7-Layer Tortilla Pie

I love meatless dinners.  If the focus is Mexican, I love it even more.  I don’t remember what I was looking for when I spotted this recipe on the Internet.  I’ve had consistent good luck with the recipes I’ve tried from allrecipes.  I’ve been holding on to it for awhile, waiting for just the right moment.  Cooking from the pantry seemed like the perfect time.

2 (15 ounce) cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup salsa, divided

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes

7 (8 inch) flour tortillas

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash pinto beans.  Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and the garlic.

In a separate bowl, mix together 1/4 cup salsa, cilantro, black beans and tomatoes.

Place 1 tortilla in a pie plate or tart dish.  Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of edge.  Top with 1/4 cup cheese, and cover with another tortilla.  Spread 2/3 cup black bean mixture, and top with 1/4 cup cheese.  Repeat layering twice.  Cover with remaining tortilla, and spread with remaining pinto bean mixture and cheese.

Cover with foil, and bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes.  Cut into wedges, and serve with salsa and sour cream.

*  From the Recipe Box:

I have many caveats for this recipe.  The only fresh ingredient I had was tomatoes.  That was fine with G, he is not a cilantro fan.  Also, I rarely use fresh garlic.  Yes, I know it’s better, but I’ve been honest about how lazy I am.  I was also tortilla challenged.  We eat more tortillas than bread, so my supply was a bit low.  I did not make the number of layers suggested by the recipe.

As you can tell by the picture, we decided a bit of green was in order.  I think cabbage would have been better for the crunch.  Also, my bean collection is way down.  I used white beans instead of black and kidney beans instead of pinto.  It was all good.

We both gave this recipe a thumbs up.

and remember what Alice Longworth said:  I have a simple philosophy:  fill what’s empty, empty what’s full.  Scratch where it itches.  Big kiss, Lynn

Norwegian Meatballs

Don’t even be thinking I got the name wrong.  How many times have I said I was Norwegian?  How many times have I said I was Swedish?  So, what kind of meatballs do you think I make?  Exactly.  I had a bit of an epiphany the other day.  I was reading about Sean Brock, one of the best Southern chefs.  I kind of have a crush on him; he’s all that and more.  I was getting ready to order his book when I thought, Why?  My family is not from the South.  None of my family emigrated to the South.  The few times I was in the South it made me nervous, so WHY?

So, back to the epiphany.  Why am I studying the South when I’ve got my own heritage to study.  So, here we go, it’s time to go Nordic.  Before the libraries were closed, I’d checked out a few books to explore.   The New Nordic:  Recipes from a Scandinavian Kitchen and Sweet Paul Eat and Make were my favorites and I ordered both.  Remember my rule:  Check it out twice before ordering so I don’t have buyers remorse.  So, let’s make Norwegian Meatballs.

2 pounds ground meat

2 cloves minced garlic

2 eggs

1 cup grated Parmesan (this is my non-Norwegian addition)

1 ½ tablespoons chopped parsley (I had no parsley, bummer)

S & P

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

Olive oil if you’re frying

½ cup panko

Combine meat with garlic, parsley, cheese, eggs, S&P.

Blend in panko.

Slowly add water, ½ cup at a time.  The mixture should be very moist but hold its shape.  I use it all.

Form into meatballs.  And the easiest way to do that is to form the meatball mixture into a rectangle and cut it into squares.  You will get the exact number of meatballs you need and they will all be of equal size.  (I know, and you thought I was just another pretty face.)

Fry in olive oil or bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, turning after 10 or 15 minutes.

Next is the Brown Gravy.

2 1/2 cups beef broth

2 tablespoons flour

2 to 3 tablespoons butter

S & P to taste

Make a roux of the butter and flour.  Brown for a few minutes.  Slowly add the beef broth.  Allow to thicken.

I serve this with rice, noodles or mashed potatoes and of course, a spoonful of ligonberry jam.  If you’re feeling really Norwegian, go for mashed rutabagas or cauliflower.

*  From the Recipe Box:

The New Nordic is going to make you hungry for a trip to Norway.

Couple of notes:  I do not go to the store for 1 item.  Currently I can’t go to the store at all, so you’re right, that is raspberry jam not ligonberry jam.  I had no beef broth, so I used au jus.  I didn’t love it, but I’m a firm believer in faking it.

and remember:   Oscar Wilde said it best:  Never love anyone who treats you like you are ordinary.   Big kiss, Lynn

Red Eye Gravy

My dad had very interesting tastes.  He loved boiled beans that he would pour cream over.  He used to tell people it was part of his marriage contract; mom must always have a pot of beans on the back of the stove.  He would cut an avocado in half, remove the seed and combine mayo and ketchup in the hollow and enjoy the heck out of it.  But I think Red Eye gravy might be his favorite.

