Thursday, September 19, 2019

Crispy Seasoned Tortilla Strips

These crispy, zingy little bits of goodness are a perfect combination of ingredients that will enhance the flavor of and add great texture to soups or salads.
I made these today to use as a topping for taco soup.  I like to put a generous amount of grated cheese over the top of my soup and then add these crispy tortilla strips before I dig into it!

They are so much more flavorful than the store-bought variety and aren’t hard to make.  Give them a try the next time you make something they would go well with!


4              soft taco size Mission flour tortillas

2              teaspoons taco seasoning mix

1              generous dash Worcestershire sauce

1              dash Frank’s Hot Wings Buffalo sauce (about a half teaspoon, or to taste)

½             teaspoon salt, plus extra

¼             cup olive oil


Combine liquid ingredients (olive oil, worcestershire, buffalo sauce) in a bowl and whisk together.

Combine and mix together taco seasoning and ½ teaspoon salt in a separate small bowl and then add to olive oil mixture and whisk.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare tortillas by cutting into narrow strips and then cutting the strips into whatever lengths you want individual pieces to be.  Shorter ones are better for soups, but you can make them any length you wish.  I used a pastry wheel to cut mine with.

Place the strips into a gallon size zip lock bag and then whisk the liquids one more time before pouring into the bag over the strips.  Seal the bag and gently move the bag around until all the strips are coated with the liquid spice mixture.  You can add a little more olive oil to the bag if necessary, but I have never had to do that.

Dump the bag of strips onto a sheet pan and spread them out evenly, as single-layered as possible.

Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and gently toss and move around in pan using a spatula.

Return to oven and bake an additional 4 to 5 or so minutes.  Repeat this process until the strips are baked to the degree of crispiness you prefer.  I baked and turned mine three times, twice as described above, then the last time, I turned to oven to the low broil setting (leaving the pan on the center rack) and broiled them for about 2 minutes just to get them as crispy as I wanted them to be.

Immediately after removing from oven, sprinkle with a little more salt.  Use a spatula to remove them from the sheet pan onto a layer of dry paper towels to cool completely. 

This recipe can easily be doubled, and you can store any leftovers in a plastic container or zip lock bag and keep at room temperature. 
You can also adjust the ingredients, such as the buffalo sauce, to suit your taste.  Don't be afraid to use different seasonings!  I use many different combinations... Hidden Valley Spicy Ranch Dip & Dressing dry mix, or Italian dressing dry mix with garlic powder and dried Italian seasonings are both great combinations for salads.  Just mix them with the olive oil instead of the ingredients listed here.
For a sweet snack, toss them in melted butter and then add a cinnamon/sugar coating to the bag.  They're so good!!!

Monday, September 2, 2019

Easy Breakfast Quiche for Two

I made breakfast in a well seasoned 7 inch cast iron skillet this morning! It's the perfect size for two servings.

Here are the ingredients I used:

4 eggs
Crumbled fully cooked breakfast sausage
Diced Canadian bacon
Shredded cheese
Heavy whipping cream
Whole milk
Salt, pepper
and some Frank's Buffalo Wings Sauce!

Whisk the eggs... I'm using a 4 cup measure to combine all the ingredients in.
Next, add salt & pepper, about 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and 1/4 cup whole milk, and the Frank's, which is optional.  I used a tablespoon.

Add all the remaining ingredients except the paprika.  I don't measure any of them, but it's about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese, 2 sausage patties, 3 slices of Canadian bacon, and about 1/4 cup real bacon bits. 

I sprayed the skillet generously with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray.

Poured the filling in.... you have a pile of the solid ingredients in the middle after you pour them in.

Just use your whisk or a fork to spread them evenly into the liquid, then sprinkle the top with additional black pepper and paprika.

Bake at 350 degrees until the center is not sunken and there is only the slightest jiggle when you shake the skillet.  It took about 25 minutes for mine, but oven temps vary, so keep an eye on it as it bakes. 

And here it is.... a hot, delicious breakfast that's not hard to make!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Crispy Low Carb Tortilla Thin Crust Pizza

Yippee!  I finally figured out how to make a crispy thin pizza crust that's low carb! It's not cauliflower, it's not floppy, and - most importantly, it tastes good!!

