Simple Homemade Flour Tortillas

They are little rounds of heaven. You’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to whip up a batch of simple homemade flour tortillas tonight for dinner. Today, I’m sharing my authentic recipe straight from our Tex-Mex kitchen.

simple homemade flour tortillas

Homemade flour tortillas are one of the best things on the planet. Growing up in my Hispanic family, I loved it when my mom had a steaming hot, fluffy stack of homemade tortillas waiting for us. I loved smearing butter all over freshly warmed tortillas. They were so good.

Lately, I’ve been making them often. First, they are great for lunches for the kids. I grill them up with cheese and make quesadillas for their lunch. Sometimes I have some leftover meat, but not quite enough for a meal, that’s when I shred it up for tacos or quesadillas. I’m a little embarrassed to say that it doesn’t matter how many tortillas I make, we always seem to eat them all!

So today I’m going to show you how easy it is to make simple homemade flour tortillas right in your kitchen. They are far superior to store-bought ones and once you get familiar with making them, you won’t want the rubbery, chewy mass-produced ones.

Ingredients

Tortillas are a wonderfully easy bread because they require few ingredients. In fact, you may already have what you need. First, all you need is all-purpose flour. There is no need to use any kind of special flour. As I mentioned before, tortillas are unleavened bread, so you don’t need leavening agents like baking powder or yeast. However, you can add baking powder to make them fluffier if you desire. Really, all you need is flour, lard, water and a pinch of salt.

Traditionally tortillas are made with lard. I think lard makes the best version of tortillas. The tortillas seem to have a fluffier, smoother texture with lard. I highly recommend using lard above any other fat. However, if you don’t have lard on hand you can substitute other fats. You can also make them with butter, shortening and even vegetable oil in a pinch.

You can buy lard at the store in the butter section. It costs around the same price as butter and it stores in your fridge for months. You can even make lard at home (see video below). That’s right, don’t throw those drippings away!

Tools

Many people are discouraged from making tortillas for one simple reason – rolling out circles, I know I underestimated how hard it is to roll out a perfect circle. Like really hard! Personally, I don’t mind if mine aren’t perfect, but others do. I will say that it takes lots of practice to roll them out, so don’t get discouraged if they aren’t perfect. I guarantee you regardless of their shape, they will still taste amazing! So you can use two different methods to make them. You can roll them out using a rolling pin or you can use a tortilla press.

homemade flour tortillas

Tortilla presses are great because you put your ball of dough in, clamp down and it presses out your tortilla to the perfect thickness and size. It definitely makes them more uniform looking. Using a tortilla press also seriously cuts down on time. It takes far less time to press them as it does to roll them out. So if you are making them for a weeknight dinner, this really speeds it up. I highly recommend using a cast-iron one. I love mine.

Frankly, you don’t need any special tools to make tortillas, but I’ve used my stand mixer to speed things up as well as using a pastry blender if I am doing it by hand.

Also, if you make tortillas often, you may want to invest in a tortilla warmer. They really do keep them warm for a long while. They are fairly cheap too. If you don’t have a tortilla warmer, place a clean dishcloth inside a covered dish and slip them into the dishcloth to keep them warm.

Cooking the Tortillas

To make tortillas you’ll combine your ingredients – flour, salt, hot water and your lard. If you want them to be fluffier you can also add 1 teaspoon of baking powder. If you are substituting a different fat for lard such as vegetable oil or shortening you will use the same measurements as lard which is ⅓ cup. Mix the dough with a dough hook attachment on your stand mixer or you can use a pastry cutter to cut in the lard.

You can divide your dough into sixteen portions. That will make about 16 small 6″ tortillas or you divide into twelve pieces and it will yield about a dozen 8″ tortillas. I typically make 8″ ones.

Tortillas need to be cooked one at a time unless you have a long griddle, in which case you can do two at a time. Place the tortillas down on a griddle with medium heat. Cook for about 2 mins on each side. You will likely see the tortilla puff as it cooks. That is totally normal. Flip it over. The cooked side should have some light brown spots That’s how you know it is cooked! Then repeat on the other side.

How to Store Them

So you can choose to warm your tortillas all at once or you can choose to warm them up over a period of a couple of days. Store the ready-made tortillas in your fridge in a zip lock bag. You can separate them with wax paper so they don’t stick together. I recommend taking them out of the fridge about ten to fifteen minutes before you are ready to warm them up so they cook quickly and evenly on your griddle. I think they cook better that way than when they are a stone-cold temperature.

