Cheesy Beefy Burros

These were a standard in my family growing up. I think it’s a recipe that my Mom found in a magazine years ago. There are two ways that you can make them, baked or fried. I’ll give you the recipe for both! It’s basically meat and cheese, but the sauce is really what makes the recipe. I introduced these to my husband when we first met and it quickly became one of his favorites and most requested for dinner recipes. It may sound complicated with the folding, but with a few tries it is easy and also really cost effective!

Ingredients

1 lb at least 85 percent lean hamburger beef

1 block or 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 2 cups)

1 16oz can of diced tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

Tortillas

shredded lettuce

sour cream (optional)

green chilies (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat a high sided skillet to medium-high heat. Break up beef in pan and cook thoroughly then drain off excess fat. Mix in cheese with beef until well melted. Heat tortillas on griddle (or in microwave for 20 seconds). Roll up about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup of meat inside the tortillas (picture instructions below). Basically fold the tortillas like a hot pocket over the meat. Spray a 8 x8 inch dish (deep sided) with cooking spray. Place folded “burros” in pan and cover with foil. Cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.*

While cooking meat, in a blender combine diced tomatoes, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cumin. Blend until well combined and tomatoes are broken down. Pour into saucepot and heat over medium-low.

Spread lettuce over plates. Place a cooked burro on plate and cover with sauce. Top with sour cream and chilies.

*Alternatively: Heat about a quart of vegetable oil in a large soup pot. Heat oil until it reaches 350 degrees on a frying thermometer. Place tortillas carefully in sauce pot and cook two at a time for about 5 minutes each, until golden brown and crispy.

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Crawling and Talking

We have been quite busy the past week, so I haven’t had time to update! A is making big milestones, finally crawling and talking up a storm. Most of his crawling is backwards and most of his talking is Dadadadada, but it is amazing how much he is improving on them each day! He can crawl forward, but only when he has much motivation. I caught him crawling down the hall after a ball that had rolled out of his train. Obviously that was the motivation that he needed! He does lots of toe and arm push-ups, which amazes me that he has the much strength in his arms. Perhaps he is getting motivation from his cousin B who is in the Army!

We haven’t gotten much good video of him crawling yet, as he tends to fuss when he sees us watching him crawl. We are very excited about his milestones, however they seem to come with less sleep for everyone! A has not been sleeping well the last few nights, with Friday night being the worst, where we were getting up with him about every hour. Hopefully that will start to straighten out soon! Here are a few pictures of A working on his crawling and push-ups.

Working on his push-ups
Working on his push-ups
These push-ups are tough!
These push-ups are tough!
Perhaps Tigger can help me!
Perhaps Tigger can help me!
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Bird Baths

I’m not sure if this is a tradition in your house, but it certainly is in ours. Hot southern summers mean hot sticky babies, which means on non full bath nights we have been sponging Super A off with a wet washcloth. This action my sister affectionately coined “bird baths”, which I think perfectly sums up the little mini baths. In addition we have added in working on our toothbrushing skills to Super A’s nighttime routine. He hasn’t had any teeth pop through yet, despite all my previous posts, but I want to have brushing his teeth as part of his routine so I figured we should introduce it. I wasn’t sure how he would take it, but he loves it. AND he loves looking at himself in the mirror as you will see in the pictures!

Admiring himself in the mirror
Admiring himself in the mirror
Trying out the toothbrush
Trying out the toothbrush
"No I do it myself"...who does that remind me of??
"No I do it myself"...who does that remind me of??
Big smiles for the camera
Big smiles for the camera
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Grilled Pepperjack Chicken

This is a fairly easy recipe that my mom told me about. It’s best grilled (you can use an outdoor or indoor grill), but you could bake the chicken if you prefer. I do not have pictures of the particular recipe because I am fairly new to grilling, as we finally have a place where we can use a grill. While I was grilling the chicken I decided I would just throw the onions and the bacon on the grill that I was planning to top the chicken with. If you have ever grilled before you can probably imagine what happened next. If so, you can skip to the recipe below, haha, if not I will explain further.  Bacon has a lot of fat in it and unless you are a very experienced griller should not be cooked on a grill. I tossed everything on the grill, shut the top, and left it for five minutes (oh and I did look up grilling bacon and I had the grill on low heat). When I came back and opened the grill all of the bacon was on fire, as well as the onions. I shut the grill ran in the house and got my husband to come help me put out the fire. After we pounded out the fire with a spatula, the bacon had completely disintegrated within the grill. However, we did get some tasty charbroiled onions and chicken out of the mess. So I suggest frying the bacon or cooking it in the oven (on a cookie sheet) per package instructions.

Ingredients (makes enough for 2, but can be easily doubled):

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 slices of sandwich friendly pepperjack cheese

2 thick full sliced rounds of onion (with all the center rounds)

2 pieces of bacon (cooked per package instructions)

Barbecue sauce (you can buy your favorite, or make your own)

Olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

Instructions:

Set a grill to medium-high heat. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Place some barbecue sauce in a plastic bag. Insert chicken into plastic bag, close tightly and shake bag to cover with barbecue sauce (You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water if the sauce is particularly thick). Place in fridge to marinate for fifteen minutes (you could also do this early in the day and the chicken will be just even more seasoned). On a separate dish coat onions with olive oil. Keep onions in tact, don’t separate rings.

