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Monday, November 5, 2012

Sous Vide Experiments: Chuck Roast/Steak

               I acquired a circulating water bath some time ago, but hadn’t used it for anything other than keeping a beer fermentation at pretty high temperatures. I’ve always wanted to use it for sous vide in some form, but just haven’t gotten around to it until now.
               For those of you familiar with it, sous vide is a method of cooking foods at constant temperatures for very long periods of time. You might say, why not just use a crock pot? The main problem is that crock pot temperatures are not stable over long periods of time, and often times you cannot get the crock pot to a low enough temperature to achieve the desired results. In this case, the sous vide machine can keep the temperature at very precise intervals (of as little as 0.1 degrees Celsius). If you have a big chunk of money sitting around, Williams Sonoma sells the circulators. Otherwise, I have read about people buying probes and shutoff controllers to jury-rig a crock pot into a sous vide machine.
               A benefit to sous vide is to use it to cook foods with lots of connective tissues for long periods of time so that the connective tissue breaks down. Think of short ribs, roasts, chuck steak, etc. You can take a fatty, tough piece of meat and make it essentially into a filet.
               In theory, you also need a vacuum sealer to sous vide. However, a preferred alternative is to buy the vacuum sealing bags that Ziploc sells, where you use a hand pump to create a vacuum. It’s cheaper than buying a vacuum machine, and it gets the same results in the end.
               For my birthday, Amy got me a copy of Under Pressure by Thomas Keller, a set of the vacuum bags, and an option for pick out whatever foods I wanted to cook in it. We got a rather large chuck roast at Wegmans a while back. I took the roast out, which was about 2 inches thick through, and had tons of fat. I put it in the sous vide bag, with just a dash of salt over the steak. I then sealed it up, sucked out the majority of the air, and put it in the bath at 130 F (or 54 C). I left the steak going for 48 hours.

Note the Kitchen Aid mixer to weigh the bag down
               During this time, tons of liquid (i.e. blood) came out into the bag. I was a bit worried that the steak was getting dry, and even though I had read up I still wasn’t sure this was going to work.
               After 48 hrs, I pulled the steak out. It was practically falling apart, and had taken on a greyish-pink hue. I dried the surface of the steak and applied fresh kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. I threw the steak onto a hot grill for about 1.5 minutes a side to create a crust, then brought it in to rest.
Sorry looking, but fully cooked and ready to sear

After Searing
               Man, I was still shocked when I cut in and found the meat perfectly pink from edge to edge. Well, I guess it wasn’t super pink to begin with. As a consequence of cooking in the “vacuum”, the meat does oxidize while it cooks. When you slice into the meat, exposure to the oxygen in the air causes the hemoglobin and myoglobin in the meat to bind fresh oxygen, and return to a red-pink color. So after about a minute or two of resting, we had beautiful pink meat.

               The steak itself was fantastic, and was everything I had hoped for. It was as tender as a filet, had an intensely beefy flavor, and was only about $15 total for a giant steak! I’d definitely do it again. Now it's time to pick out something else to sous vide! I think I sense some pork belly in our future!
Steak and a nice Red (2007 Dornfelder, Fulkerson Winery)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: Secret Recipe Club

It's time again for Secret Recipe Club!  This month I had the awesome blog of Suzanne, Thru the Bugs on my Windshield.  Suzanne writes about her cooking, travels, photography and grandkids.  She's also the hostess of my Secret Recipe Club group, Group B and does a fantastic job getting us all organized and handling questions and issues.  I knew I wanted to bake something and as soon as the 'cool' weather (highs in the 60s instead of 80s) I knew I wanted something that had fall flavors.  There's nothing more fall to me than pumpkin, so as soon as I saw these whoopie pies my mind was made up.  We had just bought several cans of pumpkin at the grocery store for baking purposes and we had all the ingredients on hand so it was easy to whip up.  The day I sat down to make the recipe I traced it back to the original source and was happy to discover it was from one of my favorite cookbook authors -- the guys at BAKED.  Since I (semi-) regularly participate in BAKED Sunday Mornings, I knew I could trust that the recipe would be delicious.  

