Homemade Tortillas

Homemade tortillas. Sounds like a lot of work, right? A gazillion ingredients, time, and -if you’re afraid of working with dough like me- messy. 

Wrong. So wrong.

I didn’t take any photos during because I was unsure of how they would turn out (again, dough and I tend not to get along!). It probably took me 30 minutes start to finish to make a small batch of 6 flour tortillas, including rest time. Was it messy? Absolutely, but clean cooking/baking has never been my strong suit. I thought they were a little bland on their own; Mark thought they were perfect… It didn’t matter since I served them drowned in enchilada sauce and cheese anyway! If you like your tortillas perfectly round and uniform, this isn’t the project for you. I just love knowing these are fresh and not full of preservatives. They’ll keep in the fridge for a week after cooking. Give them a try next time you’re craving Mexican! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but you could easily healthy these up by using whole grain), plus more for rolling out
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Add the water and oil, stirring just until combined. Roll dough onto a well floured surface and knead 10-12 times, or just enough to form a smooth dough ball. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Pinch into 6 even portions (the recipe I used said 8, but I felt like they would have been too small). On a lightly floured service, roll each dough ball out into a 7-8 inch diameter round. Again, these won’t be perfectly round unless you trim them- up to you. I kind of enjoyed the imperfectness of them! Now spray a medium-large skillet (whatever you have that’ll fit the size of tortillas you’ve made) lightly with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, cooking just until bubbles start to form, then flip and repeat on the other side. Repeat until all tortillas are cooked. 

Voila! You’ve got chewy, homemade receptacles for tacos, burritos, enchiladas… Whatever your heart desires! Perfect with an icy cold margarita. Just sayin.
Recipe from Taste of Home.

Chicago-Style Italian Beef

Anyone who grew up in or near the vicinity of Chicago knows the greatness that is Portillo’s. The hot dogs, the chocolate cake (!), and of course… The beef. While we sadly don’t own a meat slicer and therefore can’t truly replicate a Portillo’s beef, this comes pretty darn close. This past Friday was allegedly “Region Day” (pretty sure that’s a Region created event, but according to Facebook Indianapolis folks were getting in on the celebration as well), so what better excuse that to whip up a region favorite. Plus it’s a crockpot recipe, so you get to smell the deliciousness simmering all day long. Just don’t be like us- make sure you have some giardinara or even pepperoncinis on hand when you make these to really make them stand out, along with some good French bread or Italian rolls and cheese. Make these ASAP and make your mouth happy! 

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs top round roast
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 packet Italian dressing mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp onion salt 
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Provolone or mozzarella cheese slices
  • Giardinara/pepperoncinis/sport peppers
  • Loaf of French bread or Italian rolls

Directions:

Line crockpot with liner if using. Add roast to crockpot.  Pour the broth into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in all of the spices.  

 

The smell of this concoction should be enough to make the drooling start.

Bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour over your awaiting roast.  

 
Yaaaaaaas. Set to cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Remove bay leaf and shred meat. Broil cheese onto bread if desired. Add meat to bread and garnish with peppers (if you’re not a bonehead and remembered them. Still kicking myself here!).  Finish with a Miller Lite for a true Region experience. ๐Ÿ˜œ

  

Recipe barely adapted from Food.com.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites

How has this recipe been lingering on my Pinterest board, untouched, for at least a year? The ingredient list is pretty short and basically all things we usually have on hand. My kid loves chicken nuggets and pretzels, so why wouldn’t he love these? (Spoiler alert: he did!) And as I discovered once I put them in the oven and finished reading the recipe post- you can make these and freeze them for 2-3 months! Y’all know I love me a good freezer recipe. These were a hit with everyone in our house – the ones who eat solid food, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜œ Don’t be like me and wait; make these ASAP! With some honey mustard or cheese dip, yuuummmm…

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper 
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups pretzels, crushed 
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet with foil or cooking spray. Get yourself three shallow bowls lined up. In the first, mix combine your flour, salt, and pepper. The 2nd, beat together the 2 eggs. Finally, put your crushed pretzels in the third. Line them up assembly line style to make your life easier!

