Thursday, February 24, 2011

Navajo Tacos

You would think I was the Pioneer Women with all the recipes I've put on here lately. I'm not turning this into a food blog, but when you've got something good you gotta share it. I have had several friends (and missionaries over for dinner) who have never had a Navajo taco before. They are delicious and should be enjoyed by all. I was introduced to these delectable things in college. I remember the day well. It was my first year away at SUU and my roommates had gone out to get food. I did not go with them but stayed home to make spaghetti or something else that was cheap and easy. When they got back, though, I could not believe what I saw. A big, huge, golden brown piece of fry bread topped with what looked to me like a taco salad. What was this? I had never before seen such a thing! After questioning my roommates I was told it was a Navajo taco and it came from a drive-in called Hermie's. But I did not immediately go out and get one. No. I am very sad to say it took another year before I finally got myself to Hermie's and ordered this most wonderful food. But once I did finally have one I was hooked. I got mine the same every time - with everything except onions (raw onions = blech). I think the most I ate Navajo tacos was the summer I stayed in Cedar to go to summer school and finish up classes so I could get to my student teaching. That summer we had them all of the time. And each time they were as delicious as the first. After Dave and I got married I learned that he grew up eating Navajo tacos. It was one of their favorite meals as kids. I then learned from his mom how to make them and started making them at home. I have since simplified the process and they are now one of a favorites at my house (well, except that Logan and Colin only like the fry bread plain, but anyway). Here is my recipe.

Navajo Tacos
1 package Pillsbury Reduced Fat Grands Biscuits (believe me when I say you'll put that fat right back in)
ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
1 can black beans rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes
toppings for tacos (lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, get the picture)

Cook ground beef until no longer pink. Drain fat. Add black beans, canned tomatoes and taco seasoning. Stir to blend. Add about 1/4 cup water (more if the mixture seems to dry). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer. While the meat is simmering, heat vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Separate the biscuits and roll out to flatten. When the oil is hot, fry the rolled out dough until golden brown (it will cook about 1 minute on each side). Drain on paper towels.
Place fry bread on a plate. Top with taco meat and any toppings you like. Eat with a fork, not your hands. Mmmm, mmmmm, good.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pizza Night

The other day Dave told me he was going to have his scouts over our house so they could do some planning. And he wanted me to make pizza for everyone. At first I though, "Oh, pizza?" But then I thought, "Oooo, pizza!" When I first started making my own pizza I would make just pepperoni because that is the only thing the kids would eat. Then, I realized that I needed to make what I wanted too. It's okay to do things for ourselves every now and then. We don't always have to do things just for our kids. So I started making a delicious "grown-up" pizza. It have the normal sauce and pepperoni and cheese but I like to add onions, mushrooms and green peppers as well (and olives but I forgot to buy them). But I don't just throw the stuff on and then bake the pizza. Those things taste way better if they are cooked first. I heard on a cooking show once that when you have brown on your food it makes it taste better. Well that is so true! I like to saute my veggies in olive oil and butter and make them soft and a little brown. Makes it so much better. Way more tasty then just throwing raw veggies on a pizza.For tonight I'll be making three pizzas: pepperoni, BBQ chicken (use BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce, then add sliced chicken, pineapple, red onions and of course cheese) and the one I like to call Supreme. I hope we have enough for everyone. I've been known to eat quite a few pieces just on my own. Here is the recipe so you can have pizza night this week and make one for your kids and one with what you want on it.

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust (from Cooking Light cookbook)
2 cups flour (I use half white and half wheat)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package quick rise yeast
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 cup warm water
Throw it all in a bowl and mix it up. I've mixed this by hand before (see, it's so easy!) but I usually just throw it in the Kitchen Aid. Mix it up until it forms a ball of dough. Place it in a
greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place about an hour. Then top with your favorite
toppings and bake at 450 for about 12-15 minutes. I have recently discovered that if I put the pizza on the bottom rack in the oven the crust gets crispy, but if you like a softer crust put it on
the top rack.
The veggies for my Supreme pizza all chopped up.

