4/5/12

Version 2 - Flour Tortillas


This isn't quite the same as Gram Gram's Recipe but looks like something I wanna try to test and see how they compare taste wise... Once again Thanks Stella B!!!

We eat a lot of Mexican food at our house and prefer flour tortillas. Tortillas really aren't difficult to make at all. The process is pretty simple, the only time consuming part is waiting for the tortillas to cook. Fresh tortillas taste so much better than the store bought variety and this is one recipe I'll be using often.


Working at Don Pablos years ago, I watched the 'tortilla lady' make hundreds of tortillas with the help of machinery that rolled the balls and flattened them out. The restaurant also had a huge griddle to work with, making homemade mass production easy. I would never have guessed a home cook could make delicious tortillas without any special equipment.

I found this gem in The Pioneer Woman's collection and she does an excellent job explaining, so go there if you enjoy more photos. She used lard, I used Crisco and had great results. I would agree with her tips at the bottom the post. (using her tips, I only screwed up one that I left on the griddle and walked away...it turned into a tortilla cracker)


Flour Tortillas
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp vegetable shortening or lard
1 cup very hot water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cut vegetable shortening into flour mixture with a fork. Add hot water and mix until combined. Knead 30-40 times in the bowl until a soft ball starts to form. Cover with plastic wrap for 1 hour to allow dough to rest. Divide and form into 16 balls. Allow balls to rest another 30 minutes on a sheet of plastic wrap. Heat a medium to medium-high griddle. Roll balls thinly on countertop (no dusting needed) and place on hot griddle for 20-30 seconds per side, or until brown spots form, tortillas are still soft, but not doughy. Stack and cover to keep hot until ready to serve. Cool completely before refrigerating. Refresh in microwave if needed.



Mom's Refrigerator Pickles


My Adopted Grandma from back in grade school used to make these... They are the BEST thing EVER!!!!!!!!! I just found them on Stella B's Blog & I LOVE HER!!!!

Mom's refrigerator pickles are the best. We grew up eating these and I try to ration the container the entire year while we wait for the next cucumber growing season to begin. They go perfectly with grilled cheese sandwiches. The pickles are sweet, sour, crisp and they make you feel good because you made them:) I think they're comfort food for my family and I'm pleased to say that my kids like them too.

You will always find one or two cucumber vines growing around cages at my house in the warmer months. One would suffice, but I'm afraid of somehow the one and only plant dying and not getting any cucumbers for the year. One plant, if you continue to pick the cucumbers as they are ready and never let them over ripen, will give you cucs the entire summer until it literally freezes out. A four foot high, two foot diameter, sturdy cage will house one plant and keep it neatly in that space instead of crawling all over your garden. It makes it much easier to see how many you have on the vine and how big they are...so you can plan for the days to come. Okay, back to the recipe....

Burpless (the ones with tender, thinner outer skin and generally seedless that grow relatively straight and uniform in size) cucumbers are my favorite for this, but anything works. You don't want to use the ones they sell in the grocery store with the thick, green skin and yummy wax coating...blick. Use whatever size cucumber you prefer and dump all of the following in a gallon container. Or split it into smaller containers as long as the pickles are covered with the brine. You may need to make more brine to cover the pickles in smaller jars. Make the brine first so you know how many pickles it can handle.

Brine~
In an ice cream bucket or larger and mix (note, no cooking involved):

1 large white onion, sliced thin - I quarter the slices, mom doesn't
3 cups sugar
3 cups vinegar
1/3 cup salt
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds

Slice cucumbers and add to bucket until filled, but brine still covers the slices. Store in refrigerator until they are eaten, up to one year. I start fresh each year with the new crop. They never last that long.

I've tried cooking the brine and it really makes no difference. My mom never cooks the brine and hers are always better. Funny how that works, no matter what she does to the ingredients, it always tastes better when she makes it:) It works nicely to get your bucket of brine made with the first cucs and add slices as the plants ripen to the desired size. I've eaten them after only a day or two soaking and they're still good, so you don't have to wait months or whatever like other pickles.

HALF BATCH VERSION : Makes two 32 ounce jars
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vinegar
1/6 cup salt
1/2 Tbs celery seed
1/2 Tbs mustard seed
8-9 cups sliced cucumbers
1 large onion, sliced, quartered

Sunday's "Best" Dinner Rolls


I just found this recipe and I am gonna give it a go!!!

