Sisters Tami Burlington and Shawn Persell were raised in Carroll and enjoy  cooking for their families.
Sisters Tami Burlington and Shawn Persell were raised in Carroll and enjoy  cooking for their families.
Monday, July 25, 2011

The Linkey sisters have cheerful memories of growing up in Carroll — roller skating every weekend, swimming all summer at the Country Club, and playing Kick the Can with neighborhood friends. Sisters Shawn and Tami, always found much to do while living with their parents, Jim and Dixie Linkey, in a tan house on Joan Avenue.

In 1984, their father was working for Farmland Foods in Denison when he was transferred to Kansas City. At that time Shawn was a junior at Carroll High and Tami was in junior high. The sisters graduated from Park Hill High School in Kansas City and have remained the area and live in Kansas City, Missouri, north of the river. Since they live only 10 minutes apart the sisters get together often and spend time cooking for their families.

Shawn Persell (Class of 1987) earned a degree in Public Relations at Northwest Missouri State and is now a stay at home mom who is constantly on the go. She enjoys volunteering at school, church, and working part-time at Love, INC, a Christian non-profit organization that aids needy families in Liberty, Missouri. She is still an avid tennis player and plays in several tennis leagues around the city. Her husband, Nate, manages the construction department of The Fagan Company, a mechanical contractor based in Kansas City, Kansas. Shawn and Nate met in college and will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary in December. They have two children, T.J. (Timothy James), 12, and Anna, 10. Shawn says she is always looking for recipes that are quick and easy, but still taste great.

Tami Burlington (Class of 1991) has been a hairstylist for 16 years. She loves her job at Salon Solei and Spa. She works mainly evenings because that is when she is the busiest. Several of her customers are originally from the Carroll area and says it’s neat to make that connection after so many years.

Tami married a little over a year ago. She describes Rusty as the “love of her life.” She and Rusty knew each other in high school and reconnected on Facebook after 18 years. Rusty is operating engineer for a drilled-shaft foundation contractor and is on the road a lot, but Tami cooks meals to freeze to send along with him. She says she didn’t really start cooking until she was 30. She admits in her twenties, she ate a lot of mac-n-cheese and pizza. Now she loves to cook for Rusty and Tami thinks Rusty is enjoying it too since he’s put on a few pounds since they’ve been together. She also likes cooking for her twin stepchildren, Brock and Emily, who will begin 2nd grade this fall. The family enjoys camping in their new camper and spending time at the river or lake on the weekends.

The sisters grew up around lots of good food. Their grandmother, Anna Linkey (known for her homemade noodles), and aunt, Janis Taylor, both of Diagonal, and mother are all good cooks and inspired the Linkey sisters to follow in their footsteps. Their mom, Dixie, grew up on a farm in southern Iowa near Diagonal and was always cooking for her younger sisters. Shawn and Tami could always count on their mom to have a good meal ready for them when they got home from school or ball practice. Shawn likes her mom’s cooking so much, she used to come home on the weekends while she was in college to get a homecooked meal.

Autumn Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

If Shawn is asked to bring a salad to dinner, this is her favorite one. She had it at a friend’s dinner party and liked it so much, she asked for the recipe.

1 (10 oz) bag of baby spinach
1 (4 oz) package crumbled bleu cheese
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 ripe Bartlett pear, cored and thinly sliced (place pear in a paper sack to speed ripening)
Sugared Curried Pecans (recipe follows)
Maple-Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette, gently tossing to coat just before serving.

Sugared Curried Pecans

1 (6 oz) package pecan halves
2 T butter, melted
3 T sugar
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp. curry powder
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
Toss pecans in melted butter. Stir together sugar and next four ingredients in a medium bowl. Sprinkle over pecans, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer on a nonstick aluminum foil-lined pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool and separate pecans with a fork. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week (I double or triple this recipe and freeze in Ziploc bags).

Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

1/3 c cider vinegar
2 T pure maple syrup
1 T Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2/3 c olive oil
Whisk together first 5 ingredients. Gradually whisk in olive oil until completely blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 weeks.

