Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

My Favorite Recipes: October 10, 2019


October 10, 2019

Joanne Riggan; Dale Riggan

Joanne and Dale Riggan

Joanne Riggan refers to herself as a "good girl" when she was growing up in Marysville, Wash.

"My dad was the police chief, and my mom drove a school bus - we could never get in trouble," she said.

After graduating from high school, Joanne attended Everett Community College.

"I took a lot of banking classes," she said. This interest in banking led to earning a banking certificate. "I got a job with a bank after high school, I started filing checks and worked my way up from there."

In 1988, Joanne met Dale Riggan at her nephew's first birthday party. Her brother introduced them.

"It's all his fault!" she said with a laugh. At the time, Dale was driving dump trucks for her brother. They started out with a mutual friendship that quickly grew into love.

"I knew I wanted to marry him after about three months," she said. On Valentine's Day, 1989, Dale proposed. Two days later, they eloped in Coeur d'Alene.

"We've been married for almost 31 years now," she said.

Dale and Joanne left Marysville and settled initially in Las Vegas, where she worked for Citibank in their credit card department.

"We only ever dealt with people who were having a bad day," she said of her job. "No one ever called with good news."

Eventually, she left banking and Vegas for Vacaville, Calif. There she worked for a local newspaper typesetting legal advertisements and later for the City of Vacaville as the police chief's secretary.

"It was the best job I ever had," she said. "It was stressful at times, but I had a great boss, which always helps."

Joanne's duties included organizing the annual award ceremony, working in the emergency operations center in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency and "secretary things" for the chief.

"I never worked in dispatch," she said. "I don't know how they do that. I think the first time someone called with a child not breathing I would have lost it!"

Another task she had was taking complaints from citizens who received tickets.

"I could usually diffuse the situation, but sometimes it was like, 'Are you kidding me?!'" she said. "The things they find to complain about. The police department is not here to raise your children - that's your job!"

Joanne raised two children, Spencer and Erika, and has four step-children, Philip, Bobby Jo, Mark and Stacie and 14 grandchildren.

"They're good kids; we don't get to see them as often as we like," she said of the grandchildren.

Erika recently married, and both siblings live in Vancouver, Wash.

"Spencer will call up Erika and ask if she wants to come over and bake cookies," Joanne said. "They have a great relationship."

After Dale and Joanne retired, they moved to Endicott.

"My husband has quite a few relatives here," she said. "His mom was actually born in Colfax. We've been here since 2012. No one who is retired can afford to live in California."

They love the Palouse.

"It's quiet - a little quieter than California," Joanne said. "Dale and I are both retired, we just kinda hang out. I like to read - right now I'm reading a book about a girl who got flesh eating bacteria and lost both her arms. She has two little kids and is raising those babies. The book is called Unshattered, by Carol J. Decker."

Joanne also enjoys cooking and learned from her mother, who raised nine children.

"A lot of it I got from my mom," Joanne said. "The challenge was so many brothers and sisters to make things difficult. I've always liked to cook and bake cookies. I like to eat, too," she said, laughing. "I remember when Dale and I were dating on our second date, I made potato salad and that's when he decided he needed to marry me."

Her favorite meal growing up was her mother's Swedish meatballs.

"I have no idea how to make them because she's one of those people who just throws things in a pot and it comes out delicious," she said.

Joanne said if she could travel anywhere in the world, it would be England.

"My great-grandmother came over from England through Ellis Island," she said. "I would like to go to England and see where she grew up. My biggest memory of her is we would go to her house, and she was pretty much bedridden. She still lived by herself, but was in bed most of the day. In the bottom of her bedside drawer she had those hard butterscotch candies. Every time we went to visit, we got butterscotch candies. I still love butterscotch to this day."


Toffee Chip Cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) butter,


1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light

brown sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. salt

3 eggs

3 1/2 cups all-purpose


2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cream of tartar

1 – 8oz. bag heath milk

chocolate toffee bits

Heat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheet or use non-stick pans.

In mixing bowl, beat butter, both sugars, vanilla and salt until blended well. Add eggs and beat until well combined.

In a small separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until just blended. Stir in toffee bits.

Drop by teaspoon full onto baking sheet and bake 9-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Cool for a minute and then remove from baking sheet to cooling rack.

Bakes approximately six dozen cookies.

Chicken and Dumpling Casserole

3-4 cups of cooked

chicken, cut into bite

size pieces. (I use a

rotisserie chicken,

shred off the bones.)

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking pow-


1/4 tsp salt

2 cups chicken broth

1 (10.75 oz.) can cream

of chicken soup

Preheat oven to 400F. Place butter in 9x13 baking dish and place in oven while it's preheating.

Once butter is melted, you can remove the pan to continue with the recipe, or let it cook a little to brown it and add an extra dimension of flavor. Be sure to watch it if you decide to let it brown because it can go from nutty to burned pretty quickly.

Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle prepared chicken over the top of the butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, flour, baking, powder and salt. Pour over the chicken, but do not stir.

In the same bowl, after scraping out as much flour mixture as possible, whisk together chicken broth and cream of chicken soup. Pour that over the top of casserole, do not stir.

Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes. When done, the top will be beautifully browned and bubbly around the edges.

Imitation Crab Pasta Salad

2 cups corkscrew pasta

1 1/2 cups imitation


1 cup broccoli florets

(partially cooked -

break in to small flo-

rets and blanch for 1

minute in boiling


1/2 cup chopped green


1/2 cup chopped tomato

1/4 cup slice green pep-



1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Italian dressing

2 Tbsp grated cheese

Mix first 6 ingredients in large bowl.

Mix dressing ingredients in separate bowl and pour over pasta and stir together. Chill until ready to serve.


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