Follow by Email

Monday, August 8, 2016

Southwestern Turkey Soup

Soups are quick and easy and create a break in the dull routine of the usual meals. They can be used as first course or main course. Thus ground turkey recipe is also lo-cal and good for you.

                                                 Southwestern Turkey Soup

1# ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 seeded, minced jalapeno
1 tsp minced ancho chili with adobo sauce (Caution: Hot!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1cup diced carrots
1/4 cup diced red or green bell peppers
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (retain a few for garnish)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup cooked and drained black beans
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (retain half for garnish)
1 cup crispy tortilla strips (retain some for garnish)

In a heated stew pot, add oil, and onions  and saute until translucent. Add garlic for 1 minute. Break up ground turkey and add to pot, stirring to break up large clumps. Saute until almost cooked. Add carrots, bell peppers, jalapenos, and ancho chilis. Stir in tomato paste. Add broth, black beans, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Uncover, add tomatoes, cilantro, and tortilla strips, retaining part of each ingredient for garnish.

Serve and garnish.  Quick, easy, and delicious.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Summer Grilled Southwestern Pork Chops

Summer grilling is the most enjoyable way to cook. Sitting outside with a cold beverage and conversation with friends beats a kitchen any time. Pork is a healthy meat choice. This recipe combines traditional with a southwestern flavor.

                               Summer Grilled Southwestern Pork Chops

6 bone-in pork chops, 1/2-in thick
3 Tablespoons AP flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced

Mango-Orange Salsa

1 tsp lime zest
1 1/2 cup red onion, small diced
1/4 cup jalapenos, diced
1 1/2 cup mango, diced
1 cup Mandarin oranges, small diced
1/4 cup Mandarin orange juice
1/2 cup red delicious apple, peeled and small diced
salt/pepper to taste

Pork Chop Marinade

Mix flour, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper, and dried thyme. Add to large Ziploc bag. Place pork chops in bag and shake to thoroughly coat.

Oil grill. Preheat to medium-high. Place chops on grill. Cook one side for two minutes, then turn 1/4 turn for grill marks. Cook 5-6 more minutes. Turn over and repeat. Sprinkle with lime juice before removing from heat. Total cooking time should be between 13-15 minutes.

Mango-Orange Salsa

Mix  red onion, jalapenos, mango, apple, and mandarin oranges. Add lime zest and juice of 1 lime and Mandarin juice. Season with salt and pepper 

Place a spoonful on top of each chop before serving.

Excellent side dish:

Grilled Potatoes in Lime Butter.

5 large Yukon Gold potatoes, thin sliced
1/2 lime, juiced
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt/pepper to taste
6 large squares aluminum foil

Mix basil, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and softened butter. Place a portion of sliced potatoes in the middle of aluminum square, Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold edges to make a foil packet. Keep as thin as possible for proper cooking. Place potato foil packets at edges of grill while cooking chops. Start 4-5 minutes before cooking chops. When done, potatoes should be fork tender. Serve with chops.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Chinese New Year Lemon Chicken

To honor Chinese New Year, and because I love Chinese food, here is a great chicken recipe to break that old fried or baked habit.

                           Chinese Lemon Chicken

4 chicken thighs, boned, skinned and cubed, or 2 breasts
3 Tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tablespoon cooking oil
1 tsp white sugar
1/2 lemon juiced
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup white rice flour
2 green onions, chopped
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 cup water
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Make a marinade with oyster sauce, sugar, soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil, and 1/4 cup water. Add chicken. Let chill and stand for 1 hour.  Drain.

Place chicken in beaten egg mixed with 1/4 cup water. Heat saute pan over medium heat, add cooking oil. Add salt, white pepper, and lemon zest to rice flour. Dredge chicken in flour, add to hot saute pan. Cook and stir until cooked (About 5 minutes). Add a little water when cooked to make a light sauce.

Serve over rice. Sprinkle sesame seeds and green onions on serving.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas in Salsa Verde

If you love Mexican food as I do, you are undoubtedly familiar with pork carnitas. This roasted pork dish can be made with little effort using a slow cooker to slowly bring spices and the natural sweet pork flavor together in a fiesta for your tongue.

                             Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in Salsa Verde  

Cook time: 6 hours
Note: For less spice heat, substitute 2 whole jalapenos instead of ancho chilis. Remove jalapenos before serving.

2# pork shoulder or pork loin
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1 Tablespoon rough ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cumin powder

1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 white onion, fine chopped
1 roasted ancho chili with 1 teaspoon Adobo Sauce (Store remainder of can in Tupperware container. It will keep a very long time) 
1/2 cup cilantro, fine chopped (If you prefer, use parsley)
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 limes, juiced
2 cans (4oz) Salsa Verde
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons olive oil

Preheat large skillet over medium-high heat.
Preheat slow cooker on  low heat.

Mix salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and cumin together. Rub pork shoulder with spice mix. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil to skillet. Sear shoulder in skillet by turning .

Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to slow cooker. Add pork shoulder. Add garlic, onion, oregano, half (1/4 cup) of cilantro or parsley, and add ancho chili with Adobo sauce. Add 1/2 cup water to slow cooker. Squeeze juice of 2 limes over the top of pork.  

Cover and cook for 5 1/2 hours on low. Drain liquid from slow cooker, add Salsa Verde, and cover and cook for additional 20-30 minutes.  Pork should pull apart with a fork when done.

