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Using the Last Frozen Vegetables to make Tasty Tacos and Springtime Cake

Joy Johnson, Master Gardener

It’s May, you may have a few things peeking up in your garden, or maybe you’re like me and nothing is up yet, and nothing is ready for picking. I’m still living off of veggies that I canned, froze or dried last fall. Here is a crowd-pleasing recipe that makes use of my canned tomatoes, frozen corn and ground venison. You can use ground beef or ground turkey too. It also has corn chips on it, and those are a favorite!

Using the Last Frozen Vegetables to make Tasty Tacos and Springtime Cake

It’s very easy to freeze fresh tomatoes. Just pull off any stem, wash and put into freezer baggies and put in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, take them out of the bag and run them under hot water, the skins will peel right off by rubbing them with your thumbs. Cut out the stem spot and chop for your recipe. You’ll have that wonderful garden fresh tomato taste.

Corn Bread Taco Casserole


  • 2 pounds ground venison, beef or turkey

  • 2 envelopes taco seasoning

  • 2 cups diced canned tomatoes, drained

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 cup cooked rice

  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles

  • 2 packages (8-1/2 ounces each) cornbread/muffin mix

  • 1 cup whole kernel corn

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 2 cups corn chips

  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese, divided

  • 1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained

  • Topping: Shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and chopped red onion


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a frying pan oven, cook venison over medium heat until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes, breaking it into crumbles; drain. Stir in taco seasoning. Add tomatoes, water, rice and green chiles; heat through, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread mix according to package directions; stir in corn. Pour half the batter into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Layer with half the meat mixture, all the sour cream, half the corn chips and 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining batter, remaining meat mixture and olives.

  3. Bake, uncovered, until cornbread is cooked through, 55-60 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup corn chips and 1 cup cheese; bake until cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes longer. If desired, serve with lettuce, tomatoes and red onion.

Char’s Springtime Cake

Some of you may have rhubarb peeking up, but due to our very cold early spring, I doubt it’s ready to pick. I had one package of rhubarb left from last fall in my freezer. I pick the last of my rhubarb in the fall just before it frosts and I wash, cut it into small pieces, put it in a freezer container and freeze it until early spring, like now, when I’m dying for a fresh spring taste of something from the garden. 

This recipe was adapted from one handed down to me from my wonderful step-mom who passed away last August, from COVID. Hers calls for all rhubarb, but since I didn’t have that much in the freezer, I substituted frozen strawberries and blueberries for part of the rhubarb.

This was taste tested by family and friends and determined to be a wonderful taste of spring and summer!



  • 1 c. flour

  • ½ c. butter

  • 5T. powdered sugar

  • Mix and press into a 13x9 pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden at 350 degrees.


  • 3 eggs

  • 2 ½ c. flour

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¾ tsp baking powder


  • 1 ½ cups rhubarb cut into small chunks

  • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries

  • 1 ½ cups blueberries

Pour over crust and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm.

Photo Credit: Joy Johnson (1,2,3,4)

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