Food, Faith, and Other Fabulous Finds

Recipes, devotional thoughts, and other cool things I come across.

Two New Ways With Tacos July 28, 2015

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Before we get into the taco revamps, I have to share a few new things with you.  First, Orange Leaf (my favorite froyo place) is introducing a new flavor: toasted marshmallow.  It sounds delicious, and I think it would be great paired with some graham cracker crumbs and chocolate sauce (or chocolate froyo).  But even more exciting, Starbucks is bringing back my favorite frappe flavor: COCONUT!!  They’re also bringing back their treat receipt program so you can buy your morning coffee, then go back after 2 PM to get a cold grande beverage for $2.50.  I definitely see a coconut frappe in my immediate future!

Okay, about the tacos.  Tacos are always a well-received meal at our house, but sometimes I like to switch things up a little.  I found both of these innovations on Pinterest (where else?), and they both went over very well.  So I figured that it was about time I shared them with you.

This first one is pretty simple, it mostly just changes up the vehicle for the tacos, using wonton wrappers instead of taco shells.  The cupcakes are double layered which can make them a little tricky to eat.  My husband opted to separate the layers and eat them one at a time.  I used a fork to cut them up and eat them.  However you decide to eat them, they are a definitely a tasty twist for your Taco Tuesday.  We found that 3 or 4 was enough for one person, so we got several meals out of this recipe.

Taco Cupcakes (from Tablespoon)

1 lb. ground beef

1 1 1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning

36 wonton wrappers (I might have ended up using more than 36, but it was just the amount of wrappers in 1 package.)

1 16 oz. can refried beans

36 tortilla chips

2 c. shredded cheddar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 18 muffin cups.  In a skillet over medium heat, brown the beef and drain the fat.  Add the taco seasoning according to the package directions.

2. Place 1 wonton wrapper in each muffin cup and top it with 1 tbsp. beans, 1 crushed chip, 1 tbsp. meat, and 1 tbsp. cheese.  Top each cupcake with another wonton wrapper and repeat all the layers.

3. Bake 15-18 minutes or til golden brown.  Remove from the pan and add your favorite toppings: sour cream, tomato, guacamole, or whatever else you like.

Taco Cupcakes 3Taco Cupcakes 2

This next taco recipe really got my husband’s attention.  We both liked the technique and the meat mixture is really tasty.  (In fact, he’s pining after it right now.)  These are really easy to make and give you another nice option for taco night (though they’re not exactly pretty or photogenic).  We got at least 4 meals out of this recipe so don’t worry about it calling for so much meat, it goes a ways.

Baked Tacos (from One Good Thing by Jillee)

2 lb. ground beef

1 15 oz. can refried beans

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce

2-3 tbsp. (or 1 pkg.) taco seasoning

2 c. shredded cheese

18-20 hard shells or flour tortillas (Hubby liked flour best while I preferred a classic hard shell; in the original post, Jillee tells you how to make your own hard shells.)

1. In a large skillet, cook the beef til browned and crumbly.  Drain off the fat then add in the beans, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce.

2. Spoon the meat mix into the taco shells, place in a greased pan, and top (liberally) with cheese.

3. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Baked TacosBaked Tacos 2Baked Tacos 3  (Like I said, they’re not pretty, but they’re tasty.)

Does your family do Taco Tuesday?  What’s your favorite type of taco?

 

How’s Your Breakfast, Lately? July 21, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 6:21 PM
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I’ve been trying a lot of new breakfast recipes lately, and it’s about time that I shared some of the keepers with y’all.  These are all me tested and hubby approved. :)

This first recipe is for something a little bit like a baked oatmeal.  Now I find most baked oatmeal recipes to be a bit gluey and bland, but this one is very thin and retains a good texture.  I got about 9 slices out of the recipe, but you could easily double or triple it to feed a crowd.  You could also play with the flavoring and add-ins to make it extra special.  And while there’s a little bit of oil and sugar in this, it’s still reasonably healthy.

Oatmeal and Almond Slices (from Honest Cooking)

1 c. quick cooking oats

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. sliced almonds

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

1/4 c. veggie oil

1/4 c. yogurt

1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, almonds, cinnamon, and baking powder.  In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, and oil.  Add the dry mix to the wet mix and lightly fold to combine.

