Monday, December 28, 2015

Chewy Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are always good.  Add some pine nuts and dried cherries to the standard recipe and you have one delicious cookie.  The coconut in this recipe makes the cookies extra chewy. To keep the texture of the cookies soft, I only baked them for about 10 minutes or until the edges started to turn golden. For a crunchy cookie, you can bake the cookies a couple of minutes longer.  Store these cookies in an airtight container with a slice of sandwich bread to keep them moist.

These cookies are great anytime with a glass of milk.  When I am on the run, these are great breakfast cookies.  Oatmeal, coconut, nuts, cherries, egg - what could make a better breakfast?    I have been known to take some on vacation with us for our breakfast and a quick snack.  Enjoy:)

Chewy Oatmeal Cherry Cookies

1-cup butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1-teaspoon vanilla
1-½ cups flour
1-teaspoon salt
1-teaspoon baking soda
1-teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups quick oats
1-cup coconut
1-cup pine nuts
1-cup dried cherries

1.    In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
       Set aside.
2.    Cream together the butter and sugars.
3.    Add the eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.
4.    With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the sugar
       mixture and mix well.
5.    Slowly add the oats, coconut, pine nuts, and dried cherries.  Mix until just combined.
6.    Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least one hour.
7.    Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
8.    Measure one tablespoon of cookie dough and roll into a ball.  Place on a
       cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
9.    Bake for 12-15 minutes or until edges start turning a golden color.
10. Cool for two minutes; remove to a wire rack for cooling.
     When completely cooled, store in an airtight container with a slice of bread.

 Makes 3-dozen cookies.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best Snickerdoodles Ever

Snickerdoodles are a family favorite around the holiday time.  We just can't get enough of them.  This year I found a fantastic recipe for our favorite holiday cookie on the Averie Cooks website.  She has your basic Snickerdoodle recipe and then variations for Snickerdoodles that sound and look yummy.    The basic Snickerdoodles  are soft and chewy with a very light fluffy center.  The key to this texture is not to over bake the cookies.  I must admit, I was tempted to bake them longer when I first took them out of the oven but I didn't.  One of the best holiday baking decisions I made.  Not only is the texture of this cookie wonderful,  but the cinnamon-sugar coating that coats the entire cookie adds a little bit  of  sweet spiciness to the cookie.

Mmmmm a delicious cookie that is going to please the cookie lovers in your family.  You can find this  delicious recipe here.

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Slow-Cooked Enchilada Dinner

I love enchiladas. They are such a satisfying and delicious meal with little fuss needed to prepare them.    I usually make the rolled type for the family but I was intrigued by this stacked recipe.    You stack the ingredients in a round slow cooker.  The first layer consists of flour tortillas.  The second layer is a beef, onion, tomatoes, bean combinations that has been spiced up with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Finally, you sprinkle some cheese over the beef mixture.  Repeat the layers twice more.

Layered Enchiladas

To make your casserole easier to remove when it is done, you line your slow cooker with foil strips.  The enchiladas are cooked on low for about 2 1/2 hours.  When done lift them out gently using the foil strips as handles.
Enchiladas Removed Using Foil Strips

This recipe was delicious.  Everything blended together nicely and was not overly spicy.  A great dish that is saved for future dinners:)

Delicious Layers of Goodness

Slow-Cooked Enchilada Dinner
From Taste of Home Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
1 small onion, chopped
1 can (15 ounces) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes with mild green chilies, undrained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups Mexican shredded cheese
6 flour tortillas (6 inches)
diced fresh tomatoes for garnish
1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the beans, tomatoes,  chili powder, salt, cumin and pepper. In a small bowl, place the cheese and set aside.
Beef, Onion,Beef, Tomatoes, and Spices
2. Cut three 25-in. x 3-in. strips of heavy-duty foil; crisscross so they resemble spokes of a wheel. Place strips on the bottom and up the sides of a 5-qt. slow cooker. Coat strips with cooking spray. Place two tortillas in slow cooker, overlapping if necessary. Layer with a third of the beef mixture and cheese. Repeat layers twice.
Foil Strips
3. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until heated through. Using foil strips as handles, remove enchilada dinner to a platter.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Lavender White Peach Curd

I love "curd" to spread on my scones, biscuits, toast, muffins, etc.   I had some white peaches still on our tree so I decided to make some curd this year.   I was particularly intrigued by this recipe that flavors the Peach Curd with lavender.  I love lavender and the wonderful flavor it adds to foods.   This recipe was no exception.  The curd had a wonderful sweet peach flavor with a mild hint of lavender.  

To begin your adventure in "curd" making, you first puree your chosen fruit - in this case peaches.  Set them aside and  whisk egg yolks together with some sugar.  You then add all of your ingredients together and cook the curd over a pan of simmering water.  I used my double boiler but you can set a bowl over a saucepan.  Be sure the fit is snug.