Simple Flour Tortillas

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Breads
Cuisine Mexican

Equipment

  • Griddle

Ingredients
  

  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1/3 Cup Lard, cold
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Tsp baking powder optional

Instructions
 

  • Add flour to a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk salt and baking powder (optional) to the flour. Baking powder is optional but will give you a fluffier tortilla. Alternatively, instead of mixing by hand, you may use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.
  • Add lard to flour mixture and cut in with a pastry blender (or if using a stand mixer mix on low. You can also you use your hands if you don't have tools. You do not need to need the dough, only mix.
  • Slowly add water until a tacky dough forms
  • Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface. Divide dough into twelve pieces. Roll each piece into a ball about the size of a golf ball.
  • Heat a griddle on your stove at medium-high heat.
  • Begin by flouring your rolling pin to prevent dough from sticking. Take a ball of dough and roll it evenly into a 7-8" circle.
  • Place a tortilla on the hot griddle. The tortilla will puff as it cooks. Cook on each side for about 30 seconds. Flip regularly until you see light brown spots on the heated side.
Keyword bread, easy bread, flour, mexican bread, mexican food, tortillas, unleavened bread

That’s it! Enjoy your homemade tortillas with your favorite Mexican food dish. Be sure to check out some of my favorites like perfect Spanish rice and Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas.

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy recipe leaves out all the heavy carbs and grains for a protein-packed, easy low-carb meatloaf that will be your new family favorite.

Easy low carb meatloaf

I’ve got a new recipe for you. Well, it is new to you but old to me. That’s because this is actually my grandmother’s recipe. I’ve been making this for years and when I got on the Keto diet, I thought I should share it with others for those looking for a low-carb meatloaf recipe. Hold up, don’t run away. I hope you give this recipe a chance. I know there are a lot of people out there who cringe at the idea of meatloaf. Admittedly, I’m not a meatloaf fan of the other recipes I have tried in the past. This is the only one I like!

Meatloaf is a nice hardy dish to serve your family. Here in the south, it is comfort food. I love serving it with a steaming heap of buttery mashed potatoes and some greens like Southern-style green beans or roasted Brussel sprouts and bacon. By the way, if you are looking for another easy weeknight recipe, take a look at my Easy Chicken Tetrazzini recipe before you go.

Making Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

One thing that is nice and different about this meatloaf is that it is low carb. If you are doing a special diet like Paleo, Atkins or Keto, this is going to be great for you. Obviously, if you are doing Paleo, you’ll want to try and use grass-fed beef. Lots of meatloaf recipes call for breadcrumbs, stuffing, or other grains to form the loaf shape. This recipe uses absolutely no breadcrumbs or other grains. The only carbs in it are from bell pepper, onion and a small amount of tomato sauce. Instead of using breadcrumbs to hold the meat together in a loaf, this recipe uses protein – one large egg. The egg acts as the binding agent.

The other thing that makes this meatloaf unique is that it uses ground breakfast sausage. I highly recommend using Jimmy Dean Breakfast sausage. I like to use the sage version for added flavor, but you could also use the regular or even the hot if you wish.

It takes about an hour in the oven to cook the 2-pound loaf. However, it only takes a few minutes of prep time. You can even prep it the day before, then pop it in the oven when you’re ready to start dinner. I personally don’t need a sauce with this meatloaf because it is so flavorful, but you can add your favorite meatloaf sauce to it.

easy low carb meatloaf
easy low carb meatloaf

This recipe calls for simple ingredients. Ground beef, breakfast sausage, green bell pepper, white onion, one egg, a small amount of tomato sauce and salt and pepper. Just combine and press into a regular-sized loaf pan. Then you’ll cook it for one hour in an oven preheated to 375. Let the meatloaf rest for about five minutes before serving. This keeps it juicy and allows the juices to recirculate through the meat.

Storing the Meatloaf

This is a great meal for leftovers. Because of the sausage (high-fat content), the meat doesn’t dry out when reheated. You can reheat it in the oven again or use the microwave. Also, you can store in the fridge for up to three days in an airtight container. I have also frozen it before and it freezes well for up to a month. Honestly, I’ve never stored it longer than that. If you are freezing it, just make sure you wrap it really well to prevent freezer burn.

dinner
dinnerdinne

Easy Low Carb Meatloaf

This yummy low carb meatloaf is all meat and few carbs and is sure to become a weeknight favorite!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 lbs Breakfast sausage Jimmy Dean preferred
  • 1 Lrg Egg
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Sm White Onion, chopped
  • 3-4 oz Tomato sauce about half of an 8 oz can
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • In a large mixing bowl, add beef, sausage, onion and bell pepper. Knead well until combined to avoid bites of only sausage or beef. You can use clean hands or use a pastry cutter to help combine them.
  • Add one egg and knead until fully combined.
  • Add tomato sauce and knead until fully combined.
  • Transfer meat mixture into an ungreased loaf pan. Press into pan to pack meat tightly. Level the top.
  • Place in oven and bake for one hour at 375°
  • Let meat rest for 5 mins before serving.
Keyword atkins, beef, beef dishes, comfort food, ground beef, healthy meals, italian sausage, keto, leftovers, low carb, meat, meatloaf, southern recipes, weeknight favorite
meatloaf

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Today I’m going to share my favorite dish to use up leftover chicken, easy chicken tetrazzini, a creamy cheesy casserole that is easy to whip up for a weeknight dinner

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I stumbled across this dish nearly two decades ago. When I first started making it, I learned that chicken tetrazzini was a casserole dish from the turn of the century. Some say it dates back all the way to 1908. You might think it is an Italian dish because of the name and the fact that it has pasta, but it isn’t. It was actually named after turn-of-the-century opera Luisa Tetrazzini.

