A tangy, yet spicy jelly on top of a mild cheese is such a wonderful appetizer. I’ve enjoyed many of these appetizers through the years but Christmas 2021, I made my own! After the epic fail of Grape Jalapeno jam a few years ago, I was a little nervous. Never fear, this recipe is a winner! Other than cleaning and chopping the jalapenos, this was an easy recipe and yielded 7 half pints of Jelly and a little more to enjoy immediately! It was wonderful on top of cream cheese or brie. It would be marvelous with chicken or fish, too.
It you make homemade Christmas gifts, I would highly recommend this for friends and family!
Cranberry Pepper Jelly
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (I used a 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries)
1 cup jalapeno
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
6 tbsp. Ball RealFruit™ Low or No-Sugar Pectin
Sort & wash cranberries. Measure pectin and add 1/2 cup sugar to it.
Add vinegar and water to large stock pot.
Chop and remove seeds from jalapenos. 1 cup of jalapenos makes a fairly mild jelly.
Add peppers and cranberries to the vinegar and water to pan.
Bring to boil.
Simmer for about 10 minutes until everything is soft.
Strain out the cranberries and pepper mixture with a slotted spoon to a food processor or blender.
Blend until very smooth. (you can add some of the liquid from the pan to help break up the cranberries and peppers, if you need to)
Return to the saucepan.
Add sugar/pectin mixture. Bring to rolling boil.
Add the remainder of the sugar.
Bring back to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute.
Fill hot jam into hot jars.
Attach lids. Tighten bands finger tip tight.
Process in water bath canning pot for 15 minutes. Turn of heat, allow jars to sit in hot water for at least 5 minutes.
What smells more like fall than the roasting of Hatch Chiles? This easy pizza recipe is a real delight with an abundance of flavor. I love the Hatch Green Chile Cheddar Dip from the grocery store or Costco and decided to use it as the base for this yummy pizza. What fun to experiment with new toppings…get creative!
Daughter, Megan, an I made it again the other day and used Stonefire Pizza Crust (or any premade pizza crust). Megan suggested that fresh sweet corn would be a great addition, along with the yummy caramelized onions.
Pizza with Hatch Chiles, Bacon & Caramelized Onion
Pizza Dough (from your favorite recipe or available in grocery stores)
Hatch Green Chile Dip (Available at Grocery Stores or Costco)
Cooked Bacon (4-6 slices) broken into pieces
One Large Onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Roll the pizza dough to your baking pans dimensions. Sprinkle baking pan with cornmeal. Place dough on pan. Use fork to poke holes in pizza dough.
Prebake pizza dough for 5-6 minutes at 400 degrees.
Cook bacon until crisp.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and add sliced onion. Cook slowly until onions are brown and caramelized.
Remove pizza dough from oven. Spread with Green Chile Dip. Sprinkle with bacon bits and onions.
Bake for another 5-10 minutes until dough is brown and cooked through.
A suggestion from my good friend, Maribeth, and addition of caramelized onions suggested by my daughter, Megan. We have a winning combination!
Never have I ever…made hot wings until now. Daughter Megan has a craving for hot wings about a year ago so I bought the fixings. Then, she was pregnant and they sounded disgusting. Now that Baby Callen has arrived, she thought they sounded better and told me of this recipe. Easy peasy and very adaptable to your heat/spice tolerance. Great treat for game day or just because…
Baked Hot Wings
3 lbs. chicken wings
4 Tbsp. melted butter
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika
For the Sauce:
2 Tbsp. high temp oil (canola, avocado, etc.)
2-3 Tbsp. chopped garlic
1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes (I used a pinch)
1 tsp. black sesame seeds (optional)
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. Frank’s hot sauce
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the seasonings to the melted butter in a large bowl and toss all the wings until they are coated. Place a wire rack into your baking sheet. Line the baking sheet with foil to make clean up easy peasy.
Bake for 40 minutes or so until they are brown and sizzling and crispy. (I turned up the heat to 450 degrees and baked another 5+ minutes to make extra crispy).
Meanwhile in a large hot skillet, throw in the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce. Stir until bubbly and glazy, around 2 minutes. Add the crispy wings and toss until totally coated. Serve with blue cheese or Ranch sauce.
