Rhubarb Crisp Muffins

To me, spring in Minnesota means venturing out to farmer’s markets to pick up fresh, seasonal produce and chat with local growers. Saturday we went to the Richfield Farmer’s Market for the first time. I highly recommend this market, especially for families – live music, plenty of picnic tables for snacks, restrooms nearby and a fantastic playground. It’s early in the season and offerings are slim, but we walked away with a big bunch of fresh rhubarb.

Rhubarb reminds me of my grandparents. Several rhubarb plants grew on the side of their garage. No matter where I am, if I eat rhubarb, I’m right back in South Fargo at a family picnic eating rhubarb crisp.

I made rhubarb crisp muffins and had enough leftover to freeze for another recipe.

Rhubarb Crisp Muffins

2 1/2 C flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 C packed brown sugar [NOTE: use 1 1/2 cups for the batter and reserve 1/2 cup for the crumble on top]

2/3 C vegetable oil [I use Canola oil]

1 C whole milk

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 C chopped rhubarb

1 C plain quick oats

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins or use cupcake liners. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, oil, milk, egg and vanilla. Mix well. Stir the flour mixture into the batter and fold in the chopped rhubarb. Fill prepared muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Rhubarb crisp muffin batter

In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/2 cup packed brown sugar with about 1 cup of oats. Sprinkle the crumble generously over each muffin cup. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes.  The recipe yields 24 muffins.

Crumble topping added and ready to go in the oven

These muffins were perfect right out of the oven for brunch. Tart, sweet and delicious.

Rhubarb crisp muffins

For variations on the recipe, you can substitute buttermilk for the whole milk. My mom suggests keeping a can of powdered buttermilk in the pantry for the odd recipe that requires buttermilk. You can also vary the crumble mixture. Instead of oats, mix brown sugar, butter and toasted slivered almonds for the topping.

Quick tip: If you run out of batter and wonder what to do with the empty cups, simply fill them half full with water to ensure the batch of muffins cooks evenly.

Enjoy!

Deviled Eggs with Bacon

My mom has a sneaky strategy when she doesn’t want to bring home leftovers from a party. She brings a tray of deviled eggs. They always go fast. There’s just something special about a deviled egg. Poppable. Creamy. And, possibly my favorite way to eat an egg.

She tinkers with recipes and came up with a crowd pleaser. She brought a tray of these deviled eggs to a party and they disappeared in ten minutes. Her friend, and pastor of their church, declared these to be “deep center field.”  How often has your dish been blessed by a member of the clergy?

 

Kathy’s “Deep Center Field” Deviled Eggs

6 hard-boiled eggs

1/4 C light mayo

1 T sweet pickle relish

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 T chopped parsley

2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions

Boil eggs and let cool. I realize not everyone knows how to boil eggs, so this is how I do it. In a medium saucepan place eggs and add enough water to cover the eggs. Set the heat to high, bring to a boil and continue to boil for a few minutes; usually between five and ten minutes is good. Turn the heat off and let sit in the pan for a while until cooled. When cooled, remove from pan and refrigerate.

Peel the eggs, slice in half, and carefully remove yolks. Place yolks, mayo, relish, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a medium bowl. Mash yolks and mix well. Spoon mixture into egg white halves. Top with bacon and chopped parsley to garnish. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Lemon Spaghetti

Lemon spaghetti is one of my go-to summer recipes. Spring arrived (mostly) in Minnesota, so I am adding this dish back into our meal rotation. I found this recipe in the back of a Cooking Light years ago. They listed it as a side dish and served with a caesar salad and bread sticks. I make it as a main dish and sometimes add grilled chicken or shrimp for protein and variety. This is a light, zingy and fresh pasta dish suited to almost any type of pasta – spaghetti, rotini, angel hair, campanelle, ziti, etc.

Lemon Spaghetti from Cooking Light

Spaghetti noodles (approx 12 oz)

2 lemons

1/4 C olive oil

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 C chopped fresh flat leaf parley

2 oz shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place pasta in large bowl.

In small bowl combine 1 tsp grated lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp red pepper. Whisk.

Drizzle sauce over noodles and add Parmesan cheese and parsley.

 

This recipe is very forgiving if you keep the ingredients in proportion. I usually use an entire box of pasta, the juice of 2 to 3 lemons (depending on size), an equal amount of olive oil, and a whole heckuva lot more cheese than the recipe lists. The cayenne pepper gives the dish a nice kick, but I use less when I make it for kids. For working parents, this dish is easy to prep in advance. I chop the parsley and make the sauce in the morning. When I come home from work, all I have to do is boil the noodles, drain and dump in the sauce, parsley and cheese.  I hope you all enjoy this dish as much as we do. Three cheers for spring!

Note: I lost my original copy of this recipe. I *think* it’s from the summer of 2008, but I’m not certain. I cannot find the recipe on Cooking Light’s site. If anyone can provide the source for me I will gladly update this post.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken with Lemon – Easy Peasy

We eat a lot of chicken in our house. Probably more chicken than my husband would like. But, I love chicken. Let me recap a quick conversation I once overheard in an elevator in D.C.:

Woman 1: What’s for lunch today?

Woman 2: Chicken.

Woman 1: You had chicken for lunch yesterday!

Woman 2: I know. I can’t get away from the bird.

I love that. I can’t get away from the bird either. Chicken is tasty!

I’m working from home now, but that doesn’t mean I have a lot of extra time on my hands. My slow cooker is still my best friend as a busy mom of two. I feel compelled to share the easiest slow cooker meal with you. It’s so easy it almost feels like cheating. For working parents gone all day, this recipe is for you because it takes 8-10 hours to cook.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken With Lemon

Start drooling now, because here is slow cooker roast chicken with lemon.  The recipe is basically A) put the chicken in the slow cooker, B) add a sliced lemon and salt and pepper to taste and C) close the lid. But, for the sake of writing, I’ll try to draw it out a wee bit.

Slow Cooker Roast Chicken with Lemon

Ingredients:

– 1 whole chicken/fryer [Note: grocery stores have sales on these sometimes. The bird tonight cost $3.81 – for a family of four, that’s money in the bank friends!]

– 1 lemon – sliced in half

– salt and pepper to taste [I like to use kosher salt and coarse black pepper, but anything will work here.]

Directions:

– Remove the neck (for this city girl, kinda gross) and place the bird in the slow cooker.

– Squeeze the lemon juice over the bird and add the lemon halves (rind and all) to the slow cooker.

– Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste over the bird.

– Close the lid. I say this because it is very important to have the lid firmly closed on a slow cooker in order to cook properly. And, remember, no peeking! You’ll let the steam escape and that is bad, for lack of a better reason.

– Set your slow cooker on LOW for 8-10 hours. By the time you return home your house will smell heavenly and the chicken is so moist and tender it just falls off the bone.

It’s easy to make a quick gravy from the drippings. Strain the juices into a saucepan using a fine mesh colander. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of flour and whisk together on low heat. This gravy is to die for because it has a light, lemony flavor.

I am serving this with instant mashed potatoes (hey, at least I’m honest!) and steamed carrots.

Enjoy!