got home, she’d take over.” She recalls the first dishes she prepared as a girl: stew and potato salad. These dishes aren’t merely a distant memory though. “I still fix them, even today.”

Main courses and baked goods are both favorite types of dishes for Dyer to prepare. However, she didn’t start cooking sweets until she was a little older. To this day, one of her biggest challenges is “making chocolate fudge. I can make peanut butter fudge, but my chocolate fudge just doesn’t come out solid, the way it should.” Challenges don’t intimidate her, though. “Before I got married, I made a turkey and forgot to take the bag of innards out! My husband has never forgotten that.” She encourages new cooks to keep at it so they will improve.

A collector of “tons of cookbooks,” Dyer highly recommends the “Betty Crocker Cookbook” and the Taste of Home magazine. “I use them a lot, but mostly I come up with my own ideas now. I also get some recipe ideas from friends.” She also suggests a good set of spatulas. “I love them. I always use my rubber spatula: It’s great for scooping every bit out that I need.”

Dyer lives in Poland with Peter, her husband of 31 years. They have one daughter, Dawn, and three grandchildren, Brianna, Jackie and Caitlyn. Her favorite hobby, other than cooking, is doing arts and crafts with her granddaughters. She also occasionally enjoys doing craft work on plastic canvas.

Lemon chicken
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons margarine

2 medium-size boneless chicken breasts

½ to 1 cup pea pods, cut into small pieces

½ cup sliced carrots

2 cups minute rice

1 14-ounce can chicken broth

½ teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon dry parsley
Soy sauce to taste, optional
Method:
Cut boneless chicken into small pieces. In large skillet, fry chicken in 2 tablespoons margarine until browned, and sprinkle with garlic salt as cooking. Add cornstarch, cook until light brown. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, Minute rice and carrots. Cook until it starts to thicken. Remove from burner. Add pea pods and parsley. Mix together and cover for five to seven minutes. Add soy sauce for added flavor. Serves 2-4, depending on portion size.
Pineapple coffeecake
Coffeecake ingredients:
1 cup sugar

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt
1 21-ounce can crushed pineapple
Topping ingredients:
¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons cold butter or margarine
¼ cup chopped pecans, optional
Method:
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Combine 1 cup sugar and ½ cup butter or margarine in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add sour cream, eggs and vanilla; continue beating until well-mixed. Reduce speed to low, add 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat until well-mixed.

Spread half of batter in greased and floured 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Spoon crushed pineapple with juice over batter. Spoon remaining batter over pineapple, spread carefully. Mix together topping ingredients. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm or cool for a bit before eating.
Peanut butter fudge
Ingredients:
2 cups sugar

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 12-ounce jar peanut butter

1 7½-ounce jar Marshmallow Fluff
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Method:
Mix first three ingredients in a medium or large pot. Stir on high heat until it starts to boil. When mixture boils and cannot be stirred down, cook for five minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add peanut butter, fluff and vanilla. Beat with whisk or wooden spoon until fluffy. Pour immediately into buttered 13- by 5-inch pan. Let set until firm and cool. May be refrigerated to speed up firming. Cut into desired number of pieces and enjoy.


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