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

Monday, August 24, 2015

Frito Pie

Who doesn't love Frito Pie?  Delicious crunchy Frito's smothered in Chili and topped with cheese.  This makes a delicious meal at home or  on camp outs. You just need to put some Frito's - I use about a 2/3 of a cup and put them in a bowl.  I then ladle some chili over the Frito's and sprinkle with some cheese.   If you like, you can add some diced onions, sour cream. or black olives.

Frito Pie is a satisfying and comforting meal that is friendly on the budget.

Frito Pie

1 (9 3/4-ounce) bag of Chili Cheese Frito's
1 recipe Crock Pot Chili
Garnishes:  Shredded cheese,diced onion, sour cream, sliced black olives

1. Make the Crock Pot Chili.
2. Place Frito's in a bowl - about 2/3 cup.  Ladle chili over the Frito's and top with garnishes.

Frito's in the bowl
Topped With Cheese
3. Serve.

Makes 6 servings

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Crock Pot Chili

Nothing is as satisfying to my family as a big bowl of chili.  It is hearty, tasty, and delicious.    I love it sprinkled with lots of cheese with some cornbread on the side.   Chili is very to make easy and budget friendly.  It also is great when you have a crowd of people to feed.  

For this recipe, I placed all of the ingredients in a crock pot, stirred to mix well, covered, and cooked on low for 8 hours.  Once the chili was done, I tasted it and re seasoned it a bit.    I  ladled the chili into bowls and topped it with cheese.  I also had various other toppings for the family such as diced onion, sour cream, chopped cilantro, and crackers.

Crock Pot Chili
1 pound ground beef
2 tablespoons Taco Seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies
1 cup beef broth
1 1/2- 2 tablespoons chili powder, depending on how spicy you want the chili
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon salt
Garnishes: Shredded cheese, diced onion, crackers, sour cream, chopped cilantro
1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet.  Drain and toss meat with the Taco seasoning.

Ground Beef Tossed With Taco Seasoning

2. Place the ground beef in the crock pot with the remaining ingredients.  Stir to mix well.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Everything In The Crock Pot

3. Taste and re season the chili if necessary.  Ladle into bowls and top with your choice of garnishes.

Serves 6
Dinner Is Served

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles

A few months ago, I went to the Taste of Home Cooking School.  A number of recipes were prepared and the Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles was one of them.  The dish smelled so good as it cooked and was easy to prepare. I marked this recipe as one to make for the family.

I started by browning some ground chicken in a skillet.  As the meat was browning, I cooked my spaghetti noodles.  Next, I added some carrots, diced red pepper, and some minced garlic.

Ground Chicken and Veggies Cooking

It smelled wonderful as it was cooking.  The sauce came next.  In a small bowl, I combined some peanut butter, chicken broth, lemon juice, soy sauce, Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce, and some crushed red pepper flakes.   Once the meat and veggies were cooked, the peanut butter mixture was added and brought to a boil.

Peanut Sauce Added To the Mixture

I cooked the sauce for about 3 minutes and then tossed in the cooked pasta.  I sprinkled some peanuts over the  dish and served.  The recipe calls for green onions, but I did not used them.  The family would not touch the dish if green onions were found.

What a great tasting dinner that was easy to make and quick.  The flavors blended together nicely without any one flavor dominating.  This recipe is a keeper:)

Thai Chicken Peanut Noodles
From Taste of Home/Cooking-School

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
4 teaspoons Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1 pound lean ground chicken
1 1/2 cups julienned carrots
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped unsalted peanuts
4 green onions, chopped

1. In a small bowl, whisk the first six ingredients until blended.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the chicken, carrots, pepper and garlic over medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, breaking up chicken into crumbles; drain.
3. Stir in peanut butter mixture; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 3-5 minutes or until sauce s slightly thickened.  Serve with spaghetti.  Top with peanuts and green onions.

Makes 6 servings

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Avocado Key Lime Smoothie

Who doesn't love smoothies.  They are quick, refreshing and delicious:)  Smoothies are a favorite of mine for  a  breakfast on the run  or for a nutritious snack.   Today's recipe has  half of an avocado, a banana, Key Lime yogurt, chia seeds, soy milk, and honey as the ingredients.  This smoothie gets its' subtle lime flavor from the yogurt.  I love the combination of lime and avocado.  It has a nice cool refreshing taste.   Blend the ingredients  together and you have a very refreshing and healthy beverage. Quick, easy, nutritious, and delicious:)

Avocado Key Lime Smoothie

1/2  of an avocado
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1/2 cup Key Lime yogurt
1 cup Vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup ice cubes

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve.

