Creating memories in the kitchen...One meal at a time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Baked Taco Roll Ups

Photos: courtesy of A Bountiful Kitchen
Found on  a blog I visit regularly, these taco roll ups are the latest and greatest hit at our house.  As is often the case, I had made a double batch of this delicious taco meat and wanted to use it up. But as you well know, the same old thing week after week can get a little boring. These babies were just the ticket. I tweaked them to use up my leftover taco meat and save myself a little time. The reaction they got was shocking.          Similar to a taquito, these taco roll ups were simple and downright tasty. We served ours with traditional taco fillings on the side: lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and gasp....ketchup. (I know it's gross, but my kids love ketchup with Mexican food.) I used medium sized tortillas and ended up with close to 18 roll ups, which I  planned on freezing for another meal. By the next evening, there was only 1 left.   I can't wait to try the original version (found here) next time. 

Baked Taco Roll Ups

Adapted heavily from A Bountiful Kitchen

One recipe ground beef taco meat (this is the ONLY recipe I use anymore)
2 cups shredded Colby-jack  or cheddar cheese (or more to taste)
flour tortillas, small to medium size
Suggested Condiments- lettuce 
sliced olives
sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Prepare taco meat as directed. Spoon  about 3 tablespoons of the taco meat mixture onto a tortilla. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up as you would a taquito, not filling the tortilla too full, but rolling fairly tight, so the tortilla will not come undone easily.  Place filled tortillas in a single layer onto a lightly greased baking sheet, seam side down. (I sprayed mine lightly with cooking spray to add some crunch and prevent over drying). Bake at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the tacos are heated through. Remove from the oven and serve with optional condiments. Makes about 12-15 medium tacos.-Heat up leftovers wrapped in a paper towel for about 1 minute in microwave.
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Frosted Peanut Butter Cookies

          A little gem I found on Pinterest, these cookies were to die for! We're die-hard peanut butter & chocolate fans around here and these cookies lived up to all of our expectations. The cookies themselves are perfectly moist and chewy, and I love the addition of peanut butter chips.The final touch of not one, but two layers of frosting  takes these cookies from so-so to irresistible. Just be sure to have plenty of butter on hand!

          Not only do these cookies taste amazing, mine turned out beautifully exactly like the picture.The small amount of time it takes to whip up two batches of frosting, is well worth the WOW factor it creates.

Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Cutler's Bakery found via Six Sister's Stuff

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1- 10 oz bag Reese's Peanut Butter chips
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven. Cream together butter, sugars, salt, baking soda and powder.  Add vanilla and eggs. Mix well. Add flour and peanut butter chips. Mix just until flour and chips are blended together. Scoop into 2 inch balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 4 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
milk (to thin to proper consistency, I used about 3 Tablespoons)
Cream together room-temperature butter and powdered sugar. Add peanut butter and beat until smooth. Add milk a tablespoon at time, just until frosting is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Chocolate Frosting
1 cup butter
5 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/4 to 1/3 cup milk
Cream butter and 5 cups powdered sugar. Add cocoa and vanilla. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until frosting is smooth. If needed, add more powdered sugar.
After cookies are cooled, frost with peanut butter frosting. Then frost on top of the peanut butter frosting with the chocolate frosting. When spreading the chocolate frosting on top of the peanut butter frosting, be very gentle and leave a small space between the edge of the peanut butter frosting and the chocolate frosting for a layered frosting look.
Posted by: Sallie
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Most Fabulous Fudge Frosting

Picture courtesy of  Sweetapolita

     This delicious chocolate cake has become a birthday staple at our house. The first time I made it, my family wholeheartedly agreed it was pretty much the best chocolate cake ever. The magical frosting is amazing too, but after a birthday request for chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, the chocolate/chocolate combo has become my most requested cake.

     I was first drawn to this recipe because of  minimal ingredients,  the use of a food processor, and mostly because you don't need to sift the powdered sugar. Powered sugar and me have a love-hate relationship. Why does it have to be so messy? (Maybe because I'm using a 20 year old sifter that shoots powdered sugar out the sides.)
     It's really simple to make and dare I say fool proof? All the ingredients are added to the food processor and after a few pulses you're done! The most important step is to make sure you let your melted chocolate cool, or else you'll end up with really runny frosting.

     The result is a rich, silky smooth, chocolate frosting. After serving it to my teenage son's friends, they were all begging me to send their Mom's the recipe. Really? Teenage boys asking for recipes? Yeah, it's that good.
      **I like to frost the entire cake and then stick it in the fridge or freezer for 20-30 minutes before putting on the remaining frosting. It goes on smoother and looks much prettier.**

Instant Fudge Frosting

  • 6 oz. (180 g) quality unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4-1/2 cups (563 g) confectioners' sugar (no need to sift)
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) half-and-half   (I've used milk in a pinch with good results)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  1. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate. Then process until the frosting is smooth.

