Monday, January 28, 2008

Indian Tacos - Tutorial with Pictures

Ok, lets begin with the ingredients for the first part. You need hamburger, anything from 1/4 of a pound all the way to a full 1 pound, your choice. Two or more cans of Ranch Style Beans, i ended up adding 3 cans, one of which had jalepenos in it. One onion, diced and divided, Chili Powder, Garlic, Pepper and Salt (of which i forgot to put in the picture!). IGNORE the can of diced does NOT go in this dish, i had a brain shortage at the time of taking pictures.

Dice up your onion and reserve half for taco topping. The remaining half you will scramble up with your meat.

To your meat, you add your onions, salt, pepper, garlic, and about 2 tablespoons of Chili Powder. (you will taste the final concoction and add more if needed).

See how good brown it is getting? the onions are getting well cooked.

Now it is time to add the beans. Dump all three cans of beans in along with Two cans full of water to the pot. So, always one less can of water than you have of beans.
Now, here is the great can keep adding beans and beans and more beans and this dish is just great...just keep adding more seasoning also (mainly the chili powder). So expected company with this meal is not a problem! This is a great meal and you can really stretch your meat. i usually use only 1/4 of a pound, but this time it was about 2/3 of a pound. You don't have to use Ranch Style beans but you can cook your beans yourself, just make up a batch of good thick and seasoned pinto beans and you will be set! i prefer using the cans though, less thought and planning is needed for this meal that way :)

Let the beans and meat simmer away for a while, at least 30 minutes or so to get it nice and hot and flavors to blend. This is the time to check for seasoning. You don't was super water broth, but not real thick either, i would say on the thin side but not watery, kwim? you need the broth because it is the best part of the taco. that broth gets soaked up by the fry bread and is heavenly!!!

Now, on to the fry bread. You will need self rising flour (or you can make your own with regular flour, baking powder and salt), buttermilk (or soured sweet milk) and shortening or other type of oil to fry in. The honey is for the finished product....fry bread dipped in honey is a wonderful dessert, breakfast or snack, so i always make up extra fry bread to have for the next couple of days for exactly those things. it heats up great 20 seconds in the microwave!

Now, you want to get your oil/shortening on to be heating up while you mix up the dough. I used my smaller cast iron skillet this time because i didn't have enough shortening to fill up my cast iron dutch oven, which is what i prefer, because even though the oil only goes about 1 to 1.5 inches up the sides, the tall sides of the dutch oven really help contain the oil splatters. You can use whatever you feel comfy frying in, even an electric skillet if you want, or a fry daddy.

This here is the dough. i don't really measure, because it is just the self rising flour and the buttermilk. you add enough buttermilk to the flour to form a soft dough. it will be sticky so flour your hands. I stir it until it forms a ball (do not over mix!) and then i flour my hands and start making patties.

I make mine about 3/4 of an inch thick. i try to get them all made up and layered on a plate so i only have to get my hands real messy once :) Remember, don't over work the dough, you do NOT want gluten to form.

Now, it is time to check to make sure your oil is hot enough. If it is not hot enough, your dough will sink to the bottom and just lay there, soaking up the oil....gross! I always test my oil with the end of a wooden spoon. It should have bubbles coming from the end of the spoon if the oil is hot enough. See the bubbles? Or, you can be the boring type of a cook, and just drop a teeny tiny piece of the dough in and see how it cooks it. I prefer the spoon method :)

Now, carefuly drop in a dough patty. Careful, don't get burned! If i use my big cast iron dutch oven, i can usually cook about 3 or 4 of the dough patties, depending on how big i made them. you do not want them to touch. In this small skillet, i only did one, i didn't feel like cleaning up a big grease mess!

Keep an eye on it and turn those babies over when the edges start to get golden brown like this one.

Now, your kitchen is starting to smell really good! It usually takes about a minute or so on each side, though the second side usually cooks faster than the first side.

When it is done, take it out carefully avoiding to drop grease all over your stove, cause we all know what a pain that is too clean. Have them drain on a paper towel or even coffee filters work great in a pinch to catch up that grease.

Now, for the toppings: you will need grated cheese of your choice ( i prefer jack/colby blend), lettuce, the reserved diced onion, and salsa of your choice.

First, you pick your favorite peice of bread from the growing pile

You put it on your plate. At this point, you have a decision to make. You can either make your taco 'whole' but just putting the bread like above, or, you can choose to make eating this meal less messy, by tearing the bread into bite sized peices.....that is my choice. plus, it is more surface area to soak up that great broth!

