Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sandra's Beef and Potato Burritos

One of the many delicious meals we had while visiting family in Oklahoma was Beef and Potato Burritos. The filling is SO DARNED GOOD. Seriously. It's amazingly delicious for how simple it is. Plus, by adding potato, you stretch your ground beef/turkey and save money. What's not to love?

The recipe is originally from Everyday Food (the pbs show, not Rachel Rey).


1 large baking potato
2 Tbsp canola oil (or olive oil)
3/4 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely chopped
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes with juice
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt

flour tortillas (whatever size/kind you like)

sour cream
shredded lettuce
cheese (Monterey jack, cheddar, or Mexican blend, low-fat is fine)

1. Peel potato and cut into 1/2 inch dice.

2. In a large (LARGE) skillet or saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown (about 6 min). While that cooks, chop the onion and jalapeno.

3. Add beef/turkey, onion, and jalapeno and cook, stirring, until beef/turkey is thoroughly browned, about 4 min. Add tomatoes and juice, cumin, paprika, and salt. Cook until liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes.

4. Warm tortillas in skillet (or microwave if you're lazy like me). Fill with beef mixture and desired toppings and fold into a burrito.

Enjoy! This makes quite a bit--we probably had enough for 10 small burritos. The original recipe says it makes 4 large (10 inch tortilla) burritos.

The little geeks are not huge fans of this (yet--I predict in about 10 years they both love it). The big geek and I enjoy it a LOT. Leftover filling is also good with Fritos or other corn chips.

Fontina-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates

These also came from Brown Eyed Baker's blog. Thanks to this recipe, I discovered something: I don't really like dates. Even wrapped in bacon, they're not my favorite things. However, people who love dates seem to think these are quite tasty.

Go figure. :)

You need:
Bacon, cut into 3 inch pieces (I just cut each piece in half)
Fresh dates (dried is ok if you can't get fresh)
Fontina cheese, cut to fit inside dates

1. Pre-cook bacon in microwave for 1 min. It will not be fully cooked. You're just trying to reduce how long it takes to cook in the over so the filling doesn't over-cook.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the broiler.

3. Slit the dates open, keeping the bottom and as much of the sides as possible in tact. Remove pits and place cheese insde each date. Wrap bacon around the stuffed date, overlapping the ends on the bottom. Place on parchment paper.

4. Broil for approx. 5 min. Watch them closely so they don't burn! When the bacon is done, they are done.

I do think these would be better with a saltier cheese, like Parmesan or Asiago. If you like dates, I'd encourage you to try this out and experiment with different cheeses. If you don't like dates, these probably won't be your favorite things.

Cucumber Tomato Phyllo Cups

I burned my hand a few weeks ago, which interfered with some of my cooking plans. Thanks to a miracle cream, all is now well, and cooking has resumed.

I found some phyllo cups at Nob Hill, so was able to try this tasty little appetizer. They're light and cool and refreshing and surprisingly addictive. Now that I've used phyllo cups, I'm full of all kinds of ideas for how to use the handy little things (that are pre-baked and require practically no work). These were based on Brown Eyed Baker's "Cucumber-Tomato Bruschetta in Phyllo Cups" recipe.


30 phyllo cups

1 med cucumber, finely diced
1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1/4 cup sour cream (I used the real deal--you could use low fat)
3 Tbsp cream cheese, softened (again, real deal--you could use low fat)
2 tsp lemon juice (I used fresh thanks to a generous friend)
3 Tbsp finely chopped chives, divided (or, in a pinch, green onion stems)
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley (I had to skip this as my parsley "died" between when I planned to make these and actually was able to make them)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1. Remove phyllo cups from freezer.
2. In medium bowl, toss the cucumber, tomato, and onion to combine.
3. In small bowl, mix the sour cream and cream cheese with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp chives, and parsley.
4. Add sour cream mixture to vegetable mixture and toss to combine.
5. Spoon into each phyllo cup. I had a bit left over. It was tasty.
6. Top with remaining 1 Tbsp chives and serve.

Perfect for a summer gathering!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No-Bake Chocolate, Peanut Butter, & Oatmeal Cookies

My sister is the master of no-bake cookies, but since she lives in Oklahoma and I live in California, I haven't had these for a while. When I found this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker's blog post of 36 fabulous recipes for summer, I decided to try it out.

I'm glad I did! Quick, easy, and delicious these cookies can probably be made by anyone with a well-stocked pantry without even requiring a trip to the grocery store. I should say that The Little Geek was NOT a fan of them. I have no idea why, unless it is the texture of the oatmeal in the cookies. Clearly, she is insane.

I think my sister puts raisins in hers. If not, I've absolutely had these with raisins in the past. If you enjoy Raisinettes, you'd probably enjoy that addition. I did not include them as the recipe didn't call for them and I knew I was probably the only person in my house who would enjoy them.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter (I used unsalted, but salted is fine)
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth is probably best, but chunky would also work)
2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups quick-cooking oats

1. Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper.
2. Add butter through cocoa powder to a 4-quart suacepan and bring to a rolling boil.
3. Let boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
5. Stir in the oats.
6. Drop by heaping tablespoon onto wax-paper lined baking sheets.
7. Cool in refrigerator until set (around 30 minutes).


I plan to make more of Brown Eyed Bakers recipes this weekend, including the strawberry pretzel squares, Italian chicken salad, Fontina-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates, and cucumuber tomato phyllo cups (if I can find phyllo cups--I am NOT making my own), and spicy crock pot pecans. When our tomatoes ripen and I'm looking for ideas for them, I'm making the panzanella. I'll post as I cook.

Tonight: Flank Steak w/ Orange Sauce!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Angela's Breakfast Popsicles

My friend Angela found this recipe in a Cheerios cookbook (yes, it exists) and made it for a playdate years ago. I recently remembered it and decided the little geeks might like them as a "dessert."

I was right, and then I discovered that even more than dessert, they loved having them for breakfast. Whether you have them as a snack or breakfast, it's an easy, semi-healthy indulgence.

You need:
ripe bananas (but not over-ripe)
yogurt--any kind, but smooth, not with chunks of fruit. I like strawberry.
cheerios or "O" cereal
Popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks

1. Peel bananas and insert Popsicle stick into each one. (You may want to cut the bananas in half so you have 2 shorter pops). Place on wax paper on a cookie sheet or plate and freeze until the stick is really frozen in place.

2. Dunk frozen banana in yogurt (or spoon yogurt over the banana--whatever works best for you).

3. Roll yogurt-covered banana in cereal.

4. Return yogurt and cereal-covered banana to wax paper and freeze.

When they are frozen, you can store them in a plastic baggie until you're ready to eat them.

5. Tell your kids they are having Popsicles for breakfast and listen to them cheer!