Monday, December 31, 2012

Soft Brown Sugar Cookies

        This was another great find by my wife on Pinterest+Susie Buetow posted this on her Susie QT pies Scraps of Life blog and said I could share on my blog. You'll want to give these a try.
I added the frosting while it was still warm and runny to give
it that smooth coating.
        This recipe was a hit. I brought some to a family get together and received a lot of positive comments about these. I think for me the best part was the flavor. The sour cream and the brown sugar make for a really nice sweet flavor. I've always preferred the taste of brown sugar over white. I do like the flavor of molasses  so brown sugar is a welcome change from standard white granulated sugar. The taste is smooth with a hint of creaminess from the sour cream and a hint of molasses from the brown sugar. Great combination in my opinion.  Also, and I think this has a lot to do with the sour cream, these are extremely soft. I think I would have preferred them a little stiffer and more chewy, but that is my opinion and preference.  If you are a fan of super soft cookies, then these are the best sugar cookies in that category that I am aware of. Without further delay, here is the recipe.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • 2/3 cup softened butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoonful vanilla extract
  • 2 & 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoonful baking powder
  • 1 teaspoonful baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoonful salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
         Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in eggs one at a time and add the vanilla. Continue creaming the mixture until light. In another bowl mix together with a whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the salt. Slowly add flour mixture and sour cream to creamed mixture by alternating portions. Mix well. 
        Drop by spoonfuls onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. After cookies are cool, frost with Browned Butter Frosting. 
        Makes 2 - 4 dozen depending on spoonful sizes.

Browned Butter Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 & 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoonfuls milk
        Melt butter over medium heat in a suitable saucepan. Heat the butter until it turns golden brown. Keep an eye on the butter as it will go from melted to brown very quickly. You don't want to miss it and over cook the butter. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar. Add milk until the desired consistency is met.

        One thing I noticed when taking them off the sheet, was that my vinyl spatula was tearing the cookies up on the bottom. I switched to a metal spatula that was much thinner and I was able to get the cookies from the sheet to the cooling rack much easier. I personally prefer sugar cookies without frosting. So I made most of them plain. However, the Browned Butter Frosting that was suggested in the recipe seemed likely to enhance the overall flavor. So I made some to try. While I still think I personally liked them better plain, the frosting was great and really did enhance the already great flavor of the cookies.  Don't skip the frosting just because you don't normally like frosting on your cookies. At least give it a try. 
        At any rate these where great. I look forward to enjoying them again. I recommend giving them a try.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crunchy Caramel Corn

        This is a personal favorite of mine. I love caramel corn of all kinds. Soft and chewy or crunchy. I even love the store bought kind like Fiddle Faddle etc. However, there is something satisfying about a good crunchy snack. I happen to think that my crunchy caramel corn is the best. Well, at least it's the best that I've tried. This recipe is one that I dug out of my mothers box of recipes. I have no idea where it came from. I don't know if she or some other member of the family made it up or if someone found it in a cookbook or on the back of a box of brown sugar or something. I do know that my mother made it as least as far back as when I was a little child of three or four years old, possibly earlier. Those are my earliest memories of it at least. At any rate here is the recipe.

  • 16 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup peanuts - optional
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 stick butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit

        First, divide the popcorn and peanuts into a couple of 13" x 9" baking pans. Make sure to keep out any unpopped kernels  It's not fun chomping down on one of those. Then in a saucepan melt and bring to a boil the butter, sugar, syrup and salt. Stir constantly. As soon as it gets to a boil, stop stirring and let it continue to boil for one minute. Don't let it go too much further than that or you can burn the sugar. Then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. It should bubble up and and get kind of fluffy. Without delay, pour over the popcorn and stir it in to coat all of the popcorn. Then place the pans in the oven on the center rack for 10 minutes. Stir again and bake for another 8 -10 minutes. Again, cooking for too long can burn the sugar. After it is done baking spread out into a single layer on some wax paper and allow to cool. Spreading it out helps you to get the popcorn broken up into small bite sized pieces and lets it cool faster. You should end up with a crisp and crunchy caramel corn.

