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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Tex Mex Burritos

Tex Mex Burritos are one of my FAVORITE things. The recipe takes a bit more to prepare than my usual recipes but oh so worth it. And, it's still easy...I promise:)

Tex Mex Burritos
1 pkg boneless Chicken Breast
4 C Water
4 Chicken Bouillon cubes
1 T Chili Powder
1 t Cumin
1 T Garlic Powder
1 T minced Onion ~ I used dried
few cranks of fresh cracked Pepper

Throw all of this in a pot and boil until chicken is done, about 30-40 minutes..I've never actually timed it but if you stick a fork in the chicken and it goes in without resistance, you're good. Turn off heat, shred the chicken and put back into broth.

1 pkg of 10 Tortillas~I don't know the size, it's the pack they sell in 10s;)
1/2 Red Pepper and 1/2 Orange Pepper diced ~ you can use one whole pepper any color, I just like how pretty it is to use two different ones.
1/4-1/2 medium onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
2 C Spinach chopped
1/4 C Jalapenos diced~I use the sliced ones in the jar
1 can Black Beans drained and rinsed
1 C Frozen Corn
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder
1 t Cayenne Pepper

Saute peppers, garlic and onion a couple of minutes in a bit of the chicken broth you stole from the chicken. Add the jalapenos (you can use more or fresh, it's just what I always have in the house), black beans and corn. Splash in a bit of the jalapeno juice from the jar. Fold around for a minute or two. Fold in Spinach. Drain chicken and throw it in. Throw in cumin, Cayenne and chili powder. Taste and make sure it doesn't need salt.

Spray 13x9 pan with cooking spray. Put about 3/4 C mixture in middle of tortilla and roll up. Put seam side down and continue until all tortillas are used. If you have extra filling, throw on top of the burritos.

1 can Mild Enchilada Sauce ~ I prefer HOT but some people don't
1 can 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Sour Cream~I use light

Mix together and pour over top of burritos. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes until bubbly. Top with 1-2 C of your favorite cheese, I used a Colby Jack mix and bake 5 more minutes.

While this is cooking put together the best topping in the whole world.

3/4 C Sour Cream ~ I use light
1/2 C Mayo
2 t Dill Weed
1 t Garlic Powder
1 t Onion Powder
3 Ripe Avocados mashed

Mix Sour Cream and Mayo, add seasoning. Chill while the burritos are baking. You can do this step as far ahead as you want. Add avocados to the mix when you put the cheese on the burritos. You can NOT make this too far ahead, it turns a funny greenish brown color. If you did this, skim off the top and the underneath will still be green:)
Here's the chicken ready to shred. I actually prefer to use bone in chicken because it's more moist but I only had boneless in the house.
Shred your chicken and put back into the broth.
Here's your peppers, onion and jalapenos diced up.
The spinach pre chop.
Peppers, garlic, onion and jalapenos in the pan for a couple of minutes with a few T of Chicken broth you stole from the chicken pot.
You've added the black beans, corn, chicken, spinach and seasoning. Cook together for a couple of minutes.
Here is the size of tortillas I buy. You can use any size but this size typically makes exactly the recipe. These turned out to be a bit smaller so I had left over topping. No problem, throw it on top.
Put about 3/4 C of the topping in the middle of the tortilla, roll up. You can add cheese here if you want but the recipe really doesn't need it.
Seam side down in your sprayed 13x9
Throw whatever is left on the top of the burritos. Typically I don't have a lot left over, these tortillas were a bit smaller than usual. You can cover and refrigerate at this point for up to 24 hours. IF you do that, allow an extra 15 minutes of cooking time.
Here is the sauce ingredients.
Whisk together and this is what you get.
Pour it over the top and throw in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes.
I'm gonna be honest and tell you that I don't measure. I did a very good estimate for you up above but truth be told, it's 3 parts sour cream to 2 parts Mayo. The seasonings I did measure this time...just for you:)
This is what a ripe avocado looks like. DARK green that is soft but not squishy.
How to get your pit out...Cut avocado in half, whack with a knife, give a twist of the wrist.
TA DA, out comes the pit. No fuss, no muss.
Take a big spoon and scoop out the yummy avocado.
Here they are ready to meet the fork for some mashing.
Now the choice is yours. Mash these babies until they are smooth or if you're like me and like a few chunks you can do that too.
Need a new camera to get a photo of this mixture. It's a soft green color and OH SO YUMMY. Eat some with chips but make sure to save enough for the burritos.
Out of the oven with the melted cheese. Again, you can leave the cheese off, the sauce is creamy enough but who can pass on melted cheese!?!?
If you're a good hostess you can serve rice and/or salad on the side. I was making these for me and the burritos themselves are enough. And, guess daughter tried them and liked them!?!? WOO HOO!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fried Chicken Wings and Homemade Fries

