Tostadas

Anyone who grew up south of the border or in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or California does not need to hear this gringa talk about tostadas. But for the rest of you, here are my directions, with pictures, for a tasty snack/lunch that uses up the leftover fixins from tacos and other Mexican/Tex-Mex dishes.


I had leftover homemade pick de gallo, some cheese, and tortillas. Not pictured: sour cream.

I heated just enough oil to make a shallow pool in my pan until it’s nice and hot, and then I put a tortilla in.


I fry it nice and crispy (about 15-30 seconds on each side, flipping with tongs) and remove it from the pan. Careful when flipping, as steam can build up under the tortilla.


Immediately sprinkle with cheese so it can get nice and melted. If you are making more, make them now and then go back to add any other toppings – it gives the cheese time to melt.

Eat right away for the most satisfaction, as like all fried things, they can get kind of chewy when cold.

Chocolate Chip Cookie-Cakes!

Hello my dear Intermittent Reader,

Today I bring you the most fabulous cupcakes I have ever made in my life.  They come, in part, from How Sweet It Is, where the lovely Jessica has her Brown Sugar Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Brown Sugar Frosting. But I had to change things up a little bit.

Allow me to explain from the beginning.

Over on my other blog, … And Show Your Work!, I have been talking about being a CareerMom, and my latest post is about making cupcakes for my co-worker’s birthday.

You guys, I almost missed it. I came into work on Monday, Totally Ready for May, and glanced at my calendar, only to find Drew’s birthday was Tuesday.

I wracked my brain for a cupcake idea I could do on such short notice. What did I have in my cupboard? I wasn’t sure I had enough cocoa powder for anything, and I knew I was out of baker’s chocolate. But I had chocolate chips! I was going to make some classic Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookies a couple of weeks ago, and then I made a pan of brownies instead.

But what was I going to do with the chocolate chips? I didn’t want to deal with melting them, and just throwing them in my standard white cake batter didn’t sound terribly appetizing.

Then I started thinking about those damn chocolate chip cookies. What makes a chocolate chip cookie what it is (besides the chips, of course)? The brown sugar!

So I dug up a brown sugar cupcake recipe (the aforementioned link). I added a cup of Nestle Tollhouse Morsels, another 1/4 cup of milk, cut down the vanilla a touch, and voila, Chocolate Chip Cookie-Cakes! They have all the wonderful fluffiness of a cake, and the taste of a chocolate chip cookie. My husband shoved an entire one in his mouth when they were still a little hot from the

I topped them with a classic vanilla frosting which makes them slightly reminiscent of chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches.

Chocolate Chip Cookie-Cakes

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup chocolate chips (preferably Nestle Toll House Morsels)

1 large egg

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.

In large mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and egg together until combined. Add butter and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Add baking soda and salt.  Mix.

Add flour and milk, and mix well, alternating small amounts until a smooth consistency is achieved.  Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes away clean.

Top with your favorite vanilla buttercream (or eat them warm with milk, like my husband did!)

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

I am so sporadic at updating. It’s pathetic, really. But I wanted to share with you a recipe I just made, that I got via The Food Charlatan, who got it from The Pioneer Woman Cooks. The latter has taken down the recipe, but it is there in all its glory on the Food Charlatan’s website.

As usual, I will show you the recipe, and then tell you all the things I did differently.


Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Spicy Honey Bacon Glaze

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons steak seasoning
For the glaze:
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce

Instructions

  1. In a large ziplock bag, combine vinegar, oil, brown sugar, and steak seasoning, mixing well. Add the chicken breast. Seal and refrigerate for a few hours.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  3. For the glaze: In a large pan, cook the bacon until it is crisp, then remove to a paper-towel-lined plate and let cool. Crumble bacon and set aside.
  4. Drain the grease from the pan. Add the honey, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Cook over medium heat until bubbly; add in the chopped bacon. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened slightly. Remove from heat.
  5. Grill the chicken over medium-high heat. Cook 2-4 minutes per side, until it is no longer pink.
  6. Serve topped with the bacon glaze.

When I made this for me and the husband, I used one large chicken breast and split it into three approximately even pieces. I cut the rest of the recipe by half, and replaced the balsamic vinegar with apple cider vinegar. It’s cheaper and there was enough sugar in the recipe that it didn’t suffer from a lack of sweetness. I also opted for a blend of garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne instead of the steak seasoning. I grilled it on my little George Foreman – style grill and it turned out pretty well.

I also served it with mashed potatoes instead of the nice grilled veggies suggested in this original post, but this is partially due to my desire to have bacon and potato cakes as my breakfast tomorrow.

