Stokes enjoys cooking in retirement

Stokes enjoys cooking in retirement


Retired schoolteacher Brandy Stokes said cooking is one of many activities she enjoys during retirement on top of being a pageant coach and traveling.

Stokes loves cooking for her husband Mike and her kids, Jeb and Mary Beth.

“The best part of cooking to me is making my family and friends happy and knowing I cranked out a good dish,” Stokes said. “I love seeing my husband and others enjoy my food.”

Stokes said she got into cooking when she was a teenager since her mother would always ask her to start supper before she got home from work. Her grandmother also cooked huge meals for holidays and showed her how to make various dishes.

“My grandmother taught me how to make things like chicken dressings, banana pudding, chocolate pies, and more,” Stokes said.

Stokes also loves baking cakes and decorating them for the public and enjoys making casseroles to freeze and deliver to busy moms or people recovering from surgery or illnesses.

“I’ve made casseroles like chicken spaghetti, hashbrown casserole, and poppyseed chicken,” she said. “Your classic old Southern traditional standards. My daughter also loves Dorito casserole as well.”

Stokes recalled her late son Gambin, who died in a car accident six years ago, texting her late at night from his room sometimes asking her to make him things like hamburger steak

“One of the best things Gambin liked along with his friends was hamburger helper, green beans, and corn,” she said.

Stokes retired from teaching in December 2021 and enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren. Her family owns J. Gamblin Bridal on the Square, and she loves to travel with her husband. She is also a pageant coach and judge on the side and recently coached Neshoba’s Miss Hospitality, Mary Kate Moran.



1 Pound of ground beef

1 can of cream of mushroom or chicken soup

1 packet of taco seasoning 

1 large bag of Doritos (any flavor)

1 can of whole kernel corn

1 bag of taco blend cheese

Seasonings to taste

Brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain and add taco seasoning and a fourth cup of water and soup. While simmering, crush half the bag of Doritos in the bottom of a casserole dish. Top with ground beef mixture. 

Drain corn and add to the top of the ground beef. Layer cheese on top.  Add a final layer of cheese. Cook in the oven at 350 degrees until bubbly. 


2 blocks of cream cheese at room temperature

1 jar of dried beef

1 bunch of green onions

1 can of crushed pineapple (crushed is best) drained

Seasoning salt

2 splashes of Worchester sauce

Chopped pecans

In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese, drained pineapple, and chopped green onions. Mix well either with hands (disposable gloves on), or a paddle attachment on a stand mixer. 

Add chopped green onions, dried beef, seasoning salt, and 2 splashes of Worchester sauce. Roll onto waxed paper and form into a ball.  Roll in pecans and serve with Wheat Thins crackers.

EASY PEANUT BUTTER FUDGE (perfect for The Fair)

1 (18 ounce) jar of peanut butter (smooth or creamy)

1 (12 ounce) container of whipped cream cheese frosting

Line an 8-inch square baking pan with waxed paper. Spoon peanut butter and frosting into a microwave–safe bowl and heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir again until completely blended.

Pour the mixture into a prepared baking pan. Refrigerate for about an hour until chilled.

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