Today is catch up day. We had Spring Break a couple of weeks ago. That put me behind in laundry, budget, grocery shopping, and blogging! Sorry, but blogging got pushed to the bottom of the list, along with mopping!

Spring Break started out with a trip to Dallas. My Sweet Adeline chorus, Top of the Rock, made the annual pilgrimage to regional competition. This year we had a Western theme.

Our group stayed in the Hyatt. What a treat we had! We shared the hotel with the folks who were there for the longhorn auction! These were not just your regular run-of-the-mill longhorns. These were, for lack of a better word, collector longhorns. Some of these creatures would end up selling for $80,000+.

We had to make time to visit the animals.

Oh, wait, those are the guys who were in charge of the auction. They were very nice to us “city girls”.

We came in 2nd place in the contest. Congratulations to Talk of Tulsa Show Chorus. Good luck in Hawaii!

After spending the weekend around cowboy lingo, I figured I’d come home and make some cowboy chow!

This is a recipe I have wanted to make for a long time! It came from a Woman’s Day magazine. (May 11, 1999!)

Chuck Wagon Tortillas

1 pound lean ground beef

1 Tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 jar (18 oz.) baked beans

1 can (14 1/2 oz) stewed tomatoes

1 can (11 oz) vacuum-packed corn

1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies

1/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce

4 burrito-size flour tortillas

1 1/2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese (6 oz)

Cook beef and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until no longer pink. (You will need a skillet that is at least 2 inches deep and 10 inches across the bottom.)

Note: For some reason my post automatically posted. I was not finished with it yet. Sorry. Here is the rest of the post.

Stir in chili powder and cumin.

Cook 1 minute longer.

Stir in beans, tomatoes, corn and chilies and barbecue sauce.

 

Heat 2-3 minutes, then pour into a bowl.

Remove skillet from heat, wipe clean with a paper towel, then lightly coat with cooking spray.

Lay 1 tortilla in skillet.

Spread evenly with 1 1/2 cups beef mixture.

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese.

Repeat layers 3 times, ending with 1/2 cup of cheese.

Cover and cook over low heat 15 minutes, or until cheese melts and stack is hot in center.

Cut into wedges to serve.

While we were at the table, I suggested that this recipe should have been called “Cowboy Stack”. Others had to give their ideas as well.

It was yummy!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: It’s like cowboy food — except better.

Megan: This dish is a testament that I do not only eat bland food. It was so spicy that it warrants the name “The Chuck Wagon Dragon”!

Katie: It’s a combination of two things that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE…it’s messy and delicious! Although, since it is so spicy, I would have renamed it “The Chili Pepper Chuck Wagon”.

 

I had some ground beef that really needed to be used. You know what I mean? I know, I could have stuck it in the freezer, but we DID have to eat supper!

After flipping through a cookbook or two, I came across a promising recipe for enchiladas.

Ree, I call her Ree now, since we met and all-haha,  has a wonderful tutorial over on her website.

I have had this Enchilada mix packet in my cabinet for I don’t know how long! I don’t know why I even bought it. I have never made enchiladas in my life. Either there was a sale or I had an ambition once upon a time. The thought of using up this mix made the recipe look that much better!

PW’s recipe calls for making your own sauce. Since I had the mix, I followed the directions on the back of the packet and used that!

There are a few things I left out of my experiment.

Cilantro! I just can’t stand it!

I think you either love it or hate it. I am in the latter camp. Sorry.

Black olives. Didn’t have any. Don’t really care for them.

Green onions. Didn’t have any. I just couldn’t make myself go back to the store again. Have you been there?

I do wish I had had some green onions. They would have livened up the appearance of the dish. Oh, well, three-fourths of the family would have picked them off anyway.

PW calls for two cans of green chilies. I only had one. Yummy with one. Two would definitely give more kick!

Here are some the photos from along the way. Really, go to her website. No sense in trying to reinvent the wheel folks!

See what I mean. It’s just brown and brown. A little green onion would have been pretty.

What you don’t see in these pictures is how messy these were to make. I felt like I was up to my elbows in enchilada sauce!

I fried up some of the extra tortillas to be crunchy. They were so yummy!

Katie said they tasted like popcorn! She liked eating the crunchy ones plain.

Megan loaded the crunchy tortillas with beans and rice-mmmmm!

Critics‘ Corner:

Chip: Very, very good. They taste just like they came from “Casa de Awesome”!

Megan: It was good, but I like El Torito’s better. They had chicken in theirs. (El Torito is a local restaurant. Next time we will have to try chicken!)

Katie: So delicious! Savored every bite!

I was delighted to get to have my friend, Joanna,  from Dowlearns Daily, for lunch yesterday. I was so excited and busy that I forgot to take any pictures of the yummy lunch. So, yes, I went back and staged a lovely plate for you to see. I’m a dork that way. What can I say?

We had a great time visiting. I was so nice outside that we ate out on the porch. Bonus-I cleaned off the table, and we didn’t even mess it up!

This recipe comes from a Pampered Chef cookbook.

Next time you go to a Pampered Chef party and need to buy something, this is a good thing to get. There are several good recipes and pictures to go with each one. The last recipe, however, is a trout recipe. There is a picture of a whole fish laying on a plate. Not being a big fish eater, it looks a little gross to me. I probably won’t be making that one. Maybe that is why it is the LAST recipe. It’s at the end. You can avoid it! Anyway, get the book.

