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Oven Roasted Cod with Brown Sugar Pineapple Glazed Acorn Squash

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Squash, it’s one of those ingredients that seems to pop up on every restaurant menu or online recipe blog this time of year.  Ravioli with Roasted Butternut Squash.  Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons.  Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza.  It’s the “it vegetable.”  The popular one.  

I don’t love it.  I don’t hate it.  But I don’t usually cook it.  Not sure why.  A few weeks ago, I went to a cooking class.  Specifically, an Easy Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli cooking class.  We made ravioli from scratch, which was incredibly fun and something I had never done before.  And, it turns out, roasted squash ravioli is pretty darn delicious.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.  From life, from observing people, from traveling, from t.v. shows, from cooking classes…..I love that it strikes you when you least expect it.  Who knew, that a random cooking class on a random Thursday night would change my relationship with squash?  (….does that sound a bit dramatic?)

This recipe for a roasted cod combines roasted acorn squash and roasted pineapple with another seasonal favorite of mine, pomegranates.  I used cod, but any mild, white fish would work.  (Dare I even suggest chicken breast.). The sauce is a mixture of spicy and sweet and turns into a nice thick glaze after slow roasting.  

Oven Roasted Cod with Brown Sugar Pineapple Glazed Acorn Squash

INGREDIENTS

    • 1 medium acorn squash, peeled and cubed*
    • 1/2 of a pineapple cored and cubed
    • 6 tablespoons browned butter (melt butter slowly over low heat until it foams and the milky whiteness turns brown and sinks to the bottom of the pan, it will also begin to smell nice and nutty)
    • 1/4 cup of chopped pecans
    • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • ¼ cup sesame, peanut or olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek*
    • pounds cod fillets
    • arils from one pomegranate for serving
    • crumbled feta for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with a little olive oil.
  2. To the baking sheet, add the acorn squash and pineapple in an even layer. Sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the squash and pineapple. Season with salt + pepper. Mix together the browned butter and walnuts and pour over the squash. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft. If you remember, try to flip the squash and pineapple halfway through cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the garlic, sesame oil, tomato paste, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, honey, ginger and sambal oelek in a bowl.
  4. When the squash is done roasting, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  5. Make room for the fish on the pan with the squash, placing the fish in the center of the pan. Spoon the sauce all over the fish and a little on the acorn squash and pineapple too.
  6. Place the pan back in the oven and continue roasting for 20-30 minutes or until the fish is fully cooked through.
  7. To serve, sprinkle the pomegranate arils over the fish.
*Safely cutting an acorn squash could be an oxymoron.  I headed to google to see if there were any shortcuts to ensure I didn’t lose a finger.  This was the method I followed: using a large kitchen knife, I sliced the acorn squash lengthwise. Scooped out the seeds. Sliced each half into quarters; in half lengthwise and then widthwise. Using a sharp knife, I peeled off some of then skin, than used a smaller knife to get in the ridges.  But it was still slightly dangerous.  Next time I might try this method: Place the whole squash in gently boiling water for 15 minutes; pour off water and chill in cold water for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, slice off peel from peaks or ridges with a knife; use a spoon to dig out the peel from the valleys. Slice squash in half and remove seeds and stem; then cut into chunks.
 
*Sambal oelek is a spicy Southeast Asian chile sauce made from hot red chile peppers, salt and sometimes vinegar.  You can find it in the Asian section of most grocery stores.  A good alternative if you can’t get your hands on a bottle is to use Sriracha instead.  

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.halfbakedharvest.com.

Chocolate Babka Muffins

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The first time I heard the word “babka” was in a 1994 Seinfeld episode.  The Dinner Party.  I didn’t know what a babka was, but according to Elaine and Jerry, a chocolate babka was far superior to a cinnamon babka.  

Call me crazy, but babka isn’t the only food I first learned about from a Seinfeld episode.  There was also the Soup Nazi and his mulligatawny (which I made and shared here… https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2016/02/mulligatawny-soup/), Jerry’s theory about race relations in regards to NYC’s Black and White cookies and the time Jerry got caught spitting his mutton into Grandma Mime’s cloth napkins.  It’s amazing where you can find fashion, cooking or decorating “inspiration”.  Sometimes you find it traveling to exotic places, sometimes it’s comes from a friend, maybe you’re drawn to a photo or recipe online (maybe from this Johnnies website!!) or maybe it’s from a 1990’s sitcom.  

