The Firelands Kitchen

The Firelands Kitchen by Erin Howarth

Spring Break At The Howarths

Around here we are really enjoying this springtime weather. The girls and I are just finishing up spring break and the countdown to the last day of school before summer vacation has begun (29 school days, if you’re interested).

During spring break, we had later bedtimes, did some camping, traveled to Defiance to visit Eric’s mom, dad, sister and her family (Sadie and Courtney had a great time visiting their cousins who came up from Charlotte, NC), and on Friday we met my sister up in Hudson at an indoor trampoline park (that was three days ago and I am still sore). Finally, on Sunday, my mom and dad came to over to share an Easter meal.

Yes, it’s been a nice break from our usual weekly routines. As you may remember, we are a softball family and it’s that time of year again. The girls begin practice with our city league this week. Between their two different teams, practices will occupy a slot on our calendar four nights a week until Memorial Day.

This time of year, I enjoy cooking with lemon and so some savory lemon recipes follow (along with reader recipes, of course!). Next week I’ll feature sweet lemon recipes.

Do you have favorite springtime recipes? Send them (and any other recipes) my way and we’ll print them here.

Have a great week!

Crock Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2-3 Tbsp. vegetable oil or butter

Salt & pepper

1 packet dry Italian dressing mix

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup chicken broth

Coat chicken breast pieces lightly in flour, shaking off excess, and place on a plate. Heat 2 -3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in half the chicken pieces and brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Season chicken with a bit of salt and pepper while it’s in the pan. Take those pieces out, add in more oil if needed, and brown last batch of chicken. Put chicken into the crock pot. Sprinkle chicken with dry Italian dressing mix. Add in minced garlic. Then pour in chicken broth and lemon juice. Cover with lid and cook on low for about 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

Lemon and Parmesan Crusted Salmon

1 salmon fillet, 1 1/4 pounds

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup fresh white bread crumbs, 1 slice

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onions

2 tsp. grated lemon peel

1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Pat salmon dry with paper towel. Place salmon, skin side down, in pan; brush with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Sprinkle with salt. Mix breadcrumbs, cheese, onions, lemon peel and thyme in small bowl. Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Press bread crumb mixture evenly on salmon. Bake uncovered 15 to 25 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Serve immediately.

Pork Chops with Lemon Thyme Cream Sauce

4 rib or sirloin pork chops bone in (about 1/2 -thick)*

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. shredded lemon zest

1 clove garlic, minced

3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth

1/2 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbsp. of butter and let it melt. Mix the flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder in a shallow bowl. Dredge pork chops in seasoned flour mixture, shaking off excess. Brown pork chops well on both sides, about 5-8 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside. In the same pan you browned the chops, reduce the heat to medium and add the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, wine, thyme and salt. Mix well. Place pork chops back in pan, cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove pork chops to a serving platter, cover and keep warm in a 200-degree oven while making sauce. Increase the heat under the pan to medium. Blend in heavy cream and remaining butter. Let the mixture bubble and reduce by 25 percent - it should be like a thin gravy. Drizzle sauce over pork chops and serve immediately. *Can substitute boneless chops

The Only Marinade You’ll Ever Need

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. hot pepper flakes

1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp. coarse salt, or to taste

4 strips of lemon zest

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil, cilantro, dill, oregano, or a mix of all four

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine the lemon juice, hot pepper flakes, cracked pepper, and salt in a glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl and whisk until the salt crystals are dissolved. Add the lemon zest, garlic, parsley and basil. Stir or whisk in the olive oil. The virtue of this marinade is its freshness: Use it within 1 to 2 hours of making. Stir again before using. You many substitute dried herbs and spices for fresh, but be sure to use lesser amounts.

Lemon Vermicelli

1 (7 oz.) package dried vermicelli pasta

1/3 cup whipping cream

3 Tbsp. butter

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese

Cook vermicelli according to package directions. Drain. Place pasta in bowl, toss with lemon juice. Add warm cream mixture and cheese. Toss to coat and serve immediately.

Lemon Horseradish New Potatoes

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

2 Tbsp. prepared horseradish

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, unpeeled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 2-quart casserole dish in the oven. Stir in salt, pepper, horseradish and lemon juice. Place potatoes in dish and toss to coat with butter mixture. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until potatoes are tender.

Lemon Rice

1 cup water

1 cup chicken broth

2 Tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed

2 tsp. butter or 2 tsp. margarine

1 cup uncooked rice, long grain

1/4 tsp. dried basil

1/4 tsp. zest of grated lemon

1 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning

Combine all ingredients except lemon pepper in saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover pot and allow to simmer slowly for 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with lemon pepper before serving.

Japanese Chicken

Submitted by Marlene Burkholder, Shiloh, Ohio

4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs or breasts, sliced 1/2” thick

Roll in flour and fry both sides a few minutes till slightly browned. Sprinkle with equal amounts of garlic powder, seasoned salt, paprika. Place meat into a roast pan.

Cover with this sauce:

1 cup white sugar

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vinegar

1/2 cup water

Mix sauce ingredients and heat to dissolve sugar and salt. Pour over chicken pieces and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Chocolate Mint Bars

Submitted by Jenna Burkholder, Shiloh, Ohio

1 cup margarine

2 cups sugar, or less

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 cup cocoa, rounded

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup chopped nuts, optional

Mint Frosting:

4 Tbsp. margarine

2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. peppermint extract


1 cup chocolate chips (melted), or more if needed

2 Tbsp. margarine

Cream margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add cocoa then flour, salt, and nuts if desired. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13” pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until done. Cool and frost.

Frosting: Cream margarine gradually; add powdered sugar then milk and peppermint extract. After frosting, let stand until firm then melt chocolate chips with margarine and spread over frosting. Chill 30 minutes then cut into bars. These bars are almost like candy!

Children’s Recipe: Bird Egg Nests

Submitted by Hannah Burkholder, Age 9, Shiloh, Ohio

1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow crème

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

1 (5 ounce) can chow mien noodles

1 cup jelly beans or M&Ms

10-x powdered sugar

Peanut M&Ms

In a mixing bowl, beat marshmallow crème, peanut butter, and butter until smooth. Gently stir in noodles and jelly beans or M&Ms. Chill until easy to handle. On waxed paper, form little nest by taking 1/3 cupful of the mix for each nest and shaping them. Chill again for 30 minutes. Sprinkle each nest with a little 10-x sugar. Put 3 or 4 peanut M&Ms in each nest. Enjoy.

Brown Sugar Grapenuts

Submitted by Mrs. Keim’s Kitchen, Ashland, Ohio

3 cups graham flour

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup oatmeal

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. soda

1 egg

1 1/2 cups milk

Mix together flour, sugar, oatmeal, and soda. Add oil, egg, and milk; mix well. Bake in a cake. Grind. Toast brown.

Shipwreck Casserole

Submitted by Sarah Raber, Greenwich, Ohio

1 lb. hamburger

1 medium onion

5 medium potatoes, cooked and diced

1 can mushroom soup

6 slices Velveeta cheese


Brown hamburger and put in baking dish. Dice potatoes and onion and layer on top of hamburger Pour soup over top. Add cheese and cover with milk. Bake at 350 degrees.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Submitted by U.Y., Applecreek, Ohio

3 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cream


Separate eggs; beat egg whites till stiff. Beat egg yolks, add sugar and beat well. Beat cream and add vanilla. Stir altogether. Put graham crackers on bottom of pan. Put mixture on top and top with crackers. Put outside to freeze at 10 degrees or below.

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