Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mexican Pizza

Tonight we had Mexican Pizza for dinner.  This has become a very popular meal at our house and it's very adaptable to what is on hand.  We did them with refried beans, cheese, and salsa on toasted corn tortillas.  You can use soft taco tortillas, burrito tortillas (for a larger pizza), and any number of toppings.  I make them on the stove top on my griddle, but they can also be done on a stone in the oven or, for a softer "crust", in the microwave.

Getting started:  warming griddle, cooking refried beans, shredded Monterey Jack, and fresh salsa.

Toasting corn tortillas.

Flipped corn tortillas topped with refried beans.

Add cheese.

Finished off with salsa.

Pinto Beans

We go through a lot of Pintos Beans around here.  We do pintos with rice and cheese, burritos, tacos, refried beans, or, like tonight, Mexican Pizza.  As I have written before, we cook our own pintos from dried beans.  The recipe I use is from The Feast of Santa Fe.  They have a lot of flavor and make excellent refried beans just by mashing them (so much better than canned refried beans).  As usual, I make 2 pounds of dried beans in my crockpot.  I use them for a meal and then freeze 3 containers of 3 cups each.

Pinto Beans

1 lb dried Pinto Beans, soaked all day or overnight in 8 cups of water

Drain and rinse beans (save water and pour it over your garden to save water!).

Put beans in crockpot and cover with water to about 2 inches above the beans.
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp whole cumin seed
1/2 tsp cracked pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt (I use Kosher)

Cook on low for 18-20 hrs or on high all day.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Week's Menu

As I watch the Buckeyes playing Penn State in the Big Ten Ten Tournament Championship, I am working on our menu for the upcoming week and a half.  I usually go to the grocery stores on Wednesdays, but we were out of town this past week, so I'm making this week's trip a bit early and stretching the menu an extra couple of days.  Putting together a menu takes some effort, but there are many advantages to doing this:  1) I don't have to wonder each night what we'll be eating, 2) it saves time because I'm not stopping at the store every day or so to pick up what we need as I plan on the fly, 3) I save money because I know what we need and it's easier to keep track of what I've spent so that we stay on budget, and 4) we eat a much more balanced and healthier diet.  So, here's what we'll be having this week:

Mac & Cheese
Purple Hull Peas

Fish (whatever I get at the store tomorrow)

Mexican Pizza (corn tortillas grilled on griddle and topped with refried beans, cheese, and salsa)

Pasta with Meat Sauce (see the Power Cooking Tip, I add this meat mix to homemade pasta sauce)
Angel Food Cake, tinted green to celebrate St. Patrick's Day

Pizza (cheese and veggie)

Smoked Polish Sausage
Mashed Potatoes

Lentil Soup

Breakfast (from whatever is on-hand)

Greek Chicken
Veggie (TBD)