Here are the recipes from the May 15 competition featuring six local chefs

SAGINAW Joan Gerhardt says her spinach salad is a must have at all her family events, hence the salad’s name – “Joan’s Family Favorite Spinach Salad.”

That salad also was the favorite among a panel of four judges at the 2019 Summer Salad Spectacular, a cooking competition sponsored by Michigan Sugar Company, WSGW and The Maytag Store.

The event took place Wednesday, May 15, at The Maytag Store with Gerhardt, who lives in Saginaw, taking home first place and a $200 cash prize.

Second place and $100 went to Linda Schmidt of Kawkawlin with her “Chicken, Apple and Bacon Caroline Pasta Salad in Cucumber Bowl,” and third place and $50 was captured by Kamryn Chasnis of Saginaw Township with her “Triple S Seared Salmon Salad.”

Also competing were:

  • Cheryl Williams of Bay City (“Williams Spectacular Ranch Salad”).
  • Amy Bates of Merrill (“Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad”).
  • Carol Socier of Bay City (“Granny’s All Things Green Salad”).

The cash prizes were provided by The Maytag Store.

“As always, this cooking competition was a lot of fun and the salads were all delicious,” said Rob Clark, Director of Communications and Community Relations for Michigan Sugar Company. “We had a big crowd at the event, which is always nice because our local chefs work very hard to serve up some great recipes.”

Judging the Summer Salad Spectacular were Lisa Workman, Director and Owner of Growing Years Christian School and Child Care Center; Ruben Sandoval, Kitchen Manager at Pierce Road Bar & Grill; Lt. Ebony Rasco of the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office; and Michigan Sugar Queen Paige Lupcke.

The public is invited to attend the cooking competitions that always end with free samples of the contest entries, which are prepared on site at The Maytag Store. Local chefs interested in competing must submit their recipes to WSGW. Station employees choose up to eight competitors for each contest.

Here is a look at the remaining contests for 2019:

  • Oct. 9 – Great Grilled Cheese Challenge
  • Dec. 11 – Cupcake Throwdown

All contests take place from approximately 9 a.m. to noon at The Maytag Store, 3800 Tittabawassee Road, Saginaw.


The Recipes

Here are all the recipes from the 2019 Summer Salad Spectacular:

Joan Gerhardt of Saginaw

Joan’s Family Favorite Spinach Salad


1lb. fresh spinach

1 can bean sprouts (or fresh)

1 lb. bacon cooked and crumbled

3 hard-boiled eggs chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cherry tomatoes


Dressing Ingredients

1 cup salad oil

¾ cup Pioneer Sugar

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup vinegar

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 medium onion diced


Combine all ingredients for salad.

Combine all dressing ingredients, mix well, pour over salad.

Linda Schmidt of Kawkawlin

Chicken, Apple and Bacon Carolina Pasta Salad in Cucumber Bowl


1 12-oz. box rotini (twisted) pasta

1 Michigan Golden Delicious apple, cored and cut into small pieces

1 stalk celery, cut into small pieces

1 cup rotisserie chicken, cut into small pieces

1 cup large bacon pieces, fried and placed on paper towel to cool

4 very long cucumbers to be used as bowl for salad


Cook pasta with salt until tender. Drain, run cold water over pasta, set aside until cool. Add apples, chicken and celery.

Carolina Dressing Ingredients

½ cup Pioneer Sugar

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. celery seeds

½ cup cider vinegar

1/3 cup vegetable oil


Combine all dressing ingredients. Bring to boil, stirring until Pioneer Sugar is dissolved. Cool for 5 minutes. Pour dressing over pasta, apples, chicken and celery. Refrigerate.

Using a vegetable slicer, cut long cucumbers length wise into very thin slices. Shape into rings to form bowls. Place on a small plate lined with a lettuce bed.

When ready to eat, stuff pasta salad inside cucumber bowl. Add large bacon pieces to top of pasta salad.

Kamryn Chasnis of Saginaw Township

Triple S Seared Salmon Salad



A filet of salmon, season with salt and pepper

Mixed greens

Bag of dried cranberries (about 12 oz.)

½ lb. bacon

Raw almond slivers to toast

Feta cheese

Dressing Ingredients

¼ cup cranberry sauce

½ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup olive oil

1 tbsp. Pioneer Light Brown Sugar

Spring of salt and pepper


Season salmon filet with salt and pepper and sear in pan. When done, put aside in refrigerator to cool.

Mix all the vinaigrette ingredients in a blender or food processor until combined.

Cook the bacon.

Toss the almonds in a bowl in butter and then put them in oven for about 6 minutes to brown at 350 degrees.

Assemble salad with greens, chopped cranberry pieces, chopped bacon pieces, toasted almonds and feta crumble.

Cheryl Williams of Bay City

Williams Spectacular Ranch Salad


2 lbs. cooked and chopped redskin potatoes

6 chopped hard-boiled eggs

½ cup diced celery

2 tbsp. chopped chives

12 oz. chopped bacon

¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 tsp. Pioneer Sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Ranch salad dressing


Stir together all ingredients, chill and serve.

Amy Bates of Merrill

Michigan Cherry Chicken Salad


2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, diced

2 tsp. olive oil

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

¾ cup Michigan dried cherries

½ cup diced celery

½ cup toasted, chopped pecans

½ cup cubed apples

Dressing Ingredients

½ cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 tsp. Pioneer Sugar

1 tbsp. sour cream

1 lemon (juiced)


Cook boneless chicken breast in a frying pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cube the chicken and let it cool while preparing the dressing.

Mix the dressing ingredients together. Toast the chopped pecans on a cooking sheet in a 350-degree oven for three minutes. In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts and apples.

Pour the dressing over the cooked chicken, dried cherries, celery, nuts and apples.

Refrigerate until chilled.

Arrange on a Boston lettuce leaf or serve on a croissant.

Carol Socier of Bay City

Granny’s All Things Green Salad


½ lb. fresh snap peas

2 large Granny Smith apples, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 green onions, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 green pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces

½ lb. green grapes, sliced in half

1 cup bite-sized pieces of honeydew melon

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

½ cup sliced almonds

Sea salt to taste

Coarse black pepper to taste

Lettuce or arugula


Rinse peas, trim and discard ends. Slice on the diagonal into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add apples, onions, cucumber, green pepper, grapes, melon, cilantro and almonds. Season with salt and pepper.

Dressing Ingredients

Juice of 2 lemons

¼ cup honey

¼ cup vegetable oil

Dressing Directions

In a bowl, whisk lemon juice, honey and oil. Pour over salad ingredients, tossing to coat. Serve on a bed of lettuce or arugula. Garnish as desired.