Thursday, January 28, 2010


Here is a cool spin on an old favorite - Mac-n-Cheese! Try it with a Southwestern flair! It's delicious and so hearty, you could serve it as the main entree for dinner and the whole family would be happy! Well unless you have a hubby that is a "meat and potatoes" man like mine is! *wink*


1 (16 oz) pkg. uncooked elbow macaroni (or pasta of your choice)
1 lb Ground Beef
1 medium onion, diced
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chiles
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1 pkg. Taco seasonings
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 (8 oz) brick shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1 (8 oz) brick shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Pace Picante, medium

Extra Shredded Mozzarella and Pepper Jack
Tortilla chips, crushed
Sour cream

Cook macaroni according to pkg directions. In a separate skillet, brown 1 lb of ground beef with 1 medium diced onion, 4 oz can of chopped green chiles and 1/2 cup diced tomatoes. When the hamburger is done, stir in the packet of taco seasoning. Meanwhile in a dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in milk, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat, stir in cheeses. Drain macaroni, and pour into cheese sauce in dutch oven. Stir in ground beef mixture and Pace picante. Top with more shredded cheese and bake in oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Serve with extra salsa and sour cream, if desired.


Don't you just love a good Southwestern flavored dish? Here are a couple of new recipes to add to your collection. This first one is a dip that goes together in a snap. It's a good ol' standby for a spur of the moment get-together, and young and old people alike love this dip.


8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz sour cream
4 oz Pace Picante, medium
1 Tblsp chopped green chiles
2 Tblsp Taco seasoning (more or less to taste)

Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth, Stir in sour cream, and taco seasoning. Beat with mixer until combined. Add picante sauce (or salsa) and chopped green chiles. Stir with wooden spoon until well combined. Serve with tortilla chips.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I was going back through my pic files and realized there are pics of recipes that I haven't posted yet! This is one of them, and it's one of our all time favorites! Peach Cobbler. I should have posted it when peaches were in season. But it turns out equally good using canned peaches. It goes together in a snap and puts a smile on everybody's face!

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches (if using canned, buy peaches packed in juice, not syrup)
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Note: If using canned peaches - drain them first, then proceed.

Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.

To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or a good quality vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I've been away too long! But I'm back with a brand new chicken dish. I've been hearing and reading a lot about braising lately. A while back my daughter in law made braised beef ribs and we enjoyed them immensely. Yesterday I watched a French chef make braised rabbit, and I thought, wow, that recipe would be good with chicken! I also have to take my hubby's tastes into consideration, so many times a recipe gets altered simply because I know he won't care for the ingredients. And meal time isn't all about me playing with food! haha It's about pleasing the ones I'm feeding. And I certainly want my family to enjoy what I fix for them!
This chicken was SO wonderfully moist! It received thumbs up from everybody - but especially hubby, which means I'll be making it again and again!

What is braising and what cuts of meat are best suited to being braised?

Braising is a slow, wet cooking method that blends flavors and softens tough textures. The best cuts of meat for braising are those with a lot of connective tissue, that is, the sinew (gristle) and fat that hold the bands of protein together in meat. The connective tissue, during a long, moist cooking process, breaks down into gelatin, becoming soft in texture while retaining its juiciness. Many of these cuts would be horribly tough and unpalatable if they were cooked quickly or with dry heat, since high temperatures make the connective tissue hard and chewy. Braising develops deep, layered flavors and a thick, richly-textured sauce.

Beef cuts most suitable to braising are: chuck pot roast, brisket, rump roast, short ribs, flank steak, skirt steak, eye round roast, top round roast, shanks, chuck eye roast, arm pot roast, shoulder pot roast, cross rib roast, blade roast, bottom round roast and 7-bone pot roast. Veal cuts best suited to braising are: shanks, neck, rib chop, short ribs, arm roast, blade roast, shoulder eye roast, arm roast, round steak, rump roast, breast, riblet, kidney chop and sirloin steak. Cuts of pork that are best braised are: blade roast, picnic roast, sirloin chop, country style ribs and trotters. Lamb is especially good braised, shanks, rolled breast, shoulder roast, shoulder arm chop, neck, blade chop, riblets and sirloin chop are the cuts most used. And the legs and thighs of poultry are good braised, whether chicken, turkey or duck.

Most of these cuts are less expensive, which makes braising a flavorful, satisfying, and inexpensive dinner. Braises are especially easy to prepare if you use a crockpot. Braises are usually served over or with a starch, whether a rice pilaf, couscous, barley, risotto, polenta, wide egg noodles or with biscuits. A mixed salad with a sharp vinaigrette balances the meal.


  • 4 chicken leg quarters (or 8 thighs) (dark meat works best in this recipe)
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 cups white cooking wine (sold in the sauce & marinade aisle)
  • 6 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 dozen small pearl onions, peeled
  • 1 pound button mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup croutons (I buy the extra large ass't. Caesar croutons, and I don't measure!)
  • 1 ounce chives, finely chopped


Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Bring the chicken stock and cooking wine to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and keep at a slow, steady simmer.

Warm the olive oil and butter in a 7 quart cast iron low-sided braiser (I used an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven) over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dust with the flour. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onions and mushrooms and sweat, while stirring, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bay leaves and thyme leaves. Pour in the hot stock/cooking wine mixture, cover with a round of buttered parchment paper (Don't use the lid to the pan, just use the parchment paper and make sure it is pressed right down on top of the chicken and the broth) and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove and discard the parchment paper and bake 10 minutes more.

(to make this parchment cover: use the lid to the pot - lay it on the parchment paper and draw a circle around it. Cut the circle out. Cut a small venting circle in the middle of that for the steam to escape)

To check for doneness, using a small knife pierce the thickest part of the thigh. The meat should feel tender. Remove chicken to serving platter. Scoop out onions and mushrooms and scatter over chicken. Sprinkle the croutons and chives over the top. Serve.