Blueberry Cornbread

It is a pleasant problem to have too many blueberries. My backyard blueberry bushes are producing about 2 cups of ripe blueberries a day. In addition to sharing with neighbors, I’m scrambling to find ways to use all the blueberries. I love homemade cornbread and recently ran across a recipe for “Blueberry Cornbread.” I guess this shows that you can add just about anything to cornbread. I love “Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins” with pickled jalapeno bits and my “Hushpuppies” with green onions and Cajun spices. Why not make a sweet cornbread recipe with fresh blueberries? Yum!

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Let’s Make a Small Batch of Hot & Spicy Pickle Chips

I am making pickles again this summer. And these pickles are some of the best ones that I have ever made. They are inspired the spicy pickle chips which my 97-year-old mother-in-law keeps in her home refrigerator. She purchases large jars of spicy pickles at Costco Wholesale and then portions some of them into small plastic containers. She can reach in to her refrigerator from time to time and eat just a pickle. I reached in and ate an entire handful of the pickles. These pickles are addictive. And they are hot! Wow! Since the label of commercial pickles doesn’t specify the exact spice content, I decided go on an adventure and concoct my own spicy pickle recipe. Luckily, I aced my pickles on the first try. although I did make several additional batches just to make sure that I wrote down the ingredients and instructions properly.

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Southern Cookin’: Hummingbird Cake

Today I am baking a “Hummingbird Cake,” a cake with a Southern tradition. It is early in June and this time of year reminds me of our annual trips driving our kids to summer camp in Mississippi. The camp is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta and you can’t get more southern than this. It was always a bit sad driving down the two-lane country roads with red dirt, smell of pine trees, and hot, hot humidity as our kids would be gone for most of the summer. But they loved camp and made many enduring friends there. So a “Hummingbird Cake” reminds me of this annual ritual.

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Instant Pot Magic: BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

I’m having a great time trying out recipes in my new “Instant Pot.” Here’s a recipe that adapts very well to “Instant Pot” cooking: “BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs.” There is nothing better than a rack of juicy, tender and flavorful pork ribs. We save cooking pork ribs for special occasions as the process of smoking or roasting the ribs is somewhat time-consuming and involved. However, when cooked in an Instant Pot and then broiled for a few minutes in the oven to finish them off, the process is simple and easy. These are absolutely tender and flavorful.

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Let’s Cook Hot & Spicy Tomato Jam a.k.a. Knock-Out Tomato Chutney

I love ripe, juicy tomatoes and eagerly look forward to the early summer months when tomatoes ripen in Louisiana. Today I am making a new recipe — at least for me — with some of these ripe tomatoes. It is “Hot & Spicy Tomato Jam.” What? I had never heard of “Tomato Jam” until this year and apparently no one else has either. I took a chance and concocted my own recipe from several sources. The jam turned out to be delicious. I am so pleased. We ate the entire batch in two days. Just a warning — my recipe has a hot kick; hence the subtitle, “Knock-Out Tomato Chutney.”

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Instant Pot Magic: Coconut Curry Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots

Can you cook oriental cuisine in an Instant Pot? I decided to find out by cooking “Coconut Curry Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots” in my new kitchen appliance. And I was pleased with the results of my “Americanized” dish. The flavors of coconut milk, yellow curry and chicken combine to make a nicely seasoned main dish. The recipe comes from a college roommate and is one of my favorite oriental-inspired dishes. Typically potatoes are included in this recipe. My roommate, Lucy, also added carrots and onions. Serve the chicken with rice — even though it contains potatoes. Had I known that cooking with an Instant Pot was so incredibly easy, I might have purchased this kitchen appliance several years ago.

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Kids Can Cook: Graham Cracker Crush & Banana -Marshmallow Delight

Here’s an easy recipe and a way to use up those extra bananas which perhaps you might have purchased. This “lite dessert” quickly disappears at our house. It is a low-fat dessert — virtually fat-free (although it is not calorie or sugar-free). While sorting through a stack of vintage homemakers magazines, I ran across the recipe for “Banana Pudding Supreme” which actually isn’t a pudding at all but instead uses melted marshmallows. Hum. I haven’t cooked with marshmallows in many years. The recipe is simple and calls for layering melted marshmallows/whip cream along with crushed graham crackers and bananas. Other than melting the marshmallows on the stove, this dessert is an activity which kids can help make.

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Instant Pot Magic: Let’s Steam a Whole Artichoke

Here’s something that I never ate until I was an adult. That is a fresh, whole artichoke. My husband’s family loves to eat this vegetable — just for the fun of it. It is a social activity — sort of like a Louisiana crawfish boil. My mother-in-law boils the artichokes in a pressure cooker until tender. To eat them, you pluck off individual leaves, dip them in butter — or garlic butter. — and pull the pulp off the leaf between your teeth. You also eat the artichoke heart — that’s the best part. When my husband brought some colossal artichokes home from the grocery store, we decided to try cooking them in my new Instant Pot. So simple and the artichokes cook much quicker than boiling on a stove. In addition to enjoying the wonderful flavor of the artichokes, we learned that they are a powerhouse of nutritional value.

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Nostalgia: Detroit Deep Dish Pizza

Nostalgia. In my opinion, one of Detroit’s best kept secrets is its deep dish pizza. Uniquely Detroit, it differs from Chicago-style pizzas in several respects — and I much prefer Detroit’s style. Detroit’s pizza is rich and flavorful with a very thick, chewy crust and layers of melt-in-your mouth cheese.  When I lived in Detroit, we would drive across town just to eat this pizza at an “authentic” Sicilian restaurant. Now that Pizza Hut has added this style of pizza to its menu, the secret of Detroit’s deep dish pizza is “out-of-the box”. I started writing this post about how to make the pizza over a year ago; now seems like a good time to finish it — so you can have your own “Detroit Deep Dish Pizza” recipe.

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Family Favorites: Green Bean Casserole with a Homemade Crispy Onion Variation

I love “Green Bean Casserole.” With a creamy sauce and topped with crunchy French’s® Crispy Fried Onions, it is hard to resist. Although it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving holiday meal without this dish, the casserole is really great any time of the year. Recently I noticed a recipe for this dish which included homemade fried onions rings for a topping and I recalled how much I liked the dish. This recipe author also took the extra effort to use fresh green beans and make a sauce from scratch. That’s alot of work as the original recipe uses just three main ingredients. I liked the idea of the homemade crispy fried onion rings and decided to add it to my variation. Although the verdict is still out on the homemade onions rings, my husband and I sure ate alot of “test runs” of “Green Been Casserole.” So, here is my casserole using French’s® Crispy Fried Onions.

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