My kids SUCK to cook for. Actually if you didn't like to cook, they would be your dream come true children. My son likes plain meat and bread. My daughter, yeah I don't know what she really likes, but she doesn't like meat very much. See my problem? They would be thrilled to have frozen pizza or chicken nuggets every night. Me not to much;)

So, this is my compromise and a meal that they actually ask for. A meal that reminds me of being a kid. My Dad was from the south and LOVED his fried foods. Lucky for us, my Mom was the master at frying chicken. Don't be scared, it's not hard and you don't need anything fancy to fry them in, although a deep cast iron pan works best. If you don't have one, soup kettle would probably be your best bet becaause you need something that is deep enough to hold the grease and your food.

You'll need a package of chicken wings, salt and pepper, Crisco and a couple of potatoes, regular and sweet.
Cut your chicken wings in half and cut off that extra wing thing. If you don't have kitchen shears, the best kitchen invention EVER in my opinion, you can use a knife. But, I'd go buy yourself a pair if I were you and ONLY use them for food. OR you can leave them whole, it doesn't matter to me, I'm just making them so my kids are happy and cutting them in half makes them happy.
Here's your chicken all rinsed and patted dry. Sprinkle (not pour) generously with salt and pepper, flip the chicken over and repeat.
Here's the Crisco. I took a picture so you know that I mean the solid stuff and not oil. Oil breaks down when you're cooking and the chicken can get greasy. It's also easier for clean up because when it cools, it gets hard and you can easily scrape it from the pan. You are gonna want about an inch and half in your pan when it's melted so the wings are half covered when you throw them in. In my deep pan, it's about 1/3 a container. I don't use a thermometer so I can't tell you "the temp", I can tell you that my knob is on 8 and when the grease is melted, you can start to smell it ever so slightly probably about 3 minutes after it's melted, it's hot enough. Throw a fry in and if it bounces to the top, your grease is hot enough. Or if you put ONE wing in and it starts to sizzle fast, it's ready. If it's not hot enough, just wait a couple of minutes...that wing will taste fine, it just absorbed some extra grease. A friend told me once to throw a match in and if it's hot enough it will light? Haven't tried it but thought I'd mention it.
You can flour chicken anyway you want, sometimes I put it on a plate but tonight I used a ziploc. I put a cup of flour and a few teaspoons of salt in the bag. I threw in some wings and gave it a shake. Make sure they are well coated but give them a shake as you take them out to get off the excess, you don't want clumpy flour in the pan or on the wings.
I'm an equal opportunity fry girl and because you need to make multiple batches it's ok to mix it up. So here are sweet potatos peeled and sliced fairly thin, regular potatoes sliced thin and one that I left the skin on and sliced thin like thick potato chips. Make sure they are similar in thickness because they need to cook evenly. God forbid we have some mushy fries and some burnt ones.
Here's the chicken frying. DON'T crowd the pan, make sure each wing has it's own place to cook. I'll be honest and tell you that I have a bit too much Crisco in the pan, for best cooking..the wings should not be completely covered. They still turn out ok, you just have to watch them a bit more. You're going to cook them for about 4 minutes and then flip and cook another 4. They should be golden brown when they come out. I'll be honest and tell you that I'm always concerned that chicken isn't cook and err on the side of cooking them too long because it just makes them crunchier.
Here they are fresh out of the hot grease. Put them on paper towels to drain and immediately sprinkle with salt. Start your next batch. DON'T cover them, the crust will get soggy. Wings taste fine even when they aren't piping hot.
Here are the fries in the pan. DON'T crowd your pan, you want them to cook evenly. Stir them around until they are golden. Probably takes about 4-5 minutes, I've honestly never timed it but you all know what cooked fries look like. Sweet potato ones take a bit longer. Drain on paper towels, sprinkle generously with salt.
Dinner is served as the batches of fries come out. They each get a few and then on to the next batch and throwing them on the table as they come out. Mom usually gets to sit down as they are finishing up but they don't mind hanging and chatting because they just had their favorite dinner.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cream of Wild Rice Soup

Baby, it's FRRREEZING here in Minnesota. I'm tired of being cold. I needed something warm in my tummy. My nephew's favorite soup is Cream of Wild Rice so I thought I'd give it a go. This recipe came out of my Byerly's cookbook that I got as a wedding gift years ago and have barely opened. I altered it only a bit. It was delicious and easy. "Restaurant Quality" is the word I heard from those I shared it with. So, here you go, warm yourself up with a yummy in your tummy bowl of soup.