Keep your eyes open.  

I will warn you, this isn’t a crockpot recipe.  There are multiple steps involved and more dirty dishes than usual.  But I think these muffins are worth the process.  After all, there’s chocolate, cinnamon and a bread like dough.  I plan to serve them for guests at Thanksgiving and maybe even make a few extra for friends for Christmas.  Nothing is complicated, but it does take time since you need to allow the dough to rise.  

Chocolate Babka Muffins

  • Prep Time: 90
  • Cook Time: 18
  • Total Time: 1 hour 48 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE DOUGH

  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 envelope) active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • pinch of sugar
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

FOR THE FILLING

  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1  1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups finely ground Oreo Cookie Crumbs (try to make as fine as possible and get as little cookie cream as possible) 

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

INSTRUCTIONS

In a small bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and a pinch of sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes until it’s lightly foaming and bubbly.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt together milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat and add vanilla extract. Let mixture stand for about 5 minutes to cool, or until the mixture is warm to the touch.

Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Add the yeast mixture too and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and place the bowl in your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. As the mixture beats on low speed, add an additional cup of flour.

Beat the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter.  Keep mixing. The dough will stick to the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and add up to 1/2 cup more flour and beat in. The dough will be lightly tacky and slightly sticky after 5 minutes of kneading.

You can make this dough without the use of a mixer, using a firm spatula or wooden spoon to bring the dough together. Add the remaining 1/2 cups flour as necessary to create a firm, tacky and lightly sticky dough. Knead on the counter top to really get it together.

Place the dough in a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm space and allow to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour though the time will be longer if your kitchen is cool.

While the dough rests, make the chocolate filling.

In a heatproof bowl over a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and butter. Stir until smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt, cinnamon and honey.

Let the chocolate cool to room temperature. This step is very important! We’ll need the chocolate at room temperature before we add the cookie crumbs so the finished mixture is spreadable. Give the chocolate about 30 minutes to come to room temperature.

Stir in the chocolate cookies which should make the chocolate mixture thick but still spreadable.

Make the cinnamon crumble topping now. In a medium bowl toss together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the cold butter and use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients, creating a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

To assemble the muffins, start by rolling out the dough.

Once the dough has nearly doubled in size, knead it gently on a well floured work surface. I actually roll out my dough on my counter.  Use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 18×12-inch rectangle, keeping the 18-inch side closest to you.

Spread generously with filling. You’ll have enough filling for two babka recipes, so divide the filling in two and save the rest in a freezer safe bag for future use.

Now we’ll roll up the dough. Starting from the 18-inch side, we’re going to fold the upwards in fourth. Instead of rolling like a cinnamon roll, we’re making four big, flat folds.

You’ll end with a roughly 18-inch long flat log.

Use a large sharp knife to divide the dough in half vertically. And slice each half into 12 even pieces. You’ll have 24 small vertical slices of dough total with your 18 inch log.  This will most likely be messy.  That’s ok.  It will still bake beautifully.

Lightly grease and flour a standard muffin tin.

Layer two pieces of babka dough into each muffin cup, pinching the dough to squeeze out some of the filling and layering the pieces atop one another. Repeat until all the muffin cups are filled.  Again, it doesn’t matter if it’s messy.  It will turn out just fine after baking.

Sprinkle each muffin cup with half of the crumble topping. Save the remaining crumble topping in a freezer safe bag for your future self.

At this point, you can cover the pan in plastic wrap and place the pan in the refrigerator to bake tomorrow morning. When you’re ready to bake, place the pan on the counter to come to room temperature while the oven preheats.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Allow the muffins to rest and rise just slightly while the oven preheats, approximately 20 minutes.

Bake for 16 to 18 minutes until the muffins have risen, are golden and bubbling. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before using a knife to gently remove them from the pan for serving.  That’s the hardest part, waiting 15 minutes to eat!

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.joythebaker.com.

