Monday, April 29, 2013

Taco Quesadillas



Taco Tuesday! We don’t always have Tacos on Tuesday but it happens pretty often, they are quick and easy and taste delicious.



If you want to change it up from the usual tacos try these Taco Quesadillas, AH-MAZING!




What you need,

1 lb. ground beef
2 tbsp. homemade Taco Seasoning (or a store bought package)
1 cup water
1 cup jalapeno cheddar cheese, grated (Cracker Barrel makes a really good one!)
6-8 small flour tortillas
Sour Cream, Salsa and Shredded iceberg lettuce for serving

In a large skillet over medium high heat brown the ground beef. Drain any excess fat off.

Add in the taco seasoning and the water and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until most of the liquid has absorbed.  Set aside.

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, top with a little of the shredded cheese, a couple of heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture and a little more cheese. Top with a second tortilla. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until brown and crisp and the cheese is melted.

Repeat the process with the remaining tortilla, cheese and meat.
You can keep the cooked quesadillas warm on a sheet pan placed in a 200 degree oven.

Cut the quesadillas into quarters and serve with sour cream, salsa and a little shredded lettuce.

These basic taco quesadilla were amazing but feel free to add in some additional ingredients such as:
Refried beans, chopped green chilies, black beans, sliced jalapenos or even some roasted corn!



The possibilities are endless!

Enjoy this Taco Tuesday change up!


Jen

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Fruit Cocktail Cake



You know how sometimes a smell or taste can transport you back in time?

Well this cake does that for me. My mom used to make this fruit cocktail cake when I was a kid.



I love it, it is moist and sweet. It is cake perfection.

The cake is super simple to whip together, only 6 ingredients.
The special part of this cake is the sauce, oh the delicious sauce! You pour the sauce all over the cake right after it comes out of the oven and it soaks up all of the amazing buttery caramely flavor!


What you need,

For the cake:
2 eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 14oz. can fruit cocktail with the juice
2 cups all-purpose flour

For the sauce:
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup milk (I used 1%)
½ cup butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch glass baking dish liberally with non-stick spray; I like the Pam with flour for baking, set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until light and fluffy.

Stir in the fruit cocktail, with the juice. Gently fold in the baking soda and flour until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake on the middle rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Watch the cake carefully at the end so it doesn’t over brown. My oven runs pretty hot so I had to turn my oven temperature down a little for the last 10 minutes. The cake will get pretty brown but that is normal you just don’t’ want it to burn!

Remove the cake from the oven and put it on a rack to cool.

Meanwhile make the sauce. In a large pot combine the sugar, milk and butter. Heat over medium high heat until the mixture boils. Stir frequently.

Once the mixture boils remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

I poked some holes with a toothpick all over the warm cake, and then carefully poured the sauce all over the cake; really get it into the edges.

It seems like a lot of sauce but the cake will absorb it all.

Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes.

Serve the cake warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.

The cake will keep in the fridge for about a week; just cover it tightly in plastic wrap.




For the left overs just heat a piece in the microwave for about 20 seconds then it is good to go!

This cake is a piece of my childhood. I just love it, it is so good.


Jen

Recipe from my Mom, I am not sure where she got it from, maybe Best of Bridges??

Friday, April 26, 2013

A late Friday Favourite Things Vol. 49



I have been trying to write a favourite things post all week. The problem is whenever I turn on my computer to start writing I get distracted.

I can’t stop watching The West Wing on Netflix’s. I am obsessed!



Every spare second I have I find myself needing to watch and episode. I wish I could just stay home from work and watch it all day long.

I watched the show when it originally aired 14 years ago in 1999.  It ran for 7 seasons. I am most of the way though season 3.  I loved it then, I love it now.

The characters are wonderful, witty and charming and smart. The dialog is quick and brilliant.
I love how even after all these years the issues the show deals with are the same, it is still totally relevant even after all these years.



I would tell you more about the show, but really you should just go load up the Netflix’s and watch it. It is truly amazing!

I better get a move on, President Bartlett and his senior staff are waiting for me in the Oval Office and I don’t want to keep them waiting!



Have a fabulous weekend!

Jen

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chai-Spiced Fruit Compote



I always have the same thing for breakfast, a bowl of cheerios. It is getting really boring. I decided to try and change it up a bit!

This chai-spiced fruit compote looked like a perfect change up.



I made it ahead so it would be quick and easy in the morning.
It really filled me up and it tastes amazing!



What you need,

1¾ cups water
2 chai tea bags (I used TAZO)
3 tbsp. honey
½ cup dried apricots, chopped into quarters
½ cup dried pitted prunes, chopped into quarters
½ cup golden raisins
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Plain Greek yogurt for serving

In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil over high heat. Turn off the heat and add the tea bags. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags and discard.

Add the honey and chopped dried fruit to the tea. Bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for 18-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquid will thicken and become syrupy.

Transfer to a bowl, cover and chill for 4 hours or up to a week.

Serve over the yogurt and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.



This is such a great breakfast. The warm spices with the smooth creamy yogurt, and the crunch of the almonds is perfection!

Jen





Monday, April 22, 2013

Creamy Tomato Soup



Nothing goes better with a grilled cheese than Tomato Soup!



When I decided to make these grilled pimento cheese sandwiches I knew I wanted to make my own tomato soup to go with them.



This recipe is not only fast and easy but delicious!

What you need,

1 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
2 15 oz. cans (4 cups) of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. brown sugar
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and Pepper to taste
½ cup Greek yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Toss in the bay leaves.

Add the tomatoes and broth, stir to combine. Stir in the brown sugar, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 15 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves from the pot. Use an immersion blender or a regular blender to puree the soup until smooth.  Stir in the yogurt until well combined. Cook until the soup is heated through, about 5 minutes.

Serve alongside your favorite grilled cheese!


This soup is full of tomato flavor! The Greek yogurt makes it creamy but not heavy.

It is truly wonderful!

Jen

Recipe adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod