Cheeseburger Macaroni

This recipe was not a hit with the family. D doesn’t like meat. Berto doesn’t like cheese. The Hubs doesn’t like ground meat or cheddar cheese. Sigh. This meal, to me, was wonderful! I do believe, though, it had less to do with the actual meal than with the fact this dish is true comfort food and it’s been over 100 degrees here in Cali. Maybe dinner would have been more successful had I just served ice cream. Hmmm, things to ponder . . .

Ingredients:

1 Lb ground beef (I Texas Longhorn beef from the farmer’s market and it cooked up similar to ground turkey, but still had a wonderful beef flavor)
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 cups milk
2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni (or whatever you have on hand, I used penne)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I can see any number of types of cheese being used and it being wonderful)

Seasonings:

1 1/2 Tbs cornstarch
3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp black pepper

Preparation:

Heat a large skillet to meidum high and brown meat. Once cooked, drain any fat that remains.

While meat browns, mix together seasonings in a small bowl. When drained, return meat to skillet and add seasonings, stirring to combine. Pour in hot water, milk, and pasta. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is cooked.

Stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Remove from heat and let stand for a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Serve immediately with melty garlic bread and a crisp salad.

Wine Pairing Suggestions (because no matter the dish, we always need wine)

Barbera
Pinot Gris / Pinot Grigio
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 6

Total time: 25 minutes


*Derived from FoodFanatic


Mexican Lasagna

I seem to be having a problem with life / work / blog balance lately. While I’m still cooking up a storm, it’s been tough to find the time to post about it.  This, however, REQUIRED me to get it up as soon as possible!  Not only did the entire family give it 3 very enthusiastic thumbs up, but 2 of my fab girl friends did, too!  When the Mexican hubs is this excited about a dish, I know it’s  not only a keeper, but should be a repeater, too. You see it served in the photo below with my baked tortilla chips. Oh, and It’s just as good the next day, and the next, for lunch!  ¡Buen provecho!

Ingredients:

1 lb lean ground beef (can easily sub chicken or turkey)
1 cup water
2 Tbs Tajin (go easy on Tajin, it quickly becomes too salty)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 ½ cups sour cream, divided
1 tsp Mexican paprika
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 Tbs cornmeal
10 flour tortillas, 6 inches (mine were much larger, so I cut them in half)
1 cup salsa (such as Herdez)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large skillet heated to medium, cook beef until no longer pink, drain.  Stir in water, Tajin, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and Mexican paprika.  Set aside.  Sprinkle cornmeal into a greased 13×9″ baking dish.

Arrange five tortillas, overlapping, in the bottom of the prepared dish.  Spread ½ cup salsa, add ½ of the meat mixture and ½ of each cheese.  Repeat layers.

Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Corona (ok, admittedly not wine, but come on!  This is all the flavors of Mexican food!)
Cabernet Franc
Sangiovese
Beaujolais
Chianti

Serves 8 (large servings)

Prep time: 25 – 30 minutes; Bake & standing time: 50 minutes

Mexican Lasagna & Baked Tortilla Chips

Mexican Lasagna & Baked Tortilla Chips

*Derived from Taste of Home


Breakfast Pizza

This was another great “make ahead” meal for Tahoe.  One of the things I truly love about this recipe is its versatility.  Don’t like sausage?  Add more bacon.  Or just leave it out completely.  Not a fan of meat in general?  Remove the meat and add mushrooms and shredded potatoes.  You can even go “traditional” dinner pizza by adding Canadian Bacon and Pineapple for a Hawaiian theme.  Add some of the vegetable bounties of summer, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, etc.  Take any of your favorite omelets and, you guessed it, turn it into a breakfast pizza!

Ingredients:

10 slices of bacon
10 links pork sausage
12 eggs, beaten
2 (8 oz) refrigerated crescent roll dough (such as Pillsbury)
1/2 cup salsa (such as Muir Glen)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preparation:

Dice bacon and cook in a large skillet heated to medium-high, until browned.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

Remove sausage from casing.  Crumble sausage in same skillet used for bacon.  Cook until no longer pink in the center.  Transfer to plate with bacon to drain and cool.

