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Archive for October, 2013

Wacky Frozen Banana Tortilla Desserts

This is the fourth and last in the series of four WACKY things to do with tortillas! So of course it’s a dessert… and what a dessert! These healthy treats will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for several months. They are always great to pull out and enjoy… not just in the hot, summer months! These tasty treats contain only 350 calories per huge serving… enough to satisfy sweet tooth, although the main ingredient is a healthy banana! Great for an after school snack or as a make ahead dessert for a party!

Frozen Banana Desserts

Wacky Frozen Banana Tortilla Desserts

Serves: 12

Ingredients:

12 six inch MexAmerica flour tortillas

6 large bananas

24 Tablespoons Weight Watchers Cream Cheese

3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, milk or white)

4 cups ground pecans

Method:

  1. Cut each banana in half. Lay the banana piece on a tortilla and trim it at each end of the banana.
  2. Remove the banana and spread the tortilla with cream cheese. Place the banana on the end of the tortilla and roll it up tightly. Place seam side down and repeat for all bananas.
  3. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Brush melted chocolate on each tortilla roll; then roll in the ground nuts.
  4. Push a Popsicle stick half way into each one. Freeze for at least two hours before serving or up to 1 month.

Chef Lynn’s Tip:

You can also melt chocolate in a microwave. Zap it in spurts starting with 20 seconds and reducing to 10 seconds each, stirring in between. Chocolate burns VERY easily, so zap it in moderation!

Wacky Tortilla Sugar Cookies

MexAmerica-Tortilla-Crouton-Sugar-Cookies-w-logo1-150x100My third offering (of four) of wacky things to do with tortillas comes in the form of delicious cookies! Depending on how much flour you add, they can be extremely crunchy or soft and chewy. In this case, we crisp the tortillas first to add some crunch. These will remind you of the old potato chip cookies from the sixties. You will love them! PS… If your cookies are too crispy, add a slice of apple to the container. Seal it up and they will soften overnight.

Wacky Tortilla Sugar Cookies

These cookies will amaze you. They are really something different to serve to your family and friends!

 Ingredients:

6 MexAmerica 8” flour tortillas

2 Tablespoons butter + a small amount for greasing the cookie sheets

1 cup unsalted whole butter, at room temperature

¾ cup sugar + extra sugar for dipping the cookies

¾ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups tortilla croutons

1 cup pecans


Method:

  1. If you have tortilla croutons on hand, go directly to step 2. If not, first make them. Preheat your oven to 350⁰F. Cut six 8” MexAmerica flour tortillas into ¼” strips, then turn them sideways and cut them into ¼” squares. Put them in a plastic bag and toss them with 2 Tablespoons butter. Bake on a cookie sheet for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly crispy and slightly browned. Remove from the oven and cool uncovered. (By the way, these are delicious and great to keep on hand to use for soup and other garnishes.)
  2. Preheat your oven to 375⁰F. In a mixer, blend the butter and sugars. Then mix in the vanilla and eggs. Then add all dry ingredients, including the 2 cups of tortilla croutons and nuts.
  3. Form them into 2” balls. Then flatten the cookies between your palms. Dip in sugar on both sides and place on very lightly greased cookie sheets. Leave some space between them because they will puff up and become larger as they bake.
  4. Bake for about 18 minutes, until just set. If you over-bake these cookies, they will still be great, but the texture will change from soft to crispy.

Chef Lynn’s Tips:

  1. The temperature of the butter is important for the proper mixing of all cookies. If your butter is not room temperature, you can zap it in the microwave (in the wrapper) for about 20 seconds to perfectly soften it.
  2. When you measure brown sugar, its consistency is much denser than white sugar, so don’t forget to really pack it in the cup for a proper measure.
  3. There are a lot of negative things coming out about cooking sprays these days, but you can easily revert to the “old method” of greasing your cookie sheets. Just put a very small amount of butter on a paper towel and lightly wipe it on the surface of the cookie sheet.
  4.  I always recommend baking off one cookie all by itself to check the baking time. Even though it might seem like a bother, ovens can vary quite a bit in the way they hold temperatures so this is a good check.

        5. These cookies freeze really well in airtight containers, for up to 6 months!

        6. To ensure success, when your batter is ready, bake off one cookie – yes, just ONE. If it flattens out and is too crispy, add more          flour. Bake off another ONE until you get it the way you want it. Flours can vary a lot, so particularly with this cookie, it’s                        essential to check the flour content.

ENJOY!

Wacky Tortilla Lasagna

Low Fat Lasagna W MA LOGOTo continue with the second of four WACKY recipe using tortillas, I’m turning to LASAGNA. Here are two versions. One is low fat (using chicken) and the other is higher in fat but of course, tastier if you use the sausage. The purpose of the tortillas in the lasagna is the same as in my previous post about the APPLE PIE. It holds in the juices, making a much richer taste and it’s so much easier to cut cleanly. The addition of the tortilla strips keeps the lasagna from getting too runny. Using a thick tomato sauces helps a lot too. I’ve tried this out on a lot of people and everyone asks for the recipe!