I adapted this recipe only slightly to speed the process because dinner needed to be served within a particular time frame and I only made half the recipe Terri wrote. She suggests using part of the dough for cinnamon rolls and after tasting these, I think Terri's spot on. These would make amazing cinnamon rolls! Check out her post for the original, perfect-as-written recipe and make these soon!!!

"Sunday Best" Dinner Rolls
recipe from Terri at That's Some Good Cookin', adapted slightly by Stella B's Kitchen
Terri's Original printer friendly version
Stella B's Kitchen's printer friendly version with adaptations as written below


2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/2 tsp, divided
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup melted butter, plus additional melted butter to dip rolls in
2 whole eggs
7 cups flour
2 Tbsp dough enhancer
1/2 cup powdered milk
2 tsp salt


Dissolve yeast in 1/2 tsp sugar and 1 cup warm water.


In heavy stand mixer, add remaining sugar, water, eggs, 1/2 cup melted butter. Add bloomed yeast and mix until combined.


Add flour, powdered milk, dough enhancer and salt. Mix on medium low speed (KitchenAid speed 2 or 3) for 8 minutes. Turn off mixer and rest dough for 10 minutes.


Mix dough again on same speed for another 8 minutes, until dough is very smooth and elastic. Turn off mixer and rest dough for 10 minutes.


After dough has rested for 10 minutes, begin forming rolls. Butter two 9x13 inch metal pans. Divide dough in quarters. Out of each quarter, make 10 balls or rolls. {finished roll will be double the size of the dough} Dip each rolled ball in melted butter to help rolls separate easily after baked and give them a beautiful, golden color. Rolls fit four across and five down to fit 20 in a baking pan. Cover with plastic wrap.


**OR, use half the dough as rolls and make cinnamon rolls out of the second half of dough!


Set rolls in a warm place and allow to rise until nearly doubled in size. About 30-45 minutes. When ready, remove plastic wrap and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush hot rolls with butter, if desired.




*Terri's recipe calls for 3 eggs and enough additional flour, up to an additional cup, to make dough the right consistency. I also substituted vital wheat gluten for dough enhancer as I could not find it in my local grocery store.


Sunday Best Dinner Rolls were impressive to me because of how quickly they were made (in yeast dinner roll terms) and they tasted great two days later! The third day we refreshed them slightly in the microwave. My experience with homemade rolls is dry and oddly dense/textured after a day or so, and these were still pretty close to first day baked after two days. I can't wait to try this recipe as cinnamon rolls this weekend when I make them for my family.

4/4/12

Semi-Home Made Chicken Pot Pie (In Under 30 Minutes!)

This recipe I came up with on the fly and it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ingredients:

3 Grilled Chicken Breasts cut into 1/2" chunks
or 1 can of chicken breast broken into small pieces
2 cups frozen mixed veggies
1 package frozen spinach - thawed & drained
4 small cans cream of chicken soup or 2 family size cans
1 cup milk
1 package Grands Biscuits with Layers
2 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp perfect pinch - roasted garlic & red pepper flake

Directions:

Bake biscuits by directions - pulling them out 3 minutes before they are done baking & spread a bit of butter on the top of the biscuits & then bake the last few minutes till golden brown.

Combine all the other ingredients in a soup pot & stir until thoroughly combined & flavors meld together. Spoon into bowl & split biscuits in half on top!

Taco Soup

This recipe is courtesy of my lil sis Jo :) With MY own twist of course ;)

Ingredients:

1 15oz can of petite diced tomatos
1 pound ground beef
1 can corn
1 29oz can of pinto beans (or two 15oz cans)
2 packets of taco seasoning
1 tbsp Allspice
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 medium oinion - minced
1 box of chicken or veggie stock
3 packages ramen noodle soup (the plastic wrapped not the cup of noodles)

Directions:

Brown the ground beef in the pot & add onion & cook over low heat till they are translucent. Drain off any remaining oil. Add ALL other ingredients (except the noodles from the ramen noodle soup). 15 minutes before serving break apart the ramen noodles into the pot & bring to a full boil & then lower to a simmer.

Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, pico di gallo, sour cream & shredded lettuce on top!!!