Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Salt-Baked Potatoes With Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Butter

If you like baked potatoes you will love these potatoes.  These potatoes are flavorful and their flesh is light and fluffy.  As for the skins, they are crisp and delicious.  Not at all tough. 

Oven Ready

The secret according to "America's Test Kitchen" is baking the potatoes on a bed of salt. To add flavor to the spuds rosemary and garlic are baked with the potatoes. To keep the potatoes moist, the baking pan is covered with foil.    Bake the potatoes in a 450 degree oven for 1 1/4 hours then remove them from the oven.

Once removed from the oven, the skins are brushed with some olive oil and they are placed back in the oven.  They are baked uncovered for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and remove any salt that is on the skins.
Brushed With Olive Oil

You can serve these potatoes with Garlic and Rosemary Butter or with toppings of your choice.    I served mine with our favorites of butter, sour cream, chives, and bacon bits.  Best potatoes ever:)

Salt-Baked Potatoes With Roasted Garlic and Rosemary Butter
From America's Test Kitchen


2 1/2 cups plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
4 russet potatoes, scrubbed and dried
2 sprigs plus 1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 whole head garlic, outer papery skin removed and top quarter of head cut off and discarded
4 teaspoons olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spread 2 1/2 cups salt in even layer in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Gently nestle potatoes in salt, broad side down, leaving space between potatoes. Add rosemary sprigs and garlic, cut side up, to baking dish. Cover baking dish with foil and crimp edges to tightly seal. Bake 1 1/4 hours; remove pan from oven. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.

2. Carefully remove foil from baking dish. Remove garlic and set aside to cool. Brush exposed portion of each potato with 1 teaspoon oil. Return uncovered baking dish to oven and bake until potatoes are tender when pierced with tip of paring knife and skins are glossy, 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, once garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze root end until cloves slip out of their skins. Using fork, mash garlic, butter, 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (or pinch table salt) and minced rosemary to smooth paste. Remove any clumped salt from potatoes (holding with kitchen towel if necessary), split lengthwise, top with portion of butter, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Guacamole deviled eggs.  A delicious way to gobble up the Easter Eggs that may be in your fridge next week. Rich and buttery in flavor with just a hint of southwestern flavor.   To make these eggs you start by cutting hard boiled eggs in half.  Remove the yolks and set aside.  Next you make some Guacamole.   Avocados are smashed and mixed with some spices.  To this mixture, I added some lime juice, sour cream and two egg yolks.

The Guacamole was then spooned into the egg white halves.  I topped mine with a cilantro leaf but you could sprinkle with paprika  if you wished.  If you have some Guacamole leftover just serve it with some chips.

Guacamole Deviled Eggs


6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sour cream
12 fresh cilantro leaves

1. Scooped out the cooked yolks from the hard boiled eggs and set aside.
2. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the flesh and place it in a bowl.  Mash the avocados with a fork.
3. Add the lime juice, salt, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and sour cream and stir until mixed.
4.  Crumble 2 of the egg yolks into the avocado mixture.  Stir gently to mix. Save remaining egg yolks for another use.
5. Spoon the guacamole into the hard boiled egg whites.  Top with a cilantro leaf and serve.

Makes 12 halves

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Potato Soup

It was an overcast day -a soup day.  I have a list of different soup recipes I want to try.  On top of the list was a Potato Soup recipe from The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  This soup looked and sounded delicious with all the great veggies -potatoes,carrots, celery, and onions.   Seasoned with salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning.  All of the ingredients are cooked together in a creamy broth.

After the veggies are cooked in chicken broth with some milk, about 2/3 cup of the veggies are puréed.  Next you stir in some cream. Ladle in bowls and top with some bacon and cheese.

I really enjoyed this soup.  The Cajun seasoning added a wonderful flavor to this soup.  To me, this soup was more like a chowder.  Great for a quick cup for lunch or a bowl for dinner.

Potato Soup 
From The Pioneer Woman Cooks 
6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces 

1 whole Medium Onion, Diced 
3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced 
3 stalks Celery, Diced 
6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced 
8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth 
3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour 
1 cup Milk 
1/2 cup Heavy Cream 
1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste 
Black Pepper To Taste 
1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix 
1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley 
1  cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice
Preparation Instructions 

Add bacon pieces to a soup pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove the bacon from the pot and set it aside. Pour off most of the grease, but do not clean the pot.
Return the hot to medium-high heat and add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir and cook for 2 minutes or so, then add the diced potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, seasoning with salt, pepper, and Cajun spice.

