Cowboy approved recipes used by our favorite country cooks.
In the kitchen with Tonya Phillips, Rocking P Livestock of Mt. Vernon, Mo.
Tell us about yourself.
"I grew up in rural northeast Iowa on a small cow/calf operation. I was heavily involved in our FFA chapter as well as the American Junior Simmental Association. I met my husband, Chan, at one of our national classics. After graduating from Iowa State with an Ag Ed degree, Chan and I were married, and I moved to his family farm in Kentucky. About a year after moving to Kentucky, I began teaching high school agriculture and served as an FFA advisor. I had some outstanding students during my 26-year tenure. In 2018, I decided to retire from teaching and began helping Chan with cattle records. In August of 2021, we relocated to Mount Vernon, Missouri where our grandson, Beau, lives. We have two grown children – Beau’s mom and dad, Morgan (our daughter) and Sam Wallace (son-in-law); and our son, AK, and his wife, Jordan, who live in Grand Saline, Texas."
What is your least favorite job in the kitchen?
"When I first thought about this I immediately thought clean up, but after giving it some thought I think it is meal planning. It is easier since it is just Chan and I, but coming up with ideas is the most difficult for me."
What is your most requested dish?
"At nearly every family gathering in Kentucky, I am asked to bring my raspberry pretzel salad. I don’t mind at all because raspberries are a favorite of mine!"
What is your favorite cooking tip/trick?
"I like to keep it simple – like I mentioned earlier it is often just Chan and I so a protein and a vegetable is what I often prepare. Our grandson Beau LOVES any kind of berry. I once saw on Facebook that storing berries in quart jars keeps the fruit fresh longer and they do. "
Where did you learn to cook?
"Growing up I was always outside helping on the farm, so I didn’t cook a lot when I was younger. Fortunately, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, and we enjoyed evening meals as a family nightly. I have favorite go-to recipes of several family members that I often prepare. "
Photos courtesy Tonya Phillips
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