I went with a four meats version, but if you make this, use your favorite toppings.

To begin, I mixed all the meats together in a bowl.  I chose crispy bacon, browned crumbled sausage, Canadian bacon, and mini pepperoni.  Then I set it aside and went to the next step.

All mixed up!!

Next, I combined about 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon paprika, freshly ground black pepper and coarse ground salt into a small bowl and whisked it together well.

The paprika was just to add color, it's optional!
I decided to do this 2 pizzas at a time, so I used 2 ten inch cast iron skillets.  Brush one side of a tortilla with the olive oil mixture using a pastry brush.  Place it brushed side down into the skillet with the burner set to medium.  Allow the tortilla to brown on the bottom, then remove the skillet from the heat and flip the tortilla over in the skillet.  The sauce and toppings will be added to the side that has browned, keeping the tortilla in the skillet.

After brushing with olive oil mixture

I'm doing 2 at a time, one in each skillet. Both will go into the oven at the same time later...

Browned side brushed with olive oil mixture flipped, ready to add toppings.  

Remove the skillet to a hot pad or trivet to add sauce and toppings.

Pizza sauce spread over surface...

Next, shredded pizza blend cheese...

Then meat toppings and more cheese....

Into the oven on the middle rack to broil on high setting....

I used a convection broil to do this, but a regular oven broil will work just fine.  Watch to make sure you don't burn it.

Remove from oven and use a large spatula to place pizza on a wire rack for about 2 minutes to prevent moisture from softening the crispy crust...
I used Mission brand Carb Balance flour tortillas.  Each tortilla is 6 net carbs. I used Classico Traditional Pizza sauce.

Ready to slice and enjoy!!

I made 4 little pizzas.  The tortillas are the perfect size for a small, single pizza for one. Depending on how many you wish to make, just approximate the volume when it comes to preparing the toppings.  We like it pretty heavily loaded, as you can see in the picture above.  Even with that much topping, the crust held up very nicely and didn't flop.  

I know there are different brands of low carb tortillas available, but they are thinner, and I felt the Mission flour tortillas would hold up much better.  I don't think you would get the same great results with any other kind.

If you love thick crust pizza this isn't for you, but if you like pizza with a thin, crispy crust, it's a great option and also  anyone on a low carb or pre-diabetic diet can enjoy it!

Friday, March 8, 2019

The Happy Twosome

Well, I finished the second one.  I went to a craft store and wasn't expecting to find much in the way of Christmas themed items to adorn her with, but I did find some cute little snowman buttons and decided to put one on her hat.  

I also discovered that at Hobby Lobby you can ask for a "sample strip" of material, which is a 1 1/2 inch or so strip they cut for you off of the full width of the bolt and give it to you for free.  I found the piece of flannel I made her scarf with and got a sample strip of it.  It's actually enough to make quite a few more with.  

Now I've started yet another one and made this top hat for him.  

I finished him up, so here's the happy little trio:

That's all of this for now, I've got other things to accomplish, but these are really fun to make and I will make more when time allows!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

It's Never Too Early....

Well, maybe it's too early for some. We're not even a full week into March yet, and here I go again.
This time, it's something new I've never done before.  A handmade snowman.

Meet  ____________.  I'll fill in the blank later.  I need to have a chat or two with him first and get a feel for his personality before I name him!  He may look more like a her.  I'll have to think about that!

He stands about 13 inches tall and is constructed with cotton batting.  I cut  the pattern out, which I found on some Pinterest post, and went from there.  The pattern was for a snowman that was only about 4 or 5 inches tall, so I blew it up and printed it out on 2 pages, taped it together, and went for it.

After sewing 2 pieces all the way around except an opening in the top, I turned it and added about 2 inches of rice to the bottom, then stuffed the rest of him with polyfill.  Once he was all stuffed, I hand sewed the opening at the top of his head closed and proceeded to fashion a little hat for him, which was also made with cotton batting.  

Next, I painted the hat green and sewed the buttons onto it, then added little dots of red all over it.  I just used regular water-based craft paint.  Next, I glued all of his buttons and his hat on using 
E 6000. I love that stuff.  It worked perfectly for this project.  

