Thursday, November 16, 2017

Pretzel Rolls

It seems I gear up on my baking as the holidays come around.  I found an absolutely wonderful recipe for Pretzel Rolls on Our Best Bites blog.  Who doesn't love Pretzel Rolls?   They are perfect for dinner, to make sliders/sandwiches, served along side a nice bowl of soup, etc.

This recipe is very easy to make and you probably have everything you need in the pantry.  You start by making a basic bread dough and letting it rise for 1 hour.  Next you divide the dough into  a dozen 3-ounce balls and let rise.  While the rolls are raising, make some baking soda water to boil the rolls in.  You boil each roll individually for 30 seconds on each side.  Remove them with a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet.   Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with some salt.  Bake until golden brown.

It will be hard but let them cool before devoting one of these delicious rolls.

Pretzel Rolls
Our Best Bites


1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115 F)
1 tablespoon rapid rise or bread machine yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
4 3/4 -5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg, separated
1/4 cup baking soda
8 cups water


In a large measuring cup, combine the water, sugar, and yeast and allow to stand for 10 minutes and the mixture is frothy.
While the yeast is proofing, combine the salt and 4 1/2 cups flour in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand). Add the melted butter, egg yolk, and the bubbly yeast mixture. Mix until combined. If necessary, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of flour, about a tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls off the sides of the bowl and barely sticks to your finger when you touch it. Cover the bowl and place it in a warm, draft-free area and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until doubled in bulk.
When the dough has risen, turn it onto a surface lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Divide into 12 equal pieces or use a scale to measure out 3-ounce pieces of dough. Shape the dough into balls, place on a lined baking sheet (parchment or a silicone liner), cover, and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
While the dough is rising the second time, preheat the oven to 425. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. When the water begins to boil, add the baking soda and bring back to a full boil. Working with one roll at a time, carefully place each roll, seam-side down into the baking soda bath. Boil for 30 seconds then flip and boil for another 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to remove the boiled roll from the water and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Whisk together the reserved egg white and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the egg white over the boiled dough balls and then sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 12-18 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets.

Makes 12 rolls

Friday, November 3, 2017

Chili con Carne

Chili con Carne is a delicious one pot meal that is extremely versatile.  You can eat it by itself with a flour tortilla, serve it over rice,  serve it over has browns topped with cheese,  make some tacos, serve it as a side with a nice Mexican meal.  It also goes great with scrambled eggs.

Chili con Carne is not difficult to make.   You basically cook all of the ingredients  for about 2 hours and then serve.  This dish smells wonderful as the meat is cooking in a rich red chili sauce.

I like making this dish ahead of time, the flavor gets better with time.  Chili con Carne is a dish I cook for our Christmas Eve Buffet.  Everyone enjoys it.

Chili con Carne
From Cook's Country Magazine


1 (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
4 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 (3.5 to 4 pound) boneless beef chuck-eye roast, pulled apart at seams, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1 onion chopped fine
1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
3 tablespoons chili powder
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons yellow corn muffin mix


1. Process tomatoes and their juice and chipotle  in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds; set aside.  Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.  Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, reserving 3 tablespoons fat.
2.  Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon reserved bacon fat in now-empty pot over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown half of beef on all sides, about 8 minutes; transfer to bowl.  Repeat with 1 tablespoon bacon fat and remaining beef.
3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon bacon fat, onion, and jalapeño to now-empty pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in chili powder, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add water, reserved tomato-chipotle mixture, bacon, browned beef, and sugar, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.  Skim fat and continue to simmer, uncovered until meat is tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
4.  Transfer 1 cup chili liquid to bowl and stir in muffin mix.  Microwave, covered, until mixture is thickened, about 1 minute.  Slowly whisk mixture into chili and simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.
Note:  Chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Serves 6 to 8

Friday, October 27, 2017

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It is getting that time of year when a nice bowl of soup is very comforting.  I must say soup is one of my favorite meals.  So good, nutritious, and easy to make.  The ingredients needed are common staples and if you do not have exactly what a recipe calls for, you can substitute  ingredient(s).

Today's recipe is for a rich and creamy Broccoli Cheddar Soup.   Fresh broccoli is cooked in some chicken stock with chopped onion, garlic and tarragon.  When the broccoli is tender, remove from heat a puree ingredients with an immersion blender.  This is a step I added,  I prefer my soup creamy with just a few whole florets.   Return the soup to the heat and stir in cream.  I then added in the thickening and cooked for about 5 minutes.   Add the cheese a small amount at a time.  Stir until the cheese has melted before adding more.   Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some grated cheese.  Serve.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup
From Epicurious Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, room temperature
2 pounds fresh broccoli  florets chopped into bite-size pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups (packed) grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 ounces)
Salt and pepper
Grated cheese for garnish - optional


1. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium pot over medium-high heat. Add broccoli  and onion; sauté until onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and tarragon; sauté 1 minute. Add stock; bring to boil. Simmer uncovered until broccoli is tender, about 15 minutes.
2. Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender.  Return to heat and  stir in cream.
Mix remaining 3 tablespoons butter with flour in small bowl to make paste. Whisk paste into soup.  Simmer until soup thickens  stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.
3. Add cheese a handful at a time.  Whisk until the cheese has melted before adding more.  Repeat until all the cheese has been used. Taste and season with salt and pepper.    Ladle into bowls, garnish with grated cheese and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Mmmm good

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Shredded Ginger Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts - you love them or you don't.  In my family two out of six love Brussels sprouts.  We  will eat them roasted, sautéed, in salad, etc.  The remaining members of the family need to be coaxed into eating this veggie.  I am looking for new ways to get them to eat this delicious veggie.

