I love to cook and bake. It’s very meaningful to fill my home with smells that’ll make celebratory or cozy memories for everyone. Below are some of my most successful recipes.
Better than restaurant: promise! This recipe serves four, so with my big, hungry family, I always double it and serve with rice and beans–and lots of extra cheese!
16 oz. salsa
3/4 c. mayonnaise
4 c. cooked chicken, diced (I buy pre-grilled.)
8 to 10 8-inch flour tortillas
16-oz package of Colby Jack or Mexican blend cheese, divided
Preheat the oven for 350 degrees, and grease a 13″ x 9″ pan. Mix salsa with mayo; stir in chicken. Lay chicken mixture down each tortilla’s center. Sprinkle with cheese, and roll up. Put tortillas seam-side down in pan. Distribute remaining cheese over all. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Eat, remembering all the blessings you have.
Finally, enjoy one for me!
If your mother-in-law is coming over for dinner, call this dish Spinach Fettuccine Boursin. If you’re cooking for kids, I strongly recommend omitting “spinach,” instead calling this dish “Zombie Brains.” Either way, this is cozy comfort food for a snowy winter’s night. It’s smoky and creamy, so if you like to sneak chia or flax into your kids’ meals, they’ll never know.
Prep time: a leisurely 20 minutes
Yield: 6 hearty servings
2 lbs. chicken or sausage, diced. Chicken will make the dish subtler; sausage will make it smokier. Moreover, sautéing sausage sends a homey aroma around the house.
1 tomato. If your guests are adults, julienne it more thickly to add color to the dish; if your critics (I mean, guests) are children, julienne it thinly so they won’t reject it.
1 orange pepper. Heed the above advice.
1 pkg. garlic Boursin cheese (not spreadable).
Pepper to taste.
While fettuccine boils, cook chicken and sausage thoroughly in large skillet. Drain fettuccine; add to skillet. Stir in Boursin, which will melt into a sauce. Add tomato and orange pepper. Season, and serve.
Oh, yes—and insist dish has no vegetables whatsoever.
Hoosier comfort food: butterscotch, potato chip cookies
Evansville in Southern Indiana, where I grew up, is big on comfort food. Today, the area is still super southern. Now that I live at the other end of Highway 41 in Indiana, I regard Evansville as the last stop for good barbecue.
When you can see Kentucky across the Ohio, you’re bound to get some yummy home-cooking, so here’s an old family recipe. I made it for my kids, who inhaled them. Having lots of kids, I automatically double recipes, so if you double the below recipe, you’ll have a huge yield, enough to take to a neighbor or freeze–don’t worry, the potato chips will still be crunchy. This is a great sweet for someone who doesn’t like chocolate, and if you eat them warm, the potato chips and butterscotch will melt together in your mouth.
Yield: about 30 cookies
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar (If you run out of brown sugar, you can substitute regular granulated, but the effect won’t be as buttery.)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups crushed potato chips
- 1 cup butterscotch flavored chips
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Mix butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl. Combine. Stir in potato chips and butterscotch chips. Mix well.
Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes.