Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Slow Cooker Corn Chowder


One of the family's favorites is Corn Chowder.  The rich silky goodness of milk loaded with corn, potatoes, carrots, celery, salt and pepper. This recipe is a favorite because it is loaded with veggies and has a slight thyme flavor to the milk.   I usually makes this dinner on nights where every one's schedule is all over the place.  They just need to come home and ladle up a bowl of goodness for dinner.  You can top the chowder with cracked pepper and bacon bits.  Adds a little extra pzazz to the chowder.

This chowder is made in two stages.  First the potatoes, carrots, and celery  are cooked  on low in broth until tender.  During the last phase of cooking you add the corn, milk, cornstarch and wine.  Mash some of the potatoes for extra thickness and your chowder is ready to serve.  Easy and delicious:)




Slow Cooker Corn Chowder
From BHG

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped carrots (2 medium)
1/2cup finely chopped celery (1 stalk)
1/3cup finely chopped onion (1 small)
3 cups peeled and cubed russet potatoes (about 1 pound)
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
3/4teaspoon salt
3/4teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/8teaspoon paprika
4 cups frozen whole kernel corn
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon snipped fresh thyme
4 slices bacon, crisp-cooked, drained, and crumbled
 Cracked black pepper

Directions:

In a medium saucepan heat oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion; cook about 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture to a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in potatoes, broth, bay leaf, salt, dried thyme, and paprika.

Cover and cook on low-heat setting about 3 hours or on high-heat setting about 1-1/2 hours or until potatoes are tender. Stir in corn and milk. Cover and cook about 1 hour or until heated through.
In a small bowl stir together cornstarch and wine; stir into mixture in cooker. Cover and cook for 10 minutes more. Stir in fresh thyme.

Using a potato masher, gently mash potatoes until soup is slightly thickened. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon and cracked pepper.


Makes 6 servings










Sunday, January 25, 2015

Ranch Beans


The other night I made brisket for dinner.  Usually,  I will make some Baked Beans to go with my brisket, but I decided to try some Ranch Beans.  You have probably seen them in the canned good section in your local store.  I do admit they are good straight from the can.  I decided, however, I would try to make my own from scratch.  Beans really aren't that hard to cook.  The challenging part in this recipe was to devise a sauce that was spicy but not too spicy.

So the cooking project began.  I started by soaking a pound of dried pinto beans over night.  The sauce came together nicely.  Instead of roasting chilies and grinding them up, I used chile powder.   The chile powder was blended together with some sauteed onions, green chile, diced tomatoes, Mexican Oregano, garlic, and some water.   I put the beans and the sauce in a Dutch Oven along with some beef broth.  I brought them to a boil and then covered and simmered the beans for about 3-31/2 hours until they were tender.  I wanted my sauce a little thick so I partially covered the pot during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Not bad for a first try.  The beans were very flavorful and not too spicy.  The next day, I made some bean and cheese burritos with the leftovers and the beans were fantastic the second day.  My daughter ate a cup heated up and she thought they were better the second day.  Next time, I am going to cook them the day before.


Ranch Beans
From The Homesick Texan Website adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen


Ingredients:
16 oz. of dried pinto beans
1 Tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz.) can of diced tomatoes
1 (4oz) can diced green chile
1/4 cup red chile powder
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
1 cup of water
6 cups of beef broth
Salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Soak the beans covered in water overnight.
2. Drain the soaked beans.  Set aside.
3. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven  and cook the onions for ten minutes on medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant. Place the cooked onions and garlic in a blender and add the tomatoes, green chile,  chile powder, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, paprika, cumin, oregano,  and water. Puree until smooth.
4. Add the pinto beans and beef broth to the Dutch Oven and stir in the chile puree. On high, bring the beans to a boil and then cover; turn the heat down to low and simmer for three and a half hours, stirring occasionally. At this point, I check my beans for tenderness and depending on the freshness of the beans I find that the cooking time can be as short as two and a half hours and as long as four hours.  If you want a thicker sauce partially cover the pot during the last 30 minutes of cooking.  When you're satisfied that the beans are done, salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 6 servings





Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chocolate Sheet Cake


WARNING: This cake is addictive.  I just wanted to keep eating one more piece.  Each forkful is a delicious bite of chocolate goodness that is ever so moist.  Life doesn't get any better.

I always believed good things were meant to share, so today I am posting this recipe for the best Chocolate Sheet Cake you will ever eat.  You start by melting 2 sticks of butter in a saucepan.





 To the melted butter add some cocoa powder and boiling water.



Pour this mixture over your flour, sugar, and salt.  Next you add the buttermilk, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla to the batter and mix well.



 Pour the batter onto the sheet cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.


Now you make the yummy icing.  Honestly, I could just sit down and eat this.  Again you start by melting some butter in a saucepan.  Add some cocoa powder when the butter has melted. Take the pan off the stove and add some milk, vanilla and powdered sugar.  Mix until smooth.  Stir in the pecans.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool about 10 minutes.



Pour the frosting over the cake and spread it evenly over the cake.   Doesn't this look delicious:)




Let the cake cool completely and cut into squares.