This is the first thing I've baked from Matt and Renato's first book, BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking, but it definitely won't be the last!  I halved the recipe as Suzanne did, but used the original spice combination from the BAKED book.  I couldn't imagine a pumpkin recipe without cinnamon; it's my favorite sweet spice by far and I think half the reason I enjoy pumpkin desserts so much is their frequent use of cinnamon!  I also added a touch of nutmeg since I had it and I thought it fit the rest of the flavors well.  These were perfect.  I made a mini-version and they came out beautifully.  

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
makes 12 regular-sized cookie sandwiches or 24 mini cookie sandwiches
From BAKED, as found via Thru the Bugs on my Windshield


for whoopie pies:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 1/2 cup (or 1 15 oz can) pureed pumpkin (not pie filling, just plain pumpkin)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

for filling:
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
  • In a large bowl whisk together brown sugar and oil until combined.  Add the canned pumpkin and whisk until combined.  Add the egg and vanilla and again whisk until combined.
  • Sprinkle flour mixture over the wet ingredients and then whisk until combined.  
  • Using a cookie scoop, portion the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment (or a silpat).  For regular sized cookies use a 2 tablespoon scoop, for mini-cookies use a 1 tablespoon scoop.  For either cookie leave about 1 inch of space between cookie dough.  
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of a cookie with no crumbs.  
  • Allow cookies to cool completely on baking sheet.  
  • While cookies are cooling, make filling.  In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until completely smooth.  Add in the cream cheese and again beat until completely smooth.  Add in the vanilla and beat for 1-2 seconds, or until incorporated.  Add the powdered sugar  and beat until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shake Shack Burgers

I'm so excited to be writing this blog post!  I'm participating in a Virtual Baby Shower for a very special  lady on a cooking message board I frequent.  I've seen many of these 'virtual showers' in the past, but this is the first time I've been asked to participate in one and I couldn't be more honored.  Jessica from The Jey of Cooking is due in one month with her second child -- a baby girl!  Joelen, of What's Cookin' Chicago?, put this fabulous event together and came up with a ballpark theme.  Jessica, her husband and little boy/future big brother live in Chicago and are HUGE Cubs fans so ballpark food is perfect for this  lovely occasion.  

I figure Chicago style hot dogs are probably the ballpark food-of-choice at Wrigley Field, so I decided to create something that is a popular stadium item in our town -- The Shake Shack Burger.  We've only been to one game at Nationals Park, but it was just after Shake Shack opened and it was very popular.  We got there early to avoid the long lines and were so happy we did.  The Shack Burger lived up to all the hype we had heard about it.  It was salty and crunchy and the shack sauce just made the fresh tomatoes and lettuce sing.  So, recreating this burger at home was the first thing that popped into my head when I learned about the ballpark theme.  

Some googling led me to an article on Serious Eats with a very detailed recreation of the Shack Burger.  I took a few shortcuts, mostly for convenience sake, but found it came out pretty darn close to the original!  It was just as tasty, and though I didn't figure out the cost, I am sure it was cheaper!  We used ground beef we already had, 85% lean, instead of grinding our own and used some potato rolls we already had, which weren't Martin's brand, but still very good!  I accidentally bought red leaf lettuce instead of green, but that made no difference in the taste at all.  

I'm very thrilled to share my contribution to the All-Star Virtual Baby Shower for Jessica!  She's a smart, funny gal who is always sharing an encouraging word or bit of advice in our cooking community and I'm so happy to be a part of this online celebration of her new little girl!