Until the next time inspiration strikes !

Triumphant Return?

I haven’t updated in a year, but, new year, new me as they say. I would like to get back to posting here, now that I’ve adapted to a few changes in my life – new job, new town, new kitchen, and so I return with:

Sweet Garlic Chicken, in Sauce (over pasta.)
Adapted from Easy Garlic Chicken.

I started with the same basic premise as the original recipe. Saute garlic in oil, add brown sugar.

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Then, I added about half a cup of water…..

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and poured the mixture into my dish with the chicken. I put it in the oven to bake according to the original directions (450 degrees, 30 minutes.)

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While it was baking, I made a white sauce (Bechamel, if you’re fancy). I thickened it slightly more than normal.

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When the chicken was done, I removed it from the juices and cut it up. Then I poured the juices from cooking into the sauce and cooked it for a minute or two longer to rethicken it (this may or may not be necessary depending on how thick your bechamel was to begin with).

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Then I added the chicken and served it over pasta. I used elbow macaroni because it was handy, but I recommend fettuccine.

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And there you go!

Superbowl Spread

My Baltimore Ravens were in the Superbowl. I don’t normally keep up with football (in fact, I can’t stand it) but  I had to support the home team, even out here in Kentucky, so I had a little bit of a Superbowl Party, and what is most important at a Superbowl party? If you said football, you’d be wrong.

Of course, it’s the food!

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For my Superbowl party, I made potato skins (using the directions from Pioneer Woman Cooks), crab dip (my own recipe), buffalo wings (a modification on  Hidden Valley Ranch wings), and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting that were in the shape of a football, but that I sadly did not get a good picture of.

That empty white plate in the picture was for quesadillas, which I ended up not making for the Superbowl. More on them in another post.

For the most part, I followed all the recipes, not wanting to make a mistake and have hungry guests, but there were two modifications: in addition to standard toppings of cheese, bacon, and green onion on the potato skins, I also sprinkled them liberally with Old Bay Seasoning, a Maryland tradition, and for the wings, I double the amount of hot sauce (Valentina brand, extra hot) so that it was equal to the amount of butter.

Finally, there is the crab dip:

Jen’s Hot Crab Dip

Ingredients:

8 oz crab meat (the fresher the better)

8 oz cream cheese

2 stalks green onion, chopped (both green and white parts)

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning (or more, if you like)

1 tsp ground dry mustard

A dash of Worcestershire

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl until fully combined. Pour into 8×8 baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle liberally with cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve with french bread or crackers.

 

Cheater’s Pasties

A long time ago, in a a far away land called “WKU when I was an undergrad,” I was told about the thing that Michiganders  call “pasties.”

Get your head out of the gutter. They’re meat pies. Dough stuffed with meat and other fillings, a la pirozhki and calzones. I’ve always wanted to try them, but alas, I am lazy and pastry dough likes to make me crazy. Then, one day, I left Katie to make these Chicken Pot Pie Cupcakes, and went to work. When I got home, I found these waiting for me instead:

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I had forgotten to pick up the all important biscuit dough for the cupcakes, and she had improvised, making these delicious things out of the same recipe, only using crescent rolls instead of biscuits.  I call them Cheater’s Pasties, because that’s what they remind me of.

Chicago Style

A little while ago, I was having a craving for Chicago style pizza. You know, the deep-dish, loaded with toppings, have to eat it with a fork kind of pizza. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t live in Chicago. I’ve only ever been to Chicago once, and that was for a secret concert back when I lived in Indiana and Chicago was only 5 hours away. (Yes, I just said “only” five hours. We used to go far to get to the cool concerts. Ask me about Birmingham sometime.)

Anyway, this past Sunday, I finally made a Chicago style pizza at home. After intensive googling, I settled on this recipe, but, after advice from my girlfriend, cut down the amount of salt to a scant teaspoon to make it rise faster, because I just didn’t have 6 hours to wait. My dough rose in about an hour and a half.

I also threw some melted butter onto the dough right before I began pressing it into my 9×13 baking dish. One of the recipes I rejected had that as a suggestion (instead of just buttering the bowl, like the recipe I used suggested), and I think that made a tasty difference. I also assembled the pizza Chicago style – cheese, toppings, and then sauce. Sprinkling some oregano and Parmesan on top finished it off.

I did not take a picture of it, but it was gorgeous and tasty. I even ate the crust. I never eat pizza crust, unless there is a great deal of garlic sauce involved.

Then, I decided to something even more interesting, and more Italian: I made gelato! More on that in a bit…