2. Pour the batter in a greased 8×8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or til done.  Cool on a wire rack.

Oatmeal and Almond SlicesOatmeal and Almond Slices 2

The base of this next recipe is a banana and oat bar that’s topped with a strawberry jam.  What I especially liked about this was that it wasn’t too sweet and the banana flavor wasn’t too overpowering.  Unfortunately, we really enjoyed this, and I forgot to take a picture before we ate it all.  Whoops!  In the original recipe, she made her own jam, but I just used store-bought.  I would like to make the jam next time, so I’m including the recipe she gave.  I also think you could make this with other fruits too, although strawberry was delicious.  Here’s how to try it for yourself.

Strawberry Banana Oat Bars (from Running with Spoons)

For the Jam:

2 c. frozen strawberries

2 tbsp. maple syrup

2 tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla

For the bars:

2 c. rolled oats

1 tsp. baking powder

2 large mashed bananas

1/4 c. maple syrup

1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the strawberries and 2 tbsp. maple syrup over medium heat.  Cook til the berries begin to release their liquid, about 5-15 minutes.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, til the berries start to break down and thicken, 5-10 minutes.  Break the berries apart if you want.

2. Stir in the chia seeds and 1 tsp. vanilla and cook 5 more minutes.  Remove from the heat and let cool; it will thicken as it sits.

3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish.  Place 1 c. of the oats in a food processor and pulse to a fine flour.  Place the oat flour in a large mixing bowl and add in 1 c. oats and the baking powder.

4. Add in the bananas, 1/4 c. maple syrup, and 1 tsp. vanilla and mix til a dough forms.

5. Transfer 2/3 of the dough to the pan and press down evenly.  Spoon the jam over the top (use 3/4 c. store-bought jam if you didn’t make your own) and spread to within 1/4 inch of the edge.  Sprinkle the remaining oat mix on top of the jam.

6. Bake for 30 minutes or til the tops are lightly golden.  Remove from the oven and let cool.

The last recipe for today is the most exciting to me because it combines some of my favorite flavors and ingredients: ricotta, chocolate chips, orange juice, and pistachios.  Can you guess what’s coming?  If you thought of cannolis, you were right on the money.  These cannoli muffins were super fast to whip up and very tasty.  Even though there’s a lot of ricotta in them, they’re still very light.  They could work as dessert or breakfast, but they’re not overly sweet.  And I know these aren’t healthy, but everyone deserves a splurge now and then.

Cannoli Muffins (from I Heart Eating)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 c. dark brown sugar

1/4 c. sugar

1 egg

3/4 c. ricotta

1/2 c. milk

1-2 tbsp. orange juice concentrate

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

1/4 c. semisweet mini chocolate chips (To make things faster and easier, I just used 3/4 c. of regular chocolate chips and mixed both them and the pistachios into the batter.)

1/4 c. chopped pistachios (I plan to use more pistachios next time since I like them so much.)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 12 muffin cups.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugars.  Add the egg and whisk til combined.  Add the ricotta, milk, orange juice, and vanilla and mix well.

3. Add in the dry ingredient mix and stir til just incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and top with the mini chips and pistachios.  (This makes them prettier, but I went with the easier route and mixed the pistachios and all the chocolate chips into the batter.)

5. Bake til the muffins are puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center removes cleanly, about 15-20 minutes.  Let cool in the pan 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

Cannoli MuffinsCannoli Muffins 2

So, how is your breakfast lately?

 

Let’s Lighten Up July 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 3:31 PM
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I don’t know about you, but my appetite definitely changes when the temperature goes up.  When it’s especially hot outside, even the thought of eating hot food turns my stomach.  On days that aren’t so hot, I can manage hot food, but don’t want anything too heavy, and that’s where today’s dish comes in.  This was actually what my husband and I made for our anniversary, and it was incredibly delicious!!  The coconut shrimp have a lightly sweet flavor that’s balanced by the cayenne in the breading and the freshness and tang of the pineapple salsa.  Honestly, we thought they were just as good as what’s served in restaurants (and at half the price!).  And for all that flavor, they weren’t hard to make.  The breading process is pretty simple, then they bake in the oven while you stir together the salsa.  They were fresh, filling, and so tasty.  I seriously recommend you make them soon.