Serve over rice with remainder of cilantro or parsley for garnish, or serve with flour tortillas for soft tacos.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Southwestern Thanksgiving Appetizers

During the holidays, appetizers are important. They whet the appetite for the meal and provide a reason for guests to sit around the kitchen while the cook prepares the meal. Try something different from the usual cheese and crackers this year.

                                           Spicy Black Bean Hummus

1 garlic clove
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, reserve liquid. (Fresh cooked black beans reduce calories.)
2 Tablespoons black bean liquid
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Tahini paste (Below is a quick recipe)
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
Dash of hot sauce or 1/4 tsp. minced Ancho chili in Adobo sauce.

Blend all ingredients in blender or food processor until a smooth paste. More black bean liquid can be added if needed to thin.

Homemade Tahini Paste

5 cups sesame seeds
1-1/2 cups olive oil

Toast seeds in 350-degree oven for 5-10 minutes, mixing often so they don't burn. Blend in blender or food processor until smooth. Keep refrigerated.

                                        Southwestern Boursin Cheese Spread

2 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. butter, room temperature
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesean or Asiago cheese
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Mix softened butter and cream cheese thoroughly in a bowl. Add grated Parmesean or Asiago cheese. Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Refrigerate until firm. Serve at room temperature with an assortment of crackers and tortilla chips.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken Stew

A friend of mine is reduced to Crock Pot cooking for a while. Here's a recipe for you, Mara. Anyone who likes Cajun food, chicken stew, or the easy convenience of a slow cooker will enjoy this one. I often substitute chicken breasts for thighs, but thighs and legs have a little deeper flavor.

                                      Slow Cooker Cajun Chicken Stew

2# bone-in chicken thighs, or a mixture of thighs and legs.
1 medium white onion, small diced
2 carrots, peeled and medium diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, washed with peeling left on, medium diced. This keeps potatoes from getting too mushy.
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 cup chicken stock (If salted stock, use less salt in seasoning)
1/4 cup tomato sauce (Tomato juice will work. If you prefer, substitute 1 diced whole tomato near end of cooking time, but tomato sauce is more convenient.)
1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning, or some type of Creole or Cajun seasoning. Old Bay is great.
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce (About 3 shakes. Add more for additional zing)
Salt/pepper to taste

Add onion, carrots, potatoes, garlic, butter, and flour to slow cooker on low heat. Stir to mix flour with veggies. (The flour mixed with the butter and the juice from the chicken will make a nice roux as it cooks.)

In a skillet, heat oil on high heat. Add chicken and fry while turning for 5 minutes until brown.
Add chicken to slow cooker.
Reduce heat of skillet to medium. Add chicken stock and tomato sauce. Stir to de-glaze pan of chicken bits. Reduce liquid by 1/3. Add to slow cooker.

Season slow cooker contents with thyme, salt, pepper and half the Old Bay Seasoning.  Cook on low heat for 4-1/2 hours. After about 4 hours, lightly stir, add the rest of the Old Bay and Tabasco Sauce. Add additional salt if needed.

This hearty meal is great for cool weather, but don't wait until winter to try. Cajuns eat it year round.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fall Flavor Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops

Fall is the perfect time for grilling. In the Southwest, the evenings are getting cooler. In the rest of the country that means sweater weather. In Arizona, it means 80 degrees. Pork is one meat that lends itself well to outdoor grilling. Its somewhat delicate taste allows the use of brines, marinades, and sauces to enhance the flavor. This recipe is one of my favorites. It incorporates the flavors of fall in a unique way.  Enjoy!

                               Fall Flavor Stuffed Grilled Pork Chops

The Brine

2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 qts. water
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 piece cinnamon stick

4  - 1 1/2 inch-thick bone-in pork chops

Mix ingredients, stirring until salt and sugar are thoroughly dissolved. Take chops and add to brining liquid. Refrigerate for at least one hour. remove chops and pat dry

The Chops

4 brined chops, patted dry.
4 slices Fontina cheese
4 thick slices apple wood smoked bacon
1 cup chopped raw spinach
4 wooden toothpicks or skewers
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Bring grill to medium-high heat. Place bacon strips on grill and cook until almost done, turning when necessary. Allow to cool.
Alternative method - Place bacon strips on same foil-lined baking pan as sweet potatoes. Remove after 15 minutes and set aside.

Slit a pocket in the side of the chops. Add a slice of cheese, a slice of bacon, and 1 tablespoon of chopped spinach. Seal with toothpick or skewer, trying to close pocket well to prevent cheese from running out during grilling. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill on medium-high heat about 6 minutes per side, turning 1/4 turn after 3 minutes per side.

Grilled Sweet Potato Cakes

4 medium sweet potatoes
4 pats butter
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
S/P to taste

Bake in 400 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Check doneness by inserting a toothpick. Should go in easily.
Scoop out meat, chop, add thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper, and form into 4 round patties.
Place on medium-high heat grill. (Can be grilled with chops) Grill 2 minutes and turn. Add pat of butter to grilled side.

Serve with chops.

Cranberry-Mandarin Orange Salsa

1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1 cup Mandarin oranges, small diced
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
1 tsp chopped jalapeno
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon Mandarin orange juice
1/2 tsp dried thyme
S/P to taste

Mix all ingredients. Allow to sit 1/2 hour for flavors to marry. Serve over grilled stuffed  pork chops.