Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Fancy Taco Meat

A loooong time ago, a friend of mine had a football watch party.

At the party, she served all kinds of tailgate-type food.

One of the things she served, of course, was nachos.

But they were so much tastier than just plain 'ol nachos.

She had "jazzed up" the meat that she put on the nachos.

The other day, I texted her to ask what her recipe was.

Remember, it was a long time ago . . . but I kind of helped to jog her memory

and she gave me, "it was probably  . . . "

" . . .or it could have been . . ."

But thinking back to what it looked like, I went with the first option of possibility.

Here's my dilemma:  I typically like tacos, etc, but I don't typically prefer the taco meat.

It is usually dry.

It's seasoned fine, but to me, it's just kinda dry.

Not so dry you have to choke it down or chase it with a big glass of water.

But just sorta dry.

So I took my friend's suggestion, tweeked it a bit for what I thought we might like,

and served it to my cherubs for dinner.

The Mr. was out of town, so the judging was down by 1/4, but we decided we liked this as an option.

What I like about it is the versatility of the "fancy taco meat."

You could serve it on top of corn chips . . . not the "fancy, restraint-style thin" type,

but hearty, hold their own, corn chips.

You could serve this on top of rice for a taco salad.

You could do as we did with some of the left-overs the following night and make "taco tots."

That's right -- cook tater tots in the oven until crispy and top with the meat mixture and other "taco toppings."

But for our first go 'round, we just stuffed it into corn tortillas, topped it with shredded cabbage mix, grilled onions and peppers and enjoyed!

Fancy Taco Meat

1 lb. ground beef
1 can pinto beans (or black beans), drained
1 can cream of corn (can substitute kernel corn, drained)
1 small can green chilies, drained
1 package taco seasoning (I used gluten free)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix (I used gluten free)

In a skillet, cook the ground beef until no longer pink.

Add in the drained beans, cream of corn, green chilies, and both packages of seasoning.  Stir to incorporate all ingredients and heat mixture all the way through.

If serving immediately, great!  If needed, place in a small crock pot, on low or warm setting until ready to serve, or place in the refrigerator.  This freezes beautifully!

Top with chopped tomatoes, onions, sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, or anything else your heart desires!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

My boy cherub has loved oatmeal cookies since the time he could say, "cick-koo."

And as a little guy, I knew exactly what he was saying when he asked!

Not much has changed as he's grown . . . and oatmeal cookie is still a great treat to him.

This week, he has been asking for dessert.

Well, he and the girl cherub both!

But I haven't made anything.

Not because I didn't want to.

But we were in and out so much this week,

and we were all going to be gone this weekend,

that I didn't think it was necessary to bake this week.

But here it is, Sunday afternoon,

and the weather is perfect,

and the house is quiet,

so I decided to make the cherubs happy and bake!

I'm not really certain that I've made an oatmeal cookie since we've been gluten free,

which has been about 2 1/2 years,

so it's about time I get a good recipe!

This one, I do think, is a keeper.

If you're not gluten free . . . but you've kept reading just to see, let me say that our favorite,

"gluten filled oatmeal cookie" recipe is on the back of the Quaker Oatmeal box.

But!  If you're like our family, and need . . . or even want, a gluten free option, give this a try!

Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies

1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup Crisco (plain or butter flavored)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, room temperature if you've planned ahead
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup gluten free flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
14 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xantham gum (omit if your flour blend already has it)
1 cup oats (gluten free)
3/4 cup raisins

In a stand mixer, add the butter, Crisco, and sugars.  Beat together until well combined and pale in color; about 5 minutes.  Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  While the butter and sugar whisk together, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, ground cloves, ginger, and salt.

Add in the egg and vanilla.  Beat until well incorporated.

Add in the flour mixture and mix well.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary.

Add in the xantham gum, oats, and raisins.  Mix together just until combined.

Allow the dough to sit for at least one hour, if you can stand it.  This allows the flour to absorb the liquid well and "do it's thing."  If you don't have the time or patience, go ahead and bake the cookies!

In a 350 degree preheated oven, drop the dough by 1 TBSP scoop onto a silpat lined, or greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 6-9 minutes, depending on how you prefer your cookies.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before removing to a cookie cooling sheet.

Enjoy warm or completely cooled.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

This past weekend was spent at the lake with the Mr.'s family.

We had a great time of hanging out, laughing, and sitting by the fire.

The 7 cousins played marathon air hockey . . .so much that my girl cherub's arm was sore!

With 4 families represented, we decided that each family would take one dinner for each of the days we were together and be responsible to provide the food for everybody.

Breakfast and lunch . . .each family brought what they wanted and just shared.

But dinner was a little more organized.

The Mr. and I had the Saturday night dinner.

We had big shoes to fill because my brother in law and sister in law did a shrimp boil for everyone on Friday night.

It was fantastic!

So Saturday afternoon, we set about our dinner preparation.

I did all of the prep work that could be done ahead of time at home so that cooking on Saturday night would be as easy as possible.

We had the roasted potatoes that I posted a few weeks ago.

Salad with the ranch dressing that I posted last week.

Garlic biscuits from a gluten free Martha White mix.

And this delicious chicken!

Holy Cow!  Seriously, who doesn't love grilled chicken?

Top it with caramelized onions, bacon, and cheese . . .and it's a real winner!

The marinade is super simple.

I pound the boneless, skinless chicken breast out thin and throw them into a ziplock bag to marinate.

I made this marinade on Thursday and threw the bags of chicken into the freezer.

The chicken marinates while freezing and continues when defrosting.

I grilled 24 pieces of chicken -- so I made a lot of marinade!

However, the marinade is SO easy because it's equal parts Dijon mustard and honey.

Yep!  That's it!

Sure!  You can add a dash of salt if you want.

But the basics are those two ingredients!

Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken

1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp. salt

For 4-6 chicken breasts, combine the marinade ingredients together and place all of the contents into a ziplock bag.  Squish together to coat the chicken well.

Allow to marinate 4 or more hours in the refrigerator, or the freezer if it's going to be a few days before you cook the chicken.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on hot grill.  Continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

If you wish:  top the chicken with grated Monterrey jack cheese, crumbled bacon, and caramelized onions.  But it's great by itself, of sliced on top of a salad, or put into a wrap.  The sky's the limit with the possibilities!