This and that

I would like to share some recipes that are just plain good. With a name like Christmas pickles, this recipe doesn’t have to be served at Christmas only. It is a good one for taking to potluck dinners year round. – Pat

Christmas pickles

1 gallon whole dill pickles

11-¼ cups sugar 

1 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard seed

1 tablespoon whole cloves

3 or 4 jalapeno peppers, chopped

4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced

5 to 6 whole cinnamon sticks

1 pound whole candied cherries

3 jars (15 oz) pearl onions, drained

1 teaspoon olive oil

Remove pickles from juice; set juice aside. Cut pickles into ½-in. slices; set aside. In a Dutch oven or large kettle, combine the sugar, vinegar, mustard seed, cloves, peppers, garlic, cinnamon sticks, and pickle juice. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Discard cinnamon sticks. In a large bowl, combine cherries, onions, and pickle slices. Pour liquid over pickle mixture. Stir in oil. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours, stirring occasionally. Divide mixture among jars. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Yield: 6-½ quarts.


Peaches and cream gelatin

1-1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 22 squares)

¼ cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted


1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup milk

1 carton (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 can (15 ¼ oz.) sliced peaches, drained

1 package (3 oz.) peach gelatin

¾ cup boiling water

1-¼ cup cold water

In a bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press into a 13 x 9 x 2-in. dish. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth; gradually add the milk, fold in the whipped topping. Spread over crust. Cut peach slices in half lengthwise; arrange over top. In a bowl, dissolve the gelatin in boiling water; stir in the cold water. Refrigerate for 1-½ hours or until slightly thickened. Gently spoon gelatin over peaches; refrigerate until set. Cut into squares. Yield: 12-15 servings.


Taco soup

1-½ pounds ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 can (14 1/2 oz) stewed tomatoes

1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 can (10 oz) chili without beans

1 pound process cheese (Velveeta), cubed

salt and pepper and garlic powder to taste

2 cups sour cream, divided

In a Dutch oven or soup kettle, cook beef and onion over medium hat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the beans, tomatoes, chili, cheese and seasonings. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in 1 cup sour cream; heat through (do not boil). Garnish with remaining sour cream. Yield: 3-1/4 quarts.


Mini brownie treats

1 package fudge brownie mix (13 x 9 x 2-in. pan size)

48 striped chocolate kisses

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for fudge-like brownies. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Immediately top each with a chocolate kiss. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.



• For a quick icing, place a small candy bar on top of each cupcake right after removing the pan from the oven. The heat will melt the chocolate, which then can be spread easily over the top. 

• Plant corn in a square in your garden instead of in long rows. This will help the plants pollinate better.

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