Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cranberry Jalapeno Jam

We planted four jalapeno plants this summer and ended up with more jalapenos than we could count.
After freezing, smoking, candying, giving some away and using as many as I could in recipes, I still had jalapenos left. 

Why not try jalapeno jam?  I wanted the jam to have a nice color and it seemed wrong to use green food coloring.  Wondering what else I could do, I ran across several recipes for Cranberry Jalapeno Jam.  Perfect, the cranberries will give the jam a beautiful red color. 

Top cream cheese with this jam and you have a delicious, quick appetizer.  I also plan to use mine to glaze chicken or pork!

Cranberry Jalapeno Jam
  • 3 Jalapeno peppers, whole
  • 2 cups whole cranberries
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • 1 bottle liquid Pectin (3 oz)
Rinse whole cranberries and drain to remove excess water.
Trim Jalapeno pepper caps and tops, then slice lengthwise and remove all seeds and inner membranes. Discard tops, seeds, and membranes. Chop pepper halves.
Grind whole cranberries to a pulp with the food processor or grinder. Add 1/8 cup water to moisten the pulp slightly. Add chopped peppers and pulse or grind.  (I used the coarse chopping blade of a food processor.)
Spoon the cranberry and Jalapeno pulp into a stainless pot. Add vinegar and blend.  Slowly cook mixture for 10 minutes to blend flavors, then add sugar all at once, stir until dissolved. Cook the jam mixture, stirring constantly, until sugar is completely dissolved and boils. Once the jam mixture bubbles and the top foams, rising significantly, add liquid pectin. Boil hard for 1 minute, no longer.
Remove pot from heat. Ladle jam into sterilized half-pint jars, to within 1/2-inch of top. Add sterilized caps and screw rings on. Process in water-bath canner for 10 minutes. Yield: 6 half-pints.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars

I hardly ever fly Delta Airlines anymore !!  I don't miss their baggage fees or upcharges for a better seat but what I do miss is those wonderful Biscoff cookies they give you.  Thanks to Trader Joes cookie butter, I don't have to miss them any more.  With cookie butter, I can make my own Biscoff treats. Have you tried this stuff?  It's so delicious, I could eat it by the spoonful!!!

These Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars have a delicious shortbread like crust with a creamy filling.  I found the center of these to be a bit too gooey for my liking, although one of my coworkers said she loved them that way.  Next time, I think I will decrease the brown sugar and bake longer for a firmer bar.  Either way, they are yummy!!!

Biscoff-Brown Sugar Bars
Recipe Courtesy of Mississippi Kitchen
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup Biscoff spread
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar for sprinkling tops
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine crust ingredients on low to medium speed just until mixture is evenly mixed and moist.  (It will start clumping together.) Dump into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Press mixture onto bottom of pan in an even layer. (Use wet fingers if mixture sticks to skin.)  Prick 6-8 times with a fork, then bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown around edges.
Meanwhile, beat the ingredients for the filling on medium speed until smooth.  When crust is done, pour mixture evenly over crust and bake for 30 minutes or until middle is just set. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting into bars.  Sprinkle each bar with powdered sugar, if desired.
*For a firmer bar, decrease light brown sugar in filling to 1 cup, then bake for 40 minutes.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili

It's fall and nothing says fall better than chili and pumpkin.  But together?  This recipe caught my eye as I was looking through the recipes on my assigned Secret Recipe Club blog, This Mama Cooks.  I love the idea of adding a fruit or vegetable to a traditional dish in order to add more nutrients. 

This is a delicious chili recipe and the addition of the pumpkin give the chili a nice creamy texture.  You will never know this recipe has pumpkin in it.  Although the recipe is designed for the slow cooker, you could easily make this stove top.

 Slow Cooker Pumpkin and Bean Chili
Recipe Courtesy of This Mama Cooks


  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound ground venison, turkey, chicken or lean beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder or your favorite gourmet chili blend
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground chipotle chile (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used beef broth)
  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin oil (optional)


  1. Cook onion, bell pepper and ground meat over medium high heat until meat is cooked through.
  2. Add salt and garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add spices (chili powder through cumin) and mix thoroughly. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Place onion, pepper, meat, garlic and spice mixture into a slow cooker.
  5. Add remaining ingredients.
  6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  7. Dish chili into bowls and top with a small dollop of no fat sour cream or a large pinch of shredded cheese. 
I am linking this to Miz Helen's Chili Cook-off!!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Preserving Summer's Best - Tomato Jam

Has the weather started to cool off where you are?  With temperatures that didn't make it above 50 today, we know winter is not far off.  There's many reason's I will miss summer .... long boat rides on the lake, outdoor concerts, beautiful flowers and most of all fresh vegetables.  I am envious of those of you who live somewhere and can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables year round. 

Our tomato crop was so plentiful this year.  I wanted to preserve as much as possible.  After roasting some and making two huge batches of sauce (to be shared later), what else could I make?  Tomato Jam?  Interesting!  I've read about it but never eaten or made it.  Why not give it a try.  For no other reason than the amazing smell this brings to your kitchen, give this recipe a try.  I couldn't get enough of the combination of cinnamon and tomatoes.  YUM!

I was curious, what can you do with tomato jam?  Glaze chicken, use it in place of ketchup, put a dollup on a savory scone?  What do you do with tomato jam?

Tomato Jam
Recipe Courtesy of Food in Jars
Yield: Varies depending on the kind of tomato used, pan width and the finished thickness*
  • 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
  2. When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
  3. When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pan and the finished thickness to which you cook it.