When you’re hungry for tortillas


Theviscious/Wikimedia Commons Fill a homemade tortilla with your favorite breakfast foods or anything you like.

 

Many of you have been with me long enough to know I am sometimes a bit strange, at least in the way that I am not afraid to share with you some odd bits of information. I feel we are friends, so why hide anything? Don’t get too excited, though, because this is something that would be considered rather boring to most people, but we are foodies.

I think we are kind of special in many ways. So, I’m sure you will understand the fact that despite all the world’s critical issues, such as COVID-19 pandemic, fires consuming the western states, a crazy election year and rabid social unrest, I woke up thinking of tortillas.

Yep, that’s right. Yummy, soft, tender homemade tortillas and all the things that can be made from them.

I could hardly wait to get up and start working on this column so I could share recipes with my kitchen pals. So, here we go.

Cat’s flour tortillas

This is a recipe for a half batch, so you can easily double this if you like. I have tried a lot of tortilla recipes and consider this to be my favorite.

2 cups flour (all purpose)

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco (I admit I usually use lard)

3/4 cup (or less) water

1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt and baking powder; mix well.

2. With a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening or lard until the pieces are the size of small peas.

3. Add water, a little at a time, until the flour is evenly moistened, just enough to stick together and be formed into a ball.

4. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and form each piece into a ball.

5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball into a flat circle. (This recipe makes large tortillas, but you can adjust the size to suit your preferences.)

6. On a preheated skillet or pancake grill (I prefer well-seasoned cast iron), cook each tortilla, turning once, until brown flecks appear. Remove and stack on a plate, then use immediately or cover them and save for later. Makes 4 large tortillas.

Cat’s Mexican chicken casserole

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken

6 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

1 small can sliced ripe olives, drained

1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped

1 can cream of celery soup (can also use cream of chicken or mushroom)

1 container (8-oz.) sour cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Knorr chicken bouillon granules

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 cups Colby/Jack cheese, shredded (or use a Mexican cheese blend)

1. In large bowl, mix chicken, tortillas, corn, olives and green onion tops.

2. In small bowl, blend cream of celery soup, sour cream, soy sauce and bouillon granules; set aside.

3. In a skillet, heat olive oil to medium high and saute’ onion and bell peppers until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and mix well, then add to chicken mixture.

4. Add soup mixture to other ingredients in the large bowl. Add the cheese and mix all thoroughly.

5. Grease a 2-quart oven-proof casserole dish and turn mixture into dish; smooth the top with back of wooden spoon. Cover and heat in a 350-degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove cover about halfway through baking. Makes about 8 servings.

Fiesta pinwheels

Adapted from a Taste of Home recipe.

1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup picante sauce

2 tablespoons taco seasoning

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder or granules

1/2 cup finely minced green onion, tops included

1 can (4.5-oz.) chopped ripe olives, well drained

1 can (4-oz.) chopped green chili peppers, well drained

1 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese (mild or sharp)

8 10-inch flour tortillas

Salsa

1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sour cream, picante sauce, taco seasoning and garlic powder until smooth.

2. Stir in chopped olives, chili peppers, shredded cheese and onions. Spread about 1/2 cup of the mixture on each tortilla.

3. Roll up jelly-roll style and wrap each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours (or even overnight). Unwrap and slice into 1-inch pieces. Serve pinwheels with your favorite salsa. Makes about 5 dozen pieces.

Lime chicken soft tacos

This uses a slow cooker for the chicken, so allow extra time for that.

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup chunky salsa

12 6-inch flour tortillas, warmed

Optional: sour cream, chopped onions, shredded lettuce or cabbage and shredded cheese

1. Place chicken in a 3-qt. slow cooker. Combine lime juice and chili powder; pour over chicken. Cook, covered, on low until chicken is tender, 5 to 6 hours.

2. Remove chicken. When cool enough to handle, shred meat with 2 forks; return to slow cooker. Stir in corn and salsa. Cook, covered, on low until heated through, about 30 minutes. Place filling on tortillas; if desired, serve with sour cream, onions, lettuce or cabbage and shredded cheese. Makes 12 servings.

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