Memorial Day may be interesting this year: how in the world are we humans supposed to have barbecues and fun with family and friends while social distancing?!

Most people turn to hot dogs and hamburgers (and all the wonderful sides) for Memorial Day, and bring out the “big guns” for the Fourth of July. We tend to do the opposite in my family, for some reason. So, I’m offering up some recipes I was considering for this year, but you know, things change!

Recipes wanted! Submitted recipes will be accepted at [email protected], or you can stop by the Albion office and drop a copy off up front. If you don’t have a recipe to submit right now, but there is a recipe you’re desperately seeking, feel free to email or drop off a note for a “Recipe Request.” I’m now requesting recipes for your favorite baked beans recipes!


Cristina’s Peach Tea-Brined Chicken with Bourbon-Peach BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

For the chicken:

1qt. water

4 bags black tea

4 bags peach tea

1C light brown sugar

1/3C cup kosher salt

1 TBSP black peppercorns, lightly toasted

2C ice cubes

1 whole chicken (3-4 pounds, cut into 8 pieces)

4 garlic cloves, smashed

6 sprigs fresh thyme

1 lemon, sliced

For the BBQ sauce:

1-lb. finely chopped peaches, extra ripe (you may also substitute frozen peaches, thawed)

1/4C  sugar

1 tsp finely minced habaneros

1C water

3-oz. Bourbon

2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice


Bring water to a simmer and remove from heat, immediately add tea bags and allow to steep for 5-7 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard, whisk in brown sugar, salt and whisk to dissolve. Stir in black peppercorns along with ice cubes. Make sure brine cools to 40 degrees before pouring over chicken. Place chicken in 13x9 casserole dish or large ziplock bag, add in thyme and sliced lemon. Cover with cooled brine and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Season with fresh cracked pepper and grill over medium-high heat until a temperature of 160 degrees is reached, turning once.

Meanwhile, combine peaches, sugar, habaneros and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until peaches break down and mixture gets slightly syrupy, about 15-20 minutes (depending on whether you are using fresh or frozen peaches, you may need a bit more water if the mixture reduces too quickly and peaches don’t break down). Remove mixture from heat, stir in bourbon and lemon juice and taste for seasoning.

For a fabulous presentation, use grilled peaches as garnish! Cut peaches in half and brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill peaches cut side down over high-heat until peaches are caramelized and start to soften.

Note: Works great on pork, too!

***Recipe courtesy of Cristina, for the Hallmark Channel website.***


Moroccan Spiced Corn on the Cob


12 ears fresh sweet corn

Water, to boil, optional

1 tsp salt, optional

1 TBSP sugar, optional

1/2C milk, optional

1C butter, softened

2-4 TBSP Moroccan spice rub (I use Sauce Goddess brand)


For grilling the corn fresh, trim the silk tassels on the ears of corn, and peel back/remove the layers of husk, leaving a couple layers intact (to prevent drying the corn out), allowing the corn to steam on the grill. Place the corn on the grill, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, turn the corn, and cook 5 minutes more. Repeat, turning at 5-minute intervals, until the husks have grill marks on all sides and any exposed kernels are charred, 15- 20 minutes of total grilling. If you’d like your corn to have a little char, carefully peel back remaining layers and put back on the grill, turning until desired char level is reached.

If you prefer to boil the corn, first remove stalks from fresh sweet corn and wash. Add to a large pot of water, add milk, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat after reaching a boil; or continue cooking 5-10 minutes if you prefer it cooked a little longer. Finish off on the grill for smoky flavor and/or charring, if desired.

Meanwhile, add the Moroccan spice to the butter, mix well. Butter your corn, and enjoy!

Note: I also sprinkle more Moroccan spice directly on my corn, since I like a lot!

Note: If you can’t find any Moroccan spice mix anywhere, you can make your own; just Google it and adjust ingredients as you see fit.


Bacon Lettuce Cups


12 lettuce leaves/cups (romaine, Bibb or lettuce of your choice)

12 strips bacon, cooked and chopped (approximately 1-in. pieces)

1/4-1/3C Buffalo wing sauce, if desired

12-15 grape tomatoes, cut in half or quartered

1/2-3/4C Crumbled cheese: cheddar or blue cheese, if desired


Toss chopped cooked bacon in wing sauce, if desired. Place in lettuce leaves along with grape tomatoes and crumbled cheese.

Note: Alternately, you could drizzle blue cheese dressing on top instead of using crumbled blue cheese.

***Recipe adapted from Kate Merker’s for Country Living website.


Italian White Bean Dip


4 TBSP olive oil, divided

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

2 TBSP fresh thyme, minced (or 1 tsp dried), divided

2 TBSP fresh oregano, minced (or 1 tsp dried), divided

1/2 TBSP fresh lemon zest, if desired

2, 15-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed, liquid reserved

1-2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 TBSP fresh herbs, chopped (extra thyme, oregano, parsley)


Gently heat 1 TBSP of olive oil in a medium pan. Add the garlic and saute on low heat until softened but not brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Add half the thyme and oregano, the lemon zest (if using) and most of the beans-reserve about 1/4C of the beans (drained).

Continue to saute on low for another 2-3 minutes, or until the garlic is very soft.

Using a potato masher, mash the sauteed beans with 1 TBSP of the lemon juice, remaining olive oil, and about 1/4C of the reserved bean liquid until smooth (use a food processor if you want it to be creamy with no chunks). Add more bean liquid if needed until you are happy with the consistency.

Mix in remaining thyme and oregano; season with salt and pepper to taste (note: if the dip isn't lemony enough, add the second tablespoon of lemon juice, or more herbs if you want that flavor profile). 

Transfer the bean dip to a serving bowl. Top with chopped mixed herbs, reserved beans, and a little more olive oil. Serve warm or cold, with crusty bread, crudites and/or crackers.  Keeps for up to 2 days after making the recipe.

If you have fresh herbs on hand, feel free to mix it up and add other herbs to the dip. Basil, rosemary, mint, and dill are some of the other herbs which would work. Start with a few leaves if you're not sure how much to add.

***Recipe adapted from Annemarie’s, of “Just a Little Bit of Bacon” blog.***


Watermelon-Mint Slushie



Fresh mint leaves



Place watermelon, mint leaves, and some ice in a blender and mix. Add more mint if desired.