I found a tasty recipe on the Taste of Home website.   This is a very quick and easy recipe to make. You start by cutting the Brussels sprouts into thin slices.  Toss in some  oil and  most of the other ingredients. Cook over medium heat until tender and serve.  That is all there is to make this delicious side.  Perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

All members of the family loved this dish.

Shredded Ginger Brussels Sprouts
Taste of Home

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts (about 5-1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1. Trim Brussels sprouts. Cut sprouts lengthwise in half; cut crosswise into thin slices.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add Brussels sprouts; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until sprouts begin to brown lightly. Add oil and toss to coat. Stir in onion, ginger, garlic and salt. Add water; reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in pepper.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup

I am finishing up my tomatoes from the garden.  This year has been an exceptionally good year.  I have had a great crop of tomatoes.  Usually I can the tomatoes or make sauce out of them.  With this batch of tomatoes, I decided to make some garden fresh Tomato soup. 

This is an easy and delicious recipe from Ina Garten.   I modified it slightly using less chicken broth.   We like our soup thick.  If you perfect thinner soup add more chicken broth or cream. Also, I peeled, seeded, and chopped my tomatoes before I cooked them in the broth.  I did not used a food mill as suggested in the recipe.  I pureed my soup using an immersion blender.

I served my soup with a Grilled Cheese sandwich.  This made a delicious and satisfying dinner.  

Creamy Fresh Tomato Soup
From Ina Garten adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (5 large)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions (2 onions)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
Fresh basil leaves

1. In large saucepan, heat 3 quarts water to boiling. With sharp knife, cut shallow X in bottom of each tomato. Add to boiling water, 2 or 3 at a time, for 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, remove tomatoes from boiling water; immediately plunge into ice water until cold. Drain. Peel and chop tomatoes.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.
3. Puree the soup using an Immersion Blender.  If you are using a standard blender let the soup cool and process in batches.  You may want to remove  the cap a little from the top of the blender to let out steam if necessary.
4. Add the cream to the soup  and  reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 6

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

Another great meal prepared in my Instant Pot - Honey Sesame Chicken.  Tender bites of chicken cooked in a flavorful sauce served over cooked rice and sprinkled with  toasted sesame seeds.  A very satisfying meal which cooks in 3 minutes and takes only 20 minutes from beginning to table.

To begin cook the chicken in the Instant Pot on the saute setting for about 3 minutes.  Next add some soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes to the pot.  Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes.  When the chicken is done you add the sesame oil and honey to the pot.  Add some cornstarch and water to the pot and simmer until the sauce thickens.  Serve over rice and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Note:  The recipe calls for chopped green onions which I omitted - the family isn't a fan of green onions.

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
From Pressure Cooking Today

4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (about 2 lbs.)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water
2 green onions, chopped
Sesame seeds, toasted


1. Salt and pepper chicken. Preheat pressure cooking pot using the saute setting. Add oil, onion, garlic, and chicken to the pot and saute stirring occasionally until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
2. Add soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes to the pressure cooking pot and stir to combine. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When timer beeps, turn pressure cooker off and do a quick pressure release.
3. Add sesame oil and honey to the pot and stir to combine. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the pot. Select Saute and simmer until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions.
Serve over rice sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Serves 6


Friday, September 29, 2017

One-Pan Noodle Bowls

This is not your ordinary Ramen Noodle Bowl.  It is a bowl of steaming noodles that are tossed with seasoned chicken and veggies.  By far the best Ramen Noodle Bowl I have ever eaten.  And this meal is so easy to make and  is very versatile. The original recipe called for pork which I did not have so I substituted chicken.  You could also use beef, tofu, or shrimp.  Whatever you choose your family or friends will be having a delicious dinner.

One-Pan Noodle Bowls
From Cook's Country Magazine

1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
12 ounces boneless and skinless chicken breasts (pork tenderloin in original recipe) cut into bite-size pieces
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 (3 ounce) packages ramen noodles, seasoning packages reserved for another use
12 ounces broccoli florets, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 scallions, sliced thin on bias

1. Whisk 1 tablespoon hoisin, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and cornstarch together in bowl.  Add chicken (pork) and toss to coat; set aside.  Whisk broth, remaining 3 tablespoons hoisin, and remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce together in second bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add mushrooms and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add broth mixture and bring to boil.  Arrange noodles in skillet in single layer; cover and reduce heat to medium.  Cook until noodles have softened on bottoms (tops will still be dry), about 3 minutes.
4. Uncover skillet and using tongs, flip noodles and stir to separate.  Spread noodles in even layer and scatter broccoli over top.  Cover and cook until noodles and broccoli are tender, about 3 minutes, tossing halfway through cooking.  Divide noodle mixture evenly among individual bowls; tent will aluminum foil.
5. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels.  Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over high heat until just smoking.  Add chicken (pork) in single layer breaking up any clumps and cook without stirring until browned on bottom, about 1 minute.  Stir and continue to cook until chicken (pork) is not longer pink.  Divide the chicken (pork) among the bowls.  Sprinkle with scallions and serve.

Makes 4 servings