As I said earlier, this is the best.  Your family and friends, and even yourself will agree.

Chocolate Sheet Cake
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks
Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE:
2 cups Flour
2 cups Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Salt
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
2 sticks Butter
1 cup Boiling Water
1/2 cup Buttermilk
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Vanilla
_____
FOR FROSTING:
1/2 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
1-3/4 stick Butter
4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
6 Tablespoons Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Note:  An 18x13 sheet cake pan.

1.In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
2.In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
3.In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
4.While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.
5.Cut into squares and serve.

Makes 24 servings















Monday, January 19, 2015

Uncle Jack's Mac-And-Cheese


Another great meal from my crockpot.  Today's recipe is a classic comfort food enjoyed by almost everyone; Mac-And-Cheese.   I just love this comfort food.  Pasta in a delicious creamy cheese sauce with the sauce coating the pasta in every delicious bite.  Mmm wonderful.


This Mac-And-Cheese recipe is cooked in a crockpot.  I combined all of the ingredients - elbow macaroni, heavy cream, evaporated milk, eggs, butter, salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl.  I sprayed my crock lightly with some cooking spray and then I poured the ingredients into the crock.  Topped the macaroni with the reserved cheese and set the crockpot on high for 3 hours.  I then reduced the crockpot to low for 1 hour.

The Mac-And- Cheese was done:)  It was rich and creamy but the cheese sauce was not too runny.  The crust on the sides of the pasta was slightly chewy but not tough.  All said this was a delicious dinner or side for your family and friends.  This recipe makes 8-10 servings.  


Uncle Jack's Mac-And-Cheese
From Southern Living Magazine


Ingredients:
1 (16-oz.) package elbow macaroni
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups (16 oz.) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
Vegetable cooking spray

Preparation:
1. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Stir together cream, next 5 ingredients, cooked macaroni, and 2 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl.

2. Pour macaroni mixture into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 6-qt. slow cooker; sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese over macaroni mixture.

3. Cover and cook on HIGH 3 hours; reduce slow cooker to LOW, and cook 1 hour.


Makes 8-10 servings


Friday, January 16, 2015

Chile Relleno Sandwich


A delicious cousin of the Chile Relleno.   A  grilled  cheese sandwich that gets a flavor boost from a  green chile cheese spread.  Dip the sandwich in an egg batter and fry in some butter and you have yourself a great tasting lunch.  You can serve it with some salsa or a cup of hot soup.


Chile Rellano Sandwich

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Green Chile Cheese Spread - you can find the recipe here
4 slices of sandwich bread
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
Salsa

Directions:

1. Spread 1/4 cup of the Green Chile Cheese Spread on a slice of bread.  Top the spread with another slice of bread. Repeat with the remaining bread and cheese spread.   Set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk together until blended.
3. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Dip both sides of the sandwich in the egg mixture.
4. Place the sandwich in the skillet.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until the sandwich is golden brown.  Repeat with the remaining butter and sandwich.

Makes 2 sandwiches




Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Green Chile Cheese Spread


This recipe is a take off from the classic Pimento and Cheese Spread recipe.  Green Chile is a staple here in New Mexico.  We use them in our cooking whenever possible.   So I decided to tweak a classic Pimento Cheese recipe and substitute diced green chile for the pimentos and add some southwestern spices to the spread.

The result was a tasty spread great for crackers, sandwiches, enchilada filling, celery stuffing.

Green Chile Cheese Spread

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chile, drained
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 (8-ounce) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

1. Stir together the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl;  stir in the cheese.  Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl


Noodles Bowls are one of my favorite meals.   Noodles in a spicy broth with veggies and meat or chicken.  This dish was a nice combination of meat, veggies, noodles, and broth.  You could eat this dish with chopsticks if you wished, but have a spoon near by to spoon up the broth.  A simple dish yet so delicious.

Start the preparation of this dish by cooking the udon noodles.  In a separate pan, simmer together some garlic, pepper, and the beef broth.  In a separate skillet,  sautee some carrots and mushrooms.  Next you add some soy sauce, sake, and honey (which have been combined) to the sauteed veggies.  You then add the veggies to the broth mixture along with the beef.  You then stir in your cooked udon noodles, green onions, and spinach.  Dinner is ready to be served.


Udon-Beef Noodle Bowl
From  Cooking Light


Ingredients
8 ounces uncooked udon noodles (thick, round fresh Japanese wheat noodles) or spaghetti
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 (14 1/4-ounce) cans low-salt beef broth
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons sake (rice wine) or dry sherry
1 tablespoon honey
Cooking spray
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrot
8 ounces top round, thinly sliced
3/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
1 (6-ounce) bag prewashed baby spinach

Preparation
Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.

Place garlic, pepper, and broth in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Combine soy sauce, sake, and honey in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and carrot; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in soy sauce mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add vegetable mixture to broth mixture. Stir in beef; cook 2 minutes or until beef loses its pink color. Stir in noodles, green onions, and spinach. Serve immediately.


Makes 5 servings