Recent Recipes

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tortilla Stack

Chopping the veggies for our Tortilla Stack

You can add you family's favorite taco ingredient

Bake @ 450 degrees for 10-12 min.

This recipe is one of the best "go-to" dinners in my file. it is from the All You; Eat Well, Save Big" cookbook. http://www.allyou.com/coupons-deals/all-you-cookbook-00400000062239/ a sweet friend gave me. I always have the ingredients onhand. We LOVE the hand-made tortillas that are available everywhere here in town. Try it this weekend. Add your family's favorite toppings for variation.

Tortilla Stack
"All You; Eat Well, Save Big"
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake 12 minutes
Serves 4

4 10-inch flour tortillas
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
½ cup tomato sauce
1 cup green salsa
6 ounce grated pepper Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 450˚F. Place a skillet on the stovetop over high heat. Mist tortillas with cooking spray and toast in skillet, turning once, until golden, about 1 minute.

Warm oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 4 minutes. Stir in garlic, spices and salt; sauté for 1 minute. Add beef and sauté, breaking into small pieces, until cooked, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce, reduce heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 7 minutes. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Place a tortilla on a baking sheet misted with cooking spray. Spread with one-third each of beef mixture, salsa and cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers of beef, salsa and cheese. Top with remaining tortilla; press to adhere. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Praline Pecans & Cranberries and More

Today we were reminded of the results that occur when we have made room for God to work through us. The scripture was from 2 Kings 4:8-37: the story of the Shunammite who made a room for Elisha, the man of God.  The results of her kindness-her womb was opened, & she had a son. It was a powerful message. The prophetic word was given to us, "My hand is on you to be one who lives in my presence; to be an example and an illustration to all who walk here."
This afternoon we went to the Astros/Reds game. The 'stros won :) The christian band, Mercy Me had a concert after the game. We had seats very close to the stage for the concert!!!
We have a busy week planned. I know the presence of God goes with me.
I have a food styling event this Wed. It includes about 30 hrs. of preparation. I'll spend Mon. & Tues. shopping & chopping to prepare the demonstration food & samples for 75 consumers. I am so very thankful for this job opportunity. For a little appreciation gift to the client for choosing the consulting firm I work for, I'm making gift bags of "Praline Pecans & Cranberries". I usually make these in the fall. It isn't feeling like autumn here in Houston at the moment, but they are a perfect choice for gift-giving. They are sweet, and crunchy, and the tart cranberries add a burst of color. I've added the recipe below the pictures of our afternoon @ the concert.
Bart Millard

Jim & I @ the Mercy Me concert after the Astros game.

Mercy Me


3 1/2 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
In large mixing bowl, combine pecans and cranberries.  Set aside.  In medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar and corn syrup.  Heat to a rolling boil.  Remove from heat.  Add baking soda, caution, mixture will foam up.  Add vanilla and stir.  Pour mixture over pecans and cranberries.  Stir to coat well.  Pour coated pecans into 9” x 13” pan.  Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 – 20 minutes.  Transfer to a large baking sheet that has been covered with heavy duty aluminum foil, spreading pecans evenly with lightly greased spoon.  Cool completely.  Break pecans apart with a wooden spoon.  Store in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Servings: 5 cups


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Ultimate Go-to list

I am an independent consultant for the company, Kitchen Consultants. I had some exciting news today. I'll be shopping & preparing the food for a guest chef's cooking demonstration. I'll also be preparing food, purchasing games, & delivering those to a radio station to promote National Board game day. In addition I met the members of the Fort Bend Pecan/Citrus Growers committee today. I believe this may lead to promotion opportunities. I know my steps are ordered by the Lord & He opens doors in His perfect timing.

Below are helpful hints I refer to constantly, especially the buttermilk substitute.