Making Chicken Tetrazzini

It was very popular in the 1940s and 1950s as a staple casserole dish. In my household, it has become one of our beloved family favorites, not just because of the delicious creamy taste, but because it is a wonderful way to use leftover chicken. I also go to this recipe if I don’t have enough chicken to make it a main course. This recipe stretches a few breasts out enough to feed a family.

Apparently, that’s why it grew in popularity. During the Great Depression, it was used to make the most of the little meat families had. Housewives also used whatever pasta they had on hand. That’s why you see it with all kinds of pasta like spaghetti, broad egg noodles, linguine, even penne, and elbow macaroni. In fact, many people even use the recipe to make turkey tetrazzini with leftover turkey. I almost always do this after Thanksgiving. During the 1940’s and 1950’s some housewives even used canned tuna along with whatever cheese they had on hand. Tetrazzini is a truly versatile dish.

It may surprise you to learn that there is no universal standard recipe for tetrazzini. It was kind of a first throw-down recipe of sorts. Earlier recipes are slightly more complicated than what I will share today. Early recipes call for sautéing your own fresh mushrooms and then creating a cream sauce with heavy whipping cream, butter, white wine or sherry, meat stock, and cheese. However, thanks to the 1950’s housewife, she used a more convenient method of using Cambell’s Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken condensed soups to quicken this recipe and that is what I am going to show you today – easy chicken tetrazzini.

Roasted chicken
Courtesy of Unsplash

Start by shredding your chicken while your pasta boils. If you prefer, you can slice your chicken or meat into bite-sized chunks. Once your pasta is drained, add it to a large bowl, combine your cans of cream of chicken soup and cream of mushroom soup. Add milk, half and half, or cream. If you are using cream you need about a cup of cream. If using half and half or milk, you can use about a half cup or change until you reach your desired consistency. We like ours extra creamy and rich. If you don’t care for such a heavy sauce, you can dilute with more milk. If you don’t have milk, you can substitute a half cup of meat stock to dilute.

You’ll add in your cheese to the cream sauce. I reserve half for spreading on top. As I mentioned earlier, housewives used whatever cheese they had on hand. I prefer parmesan because it adds a lot of flavor. But I’ve used Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, Cheddar and various combinations of cheese. Some people also like to put a topping on the top. Like toasted breadcrumbs, crunchy cornflakes or fried onions like a green bean casserole. I, however, don’t do that, although you can if you want. You may notice, I’ve omitted any salt from the recipe. That’s because there is plenty of sodium in the condensed soups and cheese. So I suggest tasting before you add any salt on your own.

Easy Chicken Tetrazzini

Al dente noodles and chicken are smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce in this easy casserole.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 Large Chicken Breasts, Cooked Shredded
  • 1 ½ Cups Shredded Parmesan or other cheese Divided (two 3/4 cups)
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Chicken Soup Preferably Campbell's
  • 1 10.5 oz Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • ½ Lbs Spaghetti or other pasta
  • 1 Cup Heavy cream or half and half (or milk for a lighter sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, finely chopped (Optional)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Cook pasta according to the package instructions
  • While pasta is cooking, shred cooked chicken into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add one can of cream of chicken condensed soup, one can of cream of mushroom soup and cream or milk. Stir well to combine.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain well, and combine with cream sauce.
  • Add half of the divided cheese into the pasta mixture and combine well.
  • Transfer pasta to a deep casserole or baking dish.
  • Spread remaining cheese on top and bake at 375 for 30 to 40 minutes or until it is bubbly and cheese is golden.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.
Keyword chicken, chicken breast, chicken casserole, easy casserole, easy recipe, family favorite, leftovers, pasta, weeknight dinner
chicken tetrazzini

Serving and Storing Chicken Tetrazzini

Chicken Tetrazzini is a heavy dish, so I like to serve with a garden salad or other green like roasted asparagus or green beans. If you have leftovers, chicken tetrazzini will keep in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can microwave it or warm it in the oven to reheat it. I have never tried freezing it, although pasta normally freezes okay if placed in a good quality container to protect it from freezer burn. Also, I’d probably allow some room in the container since cream tends to expand when frozen. As I said, I’ve never tried freezing it, so let me know in the comments if you try it.

chicken tetrazzini

Thank you for joining me for this recipe. I know you will enjoy it. Over the years, I’ve really grown to enjoy using older recipes because they are tried and true and women knew how to feed a large family and provide comforting home-cooked meals every day. If you are fond of casseroles, be sure to check out my Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole and Baked Ziti.

