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.

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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. 😜

  

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. 😜 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. 😉 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! 😎 One of my favorite simple summer recipes, full of flavor to boot. Enjoy! 

Recipe from Allrecipes.com.