Sandra Lee’s Basic Pantry List
Adapted from Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Money Saving Meals

Dinner from the Deli:
Rotisserie chicken:
An average 2-pound cooked chicken yields 3 to 3 ½ cups of meat.
If you’re not going to serve it right away, pull the meat from the bones and refrigerate it in a shallow container. The chicken can be refrigerated for four days or frozen up to four months.
Remove the meat and toss the skin and bones into a simmering pot of packaged broth to make it doubly rich. Freeze in ice cube trays, then store cubes in freezer bags.

Freezer Ease:
Spend a day cooking and freezing meals for delicious thaw-and eat dinners on busy nights. Just transfer soups, stews, chilies, and casseroles to air-tight containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

Stock Your Shelves:
Go-To Pantry
Store flour, sugar, and shortening with sweet spices in one area; savory spices, sauces, and marinades in another. Stack food on risers and in clear, airtight containers so you won’t waste time searching for ingredients.
Keep it cold:
Items like olives, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and marinated vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator. Add them to salads and omelets for extra flavor. Jarred fruit makes quick snacks.
From the Pantry:
Pasta, rice, couscous, marinara, broth, and salad dressing are all must-haves for every pantry.
Pesto Power:
Basil pesto is the one item every pantry should have. It’s a simple and delicious stir-in for pasta, salads, and sauces. It’s also divine as a spread for crusty bread. Other similar products to keep on hand are olive tapenade, jarred bruschetta, and sun-dried tomato pesto.
Spice it up:
Spice blends are convenient for flavoring soups or sprinkling on meat before cooking.

Think small
Buy good-quality herbs in the smallest containers possible. Date and alphabetize them. Discard after six months.

Pantry shortcuts: copy p. 19
Buttermilk substitute: Measure one teaspoon to one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in one cup measuring cup. Add milk to the one-cup line. Stir and allow to sit for a few moments. May also substitute 1 cup sour cream if consistency allows.
Evaporated milk has 60% less water. Swap it for regular milk to make a dish richer and creamier. Powdered milk is a thrifty for cooking-it works exactly the same in recipes.
Group like items together:
Store flour, sugar, and shortening with sweet spices in one area; savory spices, sauces, and marinades in another. Stack food on risers and in clear, airtight containers so you won’t waste time searching for ingredients.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Caesar Salad & Homemade Croutons

My sister asked for my recipe for homemade croutons. I couldn't pass that along without sharing our favorite Caesar salad dressing. I always double the dressing recipe so we have it the following week as well. It doesn't stay fresh for longer than a week in the frig. At our house, it is gone long before that. I made this for a Ladies Night Out @ our church.

Caesar Salad

Prep time: 10 min

1-2 head romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, torn into bite sized pieces (enough to fill a large salad bowl) One head serves about 8 people. The pre-washed/pre-packaged heads only serve 6 people (in our household, we don't use the ribs, we discard that part)

1 cup crouton, to taste (purchased or homemade, see recipe below); optional


In a food processor, combine the following ingredients until thoroughly blended:

3 garlic cloves

3/4 - 1 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 lemon

2 1/2 - 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 - 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese Salt and pepper to taste

Add to the mixture in a thin stream while continuing to process:

1/4 cup light olive oil

Process until mixture is emulsified (a mixture of one liquid with another that cannot normally be combined smoothly)

Pour some of the dressing over lettuce, as much or as little as you prefer, and toss well to coat leaves with dressing; I tend to use less and have extra to save for another salad later in the week.

Set one clean hand over your salad bowl and squeeze the lemon half over it- letting the juice drip through your fingers, but catching the pits (discard pits).

Grind some black pepper over the salad to taste.

Add Parmesan cheese and stir to coat.

Taste for seasonings, adding a little more salt, pepper, or cheese if desired.

When the seasonings are correct, add the croutons to the top, give a quick stir, and serve immediately.

This does not keep well- if you need to make in advance, prepare the salad dressing alone and then toss everything together just before serving.

SERVES 8 -10


Food Network

Cook Time: 15 min; Level: Easy


Day old French bread

Olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut bread into cubes and place in a large bowl. Drizzle cubes with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Mix well.