How to Make White Sandwich Bread

No bread at the store? No problem. Today I’m going to show you how to make white sandwich bread the easy way at home. No special tools required!

how to make white sandwich bread
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I’ve been baking up a storm during the COVID-19 outbreak. When all of this started, I bought tons of flour and a few pounds of yeast because I know that as long as you have those things, there are infinite kinds of bread that you can bake at home. Pizza dough, hamburger buns, dinner rolls hot dog buns. Later this month, I will show you how to make some unleavened bread (bread that doesn’t require yeast) like tortillas and pretzels. But today I’m going to share how to make white sandwich bread at home. Plain white sandwich bread is very versatile and you can conjure up lots of different lunches with some plain white bread. It’s a great recipe to try if you are new to bread baking. Once you get comfortable with simple white sandwich bread you’ll be excited to learn how to make other breads like bagels, ciabatta, baguettes, dinner rolls, buns, and pretzel bread.

Tools of the Trade

One question I get asked is, “do you need any special tools to make bread?” Not really. You certainly don’t need a bread machine. A bread machine just takes some of the elbow grease out of baking bread. You pop your dough in and it will knead and bake it for you and take a lot of guesswork out of baking bread. But let me tell you that baking bread isn’t as complicated as you might think. I was intimidated by it for years before I finally decided to learn. I was surprised at how simple it really is. You can make bread with just your bare hands and a loaf pan. After all, that is how people have made bread for centuries. However, if you would like to take out some of the work you can use a stand mixer with your dough hook attachment. That’s what I do. This recipe takes around three hours from start to finish, but nearly all of that time is rising and baking. The prep time is actually fairly quick.

dough hook
Dough hook attachment and bulk yeast

The only other thing you need is a work surface. A well-cleaned countertop is fine for that. Also, you will need a loaf pan. I have found that metal pans seem to bake bread more evenly than glass ones. I recommend using a small standard loaf pan because freshly baked bread doesn’t last very long. Unlike store-bought bread, it isn’t packed with preservatives to keep it from molding. So I keep the size small and eat it quickly.

I will however, introduce you to one of the best $30 finds on Amazon. This bread slicer was one of my best Amazon purchases! You slip your loaf inside the wooden guide and it allows you to cut perfectly sliced bread every time. I wasted a lot of bread because I wasn’t cutting it evenly or straight. This solved that problem! It even has a board underneath to catch crumbs. Incidentally, I save the breadcrumbs! Don’t buy bread crumbs from the store when you can make your own for making meatballs and breading meat.

(Click on the picture to purchase)

PRO-TIP: Always use a serrated knife to cut bread. Smooth knives will smash your bread rather than cut it.

Ingredients

So the first thing you need is yeast. Personally, I buy yeast at Sam’s Club because they sell it in two one-pound packages and it is way more cost-effective that way. Yeast is also sold in packets. If you use yeast packets you will need one full packet, plus 1/2 tsp more. I highly recommend refrigerating yeast once you open it. You can also store it in the freezer. If you have yeast in your pantry and you aren’t sure if it is still good, you can do a simple test. Pinch some dry yeast and put it in a cup. Add a pinch of sugar and a little warm water. If it bubbles after a few minutes, it is still good. If there is no or very little activity, it’s expired. The bubbling is called “blooming.”

After a few years of baking, I’ve learned that bread flour is superior to all-purpose flour when it comes to baking bread. I can definitely tell that it makes a stronger, denser, spongier bread. That is because bread flour has a higher gluten content than all-purpose flour. That said, I make this recipe with all-purpose flour all the time. There is no need to buy special flour for this recipe. Use your all-purpose flour if that is what you have. Someone asked me if they could use wheat flour for this recipe. In all honestly, I have not tried it. However, I will say that wheat flour is much denser than white flour and so you normally use less of it. Personally, I recommend finding a tried and tested wheat bread recipe instead of trying to alter this one.

When you are done baking your bread and while the bread is still hot, I recommend buttering the top. Bread tops can seem a little hard when they are baked. A simple brush of butter is all it needs to soften the top again and it makes it more like the sandwich bread you buy at the store.

dough

White Sandwich Bread

White sandwich bread is so easy to make and deliciously simple. You'll love being able to whip up soft, fluffy white sandwich bread in a few hours whenever you need it!
Prep Time 3 hrs
Course Breads

Equipment

  • Loaf pan
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 2 Tbsp Sugar
  • 2 3/4 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
  • 3 Cups All-Purpose Flour or Bread Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1.5 Tsp Salt

Instructions
 

  • In a stand mixer, add hot water, sugar, and yeast. Water should be very warm, but not scalding hot. Let it sit for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to bloom (bubble).
  • With your dough hook attachment on low, add vegetable oil and salt. Slowly add flour one cup at a time. Alternatively, you can mix ingredients by hand in a large bowl and knead by hand.
  • Turn up speed slightly and continue mixing by hand. The dough should cling to the dough hook, but not to the sides of the bowl after a few minutes. Mix for another 3-4 minutes until the dough is tacky.
  • Remove dough from the hook and place the dough in a large bowl and place it in a draft-free area of your kitchen. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. If you are worried about germs from the towel, spray some cling film with some baking spray. Cover the bowl loosely with it, then cover the cling film with the kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 1.5 hours or until it doubles in size.
  • Once risen, punch down in the center. Then shape the dough into a long oval. Tuck any excess dough underneath the bottom of the loaf.
  • Grease a loaf pan. Transfer the dough to a loaf pan and cover again and let rise a second time for about an hour.
  • When done rising, bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While still warm, brush bread top lightly with butter before cutting and serving.
Keyword baked goods, bread, flour, sandwiches
how to make white sandwich bread

Storing Your Bread

I recommend storing your bread in a ziplock bag or an air tight container. If you bake often like I do, Amazon has some great bread bags that I use. I’ll drop the links below.

I’ve been asked before if you can freeze bread. In short, yes you can, but you will need to wrap it really well to prevent freezer burn. Also, make sure you freeze it before you it goes stale. Freezing won’t change staleness. If it was stale when you froze it, it will be stale when you thaw it out.

Alternatively, to save freezer space, you can also freeze dough that hasn’t risen. Make your dough and instead of letting it rise, freeze it. Once you are ready to bake, drop the frozen dough in a greased loaf pan. Get some cling film and lightly spray it with baking spray. Then cover the top of the loaf pan loosely with it. Layer a clean dish towel on top of the cling film. Let the dough thaw and rise for 7-8 hours. Then bake as normal at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make white sandwich bread. If you have questions feel free to leave them in the comments below and if I’ll try my best to answer them. Be sure to check out some of my other scratch recipes like Rich Fudgy Scratch Brownies.

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Peanut butter and chocolate are the showstoppers in this yummy sweet and salty monster munch snack mix perfect for Halloween entertaining!

Monster Munch snack mix

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Happy Halloween, friend! I love Halloween. It’s so much fun even as an adult to decorate the house, dress up and make some spooktacular treats! That’s why I’m sharing one of my favorite Halloween goodies – Monster Munch Snack Mix.

I love making this with the kids and putting it out at our Halloween parties and events. It’s always loved by kids and adults alike and I’m always left with an empty bowl. I also make it and package it in cello bags as a treat for my son’s classmates and teachers at school.

Making Monster Munch Snack Mix

If you have kids, I highly recommend getting them involved. Kids love to help with cooking and since there is no actual cooking involved, this is a really fun activity. All you’re going to do is pour everything in a bowl and toss together. Even your toddler can help with that. I love doing this with our kids as part of our Ultimate Fall Bucket List.

Monster munch snack mix

This recipe calls for a mix of sweet and salty ingredients and really centers around peanut butter and chocolate flavors. It includes both Reese’s peanut butter cups and Reese’s pieces. It also includes Chex Muddy Buddies. I have found that Muddy Buddies can be hard to source at times. Sometimes my store has them and sometimes they don’t. Thank God for Amazon Pantry! I’ve included a link on Amazon in case you can’t find it at your store.

monster munch snack mix

Monster Munch Snack Mix

Ingredients
  

  • 1 10.5 oz Chex Muddy Buddies
  • 1 14 oz Bugles Corn Chips
  • 1 7 oz Mini Reese's Cup
  • 1 4 oz Reese's Pieces Candy
  • 1 11 oz Candy Corn
  • 1 5 oz Pretzel Mini Twists

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss well.
  • Serve in a bowl or wrap as individual treats.

I hope you enjoyed this Monster Munch Snack Mix. Be sure to check in for the next post for some cute Monster Halloween gift tags. These are super fun for packaging your monster munch snack mix. Also, try another fun fall activity like listening to a Halloween Music Playlist!

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Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti

Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is a meat lover’s dream. Two kinds of meat and triple cheese make this the ultimate Italian-American comfort food.

pioneer woman's baked ziti

This post is a sponsored post, meaning I have collaborated with Pioneer Woman in return for financial compensation and free products for testing purposes. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase through a link I provide I may receive a small percentage at no cost to you.

Baked Ziti is one of our favorite dishes. It’s the ultimate in Italian-American comfort food. If you like the way lasagna is baked, you’ll love baked ziti. It’s similar, but without the tediousness of layering pasta. Served casserole style, it’s filled with zesty tomato sauce, Italian sausage and gooey cheesy goodness.