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa (from the April 2002 issue of Cooking Light)

For the shrimp:

1 1/2 lb. shrimp (about 28 large) (Shrimp size doesn’t actually matter as long as you adjust your cooking time accordingly.  We used teeny shrimp that cooked really fast.)

1/3 c. cornstarch

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp.-3/4 tsp. cayenne

3 egg whites

1 1/2 c. coconut

For the salsa:

1 c. finely chopped pineapple (They specify fresh, but canned worked just fine.)

1/3 c. finely chopped red onion (I had my salsa without this and thought it was great.  My hubby added red onion to his and said it was delicious.)

1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro

1/4 c. pineapple preserves (Since I didn’t want to buy an entire jar of pineapple preserves for just 1 recipe, I substituted some orange marmalade that I had on hand – it worked great!  I would recommend sticking with something in the citrus family, though.)

1 tbsp. finely chopped, seeded jalapeno

1 1/2 tbsp. lime juice

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Peel and devein the shrimp, but leave the tails on.  (We had bought peeled, deveined, tail-less shrimp, and they worked wonderfully, although the tail makes a nice handle if you want to buy some that way.)  Rinse the shrimp in cold water and drain on paper towels.

2. In a shallow dish, stir together the cornstarch, salt, and cayenne.  Place the egg whites in a medium bowl and beat them on medium-high til frothy (about 2 minutes).  Place the coconut in another shallow dish.

3. Working 1 shrimp at a time, dredge them in the cornstarch mix, then the egg white, and lastly the coconut, pressing it on gently with your fingers.  Place the shrimp on a lightly greased baking sheet and repeat til all the shrimp are coated.  Spray lightly with Pam.  Bake for 20 minutes, turning once, til the shrimp are done.  (Our teeny ones only took 4 minutes per side, so don’t forget to adjust if you’re using a different size.)

4. In a medium bowl, stir together the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, preserves, jalapeno, lime juice, and black pepper.  Serve alongside the shrimp.

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple SalsaCoconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa 2Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Salsa 4

Have you ever tried recreating one of your favorite restaurant’s recipes at home?  If you did, what recipe was it and how did it turn out?  If you haven’t yet, which one would you most like to try mastering for yourself?

 

Where Did Tuesday Go? July 9, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 10:53 PM
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Honestly, after a fun but busy July 4th weekend and a transition from day shift back to nights, I just plain forgot that it was Tuesday.  I had a very productive day, then I woke up the next morning and realized that it was now Wednesday, and I hadn’t posted.  So now I’m finally getting to post, just a couple of days late, but with a wonderful addition to any upcoming barbecues.  This coleslaw recipe is supposed to taste just like KFC’s famous version, and I think it really does have that perfect balance between tangy and sweet like theirs does.  As a bonus, this just gets better the longer it sits, so make you sure you prep it at least a couple of hours before you plan to serve it.  (Which means it’s a perfect make ahead dish.)  It also means that you shouldn’t worry if it doesn’t look right when you first stir it all up.  It will probably look like you need more dressing, but you definitely don’t.  The cabbage will give off some liquid as it sits, so once you’re ready to serve, it’ll be perfect.  All that being said, here’s the recipe.

Coleslaw (from Top Secret Recipes)

1/2 c. mayo

1/3 c. sugar (I really wouldn’t cut this out since it’s essential to achieve the balance between sweet and tangy.  Also, you’re using it on 8 c. of cabbage, so it’s not really that much.)

1/4 c. milk

1/4 c. buttermilk

2 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. pepper

8 c. finely chopped cabbage (One regular sized cabbage works just fine here.  I chop it into smaller wedges, then let my food processor do the rest of the heavy lifting.)

1/4 c. shredded carrot

2 tbsp. minced onion

1. Be sure the cabbage and carrots are the size of rice.  In a large bowl, mix together the mayo, sugar, milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and pepper and beat til smooth.

2. Add in the cabbage, carrots, and onion and mix well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

ColeslawColeslaw 2

What’s your go-to BBQ side?

