AMORY – Just about every Saturday the Smithville Farmers Market is open, you’ll find Sierra Logan there, selling her baked goods.
She makes chocolate brownie cookies with a mint buttercream frosting and chocolate ganache, blueberry cheesecake cookies, salted caramel cookies, small cakes, lemon blueberry bread and her new bestseller – an egg custard crinkle made with thin sheets of pastry.
“I try a new recipe just about every week, mostly baking recipes,” said Logan, 30. “I just see what new things I can come up with.”
Logan, a stay-at-home mom, was born in Smithville and graduated from Smithville High School in 2010. In 2014, she moved to Amory. She and her husband, Chris, have three children: Paetyn, Adalynn and Jenson.
Logan learned to cook from both her parents. Her mother, Tammy Dyer, who died in 2013, was paralyzed from the waist down because of a four-wheeler accident, but she didn’t let her disability slow her down.
“She cooked country meals, swam, played basketball – she did everything but walk,” Logan said.
Her father, Yancey Dyer, who died in 2016, was the master of breakfast.
“He made one specific thing every morning,” Logan said. “He’d scramble eggs, sausage and cheese together, and I thought it was the best dish. I still make it.”
After she married, Logan began looking at cookbooks and searching for five-star recipes online. One of the first things she made for her new husband was muffins.
“I needed to wash the bowl I was going to mix them in, so I put some dish soap in it and then went off and did something else,” she said. “I came back and made the muffins in the bowl with the soap. Chris ate, like, three of them. Later, I ate one, and I texted him and said, ‘Did those muffins taste like dish soap to you?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but I didn’t want to say anything.'”
Logan cooks every weeknight for her family. They might have chicken stuffed with spinach artichoke dip along with garlic Parmesan asparagus and garlic bread, or million dollar spaghetti with a Caesar salad and garlic bread.
“During the week, I try to do a meat with two sides,” she said. “On the weekends, we don’t do elaborate meals. We might have pizza in the oven.”
Logan said her favorite meal would be a toss-up between a steak and a seafood boil.
“I could eat crab legs every day for the rest of my life and be happy,” she said.
DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, PO Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call (662) 678-1581 or email them to email@example.com.
BLUEBERRY CORN FETA SALAD
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large serving bowl combines the corn, blueberries, green onions, jalapeño, feta and basil.
In a small bowl whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper.
Pour the dressing over the salad and stir together until combined. Taste for seasoning then serve or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator, but is best the day it’s made.
*Note: For the best flavor, grill 4 to 5 ears of corn, then remove the kernels. If using frozen corn, thaw before using. If using canned corn, drain it.
LEMON BLUEBERRY BREAD
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until well combined.
While slowly mixing, add flour mixture and milk in two batches (some flour, then some milk, then the rest of the flour and the rest of the milk). Stop mixing as soon as it’s just combined.
Rinse the blueberries (if using fresh) so they have just a bit of moisture on them, then, in a small bowl, toss the blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour, which will help prevent blueberries from sinking to the bottom of pan while baking.
Add flour-coated berries to the batter and gently but quickly stir, by hand, to combine.
Immediately pour batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool bread in the pan for about 30 minutes, then move to a wire cooling rack with a baking sheet below.
Prepare glaze by whisking together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and vanilla, then pour glaze over the loaf. Let sit a few minutes before slicing.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, from about 12 whole graham crackers
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin pie mix
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 pumpkin pie spice teaspoons
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pumpkin pie spice to dust
For the crust, in a medium bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, sugar and cinnamon. Transfer into a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch tall walls and use a large spoon to press crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan, and 1/2-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temp.
For the filling, in the bowl of a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the softened cream cheese and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy and without lumps, about 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl once to make sure you don’t have chunks of cream cheese.
In a separate bowl, using a whisk, stir together pumpkin pie mix, eggs, sour cream, flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined. Add this mixture to the cheesecake filling and continue mixing on low speed just until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Transfer filling into pre-baked crust and bake on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Turn off heat, prop the oven door open slightly with a wooden spoon and let cheesecake sit in the oven another 45 minutes. Then remove from the oven and let cool to room temp before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating. Serve when fully chilled (at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, or overnight).
Before serving, carefully remove cheesecake from springform pan by running a blunt knife along the sides of the cheesecake to release from the springform mold. Add desired toppings and serve.
BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE COOKIES
3 sticks salted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (2 sleeves)
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
7 ounces marshmallow cream
1/2 cup canned blueberry pie filling
Cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until light in color and creamy.
Add in flour, crushed graham crackers, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix until completely combined.
Portion out the dough into 1/2-cup portions. Roll each portion into a ball and arrange 6 onto each cookie sheet. Press down slightly on the cookie dough, flattening it until it is about 1-inch thick.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes, until the cookies are turning golden brown. Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting by whipping the cream cheese until smooth.
Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until completely combined before adding more powdered sugar. Repeat until the full 2 cups of powdered sugar have been added.
Add in the marshmallow cream and mix until all of it has been combined thoroughly.
Place the frosting in a gallon-size ziptop bag, cut the corner off the bag and use it to pipe the frosting onto the warm cookies in a spiral.
Add a dollop of blueberry pie filling to the center of each cookie.
Note: These cookies are large. If you want smaller cookies, reduce portion size to 1/4 cup and reduce cooking time. Also, if desired, omit the canned blueberry pie filling as a topping, and instead drizzle with salted caramel.
SPINACH DIP STUFFED CHICKEN
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 (5-ounce) bag shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (8-ounce) bag shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
Lay each chicken breast on a flat surface. Place your non-cutting hand on top, and with a small knife, cut a flap/pocket into each chicken breast. Don’t cut all the way through.
Season the chicken all over with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
In a mixing bowl, combine spinach, cream cheese, Parmesan, Mozzarella and chopped artichoke hearts. Mix until the cream cheese is evenly distributed.
Place 1/4 of the filling into each pocket. If there’s any filling leftover, spread it on top of breasts. Wrap each breast in 2 pieces of bacon.
Place stuffed chicken in a baking dish and bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until cooked through and bacon is browned.
MILLION DOLLAR SPAGHETTI
1/2 pound ground Italian sausage or pork sausage
1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
16 ounce spaghetti noodles
1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, softened
1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, cook and crumble the ground beef and Italian sausage and season with salt and pepper. Remove most of the grease. Add onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Add all but 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce to the mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, just until al dente. Drain, and place hot spaghetti in a large mixing bowl with butter and 1/2 cup reserved marinara sauce, and toss to combine.
Combine cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese in a bowl and mix well.
Pour half of the noodle mixture into a greased 9×13-inch saucepan. Smooth cream cheese mixture on top. Top with remaining noodles. Add meat sauce on top and smooth into an even layer. Top with Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Check it around 20 minutes and if the cheese is browning too quickly, try a piece of tinfoil over it. Wait at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving, to allow it to set up.
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