Friday, May 21, 2010

Pickled Asparagus

My cousin Kim gave me this recipe. I haven't tasted it, but Mom had a jar from Kim last year and she said it was quite tasty.

5 pint jars, washed and sterilized
10 pounds fresh asparagus, washed, cleaned and cut into 4-3/4" spears
2 cups white vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
2 tsp mustard seed
1 tbsp pickling spice, placed in a gauze bag
2 tbsp pickling salt

Per jar:
Dash cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dill weed or dill seed
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 jalapeno pepper, optional
1 onion slice

Place asparagus spears in boiling water and blanch for two minutes; drain and cool.

Place dill, garlic, cayenne pepper, onion slice and jalapeƱo pepper into bottom of each jar. Pack asparagus spears upright into each jar.

Combine vinegar, water, mustard seed, canning salt and bag of pickling spice into saucepan and boil for 15 minutes. Remove bag of spices and discard.

Pour brine over asparagus, and seal jars.

Place jars into canner of boiling water for 10 minutes. Cool.

Cook's Notes: We made 4 quarts and 3 pints of pickles from 10 lb of asparagus. We had to triple to ingredients for the brine. All the stalks were trimmed, blanched, and frozen for use in casseroles and soups. Can't wait to try them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sour Cream Cornbread

The birth of this recipe first started with a craving for chili.  I happen to think I make fairly awesome chili, so I made a big Crock-Pot full today.  (Gotta love food that cooks while you do other things, no?)  Anyway, I know my dear hubby loves cornbread, so I decided I'd surprise him and make some to go with the chili.  I'm not a fan of dry, scone-like cornbread, so this recipe does not produce that kind of result.  What you will get is a pan of moist, dense, slightly sweet cornbread that goes very well with chili :)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup pancake mix (not the just-add-water type)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons veg oil

You can also add one can of diced green chilis, drained, or 1/2 cup chopped red pepper, or 1/2 cup shredded cheese, or a combination of these!


1.In a bowl, combine dry ingredients; mix well. Add remaining ingredients and stir just until moistened. Pour into a greased 8-in. round or square baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until fork inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Mixed-Berry Oven Pancake

I wanted to make something different and still easy for my family for breakfast this Sunday.  It doesn't get much easier than this.  It's a great idea for when you are having a bunch of people coming for breakfast and you want to serve pancakes, but don't want to stand at the stove all day.  I hope you enjoy it.  We did!

Yields:  6 servings


2 cups pancake mix (don't use the just-add-water kind)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 egg
1tbsp vegetable oil
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
Generous 1 cup fresh or frozen berries (or 1/2 sliced bananas and 1/2 chocolate chips)
butter, maple syrup and/or powdered sugar


In a large bowl, combine the pancake mix, milk, egg, oil and cinnamon just until blended.  It's OK if the batter is still lumpy!

Fold in berries.  Pour into a generously greased 9 x 13" pan.  Bake at 400F for 12-15 minutes or until golden.  Serve with deserved toppings.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crock-Pot Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

These are great to make for a casual dinner with some buddies because you basically toss everything in the Crock-Pot and forget about it for about 7 hours.  It's only at the end that there's a few little steps but nothing too taxing!!



1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed

2 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (from 7- to 11-oz can) ** I left this out because some guests cannot tolerate spicy food, but if I were making it for my family I'd include them because they impart a nice spicy, smoky flavour**  You can also just serve the burritos with hot sauce on the side

1  heaping tablespoon ground cumin

1 cup salsa, heat level to taste (I used medium)
12 flour tortillas (10 inch)


sour cream

shredded cheese of choice (I used old Cheddar, but Monterey Jack would be awesome too)

chopped scallions

Other topping options:  sliced olives, chopped cilantro, diced tomato, pickled jalapenos


1. In slow cooker, place in this order:  beans, chicken thighs, seasonings, salsa.

2. Cover; cook on Low setting 7 to 8 hours. (Can also be cooked on high  for around 5-6 hours if you are short on time)

3. About 15 minutes before you want to serve, heat oven to 350°F. Wrap tortillas in foil; heat in oven about 15 minutes or until warm.

4. Remove chicken from slow cooker.  With fork or potato masher, mash beans slightly to thicken sauce. Shred chicken with a fork and return to slow cooker.  Mix with bean mixture to moisten. ** Before you do this, it will look like there is way too much liquid in the crock.  There isn't.  Just follow the steps and the chicken will absorb the sauce.

5. Have guests place warm tortilla on serving plate. Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture onto tortilla; top with desired toppings. Fold sides of tortilla over filling,


Stir 1/2 of each of these items into glass jugs

1 bottle of Arbor Mist - Pinot Grigio "Island Fuits" (cheap)
1 can McCain frozen wildberry cranberry juice (no water!)
1 bottle of soda water
2 oranges sliced

stir. add ice if there is room and serve!


Any wine will do, but after taste testing others....

this was the best mix.

"Bon Boisson!"

Peas and rice salad

Mix Together:

1 10oz bag of frozen peas
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (brown or white)
2 4oz cans of shrimp
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup green onions

Mix together for Dressing:
1/4 cup oil
1 Tbsp soya sauce
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp salt
2 tsp curry
1/2 accent
3 Tbsp vinegar
1/2 Tbsp sugar

Toss together and serve.

"Bon Appetit!"

Mexican Rice

1 cup long grain white rice
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil, Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno and diced tomato. Season with salt and pepper, cumin, cilantro, and garlic. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mock Margaritas

These were a hit at the Cinco de Mayo party a few of us had!  So easy, and so tasty!  I think these will definitely be made again this summer.  Even without the tequila these are tasty and refreshing!

1 can Minute Maid limeade, partially frozen or frozen
1 can Minute Made lemonade, partially frozen or frozen
Club soda (I didn't measure, just topped up the jug...2-3 cups if I had to guess.

1/4 cup sugar (I did not add this, as I like things tart)
glasses with rims dipped in lime juice and salt

Place juices in pitcher and blend using an immersion blender (or do this in a regular blender and pour into pitcher).  Add club soda CAREFULLY -- it will fizz and end up all over your friend's kitchen counter otherwise!

I also added some lime slices to float in the drink