Archive for the ‘Just for Fun’ Category

Pepper Jelly

I’ve posted some recipes for pepper jelly in the past and given a couple of great marinades to use this diverse treat. But, I know folks are always searching for new ways to use pepper jelly, so I thought this post from Serious Eats would do the trick.

1. Spicy PB & Jelly: Bring a little spicy style to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

2. Spiked Monte Cristo: Mix equal parts mayo and pepper jelly, spread evenly over two slices of bread, layer smoky ham or turkey with Swiss or Gruyere cheese. Dip finished sandwich into lightly beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, lightly brown in a buttered skillet, cut in half and enjoy.

3. Simple Stir-Fry: In a skillet, sauté chicken slices in canola oil, add a bag of frozen stir-fry veggies, season with teriyaki sauce and crushed red pepper and finish by swirling in pepper jelly until melted.

4. Glazed Honey-Drunken Salmon: Simply mix together bourbon liquor, honey, melted butter and pepper jelly until evenly incorporated. Spread over salmon, and cook until done.

5. Mediterranean Turkey Burgers: Mix together ground turkey, melted butter, dried sage and pepper jelly, season generously with salt and pepper, and throw on the grill.

6. Sweet and Sour Pork: Cube pork into 1/2-inch cubes, and brown in a skillet with oil. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and pepper jelly until smooth. Add mixture to a few minutes before removing pork from skillet, stir, simmer and serve.

7. Spiced-Up Vinaigrette: In the bottom of a large salad bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, grainy mustard and pepper jelly until emulsified. Add lettuce, tomato and other salad ingredients to bowl, and gently toss to coat.

8. Fish-n-Dip: Mix together equal parts horseradish sauce with pepper jelly; serve this dip alongside any deep-fried fish for a uniquely tangy and spicy bliss.

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If you are a mom, you may be thinking “why would I torture myself?”  If you are a grandma, you may be thinking, “I’m too old for that nonsense.”  Well, your concerns are understandable.  However, the following ideas may give you “food for thought” (pun intended.)

Fun:   With the right guidance, cooking with kids can be fun.  Look for recipes that are age-appropriate.  If children are preschoolers or young grade schoolers,  choose simple tasks such as making letters out of bread dough or mixing up juice or making pudding.  Older kids can select a favorite food and make with your help. Teenagers can plan and prepare the whole meal.  Allow time  for questions and possible (did I say probable?) messes.   Let kids be creative.  Cooking can be great fun and  an enjoyable hobby or lead to a lifelong profession.

Fact finding:   When kids spend time in the kitchen, they can learn so much.  Younger children learn math by measuring ingredients and setting the oven temperature.  Reading a recipe is great practice.  When kids get to participate in selecting and preparing  foods, they tend to learn more because they are actively involved.   Another tip is to have your youngster select the recipes, write out the grocery list and then go along to the farmers market and grocery store.  Think about the learning involved in adding up the prices and paying for the groceries!  These are valuable life skills that everyone needs to learn before they leave home.    In addition to meal planning and basic nutrition, kids are learning about budgeting and money management.   This could help your pocket book in the long run!!

Fountain of youth:  Okay, this is a stretch to say “fountain of youth” but it is true that  kids who learn to cook tend to be healthier.  Research has shown that kids who spend time cooking and helping with meal preparation, eat a wider variety of foods.  They are more likely to try new foods, such as different fruits and vegetables.   Learning about basic nutrition can help children learn healthy habits and help prevent  overweight. In turn, they will have less risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and some types of cancer.   These diseases are common in America today and all are related, at partly, to eating and exercise habits.   A child may try cooked carrots, dislike them but then eat raw baby carrots dipped in low fat ranch dressing.  He may love a fruit salad recipe that he made because he got to choose it and liked the picture in the cookbook.

The same child may refuse to eat pears because of the texture or color but eat those pears in the fruit salad! Children, starting at grade school age, need at least 2 servings of fruits.  And 2 servings of vegetable daily.  They also need the equivalent of 3 cups of milk/day and teenagers needs the equivalent of 4 cups of milk/day.  Young people who help with cooking and grocery shopping are more likely to try a  variety of dairy products, such as yogurt, string cheese and milk-based recipes.

Finding recipes.   A “kid-friendly” cookbook is a wonderful investment or a fun gift for Christmas or birthday.   Following are suggested  resources that our family has used:


Missouri Pork Producers
 American Egg Council
Missouri Beef Producers

Cooking with kids is wonderful adventure that you nor they will never forget and never regret. Cheers to having fun with your little ones in the kitchen this year!

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