Next, you layer on the meat/bean mixture...make sure you gets lots of that broth, you will end up using it!!

then, top with lettuce, cheese, diced onions and finally, the salsa!. There you have it, indian tacos! These babies taste SO much better than they look......the frybread is just yummy!
I have also made this with just the beans and no meat, which is a great way to have a meatless meal night. I would also think that those of you who grind your own wheat can make this, just use your hard wheat berries and just add in the necessary baking powder and salt to make it self rising. I hope some day to have my own grain mill! This can be a very healthy meal, minus the cooking oil :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chili Spaghetti

Chili Spaghetti:

1 lb browned hamburger meat, drained
1/2 cup chopped onion (we do 1 cup)
28 ounce jar/can spaghetti sauce ( use Hunts for 99 cents)
one can Ranch Style beans, pinto beans or kidney beans, your choice (we prefer ranch beans)
1 T chili powder
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder (i use at least 1 tsp)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
one package spaghetti pasta, cooked.
1/2 cup shredded cheese (of course, we use more)

to the browned meat, add the onions, spices, sauce, beans and simmer a bit while the pasta is cooking. If you don't like biting into raw onions, you can cook the onions in with the meat. i usually do 1/2 cup cooked with the meat and then i add another 1/2 cup of the raw to the sauce. Drain pasta and add it along with the cheese to the meat sauce mixture. mix well and thorough. This is even better the next day!

Chicken with Basil Cream sauce

Chicken With Basil Cream Sauce
this is just yummy, we love this!

1/4 C. milk
1/4 C. dry bread crumbs
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or more
3 T. butter or margarine
1 T. olive oil
1/2 C. chicken broth
1 C. heavy whipping cream or milk
1 4-oz. jar diced pimientos, drained, optional
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. minced fresh basil (or 1 t. dried)
1/8 t. pepper
1 t. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place milk and bread crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in milk, then coat with bread crumbs. In skillet over medium heat, brown chicken on both sides in butter and olive oil. Remove and place in preheated oven to keep warm.Add broth to skillet. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir to loosen browned bits from pan bottom. Stir in whipping cream or milk, and pimientos, boil and stir for 1 minute. Reduce heat. Stir in Parmesan, basil and pepper and cook until heated through. Mix cornstarch with extra chicken broth and stir into skillet if needed to thicken sauce. Pour over chicken

Italian Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls

1 pkg mild italian sausage links
1 loaf of frozen bread dough.
1 onion, sliced
1 bell pepper sliced

lay bread dough out to thaw but not rise. cook italian sausage in 1/2 cup of water with lid on for ten minutes. uncover and turn up to high, let water cook off. brown sausage on all sides. remove from pan, let cool and slice thinly at an angle. in same pan, saute the onions and bell peppers until carmelized.Crank oven to 450. Roll out dough to large thin rectangle. place the sliced sausage, onions and peppers down the middle of the dough. Fold dough over and seal. gently and carefully place on preheated pizza stone or sheet pan. Dust with lightly flour and bake until nicely browned and crisp. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.

Creamy Crockpot Chicken


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (I'm sure you could substitute here)
1 envelope italian salad dressing mix (can use Ranch mix for different flavor)
1/2 cup water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained--

Place chicken in bottom of crockpot.--Combine salad dressing mix and water. Pour over chicken.--Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.--In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and soup until blended. Stir in mushrooms. Pour over chicken.--Cook one hour longer, or until chicken is fully cooked.--Serve over rice, egg noodles or pasta.

Stovetop Hamburger Casserole


1 pkg small pasta shells or noodles
1 lb. (Or less) ground beef
1 onion, diced
3 medium carrots, diced (I sliced them into quarters and then used my salad shooter and shredded them)
1 celery rib (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups diced potatoes, cooked
1 can drained corn
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup ( or more) shredded cheese

Cook pasta and potatoes until done. Meanwhile, in large skillet cook hamburger and onion until done, drain. Add in the carrots, celery and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the potatoes and pasta, corn and tomato sauce. Heat through. Sprinkle with cheese and cover and cook until cheese melts. Serve.

Six Layer Casserole

Six Layer Casserole
from Hillbilly Housewife

This is a very comfort food dish for us.

4 or 5 potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 carrots, peeled and sliced or 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup dry white rice
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 pound lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

First prepare your vegetables. Oil a large three quart casserole. Layer the potatoes into the bottom of the casserole. Next add the carrots or frozen vegetables. Sprinkle over the rice, and then the onion. Separate off small bits of the raw hamburger and arrange it over the onion. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over hamburger. Press all of the ingredients down evenly. Pour the tomatoes over the top. Cover the casserole with tin foil and bake at 325° for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Yes, 3 hours. The meat is raw, and the carrots and potatoes and rice take a good while to soften up, making a long cooking time necessary. So just let the casserole sit in the oven for 3 full hours and then it will be done. It makes the house smell good while it cooks. When it is done, take it out of the oven. Remove the tin foil and let the casserole cool a little bit. This will serve 6 people.