WACKY TORTILLA LASAGNA

Serves eight

Ingredients:

3 MexAmerica six inch flour tortillas cut into 1/8” X 1” strips

9 “No Boil” or “Oven Ready” lasagna noodles

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced small

1 pound ground chicken (Low Fat Version) OR 1/2 pound regular sausage and 1/2 pound hot sausage

Salt and pepper

36 ounces Tomato Sauce (Garlic & Herb is great or SEASONS HARVEST Arrabiata if you like it spicy!)

2 cups 2% Low Fat Cheddar Cheese

1 cup 2% Low Fat Mixed Mexican Cheese 

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onion just until soft. Add the chicken (OR SAUSAGES) and cook just until done (not pink). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Build the lasagna. First layer in sauce, then 3 noodles, then sauce, meat mixture and last cheese. Repeat twice, ending with the last 3 noodles. Top those with sauce and finally cheese.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and the lasagna is warmed through. Remove from oven. Let it sit for 10 minutes and then serve it with some crusty bread.

Chef Lynn’s Tips:
1. Using a very flavorful and nicely spiced tomato sauce is key for the success of this dish.

2. Make sure the no boil noodles are completely covered with sauce and be sure to let it sit 1/2 hour in the fridge before baking to let the noodles absorb the sauce. This is also a great make ahead dish. You can make it as much as a day before – or even bake it, cool and refrigerate it the day before. Then cut it first and heat it afterward for really clean cuts.

Wacky Tortilla Apple Pie

This is the first of four articles about wacky things to do with tortillas! I know it sounds crazy, but they taste great and perform an important function in these recipes. First up: WACKY TORTILLA APPLE PIE!

Wacky Tortilla Apple Pie

Autumn is finally here to stay and “foodies” are enjoying all of its bounty, especially the hundreds of different kinds of delicious apples we can get right here in our own state of Michigan. Of course, the quintessential American dish to prepare with them is pie, but I don’t see younger people making them too much anymore because they’re afraid of making the crust. It also makes such a mess in the oven if – no when – they overflow! I hear complaints that the apples always turn brown, that the bottom crust never cooks through and that it’s too hard to “crimp” the pie. For all of you who are afraid to make pie, here are the simple solutions to all of those problems.

Indestructible Crust! (Honestly! This one is so easy to handle and to roll out.)
2 cups All Purpose or Whole Wheat Flour, + a little flour to spread on your counter
¾ cup whole, cold unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup very cold water
Egg Wash (For the top of the pie): 1 whole egg whipped with 2 egg yolks

To make it:
1. Place the flour in a bowl. 2. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into little pieces using a knife. Let them fall all over the flour. Press the flour and butter together between your fingers and your thumbs until the mixture is all worked together, like little peas. 3. Add the water a little at a time, working the dough with your hands until it forms a ball. Dump it out on the counter and cut it in half. Wrap each piece in plastic and put it in the fridge while you are preparing your apples.

For the Pie Filling, you will need:
6 cups tart apples (5 or 6 large apples)
2-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg, 3 teaspoons cinnamon, Juice squeezed from one fresh lemon
6 small flour tortillas, but into little matchsticks, 1/8” X ¼”
1 Tablespoon butter for greasing a 10” pie plate and 2 Tablespoons butter for “dotting” the top of the pie filling.

To make it:

  1. Put the sugar, lemon juice, spices and tortilla matchsticks in a large bowl.
  2. Quarter and peel the apples one at a time. Cut into thin slices and drop them into the sugar as you are cutting. After each apple, stir them in.
  3. Lightly grease your pie plate with a little butter. Take the two balls of dough out of the fridge and roll them out. Place one in the pie plate and put in the apples. Press them down and dot the filling with butter.
  4. Roll out the top crust, lay it over the top and press the edges together with a fork. Trim the dough if necessary.
  5. Make the egg wash by whipping the eggs together with a fork. Using a pastry brush, carefully “paint” the pie all over. Wherever you “paint” the pie will turn a nice, golden brown and wherever you don’t it won’t. Make sure there are no egg puddles or they will cook like scrambled eggs on top of your pie!
  6. Place the pie on a cookie sheet with sides to catch any run off and then on the bottom rack of your oven, (preferably on a hot pizza stone). Bake at 375⁰F for about an hour, or until the pie is golden brown and cooked through. 7. Cool and serve!

Here’s why this works: The lemon spikes up the flavor of the apples, the tortillas absorb the juice and give your pie a rich Umami (hearty) taste and help to keep it from overflowing. When more juice stays in the pie, the better it tastes! Dropping the apples directly into the sugar and coating them will keep them from turning brown. Placing your pie in the bottom of the oven helps the bottom crust cook through because it’s closer to the heat source.

ENJOY!!!

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