Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Best Homemade Flour Tortillas

While our son was home from college during his Christmas break, he helped cook a lot.  We told him he couldn't go back because he was so helpful and made such delicious food!  Cooking and baking during Christmas gets kind of hectic at times, so having him as a huge helper was wonderful.

For my husband's side of the family, we had a day where most of us were able to get together. We had Mexican food and he made homemade tortillas.  They were WONDERFUL!  He was here again over the weekend and made them for us.  

I wish he would take up his little brother's offer:  "I'll pay you $5.00 a week to stay home!"  Ha ha!  He's sure fun to have around - and helpful!  We eat better when he's around, too!  He spends more time cooking great things than I do. I seem to cook in a hurry.  He inspires me!

HOMEMADE FLOUR TORTILLAS
via seriouseats.com

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening (He uses lard.)
3/4 cups warm water (approximately 110°F)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Rub lard into flour mixture using your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add warm water and work dough with hands until completely combined and no dry flour is left in bowl.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces; roll each piece of dough into a ball. Cover dough balls with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rest an additional 15 minutes.

Preheat cast iron skillet, griddle, or comal to 500°F. Place one ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and pat down into a flat disc. Using a rolling pin, roll dough out to an 8-inch round. Place dough in skillet and cook until bubbles form on top side and bottom side has brown spots, 30-60 seconds. Flip tortilla and cook until second side develops brown spots, 30-60 seconds longer. Transfer tortilla to a plate and cover with clean dish cloth. Repeat with remaining balls of dough. Serve immediately while still warm.

Special notes about the recipe can be found here: http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/how-to-make-tex-mex-soft-chewy-flour-tortillas.html
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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!


From my family to yours: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bakery Tasting Cake from a Mix

For our youngest son's 13th birthday cake last week, I decided to try some of the tips I had seen on making a cake mix taste more like a bakery cake.  It was really good!! It was moist, denser, and even richer tasting.

Here is what you do:  Using a cake mix, substitue milk for the water, butter for the oil, and add an extra egg.  In the chocolate cake, I used Starbuck's Frappuccino in place of the milk. It tasted really good, but I had accidentally turned off the oven and didn't realize it, so they didn't bake well (it's a new oven, so I'm just not used to everything, yet!). However, with the new oven, the birthday cake cooked so evenly it was amazing!!! I didn't realize that was possible! Ha ha!!  


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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Caramel Pecan Pie

Oh, this pie is soooooooo good!  It's just as I imagined it would be....caramel, nutty goodness!

I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and made it Saturday for a Thanksgiving meal.  It's delicious!

Caramel Pecan Pie

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust (I use mom's recipe that's posted on this blog)
36 individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) In a saucepan over low heat, combine caramels, butter and milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually mix in the melted caramel mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust. 3Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until
pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool until filling is firm.
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Friday, November 6, 2015

Magical Butterfinger Bites


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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Chicken Alfredo Lasagna

Chicken lasagna has been one of my favorite things to make for large groups or to take to people for many years. The first recipe I created several years ago is good, but through the years, I decided to get away from condensed soups. That one has cream of chicken soup.  If you still like to use canned soups, then go ahead! It's very good!  But if you like Alfredo sauce and whole foods better, then go with this one.  It's not low fat, but uses whole foods such as real butter, whipping cream, and cheese. You could easily make it gluten free by buying gluten free lasagna noodles or serve the mixture over a different variety of gluten free noodles.  Anyway, it's delicious!  I had never written down the recipe, just eyeballed it, but recently I needed to make it for the football team, so took the time to measure everything.  If making for a large group, double the recipe. Three of each layer will fit well into the large catering disposable pans from Sam's Club.

ALFREDO CHICKEN LASAGNA

1 - 2.5 lb. bag frozen chicken tenderloins
2 tsp. salt (divided)
1 quart heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter
6 cups grated Parmesan cheese (not the canned variety, but fresh)
3 T. granulated garlic
6 - 9 uncooked lasagna noodles (no need to buy the special no-cook variety)
2 lbs. shredded mozzarella, Monterey jack, or colby jack cheese

In large pot, cook frozen chicken tenderloins and 1 tsp. salt, covered, over medium-high heat.  Cook until chicken is white.  Leave lid on pot and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.  Remove lid and rinse chicken pieces. (I don't like the "goo" that the chicken collects!  I also remove the membrane at this time.)  Drain juices and return the chicken back to the pot.  With electric mixer, shred chicken.  Add to pot remaining tsp. of salt (or more to taste),  heavy whipping cream, butter, Parmesan cheese, and granulated garlic.  Cook until cheese and butter melts.

Depending on the depth of your 9 x 13 dish, you will have 2 or 3 complete layers. The disposable pans and lasagna pan types are deeper.  Layer 3 lasagna noodles,  a third or half of the chicken mixture, a layer of mozzarella, Monterey jack, or colby jack cheese.  Repeat layers.

Bake on 350* for 45-60 minutes, depending on how browned you want it. I usually cover it for the first half of the baking time.  For the larger pans, you can put in the oven several hours in advance, on 200*, then just turn it up the last hour or heat until bubbly and browned.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Minnie Mouse 21st Birthday Party


Our oldest and only daughter wanted a Minnie Mouse themed party to celebrate turning 21.  I didn't want it to be a "kiddie" party, of course, and neither did she. We ordered special sugar cookies from a friend.
Her grandmother made her a Minnie cake.
I did chocolate covered strawberry marshmallows with candy shred (it was yucky, in our opinion) and melted candy squiggles.
Cherry limeade punch, which is a favorite of ours. (Braum's sells the cherry lime sherbet and just add 7up.  I also put some maraschino cherries in there and garnished with a slice of lime.)
The chandelier light was transformed into a goofy Minnie-themed light.
The cheeseball was shaped into a Mickey head, then a fruit roll up bow made it a Minnie!
I had the polka dot pots for many other occasions, but spray painted styrofoam balls and created a Minnie head with a big pink bow.  Spray paint melts the styrofoam, but it worked, still.  Just in the back where I laid them to dry, they are flattened. I should have allowed it to dry stuck into the pot, standing up.
And see the balloon wreath with the right ear showing white?  Lauren had made this wreath to take to Disney World last summer when she worked there, but it broke.  I surprised her by getting new balloons and redoing the ears.  It's such a cute wreath and lots of work!  You can find directions if you search balloon Minnie Mouse wreath.

It was such a fun party! I haven't taken the decorations down just yet.  I don't want it to be over :).

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