Sunday, October 30, 2016

Instant Pot Posole

I love my new Instant Pot. It is one of the best kitchen appliances I have.  Tonight for dinner, I made a New Mexico favorite - Posole.  Posole is a flavorful soup which has pork, broth, red chile sauce, posole  (hominy) and spices.   A very hearty and satisfying dish.   It is very popular during the holidays.

The Instant Pot makes cooking Posole a breeze.  You begin by cooking your posole in your cooker for about 19 minutes.  Then drain your posole, set it aside in a large bowl, and prepare your meat sauce.  I browned my pork in small batches in a large cast iron skillet on the stove.   Once the meat was browned, I set it aside and cooked my onions until soft.  I added the garlic cloves and cooked for about 30 seconds.  I let the onion mixture cool and processed it in a blender using some chicken broth.  I added the red chile and spices to the onion mixture and blended until smooth adding chicken broth as needed.

I then added the pork and chile sauce to my Instant Pot.  Stirred to mix well and cooked on the "Stew" setting.   When the sauce was done, I added the cooked posole to the pot and stirred.

I then ladled the Posole into bowls and garnished with some cilantro, cojita cheese, and served with a lime wedge.

Instant Pot Posole
From Pressure Cooking Today adapted by From My Southwest Kitchen

1 (32-ounce) bag frozen posole, thawed
2 pound boneless lean pork cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher Salt and pepper
Vegetable Oil
1 white onion cut into chunks
4 cloves of garlic
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup ground red chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
4 chicken bullion cubes
3 cups boiling water
1 (12-ounce) can or bottle of beer
Lime wedges
Cotija cheese, crumble

1. Put the posole in your Instant Pot and cover with water to the maximum line.  Seal the pot and press the "beans" setting.
2. Release the pressure from the pot.  Let posole sit for about 10 minutes before draining.  Set the drained posole aside. Clean the pot.
3. Season the pork cubes with kosher salt and pepper.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and brush with vegetable oil.  Brown the pork in batches.  Set aside.
4. Add oil to the skillet if needed and cook the onion until soft about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 second.  Remove from heat.
5. Place the onion and garlic in a blender.  Add about 1/2 cup chicken broth and blend until smooth.
Add the red chile, cumin and Mexican oregano and process until smooth. Add more chicken broth if needed.
6. Dissolve the bullion cubes in the  boiling water.  Add the browned pork, chile/onion mixture, remaining chicken broth, bullion mixture, and beer to the pot.  Stir and seal the pot.
7. Select "stew" setting.  Once cooked let rest for 5 minutes and then release the pressure.
8. Add cooked posole to the pot and stir.  Taste and add salt and/or pepper if needed.   Ladle into bowls and top with cilantro and cotija cheese.  Serve with a lime wedge.

Makes 6-8 servings

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Crock Pot Corn On The Cob

I have discovered a wonderful way to cook corn on the cob.  In the crock pot. The corn comes out moist and tasty.  The family enjoyed the taste and texture of the corn.    I am constantly amazed  at what you can cook in this wonderful device.

This is a very easy recipe to make.  You place the ear o corn on a piece of foil and put a pat of butter on top.  Wrap the corn tightly in the foil and place in the crock pot. Once you have wrapped all the corn in foil place them in a crock pot.  Turn the crock pot on low and cook for 4 hours.  The corn is ready to serve.

Serve the corn with butter, salt, and pepper, if you wish.

Crock Pot Corn On The Cob
Special Equipment: A 6-quart crock pot

4 ears fresh corn, husked
4 tablespoons butter
Salt Pepper and extra butter


1. Place an ear of corn on a piece of foil.  Add a tablespoon of butter on top of the corn.

2. Wrap the corn tightly in the foil and place in the crock pot.   Repeat until all ears are wrapped in foil.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

3. Remove the corn from the crock pot and unwrap carefully.  Serve with salt, butter, and pepper.

Makes 4 servings

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Spicy Basil Tomato Soup

Soup weather has arrived.  Nothing takes the chill off a fall day like a nice bowl of Tomato Soup.  Pair this delicious soup with a grilled cheese sandwich and you have one tasty and satisfying meal.

Tomato Soup is easy to make and very budget friendly.  I use canned plum tomatoes with basil added, butter, onions, some vegetable broth, garlic, some brown sugar,  seasoning and a half slice of white bread.    I cooked all of the ingredient together in a heavy bottom saucepan for about 10 minutes.   I let the soup cool and then removed the bay leaf and processed in a blender.  I reheated the soup, tasted, and added some more salt and pepper.  Ladled the soup into some bowls and topped with fresh basil ribbons.  That's all there is to making this creamy  soup. 
Make yourself some and enjoy a cup:)

Note:  If you cannot find plum tomatoes with basil just add a fresh sprig of basil to the soup. 

