Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Refrigerator Pickles

This has been a weird year so far. Overall, everything is working out. I’m still a little sad I didn’t garden. Lucky me (us!), pickling cucumbers showed up at work yesterday! We are so lucky to have a gardening colleague with a case of the sharesies.

I wondered how I could make a small enough batch of pickles, and then remembered - my mom has been trying to sell me the recipe for refrigerator pickles for a whole lotta years. It was time to buy what she has been selling.

It’ll take a little longer to pickle – like.... probably weeks in the fridge... but this was a really fun way to use a half-dozen cucumbers!

Here goes:

Refrigerator Pickles
1 ½ c cold water
1 ½ cups sugar 
1 ½ cups cider vinegar
1 ½ tbsp dried onion flakes
¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp celery seed
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp onion salt
½ tsp celery salt
6 pickling cucumbers cut in ¼” slices

Mix all ingredients, except cucumbers, in a ½ gallon jar. Cover and shake til mixed. Pack in cucumbers. Put in fridge. Wait. Mom says that after a couple of weeks, she tastes one every few days til she decides they’re ready. She also says that you can easily substitute Splenda for the sugar.

The best part? ½ hour from start til finish – and the dishes were already washed!


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Another potluck, another recipe! This week’s theme was Cinco De Mayo. A Mexican independence-like holiday.

I don’t bake a lot, but I couldn't resist trying a recipe that had similarities to ginger snaps, and was a chocolate cookie rolled in chili powder. Weird. :-)

I followed the internet recipe fairly closely, except for forgetting to use coarse salt instead of regular every day salt. Anyhoo. If you would like to see the original, please visit here:

Other thoughts? Don’t skimp on the parchment paper for this recipe. I did. The cookies *really* stuck to the pan. Don’t use the leftover rolling sugar in your fancy iced coffee.  Blech.

Here is the recipe:

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar + additional 1/4 cup for sugar topping
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (I would be open to trying this with cayenne next time.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine.

With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder. Using heaping tablespoons, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place, about 3 inches apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets.

Bake until cookies are set in centre and begin to crack, about 10 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Let cookies cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks to cool completely.


Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Zucchini Chicken Poppers

Don’t we all want some new ideas? And that “Tasty” youtube channel has some seriously tasty looking dishes. With a lot of them deep fried. Heh.

Well, I saw one that looked very tasty and kinda healthy. I bookmarked it to try at a later date – which ended up today. Of course, I made a few changes – notably removing onions and cilantro. 

Here’s how they turned out. (Before you get too far, I made them with 1 tsp of salt, and I’m pretty sure that could at least be halved.)

Zucchini Chicken Poppers
1 lb chicken
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ cups grated zucchini
½ cup grated fennel
½ tsp grated ginger
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
4 tsps olive oil

Grate zucchini, fennel, and ginger into a medium sized bowl. Add salt and pepper, mix. Add in ground chicken, mix.

Pan-fry by tablespoons. (I made 4x batches of 5, refreshing oil in pan with each batch. If you could do more at a time, you could use less oil.)

Makes about 20 pieces. (20 1 tbsp size plus one giant one, to be exact.)

The original served this with a guacamole type dip – but I didn’t have avocado in the house. That would have been a fresh addition. (And a nice way to cut the salt.)


If you are interested, here is the link to the original recipe: 

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Happy Louis Riel Day! I'm celebrating with a leisurely Monday morning. I woke up without an alarm, shuffled around a bit, tidied a little, and decided to give these Cottage Cheese Pancakes a try. I’d enjoy them while watching into the sunny back-yard. I can hardly wait to enjoy my first summer in that yard.

I don’t eat a lot of pancakes – they slow me down. I don’t know why, I just know they do.

Along came a recipe that looked like a try. I liked them! I think I might make a few extra and freeze them for quick breakfasts.

Here is the recipe (from here:

Cottage Cheese Pancakes
½ cup cottage cheese
½ cup rolled oats (I used quick-oats)
3 Eggs

Whisk eggs together and add cottage cheese and rolled oats.

Fry in pan with oil on medium heat.

I used a 1/3 cup measure of batter for each pancake. This made 5. I think I will switch to a ¼ cup measure in the future. 2 was just a little too much for breakfast. (And it will probably make 6 this way, too.)


