Saturday, July 4, 2015


Happy Independence Day 

From My Southwest Kitchen

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

The other day I had this soup at Panera and it was fantastic.  A nice summery soup with a splash of citrus flavor.  I couldn't wait to try to make it at home.  About a week later I made some for the family.  I had some chicken left over and this soup would be the perfect way to use the leftovers.

This soup is very easy to make.  I made a major change to the original soup I had at Panera.  No spinach in the soup.    That is a big turn off for the kids in my family.

This soup is like your basic chicken noodle only you use orzo pasta and lemon juice.  Everything is put in a stock pot except the lemon juice and cooked for 30 minutes or until the veggies and orzo are done. When the soup is ready you pour in the lemon juice and serve.  I garnished the soup with a lemon wheel.

The recipe was just as good or better than the soup I had at Panera.  Light, flavorful, and delicious:)

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

8 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 medium celery stalk, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 cup orzo pasta
Juice of fresh lemon (about 1/4 cup)
Salt to taste

1. Place all of the ingredients except the lemon juice and salt in a stock pot.  Cover and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the orzo is cooked.
3. Stir in lemon juice.  Taste and add salt if needed.
4. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a lemon wheel.

Makes 6 servings

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Red Fruit Salad

Red Fruit Salad is a delicious way to combine the red fruits of summer into one delish dish.  I found this recipe in Bon Appetite magazine.  There are just two set rules in making this salad.  Use a knife to pit your cherries and no raspberries.  I broke the second rule.  I love raspberries.  What is a fruit salad without raspberries?

I took some plums, strawberries, cherries, red grapes and raspberries  out of my crisper for my salad.  You can use any fruits that are red or have a purplish red tone.    That's a great positive for this salad you can use the red fruit you have on hand as long as it is red.  Watermelon would be great for this salad.

I cut the plums in small chunks, quartered my strawberries, halved my grapes, cherries, and left my raspberries whole.     There is no set quantity of the fruit  - use what you feels right.   I  then tossed the fruit gently in a medium bowl and served.

I loved this salad.  It looked lovely and tasted great.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Golden Oreo Pudding Pops

It is hot here.  My main objective has been to stay cool.  I accomplish this by staying in the nice cool house and drinking plenty of cool beverages and eating Popsicles with the kids.    Yesterday, I made some Golden Oreo Pudding pops - two of my favorites combined in one cool treat.

I remember when Jello Pudding pops came out - I thought they were the greatest.  Fast forward a couple of decades and pudding pops have been kicked up a few notches.  I added some crushed Golden Oreo cookies (yes, I love Golden Oreo cookies) to some vanilla pudding.

Crushed Golden Oreo Cookies

Spooned the mixture into 3-ounce Popsicle molds and froze them for about 6 hours. I used sailboat Popsicle molds that I bought at Costco the other week.  They had  Sailboat molds and the Rocket molds in a combined package.  I think I got 16 molds for around $14.  I love Costco:)  Back to the pops.

When you are ready to eat your pops take the molds out of the freezer and run the molds under warm water.  Gently pry the pops from the mold.   You can leave the remaining pops in their molds, or unmold the remaining pops and place them individually in freezer-safe resealable plastic  bags.  Store the bags in the freezer until you are ready to serve.

These pops were the best.  Cool, refreshing, and great tasting:)

Golden Oreo Pudding Pops

Special Equipment: 10 (3-ounce) Popsicle molds

2 1/4 cups cold milk
1 (3.5 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding and pie filling
1 cup Golden Oreo cookies (about 9), crushed

1. Whisk together the milk and pudding mix for about 2 minutes or until thickened.

Stir in the crushed Oreo cookies.

2. Spoon the mixture into the individual molds.  Place top o the molds.
3. Place molds in the freezer for at least 6 hours.
4. Remove pops from the mold when ready to serve.

To Unmold Pops: Run the mold under warm water.  Gently pry the pops from the molds.

 Makes 10 pops

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pickled Peaches

Pickled Peaches are a great way to enjoy your summer produce.  You can use them on salads, scoop some in your yogurt,  on top of ice cream, or just eat them by themselves.  They are delicious no matter how you eat them.  How do you make these you ask?