Pour in the broth and bring it to a gentle boil. Cook for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to get tender. Whisk together the flour and the milk, then pour into the soup and allow the soup to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove half to 2/3 the soup and blend in a blender/food process until completely smooth. Pour it back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Let it heat back up as you taste for seasonings, adding more of what it needs. Stir in cream, then stir in parsley, reserving a little for garnish.
Serve in bowls garnished with parsley, grated cheese and crisp bacon pieces.
Makes 12 servings

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Blackberry Ricotta Pancakes

I had some ricotta cheese in the fridge and had picked up some fresh blackberries at Costco.  I was in the mood for some pancakes.  I thought Ricotta cheese and blackberries with a touch of lemon zest would make great pancakes.  I was right - these pancakes were delicious.  They were like eating a fluffy blackberry cheesecake in pancake form.  And the lemon zest, well what can I say but lemon zest always adds extra zing to food.  Deliciousness in every bite.

These pancakes make a perfect breakfast..  You'll start everyone's day with love.

Blackberry Ricotta Pancakes
1 cup ricotta cheese drained if necessary
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, separated into yolk and whites
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup fresh blackberries, slighty smashed
Butter for the pan

1. Whisk togethe flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a small mixing bowl.
2. Combine ricotta, milk, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla in a larges mixing bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture until just combined.
3. Add the fresh blackberries to the mixture and stir until combined.
4. Beat eggs whites until stiff peakes form. Gently stir a small scoop of the egg whites into the pancake batter, then fold in the remaining egg whites with a spatula.
5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt a small amount of butter in the pan, just enough to coat the skillet.  Using a 1/3-cup measure, scoop out the batter and pour onto the hot griddle.  Cook the pancakes for about 3 or 4 minutes, until the undersides are golden.  Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining pancakes.

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Irish Cream Alcohol Free


A nice way to celebrate is to pour yourself a nice cup of coffee that is flavored with this rich  homemade Irish Cream.  It is delicious.  So much better than the coffee creamers you get at the store.

This recipe has evaporated milk, milk, and whipping cream - great ingredients for a rich cup of coffee.  In addition to the milks and cream, this recipe also includes some chocolate syrup, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract and some coffee granules.  Blend them together and then store in fridge until ready to use.

The recipe suggest using 1/3 cup of creamer to cup of coffee.  I used this amount and it was perfect.   This recipe yields about 3 cups.

Irish Cream
From Taste of Home

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup brewed coffee
1. In a blender, combine the first eight ingredients; cover and process until smooth. Store in the refrigerator.
2. For each serving, place coffee in a mug. Stir in 1/3 cup Irish cream. Heat mixture in a microwave if desired.
Yield: 3-1/3 cups.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Irish Beef Stew

Irish Stew - great dish to serve on St. Patrick's Day.  This stew has a rich and very flavorful broth.  The meat is extremely tender and flavorful as are the veggies.  Doesn't it look delicious:)

I found this recipe on one of my favorite foodie websites Simply Recipes.  Like all good Irish Stew recipes, this recipe has Guinness Stout as an ingredient.  I was a little skeptical because I have used Guinness before in recipes and the taste was bitter.  Not so with this recipe.  Everything tasted wonderful.

I have saved this recipe and plan to make it again.  You can find this fantastic recipe here.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad

It was one of those perfect days when the sun was shining bright, but it wasn't  too hot.  There was just a very little breeze in the air.  Hard to believe we are still in winter.  Spring is around the corner though.   A salad would be perfect for lunch on a beautiful day like this.  I chose to make a bright and colorful salad - a Tex-Mex Chopped salad.

This salad has colorful ingredients that are tasty and good for you.  There are some slice green peppers, tomatoes, corn, avocados, pinto beans (the recipe called for black beans, but I substituted pinto beans), lettuce (again, I substituted lettuce for cilantro).  All of these salad fixings are tossed in a tangy lime vinaigrette dressing that is out-of-this world delicious.   I like tang to my  salad dressings.

What is great about this salad if you have picky eaters like I do, the  ingredients are separately placed on individual plates.  If a family member doesn't like say avocados, they do not need to put them in their salad.

I loved the flavors and texture of this salad.  Everything blended together nicely and the lime dressing added a wonderful tangy flavor.  I topped my salad with fresh ground pepper.

Tex-Mex Chopped Salad
From Better Homes & Gardens Magazine Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (15-16 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (I used Pinto)
10 ounces frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
2 cups lightly packed cilantro, chopped or 4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 avocado, halved, pitted, and chopped
1 green sweet pepper, chopped
6 green onions, thinly sliced


1. In a screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, sugar,  kosher salt, and crushed red pepper.  Shake well to combine.
2. Arrange black (pinto) beans, corn, cilantro (lettuce), tomatoes, avocado, sweet pepper, and green onion on plates.  Drizzle with dressing.

Makes 4 servings

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Beach Shrimp

This easy shrimp bake is the best.  The shrimp are baked in Italian dressing, ground pepper, garlic, lemon juice, parsley,  and of course butter.  Everything is tossed together in a baking dish and put into a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and serve.  Nothing could be easier for a quick dinner.

I served this dish with a tossed green salad and some bread.

