Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

I love a nice bowl of hot soup on chilly days.  Not only does soup warm you up but it is a nice hearty meal for a light dinner or to go with your favorite sandwich at lunch.  This soup has a wonderful flavored broth loaded with beans,veggies and pasta.  Top it off with some grated Parmesan cheese and you have a great tasting bowl of soup.    This is a very easy  soup to make.  Start by browning the pancetta in some olive oil.  Next add the onion, salt, carrots, and celery.  Cook for about 10 minutes and then add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce, both types of beans, pepper, Italian seasoning, bay leaf, Parmesan cheese rind, (if using), and crushed red pepper flakes.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes. Add pasta and cook.  Ladle the soup into some bowls, top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth 
1 (15- ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1(15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
Rind of Parmesan cheese - optional
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry  Ditalini pasta
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a Dutch oven heat the oil and add the pancetta.
2. Brown the pancetta and then add the onion, carrots, celery, and salt.  Cook for 10 minutes.
3.  Add the celery and cook until fragrant.  Next place the chicken broth, tomato sauce, both types of beans, pepper, Italian seasoning bay leaf and rind of Parmesan cheese if using. Stir well, cover and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until pasta is cooked.
5. Remove the Parmesan cheese rind. Taste and season if  necessary and ladle soup into the bowls.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 8

Friday, January 27, 2017

Post From The Past: Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is one of my favorite condiments.    I use it as a dip with tortilla chips, spoon it on my tacos,  use as a topping for my eggs,  cook with it.  It has endless possibilities in my kitchen.      I love the tanginess and just the hint of saltiness of the salsa.  The tanginess comes from the tomatillos.

Tomatillos belong to nightshade family like tomatoes. In fact, when husked the tomatillo resembles a green tomato.  Tomatillos are small fruits enclosed in a husk.  The husk is inedible.

When choosing tomatillos for this salsa, they should be firm and bright green

Salsa Verde

1-1/2 pounds tomatillos
½ cup chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic
½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2 Jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeds removed, and cut into chunks
Salt to taste

1. Line a baking sheet with foil.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.
2. Remove husks from tomatillos.  Wash under cold water.
3. Cut the tomatillos in half and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Place under a broiler until the skin of the tomatillos is slightly blackened, about 5 minutes.
4. Place the roasted tomatillos, onion, garlic, cilantro leaves, lime juice, sugar, ground cumin, and Jalapeno peppers in a blender.  Blend until ingredients are finely chopped and mixed.
5. Season to taste with salt.
6. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with chips or with your favorite Mexican food.

Makes 3 cups

Inside of a Tomatillo

Ready For Roasting

Slightly Blackened

Ready to Blend

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sauteed Lemon Chicken With Fried Capers

The other day at the library I found Sara Moulton's latest cookbook, Home Cooking 101 How to Make Everything Taste Better.  As I was thumbing through the book, I found a recipe that caught my eye - Sauteed Lemon Chicken With Fried Capers.   It looked delicious and was so easy to make.  I set to work. 

Chicken breast cutlets are seasoned with salt and pepper and coated with flour.  They are then fried until lightly golden on both sides.  When the chicken breast cutlets have been cooked, they are transferred to a plate.  Next  lemon slices are dipped in sugar and lightly caramelized.  The lemon slices are transferred to the plate with the chicken.  Now a delicious lemony sauce is prepare with shallots and chicken stock.  The chicken and lemon slices are returned to the skillet and simmered until the chicken is heated through.  The sauce thickens as it cooks.

Serve the chicken with some sauce and lemon slices over the chicken and top with the fried capers.  Wow -  this is the best lemon chicken I have ever tasted.  So tender and flavorful with just a hint of citrus.  The capers add some extra zing.  A very nice addition to the recipe.

Sauteed Lemon Chicken With Fried Capers
Home Cooking 101 How to Make Everything Taste Better By Sara Moulton

1 pound skinless chicken breast cutlets, preferably thin sliced
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed, drained, and dried very well
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large lemon, sliced very thin crosswise
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 1/4 cups Chicken Stock

