Meg’s Cooking Corner

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cinco de Mayo Flautas

Hola! Okay, so I'm a week early, but let's plan ahead for celebrating Cinco de Mayo! I love any excuse to throw a mexican fiesta. This recipe for Flautas (little flutes) comes from a mexican cookbook of my mom's. I try to stay away from fried foods but this is one I embrace with open arms. It is easy to dress up by serving on shredded lettuce and add your favorite guacamole, salsa, sour cream, and any other toppings you adore.

Other menu ideas: Fiesta Salad with Lime-Cilantro Dressing, Spanish Rice, Carnitas (use in chimichangas, soft tacos, or as a salad). For dessert serve vanilla ice cream drizzled with caramel and topped with a churro or cut a tortilla in quarters, spread with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, fry in oil and serve with ice cream.

Find more fabulous mexican recipes today at Life As Mom. Find more at Tasty Tuesday and Tempt my Tummy Tuesday.


Chicken Flautas

2 chicken breasts

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 cup shredded mexican cheese blend

1 (4 oz) can diced green chilies

16 (8 inch) flour tortillas

Place chicken breasts in a large saucepan. Add about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is tender. Drain water and cool. Use two forks to pull chicken into long, thin shreds. In a bowl, mix chicken with cheese, green chilies, and cumin. Set mixture aside.

Stack tortillas tightly in foil. Heat in a 350 oven for 10 minutes to soften. Remove half the tortillas at a time, keeping others warm in oven. (Sometimes I skip this step if I am in a hurry or my tortillas are already very soft). For each flauta, overlap two softened tortillas by about half. Spoon about 1/3 cup of chicken mixture lengthwise down center of tortillas. Roll up tightly. Secure with toothpicks. (I also make a few smaller flautas for my boys by using 1 instead of 2 tortillas).

In a heavy skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of oil to 365. Fry rolled up tortillas, 2-3 at a time, for 3-4 minutes or until crisp and golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Keep warm in 300 oven. Remove toothpicks. Serve flautas on shredded lettuce and with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Pretty Much Perfect Peanut Butter Cookies

There's something about the smell of a warm plate of cookies that lifts your spirits. I have a weakness for warm cookies and always overeat when they are fresh from the oven. If I could just hide from them long enough until they cool, I would not be so tempted. But what's the fun in that? These peanut butter cookies are my go-to cookies when I need a treat in a hurry. This is a family recipe handed down from my grandma. I added peanut butter chips to the recipe.

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
peanut butter chips (I use Reese's brand)

Mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add eggs and mix. Then stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Fold in 1-1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets. Press down gently with fork to make a crisscross pattern. Cook at 350 for 8 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crepes

Crepes are some of my favorites. They are easy to make and look beautiful. They are perfect for that special Easter, Mother's Day or ladies' brunch. Make them for breakfast, add savory fillings for a lunch/dinner, or serve as a simple but elegant dessert. My mother-in-law bought me a crepe maker a couple years ago and I love it, but you can also cook them in a regular frying pan. Crepes are a great way to be creative and make your own fillings. Find this recipe and more at Life as Mom (Mother's Day recipes), Tasty Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday and Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Basic Crepe Batter
(makes about 22 crepes)

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

Combine the eggs and milk in a blender. Add the flour and salt and mix on high speed until smooth. Strain the batter to remove any lumps. Let the batter rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

If using a crepe maker, see manufactuer's directions. To use a non-stick frying pan, heat over medium high heat. Spray pan with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into center of pan. Tilt and turn the pan (circular motion) so the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook for approximately 2 minutes until the bottom starts to brown. Flip over and cook the other side.

Tips: Crepe batter can be stored covered in the fridge for a couple of days. Cooked crepes can be frozen or stored for a week in the refrigerator. Simply stack a batch on a sheet of foil or waxed paper and seal in a large plastic food storage bag. To use, allow crepes to warm up to room temperature. They will peel apart with a gentle pull. Or the stack can be warmed and covered with foil in an oven on low.


Brunch Toppings for Crepes:

Basic - brush with sweet butter and jam

Apple Crepes - I like to buy chunky applesauce, heat it on the stove and add a little lemon juice and cinnamon. Done! Or: peel and dice 5-6 apples. Add 1 tsp of lemon juice and boil in water. (Water should almost cover apples). Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 10-12 minutes. Apples should be soft, but not mushy. Dissolve 2 Tbsp cornstarch in 1/4 cup cold water. Add cornstarch mixture 1 tsp at a time till desired thickness. Fills about 25 crepes. Serve with whipped cream (or add ice cream for a dessert).

Strawberry Crepes - wash and hull 3 cups fresh strawberries. Crush 1 cup, slice remainder and set aside. Combine crushed berries with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1 Tbsp cornstarch and a dash of salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Add 1 tsp butter and fold in sliced berries. Serve crepes with whipped cream, cream cheese or yogurt.


Dessert Sundae Crepes:

Roll a scoop of your favorite ice cream in a crepe and top with chocolate fudge sauce and whipped cream. Or for ice cream cups: brush one side of each crepe with melted butter, place snugly over bottom of muffin or custard cups (buttered side up) and bake in 375 oven until crisp, about 8-10 minutes. Cool and fill with ice cream, mousse, or fresh fruit. Have fun!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Lime Cilantro Salad & Dressing

Ah, Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing. Where have you been all my life? With Easter fast approaching and my house finally on the market, I am ready to enjoy some lighter spring dishes. The sun even broke through the cloudy sky today, making everything right in my world. This salad dressing makes any green salad right, it would also be great to dip veggies in. I created the salad by combining a couple my friend Christine sent me. If you add chicken it would make a great meal paired with rolls. My Kitchen Cafe gets credit for the fantastic salad dressing. Now if you'll excuse me, I think there is leftover salad in the fridge calling me... Head over to the Grocery Cart Challenge to find more recipes today.


Lime Cilantro Dressing

3 fresh tomatillos, quartered
1 pkg dry Ranch buttermilk dressing
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lime (about 3 Tbsp)

Peel the papery husks off the tomatillos and wash off the sticky residue. Combine with the other ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Fiesta Salad (I cut recipe in 1/2 for my family)

1 head green leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn
1 head red leaf lettuce, rinsed and torn
1 fresh tomato, chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 avocado, chopped
couple handfuls of cilantro
1 cup of shredded cheddar or white mexican cheese
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and chopped (optional)
Crumbled tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cheese and tortilla chips last. Serve with Lime Cilantro dressing.