 
     

Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry Soup

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I could make a long list of things that I love about fall.  Apple picking, carving pumpkins, French vanilla pumpkin candles, halloween candy, the changing colors of the leaves and football.  These crisp fall days are also perfect for homebodies (like me) who enjoy curling up by a fire and/or making soup.  (Pure heaven would be a fireplace in my kitchen.  But maybe I’m asking for too much….).  

Soups are fun to make, some take time.  Some need to simmer for hours.  But this one, it comes together pretty quickly.  

I’m calling this a soup, but maybe it’s really just a curry.  

A Thai curry.  It’s thin, like a soup, and contains coconut milk, like a Thai curry.  So, just for fun, I will call it a “curry soup.”    

It’s full of vegetables,  I would even go so far as to say that it’s healthy.  (I used 4+ cups of a mixed bag of frozen vegetables.)  The coconut milk makes it light and adds a bit of sweetness.  But add in more red pepper flakes if you want the heat.  The shrimp and the veggies are great, but the best part of this soup is the broth.  I could drink it.  Even though I’m sure a coconut curry smoothie doesn’t sound appealing…..

I made it a complete meal by serving the “curry soup” over rice.  But ramen noodles would be just as nice.  (See how I made a rhyme right there?!)

Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp Soup

 
Servings 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • sprinkle of ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon2 curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
  • 1 pound medium shrimp peeled, deveined and rinsed
  • 13.5 ounce can light coconut milk
  • 4+ cups frozen mixed vegetables 
  • sea salt to taste
  • sautéed mushrooms, optional
  • rice, ramen or noodles

Instructions

  • In a large pot over medium heat, add the olive oil, garlic and a sprinkle of ginger. Give it a stir, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn, then add the curry powder, crushed red pepper flakes and the broth. Increase the heat to medium-high bringing the broth to a light boil. Add the shrimp and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and mixed vegetables. Cook for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Feel free to add in some sautéed mushrooms, if you like.  
  • Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve in bowls with rice or noodles and top additional crushed red pepper, if you’d like more heat.
 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.tasteloveandnourish.com.

Fresh Apple Crisp

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A few weeks ago, I went apple picking with a friend.  It was my first time.  As a lover of fall and all things fall related, what had I been waiting for?  The weather was ideal as it was a crisp sunny morning.  We found an orchard in Biglerville where you can pick your own apples and we practically had the orchard to ourselves.

We both picked a basket of apples in no time at all, a mix of golden delicious and jonagold apples.  They were delicious.  But maybe I was biased since I picked them myself.  And the best part is that I don’t have to remove any sticker before eating.

First, I made a batch of homemade applesauce.  https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2012/09/homemade-applesauce-and-all-necessary-equipment/

But still, I had more apples than we could eat.

Apple crisp to the rescue.  I love apple crisp.  In this recipe, the apples are generously coated with cinnamon and brown sugar.  The topping crisps nicely and compliments the warm apple filling.  Sound good?

This crisp calls for 8 apples and will serve a lot of people.  (I actually divided it between 3 baking dishes instead of one 9 x 13.)

Obviously, it’s also best served warm with a dollop of ice cream.

Fresh Apple Crisp

FILLING

  • 1 lemon, juiced (or about 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (for thickening)
  • 1/4 cup fresh apple juice or water
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (optional)

TOPPING

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil or olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel apples, quarter, remove cores, and use a paring knife to thinly slice lengthwise.  I used an apple peeler, corer, slicer and got all my apples sliced very quickly.
  3. Add to a large mixing bowl and top with remaining filling ingredients. Toss to combine. Add to a “greased” 9×13 baking dish.  Or divide between several smaller baking dishes.
  4. Rinse and wipe out your mixing bowl and add all topping ingredients. (This technically makes it a one dish wonder.)  Stir to combine, then use fingers to break down any clumps of brown sugar. Pour or spoon over apples in an even layer.
  5. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour (uncovered) or until the filling is bubbly, the apples are very fork tender (especially in the center of the dish), and the topping is deep golden brown.
  6. Let rest at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print. 
Recipe found and adapted from www.minimalistbaker.com

BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN

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Is it summer, is it fall?!  Who knows!  One day the mornings are crisp and cool.  The next, the house is cooking and I need to turn on the air.  I love this time of the year…..once Mother Nature makes up her mind.

