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Tortillas

The finished ones are in back. The one in front still has to be cooked.

I found this recipe after I got weirded out reading the ingredients to the package of tortillas we had in the fridge. There were a lot and that didn’t make sense to me. So, I went to Pinterest (what else is new) and lo and behold! An outstandingly easy recipe for tortillas was there from Jazibe’s Recipes. With only 3 ingredients (not including water)! The only downside to this is the process: it takes a while. Actually mixing everything only takes about 5 minutes and then they just have to sit in the little balls for 30-ish minutes. But rolling out the tortillas and cooking them takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Good news though, it is a very relaxing, repetitive process that I personally find soothing. That’s just me though.

After making these a few times, I have found that packaged tortillas just taste strange to me. They have a weird rubbery texture that is nonexistent in homemade ones. True, homemade tortillas don’t have the symmetry of store bought, but that is not something that’s a deal breaker to me. I just like knowing that my quesadillas don’t have any weird additives. That, and it is SO much cheaper to make your own. A store bought bag of 12 goes for around $2, but I estimate that a batch of homemade would only cost about $o.80. And that batch makes a lot more than 12 tortillas. The price can vary depending on what flour you use, as that is the main ingredient.

The other nice thing I have discovered about making tortillas is that I can easily switch up the size I want them to be. I’ll make about half quesadilla sized, but golly gee maybe I’ll want a taco later! No problemo, just make the ball of dough smaller. I’m a genius. Varying the size also means that each batch won’t turn out the exact same amount each time, so keep that in mind. I get roughly 20 tortillas per batch.

*Plus! You can get some serious respect from people who will be super impressed when you say you make your own tortillas. They just don’t know how easy it is!

I do have one tip for you guys that threw me off the first time I made these. I was really worried that I would tear the rolled out dough if it was too thin and the first few tortillas turned out way too thick. Make them THIN people. The dough is pretty sturdy and if you do screw up and tear one you can just pinch it back together and roll it again. You just want it to be thin enough to not overpower any toppings you throw at it and still have it be maleable.

Other than that one caution, this is wonderfully easy. You don’t even have to be super strict with the measurements, which is really nice for those of you who are with me in the super lazy club. For the pictures in this post, I didn’t want to make a full batch so I just cut out 2 C. of flour and to compensate make some “acute” measurement adjustments. I added a little less oil, water, and baking powder. That was it! But let’s move on to the actual recipe and price breakdown.
Price:

  • 8 C. flour: $0.50
  • 1 T. baking powder: $0.10 (if that)
  • 1 C. vegetable or canola oil: $0.20

Total: $0.80

Ingredients:

This is seriously all you need.
  • 8 C. flour (white or whole wheat; I usually do about 1-2 C. wheat with the rest white)
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1 C. vegetable or canola oil (the original calls for vegetable, but I’ve been using canola with no problem)
  • 1 1/2 C. warm water (add more if the dough is too dry)
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Make a hole in the middle and add in the oil and water.

    It’s like a little oil/water lake! Now destroy it.
  3. Mix the flour and liquid into dough with your hands. I just do it in the bowl, but you can also do this on a floured surface. If it is too dry add a littlebit of water.

    Nice and doughy.
  4. Get out a large baking pan and spray with Pam or coat with parchment paper.
  5. Make golf-ball sized balls (called “tostales”) of dough and line up on the pan. Make smaller balls for taco-sized tortillas.

    Perfection is not the goal for the tostales so don’t worry about them being super smooth or anything.
  6. Cover pan with a damp dish towel and let sit for 30 mins to an hour. However long you have is fine.

    Make sure it is damp so the tostales don’t dry out.
  7. Set up your tortilla making station. Put a medium sized frying pan on the stove and have an area to put both finished tortillas and rolled out ones waiting to be cooked. You will also need a rolling pin and spatula.
  8. After the tostales have sat, start rolling one out to tortillas size. Put it into the pan.

    My edges are never perfect, but if this really bothers you you could trim each tortilla.
  9. Start rolling out the next tostale but keep an eye on the one in the pan. Once it starts bubbling, flip it over. It should be finished by the time you are finished rolling out the next tortilla.

    Bubbles!
  10. Repeat this process until all of the tortillas are made!
  11. Store them in an airtight container. I usually put half in the freezer so they won’t go bad before we eat them.

How did yours turn out? Weird shapes maybe? That happens, especially for the first one. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Red Beans and Rice

And now, I want a taco and Enrique Iglesias.

One summer in high school, I went on a mission trip to Belize. And during one of the stupid “get to know you” games we played with the teenagers there, I learned that apparently EVERYONE in the town we were in had the same favorite food: Red Beans and Rice. It was kind of funny hearing about 20 people have the same favorite food for some reason. After that trip, I tried making it a couple time on my own, just winging it. It turned out edible, but really bland. I was disappointed but still really wanted to try and make it because it is a really healthy dish.

Then I was browsing Pinterest for some really cheap recipes because of the “broke college kid” situation. And I found this one! I was really pumped because the solution to my bland problem was just cooking the rice with the beans and a liberal amount of paprika. I felt like an idiot, but it’s ok.

The reason this is such a cheap recipe is because rice and beans are two of the cheapest ingredients to include in a meal, and this one just uses those two (plus paprika) to make an awesome filling dish. Beans are also a great source of protein and are low in fat, so you are making a healthy meal too! Much better than ramen noodles or a can of soup.  Plus, this recipe makes plenty of food to save some and reheat later. It basically encourages laziness.

One of the other selling points that really lured me in? It is one of those one-pot meals. You can even make it in your rice cooker if you want to! I just did it in a pot on the stove because I don’t have a rice cooker and it worked great. This is also originally a vegetarian recipe, but I botched that a little bit because I used a chicken bouillon cube to flavor the rice a little bit. You can always use vegetable stock to keep it vegetarian, I just had bouillon cubes on hand and no vegetable stock. Convenience wins. We killed the vegetarian idea even more because Trusty Sidekick has this weird thing where he thinks nothing is a real meal unless it has meat in it. So I just cooked up some ground beef with taco seasoning and mixed in into the rice and beans once they were done. Totally unnecessary, but I was dealing with a manchild and it couldn’t be helped. I’m not going to include the ground beef in the recipe though.

And without further ado, here is the price breakdown:

  • 2 C. rice: $0.25
  • 1 can red beans: $1.00
  • chicken bouillon cube: $0.05
  • 3 cloves garlic: $0.25
  • The amount of paprika is not even $0.05 so I won’t include it.

Total: $1.55 (I know this seems impossible, but seriously, that is how much I spent! Using vegetable stock shouldn’t change this price that much either.)

Seriously guys, this is it. I don’t know why you wouldn’t make this after a long day.

Ingredients:

  • 2 C. rice (either white or brown work)
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 4 C. water

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the beans at least two times in the can and mince garlic.
  2. Put the beans and dry rice into the pot on your stove (or rice cooker) with 4 C. water, bouillon cube, paprika, and garlic.

    Everything except the water and paprika.
  3. Cover the pot and heat until the water begins boiling. Reduce the heat so the water simmers. For a rice cooker, just press start and leave for 40 mins.

    So it looks like weird soup here, but just have patience young grasshoppers.
  4. Leave for about 40 mins and DO NOT take off the lid. It releases the steam and the rice won’t cook as well.
  5. Once all the water is absorbed, it is ready to serve! Dish it out and enjoy.

    Here it is with the ground beef. Ya, I know it looks odd but Trusty Sidekick was pleased.

Hope you all enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones

Delicious looking, no?

I know my posts thusfar have not reflected it, but I have a MAJOR sweet tooth. I have frequently eaten cookies for lunch, cake for breakfast, and pints of Ben and Jerry’s with my roommate in under 10 minutes. This severely impedes on my goal to eat healthy, obviously. I tend to feel a Catholic-like guilt after I eat a ton of chocolate or something of that kind. So, it always makes me quite happy when I find a recipe for a healthy version of a great dessert. I found this recipe for Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Scones over at skinnytaste. Skinnytaste has some outstanding healthy recipes that are worth checking out too.

Anyway, these scones. They are nice and sweet without overpowering you and the chocolate bits are just some added sweetness and taste especially gooey when the scones are still hot from the oven. I also love how the buttermilk makes the scones a bit more rich than regular milk would. This is what allows us to only use 3 T. of butter for the whole batch. Really, it’s a win-win situation guys.

I also tried making them with diced strawberries and they turned out pretty well. Not as sugary sweet, but still worth making. Moral of the story here: variations work well with this recipe so experimentation is encouraged. Make it your own! Just make sure you stick with the 3/4 C. or 1 C. measurement for whatever you add. I did a whole cup for the strawberry batch since I knew that berries like that decrease in size and mush up when you bake them. Use your judgement, you passed first grade.

These have honestly become one of my favorite things to make as a snack/dessert because I don’t feel like I am eating anything too terrible yet it still satisfies my desire for something sweet. Even my roommate, one of the pickiest eaters ever, devours these like a starving mammoth. Plus, I buy my buttermilk by the pint because that is the smallest bottle I can buy. This means that I HAVE to make two batches otherwise the buttermilk goes to waste. And I am not about that. So, double scones for me! Like I said, win-win.

This recipe is another one that doesn’t call for any difficult ingredients, aside from the buttermilk and maybe the chocolate chips (depending on how you stock your kitchen). These are not difficult ingredients to get, nor will they go to waste. The rest of the ingredients are ones that, even if you don’t have them at the moment, you will want them on hand for future baking/cooking and won’t expire any time soon.

Confession for you guys though, I kind of cheat when making these. The original recipe tells you to knead the dough on a flat surface. I kind of just knead it in the mixing bowl because I am lazy. Also, you are instructed to cut the dough into triangle pizza-like slices. I felt like that was asking too much from my shifty cutting-things-symmetrically skills and just went with squares. Either way you choose, you’ll still get some delicious goodies!

Anyway, onto the price breakdown:

  • 3/4 C. buttermilk: $0.75 (that is roughly half of your pint)
  • 1/4 C. sugar: $0.15
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract: $0.20
  • 1 egg: $0.15 (if you buy the inorganic generic kind)
  • 1 C. all purpose flour: $0.05
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat): $0.05
  • 1 T. baking powder: $0.10 (if that)
  • 3 T. butter: $0.05
  • 3/4 C. chocolate chips: $1.00

Total: $2.50

I have a Dark Hershey’s bar for my chocolate because it was on sale. No judging.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. cold buttermilk
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 C. whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat)
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 T. cold butter
  • 3/4 C. chocolate chips
  • cooking spray
  • extra butter to put on top of scones

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with aluminum foil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together buttermilk, sugar, vanilla extract, and the egg. Stir with a whisk.

    Mix it. Mix it good.
  3. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with the whisk.
  4. Cut the butter into small bits and with either a pastry blender or two knives cut the butter into the flour mixture. It should look like a crumbly meal.
    What is should look like cutting the butter in.

    Here is what the butter should look like when it is almost all the way cut in.
  • Add the chocolate chips and the milk mixture and stir just until moist. Don’t overwork the dough or it will get rough.
  • Knead the dough either on a floured counter or in the bowl (like my lazy butt does) with your floured hands.
  • On the greased baking sheet, form the dough into a circle (or rectangle-ish shape). It should be about 3/4 in. thick. Cut the dough into 12 wedges or the 12 squares I do. Make sure that each piece is separated a bit from the rest so everything bakes evenly.

    My cuts are a little uneven, but it’s no big deal.
  • Put a bit of melted butter on top of the scones so they brown all nice and sprinkle with sugar if you want. I generally don’t do the sugar.
  • Bake 18-20 minutes.

    I almost forgot to take a picture, but by the time I remembered I already had eaten half a scone. My bad.
  • Eat them when they are nice and toasty.
  • Hope these turn out as delicious for you all as they did for me.

    What other additions did you try? How did they work out?