Update: 3/6/2016: I made these again this weekend. The 1/4 cup measure worked like gangbusters. Plus, I used the immersion blender to make a more smooth batter, and that also improved them. They are wonderful with unsweetened applesauce. Also, I've collected the nutritional info for them:
Nutritional Info With Applesauce
Nutritional Info Without Applesauce

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hot Four Bean Salad

This number first came to the Christensen household as a shared recipe from a family reunion in North Dakota. Presumably it was Bernice’s Four Bean Salad before it was Helen’s Four Bean Salad which was to become Terri’s Four Bean Salad, where it eventually ended up Jim’s Hot Four Bean Salad.

I'm not sure that any of us follow the recipe very exactly any more. I think Jim makes it frequently. I pull it out for a pot-luck every 5 or so years. (That’s a lot of beans for one girl!) Jim’s version is more of a “once-around-the-kitchen-and-a-whole-bunch-of-beans-salad”.

Here’s how I made it last time:

Work pot-luck! Lots of tasty food that day.
Hot Four Bean Salad

1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can pork’n’beans
1 can lima beans
½ lb bacon, chopped
¼ cup chopped onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
½ tsp seasoned salt
½ cup chili sauce
¾ cup brown sugar

Brown bacon with onion. Add seasoned salt, along with dry mustard, ketchup and brown sugar. Simmer for 10-20 minutes.

Drain beans (except pork'n'beans!) and add to bacon mixture. Bake for 1 hour at 350ºf.

In the end I added ketchup. Maybe 1/4 cup? Just to add a bit more zip.

This would be nice in a slow cooker, too.


Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pumpkin Muffins

I have a confession. I stopped making ‘proper’ coffee at home. I have about 6ish sips from a cup of instant while getting ready at home. And then I do everything I can to drive past Tim Hortons on my way to work. 

This is one of the seasons that are hard to resist. Why? Pumpkin Spice Muffins. The muffin part – well, I keep hoping that they’ll taste like my mom’s. And they don’t. And I keep coveting that tower of cream cheese icing they pipe down the centre.

So – this is the weekend to unearth the recipe, and give it a try again.

The spice mixture was enhanced. Had there been nutmeg, it would have been added. And no raisins could be found, craisins were added. And the flour was topped up with about 1/8 or more cup of chick pea flour. Weird. Weird that it was on hand, that is. 

No wait. There was another minor alteration. Mashed carrots were used in place of the pumpkin. :)

Trust me, you won’t know the difference.

With that said, here goes:

Pumpkin Muffins
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 ½ c oil
1 ¾ cup pumpkin puree
3 c unsifted flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp (scant) allspice
1 tsp (scant) ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 c raisins

Beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, oil and pumpkin and beat thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients over creamed mixture. Blend until smooth, then stir in raisins.

Bake at 350º for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 2 ½ dozen.


If you are interested, here is the original ingredients list:
4 eggs
2 c sugar
1 ½ c oil
1 14oz can pumpkin
3 c unsifted flour
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

2 c raisins

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Margherita Polenta Casserole

Doesn’t this look amazing? Cheese, tomatoes, basil. It should be amazing. It’s marginally better than okay.  This would be a great way to use garden tomatoes. Maybe add more. Maybe add more basil. Maybe have the salad I planned to have, but didn’t, alongside it.  Maybe use less parmesan. Maybe the parmesan would be just fine if it didn’t come in a generic cardboard container from superstore. J

I would make it again. I would make it for company, provided I had enough other things to go alongside it. So...... I encourage you to try it, if you’re looking for a new weeknight meal.
Here goes:

Margherita Polenta Casserole
4 ½ cups water
2 cubes chicken stock (or vegetable)
1 1/2 cups purity cornmeal
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
3 tablespoons butter, plus extra for baking dish
5 leaves basil, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 350º F and butter your baking dish.

In a medium pot, bring chicken stock and generously salted water to a boil. Turn heat down to low and slowly whisk in cornmeal. Let simmer and cook, continuously stirring, until tender. About 10 minutes. Whisk in butter.
Pour 1/3 of polenta into casserole dish and spread a layer of mozzarella and cheddar on top.

Repeat with another layer of polenta, then cheeses, and continue with remaining ingredients. I put the first 1/3 cup of cherry tomatoes in this layer, plus a little parmesan.
Top final layer of polenta with chopped basil, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until cheese is melted and polenta is golden.

Labels: , , ,