I am trying to salvage the last bits from our garden.  There are some lingering tomatoes, of all shapes, colors and sizes, and my basil is thriving again since I cut it back last month.  What better way to incorporate the remaining fruits of our labor but to whip up some fresh bruschetta.  First off, it’s so easy and quick to make.  And, it’s absolutely tasty.  I know it’s commonly served as an appetizer, but I’m starting to see it pop up as a main dish, primarily paired with chicken.  Because who doesn’t need new ideas for dinner?!

I know this recipe “suggests” Roma tomatoes, personally I used what I had on hand.  (or should I say on the vine?…)

Bruschetta Chicken

(2) 6 oz. Chicken Breasts

1 Tablespoon Butter

1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese

1/4 cup Breadcrumbs

1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning

1 Lemon

1 Roma Tomato

1/2 oz. Fresh Basil

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

Instructions. 

Chicken…..

Adjust oven rack to top position and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a microwave safe bowl until melted, about 1 minute.  Stir in mozzarella, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Lightly oil a baking sheet.  Pat chicken breast dry with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper, place on one side of prepared baking sheet.  Mound mozzarella mixture onto tops of chicken, pressing firmly to adhere.  Roast until crust is lightly browned and chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.  For a deeply golden crust, broil chicken for the last 2-3 minutes.

Bruschetta….

Zest and quarter lemon.  Finely dice tomato.  Pick basil leaves from stems, discard stems and thinly slice leaves.  In a small bowl, combine tomato, basil, juice from 2 lemon wedges and a drizzle of olive oil.  Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Top each chicken breast with bruschetta.  Serve with remaining lemon wedges.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print. 
Recipe provided www.hellofresh.com.

What’s for Dinner this week…..

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There are signs that summer is nearing an end.  The mornings are cooler, the leaves are beginning to change color and we are no longer permitted to wear white.  I love fall.  I love the return to a routine.  Part of that routine, is cooking and eating more meals at home.

I’ve come to find out that most people don’t mind cooking, they just don’t know what to make…..which is why I try to meal plan each week.  Actually, I’ve been successfully meal planning since 2012.  I started a blog back in the day and I would create a 28 day meal plan every month.  My brain thrives on routine and organization.  It’s comfortable with predictability.  Meal planning has increased my efficiency and eliminated excessive trips to the grocery store.

I should be getting a pay increase sometime soon.

But seriously, it makes “cooking” so much easier if you plan ahead.

Here is my rule of thumb each week, for what it’s worth:

1 Chicken/Poultry Meal per week

1 Beef Meal (ground or something “fancier” like steak or brisket)

1 Fish or Seafood Meal

1 Soup Night, Pasta Meal or Meatless Entree

1 Pork Meal

This is my formula and it works for our family.

I plan out our meals before going to the grocery store.  Then I can make sure that I have all of the necessary ingredients on hand.

I realize not everyone has the time or the interest to cook complex meals from scratch.  I have included several ready made options that you can find at Johnnies.  It’s a mix of homemade and ready made meals so that hopefully some or all of the meals will fit into your schedule too.

I still haven’t figured out how to eliminate or reduce all of the dirty dishes that come with home cooked meals.  Send suggestions my way.

 

Week One.

Monday. Fully Cooked Beef Brisket: Just heat and serve.  It’s perfect everytime.

Tuesday. Chicken in Basil Cream

https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/wp-admin/post.php?post=8867&action=edit

Wednesday. Mushroom Pork Tenderloin

https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/wp-admin/post.php?post=625&action=edit

Thursday. Cajun Blackened Fish Taco Bowls

https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/wp-admin/post.php?post=10870&action=edit

Friday. Soup Night: Johnnies has more than 30 varieties of frozen fully prepared soups.  Just add water and heat.  My personal favorite, the Italian Wedding Soup or the Shrimp and Roasted Corn Chowder.

Side: Colossal Fries.  Oven baked and crispy every time.

 

Week Two.

Monday. Fully Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork

Tuesday. Seabest Butterfly Breaded Shrimp.  

