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Blueberries, rhubarb in season; Tater tot casserole a favorite of the young


Last updated 5/19/2017 at 4:45pm

Recipes that include ingredients used in an unexpected or non-traditional way intrigue me. Maybe necessity was the mother of invention or, as is often the case now, dietary needs create new ingredient combinations.

Charlene Kagele served Blueberry Squares at a recent quilters gathering. The recipe calls for a can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) which replace some of the fat one would expect to find in crumb crust. She found the recipe on

Blueberry Squares


1 can (14 oz.) chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt


3 cups blueberries

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water


1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make crust, place chickpeas, rolled oats, brown sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor. Blend until a dough-like consistency; press into an 8x11-inch baking pan.

Bake crust until crisp and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine blueberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan; cook over medium-low heat until blueberries have reduced, 10-15 minutes. Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small bowl; stir into blueberry mixture. Cook until mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour blueberry mixture into cooked crust.

Make topping by mixing rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract and baking soda in a large mixing bowl until bread crumb consistency. Sprinkle over blueberry mixture.

Return to oven and bake until blueberry filling is bubbling and crumble topping is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. Yield: 8-9 servings. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

Kameron Martin likes to help out by preparing dinner from time to time. Lucky mom, Jennifer Martin, posted a picture on Facebook of a Tater Tot Casserole he had made. I asked if Kameron would share his recipe and he readily agreed.

Tater Tot Casserole

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, browned and drained

2 cans (10 3/4 oz. each) cream of chicken soup

1 can (15 oz.) or one carton (10 oz.) vegetable of your choice (Kameron used corn)

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1 bag frozen Tater Tots

Step 1: Mix browned hamburger, cream of chicken soup and vegetable together. Season with salt and pepper, and garlic powder (optional). Spread in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Step 2: Cover hamburger mixture with shredded cheese

Step 3: Cover entire dish with a layer of Tater Tots. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 to 60 minutes or until Tater Tots are crispy. Yield: About 8 servings.

Gwen Clavel shared a recipe for buttercream frosting that she uses for cupcakes and in-the-pan sheet cakes. The recipe mixes up quickly and goes well with any flavor cake. It is also good for frosting sugar cookies and making graham cracker treats. She found the recipe on the King Arthur Flour site,

Easy Vanilla

Buttercream Frosting

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup vegetable shortening

1/8 tsp salt

4 to 5 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 to 1/3 cup milk or cream

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, shortening and salt until fluffy.

Add about half the confectioners sugar, and beat slowly until well blended

Add the vanilla and half the milk or cream, and beat until fluffy.

Continue mixing in sugar and milk alternately until they have been completely incorporated.

Beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Yield: about 2 3/4 cups frosting.

Note: If you would like frosting for a layer cake, increase butter and shortening to 1/2 cup each, confectioners sugar to 6 cups and milk or cream to 1/2 cup.

Need a sweet treat in a hurry? Use this frosting to make sandwich cookies by frosting two vanilla wafers or graham crackers together. Mix in miniature chocolate chips for the chocolate lovers.

One of my favorite toppings for vanilla ice cream is Rhubarb Sauce. The tart rhubarb plays nicely off the sweet creaminess of the ice cream.

Rhubarb Sauce

6 cups rhubarb washed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces.

3/4 cup water

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 cup granulated sugar

Dash nutmeg, (optional)

Combine rhubarb and water in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until rhubarb is just tender, add lemon, sugar and nutmeg, if using. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until rhubarb is soft and brakes apart. Cool to warm and serve over ice cream, or cool completely and add a spoonful to the layers in strawberry shortcake. Yield about 3 1/2 cups sauce.

Note: Try adding a spoonful of rhubarb sauce to a barbeque sauce for pork. It adds a savory tang.

Share your favorite spring and summertime recipes with your fellow readers. With summer coming, share some recipes you enjoy cooking with children.

Send your recipe submissions and requests to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa WA 99159, email or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office. Start feeding your petunias now, with a high nitrogen fertilizer to promote blossom production and healthy foliage.


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