        I almost always omit the peanuts as a couple members of my family are allergic  I personally love the nuts in it, but I usually don't want to make two batches. I just want to eat some. Even without the nuts it is very good. I've always gotten positive feedback on it. I hope you enjoy it as well.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Turkey Brine and Aromatic

        I know that Thanksgiving is over, but Christmas is coming up. I know that a lot of people like to have turkey for Christmas dinner as well as Thanksgiving. So I thought I'd share with you what I did. Our Turkeys turned out moist tender and flavorful. Part of that reason was the brine.

        I know that there has been some debate about the benefits of brining a Turkey. I am still a fan. I like the texture of a bird that has been brined and it is very moist. I suppose that it will all boil down to preference. Still, it will be your bird, and you will be the one eating it. Some say you can't make gravy with the drippings. I've personally never had that problem. My gravy always seems to come out pretty good. One thing to note, is that brining will add salt to your turkey. Perhaps people are adding too much salt, which then is too much for gravy. Basically brining causes some exchanges of water and salts in and out of the flesh. First, the bird which is relatively unsalty, loses water and allows salt to enter the meat. After the meat is saltier, then water enters the meat, more than the original amount which makes it moister. Well that's the basics of what happens. It does take time and preparation so you will need to plan ahead. So go if you want to brine then follow along.

  • 2 to 3 gallons of water and ice
  • 6 to 10 teaspoons salt
  • 6 to 10 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 lemon cut in half
  • 1 small onion cut in half
  • 1 ginger beer

        You are going to want to try and keep the salt/ sugar ratio to about 10 teaspoons for every 3 gallons. Don't worry too much about being precise. these are just rough guidelines. I did about two gallons for a twelve pound turkey. So use your best judgement to plan ahead. Mix about two quarts of water with all of the other ingredients except the ginger beer. Bring to a boil, making sure all the salt and sugar dissolve completely. Allow the mixture to cool completely and refrigerate. You can use ice to cool and chill the mixture quicker. I like to use a plastic bucket to brine my turkey in. I use a 3&1/2 or 5 gallon bucket depending on the size of the turkey. Mix the now chilled brine mixture with more water and the ginger beer to bring to your final volume. Place your thawed, cleaned (no internal organs etc) turkey in the brine. Make sure that the turkey is completely covered. Weigh it down if you need to. Cover and refrigerate for 10 to 20 hours depending on the size of your bird. You don't want to leave it in too long or it can get too salty. You will want to do a minimum of eight hours to make sure it is moist enough. I did my twelve pound turkey for about twelve hours.

        After the bird has been in the brine you will want to rinse it off inside and out and pat it dry before cooking. Stuff the bird with aromatics if you want and cook it with your preferred method. Make sure to get it to a safe internal temperature but not overdone. The meat should come out moist, tender and flavorful. Enjoy.

        I like to pair a brined bird with some things meant to add more flavor to the meat. To be honest the flavors from the brine are really subtle. Still, I think a brined bird tastes a lot better. The aromatics enhance and kick the flavor up another notch. If you also want to give it a try, this is what I like to do.

  • a fist full of fresh rosemary
  • a small onion cut in quarters
  • an apple cut in quarters
  • a tablespoon minced garlic
  • a tablespoon cinnamon
  • a tablespoon sage
        Alternating ingredients a portion at a time, I layer them into the cavity of the bird. Again, this is not something that needs precision. The amounts given are just a guideline. Feel free to adjust as you see fit. After the bird is stuffed with the aromatics, cook it with you r favorite method. Make sure to get it to a safe internal temperature but not overdone. 

Image courtesy of TheKohser and used under Creative Commons and GNU licences.
        I have always loved the turkeys I have cooked after brining and stuffing with aromatics. I love how juicy and tender they are. I love how flavorful they are. I was hooked after the first time I tried one like this. I don't think I'll stop preparing them this way anytime soon. I hope you enjoy the results as much as I do.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Well Thanksgiving is over. Black Friday too. I don't know about you, but I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. There was a lot of wonderful food all around. I was very fortunate to be able to spend this day and enjoy good food with family. This is the stuff that some of the best memories are made from.