Beach Shrimp
From my recipes

3 pounds unpeeled, large raw shrimp

1 (16-oz.) bottle Italian dressing
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 lemons, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup butter, cut up

1. Place first 4 ingredients in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish, tossing to coat. Squeeze juice from lemons over shrimp mixture, and stir. Add lemon halves to pan. Sprinkle evenly with parsley; dot with butter.
2. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Serve in pan.
Makes 6-8 servings

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Crock Pot Chocolate Cherry Cobbler

One of my favorite combinations - chocolate and cherries in a scrumptious cobbler.  This recipe is super easy and you only need three ingredients;  cherry pie filling, a box of you favorite Chocolate cake mix, and butter.  Add all of these ingredients to your crock pot, set it on high and cook for 4 hours.   No stirring required.  The pie filling bubbles up in the cake mix and everything get mixed up on its own.  By-the-way,the aroma is intoxicating as this dessert cooks.

After 4 hours, serve your cobbler with a scoop of ice cream.  It is delicious:)  A dessert made with love.

Crock Pot Chocolate Cherry Cobbler
From Duncan Hines
Special Equipment: Crock Pot

1 (30-ounce) can Cherry Pie Filling
1 box  Chocolate Cake Mix
6 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Spray your crock lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.
2. Add the Cherry Pie filling to the  Crock Pot.  Next add the cake mix followed by the melted butter.
3. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.  Serve with some ice cream if desired.

Makes 6-8 servings

Friday, March 6, 2015

Spaghetti Pie

Have leftover cooked spaghetti or do you want to make a new spaghetti dish?  Try making your family/guests a nice Spaghetti Pie.  Spaghetti Pie is easy and delicious.  In this recipe, the pie is nice and cheesy.

The spaghetti is the crust of the pie.  Once you have placed the spaghetti in a pie plate you spread some ricotta cheese over the spaghetti.  Your favorite pasta sauce is then spread over the cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.  You then sprinkle some mozzarella cheese over the top and then pop it back in the oven for about 5 minutes.  Take your pie out of the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

You will have a lot of smiling faces around your dinner table.  This pie is very tasty and satisfying.

Spaghetti Pie
From Sargento

6 oz. spaghetti, cooked
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup (3 oz.)  Shredded Parmesan Cheese, divided
1 cup  Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 cup pasta sauce
1/2 cup (2 oz.)  Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1. Toss spaghetti with olive oil in large bowl. Stir in eggs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Pour spaghetti mixture into greased 10-inch pie plate; form into a crust.
2. Spoon Ricotta cheese over spaghetti crust. Top with pasta sauce. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 25 minutes. Top with Mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cool 10 minutes before cutting.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Thai Rice Noodle Bowl

Healthy, quick, easy, and tasty.  This describes  the Thai Rice Noodle Bowl meal I made the other day for the family.  I was surprised how quick and easy this dish came together.  Rice noodles are cooked, and drained.  While the noodles cook, I sliced up some  sweet pepper, grated a carrot, and sliced a cucumber.  Then a dressing was made consisting of fish sauce, soy sauce, creamy peanut butter, red pepper flakes, and some rice vinegar.  I then grilled up some beef and sliced it thin.

Everything is now combined.  The noodles and veggies are put into a bowl and tossed with the dressing.  Divide the noodles among four bowls.  Top with beef, chopped peanuts, and cilantro leaves.  Serve with a lime wedge.

I was pleasantly surprised on how flavorful this dish was.   The crispness of the veggies tossed with the noodles was a delicious combination. The lime juice really made the flavors pop.   Add some thinly sliced beef to the top and I had a very delicious meal.

Thai Rice Noodle Bowl
From Family Circle Magazine Adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen


7 ounces (half a 14-ounce box) thin stir-fry rice noodles (such as Thai Kitchen)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons warm water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 seedless cucumber
3/4 pound small chicken breast halves, boneless pork chops or steak
3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup sweet pepper strips
1/2 cup grated  carrot
3 scallions, trimmed and sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, sliced, plus more for serving
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Lime wedges


1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.  Add noodles, turn off heat and let soak 6 to 8 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, peanut butter, fish sauce, warm water, sugar and red pepper flakes until smooth.  Wash, halve and slice cucumber into half-moons.
3. Heat grill pan or broiler.  Place meat in a resealable plastic bag or glass dish.  Add 3 tablespoons of the dressing, turning to coat.
4. Place remaining dressing in a small saucepan with cornstarch.  Bring to a boil; boil 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.
5. Grill or broil meat 6 minutes, turning once, until cooked through.
6. Drain and rinse noodles and transfer to a large bowl.   Add sweet pepper, shredded carrot, cucumber, scallions and sliced cilantro.  Drizzle dressing into bowl and toss to combine.  Divide among 4 bowl.  Slice chicken, pork, or beef and divide among bowls.  Sprinkle with cilantro leaves and chopped peanuts. Serve each bowl with a lime wedge.

Serves 4