Spread seasoned bread onto a sheet pan and bake for about 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend blessings

Our Sunday service was fantastic. Dr. Bobby Hill was the guest speaker, sharing a sermon about "Praying for the Harvest". Here is the link: http://www.flcf.com/podcasts.html  It was so timely, as Jim & I are trying to pray specifically for our neighborhood. It was the same type of teaching we always heard at Faith Chapel in O'Fallon http://www.faithchapelag.com/index.php God equips us to bring in the harvest, we have been given that authority. We are committed to putting the Word into practice!
Lunch was almost ready when we arrived home from church, thanks to another slow-cooker recipe. I simply placed a chuck roast in the slow-cooker, sprinkled a package of onion soup over it, & cooked it on high for 4 hours. All that was left to do was prepare a salad & some rice.
I'm trying a new recipe tomorrow night from the Texas Beef Council. We love the homemade tortillas available at all the grocery stores.    http://txbeef.org/recipe_book/search/margarita_fajitas

Saturdays to serve

On Saturday Jim & I had the privilege of serving food at our church's Parenting conference. We didn't prepare the food, it was all purchased from Sam's, Subway, & Sweet Tomatoes, http://www.sweettomatoes.com/  I am very thankful our schedule allows us time to help with these events. There are advantages to not being involved in committees & organizations at this point in our lives. We can say yes to serving without feeling worn out or stressed.

Dinner at our house was a quick-fix meal: Taco Chicken from a previous post, served over baked potatoes, with sour cream & chopped green onions for garnish. I think I'll be making this chicken dish at least once-a-month. Anyone know where I can get coupons for Ro-tel tomatoes? I plan to stock up on them. Below is the Taco Seasoning recipe I use from the Taste of Home website. Enjoy!

Taco Seasoning Mix
PREP 10 min.

TOTAL 10 min.


1/4 cup dried minced onion

1/4 cup chili powder

3 tablespoons salt

4 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon dried minced garlic

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons beef bouillon granules

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 pound ground beef

1/3 to 1/2 cup water


Combine the first nine ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
Yield: 6-7 batches (about 3/4 cup total).

To prepare tacos: In a skillet, brown beef; drain. Add 2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix and water. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings per batch.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursdays with my Sister Chicks

Our new semester of bible study began today. I'm taking the Here and Now There and Then study by Beth Moore. Most of by Sister Chicks from the Newcomers class are there. I'm thrilled I'll still get to see them each week. We lunched at Red Oak Grill http://www.redoak-grill.com/home.htm A few of the other classmates came along as well. They have only been in Katy a yr. or 2. It's always fun meeting another newby who is planting roots in our new community.
Dinner was an old stand-by, northern beans, seasoned & cooked until they're mushy. I always make enough for leftovers. We think they taste better the 2nd day. I purchased some rustic artisan bread from a gourmet bakery. I had gotten this last June for a food styling event, & have wanted to try it for myself ever since. They did not disappoint. It was delicious.
Jim & I are setting up & serving at our church's parent conference this weekend. There are plenty of leftovers from this week's meals for lunches & dinners on the run.
Northern Beans
Rinse & sort beans in a large pot. For 2 cups beans, add 8 cups hot water. Bring to a rapid boil, boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover 7 let stand 1 hour. Drain soak water & rinse beans.
Add 6 cups of hot water to drained & rinsed beans. Add 2 strips cooked bacon; half of a medium onion, quartered, 1 teaspoon garlic. Season with salt & pepper.
Simmer gently with lid tilted until desired tenderness is reached, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Serve with cornbread (or the delicious artisan bread I got from the bakery)
I made fresh salsa for snacking this weekend. I've determined I'll only eat fresh salsa from now on. None of that cooked salsa for me!
1 small tomato, finely chopped
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 to one whole fresh jalapeno, finely diced (ours were from our garden)
2 tablespoons cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour. You can combine ingredients in a blender or food processor for a smoother consistency.