1. Working with 1 cutlet at a time, pound the chicken until it is 1/8 inch thick and transfer to a plate.  Pat the chicken dry and cut the pieces in half if they are too large to saute easily.
2. In a large skillet, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the capers and heat the pan to medium-high.  Cook, stirring until they are crispy, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the capers to a small bowl with a slotted spoon.
3. Spread out the flour on a piece of parchment on the counter.  Heat the skillet over medium-high heat.   Working with half the chicken at a time, season the cutlets on both sides with salt and pepper and coat them lightly with the flour, lifting the parchment paper on both sides to help coat the chicken and shaking off the excess.  Add the chicken to the oil in the pan and cook until lightly golden, about 2 minutes per side.  Transfer to a plate.  Add 2 tablespoon oil to the pan.  Season and flour the remaining chicken and saute, transferring it as it is done to the plate.
4. Dip the lemon slices in the sugar, coating them lightly on both sides, and add them to the skillet.  Cook over medium heat until they are lightly caramelized, about 1 minute per side.  Transfer to the plate with the chicken.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring 1 minute.   Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.  Return the chicken and lemon slices to the pan, along with any juices from the plate.  Simmer gently, turning the chicken over several times until it is heated through.
5. Transfer the chicken to 4 plates and simmer the sauce until it has thickened slightly.  Spoon the sauce and lemon slices over the chicken and top with the fried capers.  

Servings: 4


Monday, January 23, 2017

Deb Wise's Tamale Pie Mix-Up

Tamale Pie  is a great tasting casserole full of southwestern flavor.  You have green chili, chili powder, corn, garlic, and black olives  just to name a few ingredients that make this casserole delicious.   This recipe is very easy to prepare.  All of the ingredients except the cheese are combined together and baked for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and  sprinkle with cheese and bake for about 5 more minutes and dinner is done.   Perfect for large gatherings or when you need something easy and quick for the family.

Deb Wise's Tamale Pie Mix-Up
From Southern Living Magazine Adapted Slightly by From My Southwest Kitchen

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal 
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 3 garlic cloves) 
  • 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chile
  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • 2 cups tomato sauce 
  • 1 cup frozen or drained canned corn 
  • 1 cup cup drained canned sliced black olives 
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. chili powder 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
  • 6 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups) 
  • Sour cream (optional) 
  • Chopped fresh cilantro (optional) 
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together milk and cornmeal; set aside.
    2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add beef to skillet and break the beef up as it cooks. Cook until all pink is gone. Add  garlic,  onion powder, and green chile.  Cook until fragrant about 30 seconds.  
    3. Stir beef mixture into cornmeal mixture. Stir in tomato sauce, corn, olives,chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a lightly greased 13x9inch glass or ceramic baking dish. 
    4. Bake in preheated oven until set and well browned around edges, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from oven; sprinkle with cheese. Return to oven, and bake until cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes. If desired, top servings with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with cilantro.

    Serves 8

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tuna Salad Sandwich

Tuna Salad is one of my very favorites.  Whether I use it to make a sandwich, or just enjoying a scoop with some rice crackers.   Usually I make the familiar recipe of tuna, mayonnaise, celery, and seasoning.  Recently, I found a tasty recipe on Simply Recipes website.

In this recipe, canned tuna is combined with mayonnaise, celery, cottage cheese, capers,  parsley, and some lemon juice.   At first I wasn't too sure about the cottage cheese but it gave the tuna salad flavor and texture.  The  one change I made in this recipe was substituting onion powder (1 teaspoon) for the diced onions.  I am not a fan of onions in my sandwiches.

This was one of the best recipes for tuna salad.  In fact, it has become my go to recipe.  Try it, I think you will enjoy it.

 Tuna Salad
Simply Recipes 


1 (5 or 6 ounce) can of tuna fish (drained, if packed in water, drain it, and add a teaspoon of good quality olive oil to the tuna)
1/3 cup of cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons of mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion or 1 teaspoon onion powder
1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 Tbsp of capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch or two of dill
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard


1. Mix all of the ingredients  together in a mixing bowl.  Serve on bread for a sandwich or serve on a lettuce leaf with some crackers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Hour Dinner Rolls

Homemade bread is one of my favorite things.   I love the taste, texture and freshness of the bread.  Making bread isn't all that difficult.  I used to shy away from baking bread because I thought it was difficult and very time consuming.  And at times, my loaves came out looking like bricks.   However, with some practice and a few failed attempts, I now love making bread.
I have a few Bread cookbooks, but I find most of my bread recipes on the Internet.  I like the variety and the baking tips from the different sites.  I found this recipe on  Our Best Bites website.  A very easy recipe with great tasting results.

