Friday, September 26, 2008

Dinner Group 9/25: Tacos Beef and Homemade Churros

Dinner for the Week: Tacos and Homemade Churros (of course as I was grabbing my bag of taco shells, I dropped them on the floor, breaking them all into bits and pieces leaving us with more of a 7 layer Dip than tacos...

Taco Beef (from Allrecipes):

2 pounds ground chuck
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
Taco Seasoning to Taste

1. Place the ground chuck in a large skillet, and season with chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and garlic. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 1 hour. Add more water as necessary during cook time, and break the meat into small pieces.
2. Mix the bell pepper and onion into the skillet, and continue to simmer 30 minutes. Drain and reserve juices. Skim the fat off the juices(or, if not preparing the tacos right away, place juices in the freezer until fat may be easily removed from the top). Mix 5 tablespoons of the remaining juices back into the skillet with the beef, and cook until heated through.

I browned the meat a bit and drained off the fat before I added the water to save some time and work. I also added another healthy Tbsp. of Taco seasoning for more flavor. But I really liked the addition of the green pepper and onion and this made for good taco meat!

Churros (from Allrecipes)

2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 cup water
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. In a heavy deep skillet or deep-fryer, heat oil to 360 degrees F (180 degrees C). Oil should be about 1 1/2 inches deep.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat water and margarine to a rolling boil. Combine the flour and salt; stir into the boiling mixture. Reduce heat to low and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs one at a time. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.

3. Carefully squeeze out 4 inch long strips of dough directly into the hot oil. Fry 3 or 4 strips at once, until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from hot oil to drain on paper towels. Stir together the sugar and cinnamon; roll churros in the mixture while still hot.

I got a cookie press for my birthday two years ago that I finally got to use to make little star churros! This was fun and fairly simple and the boys really liked shaking the churros around in a bag with the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Sadly, I think I may have experienced my 1st "real" Quesadilla this year and I am hooked! I crave them, well, a lot, and have loved experimenting with them. Especially using things from the garden. So although this is a no-brainer to most (except me who always thought a Quesadilla was a tortilla with sliced cheese, rolled up and popped in the microwave....hmmm), here is just a reminder of something yummy, easy, and different to try for a meal.

For this Quesadilla, I used the fresh tortillas that you brown yourself, topped with pre-shredded mexican cheese (gotta love those Smith's cheese specials), and then with pre-sauted zucchini and onion in a little bit of butter, and then a little more cheese to stick them together. Grill until a little crisp. Yum, yum, YUM.

I also just had one with some leftover grilled and seasoned chicken. Also supper yummy. Be creative. I actually like them plain, but most recommend serving them with salsa and sour cream and the like.

Check out some other fun ideas from the beloved Pioneer Woman.


Zucchini Casserole

Vegetable garden season and I love it! This is actually super yummy. I'm surprised every time I make it how much I like it.

2 lbs zucchini, sliced/quartered (6-8 cups...I usually do 8ish)
1/4 cup chopped or sliced onions
1 can (10 oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup Sour Cream
1 cup shredded carrots
1 pkg (8 oz) herb-seasoned stuffing mix
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, melted

Cook zucchini and onion in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Drain. Set aside. Combine soup and sour cream. Stir in carrots. Fold in the drained squash and onion. Combine stuffing mix and melted butter. Spread half of stuffing on bottom of a baking dish. Spoon vegetable mixture on top, and sprinkle remaining stuffing over vegetables.

(Note: Can also add cooked and seasoned chicken or whatever meat to your liking)

Bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered. Makes 6 servings.