Today, I’m going to share Pioneer Woman’s recipe for baked ziti. This was the first time I’ve tried it and it was yummy!!! Ree girl, this was awesome!

The Pioneer Woman

If you’ve never heard of the Pioneer Woman, I pity you just a tad. Ree Drummond is a famous blogger who shares her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. On her blog, she cooks up some good ole’ eats that anyone can cook. These days she also has her own show on The Food Network. I love her down to earth writing style that makes you feel like her best friend. Be sure to follow her blog…after mine, of course!

Making Baked Ziti

Traditionally ziti uses ziti pasta which resembles small tubes, but I’ve also used penne pasta in a pinch and found it works just as well. In Italy it’s ziti al forno, which translates exactly to “baked ziti.”

I received a complimentary jar of the Rustic Bolognese sauce. It’s very tasty and reminds me of a homemade sauce, minus the hassle! I grew up on Prego. Over the years, I’ve used all kinds of sauces. I highly recommend trying Pioneer Woman’s new line of Italian pasta sauces which now come in the following varieties:

  • Marinara
  • Italian Sausage & Peppers
  • Rustic Bolognese
  • Four Cheese
  • Garden Vegetable

In the past, I’ve used a different recipe for baked ziti, but after today, I’m switching. This is a meat lovers dream! It calls for a pound of ground beef and a pound of Italian sausage! I’ve written the recipe to use ground Italian sausage because it is readily available to me at my store. If you can’t find it, you can always use regular link Italian sausage. I recommend cutting the casing lengthwise with a knife and then peeling off for easy removal. Then brown, like normal.

baked ziti

Pioneer Woman Baked Ziti

A delicious Italian-American casserole filled with zesty tomato sauce, cheese, Italian sausage basked into bubbly goodness.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lbs Ziti Pasta Uncooked
  • 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1 Lbs Italian Sausage Ground
  • 1 Jar PIONEER WOMAN Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Shredded
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese Shredded
  • 1 Lbs Lean Ground Beef

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 375
  • Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently
  • Crumble sausage, then ground beef into skillet with cooked vegetables. Cook until ground meats are evenly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
  • Mix egg, ricotta, and parmesan until blended
  • Drain pasta and spoon into a large bowl. Add pasta sauce mixture and ricotta mixture; mix lightly. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray; top with mozzarella.
  • Bake 20 mins or until heated through
Keyword bacon casserole, cheesy casseroles, italian, italian sausage, pasta, tomato sauce
pioneer woman's baked ziti
pioneer woman rustic bolognese

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Cake Mix Cherry Cobbler

Dessert is easier than ever with the super easy, no-fuss, 3-ingredient cake mix cherry cobbler.

cake mix cherry cobbler

There is nothing quite as lovely as a homemade dessert. But after cooking dinner, I’m not always in the mood for getting back in the kitchen for dessert. Certainly, you can make dessert in advance, but busy days don’t always allow for that! Thats why I love this cake mix cherry cobbler!

This cobbler is pretty famous in my family. My sister-in-law has been making it for nearly two decades and it is always a favorite of ours. Lots of request it in lieu of cake for our birthdays.

Prep in Less Than 10 Minutes

This dessert is super easy to make. Ready for the best part? It takes just 3 ingredients! All you’re going to use is cherry pie filling, a ordinary box of cake mix, and a stick of cold butter.

I’ve been asked several times in the past if you can use other pie fillings. Absolutely! I’ve done this with blackberry, apple, and peach. Its always amazing and wonderful. So by all means, switch it up!

cherries

Serving & Storing

Cake mix cherry cobbler is best served warm. You can always serve it with ice cream if you desire. Frankly, I love this recipe for entertaining too. It’s such an easy thing to pop in the oven when you are busy getting ready and it’s always a crowd pleaser.

I’ve found it doesn’t need to be refrigerated. However, if you are looking to preserve the freshness a few extra days, I’d certainly recommend putting it into the fridge with a cover. In fact, I’d recommend always covering it.

cake mix

Cake Mix Cherry Cobbler

Dessert night is now easy with this super easy 3-ingredient cake mix cherry cobbler. Prep time is less than 10 minutes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

  • 2 21 oz Cans of Cherry Pie Filling
  • 1 Stick Butter Cold
  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • In a 9×9 baking pan, add the contents of two 21 oz cans of cherry pie filling (you may use other fruit pie filling if you choose)
  • Spread the pie filling evenly with a spatula
  • Sprinkle about 3/4 of the pie mix on top of the pie filling
  • Cut ¼" slices of cold butter and place on top of the cake mix until cake mix is fully covered.
    cake mix
  • Bake for 45 mins until golden brown and bubbly.
Keyword cherry, cherry cobbler, cobbler, crumble, easy desserts, easy recipe, fruit cobbler, fruit dessert, quick recipe
cherry cobbler

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Italian Cracker Snack Mix

You’ve found a yummy, savory, super easy appetizer and snack. Try this three ingredient Italian Cracker Snack Mix.

