Kitchen Kapers


By: Mary John Resch

I was very excited to find fresh asparagus at the Siler City Farmers Market last Saturday. Needless to say I quickly bought a bunch to enjoy. After I washed the asparagus I divided the stalks by size. Because of asparagus’ quick cooking time I am happier if I cook in batches according to size. Large stalks take no more than 4 minutes in boiling water and smaller stalks take even less. Remember you want to retain the bright green color and the stalks should be crisp tender.
I had some of the egg sauce left over and used it as a topping for a salad the next day — yummy and so pretty.

2 pounds asparagus
2 tablespoons butter
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or to taste

Cook asparagus in small amount of boiling salted water, or steam until tender. Drain and plunge in cold water to stop the cooking process. Spread on paper towels for a few minutes to dry.
Melt butter in skillet and add remaining ingredients.  Spoon over the asparagus and serve.


By: Mary John Resch

This recipe combines two cookie favorites — peanut butter and chocolate chips and I thought they were delicious. Of course, I have rarely tried a cookie that I didn’t like. When I made these cookies I used Jif extra-crunchy peanut butter because I like crunch. You may find yourself making these often.

1 stick margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy is good)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or more mini chocolate chips — I used 3/4 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter, sugars and peanut butter. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix, but do not sift, flour, baking soda and salt and blend in thoroughly. Add chocolate chips. Roll by tablespoons in granulated sugar, then flatten with a fork or juice glass.
Bake one cookie sheet at a time and watch carefully. They should cook only until set and golden, so they remain chewy. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. I found that the shorter cooking time worked best in my oven.


By: Mary John Resch

I’ve used this recipe to prepare chicken several times recently and I’ve been pleased with the results. This dish is easy to prepare and is very tasty. I’ll usually only prepare 2 chicken breast halves for me and I’ll eat one at night — I don’t put the cheese on the second piece but instead use it for salads or sandwiches.
If your breast halves are large you may find that you need to increase the cooking time. I find that an instant read meat thermometer is very helpful when trying to decide if the chicken needs just a little more cooking time.

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves —
approximately 4 ounces each
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3/4 cup shredded Colby Cheese

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
In a larege skillet brown chicken in butter on both sides over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 4-5 minutes or until juices run clear.
Remove from heat. sprinkle each chicken breast with cheese. Cover and let stand for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.


A lot of you may be trying to have some foods that are easy to prepare in advance for Easter. Congealed salads were almost always on the menu when I was younger although they do not seem to be as popular today, which is a shame. Either or both of these salads would be good additions for any buffet.
The Strawberry Salad is one that a cousin in Pinetops used to make and it appeared in the first cookbook from my home church.
The Cherry Salad is one that I tried this weekend. I really enjoyed the contrast of flavors with the slightly tart cherries and the sweet jello mixture.

1 3-ounce package strawberry jello
1 cup boiling water
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 10-ounce package frozen strawberries, partially
1 17-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup miniature marshmallows
Combine gelatin with 3/4 cup hot water. Stir until jello is dissolved. Add softened cream cheese to the remaining 1/4 cup hot water; stir until well mixed. Add to the jello mixture and mix well. Add partially thawed strawberries. Stir well, then add drained pineapple. Fold in the marshmallows last.
Pour into dish or mold and refrigerate until firm.

1 14.5-ounce can Red Tart Cherries (I used Oregon
Specialty Fruit)
2/3 cup sugar
1 3-ounce package cherry jello
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juices
Dash of salt
Heat cherries with their juice and sugar. While hot, stir in cherry jello. Allow to cool slightly. Add nuts, pineapple and salt.
Pour into a dish or mold and refrigerate until firm.


By: Mary John Resch

This is another recipe from a Publix recipe card that I tried recently and really enjoyed. It was easy to prepare and because I did not have any herb garlic butter, I used unsalted butter and added some garlic and Italian seasoning to taste and it worked.

3 tablespoons herb garlic butter
8 ounces baby portobella mushrooms, (slice or quarter)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Cook mushrooms, salt and pepper 2-3 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.
Add spinach to the pan and cover; cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cheese. Serve and enjoy.