Spicy Basil Tomato Soup

1/2 slice white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, mined
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (28 ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil
1 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh basil cut into ribbons or torn

1. Tear the 1/2 slice of bread into 1-inch pieces and set aside.  Melt the butter in a heavy bottom saucepan  over medium-low heat.  Add the onion, garlic, bay leaf,  and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Cook until the onion is soft - about 5 minutes.  
2. Add the pepper flakes, the tomatoes and their juice, broth, sugar, and bread pieces to the sauce pan.  Break up the tomatoes and stir.   Cook the soup for about 10 minutes or until the bread pieces break down.
3. Remove the bay leaf.  Turn off the heat and let the soup cool.  Once cooled process the soup in small batches in a blender.  
4. Pour the soup back into the saucepan and reheat.  Taste and season if necessary with salt and pepper.  
5. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with fresh basil ribbons or torn basil leaves.  Serve.

Makes 4 servings


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fall Favorite: Sparkling Indian Corn Cookies

My son, Tim, needed a treat for his Boy Scout meeting.  A great excuse to bake and try something new.  I saw these cookies last year and I made a note to bake them.
These cookies are slice and bake.  I don't do that well with slice and bake cookies but these weren't that hard.  Instead of rolling the dough into a log you press three different colors of dough into a 9x5-inch loaf pan.    You refrigerate the dough then slice and bake. Nothing could be easier.
The dough is made by beating together butter and sugar.  You add an egg, orange juice, orange zest and salt.  You then add flour and baking soda to the mixture.  The dough is then divided into thirds.  You color one part of the dough orange with orange paste or gel food color.  If you use liquid food coloring it will mess up your dough.  For another third of the dough you incorporate melted semisweet chocolate.  I recommend melting your chocolate using a double boiler.  That way it won't burn.  Believe me, burnt chocolate will ruin the best of recipes.    Once the dough has been refrigerated, you remove it from the pan.  First, you slice the dough crosswise about 1/4 of an inch thick.  You then cut each slice into six wedges (they look like little pie pieces) or triangles.  Put on a baking sheet and bake.  The aroma of  these cookies when are baking is wonderful.  In fact, two of Becky's friends came over when I was baking the cookies.  They told me my house sure smelled good.  Remove the cookies for the oven, cool, and  then coat with sugar.
These cookies are little gems of goodness.  The orange juice and orange zest added such a wonderful flavor to the cookies.   You can't eat just one.  These cookies are great for any occasion.  You just color the dough to match the occasion.

Sparkling Indian Corn Cookies 
From Land O Lakes


1 cup Land O Lakes Butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Orange paste or gel food color
1 (1 ounce) square  semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup sugar

1. Line bottom and sides of  9x5-inch loaf pan with waxed paper or plastic food wrap.  Set aside.
2. Combine butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy.  Add egg, orange juice, orange zest and salt.  Continue beating until well mixed.  Reduce speed to low; add flour and baking soda.  Beat until well mixed.

Butter and Sugar

Flour and Baking Soda
3. Divide dough into thirds.  Press one-third of white dough evenly into bottom of prepared pan.  Add a small amount of orange color to another piece of dough.  Mix until well blended.  Press orange dough evenly over white dough in pan.  Incorporate well, the melted chocolate into the remaining one third of the dough. Press the chocolate dough evenly over the orange dough in pan.  Cover with plastic food wrap.  Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).

White Dough Pressed in Bottom of Pan
Orange Dough
Orange Dough Pressed in Pan
Melting Chocolate in Double Boiler
Chocolate Dough Placed On Top of Orange Dough
4. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl; set aside.
5. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Invert loaf pan to remove dough.  Peel off waxed paper.  Place layered dough onto cutting surface.  Cut loaf crosswise into 1/4-inch slices using a sharp knife.  Trim edges to make even, if necessary. Cut each slice into 6 wedges.  Place 1-inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Cutting Dough
6. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned.  Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.  Immediately place warm cookies in bowl with sugar; roll in sugar to coat.  Place cookies onto wire cooling rack.  Cool completely.
Cookies Rolled in Sugar
7. Store in loosely covered container.

Makes 15 dozen cookies

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Fall Favorite: Autumn Crunch Snack Mix

This snack mix has some of my favorite tastes of fall -  apple cider, maple syrup, candy corn, and dried cranberries.  I make it for snacking, lunches, fall parties, movie nights,  just about anytime.  It has a sweet crisp flavor with a hint of apple.

Autumn Crunch Snack Mix                                 


2 cups Wheat Chex
2 cups Corn Chex
2 cups stick pretzels
1-cup corn nuts
1- cup mixed nuts
½ cup butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 package (.74 ounce) Spiced Apple Cider Mix
¼ cup maple syrup
1-cup candy corn
1- cup dried cranberries


1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.
3. Toss together the Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, stick pretzels, corn nuts, and mixed nuts in a large mixing bow.   Set aside.
4. Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.  Once butter has melted, stir in the brown sugar, Spiced Cider Mix, and maple syrup.  Bring to a boil.
5. Boil the syrup mixture for 3 minutes (4 minutes for high altitude) stirring frequently.
6. Pour the syrup gradually over the Chex mixture stirring until the mix is well coated.

7. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan.

8. Bake for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes.
9. Remove mix from oven and let cool.

10. Transfer to a bowl and toss with the candy corn and dried cranberries.
11.  Store in an airtight container.