Shake Shack Burgers
from Serious Eats
makes 4 burgers

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
4 slices kosher dill pickle, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper

1 pound ground sirloin, 85% lean
1 tablespoon butter, softened
4 burger rolls, preferably potato
4 leaves of green (or red!) leaf lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe plum tomatoes, center-cut prefered
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
4 slices yellow American cheese

  • Make Shack Sauce -- combine mayo, ketchup, mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne in the bowl of a food processor.  Give the processor a few good whirls, until the sauce looks to be an even consistency, scrapping down the sides of the bowl if necessary.  This will make almost 3/4 cup sauce and you will have some leftover after dressing the burgers.  It's great for dipping fries.  
  • Next form the ground beef into 4 pucks -- about 2 inches high and 2 1/2 inches wide.  Sprinkle the top side heavily with salt and pepper.  
  • Prep a large stainless steel skillet -- using a wadded up paper towel rub vegetable oil on skillet, then place over medium-high heat until just beginning to smoke.
  • While waiting for the skillet to heat, turn broiler on high.  Open the buns, but do not split all the way through, leave them 'hinged' open if possible.  (My rolls were already split and my burgers still turned out fine, so it's okay if this happens to you as well.)  Spread the softened butter over the tops and bottoms of all 4 rolls.  Place under the broiler and cook until golden brown.
  • Once the buns come out of the broiler, dollop 1 -2 teaspoons (depending on preference) on each side of each bun.  On the top bun, add one leaf lettuce then 2 tomato slices.  Set prepped buns aside to wait for burgers.
  • When skillet is barely smoking, place beef patties in, seasoned side down.  Using the back of a spatula, flatten the patties to 4 inches wide.  Normally this is a no-no, but for a realistic Shack Burger you want the beef to stick and get 'crusty' for lack of a better term.  Season the top side with salt and pepper.  Cook until crisp crust forms, about three minutes.  
  • Flip burgers and top each with one slice American cheese.  Cover and cook until cheese melts.  
  • Transfer patties to bottoms of burger buns and cover with toppings and bun tops.  Wrap in parchment paper if desired and let sit for 1-2 minutes.  I find this step, while annoying since delicious burgers and their mouth-watering smells are surrounding your surely hungry taste buds, essential.  It really lets the juices from the burgers sink into the buns and the sauce to meld with the other toppings and cheese to do the same.  We found it easier to cook two burgers at a time in our skillet, so it was easy to let the first set sit in parchment while we finished off the second two burgers, then ate the first set.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Brooksters: BAKED Sunday Mornings

So, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things with blogging and I thought this would be a great recipe to do so.  I added the newest BAKED book to my Amazon wishlist as soon as I read about it on BAKED's Facebook page.  I was ordering part of Zach's birthday gift and needed an excuse for the familiar Amazon packaging to arrive at the house, so into my shopping cart went BAKED Elements.  I love it!  It's got the same humor and great stories/explanations behind each recipe and it's organized into their top ten favorite ingredients.  I know the Pumpkin chapter will get a lot of use this fall and the Booze chapter is always a place to look for a delicious treat.  In fact, Zach chose his birthday cake from the Booze chapter.  Cinnamon is a favorite ingredient of mine, and about the only chapter I think we will skip is the Banana chapter (we both despise bananas).  

So when BAKED Sunday Mornings decided to start baking along with this book and Brooksters was the first recipe I was very excited to jump back in with the group and bake-along.  I made one modification to my Brooksters, deciding to make them in a mini loaf pan, since the book cautioned against dark metal pans and both of my cupcake tins are dark metal.  My mini loaf pan is Williams-Sonoma Gold Touch, so I thought that would be a better option.  I was wrong.  The shape was all wrong and by the time the tops of the cookie were fairly dark brown, the insides were still pretty gooey.  I don't mind as much as some people might, since I like things on the gooey-side but it was not ideal.  Oh well, next time we'll give the cupcake pan a try and see how it works out that way.  We did end up almost two dozen balls of cookie dough leftover after making the Brooksters, which we scooped out in 2 Tablespoons balls and froze, so now we can have fresh chocolate chips cookies whenever we want - yum!  

Despite their textural flaws, these tasted amazingly delicious.  The cookie dough was buttery and spot-on, the brownie was decadent and rich.  Combined they are much more than the sum of their parts.  