  

Next, dice your chicken into 1-1.5 inch cubes (pound them down til they’re about 1 inch thick if using chicken breasts). Full disclosure- I don’t think I’d ever used my meat tenderizer for its intended purpose until today. For shame!

    

Next comes the fun part! Dip your chicken chunks into the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Coat with the egg, then dunk in the crushed pretzels. 
 

Once you’ve got all your chicken coated, give the pieces a shot of cooking spray to help seal all that delicious coating in place. Bake for 8 minutes, give the pieces a turn, then bake for another 6-8 minutes. Let cool then serve! We had ours with mashed potatoes and roasted brocolli, which made for a filling and satisfying meal. Hope your family enjoys this one as much as ours did! 

    

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
 

Crockpot Sausage, Green Beans & Red Potatoes

It’s December. I’m 8+ months pregnant. Needless to say, dinner has not been especially fancy fare these days! This is one of those recipes that’s just super easy… Dump everything in your crockpot and boom- 8 hours later, you have dinner with minimal effort. Plus it’s warm and yummy… Perfect for a cold day playing outside!
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb smoked sausage, kielbasa, Polish sausage (whatever you have or can find is fine!), cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 2 cans of green beans, drained
  • Small bag of red potatoes, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 1-1.5 cups chicken broth

Directions:

Seriously, this is so easy I should be embarrassed. Toss your chopped sausage and potatoes into the pot, then add green beans. Sprinkle the seasoned salt on top.  

 

Pour in the chicken broth…  

 
Give it a stir, put the lid on, and set on low for 8-10 hours. Devour with some crusty bread!  Makes about 4 servings. 

 Recipe from Moms with Crockpots

Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

How have I never shared this recipe until now? Since I found this on Pinterest years ago, this chili has been in heavy rotation at our house during chilly weather. First of all, it’s STUPID easy. Dump everything in the crockpot when you get up in the morning and you’re set. Second, it’s actually somewhat healthy- it’s originally a Weight Watchers recipe. Last, and most important- it’s incredibly tasty.  Put this on your menu to make on your busiest day this week! 

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I always use frozen.. Even easier, right?! Simply subtract from your cooking time if using fresh/thawed.)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilis, drained 
  • 1 can yellow corn, drained 
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce 
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • Garnishes (sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, crackers, etc) optional 

Directions:

Line crockpot with disposable liner if using (seriously, those things are life changing). Add all of your ingredients to the crockpot.  

 Give it all a good stir, then set to low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours. Just before serving, shred the chicken breasts and stir until evenly mixed into chili.

 
Ladle into bowls and garnish as you please.  

 
Boom! So easy it’s almost embarrassing. Hope you enjoy as much as we do! 

Recipe from Skinnytaste.

Apple Harvest Salad

The air is getting a bit crisp around here, and our tendency to gravitate toward heartier fare isn’t far behind. This is a great lunch or dinner option when you want to fill up but don’t necessarily want to feel like you’re indulging in some unnecessary calories. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I just love the crunch of the apples alongside the tenderness of the chicken in this salad, plus it’s packed with add ins to keep your tummy happy but not stuffed. I even really enjoy the dressing and I’m not a fan of balsamic vinegar on a normal basis! It’s also just a really beautiful dish full of fall colors and flavors… Can’t beat it. Give this a try next time you need a quick, satisfying meal. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 3 cups salad greens of your choice
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained, and cooked 
  • 1-2 medium apples, cut into chunks 
  • 1 tbsp pepitas or sunflower seed kernels (whichever you have on hand) 
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped 
  • Sprinkle of crumbled goat cheese 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Herbs de Provence 

For the dressing:

  • 1 tsp shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Directions:

Season your chicken breast with the salt, pepper, and Herbs de Provence. Inhale those herbs, because mmmmm…  

 

Then dice into cubes. Add a splash of olive oil and a pat of butter to a medium skillet over medium-high heat, then add chicken to the pan. Cook until well-browned, then remove to a plate and set aside to cool slightly. 