Wednesday. Soft Beef Tacos

https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/wp-admin/post.php?post=8101&action=edit

Thursday. Pizza:  Here is my favorite homemade (but very quick and easy) pizza dough.

https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/wp-admin/post.php?post=2375&action=edit

Friday. Wing Night.  Johnnies offers both regular wings and boneless.  Precooked and raw.  Everyone loves wing night, especially during football season.

 

 

Dessert: Pellman’s Cheesecake.  Johnnies stocks several flavors and even offers a box of assorted flavors.  The raspberry and chocolate chip are still one of my favorites.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Cheesy Company Potatoes

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Company Potatoes.
This is a great dish to make when heading to a potluck, or serving a crowd or having “company” over for dinner.
Company Potatoes.
When we host large scale holiday parties or family gatherings, I ask my mother-in-law to make these potatoes.  My mother-in-law is a great cook.  She owned a restaurant for over 20 years so she knows how to feed the masses and she does so very well.  Everyone loves this cheesy hash brown dish.  And why not?  It’s full of carbs and calories.  Hash browns swimming in cheese, sour cream and melted butter.  Hash browns topped with crispy corn flakes.  Are you hungry yet?
It’s also really quick and easy to put together and you probably have most of the ingredients already in your house.
What are you waiting for…..invite some company for dinner already!!
Company Potatoes
Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, melted
(2) cans of condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup chopped onion
1  1/2 cups shredded cheese
32 oz. bag of shredded potatoes, thawed slightly
3 cups of corn flakes, slightly crushed
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
Directions:
Preheat oven 350 degrees.
Pour 1/2 cup melted butter in a baking pan.
Mix together in a bowl: cream of chicken soup,  sour cream, chopped onion and shredded cheese.
Add 32 oz. Bag of shredded potatoes and put in baking pan.
Mix corn flakes with melted butter and spread on top of potato mixture.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden and bubbling.
*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print. 
Recipe provided by my mother-in-law, Becky.

Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread

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For as long as I can remember, my mom has been buying pimento cheese spread from a local grocery store.  Pimento Cheese Spread is such a “southern thing”, commonly referred to as the Pate of the South or Carolina Caviar.  It’s as southern as fried green tomatoes, boiled peanuts or sweet tea.  Fun fact: about 80% of all pimento cheese spreads are sold in the Southeast.

My mom always made Pimento Cheese spread sandwiches, on a Martin’s Potato Roll of course.  But I prefer to use it as a dip for chips, crackers or pretzels.

What I didn’t know about pimento cheese spread is how easy it is to make.  And, the ingredients themselves are usually stocked in my pantry.  Except for the pimentos.  I actually didn’t know that pimentos were peppers?! Pimento peppers have a sweet flavor and a very mild heat and are also known as cherry peppers because of their red color and round shape.  I love green olives stuffed with pimentos more than anyone else in the world.  As a kid, I even drank the juice straight from the bottle, and now my mouth is watering just thinking about green olives.  What I’m trying to say is that I have been eating pimentos all my life, how did I now know they were peppers?!

In a side by side comparison, this dips tastes nearly identical to the store bought spread.  It’s much cheaper if I make it myself and it’s perfect for parties.

A magical mix of tangy and sweet.

I used a milder Colby cheese for this particular recipe, but you could kick it up a notch with a sharp cheddar or toss in some feta.  It’s good as a sandwich spread or grilled cheese filling and equally as good served with crackers of fresh veggies.

Pimento Cheese Spread

1/2 cup mayonnaise

4 oz. jar of pimentos, drained and diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup shredded Colby cheese

a sprinkle of onion powder

Mix mayonnaise, 1/2 of diced pimentos, onion powder, cheddar cheese and Colby cheese together.  I blended my spread for a few seconds in a food processor to thoroughly mix and to break down the cheese.  You don’t have to if you like it more chunky.  After blending, add in the remaining pimentos and serve.

This is perfect as a stand alone dip but equally delicious served on a grilled burger!

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler

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I only have to walk about 50 feet out my back door to pick as many fresh blueberries as I can eat.  When we moved into our house, almost 15 years ago, we planted a few blueberry bushes.  I don’t always have a green thumb, but this time I did something right.  I try to pick the blueberries first thing in the morning, before it gets too hot because every year even more of the most delicious, fresh, organic blueberries.