By: Mary John Resch

This recipe first appeared in this column in 2007 and while looking through some old recipes I decided that it was worth a repeat appearance for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day recipe.
When Alan cooked this brisket we both raved about it. Alan said that is was the best corned beef he had ever eaten and one of the very few recipes that he had tried that he would not change at all. I particularly like this recipe because I did not find it too salty.
I noted on the recipe that the brisket that he cooked was slightly less than three pounds and we sampled it after about 6 hours and it was tender so we turned off the slow cooker but allowed the beef to remain in the liquid a little longer. You will have enough liquid for a slightly larger brisket.

(Serves 6)
2 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup Guinness stout
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried
dill weed
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can low-salt beef broth
6 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 (3-pound) cured corn beef brisket, trimmed

Rinse corned beef brisket and discard the seasoning packet that was probably in the vacuum pack.
Combine first 11 ingredients in a large electric slow cooker, stirring until well blended. Top with the beef. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 to 8 hours or until beef is tender, turning about half way through the cooking time.
Remove beef; allow to cool slightly, cut diagonally across grain into 1/4 inch slices. Discard the broth mixture.


By: Mary John Resch

This is another super easy recipe to add a little variety to your meals. In addition it is simple to halve or whatever you want to do to make a smaller amount. When I made this I used the bottled grated Parmesan cheese that you can buy at any grocery store – you’ll usually find it with the ingredients for spaghetti. However, if you want to take this dish to the next level, grate your own Parmesan. I know this is difficult but you can do this by using the chopping blade in your food processor. (I use a Cuisinart processor when I do this.)

6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
8 medium unpeeled red potatoes (about 2 3/4-pounds)
halved lengthwise

Pour butter into a 9×13-inch baking pan. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese evenly over the melted butter. Place potatoes, cut side down, over the cheese. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender.


By: Mary John Resch

I tried this recipe for Banana Bran Bread recently and I was pleased with it. It is sort of a cross between bran muffins and banana bread. This is a dense bread and I enjoyed slicing it and toasting it in my toaster oven and serving it with a smear of whipped cream cheese. I found that a slice of this lasted until lunch time.
3 cups milk
5 cups bran flakes
3 cups Bisquick
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening — I used Canola oil
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange peel
1/4 cup apple butter
1 cup chopped walnuts

Grease the bottoms of 2 load pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour milk over cereal in a large bowl; let stand for 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Divide batter evenly into the 2 loaf pans. Bake approximately 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
These breads can be frozen.


By: Mary John Resch
When my grandson came home after being away for four weeks this summer this meal was what he wanted his mother to fix although she did have to substitute a different green vegetable for him. He was having no part of the bok choy. I of course enjoyed all of it. Mary Alice says this dish is a long-time favorite of hers and its a wonderful – almost foolproof – way to cook salmon. I would not hesitate to just cook the salmon and make the sauce to serve it over regular long grain rice.


8 (6-ounce) salmon filets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 1/2 cup water
1/4  teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped green onions
2 teaspoons canola oil
16 cups bok choy, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch
pieces (about 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 cup sake (rice wine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
2 tablespoons shopped fresh cilantro
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
To prepare salmon, sprinkle salmon evenly with salt and pepper. Place salmon, skin side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness is reached.
To prepare rice, rinse with cold water; drain. Combine rice, coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir once. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Let stand 10 minutes; stir in onions.
To prepare bok choy, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add bok choy and ginger; saute 1 minute. Add sake and 1/4 teaspoon salt, cover and cook 2 minutes or until bok choy wilts. Cover and keep warm.
To prepare sauce, combine lime juice and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk.
Serve salmon with rice, boy choy and sauce.


