Party Cheeseburgers


1 lb. ground beef
8 oz. American cheese (cubed or shredded)
2 T. creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. Dijon mustard (opt)
1 tsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. onion powder
2 tsp. beef bouillon powder
8 medium burger or brioche buns
Hamburger dill pickle slices
Sandwich foil sheets for wrapping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and cut buns in half.

Brown ground beef in a large skillet and drain if necessary. Over medium heat, stir in cheese, peanut butter, mustard, onion flakes, onion powder, and beef bouillon powder.

When cheese melts, spread mixture on each bun bottom and top with a dill pickle slice.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve with chips. Recipe can be doubled.

Good for kids, these are not real big burgers, but they are not small enough to be called sliders. Some adults might eat two.


Chicken Parmesan Party Sliders


4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 c. flour
½ c. cornstarch
¼ c. olive oil
Salt and pepper

¼ c. melted butter
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ c. marinara sauce (your favorite brand)
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ cup shredded Italian mix cheese
1 pkg. King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls

To prepare chicken: Lightly pound thighs to a consistent thickness, about 3/8-inch. Mix together the flour and cornstarch. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture, season with salt and pepper, and fry until browned, turning once. Cut into pieces about 2 inches square to fit each bun. You’ll need 12 pieces, about 3 per thigh.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut rolls in half lengthwise, keeping rolls together. Place each half, cut side up on a baking sheet. Stir garlic into melted butter and baste each half. Bake uncovered, 8-10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove buns from oven and set the tops aside.

To build the sliders: Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the bottom halves and top with chicken pieces. Spoon 1 teaspoon of marinara sauce on each chicken piece and top with Italian seasoning and Italian mix cheese. Cover with the sheet of bun tops and cut to separate sliders. Wrap each individually in foil (lightweight sandwich foil sheets are best). Place on baking sheet and return to oven, reduce temp to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes. Makes 12 sliders.

Variation: Instead of chicken thighs, use shredded meat from a rotisserie chicken.

Candied Walnut and Mixed Greens Salad

Italian (Gorgonzola) and Greek (feta) versions

½ c. walnut halves
¼ c. white sugar
3 cups mixed greens
½ c. craisins, dried cherries, chopped dates, or figs
½ c. Gorgonzola or feta cheese
2 green onions, chopped, tops and all
1 T capers or chopped Greek olives (optional)

Whisk together equal amounts of balsamic vinegar and olive oil with a pinch of salt and black pepper to make a balsamic vinaigrette.

Candied walnuts: Place the walnuts and sugar in a skillet over medium heat (do not burn). Stir until sugar melts and is light brown (about 1 minute). Stir to coat walnuts, about 1 more minute. Remove from heat and spread on foil to cool, then break apart if necessary.

Assemble and toss salad ingredients, top with candied walnuts and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette,

Zucchini Fritters

Serving these with sriracha sauce adds a tasty twist. We think the leftovers are as good (maybe better) cold the next day.

2 cups zucchini, grated
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 T cornstarch
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T finely chopped onion
1 large egg, beaten
black pepper, to taste
2 T olive oil

Place grated zucchini in a colander over the sink. Add salt and toss to combine; let sit for 30 minutes to drain. Then Press in paper towels to remove more moisture.

In a large bowl, combine zucchini, flour, Parmesan, garlic and egg; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter and cook until the underside is nicely golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer. Makes 6-8 fritters. Serve immediately with sriracha sauce.

Pickled Watermelon Salad


3 1/2 c. water
2/3 c. sugar
1 T salt
1 c. cider vinegar
2 T fresh dill weed chopped
½ tsp minced garlic
2 dashes cayenne
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 tsp mustard seeds

1 small round watermelon, rind removed, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes (about 16 cups)

Garnish: Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley

Combine brine ingredients: water, sugar, salt, vinegar, dill, garlic, cayenne, peppercorns and mustard seeds, in small saucepan and simmer 30 minutes. Strain and cool.

Clean and cut watermelon. Place in a 1-gallon jar (or use two, 2-qt canning jars). Pour strained brine over watermelon to cover, and chill for about an hour. Drain and serve topped with fresh chopped, flat leaf parsley (In our family, we like cilantro.) Makes 1 gallon of salad.

Variation: Mix in chunks of fresh pineapple

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

A 4th of July favorite.

PULLED PORK for Sandwiches
(Serves 6)

3 lbs. pork butt or shoulder roast
½ c. finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 rib celery, thinly sliced, or ½ tsp celery seeds
2 T Nadia’s Spicy Paprika (see below)
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp oregano
1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
1 tsp. ground sage
3/4 cup water
Fresh cilantro or flat leaf parsley

Trim excess fat and brown the roast on all sides in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan. Transfer meat to a slow cooker. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup water. To the pan, add onion, garlic, and celery and simmer until wilted. Add to the slow-cooker along with spicy paprika, brown sugar, oregano, dried onion and sage.

Cook in slow-cooker on high setting 5-7 hours or until the pork is tender and can be pulled apart with a fork.

We like to make the sandwiches with our favorite crusty buns. I top mine with fresh cilantro, Chuck uses flat leaf parsley. Serve with Coleslaw, potato salad or baked beans.

Poultry, Pork and Fish Seasoning

1 cup Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
(a mildly hot, sweet, smoky chili powder product available at specialty food stores, sometimes translated and labeled red pepper powder)
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoon Knorr Chicken Bouillon Powder

Combine all ingredients. Pulse in blender if there are any lumps. Place in a shaker container and store in a cool dry cupboard. Sprinkle generously on poultry, fish, pork, even pasta and vegetables. This seasoning is not spicy hot, it is mild. Some Korean chili powders are hotter than others. Find a brand you like if you want to be consistent with this recipe.

Aronia Berry Jelly

On the off-chance your jelly doesn’t fully set; no problem. You’ll have pancake syrup.
Aronia berry, also called black chokeberry, makes great jelly. here’s how to do it.

3-1/2 cups chokeberry juice from fresh picked fruit
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 oz. or 1 package of pectin (1/4 c. dry powdered)
6 cups sugar

Wash fruit, remove stems and sticks and cover with water, simmer 15 minutes. Strain the juice.

Powdered pectin method: Pour measured amount into a 6-8 quart non-reactive kettle such as enamel or stainless steel. Add lemon juice, pectin and stir. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil exactly two minutes. Skim and pour into clean, hot jars. Seal and store refrigerated (or process in a water bath for 10-minutes and then store in a cool dry place).

If using liquid pectin, substitute a 3 oz. pouch instead of the 2 oz. pkg. of powdered pectin. Also if using liquid pectin, add it to the pot only after the juice and sugar mixture comes to a full boil. Then boil for 2 minutes, put into jars, and process.

Do not make more than a double batch. It may take a day or two to fully set up. Yields: 4 pints.