Thursday, November 26, 2015


Wishing everyone a very happy and safe THANKSGIVING.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowls

Chicken Enchilada Nacho bowls are very tasty, easy to make,  quick, easy on your budget, a great for using leftover chicken or turkey and using that bag of smashed Tortillas chips that is sitting in your pantry.  I made these for dinner the other night when I was going here there and everywhere.

What makes these nachos so tasty is the enchilada sauce (you can choose your heat level), spiced with Mexican oregano,  and a  minced chipotle pepper.  Add some chicken or turkey  and your sauce is done.
Ladle some sauce over crushed tortilla chips, top with some cheese, lettuce and cilantro. Dinner is ready to serve.  This recipe serves 4.

Chicken Enchilada Nacho Bowls
From Sunset Magazine

1 medium onion, cut into half-moons
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can (10 oz.) enchilada sauce
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 oz.) reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 canned chipotle chile, minced
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
8 ounces tortilla chips, coarsely crushed
1 1/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded lettuce
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges and hot sauce

1. Make sauce: Sauté onion in oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, beans, oregano, chile, and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until hot and slightly reduced, 4 minutes. Stir in chicken and cook until it's hot, about 4 minutes.

2. Assemble nachos: Divide chips among bowls, top with chicken mixture, cheese, lettuce, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce.

Tortillas Chips

Nacho Sauce

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Pasta e Ceci

I found this marvelous soup recipe in the recent t issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine.  Pasta with beans, veggies, and some herbs and spices.  Sprinkle the soup with some grated Parmesan cheese and drizzle with some olive oil and you have one hearty and delicious meal or a nice starter for your dinner.

This soup is very easy to make and very versatile according to the recipe.  With this in mind, I used the beans I had in my pantry - one can of garbanzo and one can of red kidney beans.  I also substituted a can of diced tomatoes with green chilies for the whole tomatoes.  Everything else was kept the same.

The result was a very tasty and satisfying bowl of rich and hearty soup that tastes great with every bite.

Pasta e Ceci
From Cook's Illustrated Magazine

2 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 small celery rib, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 onion, halved and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (14-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (do not drain)
2 cups water
Salt and pepper
8 ounces (1 1/2 cups) ditalini
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 cup)

1. Process pancetta in food processor until ground to paste, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Add carrot, celery, and garlic and pulse until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses.  Add onion and pulse until onion is cut into 1/8 - to - 1/4-inch pieces, 8 to 10 pulses.

Pulsing pancetta and veggies

Transfer pancetta mixture to large Dutch oven.  Pulse tomatoes in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses.  Set aside.
2. Add oil to pancetta mixture in Dutch oven and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until fond begins to form on bottom of pot, about 5 minutes.  Add anchovy, pepper flakes, and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas and their liquid, water, and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add caption

 Add pasta and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve, passing Parmesan and oil separately.

Serves 4 to 6

Friday, October 9, 2015

Chocolate Cherry Trail Mix

The leaves are turning and I love hiking or just walking in the neighborhood enjoying the fall colors. As I am hiking, I love to snack on trail mix.  Trail mix is a great and healthy snack.  You can add your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruits to come up with your own recipe.

The family and I love dried cherries, cashews, pistachios, and pumpkin seeds.  I came up with this recipe that has our favorites and I added some walnuts and chocolate chips.  An easy recipe that the kids can make and enjoy.

Chocolate Cherry Trail Mix

1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup cashews
1 cup pistachios
1 cup walnut halves
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix well.  Store trail mix in an airtight container.

Makes 5 cups

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Shrimp Creole

Shrimp Creole was one dish I had when I visited New Orleans many years ago.  I really enjoyed it but never got around to making it at home.  The other day I got my copy of Cook's Country magazine and they had an authentic Shrimp Creole recipe.  Fantastic.  I hadn't planned anything for dinner that night, so I thought this would be great.  We hadn't had shrimp in a while.

I was delighted on how easy this recipe was to make. You start by making your own Creole Seasoning which is made from spices you probably have.  Next the sauce is made which the shrimp are cooked in.  The sauce consists of flour, oil, onions, a green bell pepper, celery, white wine, tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar.  The sauce is cooked until slightly thickened.  You then add in the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are cooked through.  You then stir in some lemon juice and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.  I served mine over steamed rice.  It was delicious.

Shrimp Creole
From Cook's Country Magazine

Creole Seasoning
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 onion, chopped fine
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped fine
2 celery ribs, chopped fine
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 pounds large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 scallions, sliced thin

1. FOR THE CREOLE SEASONING: Combine all ingredients in bowl and set aside.
2. FOR THE SHRIMP: Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light brown, 3 to 5 minutes.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes, scraping up any browned bits.
3. Stir in Creole seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add wine and cook until nearly evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes, scraping up any browned bits.  Add tomatoes and their juice, water, Worcestershire, and sugar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered and stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.
4. Add shrimp, increase heat to medium, and return to simmer.  Cook until shrimp are opaque and just cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir in lemon juice and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

Serves 4 to 6

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Crock Pot Greek Ziti

Another great crock pot meal.  I found this recipe in Southern Living magazine and instead of baking it in the oven, I used my crock pot.  The result was delicious.

What intrigued  me about this recipe is that it was inspired by the a classic Greek comfort dish known as pastitsio.  I also loved the spices- especially the cinnamon used in this pasta bake.

As with most pasta bakes, this dish came together easily.  Your start by making a sauce made from ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, lemon juice, salt, sugar,  cinnamon and oregano.

Next you make a creamy sauce using butter, flour, milk, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.

 Once the pasta is cooked, you combine it with the cream sauce until well coated.

I sprayed my crock lightly with cooking spray before I added the pasta mixture.

The pasta mixture was then topped with the beef mixture, some mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.

I cooked the dish for 2.5 hours on LOW in the crock  pot.  I let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  It was a delicious and satisfying comfort dish:)

Crock Pot Greek Ziti
From Southern Living Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

12 ounces ziti pasta
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2 (15-oz.) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable cooking spray
1 (8-oz.) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

1.  Sauté onion in hot oil in large skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain mixture, and return to skillet.
2. Stir tomato sauce, next 4 ingredients, and 1 tsp. salt into meat mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese, pepper, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add sauce to pasta, stirring to coat.
4. Lightly spray crock pot with cooking spray. Transfer pasta mixture to crock pot. Top with beef mixture, mozzarella cheese, and breadcrumbs.
5. Cook on LOW for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Bourbon Marinade

Happy Fall!  Fall is my favorite time of year.  All of the beautiful colors, the crispness in the air, and the harvest of great food.  I have been  busy picking the produce from our garden.  We have been enjoying fresh tomatoes and other veggies from our garden.

Today's recipe is for a fantastic marinade I discovered for beef.   Bourbon Marinade.  This  marinade has Bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, finger, and other wonderful ingredients that makes your select cut of beef delicious.   I have marinated steaks and a roast using this recipe and the results were wonderful.  The meat is tender, moist, and the taste is mouth watering.  Bourbon marinade is the new family favorite.

Bourbon Marinade
From Certified Angus Beef

1/4 cup Bourbon whiskey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
1 tablespoon  Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds of beef

1. Combine all ingredients and place in a zipper-locking plastic bag with selected Beef cut. Close bag, removing air.


Marinate in refrigerator 6 to 8 hours or overnight. Remove selected cut from marinade and discard marinade.

Roast Marinating

Yield: 1 1/2 cups