Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cookie Brittle

This recipe comes from the Tollhouse Cookie Book. It is supposed to be a cross between a shortbread cookie and a candy brittle. It's a very simple recipe. Carrigan LOVED them (but that could be because I used butterscotch chips which are her FAVORITE). 1 c. butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 c. flour
1 1/4 c. chips (chocolate, butterscotch, white, etc.)

Mix butter and vanilla together. Add flour, sugar, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined. The dough will be dry and crumbly. Press onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. The dough won't reach all the way to the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool and break into pieces.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Oven Baked Chimichangas

These are my current lunch obsession. ;) I made them a few weeks ago for dinner and we all (except Adam-he wouldn't try them) LOVED them. They are crunchy, filling, and flavorful. I wrapped up the remaining chimichangas (once they had cooled) individually in foil and popped them in the freezer. Mike and I had them for lunch that week... just microwave them for 1-2 minutes. They stay crunchy and perfect!

I've been making a batch every Saturday now. I always hate figuring out lunch and have loved having something quick to make (and fairly healthy to boot) on hand.

Oven Baked Chimichangas
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

*Note: this recipe makes use of already cooked rice and chicken so plan ahead!

*Makes 6 -12 chimis

1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups cooked brown or white rice (I use brown)
2-3 cups diced, cooked chicken
1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce*
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (I don't use this)
Salt and Pepper
6 large burrito-size flour tortillas**

Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and heat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Cook the onion until it is just softened and translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in the beans, rice, chicken and chipotle and cook until the mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stack the tortillas on a plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave the tortillas until they are warm and pliable, about 1 minute. Top each warm tortilla with some of the chicken mixture, leaving about a 2-inch border at the bottom of the tortilla. Fold in the sides and roll up the tortilla tightly. Brush the wrapped tortillas with the remaining oil and arrange them seam side down on the hot baking sheet that has been preheating in the oven. Bake until the chimis are golden brown and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve.

* I don't particularly love spicy food, but 2 teaspoons do nothing for me. I keep tasting and add 4-5 teaspoons. Even then it's barely spicy (maybe it's the brand of chipotles I buy?), but perfect for the kids. So, taste it.

** I don't buy the huge tortillas, because the kids usually waste them. I used the regular size tortillas and get about a dozen chimis per batch.

Edited to add: I made these recently vegetarian style without the chicken and loved them even more (Mike liked them, but he prefers them with chicken).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

French Bread

I've tried a few French Bread recipes and felt a little so-so about them. Then I tried this one from Melanie at Mel's Kitchen Cafe. It is so good. Nathan and I just snack on the bread throughout the day. Even Rachel, my non-carb loving girl, loves this bread. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to make and you kind of have to babysit it for the first hour or so, but I'd say it is worth it. It is really good.

French Bread
by Mel's Kitchen Cafe

2 ¼ c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oil
5 ½ -6 cups flour-stirred before measured

Dissolve sugar and yeast in the warm water. Let this proof—or sit for a few minutes until it bubbles. Then add salt, oil and 3 cups of flour and beat well. Add in 2 1/2 -3 more cups of flour. The dough should clean off the sides of the bowl and not be too sticky – but be careful not to add too much flour (I think I use about 5 3/4 cups). Knead for a few minutes.

Leave the dough in the mixer to rest for 10 minutes and then stir it down (turn on your mixer for 10 seconds) and then allow to rest another 10 minutes. Repeat for a total of 5 times. Then turn dough onto a floured surface and divide into two equal parts. Roll each part into a 9×13 rectangle (this is a little frustrating because the dough always seems to shrink back to a ball, just keep working with it). Roll dough up, starting from long edge of loaf to seal. Arrange seam side down on large baking sheet that’s been sprinkled with corn meal (Mine always sticks unless I spray the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle a very generous amount of corn meal on the pan), allowing room for both loaves. Repeat with second part of dough. With a sharp knife, cut 3 gashes at an angle on the top of each (I use my fileting knife, but a nice steak knife would work also). Cover lightly; allow to rise 30 minutes. Brush entire surface with egg wash (one egg beaten slightly with 1 Tbsp of water) (In my picture you can see where the I missed the bread with the egg wash). If desired, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees (Mine only needs 25 minutes, sometimes less, or it will burn).

For a printable version click here.

Southwestern Beef Wraps

Nathan brought these to Kelli and Patrick's family home evening in July for me. I didn't get to try them then so I decided to make them again for my family. They are so good and so easy. The meat would make great baked chimis or taquitos, I think.

The recipe is from Our Best Bites, which is becoming one of my favorite sites for recipes.

Southwestern Beef Wraps
by Our Best Bites

1 onion, chopped
2 1/2-ish lb. beef roast, trimmed of fat but left whole
1 heaping tsp. chili powder
1 heaping tsp. garlic powder
1 heaping tsp. cumin
1 heaping tsp. Kosher salt
2 bell peppers (you can use 2 green bell peppers or mix it up a little with red, yellow, or orange; just make sure one is green), chopped
1 14 1/2 oz. can Mexican-style diced tomatoes OR 1 can of Rotel tomatoes (regular or mild, depending on your preference)
Small flour tortillas
Other desired toppings: cheese, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, etc.

Put onion in bottom of crock pot. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt. Rub all over meat. Put meat in crock pot. Add peppers and tomatoes. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8-9 hours. Shred meat and serve with desired toppings.

Both times I've made this I used one green and one red bell pepper. I also have some of the leftovers in my freezer waiting to be used another day. According to Our Best Bites, you can assemble the ingredients in a freezer safe container (but do it backwards; ie. tomatoes, peppers, meat, onions) and freeze. When you're ready to use it just add 1-2 hours onto the cooking time.

Click here for printable version.

No Fry Refried Beans

So these are a little harder than just opening a can and microwaving them, but they are better than the canned variety (which really isn't that hard to do in my opinion). I don't have a picture, but they looked just like refried beans. :) Nathan couldn't stay out of them and Rachel would eat them forever if I'd let her.

I originally got the recipe from Allrecipes, but I've adapted them a little

Refried Beans

1 onion, peeled and cut in half
3 c. dry pinto beans
1 fresh jalepeno, seeded and chopped
12ish cloves garlic, smashed
1-2ish tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cumin
3 1/2 c. (2 cans) chicken broth or stock
5 1/2 c. water

Put all ingredients in crock pot and stir to combine. Cook on high for 8 hours. Drain beans, reserving liquid. Mash, adding liquid to desired consistency.

I use my immersion blender to blend the beans to our desired thickness (or thinness, as the case may be). It works great. Allison said she blends them in her blender.

Click here for printable version.