Roasted Sticky Chicken

Roasted Sticky Chicken

1 large chicken -- (roasting) or chicken parts.
1 cup onion -- chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
4 teaspoons salt

In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a re-sealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate overnight. When ready to roast chicken, stuff cavity with onions, and place in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 325 for 3 hours, basting every ½ or so. Cover pan with aluminum foil when cooking. Remove foil for browning at the end of the cooking time.Serve this with some scalloped potatoes or baked potato and a green veggie...yummy! The leftover chicken is wonderful for sandwiches or casseroles, etc.

Enchilada Casserole

Enchilada Casseroleby me :)


1 lb hamburger
1 can diced tomatoes (rotel for more heat)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can ranch style beans
2 cups shredded cheese
12 or more corn/or flour tortillas (we like flour best)

brown meat and drain. Add all canned items and mix well. Take large cake pan and spray with Pam. Spoon the meat mixture, one spoonful into the bottom of the pan and spread out. Cover bottom of dish with six tortillas. Cover tortillas with half the meat mixture and cover with half the cheese, repeat and end with cheese.Bake 350 for 20-25 minutes and let SIT 10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream and black olives.You can also do this in the CROCKPOT too. Exactly the same order and cook on low for 3 hours.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Poppy Seed
Chickenby Candi
3-4 chicken breasts ( i use thighs or whatever i have on hand)
1 (8 oz.) carton of sour cream
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 stick butter
1 stack Ritz crackers
2 t. poppy seeds ( i use waaaay more than that..i add it to the chicken mixture as well as to the topping...we like the flavor!)

Boil and chop chicken. Mix in soup and sour cream. Spread into 8x8 casserole dish. Melt butter and add to crushed crackers and poppy seeds (I do this in a ziploc bag). Sprinkle topping mixture over casserole. Bake at 325' for 30-40**i double this and i also put the crust down on the bottom and the top**

Lima Bean Soup

This first recipe comes from Crystal and at first when i read through the recipe, it didn't sound the greatest, but i made it and it was sooo yummy! it is a big hit! if you make it up early and let it sit a while, it thickens up great!

Lima Bean Soup
Crystal Miller

2 cups dry lima beans
5 to 6 cups water
2 t. salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 T olive oil
1 cup chopped ham
1 chicken bullion cube (i think i used more)
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes
¼ t. pepper
1 cup milk

In a large stock pot put lima beans, water (the lesser amount) and salt. Bring to boil and simmer until lima beans are soft (1 ½ to 2 hours). Adding more water if it seems to be running low. While beans are cooking fry the chopped onion in the olive oil until onion is soft. Set aside. When the beans have finished cooking add cooked onions, ham, bullion cube, tomato and pepper. Stir will. Add milk and heat until just warm. Serve with fresh homemade bread and a nice green salad

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some more recipes above

And of course, we do all the other winter weather foods such as :

one dish meatloaf, carrots and potatos
chicken and noodles (homemade) with mashed potatoes and corn
goulash and cornbread
Indian tacos with all the fixin's

Some Yummy Cold Weather Recipes

It has been crazy cold here in Oklahoma-land this week and it is only getting worse! I thought i would share some of our favorite recipes for this time of year:

This first recipe comes from Crystal and at first when i read through the recipe, it didn't sound the greatest, but i made it and it was sooo yummy! it is a big hit! if you make it up early and let it sit a while, it thickens up great!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chicken Florentine

My review of this recipe from Paula Deen: Chicken Florentine

My family and i usually just love all of Paula Deen's recipes, but this was was not such a big hit. Dh said it was "okay", but i seriously doubt if i make it again. This was the first time i have ever used curry powder in any recipe and i guess we are just not curry people. The taste was subtle and the dish was definitely edible...just not a huge hit. Dh had seconds, so it had to be decent :)

i made homemade bread sticks (trying to recreate Olive Garden's - 1/2 successful) and a green salad with hard boiled eggs for dh to top his with to go along with the meal. My kids were less than thrilled to have this for dinner, basically because of the looks. I have to say, i loved the spinach and the chicken, i just didn't care for the subtle undertone of curry. If i make this again, i will leave out the curry.

I halved this recipe, and i used chicken thighs instead of breasts, five of them.

Here is a pic of our dinner tonight: (ignore the mismatched plates)