Even though I had work all week, except Thanksgiving Day, including Black Friday and the following weekend, I started my cooking contributions Monday night. I actually didn't even get my turkey until then. I know, I know, that's bad planning on my part. So I got that thawing in ice water. The size turkey I had took about 12 hours to thaw. After I got that going, I made some pies. All the great pies everyone brings, are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving for me. This year I made up my own pie to make. I'm not yet happy with the results but when I get that recipe where I want it, I'll share it with you. After the turkey had thawed out, it was time for the brine. So on Tuesday I got the brine made and the turkey in it. Wednesday was mostly uneventful for me. About all I did that day was get the stuff ready for putting the turkey together to cook. Some sweet potatoes, carrots and onion to cook with and some apples, onion, fresh rosemary and garlic to stuff the bird with for flavor. I was scheduled for work until late so my wife got it out of the brine, put together and started cooking. If you're paying attention you may notice that we started cooking the turkey on Wednesday. No, we didn't eat it on Wednesday  we had the turkey Thursday evening. We planned on cooking in a pit and planned on cooking for the better part of a full day. Thursday was the busy day for me. I started cooking about 6:30 in the morning. I got a batch of rolls rising. Then went and did some sale shopping. After I returned home I made cupcakes and cookies. Kneaded the roll dough and form rolls for them to rise again. Also my wife and I made mashed potatoes. At 1:00 in the afternoon it was time for lunch with my family. Later it was time to help get the turkeys out of the pit, bake the rolls, and make some more mashed potatoes. 

We had many of the traditional Thanksgiving Day foods. Including but not limited to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, garden salad, green bean casserole, and rolls. Like many of you, I'm sure, my family spent some time with both sides of our family. On my side we went to my grandmother's house. We had roast turkey and all the fixing there. My mother cooked the turkey and it was a good one. I like her stuffing. She makes it with french bread, celery and onion and bakes it in the oven. My family has never really been one for stuffing the actual bird. Mostly  I think, because everyone wants some and the bird wont hold enough. So why bother stuffing the bird and baking more when it is easier to just bake all of it. We had peach cobbler, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, chocolate meringue pie, my butter finger pie, apple pie and some little pumpkin custard pies. Yes, we like pies.

Later we had dinner with my wife's family. We had more people there so we had two turkeys. These were cooked in the pit. I brined one and my sister-in-law brined the other. My wife and sister-in-law were the ones that actually got them into the pit though. I personally like the pit cooked turkey better. It was more moist, tender and flavorful. Other members brought in some great food as well. We had sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, carrots, onion, and rolls. Pecan and pumpkin pie were brought. We also had cookies and cupcakes. 

It was great getting to spend the day with our families and share all the wonderful food. There were many great dishes. I am grateful for times like these, when we can not only enjoy such great food but share it with those we love. I hope your Thanksgiving celebration was a great one as well.

<p>Image courtesy of [Tom Curtis] / <a href="" target="_blank"></a></p>
Image courtesy of Tom Curtis /

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Homemade Butterfingers Recipe

        As promised, here's more about those homemade butter fingers. So what to do about all that leftover candy? Specifically candy corn. Personally, I like candy corn for about a day and then it is just gross. Of course I keep eating it anyway, all the while thinking how much I don't like it anymore. So that is why this recipe seems like the perfect solution for that leftover candy corn.
These are amazing, give them a try.

        My co-worker originally told me about this recipe and I am so glad she did. It comes from the Plain Chicken blog. She's actually got a lot of great recipes to try out. I will be going back to try more. Here's the link Plain Chicken: Homemade Butterfingers

Here is the simple recipe
  • 1 pound candy corn
  • 1 pound peanut butter
  • 1 pound almond bark
        Melt the candy corn. Place it into a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute. Stir, then microwave for fifteen more seconds. Alternate stirring and microwaving on high in fifteen second increments until candy corn is completely melted. Mix in the peanut butter and then spread into a parchment lined 8" x 8" pan and let cool completely. 

        After the filling has cooled, cut into pieces  Melt almond bark, and dip the cut filling pieces into the chocolate. Place coated pieces onto waxed paper and let cool completely. Enjoy.

        Overall, I found the process pretty easy. However, this was the first time that I had ever tried to chocolate coat anything, and that turned out a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I think If I had frozen the filling pieces after I cut them, they would have been easier to work with. Smaller pieces probably would've helped too. As soon as I got them into the chocolate, they got warm and started to get soft and fall apart. 

        Some tips I can give, start with getting your peanut butter out of the jar first. Let's face it, it takes time to get a whole pound of peanut butter out of a jar. You don't want the candy corn to cool too much before you get it mixed with the peanut butter. It gets too hard to work with. Also, the microwave method is not your only option for melting the candy corn. If you are more comfortable, a double boiler will also work. Either way, be careful not to scorch it. Next, cut the cooled filling with a straight edged knife with a thin blade. I tried a serrated knife and a thicker blade and they both broke the filling up more than cut it. The chocolate can also be melted in the microwave or on the stove with a double boiler. Either way, be careful not to scorch it. Freeze the filling pieces before dipping as it will make them easier to work with in the chocolate. I'm sure there are many other things that could make it easier to do this already easy recipe but those are the ones I noticed.

        Like all the comments that I noticed said, this recipe is really delicious. I personally think that the peanut butter flavor is a little stronger in these than the original. However, that may be due to the brand and type of peanut butter that I used. The taste is awesome at any rate. The texture is not the crispy, crunchy texture from the original. Mine did turn out crispy and crunchy, just a lot chewier and softer than the original. Even though it was not the same as the commercial product, I did fine the texture very pleasing and ultimately adding to a very enjoyable piece of candy. My family loved them. Well those without peanut allergies that is. I made chocolate covered pretzels and popcorn with the leftover almond bark to make up for it though. So everyone got a treat. I hope you enjoy these as well. I thought they were great.

Thanks to Plain Chicken for letting me share this one.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Homemade Butterfingers

        Well Halloween is over. My kids had a great one. With that, of course, means having all kinds of leftover candy. Between that and all the candy that is going on clearance at the store I work at, something evidently needs to be done with all that candy. Well that was the topic of conversation one day at work and one of my coworkers told be about this recipe. So of course I need to give this a try. Here's the link:
Plain Chicken: Homemade Butterfingers
        On the post itself a lot of the comments indicate that these are really good, just nailing the Butterfinger flavor on the head. It was indicated the the filling texture is a little softer though. I'll post again after I've given it a try.

edit: The recipe and my experience with it can be found at Homemade Butterfingers

Recipe can be found on Plain Chicken

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Saints Roost Gathering - Some of the best Barbecue I've ever had

        I recently went to a party hosted by a co-worker of mine. She hosts an annual gathering for all her friends and the food is always great. At least that's what I always heard. This was the first time I actually made it, and I'm very glad I did. It's a bring the whole family kind of party that she hosts every fall. She gets a DJ, so there is good music. Her yard is big so there is room for the kids to run around and for people to play some games or just move around. At this time of year the weather where I live is just perfect. The day of her party the weather was clear and beautiful  In addition to all these fine things to make for a great get together, the food did not disappointing. Everything was great.

        Several people brought some sort of dip for all of us to try. I think there was about ten different kinds of dip. There was a Philly Cheese Steak dip, a Bean and Queso dip, a Buffalo Chicken Wing dip, a Jalapeno Cheese dip, some fruit dips, and even a Reuben dip and others. There were so many great dips to try. I personally liked all of those I just mentioned. That's probably why I remembered them. All of them were very good. There was no shortage of delicious things to scoop up and eat with chips or bread. I think next year I will bring something too.

        Also there was a yummy pasta salad and some coleslaw to go along with the main course. Ah, the main course. The highlight of all that yummy food was the barbecue. My co-workers husband always smokes various meats for everyone to enjoy. It was some of the all time best barbecue that I've ever had. He smoked some pork ribs. I was told they were baby-back ribs. Also he smoked some beef brisket and some chicken breast. The ribs and brisket were tender and juicy. The chicken was a little dry but chicken breast often is. It was, however, superbly flavored with smoke flavor. To be honest I'm not really sure what woods were used, but I believe the pork was smoked in pecan and the beef and chicken in mesquite. At any rate the flavor was through the roof and perfect for their respective meats. While I prefer barbecue sauce to be cooked onto the meat a little bit, it was provided on the side. Considering the numerous people in attendance that was probably the right move. They had some different flavors to try so everyone was able to choose. I think there was a sweeter sauce and a tangier sauce. There might have been others but those are the ones I remember. Any combination I tried with the meat and barbecue sauce was amazing. All in all the entire meal was a great collection of great flavor. The food was all so very good.

