ATTITUDE IS A LITTLE THING THAT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE. ~
Winston Churchill




Thursday, February 3, 2011

Baking - My Refuge

There is something about being in the kitchen making good food that's therapeutic for me.  Whether I'm preparing on old family favorite or trying out something new, I really enjoy baking - it somehow recharges my inner batteries.  This past weekend, I kind of went on a baking spree making chicken enchiladas, three-cheese quesadillas, mock Cafe Rio ranch dressing and salsa.  They all turned out so yummy!  For dessert, I made some ginger cookies which tasted awesome - I just love a good spice cookie. Here are some of the recipes.
THREE-CHEESE QUESIDALLAS
I found this recipe at Taste of Home and thought they sounded so good.  I doubled the recipe, used the pre-shredded Mexican blend cheese and just sprayed the pan with Pam cooking spray instead of using the butter.  They tasted very similar to the quesidallas you can get at Chili's - delicious!  I bet you could add your favorite meat to make these for dinner.

Ingredients:
4 flour tortillas (8 inches)
1 tablespoon butter
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
2 tablespoons thinly sliced green onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped ripe olives
1/4 cup salsa
Sour cream, optional

Directions:  Spread butter over one side of each tortilla. Spread cream cheese over unbuttered side on half the tortillas. Sprinkle with cheeses, onion, cilantro and olives. Top with remaining tortillas, buttered side up.  Cook on a griddle over medium heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until cheese is melted. Cut into wedges. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.
Yield: 2 servings.

 
TOMATILLO RANCH DRESSING
A friend gave this recipe to me - I'm not sure where she got it.  This really is pretty close to the dressing served at Cafe Rio.

Ingredients:
2 tomatillos (husks removed)
1 medium to large jalapeno (seeds removed)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pkg Hiddn Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mayonnaise (don't use diet or reduced fat)
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp salt

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a blender in order listed and blend until smooth.  May add extra mayo if dressing is too thin.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight for flavors to blend.

SALSA
I'm not sure where I found this recipe. It's similar to Chili's salsa.

 Ingredients:
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin (add more if you like it spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion
small handful of cilantro
2 green onions, tops only

Directions:  Place all ingredients and pulse blend to desired texture.  Chill several hours or overnight for flavors to blend well.

BIG SOFT GINGER COOKIES
I'm not sure where I found this recipe either.  I've modified it just a little - here's my version.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 Tbs water
2 Tbs sugar

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well mixed.  Mix in molasses and water.  Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.  Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets and slightly flatten.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes.  Remove to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.  Makes about 32 cookies.

Whew! That's a lot of typing for one post but I just had to share these wonderful recipes.  Next thing to do - decide what to make for Superbowl Sunday.  : )  Enjoy!

3 comments:

Lauri's Photography said...

mmmmmmm, Can I come over?

Bridget said...

I'm with Lauri... when's the party? :D Those quesadillas sound to die for!

Lauri's Photography said...

I think I'll have to try some of these, now that I have a second look. :)