One Hour Dinner Rolls
Our Best Bites

1 1/2 cups non-fat milk
3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons sugar
4- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon rapid rise/quick rise yeast (or if you have packets, one packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) will work just fine))
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 egg at room temp (place in a bowl of warm water for at least 5 minutes)
additional melted butter (a few tablespoons) for brushing on at end
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place milk, butter, and sugar in a microwavable container and heat for about 2 minutes. You want this mixture to be between 120-130 degrees, for best results use a digital instant read thermometer to gauge the temperature.
3. While the mixture is heating, combine 3 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. When milk mixture is heated to about 125 degrees, add to the flour mixture and start to beat. Add egg and continue to beat until everything is combined. Scrape down sides of bowl and then add the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time. I almost always add 4 1/4 cups total. The dough will be very soft and sticky.
4. Place remaining flour on a cutting board or silicone mat (or additional flour, if you used all of yours in the dough) and very gently scrape out the dough using a spatula. Dust the top of your dough with flour and then using your hands, lightly pat the dough into a rectangle.
5. Score the dough into sections (24 for dinner roll size) and gently form portions into balls. Place in a 9x13 pan that has been sprayed with non stick spray. Let dough rest for 20-30 minutes until puffed and almost double in size.
6. Bake rolls in preheated oven 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.
Great tip
  • To accelerate rising, place dough in an oven or microwave that has been turned off, and place a pan of steaming water underneath.

Makes 24 rolls


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Vegetable Soup

During the cold months, my recipe focus is on soups.  Soups are great comfort food and they warm you up from head to toe.  Today's soup recipe is loaded with lots and lots of great tasting veggies with some pancetta and pasta. Mmmm... delicious.     Top with some Parmesan cheese and serve with crusty bread.   Perfect for a light dinner or a great tasting lunch.

Vegetable Soup
From Bon Appetit
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
2 ounces pancetta, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled, cut into ½” pieces
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan rind
½ bunch Tuscan kale, bottom stems trimmed, sliced into ½” strips (about 4 cups)
1 cup cooked pasta, rice, and/or grains
Torn basil leaves and grated Parmesan (for serving)
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or small stockpot over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring often, until pancetta is lightly browned around the edges and fat is partially rendered, about 5 minutes. Add onion, carrot, celery, and potato and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and onion is translucent, 10–12 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, lightly breaking them up with your hands as you add to the pot; add chicken broth, bay leaf, and Parmesan rind. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and add kale. Simmer until potatoes and kale are tender, 10–15 minutes. Remove from heat and add pasta, rice, and/or grains. Serve with basil, grated Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 8 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pressure Cooker Creamy Chicken And Wild Rice Soup

In several of my posts, I have raved about my Instant Pot.    Today's recipe is another great recipe made in my Instant Pot.  Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice soup is a hearty and delicious soup loaded with flavor.   The rice is cooked to perfection  with the chicken and veggies  cooked in a delicious creamy base with some cream cheese added for a nice velvety texture. Goodness in every bite. 

The family loved this soup.   Everyone went back for seconds. This recipe is a keeper.

Pressure Cooker Creamy Chicken And Wild Rice Soup
From Pressure Cooking Today
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
2 14 oz. cans chicken broth
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, uncooked and diced
6 oz. package Uncle Bens Long Grain & wild Rice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
dash red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half


1. Select Saute and add butter to the pressure cooker pot. When butter is melted, add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken broth, chicken, wild rice (discard seasoning packet) salt, pepper, and parsley to the pressure cooking pot.
2. Lock lid in place, select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time and start. When timer beeps, turn off pressure cooker, wait 5 minutes, then do a quick pressure release.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water. Select Simmer (Saute on low on the Instant Pot) and add cornstarch mixture to the pot stirring constantly. Add cubed cream cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Add milk and half and half and heat through but do not bring to a boil.  Serve.

Serves 6-8

Monday, January 9, 2017

Crock Pot Hearty Beef and Pasta Soup

I love this soup recipe.  Why you ask - because it is that perfect meal to prepare when you have a busy day ahead of you or you would just like a day to relax a bit.  Most of the ingredients are placed in a slow cooker except for a can of beans, pasta and cheese.  You add those ingredients about 30 minutes before you are going to serve the soup. 

Another reason to love this soup is the taste.  It is a very satisfying soup that is truly delicious.  All of the ingredients work well together with not having one overpower the other.  For example, having too many beans in soup.  With this soup - that is not the case. 

So on your next busy day or when you just want to have a day for yourself bring out the crock pot and enjoy a bowl of this soup.

