Monday, February 27, 2012

A little gimmick to make taco night a little more exciting

I have Corey to thank for this one -- he made these for us last night for dinner and they were terrific. Because you bake them in the oven, they're not quite as tasty as their deep-fried counterparts. They are super cute though. I'm not including a recipe for the taco beef because if you don't know how to buy a packet of seasoning and follow the directions on it, then you have no business being in a kitchen. (I think I have been watching too much "Top Chef".)

Homemade Taco Salad Bowls

4 medium-size flour tortillas
Olive oil or vegetable oil (just a few teaspoons)
4 oven-safe cups or jelly canning jars

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, place the cups or jars upside down, evenly spacing them to make room for the tortillas that will be draped over them.

2. Microwave the tortillas for about 30 seconds, until they are soft and pliable. Rub a teaspoon or so of oil on the front and back of the tortilla. Use a basting brush or your fingers and make sure to very lightly coat the entire surface of the tortilla.

3. Drape each tortilla over a cup or jar and softly press the sides of each tortilla down a bit to help them form more of a bowl shape.

4. Bake the tortilla bowls for about 8-10 minutes, checking often so they don’t burn, until the tortillas are lightly browned and crisp. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the tortillas cool for a few minutes before gently removing them from the cups or jars.

5. Fill them with yummy things like lettuce, broccoli slaw, taco seasoned-meat, shredded cheese, chopped olives, chopped cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, and salsa.


-- I like to mix the sour cream and salsa together (about two parts sour cream to one part salsa) first and it makes a chunky pink sauce of deliciousness.

-- You can also use larger-sized tortillas but would probably need to use some sort of oven-safe bowl or bigger-sized canning jars to form the bowls. We liked the little size and ate two each.

-- Corey can probably commit all sorts of crimes with impunity now because he burned his fingerprints off by underestimating just how hot the glasses would remain (long after the tortillas were taken out of the oven). Word to the wise -- let the glasses cool off for a LONG TIME before you try to put them in the dishwasher.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Faux Stroganoff (aka Mushroom Beef Skillet)

Once I tasted this dish, I panicked. You see, Corey doesn't share my love of beef stroganoff and this tasted an awful lot like it. There is no form of cream or milk in it, but you might swear there was. I altered the original recipe to use a tastier cut of beef (I'm not a fan of stew beef, so I always use tri-tip or top sirloin.) and I had to make some emergency substitutions (dried minced onions instead of fresh ones, and chicken broth instead of beef broth), and the resulting dish was dee-licious. Corey loved it, despite its similarity to stroganoff. Joslyne -- you should try making this for your parents next time you and Zozo find your way to South Carolina sans Demetri, because I don't know how well chicken would substitute for the beef. A chicken version might be an interesting experiment though!

Mushroom Beef Skillet

2 tbsp flour
1 pound beef (tri-tip or top sirloin), cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup minced onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Hot cooked rice or noodles

1. Place the flour in a large resealable plastic bag. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a skillet, cook the beef in butter over medium heat until browned. Add onion and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender.

2. Add broth, mushrooms, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for about an hour or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve over rice or noodles.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

100th Post Chicken Artichoke Stew

In honor of this blog's 100th post, I must share with you the most delicious dish I have made in months. Corey and I literally swooned when we tried the first bite. I found it using SuperCook (a terrific tool that searches a bunch of different recipe sites and picks recipes based on the ingredients you have on hand). The recipe would have made a ridiculous amount, so I halved the recipe and still had leftovers. I suppose if my picky children would have eaten it I may have needed the full recipe. The photo was taken before I remembered to put in the parsley. You may notice the slivers of carrot that I scrounged from a broccoli slaw mix because I had run out of carrots, so just pretend those are nice little carrot medallions. Here is the recipe as I made it (other than the carrots):

Chicken and Artichoke Stew

1 1/2 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
sea salt
1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 (14.5 oz) can chicken broth
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rounds (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1/8 cup dried parsley
cooked rice or buttered noodles

1. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tbsp butter in a large saucepan over med-high. Brown the chicken on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool.

2. Reduce heat to med. Add 1/8 cup water; scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Add onions; cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour; cook 1 minute more.

3. Add broth and 1/4 cup water; bring to a boil. Add carrots, thyme, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper. Simmer until carrots are almost tender, about 5 minutes.

4. Return chicken to pot. Cover and simmer until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened, 10 to 15 minutes.

5. Add artichokes; cook until warmed about 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Serve over rice or noodles.

Seriously, this was so yummy that it may be my new favorite. I served it over brown rice, but I bet it would be terrific over any type of pasta as well. And please try the SuperCook website. You have to take a bit of time to enter all of the ingredients you have on hand, but then it's all saved there and you can just update it to reflect any changes next time you visit.