Once the curd has reached 175 degree F strain it into a bowl.  Whisk in some butter and  store the curd in a jar in the fridge.  It is ready to enjoy whenever you are.

Lavender White Peach Curd
From Local Milk

1 scant tablespoon lavender buds, ground into a powder
3 large white peaches, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon of lemon juice or to taste
5 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. In a food processor of blender puree peaches. You should have about 12 ounces of puree.
2. Whisk yolks and sugar in a heat proof bowl until thick and pale yellow.

3. Stir in peach puree, lemon juice, lavender, salt, and vanilla.
4. Bring an inch or two of water to a simmer in a sauce pan that the bowl will fit snugly over, and cook the puree over the water, stirring constantly until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, about ten minutes. It will thicken around 175°f.

5. Strain curd through a mesh strainer, swirling with the back of a ladle but not pushing, into a clean bowl and whisk in the butter, bit by bit, while the curd is still hot until fully incorporated.
6. Strain once more if desired (i don't usually but you can if you want a more refined texture).
store in a jar in the fridge. slather on everything.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Thyme-Rubbed Pork Chops With Nectarine-Bourbon Chutney

We haven't had pork chops in a long time for dinner.  The other night I made some fabulous grilled pork chops.  They were so tasty with the thyme rub and the Nectarine-Bourbon Chutney was out-of-this-world. The original recipe called for using peaches but I didn't have any but I did have nectarines:)

This is a great meal to prepare when you want to impress your guests/family or you just need something delicious and quick for dinner.

Thyme-Rubbed Pork Chops With Nectarine-Bourbon Chutney
From Weber



1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, about 6 ounces, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seed
¼ cup bourbon
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 medium, ripe peaches (nectarines), about 1 pound total, peeled and chopped
4 bone-in pork loin chops, each 8 to 10 ounces and about 1 inch thick
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, salt, and mustard seed and cook until the onion is tender and light golden, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bourbon to the pan, adjust the heat to medium, and then add the remaining chutney ingredients. Cook the chutney until most of the liquid is evaporated and the peaches are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Rub the chops on both sides with the oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Allow the chops to stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 450°F).

Grill the chops over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until still slightly pink in the center, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve the chops warm with the peach-bourbon chutney.

Makes 4 servings

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Candied Nuts

This recipe for candied nuts is the easiest and quickest one I have found for making delicious nuts.  It just takes two ingredients - nuts and sugar.  That is it.  I found this marvelous recipe on the Our Best Bites Website.
You heat the nuts - it can be any nut or combination and the sugar together in a skillet and stir with a spatula until the sugar has melted.  Remove the nuts from the pan and let them cool on some parchment paper.    Eat when they are cool.  That is it:)  Told you this was an easy recipe.

These are great as a snack or as a topping for your salad, ice cream, yogurt, or to mix in with some trail mix.     They are delicious whichever way you chose to enjoy them.

Candied Nuts
From Our Best Bites

1/2 cup nuts
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Place nuts and sugar in a saute pan on medium heat. Use a rubber spatula to toss the nuts frequently until sugar melts and caramelizes into a golden brown color. Remove nuts from pan and spread out onto a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Cool completely before serving.

Stirring Nuts and Sugar Over Heat

Notes: You may want to toast certain varieties of nuts first and then add the sugar to caramelize. Pre-roasted nuts like peanuts (pictured) and cashews, don't need toasting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Minestrone Soup

Soup is one of my favorite meals.  I love the delicious combination of flavors and the satisfying feeling after eating a hearty bowl of soup. Today's recipe is a rich and hearty Minestrone Soup. This soup is loaded with lots of veggies and is perfect for using up summer produce.  Carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, zucchini, and potatoes are the veggies used in this soup.  The broth is seasoned with garlic, thyme, a bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, salt,  pepper and fennel seeds.  I loved the flavor the fennel seeds gave to this soup.    Each bowl is topped with some grated Parmesan cheese.  MMM delicious:)

This soup is quick to put together and the cooking time is about 45 minutes.  Perfect for those days when you need a satisfying meal that is quick and easy.

Minestrone Soup
From  Simply Recipes  Adapted Slightly by From My Southwest Kitchen

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup diced carrot
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tab  lespoon minced garlic
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 medium Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 cups sliced savoy cabbage
1 zucchini cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14.5 -ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
6 cups chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini or great northern white beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Garnish: Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, carrots, and celery.  Cook until the vegetables are lightly browned and then add the garlic.  Cook until fragrant.
2. Stir in the bay leaf, thyme, crushed red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds.  Add the potatoes, cabbage, zucchini,  and tomatoes to the Dutch oven.  Stir in the chicken broth.
3. Bring the soup to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover the Dutch oven.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Add the beans and parsley to the soup.   Bring the soup to a boil and  cook for about 5 minutes.  Taste and season the soup.
5. Remove bay leaf and thyme sprigs from the soup.  Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated Parmesan Cheese.

Makes 6 servings