Crock Pot Hearty Beef And Pasta Soup
From Slow Cooker Kitchen Adapted Slightly From My Southwest Kitchen

Special Equipment: Crock pot 6-quart

1 pound lean ground beef
2 whole carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 (14.5 - ounce ) cans beef broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and pepper
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney bean, drained and rinsed
1 cup  dry ditalini pasta  
Fresh Parmesan cheese

1. In a skillet brown ground beef and drain fat.  Add the ground beef to the crock pot.  Stir well.
2. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes, beef broth, oregano,  and basil to the crock pot. 
3. Cover the crock pot and cook soup on low for 7-8 hours or on high 3-4 hours. 
4. About 30 minutes before serving time taste and season the soup with salt and pepper.  Add the beans and pasta.  Stir well and cover the crock pot.  Cook  for 30 minutes.
5.  Check pasta for doneness after 30 minutes.  If needed, cook a few minutes more.  
6. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Serves 6-8

Friday, January 6, 2017

Chile Cheese Souffle Squares

A delicious egg bake that is sure to please even the pickiest  of eaters.  I love this recipe because it has a wonderful slightly firm but yet light texture.  The flavors of the cheese, eggs, and green chile work nicely together to make this a very satisfying dish.    This dish is also very versatile as it can be served for breakfast, brunch or for a light dinner.  I served this souffle for dinner and it was perfect.   You  probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen so it is great to fix if you are in a time crunch.

Chile Cheese Souffle Squares
From Our Best Bites

8 tablespoons real butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
10 eggs
7 oz can fire roasted green chiles, drained
1 pint (2 cups) cottage cheese
1 lb monterey jack cheese, shredded


Slice butter into large chunks and place in a 9×13 pan.  Place pan in oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add 1-2 eggs and whisk mixture until there are no lumps.  Add in remaining eggs and whisk until smooth.  Stir in green chiles, cottage cheese, and jack cheese and stir until just combined.  Remove pan from oven and make sure butter coats bottom of pan.  Pour butter into egg mixture and stir to combine.  Pour mixture into warm pan.  When oven is preheated place pan in oven and cook for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and cook for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden and slightly browned.  Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into squares and serve.

Serves 6-8

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


Who doesn't like waffles?  Slightly crisp and delicious squares that ooze out syrup or jam when you bite into them. Perfect for breakfast or even dinner.  I sometimes make a double recipe so I can freeze some and save them for later.

My favorite recipe for great tasting waffles is the one I found on the Pioneer Woman website.  Perfect waffles every time.  The texture  has a slight crunch and is tender with a very slight vanilla flavor.  Add some butter, syrup, and some chopped nuts.  Tastes just as waffles should taste.

From Pioneer Woman

Special Equipment: Waffle Iron


2 cups All-purpose Flour
3 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
1-1/2 cup Milk
2 whole Egg Yolks
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon (additional) Vanilla Extract
1 stick (1/2 Cup) Salted Butter, Melted
4 whole Egg Whites


Preheat the waffle iron to the regular setting.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, 2 egg yolks, and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and very gently stir until halfway combined. Pour in the melted butter and continue mixing very gently until combined.

In a separate bowl (or using a mixer), beat the egg whites with a whisk until stiff. Slowly fold them into the batter, stopping short of mixing them all the way through.

Scoop the batter into your waffle iron in batches and cook according to its directions (lean toward being a little deep golden and crisp!) Remove and serve immediately with softened butter and warm syrup.

Serves 8

Monday, January 2, 2017

Teriyaki Beef And Mushrooms

I decided to start the New Year with a delicious stir fry dish.   I like to prepare stir fry dishes because they are quick, loaded with veggies, and satisfying.  In this recipe,  tender strips of beef cooked with some mushrooms, snap peas and bean sprouts.  All  of the ingredients are then tossed in a delicious teriyaki sauce.   Spoon over some rice and your dinner is made.

Teriyaki Beef and Mushrooms
 From Pillsbury


1 1/3 cups uncooked regular long-grain white rice 
2 2/3 cups water 
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce 
2 tablespoons dry sherry 
2 teaspoons cornstarch 
1 teaspoon grated ginger root 
1 tablespoon oil 
3/4 lb. boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into thin bite-sized strips 
6 to 7 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cups frozen sugar snap peas 
4 oz. (1 cup) fresh bean sprouts

  1. Cook rice in water as directed on package.
  2. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, sherry, cornstarch and ginger root; blend well. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in large skillet or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef strips; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until beef is browned and of desired doneness. Remove beef from skillet; cover to keep warm.
  4. In same skillet, combine mushrooms and sugar snap peas. Cover; cook over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until peas are crisp-tender, stirring once or twice.
  5. Stir cornstarch mixture until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture, beef and sprouts to skillet; cook and stir until sauce is bubbly and thickened. Serve over rice.
    Serves 4