By: Mary John Resch

I tried this recipe on a cold snowy morning several weeks ago and really enjoyed it. I refrigerated a serving and reheated it in the microwave on 40% power several days later and although the texture was not quite as good as when it was first baked, it was still definitely worth saving. When I heat a square that I have frozen, I’m going to defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and try heating it in my toaster oven to see if I prefer that method.
If you can’t find dried blueberries and cherries I think you could substitute raisins or dried cranberries.
I will make this again.
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon and salt. Stir in oats, blueberries and cherries. Transfer to a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate covered, 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove oatmeal from refrigerator while oven heats. Stir oatmeal; sprinkle with sliced almonds. Bake, uncovered until golden and a thermometer reads 160 degrees, 40-50 minutes. Serve warm.
I cut the oatmeal into 9 squares after it cooled and individually wrapped each square that I didn’t eat and froze the squares in a ziplock bag.


By: Mary John Resch

I tried this recipe over the weekend and think it would make a great Valentine Day dessert. (I realize that Ash Wednesday and Valentine Day both fall on Wednesday the 14th this year so you may choose to celebrate on Mardi Gras.) At any rate you chocolate lovers should enjoy this dessert and you’ll have enough to share with friends and perhaps to freeze some for later.
Of course a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream will only make this cake better!

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 1.55-oz. milk chocolate candy bars, melted and
cooled slightly
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped pecans
5 1/2 ounces chocolate syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure coffee extract (optional)
Powdered sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add melted candy bars. Add flour, soda and salt to the melted chocolate mixture, alternately with the buttermilk. Add pecans, chocolate syrup and vanilla and coffee extracts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Use a cake tester or toothpick to test for doneness. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Sift powdered sugar over the cake, if desired.


By: Mary John Resch

When I tried this recipe I wondered if it was going to be so hot that I could not eat it, but it wasn’t and I really enjoyed the wings. When I made this I used Tabasco sauce but a friend has suggested that the next time I make these that I try Siracha sauce. I used chicken drumettes because they are a little meatier.
I think these wings will make a great addition to your Super Bowl menu.

1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 pounds chicken wings or drumettes
Accompaniment: blue cheese dressing

Mix first 5 ingredients in a large, sturdy zip lock bag. Add chicken, seal bag and turn and massage to coat the chicken. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with non-stick aluminum foil. Add chicken in a single layer with a little space between the pieces.
Bake, turning chicken once, about 1 hour until chicken begins to crisp. Remember because of the honey this chicken will turn dark so watch it.
To Serve: Pour blue cheese dressing into a bowl and place in the middle of your serving platter, surrounded with the chicken.


By: Mary John Resch

This recipe is something a little different from the usual rice or potatoes and I liked it and will make it again — after all I did buy a box of Minute Rice to try this recipe.
I found that if I let the spinach thaw just a little I could take a knife and split it in half and wrap and put the half I wasn’t using back in the freezer to use later.
When I served this I cut it in squares and when it was cool I wrapped the squares individually and placed them in a zip lock bag and froze them to have later. I have not tried one of these yet but the square I refrigerated and had several days later was very good.
*Since I wrote this I tried one of the squares that I froze and I was pleased with it too.

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 package frozen chopped spinach
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups milk
Garlic Powder
1 cup Minute Rice, measured when uncooked

Measure 1 cup Minute Rice and cook according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Thaw and drain spinach; mix with onion, cheese, butter, eggs, milk and rice. Add garlic powder and salt to taste. Bake in a buttered 8×8 casserole dish for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.
I cut my casserole into 9 squares but you could cut it in smaller pieces — your choice.


By: Mary John Resch

I had some leftover ham in my refrigerator and so with all the cold weather we’ve had lately it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try this Ham and Cheese Chowder recipe that I had cut out last winter. I thought the chowder was very good and a great use for leftover ham. If the ham you use is salty you may not need to add any salt. I added the freshly ground black pepper but did not have any chives to add but I think they would have been a nice addition.

