Creamy Chicken Tacos

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2 small cans green chilies
4 frozen chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1 medium onion, chopped
3 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 can redi-cut tomatoes. puréed
2 c. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 c. half and half cream
6 large flour tortillas
5 T. canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat 3 T. oil in frying pan on medium-high heat. Salt and pepper chicken. Place in frying pan and cover. Turn every 10 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Shred chicken, when cool enough to handle.

Sauté green chilies and onion in butter for 3 minutes on medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add half and half, stirring continually. When mixture is heated through, turn temperature down to low and add 1 c. cheddar. When melted, add chicken and tomato purée and stir.

In frying pan, add 2 T. oil and cook each tortilla on both side for about 30 seconds each.

In a 9 X 13 inch baking dish, place one tortilla in the center, then add 1/2 – 1 cup of the mixture inside. Fold flour tortilla and place seam-side down. Do each one this way. Pour any extra sauce on top and then sprinkle rest of cheese on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
Makes for great tasting leftovers, as well!

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Salmon Croquettes

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If you are cooking on a budget and need to add some fish oil to your diet for a healthier heart, this is a good recipe to incorporate into your monthly menu.  For less than 6 dollars, you can feed a family of 8.  Often, I make homemade hashed browns, add fresh fruit and a salad–and as a family of 6, we are eating for less than $12.

2 eggs
1 can pink or red salmon, boned and flaked, skin discarded (keep the liquid)
3/4 c. all liquid drained from the salmon plus milk to the measure
2 sleeves saltines
1 T. lemon juice
6-8 green onions, chopped
3/4 c. canola oil
salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil in frying pan. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Make 2 inch round, 1/2 inch thick patties from mixture. Carefully place in heated oil. Fry on both sides, until golden in color. Remove onto plate with 2 sheets of paper towels to soak up the oil. Makes 14-16 patties.

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German Pancakes

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This is from our dear friends Trace and Christine. We like to serve this on Sunday nights with sausage, scrambled eggs and juice. Yummy, cost-effective and fast!

1 stick butter
1 c. flour
1 c. milk
4 eggs
2 T. sugar
1/8 t. salt
5 T. favorite jelly or jam
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Melt butter in oven at 425 degrees in a large iron skillet (I use my Pampered Chef deep dish stone)–swish butter around to cover bottom. Be careful not to burn butter.

Mix flour, milk eggs, sugar and salt thoroughly. Pour into melted butter in pan and swish around a bit, so that mix is completely covering bottom.

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Fun to watch with kids–turn on oven light and watch the hills and valleys form.

Take from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Move to large plate and spread jelly around top. Roll into a jelly-like roll. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top. Slice into servings and enjoy!

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How to Make Homemade Corn Tortillas

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Yes, corn tortillas can be really inexpensive at the store.

Yes, it can get messy making homemade ones.

Yes, it does take a little time to get them to come out right.

However, it is SO worth it!

I recently got a tortilla maker. I have never used one before, so I was bound and determined to learn how to use it and make fresh corn and flour tortillas.

I have heard how tasty and fresh homemade ones are.

I wanted to experience it for myself.

The verdict?

AWESOME!

It wasn’t that hard to make them once I got the hang of it. They cook up quick and taste really, really delicious!

Here is how to make your own. Even if you don’t have a tortilla maker, you can still make them using wax paper and the backside of pot.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups masa

1 1/8 cups of hot water

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together masa and hot water until thoroughly combined. Turn dough onto a clean surface and knead until pliable and smooth. If dough is too sticky, add more masa harina; if it begins to dry out, sprinkle with water. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high.
  3. Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of wax paper. Don’t try to pull the paper off of both sides. Just remove one side and place the other side face up and tortilla on the griddle. In just a few seconds you can pull the other side of the wax paper off.
  4. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.

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Salsa

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2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
1 jalapeños (can add one extra for more heat)
3 cloves garlic
2 t. Accent seasoning
2 t. salt
1/4 c. fresh cilantro

Drain 1/2 c. juice from the tomatoes into blender. Add garlic, jalapeños, Accent, salt and cilantro. Blend thoroughly.

Drain rest of juice from tomatoes into sink, then add tomatoes to blender. Pulse gently about three or four times for chunky salsa. May blend thoroughly for smooth salsa. Great with these, Tostitos Sensations Red Chile & Lime Tortilla Chips.

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Lazy Swiss Steak

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This crock pot meal is a staple in our home.  It is something our whole family enjoys, time saving and budget-wise. Over the years, it is a never-failing good and tasty main course to make.

1 1/2 lbs. round steak, cubed
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery, sliced
8-10 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
salt
pepper

Cut steak into cubes and place in crock pot. Salt and pepper to taste. Slice onion and place rings on top of steak. Then add the sliced mushrooms. Over the top, pour the concentrated soup. cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Tastes wonderful on mashed potatoes or rice.

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Texas Cobbler

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This wonderful recipe is from my sister in law, Paula, who is such a wonderful cook. This recipe is both simple and delicious.  It is also very cost effective!

1 can cherry pie filling
1 can crushed pineapple
1 c. chopped pecans
1 stick margarine
1 box golden moist cake mix

In a 9 X 13 inch pan, spread pie filling and pineapple. Sprinkle dry cake mix on top. Then sprinkle pecans on top. Cut up margarine into squares and place them around the top of the cake mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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North Woods Bean and Sausage Soup

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This is a new favorite recipe of ours from Cinde in The Siesta Fiesta Cookbook. It is rich, comfort food that is also very cost effective.  We enjoy it with the fresh spinach leaves, she recommends.

1 c. sliced carrots
1/2 onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 lb. turkey kielbasa or smokes sausage, sliced
1 clove garlic or 1/2 t. garlic powder
1 t. Italian seasoning
3 cans chicken broth (approximately 5 1/2 cups)
3 cans great northern beans

Sauté carrots and onion in olive oil until tender. Add kielbasa and garlic, continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and chicken broth, bring to a simmer.  Drain and rinse beans. Mash 1 can of beans, if you like a thicker soup. Add beans to soup and simmer for 20 minutes longer.  Can also put soup into a crock pot at this point and cook on low for 3-4 hours. For an extra healthy addition, place fresh spinach leaves in the serving bowl and ladle hot soup over the top.  Leaves will wilt down and add color and vitamins to this yummy soup!

Cinde adds, “This is a recipe from my mom, who my kids call “Bubba.” She experimented many times to come up with a chocolate chip cookie that was soft and fluffy rather than flat and greasy. This is a recipe my kids love and ask for often during our cold Colorado winters.”

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Flour Tortillas From Scratch

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These are cost effective and completely wonderful!  They would make a great addition to your fajitas or add honey for a quick dessert.

3 c. flour plus scant amount for hands and surface

2 t. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 c. hot water
In a large bowl, add flour, salt, baking powder and butter. Stir together thoroughly, until the mixture is crumbly. Slowly add hot water, stirring together. Flour hands and knead mixture for 2 minutes. Divide into 8 balls. Cover with damp paper towel for 30 minutes.

Flour surface and roll out each ball. Cook over medium high heat in iron skillet that is cured. Brown on both sides and set aside in a warmed plate.
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