Ready To Be Blended

Makes 2 drinks

Monday, August 10, 2015

Crock Pot Beef Stew

Beef Stew is one of those comfort foods I never tire of.  Tender pieces of meat with loads of veggies cooked in a rich broth.  The aroma as the stew cooks is mouthwatering.   Wait until you taste this stew. Goodness in every bite.  Meat that is so tender it could melt in-your-mouth and veggies that are flavorful and cooked to perfection.   And the broth - so rich and delicious you need a piece of bread to mop up every drop.

This stew is cooked in a crock pot.  All of the ingredients are placed in the crock pot, stirred, and set on low to cook for 6-8 hours.  Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.  Ladle the stew into bowls, serve with a crusty piece of bread and enjoy:)

Crock Pot Beef Stew

2 pounds Beef Chuck Short Ribs boneless
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup of quartered fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen corn
3 red potatoes, diced

1. Cut the beef into bite-sized pieces and place in the crock pot.  Mix onion powder, flour, salt, and pepper in a small mixing bowl.  Pour over meat; stir to coat meat with flour mixture.
2. Add the remaining ingredients to the crock pot.  Stir to mix well.  Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours or on HIGH 4-6 hours.
3. Stir stew before serving.  Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.  Serve.

Makes 6 servings

Friday, August 7, 2015

Lime-Avocado Ice Cream

Avocado ice cream?  At first, I was skeptical. I wasn't sure how avocados would fair as the main ingredient for ice cream.  Let me tell you - it is wonderful.  It has been a long time since I have tasted such delicious ice cream.   It is so rich and creamy and has a wonderful buttery texture.  The lime and the avocados compliment each other to make a delicious frozen treat.  It kinda tastes like Key Lime Pie filling.  Besides the flavor another big plus for this recipe is no ice cream freezer required.  Everything is done in your blender and then the "custard" is poured in a metal pan.  Freeze for 2 hours - stir - freeze for 2 hours and serve.  That is it:)  Your delicious ice cream  is ready to enjoy.

Lime-Avocado Ice Cream
From Good Housekeeping Magazine

3 ripe avocados
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon finely grated lime peel
3/4 cup lime juice (6 limes)
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a blender add the avocados, sweetened condensed milk, and the whole milk.  Puree until smooth.
2. Add the lime peel, lime juice, and salt.  Blend until smooth.

Everything Blended Together

3. Pour into a 9-inch square metal pan.  Freeze 2 hours.  Stir frozen edges of ice cream toward center.  Freeze 2 hours longer or until firm.  Serve.

Ready For The Freezer

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Southwestern Egg Sandwich

Ever since the Egg McMuffin, I have enjoyed egg sandwiches. You get to eat all the breakfast basics- egg, meat, cheese, and bread in one delicious bite. The Southwestern Egg Sandwich is a delicious cousin to the Egg McMuffin. 
This breakfast is quick, easy, and nutritious.  I started by toasting an English muffin and spreading some butter on both muffin halves.    One MorningStar Farms Original Sausage patty was cooked in the microwave for about 45 seconds.  These patties are  veggie patties with a wonderful savory flavor.  I then topped the patty with some diced green chili followed by and over easy egg and a slice of cheese.  The sandwich is then topped with the top of the muffin.

A great breakfast to enjoy that is easy and fast to prepare. And did I say delicious:)

Southwestern Egg Sandwich
1 English muffin
1 MorningStar Farms Original Sausage patty
2 teaspoons diced green chili
1 over easy egg
1 slice cheddar cheese

1. Toast an English muffin.  Butter both halves of the muffin.
2. Cook the Sausage patty on a microwave safe dish for about 45 seconds.  Time may vary according to your microwave.
3. Assemble your sandwich by placing the sausage patty on a buttered muffin half.  Top with the green chili, over easy egg, cheese, and muffin top.  Serve.

Makes 1 sandwich

Sunday, August 2, 2015


Switchel is a beverage I read about in Cook's Country Magazine.  Basically, it is a beverage made from ginger, vinegar, maple syrup, water, rolled oats, lemon zest, and salt.  All the ingredients are placed in a bowl, covered, and placed in the fridge for 6 to 24 hours.  The longer you chill this beverage the stronger the ginger flavor.  

Once the Switchel is taken out of the fridge it is strained into a pitcher.  You serve the Switchel over ice.    I let my Switchel chill for about 8 hours.  It had a sharp gingery taste.  It was nice to sip on but not a  beverage I would gulp down.  

From Cook's Country Magazine 

6 cups water
3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Bring all ingredients to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Once simmering, remove from heat and let cool completely.
2. Transfer switchel to bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.  Strain switchel through fine-mesh strainer set over 2-quart pitcher.  Serve over ice.

Makes about 2 quarts