Italian Cracker Snack Mix

Have I got one of the easiest recipes for you. Like so easy that there isn’t even any actual cooking involved. Can I get a Hallelujah?

I love this recipe because there are only three ingredients involved. I love to whip this up for a salty, savory snack. This is great for parties and get togethers. They’re great for guests to munch on while other food is coming. Additionally, I love making this and wrapping it up in cello bags for neighbors, teachers, and other people as a simple gift or in a gift basket with other goodies.

Making Italian Cracker Snack Mix

So as I mentioned, this is just three ingredients: olive oil, an italian season ing / dressing spice packet, and crackers. However, I do love to add a forth ingredient: crushed red pepper flakes. I like mine to have a little bit of spice, but that is totally up to you.

Italian Cracker Snack Mix

I’ve tried it with both regular saltines and mini ones and I have to tell you – the mini saltines win hands down. They are so good!

I’ve seen some versions call for a full cup of olive oil, but honestly I think it makes the crackers too greasy. I recommend starting with a half cup. You’ll gently stir and fold the crackers into the oil-spice mixture. The crackers should be fully coated. You can always add more oil if you feel its too dry. I recommend storing it in an air tight container overnight to let the spices fully meld. I find it is freshest in the air tight container for up to two weeks. By the way, you can also try this recipe with a Ranch seasoning packet.

Cracker mixture

Italian Cracker Snack Mix

Turn ordinary saltines into a yummy, savory, Italian spiced snack mix.
Cook Time 5 mins
Resting time 12 hrs
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Box Mini Saltine Crackers (11 oz)
  • 1 Packet Italian Dressing Seasoning (perferably Good Seasons)

Instructions
 

  • Add olive oil into a medium sized bowl.
  • Add spice packet and stir well into olive oil.
  • Pour entire box of crackers into the bowl and gently fold until all the oil is absorbed and crackers are completely coated.
  • If desired, add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.
Keyword 3 ingredient appetizer, appetizer, crackers, italian, saltimes, snack mix
Crackers
Crackers

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Hoecakes: a Revolutionary War Recipe

Try this fun 18th century colonial cornbread recipe with your kids this Fourth of July. Hoecakes: a Revolutionary War recipe.

Hoecakes a revolutionary war recipe

I thought I’d do something a little interesting and different here on My Beautiful Mess. Since July 4th is upon us, I thought I’d share a simple recipe for hoecakes: a Revolutionary War recipe. This Independence Day, why not try something our founding fathers used to eat.

What Are Hoecakes

American Southerners were the first to create this cornbread patty. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. I did a lot of research before trying this recipe a few times. Hoecakes resemble pancakes, but they aren’t. At best, they might qualify as a distant cousin. Pancakes are soft and fluffy and made with flour. Hoecakes are denser, tougher, and to me, almost seem like a hybrid between pancakes and corn tortillas.

hoecakes

A Quick History

In England in the 1600’s, a hoe was the name of what we now know as a griddle. Back then, it was common to bake cakes on griddles. In fact, cooking was very different back then. Food was cooked by a fireplace, specifically on the hearth. Cooks would place the pots and hoes on the hearth to cook. Then they’d move the pots close or far away from the fire depending on how hot it needed to be. Without cooking thermometers, women determined the temperature by how many seconds they could withstand the heat when their arm was placed in the fireplace (oven). Crazy, right? And you thought cooking today was a chore!

When settlers came from England, they had little imagination when it came to using corn. Corn had been domesticated by the Native Americans and to early settlers, corn was a crude substitute for flour. Since cornmeal didn’t not respond well to leveling agents and was naturally sweet, they simply fashioned it into small cake patties and fried it on a griddle. Thus hoecakes were born.

Hoe cakes were described as George Washington’s favorite breakfast in which he ate them slathered in “butter and honey.” Over the next century, hoecakes eventually became a dish of regional pride and a staple on the Southern colonial table.

Photo via Good Free Photos

The Modern Hoecake

These days, hoecakes, also called Johnny Cakes, are still a regional favorite here in the South. Today, ingredients like egg, milk, even flour are added to make it closer to pancakes. Sometimes spices and sugar are added to sweeten it up. However, for today’s purposes, we’re going to eat it like the colonists did.

