Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Tortillas

Several months ago, I started making homemade tortillas. Maybe that was a big mistake. These tortillas are soft, delicious, and have pretty much spoiled me. Taco night is no longer a mess-free affair at the Shull house, since it now involves getting out the rolling pin and flouring up the counter.

Homemade Tortillas
2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 cup white, 1 cup whole wheat)
1-½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup lukewarm milk

  1. Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the lukewarm milk and mix together.
  3. Gradually add the milk to the flour mixture, and using clean hands, work it into a gooey dough.
  4. Turn dough out onto a surface dusted with flour and knead until the dough is no longer sticky.
  5. Return the dough to the bowl and let sit for about 20 minutes.
  6. Divide dough into 8 balls of equal size, cover them. Let sit for another twenty minutes.
  7. Roll the balls out one at a time to about a 7 inch circle. (I have a pastry mat with a nice little circle that shows me a 7-inch circle. $2 at Wal-Mart!)
  8. Cook in a preheated skillet (I use a cast iron). Flip after 30 seconds (the dough should be bubbly, kind of like a pancake) and cook the other side for about 20-30 seconds. Do this with all of the dough.
It's just that easy! I've gotten in the groove of this. I roll out a tortilla, place it in the pan, and while that one's cooking, I roll out another one. The timing works out great, and it gives me something to do other than stare at the cooking tortilla.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

CrockPot Orange Chicken (and a secret)

I haven't forgotten about this blog. And I have been cooking! I just haven't had time to post much lately. Hopefully over the summer I'll be able to get some new recipes on here. Especially since I'll be heading up the food for a wedding reception. We'll be doing lots of tasting in the coming weeks.

This recipe has a lot going for it, since it's quick, easy, and cheap. Did I mention yummy? Even Allen, who isn't the world's biggest fan of cooked fruit, thought it was great.

Now for the secret. Those of you who know me know that I've recently become slightly addicted to couponing. What you may not know is that I keep a spreadsheet of my grocery savings. Yes. What a nerd. (This spreadsheet doesn't include Walgreen's spending or milk. Maybe next year I'll try to be more comprehensive.) The bottom line is this: we budget $200 a month for groceries, and I stay within that budget. Meals like this one help me do that! We're also "part-time vegetarians" and eat several meatless meals each week. This week's meatless nights included lentils tacos, which are amazing. I'll try to post the recipe sometime soon, because it is one of our standard meals now.

But on to the orange chicken!

4 chicken drumsticks, skin removed* (I forgot to remove the skin. Oops)
4 chicken thighs, skin removed*
1 cup green and red bell pepper strips
1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup prepared orange juice
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon light molasses
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
11 ounces can mandarin oranges
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup frozen peas

*Or use 4 chicken leg quarters


(Ideal slow-cooker size: 5- to 6-quart)

Place chicken in slow cooker. Top with pepper strips. Combine broth, juice, ketchup, soy sauce, molasses, mustard, and garlic salt. Pour over chicken. Cover. Cook on low 5-6 hours.

Measure out 1 cup of cooking sauce from the crock pot. Put in saucepan and bring to boil. Drain oranges, reserving 1 Tbsp. juice. Stir cornstarch into reserved juice. Add to boiling sauce in pan. Add peas to sauce and cook, stirring 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens and peas are warm. Stir in oranges.

Arrange chicken pieces on platter of cooked white rice or lo mein noodles. Pour orange sauce over chicken and rice or noodles. If you want to get fancy, you can chop a few green onions and throw them on top.

This dish is great the next day. When I was putting away the leftovers, I pulled all the meat off the bones and combined the meat and sauce. Allen liked it better this way!