Wild Rice Soup
6 T Butter
1 T minced Onions
2-3 T minced Carrots
1/2 C Flour
3 C Chicken Broth
2 C Wild Rice cooked
2 C chopped cooked Chicken
1/2 t Salt
2 C Half and Half
Pepper to taste

Melt butter in soup kettle; saute onions and carrots for a couple of minutes. Blend in flour and stir in broth. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for a minute and stir in rice, salt and chicken. Simmer about 5 minutes. Stir in half and half. Heat to serving temp and serve.

How to cook Wild Rice
Follow your package directions but instead of using water, use chicken broth. Makes the rice much more flavorful. The directions I used needed about 15 more minutes of cooking time, so taste your rice to make sure it's not too crunchy.
MINCE the carrots into tiny little pieces. I think this was about 6 baby carrots.
Never one to follow directions completely (I didn't melt butter first)..I put the butter, onions and carrots in the pot and cooked it for a couple of minutes.
When the carrots and onions are softened, add the flour and give it a whisk. This is what it looks like.
Add your chicken broth and whisk around so that the flour isn't clumpy. You want this to be smooth and creamy. Add your 1/2 and 1/2 and bring to a boil.
I wanted chicken in mine and had some in the freezer so I chopped that up and threw it in.
Add your rice and give it a stir. Heat to serving temp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. I used white pepper because I think it's a bit more mellow.
Warm yourself up with a tasty bowl!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Baked Chicken and Potatoes

When time is short and I'm feeling particularly lazy this is a dinner that I know my kids will always eat. I've also served it to dinner guests and they are none the wiser that I didn't "plan" anything.

Here's what you'll need for dinner. Package of bone in Chicken Breast, a few potatoes, cooking spray and seasoning. Told you it was easy.
Wash your potatoes, you're leaving the skins on for this recipe. Chop up your potatoes, any shape works, just make sure they are like size in thickness. Not too thick, probably about 1/4 inch.
You need a cookie sheet with an edge so the grease from the chicken doesn't start an oven fire. Spray the pan with some cooking spray. Place your chicken breast on the pan (I cut the breasts in half for easier and quicker cooking time). Sprinkle the potatoes around the chicken and spray the whole pan with cooking spray. I use butter flavored or olive oil spray but any will work. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning.
I use my trusty Greek Seasoning but Cajun is also good. Or just plain salt and pepper.
Bake for about an hour, skin should be golden brown and crispy at 350 and serve!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


I have a group of guys at work that make sure the parking lot is shoveled and my office is kept nice and clean. They come running when I need help so to thank them I made a cobbler to enjoy with their coffee.

My Dad grew up in the South and one of his favorite desserts was cobbler, this one passed his test so I knew I had a winner. It made "my" favorite list because it's so easy.


1/2 C Butter
1 C Milk~I used skim
1 C Sugar
1 C self rising Flour (or 1 C regular Flour, 1 1/2 t Baking Powder and 1/2 t Salt)
3-4 C fruit or berries ~ I used one can of apple pie filling and 1 C frozen blueberries but you can use ANYTHING, it's all good.

Melt butter in 13x9 cake pan in a 375 oven. Keep an eye on it~about 4 minutes, you just want to melt it. Mix right in the pan the milk, flour (salt and baking powder if not using self rising) and sugar. Mix it up. I think the word is slurry, it's like a thick milk consistency. Pile your fruit on top..DO NOT STIR in. Bake for about 40 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Here's what you need.
Cut up your butter and melt while the oven is preheating.
Throw in everything except the fruit.
Here's the slurry you made. I just use a fork to mix it all up, make sure it's not clumpy.
Pile your fruit on top.
Ready to eat or bring to someone to say thanks:)