05/15/2013 12:48 EDT | Updated 07/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Celebrate being outdoors with tender chicken sliders and grilled apples

The new book "Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations" features recipes that the 10 authors have developed to mark birth, childhood, marriage, family, community, hospitality, milestones, holidays and life.

At this time of year, Canadians move outside to enjoy spending time with family and friends in backyards, parks and campsites. Here are two recipes from the book that are ideal to serve at a barbecue.

Chicken Sliders With Pineapple Salsa

If you make these tender little burgers ahead of time, stack the uncooked patties with parchment paper between layers and cover. Patties will keep in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Chicken Sliders

500 g (1 lb) ground chicken breast

45 ml (3 tbsp) finely crushed saltine crackers

15 ml (1 tbsp) pineapple juice (reserved from salsa; recipe follows)

45 ml (3 tbsp) thick teriyaki sauce

5 ml (1 tsp) dried parsley

30 ml (2 tbsp) grated onion

1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

2 ml (1/2 tsp) pepper

125 ml (1/2 cup) thick teriyaki sauce (to use for glazing after sliders come off grill), plus more for basting

16 to 18 small slider buns

In a mixing bowl, place all ingredients except 125 ml (1/2 cup) teriyaki sauce and buns. Using hands, gently mix together until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Form small meatballs and flatten in the palm of your hand to make patties that are no larger than 7.5 cm (3 inches) in diameter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet until ready to grill.

Grill chicken sliders, basting with teriyaki sauce on both sides. These are very delicate and small, so be careful when flipping and watch that they don't burn. Cook sliders until a meat thermometer registers 74 C (165 F).

Heat 125 ml (1/2 cup) teriyaki sauce and pour into a glass baking dish. When sliders come off the grill, place into warmed sauce to glaze.

Toast split buns, if desired, and place meat on buns. Top with pineapple salsa. Serve immediately.

Makes 16 to 18 sliders.


Pineapple Salsa

1 can (375 ml/12 oz) pineapple tidbits

30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh lime juice

30 ml (2 tbsp) olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 ml (1/4 tsp) red pepper flakes

5 ml (1 tsp) sugar

1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely diced red bell pepper

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely diced red onion

15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped fresh cilantro

15 ml (1 tbsp) finely chopped fresh parsley

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) pepper

Drain pineapple tidbits, reserving 15 ml (1 tbsp) of the liquid for the sliders.

Squeeze lime juice into a glass bowl and add drained pineapple and olive oil. Stir in garlic, red pepper flakes and sugar. Stir vegetables and herbs into pineapple mixture. Add salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.


Grilled Lattice-Topped Apples

Whether barbecuing on the deck or at a campsite, grilled lattice-topped apples are an easy-to-make dessert. Once the main course comes off the grill, put the apples on the grill. The apples and filling soften while the woven pastry browns to apple-pie perfection.

4 Granny Smith apples

60 ml (4 tbsp) butter

60 ml (4 tbsp) honey

5 ml (1 tsp) cornstarch

5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

1 unbaked pastry shell, rolled out flat

50 ml (1/4 cup) apple juice

Heat grill to 190 C (375 F).

Cut tops off apples and discard.

Scoop out flesh from apples, making a hollow in each one. Discard cores and seeds. Finely chop apple flesh into a small bowl.

In a small saucepan, melt together butter and honey.

Remove from heat and stir in cornstarch and cinnamon. Pour over chopped apples and stir to combine. Spoon filling into hollowed-out apples.

Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut thin strips of pastry. Weave strips of pastry over each apple to form a lattice top.

Place apples in a cast-iron or heavy pan that can go on a grill. Pour apple juice into pan around base of apples. Place pan on grill. Close grill lid and bake for 45 minutes or until apple filling is soft when poked with a sharp knife.

Remove from heat and arrange on serving dishes. Serve as is or with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: "Mennonite Girls Can Cook Celebrations" by Lovella Schellenberg et al (Herald Press, 2013).