Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wet burritos

I'm a huge fan of Mexican food. I'm also a huge fan of Americanized Mexican food. During my pregnancy with Madeline (oh yeah. By the way. I had my baby. LOL) I could not get enough of the Wet Burrito from a local "Mexican" fast food restaurant. In the few days before giving birth I ate them 3 times in 3 days. Nom. Spicy food!

Since its been a few weeks now since I've had them, they started to sound exceptional again. However, now that we have 2 children, we're trying to stay home even more. So, to the Internet I went to try to find a wet burrito recipe (which, BTW, was surprisingly hard to find!) and I came across this one. It did not disappoint. It wasn't, obviously, exactly like the restaurant version but they were amazingly good!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground beef, thawed
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 small onions, chopped
1 pkg Taco Seasoning
1 can Refried Beans
1 can tomato sauce + 1 can water
1 pkg Burrito Seasoning Mix
Cornstarch + Cold Water
4 large flour tortillas
1-2 bags Shredded Mexican or Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green/Red Sweet Peppers
Sour Cream, Salsa, Guacamole (optional)

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375°.

Brown the ground beef in the oil with the garlic & onion. Once browned, add taco seasoning & refried beans. (The original directions don't specify to do so, but I kept this simmering on low to heat the beans up)

To make the sauce, mix the tomato sauce, 1 can of water and burrito seasoning in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

In a small bowl, mix together 1 part cornstarch to 3 parts of cold water, then whisk slowly into the tomato sauce until it is thickened to your preferred consistency.

The original instructions say to add sauce to the bottom of the pan, and also to spread it over the top of the burritos. Since this makes them a bit smooshy for leftovers, I would recommend adding the sauce after you bake the burritos, right before eating if you plan to reheat them at a later time.

Spread the meat/bean mixture into 4 burrito tortillas, then add any fillings you'd like. I did lettuce and tomato.

Roll up each tortilla and lay them in the pan. Cover with cheese and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and bubbly.

Cover with sauce, then serve.

Source: grouprecipes.com 

Lamburgers

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For years I've been wishing I had a way to make a traditional lamb gyro at home. But since the meat involved is roasted on a spit and shaved, and I have no such set up, I've never been able to. So... after seeing this recipe, I was thrilled. It looked basically like a gyro. Hooray!

They did not disappoint. I've made them a few times now and holy cow (lamb) are they good! I actually found the lamb was better the next day, too. Perhaps because it had overnight to sit happily in those seasonings?

I did these slightly different than the original recipe. Ellie (my source) made them into burger-style patties. Because our pita were lame and skinny and floppy I instead did it all chopped and ground up and ate them pizza-style instead.

Instead of the tzatziki, I spread these with my garlic feta dip.

Lamburgers
printable recipe

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground lamb
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp oregano
1/4 cup onion, finely minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
ground pepper to taste
2 pitas, halved
olive oil

Directions:
In a large skillet, brown the lamb in the oil, seasoned with the oregano, allspice, garlic and salt.

Spread a moderate layer of the feta dip onto the pita, then add the lamb mix, onions and whatever other toppings you'd like. (I did lettuce and tomato)

Source: Elly Says Opa!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

No-bake Oatmeal, Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies

My mom used to make these cookies often when I was growing up and I LOVED them, but since moving out on my own, I've misplaced and subsiquently forgotten about her recipe. When these cookies showed up a few times on food blogs in my Google reader I decided I absolutely had to make them sometime.

I finally decided to make them in the first week of being home on my maternity leave. Madeline wasn't (and still isn't) keen on being set down for very long (and if we're being honest, I prefer holding her anyway!) but I was craving cookies/chocolate so I figured these would be a perfect stepping stone into getting back into baking after having a baby! They took all of 10 minutes at most.

Brian always claimed that he didn't like these cookies, he didn't like them, didn't like them. However, when he came home to a batch of these, he tried one and voila! He liked them! LOL

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Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cooking oats

Directions:
Mix the butter, milk, sugar and cocoa powder together in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat.

Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla, then mix in the oats.

Drop spoonfuls (I used my cookie scoop) into wax paper and let cool.

Sources: (I had both sources saved in my google reader. They're the same recipe) Dinner and Dessert and Brown Eyed Baker

Chicken stuffed shells

I adore pasta. It's easily my favorite food group (I firmly believe it deserves it's own place in the food groups. Fruits, vegetables, ice cream, pasta. My world is complete). Yet I have to confess that I've always hated stuffed shells. I must have had some really nasty ones at some point during childhood and never tried them again.

Finally, after seeing them a number of times on other food blogs, and then drooling over the recipes, I decided I needed to give them a try. Better still, they were always listed as a freezer-friendly food which I love. So, eventually I decided to give them a try, and I'm so glad I did! YUM! I haven't yet tried to freeze this particular recipe myself (um... we ate all of them instead. Oops), but my original source assures me that they freeze well.

I loved these. Next time I make them, I would like to try adding some spinach to the mix as well. Mmm.

Ingredients:
15 uncooked jumbo pasta shells
2 teaspoons oil
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
8 ounces cooked chicken (I used one whole package, cooked in the crockpot)
1(15 ounce) container  ricotta cheese
1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp parsley
Parmesan cheese for topping
** I also used shredded italian blend cheese on top, which I also added into the chicken mixture

Directions:

Heat oven to 400° and prepare a large baking dish lightly with oil (I used a 13x9 glass pan).

Cook pasta shells according to package directions, then drain and set aside.

Shred the cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. (Again, I used my crockpot and cooked them all day so they were done when I got home. So handy)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then cook the chicken & garlic for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, then mix in the ricotta cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt & pepper, and italian cheeses.

Pour 1/2C of sauce into the bottom of baking dish, spread evenly. Fill the shells with the chicken mixture and place into the dish, open side up.

Pour the remaining sauce over the stuffed shells (I added the italian cheese here to the top too) and cover with foil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, remove foil and continuing baking until the filling is slightly browned.

Source: http://jessicasfoodspot.blogspot.com/2007/07/chicken-stuffed-shells.html