 

A Quick Recipe for a Busy Week July 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 4:09 PM
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Sorry for the late post, but it’s a crazy time lately.  We ran some errands yesterday, came home, and then my computer screen decided to die.  Long story short, I’m getting a new laptop tonight.  :/  I knew my laptop was getting old, so I have been saving up; I just don’t like having to use it so soon and with so little ability to really search for what I want.  Still, it’s a blessing that we were able to find a good one on sale and that I had almost all the money saved up.  Anyways, dealing with that is why I couldn’t post last night.  Still, I thought that I’d try to get in a short post today (if my laptop will hold out long enough).

Last week my best friend and I decided that we simply HAD to try this pancake recipe we’d seen recently on our favorite blog, Smitten Kitchen.  These certainly did not disappointment.  To me, they seem like a lovely cross between cornbread and pancakes.  I would actually enjoy a bit more cornmeal in mine next time, but really that’s just personal preference.  I also think that these would be good with any number of fruit in them, so feel free to try them with whatever you have on hand.

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes (from Smitten Kitchen)

3/4 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 c. cornmeal

2 tbsp. sugar (My best friend talked about leaving this out and making the cakes savory for a dinner side – something that I agree is eminently doable.)

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. butter

1 c. buttermilk

2 eggs

1 c. chopped strawberries

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, melt the butter, then whisk in the buttermilk.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the strawberries.  Add the wet mix to the dry and stir just til combined.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and grease with a little more butter.  Pour the batter in by 1/4 cupfuls.  Cook 1-2 minutes per side til golden brown.

Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes  (I forgot to take pictures with my DSLR, but this is what I had posted on Instagram.)

And that’s it for today, hopefully next week will be back on schedule.  Enjoy your 4th of July weekend!

 

Let’s Talk Apps June 23, 2015

And, no, I don’t mean the kind on your phone.  I mean the kind you serve at the beginning of a meal.  You may not know it, but I’m a big fan of appetizers.  When we go out to restaurants, I usually order an appetizer instead of an entree.  There’s a couple of reasons for this, actually.  First, I don’t have a big appetite, so I usually can’t finish a whole entree.  (And, yes, you can take it home, but sometimes I just don’t want to.)  Secondly, I’ve learned from watching cooking shows, that a lot of chefs feel constrained by entrees.  They feel like they have to supply a piece of meat, a carb, and a veg.  But with apps, they get to play around and make what they want.  So that’s why I like apps, they fit my appetite and they have more exciting options to taste.  At home, I love the idea of a party where you just serve a bunch of apps; that way you get to taste a lot of different dishes without feeling too full.  So today, I want to share some tasty app recipes that I recently got to try.

This first app is a spicy little nibble that’s perfect to whet your appetite.  I made these for one of hubby’s grandfathers as a father’s day present, but I snuck a few nibbles before packaging them up.  They’re spicy with just a hint of the maple syrup.

Spicy Maple Pecans (from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

1/4 c. sugar (I left this out since G’pa likes spicy food and is a diabetic.  If you don’t like as much spice, feel free to use the extra sugar.)

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 tbsp. maple syrup

2 c. pecans (The original recipe calls for walnuts, but G’pa likes pecans best.)

1. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, salt, and spices.  Pour the maple syrup in a small bowl and set it aside.

2. In a large nonstick skillet, toast the nuts over medium-high heat, stirring constantly til hot, about 5 minutes.  Immediately add the nuts to the syrup and toss to coat.  Stir in the spice mix til evenly coated.  Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.

Spicy Maple PecansSpicy Maple Pecans 2

Next on the menu for today are these tasty, spicy crackers.  Mine weren’t very crunchy, so next time I’ll slice them even thinner.  Still, they were very tasty with plenty of cheese and spice.  The hubby and I both found them very hard to stop eating.

Parmesan Icebox Crackers (from Everyday with Rachael Ray)

1 c. flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cayenne

1/2 tsp. ground sage

4 tbsp. chilled, cubed butter

1 c. shredded Parmesan

1/4 c. heavy cream

1. In the food processor, pulse together the flour, salt, cayenne, and sage til combined.  Pulse in the butter til just combined.  Pulse in the Parmesan, then with the machine running, add in the cream and process til the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds.