        Thanks goes out to my co-worker for hosting such a great event and a special thanks goes out to all those who helped provide the great food, especially my co-workers husband. I will do my best to go to her next get together. I can't see myself missing out on that again. My sons really enjoyed themselves and were sad to leave. I had a really enjoyable time with good friends and great food. I hope you too can have the opportunity to share a great time and good food with good people. There are few things in life that are better. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

I love pumpkin, and this time of year when pumpkin is in season. So what to do with all that pumpkin. Well we carved our Jack - o - lanterns the other night and I saw this as an opportunity to toast some yummy pumpkin seeds. So here is what I did to make some crispy pumpkin seeds
First, I place all of the seeds into a colander. Then I run water over them and with my hands try to separate all of the other pumpkin guts from the seeds. This does take some time and patience. After I've got all the seeds separated and rinsed off I put them into a large bowl. In another bowl I mix salt and water. About 3 tablespoons for every cup of hot water. The idea is to dissolve the salt into the water. The saltwater mixture is then poured over the top of the seeds until it just covers them. I let this sit for about 15 to 30 minutes. After it has had some time to sit I spread out the seeds on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes. Stir the seeds about every 10 to 15 minutes. After they have baked, the seeds should all be completely dry and crunchy. If they are moist at all or chewy give them another 15 minutes in the oven, then check them again. Repeat as necessary.

I love the salty, nutty crunch of these pumpkin seeds. I hope you enjoy them as well. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Single serving Cookie

        First, I have to say I can't think of many good reasons to only make one cookie. I'm all for making dozens at a time. That way, you can have some right out of the oven, and save some for later. Second, I'm not sure cookie is an accurate description either. Maybe, "Single Serve Chocolate Chip Bar". The flavor was just like a chocolate chip cookie. However the texture was a lot closer to that of a brownie. Criticisms aside, it was pretty good. My wife found it on Pinterest. It leads to a blog that is no longer available so I'll just include a link to the pin. The pin my wife found and re-pinned can be found at and the process is:

 Mix into microwave safe cup or bowl
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 3 drops of vanilla
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoonfuls chocolate chips
Then microwave 40 - 60 seconds. 

         The power of microwave ovens vary a lot from one persons to the next, so you will need to experiment a bit to get the time just right. I also like my cookies a little chewy and gooey. I might try it with a whole egg next time just to see how it turns out. 

      At any rate it was really easy and tasted great. I think the best use for this recipe would be to make this in a bowl and then scoop some ice cream on top. Maybe a little chocolate or caramel syrup and you've got yourself a Chocolate Chip Cookie Sunday. Sounds great to me, I'll have to give it a try sometime.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Bars

        As promised, here is my post on the Pumpkin Bars. I found this particular recipe on Pennies on a Platter's website and she let me share it here. The recipe and post for her Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies can be found at

Her recipe is:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line an 11" x 7" pan with parchment paper.

1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Combine until smooth and set aside pumpkin, egg and oil. In separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, spices, salt and sugar. Add dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture until well incorporated, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Completely cool before cutting.

        So basically, I followed the recipe. However, I did tweak a couple of things.

        First off, I don't have an 11" x 7" pan. I don't know many who do. I used a 9" x 9" square stoneware pan. As it is stoneware, I skipped the parchment and it came out just fine. I substituted the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg with about a teaspoon and a quarter of pumpkin pie spice. I was out of allspice, and I don't know that it would make much of a difference anyway.
        I mentioned in the previous post that I made a second pan. For the second pan I used a glass 8" x 8" pan that I did line with parchment. I also skipped the chocolate chips. While I am usually fond of the way simple things can bring a great flavor all on their own, I felt that this pan needed frosting to set them off. I mixed up a simple cream cheese frosting by mixing in about 2 cups of confectioner sugar into a packet of softened cream cheese. I mixed in about 4 tablespoons of milk to get the texture how I wanted it. I think frosting the second one was the right choice.

