Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dogs In A Pretzel Blanket

Remember as a kid you would get hot dogs and wrap them in crescent rolls, pop them in the oven and voila your meal was done?  Great memories.  Today's recipe  is a spin off from those delicious dogs.  Dogs In A Pretzel Blanket.   The kids had a great time making these Dogs in a Pretzel Blanket.   I had a great time eating these dogs.  Hot dogs in a nice pretzel crust dipped in some mustard.  Mmm - great.

This recipe is quick and easy.    The blanket in this recipe is puff pastry that has been cut into long strips.  The strips are then wrapped around the dogs - hot dogs.     The puff pastry is then brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with salt. You can use kosher salt but I had some pretzel salt so the kids used that.   These dogs were popped into the oven for about 25 minutes.   They were a nice golden brown.

You can cut the dogs up and serve them as appetizers with some mustard - a good idea for Super Bowl Sunday.  Or leave them as is and enjoy the whole thing.  Make this with your kids sometime and build tasty memories.

Dogs In A Pretzel Blanket
From Bon Appetit  adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

2 large egg yolks
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (one 14-oz. package), thawed
All-purpose flour (for dusting)
4 hot dogs, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Kosher salt or Pretzel salt

1. Mix egg yolks and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth.  Set aside.
2. Gently roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured surface just to press out any creases; brush with egg wash.
3. Cut the puff pastry into 8 long strips.  Lightly dust hot dogs with flour.
4. Wrap puff pastry around the hot dogs.  Be sure the egg wash side is facing in.
5. Place rolled-up hot dogs on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side down.  Mix baking soda into remaining egg wash and brush over pastry.
6. Sprinkle with salt.  Chill 15 minutes.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
7. Bake until pastry is puffed and golden brown, 25-30 minutes.  Let cool.  Slice into bite-size portions, if desired.  Serve with mustard.

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

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


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

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


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
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
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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Over Rice

Another family favorite meal made in a crockpot.  Lately, I have been finding myself pressed for time.  Some nights, I have just taken salad and sandwich fixings out of the fridge and told my family to go for it.

Last night's dinner was a tasty surprise for everyone.  I cooked some chicken breasts in a sauce consisting of soups and chicken broth seasoned with garlic salt, salt, and Cajun seasoning.  After about 5 hours on the low setting, I shredded the chicken, adding some steamed fresh broccoli, sour cream and cheddar cheese to the sauce.   I cooked the chicken for about another 30 minutes while I made some rice to ladle the chicken and broccoli over.

The result was a comforting meal that was both satisfying and delicious.

Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Over Rice
From The Recipe Critic

4 boneless chicken breasts
14oz can cream of chicken soup
14 oz can cheddar soup
14 oz can chicken broth
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 Cup sour cream
1 12 oz frozen bag broccoli florets or 4 cups fresh broccoli lightly steamed
1 Cup shredded cheddar cheese

Spray crockpot with cooking spray and put cream of chicken soup, cheddar soup, chicken broth, salt, Cajun seasoning, and garlic salt into the crockpot. Stir the soups and seasonings together until smooth. Place the chicken in the bottom of the crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high 3 hours. The last 30 minutes of cooking, shred the chicken with two forks and add the broccoli, sour cream, and cheese. Cook for about 30 more minutes until the broccoli is tender and heated through.
Serve over white rice and garnish with more shredded cheese if desired.

Serves 4-6

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Slow Cooker Cheesy Broccoli Soup

Soup.  Perfect for dinner on a chilly night and tastes  ever so satisfying.  I made a slow cooker Broccoli Cheese Soup for tonight's dinner which I found in Taste of Home Simple and Delicious magazine.  The flavor was wonderful but it was a little thin for my taste.  I like my soup a little heartier.  To remedy this, I will just reduce the liquid the next time I make it.

This is a very simple soup to make.  Start by cooking some finely chopped onions in butter.  Add them to the slow cooker along with the broccoli, chicken broth, evaporated milk and pepper.  Cook for about 4 hours and then stir  in the Velveeta cheese and the shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Stir until the cheese has melted.   Ladle the soup into  serving bowls and top with additional cheddar cheese.

Dinner is ready.  I served the soup with some bread.  It was a satisfying meal and even those in the family who aren't that fond of Broccoli Soup liked this one:)

Slow Cooker Cheesy Broccoli Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 package (8 ounces) process cheese (Velveeta), cubed
1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Additional shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1. In a small skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a 3- or 4-qt. slow cooker. Add broccoli, broth, milk and pepper.
2. Cook, covered, on low 3-4 hours or until broccoli is tender. Stir in process cheese until melted. Add shredded cheeses; stir until melted. Just before serving, stir soup to combine. Top servings with additional cheddar cheese.

Yield: 4 servings.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Brussels Sprouts are one of my favorite veggies.  Usually I just eat them tossed with some butter, salt, and pepper.  Today, I made this delicious dish where the Brussels Sprouts were baked in a cheese sauce with pancetta.

This recipe comes from  the Simply Recipes website.  You start by blanching Brussels Sprout halves for a few minutes.  Drain and then toss them in a cheesy sauce flavored with nutmeg and fresh or dried thyme.  Place in an au gratin or casserole dish.  Top the sprouts with the remaining pancetta and cheese.  Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes.  Let the dish rest before you serve.

Ready For Oven

The result is a delicious side dish where the Brussels Sprouts are coated in a delicious cheese sauce that compliments the nutty flavor of the sprouts.  The pancetta adds a flavor boost to this already delicious side dish.

You can find the recipe here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015