How To Make Hoecakes

Hoecakes are simple to make. They are simply cornmeal and boiling hot water mixed into a batter and fried in a small amount of peanut oil. I’m sure you can use other oils if you’re allergic to peanuts. The consistency of the batter should be fairly thick. Closer to a wet dough than a batter. If it’s as runny as pancake batter, you’ve done it wrong. Secondly, I recommend using a non-stick skillet. I personally prefer to use my cast iron one, but since I haven’t season it yet, we’ll use a regular pan. Aim for making them around six inches.

Hoecakes are traditionally made with white cornmeal, but since I have yellow cornmeal, that’s what I’ll be using today. As I mentioned before, you’ll needed to use boiling hot water to make sure they don’t break apart when you try to remove them from the pan.

hoecakes

Hoecakes should have crispy edges and should be a glistening golden brown. Hoecakes are best when served warm. I recommend taking a cue from George Washington and using butter and either honey, maple syrup, and or cane syrup.

hoecakes

Revolutionary War Hoecakes

Try this favorite breakfast of George Washington and staple of the Colonia South with this American Revolution time recipe.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Breakfast, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Skillet
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Cups Yellow or White Cornmeal
  • 2 Cups Boiling Hot Water
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Honey optional
  • Butter Optional
  • 12 Tbsp Peanut or Vegetable Oil

Instructions
 

  • In a pot or tea kettle boil 2 cups of water
  • In a large mixing bowl, add 2 cups of flour
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • When the water is boiling, start by adding one 1 cup at a time. Slowly stir. Continue adding the second cup of water. Mixture should pour by should be very thick almost like a very wet dough.
  • Let stand for 10 minutes so the cornmeal can absorb the water
  • In a medium high skillet, add one 1-2 Tbsp of Oil
  • Once oil is smoking, pour batter into the hot oil. Flatten and round with a spatula
  • Cook for 10 minutes
  • Gently flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes
  • Serve warm with butter, honey, cane syrup or maple syrup
Keyword bread, breakfast, comfort food, cornbread, cornbread recipes, cornmeal, flatbread, fried bread, pan fried, recipes of the south, southern recipes, unleaven bread

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Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Tired of your boring roast? Try this recipe for Mexican pulled pork (pork roast) – slow cooker pork carnitas.

slow cooker pork carnitas

Yummy pork carnitas – it is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I particularly love them too because there is always enough leftovers for another meal and any night I can get out of cooking is a happy accident! Carnitas literally translates to “little meats.” But if you’ve ever wondered what it is, it’s basically just Mexican pulled pork.

Ingredients

Making Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Here in Texas, because of the large Hispanic demographic, it’s super easy to find pork perfectly trimmed for carnitas. But don’t fret, all you need is pork shoulder or pork butt roast. Normally it weighs about 2-4 pounds. Some of that will cook down due to the high fat marbling. You will place it whole in the slow cooker, no water needed.

Juice your orange. You can substitute with store bought orange juice. About a half cup to a cup is fine. Pour over your meat. Add your spices and chopped onion.

Now to add your jalapeño If you want it more on the mild side, I recommend deveining the jalapeño. To do this, chop off the top of the pepper. Slice the pepper in half while on it’s side. Pull out all of the seeds and thinly slice the vein of the pepper off and discard both. Then chop your jalapeño as normal. Don’t be afraid to use a whole jalapeño. The pepper heat reduces a lot as it cooks.

Pro tip: Use gloves to stop the pepper oils from getting in your hand, Remember, never touch your face or sensitive areas while handling peppers.

Juice of One orange
Slow cooker pork carnitas

Serving and Storing

Your pork roast will cook on low for about 8 hours. You’ll know it’s ready when you can pull apart the meat with a fork. That’s right. Pork carnitas should be melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender when they are done.

Personally, my favorite way to serve pork carnitas is in soft tacos. There is nothing quite like warm, homemade flour tortilla tacos. I love topping them with cilantro and onion. I prefer to serve them with traditional spanish rice (yup, I have a recipe for that too) and charro beans. During the summer, I’ll often switch it up for a side of Mexican street corn. So yummy!

Store slowcooker pork carnitas in the fridge for 3 days in an air tight container.

Slow cooker Pork Carnitas

Mexican pulled pork with fresh onion, jalapeño, and orange flavors.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2-3 Pounds Pork butt or Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Large Orange Juiced
  • 1 Large Fresh Jalapeno Deveined, deseeded, and chopped
  • 1 Small White Onion Chopped
  • Salt. Pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

Instructions
 

  • Place pork butt or pork shoulder whole in crock pot.
  • Juice one large and orange and pour over pork. May substitute ½ cup to 1 cup of store bought orange juice.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Scatter chopped onions.
  • Prepare jalapeño by cutting the top off and slicing lengthwise. Remove seeds. Cut out the pepper vein and discard. Chop remaining pepper and scatter in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.
Keyword carnitas, crockpot, crockpot recipes, mexican main dish, mexican recipes, pork, pork roast, pork tacos, pulled pork, slow cooker, tacos

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