The only real “maintenance” is trying to keep the birds from eating them too.  I guess they know a good thing when they see it.

I eat them by the handful and I freeze quite a few, but there’s usually enough leftover to make a fresh dessert or baked good of some kind.  This year I found a recipe for a blueberry cobbler.  It’s simple and, topped with ice cream, it is delicious.  (Probably because there’s a whole cup of sugar in the mix.). And if you’re not into blueberries, I see no reason why you couldn’t swap out the blueberries for raspberries or black berries.  

This would be a festive Fourth of July dessert!  Add in some raspberries and it’s a patriotic red, white and blue treat!

Fresh Blueberry Cobbler

INGREDIENTS

For the dough:
    • 1  1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1  1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 6 tablespoons chilled butter, grated
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
    •  
For the blueberry mixture:
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 cups blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Vanilla ice cream or Whipped Cream for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

(For the dough)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add grated butter; using your fingertips, mixing until only small lumps remain. Gently mix in sour cream and knead until a biscuit-like dough forms.

(For the blueberry mixture)

Combine the flour, sugar, berries and lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Pour into a medium sized skillet. Tear the biscuit dough into pieces and scatter over berries.  Don’t cover the blueberries entirely. Transfer the cobbler into the oven and bake until juices are thick and bubbling and topping is cooked through and golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. Let cool for at least 1 hour. Scoop ice cream or whipped cream on top and serve.  

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.whatsgabycooking.com

 

Grilled Romaine with a Homemade Honey Mustard Poppyseed Dressing

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If you haven’t fired up your grill yet this season, get ready.

Stock the propane.  Buy some more charcoal.

But don’t be tricked.  We’re not cooking juicy steaks or burgers.  We’re not making sticky bbq ribs or Johnnie’s black Angus hot dogs.

We’re grilling up some romaine lettuce.

One of my favorite downtown restaurants features a grilled romaine salad.  The toppings may vary from season to season, but the base remains the same.  A warm, slightly charred head of romaine lettuce.

The process of grilling the romaine gives it a smoky flavor.  It is so unique and so delicious, especially when topped with this homemade dressing.

I hope we can agree on the fact that homemade salad dressing is unbelievably better than store bought bottled dressing.  (If not, how can we be friends?!)  Homemade dressings are usually pretty easy to throw together too.  So elevate your next picnic or bbq with something homemade.  A simple, homemade dressing can elevate the simplest (most boring) salad. (Another one of our family favorites, my honey mustard ranch dressing.   https://www.johnniesinc.com/web/2017/07/cajun-blackened-fish-taco-bowls/  I swear I make a batch of this every week.)

Top your grilled romaine with the fruit of the season, strawberries!  And when the blueberries ripen, give them a try.  The sweetness of the berries will compliment the tangy dressing very well.  For good measure, I also added bacon and feta cheese.

Grilled Romaine with a Homemade Honey Mustard Poppyseed Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 Head of Romaine, sliced in half lengthwise
  • olive oil
  • Canadian Style Steak Seasoning 
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (I used a mix of extra light tasting olive oil and extra virgin olive oil) or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • feta cheese, bacon, strawberries……

Directions

  1. Preheat grill for medium heat. Drizzle olive oil over romaine lettuce and season with steak seasoning.  I used Canadian Style Steak Seasoning.
  2. Place lettuce cut side-down on preheated grill. Cook until lettuce is slightly wilted and charred, about 4 minutes. Watch it carefully, we want it slightly charred, not burned.  During the 4 minutes, I turned the lettuce and even flipped it over to ensure it was warm and evenly charred.
  3. Prepare dressing.  Place olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt, onion powder, and mustard in a blender; blend until well mixed. Stir poppy seeds into olive oil mixture.  I do think you need to mix this in a blender.  (I tried shaking it vigourously in a covered container first, but the ingredients didn’t mix together well.  They will separate after sitting.)
  4. Plate the grilled romaine.  Drizzle the dressing over the romaine and top with feta cheese, sliced strawberries and toasted walnuts.

 

*To the best of my ability, I have tried to indicate all ingredients, products and equipment that are available at Johnnies in Bold Print.  

Recipe found and adapted from www.allrecipes.com.