Tag Archives: side dishes

Refrigerator Pickles

 

Just imagine biting into the perfect pickle. It is softened, but still crunchy, with a tangy note accented with just a touch of sweetness and an after-bite of pepper. The delicious, fresh taste of summer, to be had any time you have a hankering! I have some awesome news, friends, you are capable of making your very own pickles! Yes, you!

You don’t have to buy sad, soggy pickles that were jarred in a factory months ago. And it doesn’t have to take hours of boiling water and hard work, expensive or obscure pickling spice mixes, or waiting months for the pickling process to be complete.  You can have the fresh, irresistible crunch of summer time bounty any time you want it, within hours, and using items you likely already have in the house. Well, as long as you stock your refrigerator with these pickles!

Refrigerator pickles in containers

My family always had these in spades during summer and fall, they are the perfect side dish, topping to burgers or hot dogs, or snacks eaten right out of the bowl by the handful. I have also heard them called “Dutch Pickles” by some crazy people.

They are also quite easy to customize. If you don’t like super puckery pickles, go easier on the vinegar and use more water. If you’re the sweet pickle kinda person, I will try not to judge you too much as you add up to a 1/2 cup of sugar. If you gag at the taste of black pepper, leave it out. If black pepper is for wussies, feel free to pop a jalapeno or habanero into the mix! You can also add other herbs and flavors like garlic cloves, fresh dill, sliced peppers, or mustard seed.

Whether you call them Refrigerator Pickles, or Dutch Pickles, or just pickles, you should definitely make this recipe at least once in your life! They are able to be eaten within an hour, best after 6-8 hours, and will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks. Though after you get a taste, I doubt they will last that long. 😉

Refrigerator pickles ingredients

Ingredients (1 quart):

  • 1 large cucumber or several smaller (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 – 3/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
  • Black pepper & salt to taste
  • Optional: thinly sliced radishes/ zucchini / carrot/ peppers

Quart of pickles

Step 1: Slice your cucumber and onion as thinly as humanly possible! If you are using other veggies, slice those up thin as well. Be very careful and be aware of knife safety of course, or use a mandoline if you have one. This is important to get all the lovely juices distributed as quickly as possible to pickle your veggies!

Pickles!

Step 2: Heat the water just to boiling, and dissolve the sugar. Press your cucumbers and onion in layers into a quart container, adding black pepper and salt as you go. Add the vinegar to the water and pour it all over the pickles.

Pickles fresh from the refrigerator

Step 3: Wait about 8 hours to overnight or longer. Now you have the perfect summer snack! Eat them straight from the jar, pile them onto sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, tacos, or dice them and add to potato or tuna salads. These delicious pickles are a great way to enjoy summer’s bounty, and will keep long after the cold chill of autumn rolls in.

And did I mention this recipe is fat-free, vegan, gluten-free, and barely 100 calories even if you eat the whole quart in one sitting?!? I won’t tell if you don’t…

 

Refrigerator Pickles

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber or several smaller (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 - 3/4 cup vinegar (to taste)
  • Black pepper & salt to taste
  • Optional: thinly sliced radishes/ zucchini / carrot/ peppers

Instructions

  1. Slice your cucumber and onion as thinly as humanly possible! If you are using other veggies, slice those up thin as well. Be very careful and be aware of knife safety of course, or use a mandoline if you have one. This is important to get all the lovely juices distributed as quickly as possible to pickle your veggies!
  2. Heat the water just to boiling, and dissolve the sugar. Press your cucumbers and onion in layers into a quart container, adding black pepper and salt as you go. Add the vinegar to the water and pour it all over the pickles.
  3. Wait about 8 hours to overnight or longer.
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Balsamic glazed lamb chops with salad and steamed veggies

.Well, Spring Cleaning finally reached my fridge and freezer today. I like to go through weekly just to look and see what I have, what needs thrown out, but once every few months or so I deep clean it, digging all the way to the back to remember what’s under those 5 bags of frozen corn, and re-organizing. That’s how I found the lamb chops I had forgotten about.My family purchased a lamb whole and had it butchered a few months back, and were nice enough to give me a few chops to take to school. I put the 3 chops on defrost in the microwave while I showered, and loosely based my recipe on one from Allrecipes.com.

Total time in the kitchen, about 20 minutes. Total spent: $0 (because I had the ingredients all on hand. If I’d had to purchase them all, it would probably be ~$25). That’s the way I roll. =)

Ingredients:
  • 3 lamb chops
  • Spice mix (I used dried rosemary, dill, sage, and mint)
  • 1/4 medium onion
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • ~4 redskin potatoes
  • Handful baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp Country Crock
  • Olive oil
(Also, salad and whatever toppings you like if you want a side dish)

The veggies I wanted to steam, so I got a big pot of water boiling right away, with some salt in the water. I diced up the potatoes into chunks and the baby carrots just threw in whole. Let those steam the whole time I was cooking the lamb.

Then I put about 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, and added the defrosted chops. Cooked a minute or two, turning once. Basically until they were nicely browned but not totally charred. I like a little bit of pink.

 This is the salad I made to go with my meal. I happened to have some cucumber, olives, a roma tomato, and 1/4 of an avocado. Threw in a handful of romaine, toppings, and some Italian dressing. YUM.

These are the chops once cooked. They were oozing juice! Tasty.

Then add the onion to the pan. Cook a minute or two, until translucent and soft. Add in the chicken broth and balsamic. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get any lamb drippings mixed in. Let this simmer until about half the liquid boils off.

Once the potatoes were soft when poked with a fork, I took the veggies out and mixed in 1 tbsp Country Crock, sprinkled with Nature’s Seasoning and some sea salt. Holy. Crap. Steamed baby carrots are like candy! And the potatoes with them were a perfect pairing.

Once the balsamic is reduced to your liking, pour it over the chops. It smells SO good!

Then dig in! Such a delish mixture of flavors and textures. I served myself on smaller plates, so the portion sizes were perfect. I also have 2 lunches put away for the week now. A very productive Monday if you ask me. =)