Drain most of the grease from the skillet and return pan to medium heat.  Cook and stir eggs until scrambled.  Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350°.  Roll out crescent dough to cover bottom of 9×13 cookie sheet.  Bake dough until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Let dough cool.  Spread a layer of salsa onto baked dough; top with scrambled eggs.  Sprinkle crumbled bacon and sausage over eggs.  Top entire pizza with cheese.

Bake until cheese is melted and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.  Cool, cut, and serve!

Serves: 8
Total time: 50 minutes

Breakfast Pizza

*Derived from AllRecipes.com

Beef Enchiladas

The other night I had a nice big steak I bought to practice my searing skills. Sounds weird, I know. But that’s just how I roll!  LOL  Anyway, I had steak leftover and didn’t want it to go to waste.  I know a lot of people here in the United States like to make enchiladas with ground meat, but ground meat isn’t an often used ingredient in Mexico.  But steak is.  And I had enough to for these amazing, thumbs up enchiladas.  Oh, and if anyone tells you to use anything other than corn tortillas for enchiladas, let them know that it is then no longer an enchilada, but a burrito with sauce.  Here are a couple of tips for working with corn tortillas – first, use white corn whenever possible, they are more pliable; and second, warm the tortillas (no more than 2 at a time) in a skillet on medium to low heat.  Be sure to just warm and not cook, this will make them pliable for rolling without cracking or splitting.

Ingredients:

1 lb diced steak (you can sub with ground meat of your choice)
2 cups Quick and Easy Enchilada Sauce (can sub 16 oz no sugar added red enchilada sauce or salsa)
1/s tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Mexican Blend seasoning (such as Morton & Bassett)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt)
10 white corn tortillas
*for some heat, you can add a 4 oz can of green chile peppers

Preparation:

In large skillet, heat the steak through.  If using ground meat, cook over medium heat, breaking up while cooking.  Drain off any fat.

In a medium mixing bowl, add meat, garlic powder, Mexican blend seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.  Next add 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 1 cup of cheese.  Mix well.

Warm tortillas in skillet and place 1/2 cup meat mixture in center of tortilla.  Roll tightly and place seam side down in large baking dish lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  Combine the remaining enchilada sauce and 1/2 cup sour cream, spread over enchiladas.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and tent loosely with aluminum foil and bake until bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with your lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, etc.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Grenache
Merlot
Sangiovese

Serves 6

Prep time: 30 minutes; Cooking time: 30 minutes

Beef Inchiladas

Beef Enchiladas

*Derived from Skinnyms.com

Bacon and Cheddar Puff Pastry Crisps

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  It’s all about the food, family, and friends!  You don’t have to worry about anyone’s favorite color, what size of jeans they wear, or if you have picked the right handbag.  Nope, just come hang out and eat and drink!  What is NOT to love about Thanksgiving.  I know a lot of people are not thrilled with the amount of cooking.  But if you love cooking, you ARE thrilled with the amount of cooking.  I always have to force myself to not plan the menu before November 1st, and that is such a struggle.  This year, however, I didn’t make it.  I was in a slump while planning my daughter’s 5th birthday, which is on Halloween.  We did a fairy theme.  And the food I wanted to make seemed to grown-up to me.  I didn’t want something total kid, either.  I was really stuck.  So, to get me unstuck, I planned the entire Thanksgiving menu over a glass (or two, ok maybe three) of wine.  This was probably mid-October.  One problem with that, by the time Thanksgiving actually rolled around, I felt so out of touch with it.  It was an odd feeling for me, like I had lost my groove.  I have promised myself that next year, I’ll be sure to sit on my hands the month of October!

Ingredients:

1 pkg (17.3 oz) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
1 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese
1 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup prepared ranch salad dressing (I used Bolthouse Farms, it’s made with Greek yogurt, making it a little healthier)
2 Tbs chopped fresh chives

Preparation:

Heat oven to 470°.

Unfold 1 pastry sheet on lightly floured surface.  Roll the pastry sheet into a 12/2″ square.  Cut into 36 (2″) squares.  Prick pastry with a fork.  Repeat with the remaining pastry sheet, making a total of 72 squares.  Place the squares on a baking sheet

Bake for 8 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.  Using the back of a small spoon, press down the centers of the hot pastries to make an indentation.

Spoon about 1/2 tsp each of cheese and bacon onto each indentation.  Bake for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.  Remove the pastries from baking sheet and let cool on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Top with dressing and chives.