You can click on the recipe picture if you want to see it up close. I’ll type it out, too.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 12 ounces)

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup pitted kalamata or ripe olives, chopped

1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)

4 cups romaine lettuce, thinly sliced

3/4 cup seasoned croutons

1/2 cup fat-free Caesar salad dressing

6 (8-inch) fat-free tortillas

1. Lightly grease your skillet. Firmly press garlic into the chicken. Cook over medium heat 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink in the center, turning once. Remove chicken from pan; cool. Slice into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Place in mixing bowl.

2. Chop onion, olives, and red pepper. Grate the cheese. Slice the lettuce.  Put these in the bowl with the chicken. Add croutons and dressing. Toss to coat evenly.

3. Place about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture on a tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly. Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling. To serve, cut each roll in half diagonally with a bread knife.

Just a couple of notes:

I cut my romaine in a chiffonade. Check out this Alton Brown video showing this technique. It is at about the 2:30 mark.

If you want to assemble the veggies and meat ahead of time that is cool. You can even add the dressing. I wait until the last minute to add the croutons and lettuce. They tend to get a little soggy if the dressing is on there too long.

I used the tortillas I had on hand. Can you believe I had exactly six? Yes, they were store-bought. (hands of shame) They were actually the wrong size. If they had been larger I wouldn’t have had to hold them together with toothpicks, and I would have been able to cut them all fancy like in the book. I should have just made them myself-huh?

I left out the olives-not a fan.

I don’t think my dressing was fat-free. Oh, well, all the yummier!

We had two wraps each. That meant two left over for me to plate up for a picture. Hubby sure was happy with his snack of leftovers when he came home from work.

I think Joanna liked them, too!

I hope you try this recipe. It is a great recipe for Springtime get-togethers. Leave me a comment it you try them!

Ok, that may be a little extreme. Let me explain myself.

A couple of years ago our church offered Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University

I was able to convince my husband to take the classes with me. Dave encourages couples to take the class together. It’s a team effort!

Dave’s big push is getting out of debt. This is a very good thing. However, we didn’t have any debt.

Dave’s other biggie is budgeting. Ooops-we were not good at this-at all! So, we have been learning. We also learned that I should be the one to keep the books. For one reason, I’m home and have more time to spend on paying bills, etc. Secondly, it bugs me more if the checkbook is not kept just so.

I know, what does all of this have to do with tortillas??

One month our food budget was all gone. There was money in the bank. There just wasn’t any left on that budget line. It’s a game of sorts. So we were doing some adventure eating. You know, getting creative with what you have in the pantry and freezer without zipping to the store.

We were going to have fajitas for supper. The chicken had marinated. The cheese was grated. The tortillas…were at the store. We did not have tortillas! How could I have overlooked this important detail?! You kinda need tortillas with fajitas.

Then I remembered a recipe in my recipe box.

How would I ever find it in that mess?

Victory!!!

I have had this recipe for a long time. In one of my college home ec. classes we had to keep a recipe box for the semester with so many recipes for each category-breads, salads, main dishes, etc. We also shared recipes for dishes we fixed in class. One girl made caudillo and flour tortillas. Seems like the caudillo was a Mexican meat of some sort. I can’t remember the girl’s name, sad. Anyway, she made these tortillas. They were really good. I had made them once upon a time when hubby and I were first married. They did not turn out too great.  This time I was desperate! They HAD to turn out edible.

Fortunately, I had all of the ingredients for the tortillas. They were easy to make. They turned out super yummy, especially with the fajitas. See, no need to run to the store. Dave would have been proud.

Now, any time we are having fajitas the kids beg for homemade tortillas. They really do taste better.

Last night I had a little helper.

First things first!

Thank you Vanna.

Flour Tortillas

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup shortening

approx. 1/2 cup tepid water

oil

1. Place flour and salt in a bowl; combine briefly. With your fingers work in the shortening until it is mixed through evenly.

 

 

 

 

2. While stirring, add enough water to make a soft dough. The recipe calls for about 1/2 cup. This time it took a bit more than that.

I don’t know that my helper really liked this part. This is what her hands ended up looking like:

I did scrape her hands and let her go wash them.

3. Divide the dough into 12-18 equal pieces and roll each piece into a round ball.

4. Coat each ball with oil and allow them to stand for about 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katie really liked this part. She tried to grease the dough faster than I rolled it! We also incorporated a little math vocabulary and skills. She knew that she had made and array of dough balls, 3 x 6 = 18!

5. Set an ungreased griddle or large thick-bottomed skillet over medium heat.

6. With your palm, press each ball into a flat, round cake and sprinkle both sides with flour. Roll each cake of dough on a lightly floured surface to an 8″ round (for 18 tortillas).

7. Lay one tortilla on the preheated griddle and cook until bubbles form on the top side and the bottom is flecked with brown.

OOooooo, bubbles!

Flip the tortilla, pressing down on the bubbles with a spatula, and cook until second side begins to color.

Yes, I did intend for a picture of a heating pad to be in a post about tortillas.

This ideas comes straight from one of my faves, Alton Brown. He uses a heating pad covered with a tea towel on high to keep his tortillas warm! Genius! Hey, if he can do it, I can too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awwwwe, look at my little tortilla runner on her way to the tortilla warmer! So cute!

 

 

So, I guess I shouldn’t blame Dave Ramsey. I guess I should thank him. Thanks, Dave, for making me inspiring me to make homemade tortillas! I’m livin’ like no one else!

 

Critics’ Corner:

Well, to be honest, I didn’t ask them this time. Their mouths were too full of delicious tortillas to give me a response.

Mmmmmmm is good enough for me.

Megan did say she doesn’t even like store bought tortillas.