Brenda Stanley
Sweet and Spicy Salmon is easy to make, has only four ingredients and tastes as if it came from a nice restaurant.

Life is simpler when you embrace the things you do well and quit worrying about the rest. I knew this was true when my 4-year-old granddaughter told me as I tried for the fourth time to back into a parking space in downtown Pocatello, “You aren’t very good at this, are you, Grandma?” I will always be a work in progress.

I think that is one of the reasons I enjoy cooking. It is always evolving and providing opportunities for growing and learning. I have cooked some dishes for 30 years that I still can find ways to make better, and there are others I realize I shouldn’t change even a pinch.

One of my most successful creations has been what I call my “Sweet and Spicy Salmon.” This dish is flavorful and easy. I have tweaked the recipe over the years, but I'm now sticking with this final version. Serve it with a simple side salad and bread for a meal that is perfect for a special occasion. The only trick: don’t overcook it — the salmon should be moist and flake easily with a fork.

I’ll make sure to teach my granddaughter how to cook. Her mother can teach her how to drive.


4 salmon filets cut an inch thick

¼ cup brown mustard

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup crushed glazed pecans (you can find these in the baking section)

Line a baking sheet with enough foil that you can bring it up to secure and cover the salmon. Spray the foil with cooking spray. Place the salmon steaks on the foil-covered baking sheet. Mix the mustard and sugar together. Spread on the salmon and then sprinkle with the nuts. Secure the foil over the salmon, making sure it isn’t touching the nut-covered tops. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes to brown the top.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of two. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at