by Deborah Eisenhut

Can anyone agree that “cabin” fever is one of the worst kinds?!  Thank goodness for some true spring weather, really warm days with lots of sunshine and beautiful blooms everywhere. Since I am a homebody anyway, the extended imposed “stay at home” quarantine is not as bad for me as it might be for those who like running up and down the road, shopping and eating out as well as enjoying group activities.  I have been totally engaged with home activities like reading, sewing, planting seeds in pots and cooking up batches of wonderful eats in pans.  So far I have rosemary and peppers growing, made apple butter and salsa…tried many new recipes and now have a very organized pantry.  Perhaps we will all be getting back to a more “normal” lifestyle for some and “more comfortable” lifestyle for others as we move into the early summer months.  Try the following recipes for some fun “pan therapy” and be sure to plant some seeds or root some cuttings outdoors for “pot” therapy as well.  Stay safe, be happy!

Classic Croutons

Cut bread into cubes.  Toss the cubes with evoo, season with s&p & spread on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer.  Bake at 400 for about 8 minutes, or until browned, stirring for even browning.  Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.  For herbed croutons, stir chopped fresh herbs into the evoo.  For cheese croutons, sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan onto the croutons after baking 6 minutes, then finish 2 more minutes after tossing on baking sheet.

Fiesta Shrimp

1 pound cooked, peeled shrimp

16 ounce jar of quality salsa

½ cup finely chopped cilantro

1 TBLS lime juice with zest 

Reserve a few shrimp for garnish, then coarsely chop the remaining shrimp & place in bowl.  Add remaining ingredients, mix well, cover & chill at least an hour before serving.  Garnish with reserved shrimp.  Serve with crackers or on fresh greens.

BBQ Sauce

½ cup Heinz Ketchup

1 ½ tsp salt

½ tsp hot pepper sauce

¼ tsp chili powder

½ tsp mustard

1 TBLS brown sugar

Mix all ingredients well.  Makes about 1 ½ cups for meat on a grill or added to pork & beans before baking. 

Mexican Veggie Toss

2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, rinsed & drained

1 (14 ½ oz) can diced Mexican tomatoes, drained

1 (11 oz) can vacuum packed corn kernels

1 (7 oz) can diced mild green chilies

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¼ cup chopped green onions

2 TBLS red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

Hot pepper sauce to taste

In a bowl toss all ingredients except hot sauce.  Cover & refrigerate several hours to blend flavors.  Serve with tortilla chips & sour cream.