Posted by: Sallie
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Southwestern Ranch Chicken Club Wraps

Wow! It's been so long, I've almost forgotten  how to post. This last year has thrown my family for a real loop. With my youngest starting first grade, I decided to take a part-time job at a local elementary school. As if that wasn't enough, a few weeks later I decided that I would go back to school myself.  After 13 years of staying at home with my kids, this was no easy task. I'm not in any way, shape, or form implying that staying at home with children is easy! (You stay-at-home Mom's know exactly what I'm talking about). It has been really hard, and I still question if I'm doing the right thing, but despite the struggles, I am enjoying being a student again. We've survived one year, only three more to go! On top of both of these developments, we are also building a new house. (I think I must be insane!) My sister Julia has added another adorable little daughter to her family, so this explains our lack of posting.

Although I still enjoy cooking, sadly I don't have the time to prepare (or post about) the kind of meals I used to prepare on a daily basis. We save our "fancy meals" for Sunday dinner, and the rest of the week is reserved for quick, whatever my husband and I can throw together meals. I've got 3 more years of school ahead of me, but I can't wait until I graduate and can get back in my kitchen.

These wraps are a great meal for summer I had photographed and forgotten all about. Originally a sandwich, I decided the ingredients would be delicious as a wrap. Boy was I right!

The base for these delicious wraps is a wonderfully flavored, Mexican seasoned chicken which is then layered with crisp bacon, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and avocado. What really adds to these wraps is the sauce. If you ask me, everything's better with sauce, and these wraps are no exception.  The sauce consists of a few simple ingredients: ranch dressing, sour cream, some chopped cilantro, and a few squeezes of lime. My whole family loved these  wraps which means they'll be making another appearance on the menu soon.

Southwestern Ranch Chicken Club Wraps
heavily adapted from here

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
8 strips bacon, cooked to desired crispness and cut into bite sized pieces
approx. 1-2 cups shredded colby-jack cheese, to taste
1 tomato diced
1 avocado, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup prepared ranch dressing
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Juice of 1 lime, divided
lettuce, torn into  pieces (like you would put on a sandwich)
Flour tortillas (burrito or large taco size work best)

1. Coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and heat over medium heat. Combine ranch mix, chili powder and cumin and sprinkle evenly over the chicken.

2. Add the chicken to the skillet and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through. Remove to a plate and cover with foil while you prepare the other  components. (Note: Something in the ranch dressing mix makes the chicken get pretty brown, so if that bothers you, you can easily bake the chicken instead. I'd do 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the cutlets.) Let chicken rest for about 5 minutes and then cut or shred into chunks with a fork.

3. To make the sauce, mix together the ranch dressing, sour cream, cilantro, and juice of half a lime. Use the remaining lime juice to dress the avocado to prevent browning.

4. To make a wrap, layer shredded chicken, grated cheese, chopped bacon, chopped tomato, and a few slices of avocado on a tortilla Top with lettuce. Drizzle with sauce and roll tortilla up tightly.

Posted by: Sallie
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cheesy Sausage Penne

A quick, delicious dinner for those busy weeknights everybody has. It takes the  classic combo of pasta, red sauce, and sausage to a whole new level. I loved the tasty little pockets of cream cheese and sour cream, and the melted cheese  made it even better. Homemade marinara sauce would be a great addition, if you have time,but even without, my family gobbled it up and the leftovers were great. Pair with a big green salad and garlic bread for a great family dinner.

Cheesy Sausage Penne

1 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
1 16-ounce package uncooked penne pasta
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened * (Next time I'll use 4 oz. cream cheese and 1/2 cup sour cream)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt, pepper, and spices to taste.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and sour cream.

4. In a greased shallow 3-quart baking dish, layer half of the pasta and sausage mixture. Dollop with half the cream cheese mixture; sprinkle with half the cheddar cheese. Repeat layers.

5. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. 

 *Cooks Note: Although I loved the cream cheese/sour cream combo, my kids weren't huge fans and it seemed like there was a lot of it. Next time I"ll half the cream cheese and sour cream to better suit our tastes.

Recipe Source: Cassie Craves

Posted by: Sallie
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Monday, January 14, 2013

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

These cookies have been a favorite of mine since I was a teenager. (We won't bring up how long ago that was.) I whipped up a batch the other day to see if they would be as good as I remembered. Some chocolate cookies can turn out dry or chalky tasting, but these turned out super moist and disappeared in a hurry.

Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips

  • 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  • 2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture, beating well. Stir in peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • 3. Bake 8 to 9 minutes. (Do not overbake; cookies will be soft. They will puff while baking and flatten while cooling.) Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4-1/2 dozen cookies.
  • PAN RECIPE: Spread batter in greased 15-1/2x10-1/2x1-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350°F 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely in pan on wire rack; cut into bars. About 4 dozen bars.
  • ICE CREAM SANDWICHES: Prepare CHEWY CHOCOLATE COOKIES as directed; cool. Press small scoop of vanilla ice cream between flat sides of cookies. Wrap and freeze.
  • -- Increase flour to 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons.
  • -- Decrease baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon.
  • -- Decrease sugar to 1-2/3 cups.
  • -- Add 2 teaspoons water with flour mixture.
  • -- Bake at 350°F, 7 to 8 minutes. Yield increases to about 6 dozen.

Posted by: Sallie
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