Backyard Chicken

Shawn says this is a perfect summer recipe and kids can help make it too whether grilling in your own backyard or camping.

4 chicken breast halves
2 ears fresh corn, cut in half
2 tomatoes, cut in half
1 onion, quartered
baby carrots (cut in half)
potatoes, cut into small pieces
(I also add zucchini, peppers, mushrooms or any other fresh veggies I might have on hand)
4 T butter
your favorite herbs (I use - garlic powder, salt, pepper, and chives)
4 large pieces of aluminum foil
Preheat grill to medium or oven to 425 degrees. In the center of a large piece of foil, place 1 chicken breast half along with 1/2 piece of corn, 1/2 tomato, 1/4 onion, several carrots and potatoes, 1 T butter and your favorite herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Fold aluminum foil around ingredients so that liquids cannot leak out. Follow the same directions with the remaining 3 chicken breasts so that there are 4 separate foil pouches. Place pouches on grill and close grill. Cook chicken in pouches for 1 hour. Move only if there are hot spots on the grill. Or you may place pouches in a preheated oven for 1 hour. Before removing check one pouch to see if chicken is done. Be careful when checking contents of pouch, steam may escape and burn. When chicken is fully cooked, place pouches on separate plates and open carefully!

Rotel Chicken Casserole

This casserole is one of Shawn’s favorites to make ahead of time and just throw it in the oven before it’s time to eat. She has made it for many potlucks and family get-togethers. After Shawn had their daughter, Anna, a friend brought this to Shawn and her family for dinner.

3-4 chicken breasts
1 can Rotel, drained
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp. garlic powder
1-3 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
6 flour tortillas (torn in pieces)
3/4 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil chicken breasts until done and cool enough to handle. Coarsely chop chicken. Rinse and reuse chicken pot. Put in chicken and all other ingredients EXCEPT cheese and tortillas. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Grease a 2-3 quart casserole dish. Place about 1/2 c of chicken mixture in bottom. Layer or tear up tortillas and place in casserole. Place 1/2 chicken mixture on top of tortillas then top with 1/2 of cheese. Repeat. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until bubbly around edges. This recipe can be split and divided into two small casseroles so you can freeze one. I usually double the recipe and freeze one.

Aunt Janis’ Rice Krispie Bars

Shawn claims you can’t eat just one of these bars. Her aunt, Janis Taylor, of Diagonal, always brings these to family dinners.

Combine: 1 c sugar and 1 c white Karo syrup. Heat on stove until bubbles start to appear. Don’t bring to a full boil. Remove from heat and add: 1 1/2 c peanut butter (not low-fat) and 8 c Rice Krispies. Spread on a 15 X 10 cookie sheet.

Melt (in microwave) 1 pkg (10-12 oz) butterscotch chips and 1 pkg milk chocolate chips. Spread over bars.

Corn Dip

Tami likes to throw together this dip for any occasion for family and friends. This crowd pleaser is easy to make.

1 cup mayo
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg cream cheese
2 cans Rotel, drained
2 cans Mexicorn, drained
1 can green chiles
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar (taco flavor optional)
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients, chill for 2 hours, and serve with tortilla chips.

Hash Brown Sausage Bake

Tami was given this recipe by one of her clients. Tami says it’s delicious topped with salsa and has made it several times at the Diagonal family farm.

20 oz package hash browns
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 t beef bouillon granules
1 lb pork sausage
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded cheese
sliced mushroom and green pepper, optional
In a large bowl combine hash browns, butter and granules. Press into the bottom and the sides of a greased 10-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile in a large skillet brown sausage and onion until done and drain grease. In a large bowl combine sausage, eggs, cottage cheese, and shredded cheese. Pour into pie crust and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. This can be made the day before and can also be frozen before baking.

Brown Sugar Baked Salmon Steaks

Salmon is perfect in the summertime on the grill. Tami leaves the grilling up to her husband, Rusty. These steaks can also be baked in the oven.

4-6 salmon steaks
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 T unsalted butter, melted
3 T soy sauce
2 T lemon juice
2 T dry white wine
Whisk together ingredients for marinade and pour over salmon. Cover and marinate for 2-6 hours. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.