COTW: Nikki and Kendal Hadden


This week’s Cook of the Week is Nikki Hadden. She is the wife of Kendal Hadden of Swainsboro. In their spare time, the Haddens enjoy long bike trips, mini vacations, shopping and spending time with friends and family. Nikki is a beautician and has recently decided to return to Merle Norman in Swainsboro to be able to work closer to home! She specializes in men’s barber cuts, including fades and beard trims, and women’s cut, color, chemical services and facial waxing. Call Merle Norman at (478) 237-9224 and ask to schedule your appointment with Nikki to receive deals and discounts on specific services! Here are a few fun summer recipes that the Haddens would like to share. Enjoy! 

Rosemary Garlic Steak Kebabs

Steak marinade

•1/2 c. balsamic vinegar

•2 Tbsp. honey

•1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

•3 cloves garlic, minced



•14 oz. sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes

Tomato marinade

•2 c. whole grape tomatoes

•1/3 c. olive oil

•2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (stems removed), chopped


•1 1/2 lbs. baby potatoes

•6 metal or wooden skewers

Preheat grill to medium heat and, if using wooden skewers, place them in water to soak. In a large bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, mustard, and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add cubed steak and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes (up to overnight) so the steak can marinate. In another bowl, add tomatoes, olive oil, and rosemary. Set aside. Place potatoes in a large pan and add enough water to cover all of potatoes by 1 inch. Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes until they barely fork-tender, about 8-10 minutes. (They will be grilled later, so do not need to be cooked through.) Drain and set aside. Grab a skewer and start with potato, then add steak, then tomato. Repeat two more times and end with a potato. Lightly oil the grill and set the kebabs over the heat. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or 10 minutes total. (You don't want to overcook the steak.)

Buffalo Chicken Dip

•2 - 12.5 oz. cans chunk chicken drained

•2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese softened

•1 c. Ranch dressing

•3/4 c. pepper sauce such as Frank’s Red Hot – I like the Buffalo Wing Sauce

•1 1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

•1 bunch celery

•1 box chicken-flavored crackers

Heat chicken and hot sauce in a skillet over medium heat, until heated through. Stir in cream cheese and ranch dressing. Cook, stirring until well blended and warm. Mix in half of the shredded cheese and transfer the mixture to a slow cooker. Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top, cover, and cook on low setting until hot and bubbly. If cooking in the oven, add to a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with celery sticks and crackers or chips!

Grape Salad

•8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)

•1 c. sour cream

•1/2 c. granulated sugar

•1 tsp. vanilla extract

•4 lbs. red seedless grapes, rinsed and drained well (about 10 cups )

•1/2 c. light brown sugar

•1 c. chopped pecans

In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and thick, about three minutes. Add grapes to the bowl and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold grapes into cream cheese mixture until everything is evenly coated. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, or overnight. Prior to serving, sprinkle with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Recipe notes

You can use all red grapes, all green, or a mixture of the two based on your personal preferences.

I used full-fat cream cheese and sour cream because I wanted a nice, thick mixture. Low-fat alternatives have higher water content so if you use low-fat just be aware that your "dressing" could be thinner or slightly waterier.

You can sprinkle the brown sugar and pecans before chilling, and the brown sugar will sort of dissolve into the mixture (so good) but be sure to give it a stir before serving if you do this.


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