Red-eye gravy is a Southern favorite comprised of just two ingredients. It’s made from the drippings of fried country ham combined with black coffee. It may sound unusual, but it’s quite tasty and a fun way to spruce up an old-fashioned Southern meal of ham and biscuits, grits, or potatoes.

The name “red-eye gravy” is derived from the fact that a slightly reddish circle of liquid fat forms on the surface of the gravy when it is reduced. This sauce is also known as poor man’s gravy, red ham gravy, bird-eye gravy, cedar gravy, and bottom sop.

  • 1 slice of country ham
  • 1/2 cup boiling strong black coffee
  1. In a skillet, fry the ham slice in its own fat over medium heat until nicely browned on both sides. Once it is cooked, transfer the ham to a warm platter, keeping the drippings in the skillet.
  2. Add the boiling black coffee to the skillet. Deglaze, scraping the bottom and sides of the skillet to dissolve any particles that developed when you cooked the ham.
  3. What is left in the skillet is red-eye gravy, which you can then pour over the ham and serve.

Or

  • grease from frying ham
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 -2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1⁄cup strong coffee
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  • Heat grease, add flour and sugar until dissolved and incorporated with ham grease. Add water, coffee and bullion cube, stir until gravy is well blended. Turn down heat and cook for 1 minute, add butter and cook for 1 minute longer. Serve immediately with hot biscuits or grits.

*  From the Recipe Box:

We had a few problems with these recipes.  The ham slice I remember from my youth did not look like these.  There was no fat ring around the outer edge like I remembered, so we didn’t get any ham grease.

I want to know what makes the “eye” in the gravy when you’re reducing it.  I tried 2 different recipes and it looked the same on both.  Odd.

and remember:  Here’s to the nights that turned into mornings; the friends that turned into family; the dreams that turned into reality; and the likes that turned into loves.  Big kiss, Lynn

Pork Chops in Mushroom Gravy

My love affair with You Tube continues.  I can’t take credit for this recipe, someone named David Hood contributed it to You Tube, but I can tell you how nummy it is.  The recipe was quick and easy to put together.  For some reason, lots of people think pork is tricky and takes longer to assemble.  I so disagree.  My mom would fry pork chops until they were well and truly dead.  Things that you needed to worry about when cooking pork are no longer valid.  Lighten up people.

I’m going to compare and contrast this recipe with Jason Smith’s Pork Chop recipe that I wrote about Feb. of last year.  While similar, there really isn’t a contest.  For me, Jason’s is far superior, but G thinks they are neck and neck.  Because of Jason, I now know how to make a sauce using Balsamic vinegar, butter and cream.  That has been an amazing addition to my repertoire.   I love the asparagus and tomatoes he adds to the sauce as well.  So, I’m glad I tried this one, but I’m going to stick with Jason’s for the long haul.  Try them both and let me know what you think.

  • 4 pork chops bone-in or boneless
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1.5 cups mushrooms sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour (I used cornstarch when G-F Girl was here.  Both worked fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp flat leaf parsley chopped; optional for garnish
  • Pat pork chops dry and season generously with kosher salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When butter is melted, add pork chops and sear on each side for about 5 minutes (less if you are using boneless pork chops). Remove from pan.
  • Using same pan and renderings from the meat add mushrooms and onions and cook until golden brown and caramelized. Add a little more oil if pan becomes too dry.
  • Add flour and stir to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes.
  • Add in broth and whisk gently until thickened.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Place pork chops back in the pan and cover with gravy. Allow to heat through.
  • Plate and spoon gravy over pork chops to serve. Optional: Garnish with fresh thyme and parsley.

and remember:  Everything happens for a reason.  But sometimes, the reason is that you’re stupid and make bad decisions.  Big kiss, Lynn

Flying Dutchman Croque Madames

OMG!  I love you You Tube!  You make me think of things that I might not have on a regular day.  This recipe was for a savory Flying Dutchman.  I love Flying Dutchmen.  So, last night I made them for dinner for G and I.  I knew they would be terrific.  I was adding bechamel sauce, ham and an egg to each quarter.

Let me tell you how things that seem like a truly great idea can go south really, really fast.  First, bechamel sauce on a pancake is not a good plan.  In my mind, I pictured this recipe as such a winner.  The pictures on You Tube looked excellent.  I don’t know how you do it, but I picture a bite of the recipe going into my mouth.  I picture rolling it around with my tongue.  I picture swallowing said morsel and savoring it all the way down.  This did not happen!  I didn’t want to hurl, but there was no smiling either.  G was much nicer than I am.  He at least ate it; 2 bites in and I pushed the plate away.