Place onions and chicken on the grill. Let onions cook for about 15 minutes, and remove when they begin to caramelize and become soft. Let chicken cook for about ten minutes then turn. Cook for another ten minutes and then check temperature. Continue cooking for five minutes at a time, turning each time you check it, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees. After the chicken has reached the appropriate temperature, evenly distribute onions, bacon, and lastly cheese on the chicken. Turn the grill to low and let the cheese melt thoroughly on the chicken. Remove chicken and eat!

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Generic vs. Brand Names

As the economy is lingering at a stalemate between bad and really bad I have been trying to be a more thrifty shopper, especially when it comes to groceries. Therefore, I have divulged into the world of generic foods. Now this is only for my husband and myself. I grew up with the mantra (and still hold on to it) that there are just certain things I won’t buy generic. One is diapers. Another is baby food. And the third is probably ice cream. I’m committed to Blue Bell ice cream. Or maybe Haagen Dazs on occasion. But I refuse to go there. If I’m going to spend the money to buy a treat it might as well be a good one. Which isn’t necessarily thrifty, but we don’t buy ice cream that often. However everything else is fair game. I have lately been comparing and trying different generic products with brand name products to see if I notice a difference. I will share my highly detailed and of course well tested (by my husband and I, haha) knowledge of what I have found to be better, worse, or exactly the same. I will update as I try new things, but here are my first encounters.

  • Brand Name Rice Cereal vs. Generic Rice Cereal
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic rice cereal is about 1.50 to 2.00 less than the brand product. I put fruit on my cereal anyway, and I don’t care if there is a toy in the box.
  • The verdict: To me it tastes exactly the same. Rice cereal is rice cereal. AND I made rice treats out of it and they tasted excellent.
  • Brand Name Marshmallows vs. Generic Marshmallows
  • The reason I bought it generic: Generic Marshmallows are again about 1.00 to 2.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: In something cooked (Like the rice treats) they tasted fine. However, plain one’s taste odd to me…a bit Styrofoam-ish.
  • Brand name tomatoes (plain diced, crushed, whole, paste, and sauce…we eat  a lot of things with tomato in them) vs. Generic tomatoes (the same list)
  • The reason I bought it generic: About 1.00 cheaper.
  • The verdict: I haven’t eaten them plain (such as in a gazpacho, or a bruschetta spread) but in cooked foods I honestly can’t tell a difference.
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Salmon with Almond Pesto

I made this recipe after coming upon many different pesto recipes that use pine nuts. While they are a tasty addition to a pesto recipe I find them in only small quantities and quite expensive. This recipe will make enough for two, but can be easily doubled

Ingredients:

2 salmon fillets

2 cups of fresh basil leaves

¼ cup of sliced almonds

¼ cup of bread crumbs

1 lemon

¼ tsp of salt

¼ tsp of fresh cracked pepper

Olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor combine basil leaves, almonds, salt, and pepper. Grate about one tablespoon of the lemon’s peel into the food processor as well. Then cut the lemon in half and squeeze one half of the lemon’s juice into food processor. Place the cover on the food processor and pulse several times. Slowly stream in about ¼ cup of olive oil to the food processor until the pesto has thinned some, but is not soupy. Cover a pan with foil and place the salmon fillets on the pan. Evenly divide the pesto on top of each piece of salmon. Then place one slice of the leftover half of lemon on top of each piece of salmon. Finally, divide the bread crumbs on top of the pesto and lemon covered salmon. Sprinkle some olive oil on top of the bread crumbs so that the bread crumbs will turn golden in the oven. Cook the salmon for fifteen minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees.

Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon with Pesto with Lemon Slices
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
Salmon Baking in the Oven with Breadcrumbs
The Finished Product
The Finished Product
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Just Say No to Citrus

As our little sweet pea has finally reached stage 2 baby foods, I have been buying up all the different kinds available on my quest to make him a well rounded food connoisseur! However, I learned a valuable lesson in my food buying the other day. There are many different kinds of baby food mixes (including baby food smoothies, which I’m not sure the value of giving your baby a “smoothie” except that it’s trendy, and yes I bought the mango). Anyway, two of these mixes include banana-orange and pineapple-pear. As banana and pear are a favorite in our house I figured these would be great to add into the mix of our other foods. As I found out babies under one year should not have citrus. ANY citrus. This includes tomatoes, oranges, and pineapples. Luckily, we did not encounter any reactions to the fruits, but I stopped giving them to him obviously!  Now being knowledgeable about the no citrus I have been avoiding any of those stated fruits. However I found that the front label isn’t always indicative of the interior product. Once we began meats mixed with veggies I realized that too can be problematic. When I began scanning the store shelves for baby meats I came across several including a vegetable beef. Which as I was reading the ingredients I found  includes tomato paste. While the tomato paste is very low on the list of ingredients (meaning that there are scant amounts) it still brought about many questions. Is a scant amount of citrus okay? Or no citrus at all? As I’m sure most Mom’s encounter it’s better to ere on the side of caution and just avoid, but when we reach a year I hope that our little sweet pea will enjoy all the tomatoes, pineapples, and oranges there are out there to try!

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