        I don't know that calling these brownies is quite right. I always think of brownies as being, well, brown, and chocolate. That being said this is an excellent bar recipe. The name has absolutely no bearing on how great they tasted. A Rose by any other name and all that. I found the texture to be closer to cake  than brownies. I like mine a little gooey. I'm not sure if I should decrease the baking time or do all whole eggs, rather than a couple with just the whites. Even so I found the texture moist and soft. Even though I did the second batch in a slightly smaller pan I found that the size difference didn't have much difference on baking time, or on how it turned out. Neither the chocolate chips or the frosting proved to be a better fit. Both batches were very tasty.  My family loved them and my coworkers loved them. They are definitely worth a try.

Monday, October 1, 2012

These Pumpkin Bars Are a Hit

        My grandmother invited my family over for Sunday dinner and asked us to bring dessert. Me being somewhat of a procrastinator meant that I was scrambling for a recipe that looked good, and which I had all the ingredients on hand, Sunday afternoon. As autumn is here I came across quite a few recipes with pumpkin, and my wife remembered that we still had a few pints that I had canned a while back. It must have been meant to be.
        I decided on a pumpkin chocolate chip brownies recipe that my wife pointed out. I'll post the recipe and my experience on that later. The recipe yielded one pan. I was sure that wouldn't be enough because for some reason I thought it would be my family, parents, siblings and grandmother all over for dinner rather than just my family and grandmother. My solution was to make another pan, which I then decided to alter a bit to see how it turned out.
        The first pan I did with chocolate chips in it. The second, without chocolate chips and with cream cheese frosting. Both went over really well. I had most of it left after dinner because I made to too much, so I brought them to work with me. Everyone just gobbled them up. It's always good to be the one who brings the treats.

edit: the post with the recipe is at

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wanted Something Quick

        So I got home from work Friday, exhausted. The power went out a couple of times and as my day job relies heavily on computerized records, the power outages caused a major disruption to our workflow. So the end of my day was a rush to try and catch up. When I got home my wife rushed off to get some well deserved time away from our children and some groceries without the hassle of the kids. This left me in charge of dinner. I like to eat. I love good food. Therefore I cook. I even enjoy cooking. However, I wanted something quick but better than macaroni and cheese. So I turned to a favorite standby.
        Burritos. These can be easily made with leftovers and have always proved to be a hit with my family. Here's what I did.
  • about 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 can of beef chunks (some leftover pot roast works great)
  • 1 can black beans drained (leftover beans also work great)
  • about 1/2 packet taco seasoning (sometimes I've got some left over)
  • some shredded cheese (always good to have on hand)
  • tortillas (also good to have on hand)
  • some diced tomato
  • some sour cream
  • some lettuce (I used some leftover salad)
        First, I sauteed the onion over medium heat in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil until just starting to turn clear. I prefer to use olive oil whenever possible as the fats are healthier and most importantly, I like the taste. Tip: add a small amount of vegetable, or other high smoke point oil, to low smoke point oils like extra virgin olive oil to raise its smoke point and prevent it from scorching. Next, in went the beef chunks, garlic and taco seasoning. After that had some time to sizzle a bit (about five minutes) I added the beans. After it had all gotten nice and hot (maybe another five minutes) it was time to put the burritos together.

        I like my burritos with lots of goodies. So lettuce, tomato, cheese and sour cream went in along with the beef and bean mixture. Rice, guacamole, salsa or hot sauce are also things I enjoy in my burritos. As always, what exactly goes into your burrito would be up to personal preference. In fact, most of these ingredients could be switched up. I could've used pinto beans, or pork. A can of green chili (or some fresh roasted, yum) would be great too. 

        I thought they turned out great and really hit the spot. My kids loved them, and my wife was a little jealous to see what we had while she was away.
         All in all, it only took about 20 minutes to put together. It was much better than mac and cheese or even just some re-fried beans smeared into a tortilla. A little imagination, even with leftovers, can go a long way towards making something great.