To get the recipe for Brooksters, and to join along with the group, head on over to BAKED Sunday Mornings!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Easy Egg Cups: Secret Recipe Club

Hi all!  So in my last Secret Recipe Club post I mentioned moving and buying a house which is the reason I haven't posted since the last SRC!  We're all moved in and spent an afternoon signing my name more times that I have total in my life up to that point, so we are officially homeowners!  Yay!  Here's where we now call home:

But, on to my recipe.  This month I was assigned Gluten Free from A to Z by Judee.  My family doesn't eat gluten-free, so a lot of the substitutions and different ingredients were really interesting for me to read.  I chose a recipe that would be super helpful now that I am back to school.  I'm a teacher here in Northern Virginia, I don't know if I've ever mentioned that specifically on the blog, so well, now I have!  Now that I'm back to setting an alarm (ugh) and getting myself together and out the door quickly (double ugh) it's very convenient to have quick and easy breakfasts.  I made these egg cups on a Sunday evening and then was able to enjoy them throughout the week.  They are infinitely customizable and very little effort.  We did sauteed spinach, red onion, colby jack cheese and hatch chiles and they are delicious!

Easy Egg Cups
from Gluten Free from A to Z
makes 12 cups

6 ounces spinach
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup hatch chiles, diced
1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Spray with cooking spray and add in the spinach.  Stir and allow to wilt down.
  • While the spinach is wilting, in a medium bowl whisk together eggs and milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Start building your egg cups -- Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.  Put about a teaspoon of red onion in each muffin tin, then follow with a teaspoon of chiles.  Sprinkle two teaspoons of cheese on top of the onion and peppers.  
  • Once the spinach has wilted distribute it evenly into the 12 muffin tins.  Pour the egg mixture into each tin, distributing evenly.  I transferred the egg mixture to a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup (the kind with a spout) to make this step easier.  
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the center is set.  

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cheesy Garlic Bread: Secret Recipe Club

Hello??  Is anyone out there?  Anyone who is still reading at all?  I know I've been a bad, bad blogger lately -- hardly any updates besides my recipe swaps and secret recipe club.  But, I've got a good excuse -- we're moving!  After three years renting down here in Northern Virginia we're buying a house of our own!  Yay!  We are very excited (hence all the exclamation points!!!!!) and can't wait to be settled into our own house and finally be home-owners.  It's a super cute townhouse in Alexandria, Virginia and will allow us both to be closer to work and to all the fun stuff in the District of Columbia.  So the last two weeks have been filled with packing and the next two weeks will be filled with moving and unpacking.  

It is also filled with using things up from the freezer.  When I was assigned Living Lou's blog for this month's Secret Recipe Club I was excited by many of the delicious looking breakfast recipes on her blog -- the cinnamon pancakes and muffin donuts being at the top of my list.  But, when it came time to actually pick a recipe I went with one that best fit my meal plan for the week.  I had a package of ravioli in the freezer to use up and wanted some garlic bread to go with it and I remembered this recipe from Lou and it was delicious!!  It used up a bunch of cheese I already had on hand, a few scallions I had and a jar of crushed garlic that I wasn't planning on taking with us to the new place.  So this was a great recipe at the perfect time.  It was crispy, crunchy, creamy and garlic-y without being over powering.  I only made a few changes, scaling down the recipe a bit for my smaller loaf of bread.  It was a fabulous complement to the ravioli -- side note, if you live near a Trader Joe's definitely try their Beef Bolognese ravioli - so yummy!

Cheesy Garlic Bread
from Living Lou

1 loaf of bread, I used a small batard
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 cups grated cheese 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium bowl combine the green onions, mayo, softened butter, garlic and pepper.  Once the mixture reaches a consistent texture add in the cheese and stir to combine.  
  • Cut the loaf of bread lengthwise.
  • Spread half the butter and cheese mixture on the top half of the bread and half the mixture on the bottom half of the bread.  
  • Place the bread on a sheet pan and bake for 7-10 minutes, until the top gets browned and bubbly.  
  • Let bread rest for a few minutes, then cut into slices and serve!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Dip: Recipe Swap

For my third round of the Recipe Swap I was assigned The Jey of Cooking.  I was very happy with this assignment because this is a blog I already follow!  I just went to my Google Reader and looked at what recipes of hers I already had 'starred'.  I immediately decided on this dip.  It had made the rounds a few times on many popular food blogs, but I hadn't yet made it.  What prompted me -- a fresh batch of jalapenos straight from our porch garden!  

This dip was creamy and cheesy and spicy and awesome!  It goes perfectly with salty tortilla chips and a nice, cold beer.  It's just like it's namesake appetizer, but in casserole form.  I only made a few changes -- using reduced fat cheeses (since it's what I usually buy), chopped roasted Hatch chiles (from our own freezer stash)  and fresh jalapenos, seeded and diced.  Unfortunately (even though I swear I remember taking a photo of the dip ... grrrrrr) I can't seem to find the picture!  So, just a lonely recipe to post today, but once our next 'harvest' of jalapenos comes in I'll be sure to make this delicious dip again and this time snap a picture!

Jalapeno Popper Dip
from The Jey of Cooking


8 ounces of cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat.)
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup chopped green chiles
8 medium jalapeƱos (I'd use 4-6 if large peppers and 10 if small.)
8 ounces shredded cheese, Mexican blend or colby jack
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated parmesan
cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Seed and dice jalapenos.  Wear latex gloves for this step -- trust me, you don't want to rub your eyes a few hours later and end up in burning tears!
  • Combine softened cream cheese, Greek yogurt, green chiles, jalapenos and shredded cheese in a large bowl.  Stir to combine, until the peppers and shredded cheese are evenly dispersed.  Spread mixture out in an 8x8 baking dish.  
  • Combine panko and parmesan in a small bowl.  Sprinkle evenly over dip in baking dish.  
  • Spray the top with cooking spray.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until browned on top and bubbling.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicken Gnocchi Soup: Secret Recipe Club

For this month's Secret Recipe Club I was paired with Jen of Jen's Journey.  I had many great recipes to chose from on her blog.  She also has lots of great reviews on her blog, I even found a few new books to read while I was there!  This recipe caught my eye because we were expecting 'cooler' weather here in the DC area.  And, by cooler I mean highs were going from the low 100s to the low 80s.  Not exactly typical soup weather, but it worked!

It was delicious -- I made a few changes but nothing drastic.   The tender gnocchi paired well with the sweetness of the carrot.  We did just throw the frozen gnocchi into the soup to cook, so we had to add quite a bit more liquid, I used chicken stock.  We used a leftover grilled chicken breast for the shredded chicken and it added a nice, smoky flavor.  We thought it was tasty and will definitely make it again when it really does get 'cooler' this fall.

Chicken Gnocchi Soup
adapted from Jen's Journey
serves 6

3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
4 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 pound potato gnocchi
1 bag fresh baby spinach
2 cups half and half
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly grated Parmesan cheeses(optional)

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat.  Melt the butter and add in the olive oil.  When melted, add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the flour and stir to make a roux.  Cook mixture for 1-2 minutes, until begins to turn a very light brown.  
  • Whisk in 4 cups of the chicken broth and turn to medium-high.  Let the mixture simmer until it begins to thicken.  
  • Add the shredded carrots, shredded chicken, gnocchi and remaining 2 cups of chicken broth to the pot.  Stir well and allow the soup to simmer again.  Once returned to a simmer, add in the spinach and stir to wilt.  
  • Add the half and half, thyme and oregano to the soup and stir well.  Bring back to a simmer then serve.  Top with grated parmesan if desired.  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Coffee Cinnamon Snack Cake: Recipe Swap

For this round of the Recipe Swap I got paired with Nicole of Cookies on Friday.  I had a hard time choosing from her amazing selection of sweets!  I ended up making a quick decision though, since I originally thought the posting/reveal date was NEXT Friday and on Wednesday realized I had gotten it wrong.  I had an evening event at my school on Wednesday and a combination of not enough time to make it home in between and getting home late made it impractical to bake anything on that night.  Thursday I had another after school event, though this one was immediately after school so I made it home with some baking time to spare, but not much.  Definitely not enough for multiple batches of cookies so a bar cookie it was!  

I agree with Nicole that the texture of the bar is more like a cake than a cookie, so I updated the name accordingly.  It smelled fabulous as the batter came together.  I love coffee and cinnamon so this recipe called to me.  The only changes I made (besides the name!) is to double the cinnamon and leave out the nuts.  It's quite cinnamon-y this way, but that's the way I like it so you can feel free to drop it back down to a 1/2 teaspoon.  I'm not a fan of hazelnuts and normally would have substituted almonds, but we were out of them.  I'm looking forward to having a piece with a great cup of french press coffee this weekend as my breakfast.  I think the flavors and texture lend itself perfectly to breakfast and might even try a version with more of a streusel top versus the glaze here to push it towards the coffeecake realm (and more socially acceptable breakfast option).

I was also playing around with the settings on iPhoto on my iPad and found this 'artistic' rendition amusing:

Coffee Cinnamon Snack Cake
from Cookies on Friday


1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1 egg
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
About 2 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream the brown sugar, shortening and egg in a stand mixer for 3 minutes.  
  • While the mixer is working, steep the espresso powder in the warm water, stirring to dissolve.
  • Add the water mixture, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda to the sugar mixture and beat slowly to combine.  Add the flour in thirds (1/2 cup at a time), mixing to combine between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out from the center with no crumbs.  Allow to cool.
  • Combine the glaze ingredients, starting with just 1 tablespoon milk.  Whisk together and slowly pour in the second tablespoon of milk until reaching desired consistency.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Creamy Chicken Taquitos: Secret Recipe Club

I was so excited to get my assignment for this month's Secret Recipe Club!  This is a blog I've been following for a few years now so I already had it in my Google Reader with plenty of starred recipes ready to go!  Even though I thought I was pretty sure of what I wanted to make, Rachel at Good Thymes & Good Food had plenty of mouth-watering pictures to make me reconsider my choice several times!  My first thought was her recent Chocolate and Salted Caramel Pudding Pops, which I am sure I will make at some point this summer, but then I found myself gravitating toward dinner dishes to complete our weekly menu.  This Southwest Chicken Meatball Skillet was on my list, and is another recipe I am sure we make make before the summer is over, but I finally chose (with Zach's help) Creamy Chicken Taquitos.

These were all the rage on many food blogs in 2011, but I never made them.  I tend to have an unusual reaction when something is popular and it seems like everyone is saying "You MUST eat/read/do this/watch/listen to/make these RIGHT NOW!"  The more I hear that, the less likely I am to do the activity in question.  But, now that the hype has died down over these taquitos, I read the recipe and decided that I'd give them a try.  Now that no one was insisting that I run out and buy the ingredients to make them this very instant I was much more likely to actually make them.  Call me an opposite hipster; hipsters like things before they are cool, I suppose I like things after they are cool.  Just add Creamy Chicken Taquitos in with The Dark Night, The Hangover, Adele, Bridesmaids, and The Voice.

Anyway, we thought these were really great.  The flavors were delicious and they made a nice dinner with the addition of sides of brown rice and refried beans.  We used one giant chicken breast, seared in a pan with just salt and pepper, but you could definitely use leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken as well.  The only thing I might change would be to add in some of the Hatch chiles we have in our freezer next time.  We used a medium size tortilla, not the small taco ones and not the large ones for burritos or wraps. Our grocery store calls them 'gordita' sized.  Using the smaller, taco-sized tortillas would make for a super appetizer for a party.

Creamy Chicken Taquitos
from Good Thymes & Good Food
Makes 10 medium taquitos or 16 small

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice, about 1 lime

1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
2 green onions, sliced
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 ounces shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend, but you can use any combination you like.)
10 medium flour tortillas
Kosher salt
cooking spray

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  
  • Combine cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cilantro, green onions and chicken in large bowl.
  • Add in black beans and cheese and stir gently until just combined.
  • Portion 3-4 tablespoons of mixture on each tortilla.  You should place it on the bottom third of the tortilla and then wrap up the tortilla, rolling tightly.  Place the rolled tortillas on a baking sheet, seam side down, about an inch from each other.  
  • Spray the tops of the rolled tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tortillas are browned and crispy.