cherry blueberry pie

The cherry and blueberry slab pie is a sure standout on the Independence Day table.

Bernie Mason, for Lee Montana Newspapers

John Adams, our nation’s second president, wrote that Independence Day would be the most memorable epic in the history of America, and would be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. That has remained true, and with the Fourth of July arriving soon, it is time to pause and cheer our nation’s independence. What special family traditions do you have for celebrating this significant day? If you are looking for new recipes to use in making your day memorable, here are some for you to try.

A stars and stripes cherry and blueberry slab pie will certainly be a stand-out on the dessert table. A slab pie works well when serving a crowd. Rather than using sugar to sweeten the fruit, instant vanilla Jell-O is stirred into the fruit which serves that purpose. If desired, stir a little red food color in with the cherries to give them a brighter shade of red.

Stars and Stripes Berry Slab Pie

(Servings: 15)

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, cubed (can use low-fat)

1 cup cold butter, cubed

1½ cups fresh blueberries

1 (3.4 oz.) pkg. Jell-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding, divided

9 cups frozen tart cherries (about 2¾ lb.), thawed, well drained

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Place flour, butter, and cream cheese in the food processor container; process with a pulsing action until mixture is well blended and pulls away from side of the container. Remove dough from food processor; shape into ball. Cut in half, flatten each half into disk. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Press one disk between 2 sheets of lightly floured sheets of waxed paper; roll into 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Use 1½-inch cookie cutter to cut dough into 6 stars. Cut remaining rolled-out dough into 6 (¾-inch-wide) strips. Do not discard trimmings. Spray 15 x 10 x 1-inch pan with cooking spray. Tear remaining dough, including trimmings, into small pieces; place in prepared pan. Press onto bottom and up sides of pan to form crust. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon dry pudding mix; spoon onto one corner of crust. Toss cherries with remaining dry pudding mix; spread onto remaining crust. Decorate with stars and dough stripes to replicate an American flag, cutting dough strips as necessary to fit. Brush dough with milk; sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until edges are golden brown and fruit is hot and bubbly. If desired, serve topped with ice cream.

Source: Kraft “Food & Family”, Summer ’17.

To simplify your menu preparations, prepare many of the items you are serving in advance. Forget the barbecue and bring out the slow cooker. This Jamaican Jerk Chicken filling and the Pineapple Salsa can be prepared a day or two in advance of your celebration. Just reheat the meat mixture and keep it hot in the slow cooker until time to serve your guests.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Sliders with Pineapple Salsa

(Servings: 16)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Jamaican jerk seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

3½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

1 cup brewed coffee

¾ teaspoon finely shredded lime peel (set aside)

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons molasses

4 cloves garlic, minced

Several dashes bottled hot pepper sauce

1½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple

¼ cup chopped green onions (2)

¼ cup chopped red sweet pepper

2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro

1 fresh jalapeno chili pepper, seeded and finely chopped (optional)

16 small round dinner rolls, split and, if desired, toasted

Directions:

In a small bowl combine jerk seasoning, oil, salt and pepper. Coat chicken with seasoning mixture. Place chicken, bone sides down, in a 3½ or 4-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl combine coffee, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, the molasses, garlic, and hot pepper sauce. Pour the mixture over chicken. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 7 to 8 hours or on high-heat setting for 3½ to 4 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken from cooker. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Using two forks pull chicken apart into shreds. Return shredded chicken to cooker. If using low-heat setting, turn to high-heat setting. Cover; cook for 30 minutes or until heated through. Meanwhile, for salsa, in a medium bowl stir together pineapple, green onions, sweet pepper, cilantro, jalapeno pepper (if desired), the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, and the lime peel. Refrigerate until serving time. To serve, use the slotted spoon to transfer chicken mixture onto bottoms of rolls. Top with salsa; replace roll tops.

Source: “Slow Cooker Favorites, Volume Three”, by the Meredith Corporation.

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