While your chicken is cooking, rinse your lettuce and chop your shallot, apples, and walnuts. Now would also be a good time to throw your quinoa in the microwave (according to package directions) if you haven’t cooked it already.  

 

Be on the lookout for small children swiping your produce mid-prep… Cute little stinker.  

 
Combine dressing ingredients in a squirt bottle and shake well. Add greens to salad bowl or individual plates, then top with quinoa, apples, chicken, nuts, and cheese. Top with a spray of dressing and enjoy!  

 
Adapted slightly from Life Made Simple.

Ahi Tuna Steaks

Ah, summertime. It’s pretty much synonymous with grilling, right? If you’re looking for something light, citrusy, tasty, and fast- look no further. The most prep you need is to remember to thaw the fish and then marinate for 30 minutes before throwing it on the grill. So simple! We love this with some couscous and veggies, so it’s a healthy option too. Can’t get much better than that!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (4) oz ahi tuna steaks 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce 
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 2 tbsps fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions:

In a medium-large dish, combine all ingredients but tuna steaks and whisk lightly to blend. Add tuna steaks to marinade, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

    
 
Once your 30 minutes is up, heat your grill to high heat and lightly oil the grates. Take your juicy marinated tuna out of its bath…  

 
Then slap ’em on the grill for 5-6 minutes. Turn over and baste with additional marinade, cooking for another 5 minutes or so.  

 
Remove to a plate to rest a minute or two before serving! That’s it! ๐Ÿ˜Ž One of my favorite simple summer recipes, full of flavor to boot. Enjoy! 

Recipe from Allrecipes.com.

Grilled Salmon Salad with Blueberry Vinaigretteย 

I’m not sure I could think of a more perfect late spring/early summertime dinner than this dish right here. Seriously, you can easily have this on the table in 30 minutes or less. If you aren’t a fan of fruit flavors in your salad, this isn’t for you- but even my “no frou-frou salads for me” hubby enjoyed this one. I think the honeyed goat cheese really kicks it up a notch, and you know ANYTHING involving a baguette gets top marks in my book. Try this one soon! 

Ingredients: 

  • ยผ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing baguette and oiling grates
  • 1ยฝ tbsp honey
  • 6-7 oz fresh blueberries, divided
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets (about 5-6 oz. each)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into ยฝ-thick slabs (rings intact)
  • 1 demi baguette, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 6-8 cups mixed salad greens
  • 2-3 oz honeyed goat cheese (you can also drizzle some honey into plain goat cheese and mix together if that’s what you have handy!)

Directions:

Begin by making the glaze/vinaigrette. In a small saucepan, combine the ยผ cup olive oil, honey and 4 ounces of the fresh blueberries over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until the blueberries are releasing their juices, about 5 minutes.  

 Remove from the heat and puree until smooth with an immersion blender or food processor. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the mixture for brushing the salmon pieces. Add the white wine vinegar to the remaining blueberry mixture and whisk until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

 Slice the baguette, brush both sides of the pieces with olive oil, season lightly with salt and pepper, and set aside.  

Baguette slices… my kryptonite!

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Slice your onion, brush both sides with oil, and season with salt and pepper; set aside Brush the salmon pieces evenly with the reserved blueberry mixture on the skinless side of the fillets.  Once the grill is heated, oil the grates with additional olive oil. Place the salmon pieces on the grill, skin side down first. In addition, add the onion slabs to the grill. Let the salmon cook until the skin is crisp and darkened.  

  

  Carefully flip the salmon once so that the glaze side is down, then flip the onions. Once browned, remove the onion slices to a cutting board and coarsest chop. Continue to cook the salmon until the glaze side is blackened and the internal temperature registers 135หš F on an instant-read thermometer. Once finished, carefully remove to a plate and let rest. 

 
I lost a chunk to the grill…. Whoops! ๐Ÿ˜ Once both the salmon and onions are off the grill, add the baguette slices in a single layer. Grill for a minute or two, then flip once and grill until browned. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop for croutons.  