In the pan with salt and pepper. Salt and pepper just make everything taste better.
All cooked up. Notice the brown. Makes it so yummy. I could just eat this by itself right now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I've got a secret

I just have to say it. I want to tell everyone, but we're trying not to, just in case. You know how it is. You've got some big news but you want to wait a while and make sure that it's still going to be news in the near future. You don't want to jinx yourself until everything is settled and final. But it's exciting and fun and keeping it to yourself is a little hard. You make little hints here and there to people, to see if they will catch on, if they will say something. "But, honey, she ASKED me so I HAD to tell her." But in the back of your mind you wonder if it's too good to be true, if once you've told everyone it will really still be happening or if you'll have to start saying to people, "Oh, no, that's not happening anymore." So anyway. Something good is happening and I just want to say it. Ready? Okay, here we go. We're moving! We found a house (well, really it found us) and we're hoping that if everything goes through we'll be moving in June. A new house for our 10th anniversary. What could be sweeter than that? And hopefully this will be THE house. The one we stay in for a long, long time. The one we raise our kids in. The one they leave when they go on their missions and come back to for vacations from college. Once it's all finally final, then I'll give more details. And hopefully that will be very soon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Secret Recipe

I don't know who reads my blog. Some friends (thanks for your last comment Erika!), my sister-in-law, maybe just my mom. But I like to write and so when I figure out something to write about I put it on my blog. I know some blogs are like journals for some people, some are scrapbooks, some dedicated to recipes and a million other things. Mine is kind of a combo of it all. And today I am sharing a new secret recipe I recently fell upon by accident. Someone probably already figured this out but for me it's new so I am going to share.
The last time I made taco salad for dinner we had a bunch of leftover taco meat. And since my husband did not want to pack a HUGE bag full of everything that makes up a taco salad and take it to work for lunch I decided to pop the extra meat in a Ziplock bag and stick it in the freezer for another day. Yesterday, after going grocery shopping and spending my $34 in Smith's Rewards I realized I needed to make something for dinner that night. I wanted to get away from buying pizza every Friday and I didn't want the kids eating cereal for dinner 2 nights in a row. So I looked through my pantry to see what I had (and what I was not going to use for dinner the following week) and I came across everything I needed for chili. So I get going with the cooking and when I open the freezer to get out the meat I came across my bag of frozen taco meat. Why not? It's already cooked, it's seasoned and it might make my chili taste a little better. Well it did
not make my chili taste a little better, it made it taste a whole heck of a lot better! It was so delicious! The flavors, the spices, the extra kick from the taco seasonings. Mmmmm. Trevor asked for seconds and then literally licked his bowl clean, Colin even ate FOUR BITES. Yes, four! That is really saying something coming from that kid. So there you have it, my friends. The secret to super yummy chili is leftover taco meat.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Operation Monday Clean Day

Three weeks ago we had a holiday from school and I had a sick Colin. When he threw up that afternoon (in the toilet, thank goodness) I decided I needed to clean and get some germs out of my house. Well, I started cleaning and I didn't stop. I decided to just do the whole house in one day. I dusted (something I don't normally do and I'm not embarrassed to admit it), I swept floors, I mopped, I cleaned counters and mirrors and toilets, sinks and tubs. Then I vacuumed. Then I threw away crap and junk. Then I looked around and I loved what I saw. I had a clean house. The whole house all clean at once! When does that ever happen? The rest of that week I was busy taking care of a very sick Colin and then a sick Logan. We went to doctor's offices and other medical places for tests and I did not have much time for things like cleaning. So when the next Monday rolled around I decided I would do the same thing again. I decided that every Monday would be my cleaning day. In the past I would clean a little each day, but by the middle of the week (okay, by Tuesday) I would be tired of cleaning. Who wants to clean every day? I had other things I wanted to do. So with my new cleaning schedule I got to work. And what would you know, by cleaning the whole house on one day I feel like the house stays cleaner all week. It's easy now to just pick up here and there during the week, and do little things. And when Monday rolls around some of the things I cleaned the week before are still clean! What? Something stayed nice and neat for a whole week? Yes, ma'am it did. I'm happy about my new schedule, happy that after almost 8 years of being a stay home mom I am finally figuring things out. For me, this is really working and for now I am really loving it. And here are a few of my favorite things that help me get the job done (my NEW Bissell Vacuum that I love so very much; my Steam mop that makes mopping this nasty tile floor that I hate a little more bearable; and Method Multi-Surface cleaner in Pink Grapefruit - as Colin said, "Mmmm, that smells so good.")