Simple combination with an explosion of flavors! I first experienced this appetizer (or salad) at a restaurant with my friend, Jan. It was amazing and, yet, so simple. It was easy to replicate at home with four ingredients: watermelon, goat cheese, pecans and balsamic reduction. Done!
Watermelon Goat Cheese Appetizer
Cubed Seedless Watermelon
Crumbled Goat Cheese
Balsamic Reduction (I used purchased balsamic reduction but you can make your own)
Funfetti Dip is an easy dessert, especially for kids. Who doesn’t love to dunk a Nilla Wafer or animal cracker into a yummy dip. We served this for a baby shower but it would be great for a kids or adult party.
1 box Funfetti cake mix (unprepared)
8 oz cream cheese softened
8 oz cool whip thawed
1/2 cup milk
Sprinkles for topping
Cream together cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth with a hand mixer.
Add cake mix (unprepared) and half of the milk and mix, gradually adding in more milk until desired texture is established.
Top with extra bright colored sprinkles
Serve with Nilla wafers, animal crackers or graham crackers
Cooking with Chef Lucas during the COVID lockdown and cautionary period was a bright light in during dark days. Our family came together to cook together and enjoy a wonderful meal of unique dishes. Mint and Cheese Greek Pies did not disappoint. Thanks to Chef Lucas and InVINtions for offering such a great program and helping our family create wonderful memories.
Who knew there was a National Holiday for Popcorn? I am a popcorn fan from way back. I generally take mine with real butter and salt along with a great movie. Although, I would never turn down a bag of kettle corn at the farmer’s market! I’ve been known to make myself a popcorn birthday cake, too!
Whenever I travel back to Iowa, you can always find a bag or two of local popcorn in my luggage for the trip home.
Researching the history of popcorn, I found popcorn.org to be a great resource of the history and recipes:
Popcorn Dates Back Thousands of Years
Biblical accounts of “corn” stored in the pyramids of Egypt are misunderstood. The “corn” from the bible was probably barley. The mistake comes from a changed use of the word “corn,” which used to signify the most-used grain of a specific place. In England, “corn” was wheat, and in Scotland and Ireland the word referred to oats. Since maize was the common American “corn,” it took that name – and keeps it today.
It is believed that the first use of wild and early cultivated corn was popping. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about 2 inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears are about 4,000 years old.
Popcorn in the New World
Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies. Bernardino de Sahagun writes: “And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.” In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.
An early Spanish account of a ceremony honoring the Aztec gods who watched over fishermen reads: “They scattered before him parched corn, called momochitl, a kind of corn which bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower; they said these were hailstones given to the god of water.”
Writing of Peruvian Indians in 1650, the Spaniard Cobo says, “They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection.”
In South America, kernels of popcorn found in burial grounds in the coastal deserts of North Chile were so well preserved they would still pop even though they were 1,000 years old.
The use of the moldboard plow became commonplace in the mid-1800s and led to the widespread planting of maize in the United States.
Although popcorn is typically thought of as a snack food today, popcorn was once a popular breakfast food. Ahead of its time and very likely a role model for breakfast cereals to come, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, popcorn was eaten just as we eat cereal today.
Long before the advent of the corn flake, Ella Kellogg enjoyed her popcorn ground with milk or cream. Although she discouraged in-between meal snacking, she urged others to eat popcorn at meals as popcorn was “an excellent food.” Ella understood, as her husband did, that popcorn was a whole grain. John Harvey Kellogg praised popcorn as being “easily digestible and to the highest degree wholesome, presenting the grain in its entirety, and hence superior to many denatured breakfast foods which are found in the market.”
The Great Depression
Popcorn was very popular from the 1890s until the Great Depression. Street vendors used to follow crowds around, pushing steam or gas-powered poppers through fairs, parks and expositions.
During the Depression, popcorn at 5 or 10 cents a bag was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived. An Oklahoma banker who went broke when his bank failed bought a popcorn machine and started a business in a small store near a theater. After a couple years, his popcorn business made enough money to buy back three of the farms he’d lost.