The next step was mixing some Modpodge with clear glitter and dabbing it on all over the entire surface, hat and all. I've learned from projects past that this prevents the glitter from coming off later and irritating me... His arms were sticking straight out to the side at this point, reminding me more of a scarecrow.  After the first coat dried, I repeated with one more coat and allowed it to dry. 

After that, all left to do was add the rest of the final details... I glued his arms into the positions I wanted them to be in, but was afraid they would eventually come loose, so I tacked them down with a needle and thread, then added the greenery and berries, the scarf, and gave him some rosy cheeks and a face.  

This was so much fun to do, I'm going to make him a girlfriend next.  I know he'll thank me for that, he seems a bit lonely just hanging out all alone.

Clearly, this isn't a food related post, so I'll let this little guy hang out in the kitchen with me and watch me cook. Maybe I can teach him a thing or two.

Here are a few more pictures of him.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Skillet Breakfast Hash

Perfect for a cold morning!

This recipe requires one large baked potato that is baked a day or two ahead and refrigerated.  I usually make this after we've had stuffed baked potatoes for dinner the previous night.  I just bake 1 extra potato and stick it in the fridge until the next morning.

Here's what you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium diced onion or 1 (12 oz.) bag frozen diced onions 
1 large refrigerated baked potato, diced
1 pound ground breakfast sausage, browned/crumbled 
Cream gravy (packaged, or make your own) (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Grated cheese (cheddar, or your preference)

Begin by adding the olive oil, onions, and salt and pepper to a non-stick skillet.  

Cook on medium high heat until the onions soften and just begin to brown some.

While the onions cook, brown the sausage, set aside.

Then dice the potato.

Remove the skin if you prefer.

Add the potatoes to the onions and stir.  Allow to cook on medium high to high heat until the potatoes are browned to your liking. 

Add the sausage, stir, and continue to cook.....

Until it looks like this.  You could use smoked sausage or diced ham instead of ground breakfast sausage if you prefer.

This step is optional, you could skip it but my husband likes it, so I always add it.  Make a cream gravy and pour over the top, don't stir.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  

If I'm in a hurry, I use this gravy mix.  If I'm not, I make my own gravy from the sausage drippings.

Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the gravy and cover.  Allow to cook on low heat until the cheese melts.

Grab a fork and dig in! 


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Cook Once, Eat Twice!

Today, it rained... and rained.... and rained.  I love rain.  I love the sound of thunder.  What does that have to do with cooking?  Well, it was really pouring today and I didn't want to get out in it.  I was thinking this morning how glad I was that I decided to grocery shop yesterday and not today. So... I decided to turn off the air conditioner, open the windows, open the patio door, and get to cooking.

And cook, I did.  Sometimes the mood just hits me and this was one of those days and I have a busy week coming up, so I'll be glad I decided to do this later!

I started out by getting a chuck roast into the crock pot, loaded with lots of flavorful gravy.  I'm adding carrots and baby gold potatoes and onion to it.  I'll serve it up like that the first time, then with the leftovers, I'll cut the meat and veggies into smaller pieces and make some hand pies with it later in the week.

While the roast was cooking away, I made a pot of spaghetti sauce that will be served with pasta the first time and then later, I'll use it in a cast iron skillet deep dish pizza.

Then I cooked a double batch of taco meat, which will first be used for tacos and then later I'll make some nice taco salads with the leftovers.

So that takes care of 6 meals, and that means with minimal prep I will have dinner served up in a flash for six days.  I think on day 7 I'll be dining out, and if I know me, it may well be breakfast, which is one of my favorite things to have for dinner!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Nana's Cookie House

Oh boy.... there's just something special about a really good cookie, and I'm tellin' ya now, Nana's Cookie House can do them up right!
This is the first of my posts featuring eats of all kinds from friends and family.  Nana, of Nana's Cookie House, is Denise McAlister, and she and I were both in the same graduating class of Denison High School in Denison, Texas.  Not long ago, I was fortunate enough to meet her again after many years and discovered she was a baker.  Not just any baker.... but a great baker, and it was then that I first enjoyed one of her beautiful cookies.  Oh my.  Mighty good!  If you want to experience a delightfully soft sugar cookie with a perfect texture, this is it. So here's a little info about her delicious sugar cookies...

