Friday, December 16, 2011

Taco Pie

When we make dinner around here it's almost always something simple, and without a doubt, tacos debut at the top of our menu each week. They're just too easy to make: brown and season meat, chop up fresh veg, make some quick Spanish rice and you're pretty much good to go. The problem with having Taco Tuesday (or Wednesday, Thursday or Friday) weekly is that it can start getting mundane. We switch it up every once in awhile by having nacho cups (recipe coming soon) or even burritos, but my tastebuds have been craving a little something more.

The second I saw this Taco Pie I knew I hit dinner jackpot. I mean, come on, it's taco in pie form—what's not to love? The fact that it's also ridiculously simple to assemble and is bursting with zesty southwestern flavors are just added bonuses. This kind of reminded me of a Mexican version of shepherds (or cottage) pie, or even a taco enchilada, but I'm happy to keep calling it Taco Pie, because seriously, pie rocks.

Taco Pie
adapted from Food Network Magazine


  • 6 or 7 taco shelves, halved (12-14 pieces total, or make your own)
  • 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or one can diced tomatoes + 2 Tbs tomato paste)
  • 1/4 cup salsa (optional depending on how much spice you like)
  • 8 ounces chopped green chiles
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 7 ounces of cheese, divided (sharp cheddar, mozzarella, Colby & Monterey Jack, etc.)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 Celsius). Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions to the skillet and cook, stirring until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic and cayenne; stir and mix for about 30 seconds. Add ground beef, salt, garlic powder and cumin; cook, breaking up the meat, until browned. Stir in tomatoes, salsa, chile and corn; mix well. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Arrange half of the tortillas in the bottom of a 9-to-10-inch pie plate (overlapping is fine; about 5 halves). Top with half of the meat mixture, then half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, meat and cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake until the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Slice, serve, and enjoy! 

p.s. I could use some advice on how to take pictures of food when it's pitch black outside, your stomach is growling, and the last thing you want to do is let the food get cold to get a decent shot. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Chocolate Lover's Cake Brownies

We've been in a brownie frenzy over here lately. To be honest, it's because the boxed brownie mixes were on sale at the store and I picked up way more than we'll ever need. They're just so convenient and let's face it, they taste pretty fantastic.

But the other day I was in a mood to bake, so I used a recipe I've had my eye on and got my bake on. Once I started mixing everything together I was a little surprised at how liquidy the batter was, so I decided to forego adding nuts to the mix (I love pecans or walnuts in my brownies). That turned out to be a good decision, since these were great all on their own.

The end result produced a definite cake-like brownie that was light and fluffy, moist, and had a smooth chocolate flavor. I added cinnamon to the recipe and I loved tasting a hint of spice with each bite. I'd like to try making these a bit healthier in the future, because I had a really hard time not eating the entire batch; I sent them all (minus one or two) with my husband to work. He said they were gone within a couple hours.

Chocolate Lover's Cake Brownies
slightly adapted from Kikkoman

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar 
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
2/3 cup vegetable oil 
2 eggs 
1-1/2  teaspoon vanilla extract 
3/4 cup Pearl Chocolate 
Organic Soymilk 
Powdered sugar (optional)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Mix together granulated sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and 1/3 cup boiling water in large mixing bowl with wooden spoon. Add oil, eggs and vanilla; beat lightly until just combined. Alternately add flour mixture and soymilk, beating after each addition.

Pour batter into nonstick 15 x 10-inch jelly roll baking pan.Bake in preheated 350°F oven 18 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

*These brownies are part of a giveaway sponsored by Kikkoman on Jessica Lynn Writes