Serves 72 pieces
Prep time: 20 minutes; Total time: 30  minutes

Bacon & Cheddar Puff Pastry Crisps

Bacon & Cheddar Puff Pastry Crisps

*From Pepperidge Farm

Mexican Black Bean Pizza

Remember Taco Bell pizzas?  Anyone who has ever had a love of fast food knows Taco Bell pizzas.  There was something so good about them.  Maybe it was the flour tortilla crust, all crunchy and munchy.  What was not so good about them?  How truly bad they are for your body.  Probably not such a big deal when I was in my 20’s.  Certainly an issue now that I’m in my 40’s.  From the perspective of my thighs, if nothing else.  And, I’d like to keep my kids as far away from fast food as I can.  It’s such a horrible habit to get into and such a difficult one to break.  Try this lighter, healthier version and I promise, you’ll forget about your Taco Bell days!

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 Tbs olive oil
8 (6″) flour tortillas
1 small onion chopped (or buy the pre-chopped from the produce section)
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
½ cup salsa, mild or spicy
*Optional – 2 oz canned chopped mild green chiles
*Optional – You can add about ½ a cup of any meats you may prefer, pulled pork, chorizo (casing removed), shredded chicken, etc.

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Mix half the Cheddar cheese with the Monterey Jack in a bowl and set aside.
Brush a baking sheet with 1 Tbs olive oil (or line with parchment paper) and arrange tortillas in a single layer.  Using a fork, puncture each tortilla a few times.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese evenly over 4 of the tortillas, then cover each with a remaining tortilla.  Bake 5-6 minutes or until browned slightly.

While tortillas bake, heating 1 Tbs olive oil in a skillet and cook onions until browned.  Add beans and partially mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork.

Remove tortilla pizzas from the oven and top each with bean mixture.  Top with salsa, green chiles (if using), meat (if using), and cheese mixture.  Return to oven and back until cheese melts, about 10-20 minutes.  Serve with sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce, avacado.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Sauvignon Blanc
Bonarda
Pinotage

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Cook time: 25 minutes

Mexican Pizza

*Derived from Bush’s Beans

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Fat Taquitos

Sometimes I wonder if my life resembles the chicken and the egg a little.  Did my love for Mexican food come before my love for a Mexican?  Or did my love for a Mexican enhance my love of Mexican food?  As long as I can remember I’ve loved Mexican food.  Hot, spicy Mexican food.  Then I fell in love with a Mexican and found a whole new appreciation for Mexican food, and, well, all things Mexican in general.  And that brings me to my Fat Taquitos.  I’m always on the hunt for Mexican food recipes, and for new ways to make Mexican food.  And one of the strongest Mexican food critics sits at my table!  I had a feeling these were going to be good, but did feel a bit apprehensive as I set the plate down at lunch a few Saturdays ago.  Would they pass muster?  Would I be sent back to the drawing board?  They passed muster!  And I got a thumbs up from one of my little foodies!! 

Ingredients:

8 small (6″) corn tortillas
1½ cups shredded chicken
½ cup prepared salsa (I like to use the fresh salsa usually found in the produce section)
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
¼ tsp Morton & Bassett Mexican Blend seasoning
Sour cream and guacamole for dipping

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix the chicken and salsa.  Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

While chicken and salsa is in refrigerator, begin warming tortillas for use. In a small skillet heated to medium-warm add one tortilla at a time.  You want to warm the tortilla and not cook it.  When tortilla is warmed on both sides, set aside and keep warm.  Continue with all tortillas

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375°.  Remove chicken salsa mixture from refrigerator and drain any liquid.  Add cheese and Mexican Blend seasoning.  Combine well.

Take one tortilla and lightly brush what will be the outside with olive or canola oil.  Lay on clean, dry surface and spoon about 2 tablespoons of filling down the middle of the tortilla.  Roll tightly and place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Add a sprinkling of kosher salt across the tops.

Bake 14-16 minutes, until crispy.  You might need to pop on the broiler for a few minutes.  Serve with enchilada sauce, salsa, sour cream, and / or guacamole!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Malbec
Merlot
Pinot Noir
Sangiovese
Sauvignon Blanc

Serves 4

Prep time: 20 minutes; Baking time: 16 minutes

Taquito

*Derived from Hungry Girl