Denise uses only the freshest ingredients and her sugar cookie recipe really is a tried and true old family one that she has stayed completely true to and has not altered in any way.  She ices them with "Amazing Glaze" (I love that name, and it is amazing...), which is not an old family recipe - it's actually one shared by a cake and cookie group she's a member of, and it's just right for her cookies.  Not too sweet, not grainy, it's the perfect finish for a perfect cookie!

In Denison, you can find Nana's cookies at Suzie Cute's Café.  
Suzie Cute's has great daily specials, and they have awesome taco salads and premium burgers, among lots of other items on the menu, so pop in sometime - they'll serve you with a smile, and they also have cupcakes and other sweet treats alongside Nana's cookies, as seen below!

Nana's Cookie House 
Denise takes orders, and also bakes cakes and cupcakes!

Suzie Cute's Café

409 W. Main St., Suite 101, Denison, TX  75020

Closed Sunday and Monday
Open Tuesdays from 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Open Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Open Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Open Fridays from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Open Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Easy Cinnamon Quick Bread

Getting tired of cinnamon-based recipes isn't something that happens to me.  I really like cinnamon!  I have multiple recipes for cinnamon quick breads, but here's a simple one that's moist and delicious.  It makes 2 loaves.

For the batter:

1 cup salted sweet butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated white sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice)
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Optional:  1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Cinnamon/sugar mixture: (divided use)

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 


In a large bowl, combine butter, 2 cups of sugar, beat until smooth:

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir together in a separate large bowl:

In a medium sized separate bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon and stir well, set aside.  

I don't actually measure the sugar and cinnamon, I just prepare a bowl of it.  I use more than the recipe calls for, since I also coat my pans with it.  Plus, I just like MORE!!!

Combine the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract together in yet another bowl, whisking together well.

Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture, one half at a time and beat until smooth.
Then add half the flour mixture to the liquid ingredients and beat until smooth, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat again until smooth and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl again.
The batter will be thick, and should be smooth, like this:

Spray the two loaf pans generously with butter flavored non-stick cooking spray and spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of the cinnamon/sugar mixture into each pan.  Swirl to coat completely. Use as much of the cinnamon/sugar mixture as necessary to coat completely, and empty any excess remaining in the pans back into the original sugar/cinnamon mix bowl. You can add a teaspoon of flour to the coating mixture if you wish, but I never do and they never stick if you don't leave them in the pan for more than 8 to 10 minutes before you turn them out. OR... just flour them if you want, but the cinnamon/sugar method is awesome! The original recipe calls for just the spray and flour.


Once the pans are coated, they should look like this:

Spoon 1/2 of batter (1/4 of it for each pan) into the loaf pans and gently spread to cover the bottom evenly: 

Using about half of the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture, sprinkle it over the top of the batter.  (add the finely chopped pecans here if you are using them... just sprinkle them evenly over the sugar layer):  If you're like me and want to go heavier on the cinnamon/sugar mixture, make more!!!

Divide the remaining batter between the two pans, using half of it in each; gently spread evenly, and then sprinkle each with half of the remaining cinnamon/sugar mixture:

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, a butter knife, a chopstick, a skewer... or whatever you want to use, lightly swirl the tops of each loaf pan.  Don't get all the way to the bottom of the pan when you do this, just go about half way in:

Bake on the center rack at 350 degrees for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  All ovens vary, so start checking at around 40 minutes to avoid over-baking, which will deplete moisture.  

After removing from the oven, allow to cool at room temperature for 8 minutes, then before attempting to remove the loaves from the pan, shake them side to side until you see the loaves release.  

You could stop there, but I never do... here's what I like to do next, but you don't have to do this.... 

I like to brush the tops generously with melted butter and then sprinkle more cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top while they are still warm:

Then turn them out and place on a wire rack to cool completely before wrapping in foil. 

Here's what you end up with to enjoy!!

Note:  Sometimes I pour a thin layer of melted butter over the center batter in the pan before I sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture onto it and add the rest of the batter on top.  I like what it does... adds a little moisture and makes the mixture taste even better!  The recipe doesn't say anything about that....

Nothing wrong with having a slice of this anytime at room temperature, but it's so good with butter spread on top and warmed in the microwave for about 20 seconds, and it's great with coffee too!