You start by making the Pickling Brine.   The brine consists of  water, white balsamic vinegar, sugar and kosher salt.  Bring the ingredients to a boil and them remove from heat.  Let the mixture cool for about 1 hour.

Fruit Pickle Brine
Next, you prepare your peaches.  Wash and slice about 1 pound of fresh peaches.  You then put the peaches and mint springs into a canning jar.  The recipe recommends a 24-ounce jar.  Once the mint and peaches are in the jar, pour your brine over the peaches.  Seal and chill the jar for at least an hour.

Peaches and Mint
How do these peaches taste?  They taste fantastic.  The sweetness of the peaches is enhanced by the vinegar.  They have a delicious sweet taste with a touch of tartness and the refreshing flavor of mint.  Try them - you'll like them is all I can say:)

Pickled Peaches
From Southern Living Magazine

1 pound fresh peaches, cut into slices
2 fresh mint sprigs
Fruit Pickle Brine - recipe follows

Place about peaches and mint sprigs in a 24-oz. jar with a tight-fitting lid. Pour Fruit Pickle Brine over peaches; seal and chill 1 to 12 hours. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Fruit Pickle Brine

1 cup water
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Bring all ingredients and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat. Cool completely (about 1 hour), stirring occasionally.

Makes 1 (24-ounce) jar

Beautiful and Delicious

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dirty Coke

The other day it was hot and I needed something that was over-the-top refreshing.  I had the urge for something sweet and fizzy.  A plain old Coke would have been the quick answer but I wanted something more.  A Dirty Coke was what I needed.

I haven't had a Dirty Coke in ages - I will not mention how long it has been.   Basically, a Dirty Coke is a Coke poured over ice with some Coconut Syrup, lime juice, and half and half. I used Monin Coconut syrup but you can use what brand you prefer.   That's it.  This beverage is ever so wonderful.  Delicious, decadent, refreshing all in one beverage.  If you want to cut the calories substitute a diet Coke for a regular Coke.

Dirty Coke

1/2 of a fresh lime - cut into wedges
2 tablespoons Coconut syrup
1 (12-ounce) can of Coke
2 tablespoons half and half

1. Fill a large glass half full of ice.
2. Squeeze the limes wedges to release their juice and add to the glass of ice.  Add the coconut syrup and lime wedges.
3. Pour in the coke and stir.  Add the half and half.  Serve.

Makes 1

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tagliatelle With Prosciutto and Peas

A flavorful pasta dish with prosciutto and peas coated in  a rich creamy sauce.  This dish is easy, delicious, and comes together nicely.  Perfect for those nights when you want something quick and satisfying for your family.

Begin by cooking the pasta  to al dente.  I could not find any Tagliatelle pasta so I substituted some Pappardelle pasta.  While the pasta is cooking the prosciutto and shallot are cooked.  Some cream is added and brought to a simmer.  The sauce is cooked for about 7 minutes then removed from the heat.
Once the pasta is cooked reserve 2 cups of the cooking water.  Drain the pasta.  One cup of the reserved cooking water is then added to the drained pasta along with the cream mixture, prosciutto strips, peas, Parmesan, Gruyere, and pepper.  Everything is gently tossed together and served immediately.  

An easy dinner to prepare that is both satisfying and delicious:)

Tagliatelle With Prosciutto And Peas
From Cook's Illustrated Magazine
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, minced
Salt and pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound tagliatelle pasta
1 1/2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1 ounce Gruyere cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
1. Slice 5 ounces prosciutto crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips; set aside.  Mince remaining 1 ounce prosciutto.  Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat.  Add shallot and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in cream and minced prosciutto and bring to simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream mixture measures 1 cup, 5 to 7 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and cover to keep warm.
2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot.  Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, until al dente.  Reserve 2 cups cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
3. Add 1 cup reserved cooking water, cream mixture, prosciutto strips, peas, Parmesan, Gruyere and 1 teaspoon pepper to pasta.  Gently toss until pasta is well coated.   Transfer pasta to serving bowl and serve immediately, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.

Serves 4 to 6