Flour Tortillas

Hallelujah! I found the best, most authentic tasting, not to mention easiest flour tortilla recipe out there. What makes it even more amazing is that the dough is very forgiving and really easy to roll out. Recipes that call for milk, baking powder or oil cannot come close to the awesomeness of shortening (or lard), sorry! I used this non- hydrogenated vegetable shortening instead of Crisco.

Last night I made chimichangas, which my family loved – but the star of the meal was definitely the tortillas. The batch I made didn’t last long – in fact, my son requested a wrap for his lunch using the last one 😉 I made another batch today that is half white whole wheat, half all-purpose flour in an attempt to redeem these a little. They are still as pliable and soft as the all white flour tortillas and just as tasty! Thanks for reading, enjoy! 🙂

Flour Tortillas – adapted from The Urban Spork

  • 2  3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, lard or 2 1/2 tablespoons of each (for the most authentic version)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup very warm tap water

Directions

Combine the flour and shortening in a large mixing bowl and work the shortening into the flour with your fingers until completely incorporated.  If this isn’t done thoroughly (until no particles of shortening remain visible), the tortillas will have an irregular texture.  Dissolve the salt in the water and pour about 2/3 cup over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps.  If all the dry ingredients haven’t been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary).  Scoop the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth.  It should be a medium-stiff consistency – not firm, but not quite as soft as most bread dough either.

Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball.  Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 minutes – this makes the dough easier to roll.

Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.

Flatten a ball of dough, flour it, then roll forward and back across it; rotate a sixth of a turn and roll forward and back again; continue rotating and rolling until you reach a 7-inch circle, lightly flouring the tortilla and work surface from time to time.

Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should hear a faint sizzle and see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface).  After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over.  Bake 30 to 45 seconds more, until the other side is browned; don’t overbake the tortilla or it will become crisp.  Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer.  Roll and griddle-bake the remaining tortillas in the same manner – stack them one on top of the other in the warmer.

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Chicken Gyros

Well, I know my husband liked it because he ate three! Needless to say, there are no leftovers…boo! But I’m glad he liked them 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Gyros – adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Tzatziki sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and zest
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To assemble:

  • Pita bread (I made these again)
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions –

Shred the cucumber or chop in food processor. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips. Heat pitas. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.

Small Batch Brownies

Quick Post: Light, cakey brownie. Not chewy, but it hit the spot 🙂  Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brownies – adapted from Just Eat It!

  • 1/2 cup chopped chocolate (about 3 ounces)
  • 6 TBSP butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted walnuts

Directions –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three – 6 ounce ramekins or a small baking dish.

Melt the butter and chocolate on low heat, stir and set aside to cool slightly. Whisk together the sugar and the eggs, then stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.

Add the flour and cocoa powder. Fold in the nuts. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until set, and the center should be a little underdone.

And now for something completely different…

In an effort to rid my home of chemicals, I made these. All the ingredients were easy to find, some of them are probably already in your home. The essential oil and the Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap are kind of spendy if you’re cheap like me 😉 Thankfully these two ingredients are used sparingly and it seems that a little goes a long way. I actually enjoyed cleaning with these! They smell great, rinse off easily, aren’t harsh, and best of all – they actually work! Speaking of the smell – you can buy a different castile soap and essential oil to create your favorite scent combination. I love lavender and the tea tree oil soap combo, but next time I may buy peppermint soap to go with the lavender. I also like that the kids can help me clean, and I don’t have to worry about them breathing in fumes, getting this on their clothes or on their skin. If you’re interested in learning more about these recipes, go here. The post is really informative! Thanks for reading!

Miracle Mac n’ Cheese

It was getting closer and closer to dinner time, but I had no idea what to make. My girl and I flipped through Pintrest and came across this recipe and she said I should make it 🙂 This mac n’ cheese is so easy, you don’t have anymore excuses to buy boxed stuff, and if you can boil water, you can make this tasty macaroni and cheese! It’s pretty neat how cooking the noodles in milk makes all the difference. My daughter (aka. The Picky One) ate two servings of this – that is a very rare occurrence in this house. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Miracle Macaroni and Cheese – heavily adapted from Budget Bytes

  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni pasta
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese ( I used sharp white cheddar)
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions –

Combine the dry macaroni and 4 cups of milk in a medium pot. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over medium/high heat while occasionally stirring. As soon as it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the pasta is tender (about 10-15 minutes). Make sure to stir often during this process to keep the pasta from clumping or sticking to the bottom of the pot. Promptly replace the lid each time to help hold in the moisture. Once the pasta is soft and has absorbed most of the milk, season with salts, pepper, paprika, and dry mustard, or the spices of your choice. If the mixture begins to look dry, add the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Turn the heat off and stir in the shredded cheese. Serve immediately.