2. Turn the dough out onto a foot long sheet of plastic wrap and shape it into a 4 inch long log; roll it up and seal it.  Chill for at least 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Slice the log into 1/4 inch thick slices and place them 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 20-25 minutes or til golden brown.  Let cool.

Parmesan Icebox CrackersParmesan Icebox Crackers 3

But of course I saved the best for last.  As soon as I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, I knew I’d need to make them soon.  They take more work than your average garlic toast and they’re not at all healthy, but that just makes them an extra special treat.  They have a ton of flavor and disappeared quickly from the dinner that I took them to.

Garlic Confit Toast (from the April 2015 issue of Bon Appetit)

1 head peeled garlic

1/2 c. butter

1 c. grated Parmesan

2 tsp. chopped oregano

1 tsp. lemon zest (This gave it an interesting flavor, but you can leave it out if you want.)

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 baguette

1. In a small covered saucepan, cook together the garlic and butter over medium-low heat til the garlic is golden brown and very soft, 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

2. Once cool, add in the Parmesan and spices and mash into a paste.  Season with salt.

3. Preheat the broiler and slice the baguette in half lengthwise, then crosswise.  Broil the bread, cut side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet til golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Cool the bread slightly, then top it with the garlic paste.  Broil til the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes.

Garlic Confit Toast Garlic Confit Toast 3

 

What are your feelings toward appetizers?

Before I go, I almost forgot to tell you about a great deal that’s coming up.  On July 10, Krispy Kreme is celebrating their 78th anniversary by offering a great deal.  You can buy a dozen glazed donuts, then receive the 2nd dozen for just 78 cents!

 

Breakfast Two Ways June 16, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — foodfaithandfinds @ 10:11 PM
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Today’s post is going to focus on what’s been called the most important meal of the day: breakfast!  I’ve got a healthy breakfast and a more indulgent breakfast, where should we start?  Healthy you say?  Here it goes!

While my husband’s on the night shift, we’ve had to adjust our eating schedules.  He doesn’t have much time between waking up and “dinner”, but I still want him to have a little something to keep him going.  Enter these power bars.  They’re easy to make, healthy, and keep his stomach from growling before dinner time.  I got about 8 bars from the recipe, and I really appreciated how well they held together, even though I used natural peanut butter.

Chewy Almond Butter Power Bars (from Foodie Crush)

1/2 c. almond butter (I used peanut butter since it’s what I had on hand.)

1/2 c. honey

1 c. toasted rolled oats

1/2 c. puffed brown rice

1/2 c. puffed quinoa or millet (I found puffed millet at Central Market, but you could always double up on the puffed brown rice.)

1/2 c. sliced almonds

1/4 c. chopped dried cherries

1/4 c. dried blueberries

1/4 c. chopped dried apricots

Chewy Almond Butter Power BarsChewy Almond Butter Power Bars 2

The indulgent breakfast is a loaf of cinnamon roll bread.  It had an interesting chewy texture, a wonderful flavor, and an aroma that filled the whole house.  It was also really easy to put together.  It was kind of pretty on the inside, but unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of it.  :(      I guess we ate it too fast.  Still you can easily make it for yourself, and I’ll try to add a picture the next time I make it.

Cinnamon Roll Bread (from Macaroni & Cheesecake)

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 c. milk

1/3 c. sour cream

1/3 c. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. water

1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar

2 tbsp. milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a loaf pan.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

2. In another medium bowl, mix together 1/2 c. sugar, egg, 1 c. milk, and sour cream.  Gradually add in the flour mix and stir til incorporated.  Pour into the pan.

3. In a small bowl, mix together 1/3 c. sugar, cinnamon, and water.  (It will be thin.)  Spoon the cinnamon mix over the batter and use a knife to swirl into the bread.

4. Bake 40-45 minutes or til a toothpick removes cleanly from the center.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

5. In another small bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar and 2 tbsp. milk.  (This mix will also be thin.)  After the bread has cooled a bit, drizzle the icing over the bread and let it cool completely in the pan.

Though I’m not usually very hungry when I wake up, I make an effort to eat a little breakfast.  My preference is for a little fruit and a pastry (Aren’t I continental?), though I tend to go with a power bar or some cereal.  What’s your breakfast go-to?

 

 
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