I’m going to continue to try new recipes; why wouldn’t I?  But, I’m going to hope they turn out a lot better.  This one was a disaster.

There will be no Flying Dutchman Croque Madame pictures either.   Even the pictures turned out to be a horrible disappointment.  As a result, I’m including a picture from Friday’s Star War’s themed Pub Crawl in downtown Seattle.  I so wish I was there except for one tiny, little, itty-bitty problem; I don’t like beer.  I know, I’m even a disappointment to myself.  I do love me my Star War’s though.  I’m trying to decide if I should go to Disneyland and see the new Star War’s attraction.  I went to Disneyland once and my world was not rocked, so I really need to think this through.  I’ll keep you posted.  Until then, do not, I beg of you, try the savory Flying Dutchman Croque Madame.

and remember:  Shout out to all the girls out there trying to love themselves in a world that’s constantly telling them not to.  Big kiss, Lynn

Chicken Pot Pie

I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t love Chicken Pot Pies.  Whether it was the Swanson’s 4 for a dollar type (yes, I’m that old), Marie Callendar’s or Costco’s, I love them.  Well, as long as they have plenty of gravy.  I hate a pot pie with limited gravy.

While I grew up with the piecrust chicken pie, I’m really enjoying the puff pastry pie, because it is way easier.  G prefers the piecrust pie.  To his way of thinking, you simply can’t have too much crust.  I’m much more of a filling sort of girl.

1/2 cup sliced carrot

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup thinly sliced cabbage

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1 cube butter

1/2 cup flour

2 cups milk

3 sauted chicken breasts

This is the way that works for me.  In a fry pan, heat oil.  Cube the chicken and saute.  In a large saucepan, melt the butter.  Add the carrots, celery, cabbage, onion, thyme and garlic.  Saute until tender.  Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the raw flour taste.  Slowly stir in the milk, stirring constantly while mixture thickens.  You are making a white sauce like you would for mac and cheese or cream peas on toast.  Add chicken.  If you’re using puff pastry, pour the filling into a pie pan and top with puff pastry.  Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.

If you are using pie crust, proceed like you were making a pie.  If you are using pre-made pie crust, follow package instructions.  If you are following a cookbook, remember you need to make a 2-crust pie recipe.  I add hot filling to the pan so it won’t take quite as long to bake.  You are going to be the best judge of this, but it will be at least 30 minutes and probably 40.  You will have to keep checking for the color of the crust.  You don’t have to worry about the filling, you know it’s done.

*  From the Recipe Box:

These triangles were just leftovers from the top crust.  You could cut any shape.

If it isn’t tasting “chickenie” enough for you, dissolve a couple of chicken bullion cubes in hot water and add to the gravy.

and remember:  Once you learn to be happy, you won’t tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.  Big kiss, Lynn

 

Lara Bar Knock-off

I read about 20 Instagrams a week and about half a dozen blogs.  However, I only follow 1.  I’m making the distinction because they do.  You literally have to sign up and give information about your blood type, your favorite color and things like that.  Yes, of course I’m exaggerating.  I’m really not good sharing my private info.  I’ve talked about Rumbly in my Tumbly before.  She lives here in western Washington fairly close to me.  Her pies are to die for.  I’m not a Keto person like she is, but I still find much to give me inspiration.

Now I personally don’t eat energy-type bars, but G does.  He especially likes a wee nibble after one of his gym runs or marathon walks.  I’ve heard of Lara bars, but I’d never purchased any.  Shannon of Rumbly made these sound so easy and good for you, we decided to give them a try.  These are the exact recipes from Shannon’s blog.

Apple Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 12 pitted Medjool dates
  • ¾ cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried apples
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins (unsweetened)
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the dried apples, raisins, almonds, walnuts, and cinnamon and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and raisins remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!
Cherry Pie Bar

Ingredients:

  • 10 pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dried cherries

Directions:

  1. Add the dates to a food processor or high-powered blender like a Vitamix and blend. Add the almonds and cherries and pulse until combined – there should be small bits of nuts and cherries remaining, but not too big.
  2. Press the dough into a small pan (I used an 8×8) lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least an hour (or overnight) and then cut into squares.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the fridge. These also freeze well. Enjoy!

*  From the Recipe Box:

Give Shannon’s blog a try.  Even if you don’t fix a single recipe, the pictures are amazing.

G and I found the mixture a little dry so we added a quarter of an apple to each recipe and it made the perfect difference for us.

Yes, they taste like cherry and apple pie.  I truly don’t understand how.