Orange Raspberry Muffins

The co-op has inspired me to find new way of enjoying organic produce! And after doing a quick search on FoodGawker, I found this recipe, and it was just in time, because I hate wasting food. These have great flavor, but the oven time and temp was way off for me. I thought as I read “400 degrees for over 20 minutes”, it wouldn’t be right for a muffin. Next time I will bake them at about 375 for 15-20 minutes. When these had about 8 minutes left, I knocked down the temp for a couple more minutes, then tested the muffins with a toothpick. I don’t know why I don’t always go with my gut on this sort of thing! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Orange Raspberry Muffins –  adapted from Susi’s Kochen via Baking: From My Home to Yours

  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • About 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups King Arthur Self-Rising flour (250 grams)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries – fresh, preferably, or frozen (not thawed)
  • Decorating sugar, for topping (optional)

Directions –

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Butter or spray the molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Pour the orange juice into a large glass measuring cup or a bowl and pour in enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance or orange strong. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough – the batter will be lumpy and bubbly, and that’s just the way it should be. Stir in the raspberries. Dived the batter evenly among the muffins cups.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. If you want to top the muffins with decorating sugar, sprinkle on the sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. When fully baked, the tops of the muffins will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.

Cheddar Biscuits

Quick Post: I made these to go with this salad. They were cheesy and delicious. The End!

Cheddar Biscuits – adapted from No More To Go

  • 1 ¾ cups King Arthur Self-Rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt (*next time I will use less salt – at least 1/4 tsp less*)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup butter, cold
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Butter:

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon dried parsley

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with canola oil.
3. Combine flour, salt, and garlic powder in a large bowl.
4. Using a pastry cutter, food processor, or just two forks, cut in the cold butter.Combine the butter using this method until you have pieces of butter no bigger than a pea.
6. Add cheese and milk and mix with your hands until just combined.
8. Drop using a ¼ cup measuring cup onto your prepared baking sheet.
9. Bake for 11-13 or until the tops of the biscuits are light brown.
10. While the biscuits are cooking, combine the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.
11. When the biscuits come out of the oven, brush them with the butter glaze and serve

Baked Zucchini Fries and Ranch Dressing

This recipe is floating around Pintrest lately. I knew I would have to follow my sister’s lead and serve these alongside hamburgers. These were really tasty and a healthier alternative to fries, and if you haven’t made homemade ranch before, you really should!  It’s fresh, creamy, flavorful, and what makes it even better is that it’s cheap to make and full of ingredients that you can pronounce. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

P.S. I reheated the leftover “fries” in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, and they were just as crispy! 🙂

Baked Zucchini Fries – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (*I forgot to add this, but it would have been a nice addition*)
  • 1 lb zucchini, cut into 4-5-inch sticks

Directions –

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a cooling rack in your baking sheet.
  2. Place flour in a large zipper bag.
  3. Whisk eggs with 2 Tbsp water and place in a shallow dish.
  4. Place Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine.
  5. Place zucchini in the bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Dip the zucchini into the egg and then into the panko, turning to coat well.
  6. Place breaded zucchini on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Directions –

  1. Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender.
  2. Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing.
  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for a week or more.

French Bread Pizzas

Quick Post: These were amazing! I tried out a new bread recipe that worked out really well for these, and this Greek dressing was a great addition to our green salad. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

French Bread – adapted from The Galley Gourmet 

  • 3 cups bread flour (381 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
Directions –
In a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, yeast, sugar, olive oil, and water.  Mix on low speed until a dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Add the salt and increase the speed to medium; knead for 10 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball.  Lightly grease the inside of the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft-free space to rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently deflate the dough.  Divide the dough in half and form into balls.  Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.  Form each ball into a 16 x 2 inch loaf.  Place the loaves onto a large parchment lined baking sheet, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside in a draft-free space to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375º F.  Bake the loaves until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Transfer to racks to cool completely.  Slice and serve at room temperature or rewarm before serving.  Enjoy!
French Bread Pizzas – adapted from Budget Bytes 
  • 2 loaves of French bread
  • 1-2 cups marinara sauce
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • pepperoni chopped
  • dried oregano for sprinkling over the top, optional
  • Parmesano Reggiano and other Italian cheeses for grating over top, optional
Directions-
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Cut your baguette into the size you want your pizzas. I had a half length baguette so I cut it in half (lengthwise) then sliced it open to make four pieces, each about 8 inches long and four inches wide.Top each pizza with about 1/4 cup of sauce and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. I like to sprinkle on a little extra Italian spices at this point to kick up the flavor. Follow this up with pepperoni or whatever other toppings you are using. Bake the pizzas in the oven at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges of your bread are brown and crispy.
Greek Dressing –  adapted from Center Cut Cook
  • 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

Directions –

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar, shake and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

Breakfast Tostada

I came up with this breakfast idea the day before I needed it, and I’m a little ashamed to admit  that I was pretty excited about it. Is it bad to get excited about breakfast the afternoon before you get to eat it? These pinto beans and this pico de gallo were about ready to be tossed out – what a waste! Corn tortillas are a must for these, and form the crispy base of this filling breakfast. Once the tortillas were nicely browned, I prepared the sunny side up eggs. While those were cooking I warmed up the beans (topped with lots of Monterey jack cheese) in the microwave. At this point, my stomach was really talking to me! Place your corn tortillas on the bottom of the plate, top with the warmed beans, place the perfectly cooked (nice and runny) eggs on top and spoon pico on top! It was so good 🙂 I wish I had more beans in my fridge, because I would have eaten it again for lunch – seriously! Thanks for reading 🙂