 I have a big acacia salad bowl we like to use, but of course you can plate these individually if you prefer. ๐Ÿ˜Š Put salad greens into the bowl then top with additional fresh blueberries, the grilled onions, grilled baguette pieces, honeyed goat cheese, and give it all a toss.  

Serve, topping with a piece of salmon and a drizzle of the blueberry vinaigrette. Serve immediately. Devour. ๐Ÿ˜‰  

 

Recipe from Annie’s Eats.

Sun-dried Tomato, Kale, & Chicken Sausage Quinoa Bake

Ok guys, I don’t think it’s a secret… I love quinoa. And I love chicken sausage. While the combination of flavors in this dish aren’t necessarily something I’d salivate over, I found it intriguing enough to give it a try. And then I made it again a couple of days later! This bake is super flavorful but is also really light, so you don’t feel disgusting after a big ol bowl of it. Mark’s not a huge fan of kale, so next time I think I’ll try spinach in it’s place. I froze several batches for work lunches and it holds up beautifully. Plus it’s pretty healthy, so if you’re looking for a quick weeknight dinner or something you can make ahead and still feel good about eating, give this a try!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ยฝ cup sun-dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I used the olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar)
  • 2 stalks of kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 chicken sausages, fully cooked and sliced into coins (try Trader Joe’s fontina, spinach and garlic variety… Yum!)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • Sprinkle of Italian cheese (optional)
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a 9×13 baking dish, add the quinoa and chicken broth, spreading evenly along the bottom.  

 

Spread the chopped kale over the top of the quinoa/broth mixture.  

 

Next, spread the sun-dried tomatoes and sprinkle the shallots on top of the kale. Drizzle on the olive oil.  

 

Season with some salt, pepper, and the garlic salt. Finally, layer the chicken sausage and top with sprinkling of cheese, if using.  

  

Pop the whole blessed pan into the oven for an hour, or until the quinoa is cooked.  

 

I failed to get a photo of my bowl because it was devoured by so quickly! Hope you enjoy and thanks for stopping by. ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿด

Recipe adapted slightly from Fit Foodie Finds.

Pesto Pasta with Chicken Sausage and Brussel Sprouts

If you shop at Trader Joe’s, I’m sure you notice they offer about 38629592 different kinds of chicken sausage these days. We’ve used the spicy Italian variety several times to make skillet lasagna, among other things, so I perused Pinterest to try and find others dishes to utilize the sausage. This one piqued my interest because it incorporates brussel sprouts, so somewhat healthy, and pesto. We LOVE us some pesto around this house. ๐Ÿ˜Š It’s quick, filling, and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb Brussel sprouts, outer leaves removed and chopped in half 
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 package of chicken sausage, sliced into coins  (we used spicy Italian, but I think the fontina, spinach, and garlic variety would work well too!)
  • 1 lb pasta of your choice
  • 2 1/2 tsp minced garlic 
  • 1/3 cup of pesto sauce 
  • Parmesan cheese for sprinkling 

Directions:

Begin by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lining a large baking sheet with foil. Also, put your pasta water on to start boiling. Place brussel sprouts halves on sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Sprinkle the salt and pepper onto the sprouts, then use your hands to mix the sprouts into the oil until evenly coated.  

 

Pop into the oven for about 15 minutes, until the outsides are crispy and insides are tender. This may take 5-10 minutes longer, depending on the size of your sprouts. 

While your sprouts are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add your pasta to your boiling water at this point as well. Add the chicken sausage to the skillet and brown, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two, just until fragrant. Remove from heat. Drain your pasta. In a large bowl, combine your pasta, sausage/garlic combo, pesto, and brussel  sprouts.  I decided to go ahead and throw some cheese in the mix because, well, it’s me and I love me some cheese! 

 

Give that big bowl of fragrant deliciousness a good stir. Serve warm with a little extra sprinkling of Parm if you please!  

 

Recipe adapted slightly from Gimme Some Oven.