1 1/2 pounds potatoes (about 3 medium), peeled and
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup of water you used to cook potatoes
4 oz. process cheese (Velveeta), cubed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
Salt as if needed
Minced fresh chives and coarsely ground black pepper, optional

Place potatoes and baking soda in a large saucepan. Add water to cover; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered, until tender, 6-8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the potato water.
In the same pan, saute onion in butter until tender; 2-4 minutes. Stir in flour until blended; cook and stir 2 minutes. Gradually stir in milk and reserved potato water. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 2-3 minutes.
Stir in cheeses until melted. Stir in ham and potatoes; heat through. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve garnished with chives and pepper.
Yield: 2 servings

By: Mary John Resch

When I was at Mary Alice’s several weeks ago she fixed this Turkey Scallopini for me and both of us thought the recipe was a keeper. She was able to buy fresh linguine at her grocery store and served the scallopini over it. She found that once she gathered her ingredients, the recipe was quick and easy to prepare — the leftovers were good too.
Before you start preparing this recipe check your Marsala if you are planning to use some you have on hand. If it is already open and has been hiding in a cabinet for a year or so it might need to be tossed.

1 pint fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (17.6 ounces) turkey breast cutlets
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups dry Marsala wine
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley

Hot cooked linguine or rice (optional)
Saute mushrooms and garlic in 2 tablespoons butter until just soft and liquid has released. Remove from stove and set aside.
In a large resealable plastic bag, mix flour, salt and pepper. Add turkey cutlets, one at a time, close bag and shake to coat.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add turkey; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until meat is no longer pink. Remove from pan and keep warm. Stir in wine, mushrooms and garlic. Bring to a boil; cook 8-10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter until melted. Return turkey to pan; heat through. If desired serve over linguine or rice. Sprinkle with cheese and fresh parsley.

By: Mary John Resch

Last night I reviewed the recipes that have been in the paper during the last year (December 2016-December 2017). And once again, I remembered recipes that I really enjoyed that I had forgotten to prepare again. In case you find yourself in the same situation, perhaps this column will jog your memory.
Many of you have told me how much you enjoyed the recipe for the frozen cranberry salad. It’s always nice to have a recipe that can be prepared a little while before you need it.
I thought this corn Casserole with Parmesan Cheese was delicious and I particularly liked the fact that you can easily halve this recipe.
The Oatmeal Blueberry Muffin recipe is currently my favorite way to make these muffins. I used blueberries that I had bought in the grocery store and they worked just fine. I had one of these from my freezer for breakfast last week and it was still delicious.
The Shrimp Saute is a quick, easy and delicious way to prepare shrimp. If you do not have any Old Bay seasoning on hand buy some. I use mine for so many things–it’s delicious on hard boiled eggs and even roasted sweet potatoes.
These Butterscotch-Pecan Blondies are a nice variation of an old favorite of many of us. Like all Blondies you need to watch them carefully because I find it easy to overcook them. I actually start checking them after 20 minutes of cooking time.

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
8-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice, drained
1 can whole cranberry sauce
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip
1 cup chopped pecans
Mix all ingredients together blending completely and pour into either a loaf pan or any dish. Freeze for a few hours. Cut into squares or slices when ready to serve.

2 cups corn, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons chopped chives
Melt butter in a saucepan; remove from heat and blend in flour, sugar and salt. Return to heat and slowly stir in milk and stir constantly until thickened. Add corn and slightly beaten eggs. Place mixture in a buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives. Bake in a buttered 2-quart casserole and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons natural oat bran
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 8 large muffin cups or 18 standard muffin cups with nonstick spray.
Whisk oats and next 9 ingredients in a large bowl.
Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla; stir to blend. Stir in boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Fold in blueberries. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups.
Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 28 minutes for large muffins and 20 minutes for standard muffins. Cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack; cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

4 tablespoons butter
1 pound shrimp, peeled and uncooked
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon.
Melt butter. Add parsley, lemon juice, chives, mustard, Old Bay, cayenne, garlic powder and tarragon; mix. Add shrimp and cook over medium heat until shrimp are pink. Be careful not to overcook.
Serve over rice.

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups butterscotch morsels, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with baking spray with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and melted butter until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla.
In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Gently stir in 1 cup butterscotch morsels and 1 cup chopped pecans. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup butterscotch morsels and remaining 1/2 cup shopped pecans.
Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes, loosely covering with foil to prevent excess browning, if necessary. Let cool completely in pan.

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