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    Entries in all rolled up (14)


    Crispy Crunchy Beef and Bean Burritos

    It’s amazing what a difference a short stay in the oven can make.  Feed your family regular beef and bean burritos and you’ll get, “Meh.”  But make the burritos crispy on the outside and, “OMG these are good!  Can I have another?”  You’ll definitely want to add this to your easy dinner repertoire.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • ½ lb. ground beef
    • ½ onion, minced
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
    • 1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
    • ¼ cup taco sauce
    • 1 cup grated cheese
    • Tortillas
    • Canola oil 

    In a pan over medium heat, combine the beef, onion, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  I actually substituted dried minced onion for the fresh because I was feeling lazy. Either will work fine. 

    When the meat is chopped up and mixed with the spices and onion, put a lid on for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.  While it’s cooking, put the beans into a bowl and add the taco sauce.  I like La Victoria, but use whatever brand and heat level is your favorite. 

    Stir those together. 

    After 10 minutes, return to the meat.  Make sure it’s in fairly small pieces. 

    Add the beef to the bean mixture. 

    Stir that in.  (I know, this isn’t the most photogenic food ever.)

    Add the cheese.


    And now for the fun part.  Wait, first you need to preheat your oven to 375°.  Then, line a sheet pan with parchment and lay out a tortilla.  Mine were quite pliable, but if you’re worried yours might crack, just heat them for a few seconds in the microwave. 

    Spoon on a bit of the meat/bean mixture.  It depends on the size of your tortillas, but I used probably about ⅓ cup in each one.  Don’t get too carried away or you’ll have oozing burritos before you’re done. 

    Wrap the edge around and fold it under itself. 

    Fold in the ends.

    Then just roll it over and gently flatten.  Voilá! Err… ¡Ahí está! Beautifully rolled burrito.

    This is easily enough filling for 8 burritos.  I only made 4 and saved the rest of the filling to use in a day or two.  This is also a small sheet pan, so you should be able to fill 8 burritos and fit them all on one regular sized sheet pan. 

    Now here's the secret for making them crispy.  Drizzle on a tiny bit of canola oil.  Think ¼ teaspoon or less per burrito. 

    Rub it around with your fingers to cover the entire surface of the burrito.  I prefer using my fingers over a pastry brush for this because it’s easier to get a very light coating, which is what we’re shooting for. 

    See?  Nice and shiny, but just barely coated. 

    Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.  They’ll be just starting to brown on top. 

    Flip them over. 

    Then back into the oven for another 10 minutes.  They should be nice and brown now. 

    Crispy burrito goodness.  I’m pretty sure ovens are magic. 

    What easy weeknight meal would you like to see have a facelift? 



    Dinner Rolls

    Dinner rolls.  They couldn’t really have a more mundane name, but in reality, they are anything but.  There aren’t many things in life better than a fresh, hot, roll.  You can spread butter on them, or eat them with soup, or pile on some of your fresh baked Easter ham to make fabulous little sammiches.  I grew up eating my mom’s homemade rolls.  They were always the best, and we all loved them.  She usually makes potato rolls, though, which call for things like mashed potato and scalded milk.  Well, I’m way too lazy for that, so here is my simplified version. 

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 1 ½ cup warm water
    • 1 Tablespoon sugar
    • 1 pkg yeast
    • 3 ½ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 3 Tablespoons butter

    Place the sugar in your mixing bowl and pour over the water.  The temperature of the water should be about like a nice warm bath would be. 

    Swirl that around to dissolve the sugar, and then sprinkle on the yeast. 

    Walk away for 5 – 10 minutes, or until you start to see active signs of life.

    Add 2 cups of flour to the water. 

    Mix that until it just comes together.

    Add the butter, and mix for about a minute or so. 

    Add the remaining flour, as well as the salt, and switch to the dough hook. (if you’re using a stand mixer) If you’re not using a stand mixer, work the flour in as best you can with a wooden spoon, and then switch to kneading by hand.  If you are using a mixer, allow it to knead the dough on medium low speed for 5 minutes or so. 

    While that’s doing its thing, go ahead and butter a large bowl. 

    If you happen to have a butter wrapper on hand, it is the easiest way to do that.  My friend Elise just passed on a little tip.  She says you can stack them in the freezer, and then just pull them out when you need them.  That’s a great tip, but with my brain, I’m likely to remember it just after I’ve dropped the butter wrapper in the trash. 

    At this point your dough should be nice and smooth, but still a bit sticky. 

    Flour your hands, and then move it to the bowl, flipping it over so that both sides have butter on them. 

    Cover that with a damp kitchen towel and leave it to rise. 

    Depending on the temperature of your house, it will probably need somewhere between 45 and 90 minutes.  Most likely, it’ll take about an hour.  You want it to basically double in size. 

    Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and poke it with your knuckles to get rid of the largest bubbles. 

    Divide the dough in half and set one piece aside. 

    Cut the half you’re working with into 9 equal-ish pieces. 

    Flatten each piece into a disc shape. 

    Then fold all the edges into the center to form something resembling a ball. 

    Put it down on the work surface, place your hand loosely over the top like a cage, and move it in small circles.  This will pull everything tight and make a nice ball. 

    Place the ball into the prepared pan and repeat with the rest of the dough pieces. 

    If you need more than 9 rolls now, go ahead and do the same with the other half.  Personally, I’d prefer to save them for another night to save me some time.  In that case, roll them into balls the same as you did the others, but place them with a bit of space between them on a floured, parchment lined, sheet pan, then pop that into the freezer for a few hours.  When they’re frozen solid, go ahead and drop them into a freezer bag.  Then when you’re ready, go ahead and continue from this point.  Just remember it will take a bit longer because they have to thaw before they’ll rise. 

    Allow the rolls to rise until they’re nice and puffy.  Probably another hour or so.  When they’re getting close to that size, go ahead and preheat the oven to 350°.  

    When they’re ready, bake them for about 25 minutes.  They should be nice and golden on top and if you tap on them, they’ll sound hollow. 

    Remove them from the pan immediately.  If you want them to be pretty, brush them with a little butter, and they’ll be shiny and gorgeous.

    They really do need a better name.  Look at that beauty! 

    What’s your favorite thing to do with a roll? 


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