Popcorn and the Movies
Unlike other confections, popcorn sales increased throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theaters and its low cost for both patron and owner. One theater owner actually lowered the price of his theater tickets and added a popcorn machine. He soon saw huge profits.
The “talking picture” solidified the presence of movie theaters in the U.S. in the late 1920’s. Many theater owners refused to sell popcorn in their theaters because they felt it was too messy. Industrious vendors set up popcorn poppers or rented storefront space next to theaters and sold popcorn to patrons on their way into the theater. Eventually, theater owners began installing popcorn poppers inside their theaters; those who refused to sell popcorn quickly went out of business.
Popcorn sales increase throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theatres.
World War II
During World War II, sugar was sent overseas for U.S. troops, which meant there wasn’t much sugar left in the United States to make candy. Thanks to this unusual situation, Americans ate three times as much popcorn as usual.
Slump and Bump
Popcorn went into a slump during the early 1950s, when television became popular. Attendance at movie theaters dropped and with it, popcorn consumption. When the public began eating popcorn at home, the new relationship between television and popcorn led to a resurgence in popularity.
Whether stovetop popped, fresh from the microwave or ready to eat, Americans love popcorn. In fact, Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. That averages to about 47 quarts per person.
Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.
Cabbage Pie is a new recipe, similar to a Frittata. I had cabbage that I needed to use and the other ingredients were on hand. What a simple, delicious recipe. It’s easy to imagine my ancestors making a similar dish from these simple ingredients. I did not add cheese to my pie. Next time I would experiment with different cheeses herbs, and bacon. It’s wonderful served with a fresh sliced tomato from the garden!
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
one small onion, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
salt and pepper
1/2 cup to 2/3 cup flour
Shredded cheese (optional)
Combine sliced cabbage and onion in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Beat 3 eggs and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture over cabbage and onions.
Add flour to cabbage mixture and stir to combine.
Add sunflower or canola oil to a non stick pan. Heat oil over medium heat. Add cabbage mixture. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil. Place wooden cutting board (or heavy flat pan) on top of skillet.
Cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove cutting board and foil. Flip cabbage pie onto plate and place other side down in pan. Optional: Sprinkle top with cheese and cook until cheese is melted and bottom is golden brown.
Remove from pan. Slice into wedges and serve.
Optional: Top with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onion.
Fresh Colorado peaches and so many recipes to try. I made this for a quick, delicious dinner and it didn’t disappoint. I enjoyed it with a glass of crisp, white wine. This flatbread with make repeat appearances in my home!
FLATBREAD WITH PEACH, PROSCIUTTO, AND MOZZARELLA
4 naan flatbreads
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
2 peaches, thinly sliced
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 450°.
Place flatbreads on two baking sheets and drizzle each with ½ tablespoon olive oil. Top with mozzarella, peaches, prosciutto, and ¼ cup basil, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake until crust is crisp and golden and cheese is melted, about 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup basil. Cut each pizza into quarters and serve immediately.
Mediterranean Food is so fresh and delicious. Daughter, Sarah, has made this recipe many times with rave reviews. I decided to make it but add diced cucumber, making this more like a Greed Salad. Using fresh Feta cheese, in block form, allows the cheese to absorb the olive oil and seasoning. My family agrees that the cucumber takes this dip to a new level. If you like Greek olives, you could add those as well. I served with Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips. Scrumptious!
MEDITERRANEAN FETA DIP
1/3 cup olive oil 3Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced 4-5green onions, sliced thinly 1/2 diced English cucumber 8ouncesfeta cheese, crumbled (I used fresh block Feta) 2-3teaspoonsCavender’s Greek seasoning fresh baguette, sliced thinly or Pita chips optional balsamic vinegar
On a large platter drizzle olive oil until you have a thin layer on the entire platter. You may use more or less here depending on your preference.
Add the tomatoes, green onions, and feta on top of the olive oil. Sprinkle with the Greek seasoning to taste.
With a spoon carefully combine the ingredients. We found that we like a little drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top. If desired, drizzle a little balsamic on top.
Serve with warm sliced baguettes for scooping up the dip.