Dessert Nachos

November 6: National Nachos Day

We blogged before about savory nachos—crispy corn tortilla chips held together with refried beans and melted shredded cheese. Sometimes they are also topped with spiced ground meat, fresh sliced tomatoes/lettuce leaves/jalapeños/onions/cilantro and creamy condiments like sour cream and guacamole.

We also enjoy sweet nachos as a dessert after our Mexican meals. The corn tortilla chips are replaced with baked flour tortilla wedges sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar. Toppings include fresh cut fruits to mimic their savory counterparts (strawberry=tomatoes, kiwi=lettuce and cilantro and mango=cheese). We also crowned our dessert nachos with vanilla ice cream to resemble sour cream. It is a colorful confection to share and indulge in, especially on National Nachos Day! 

Recipe

For the chips

  • ¼ – 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 4 – 5 soft flour tortillas, medium size
  • Cinnamon sugar

For the chips

  • Mango, sliced into thin slivers
  • 3-4 strawberries, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, skinned and chopped
  • Vanilla ice cream (see Notes for substitutions)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional garnish)

Directions

Brush melted butter on both sides of each of the flour tortillas. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar. Stack the tortillas and cut them into 6-8 wedges. 

Place them on a baking pan lined with foil or parchment paper (do not overlap the wedges). Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the wedges on the other side and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the butter-cinnamon-sugar mixture to caramelize and the chips to cool to a crisp.

While the tortillas are baking in the oven, slice the mango into thin slivers and chop the strawberries and kiwi. Arrange the tortilla chips onto a plate. 

Scoop 3 rounds of ice cream in the middle of the chips. Scatter the mango slivers and chopped strawberries and kiwis on top. Garnish with mint leaves (optional). Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Choose other favorite fruit toppings for a unique dessert nachos.
  • Instead of vanilla ice cream, use dollops of sweetened whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.
  • It is optional to drizzle chocolate sauce or dulce de leche (caramel) over the dessert nachos.

Raw Meat Rice Krispies

October 31: Halloween

Life is busy but we always try to enjoy the festivities around one of our favorite and fun holidays—Halloween. In between the cake club and culinary book club meetings with Halloween potluck themes, and the trunk-or-treat and fall harvest socials at church, we just do not have a lot of time to prepare something elaborate but still want to impress friends and family with creative and creepy cuisine.

So when we saw the Instructables tutorial for Raw Meat Rice Krispies, we just had to make this quick and easy dessert for Halloween. There are other tutorials that called for a few tablespoons of red velvet cake mix but we did not want to buy a whole box of it. The Instructables tutorial added peanut butter and decorated the foam package with fake edible blood. We kept it simple—again for time’s sake as well as less gore for the kiddos—and just stuck with a basic Rice Krispies recipe and colored the melted marshmallows in red and blue food coloring to give it a fresh “raw meat” hue.

Try this fun, festive and freaky food for a terrific timesaving treat for Halloween!

Recipe
Adapted from Instructables

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
  • 1 package (10 ounces) or 5 cups regular marshmallows (or 4 cups miniature marshmallows)
  • 6 cups rice cereal (Rice Krispies— gluten-free also available)
  • Few drops of red food color
  • Fewer drops of blue food color

Directions

In a large pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Add a few drops of red food color then a few drops of blue food color. Mix and continue to add red and blue food colors until the desired shade of “raw meat” is achieved. Make the color slightly darker because it will become a little lighter when the cereal is mixed in. Remove from heat.

Mix in the cereal until combined well. Spread cereal mixture onto a lightly buttered sheet of waxed paper. With buttered hands, free form the cereal mixture into “raw meat”. For patties, form cereal mixture into balls then flatten to ½ inch thick. 

Place “raw meat” or patties onto foam trays. Wrap package tightly with clear plastic wrap. Print sales labels and stick onto package. Display at the Halloween table or give for Halloween gifts.

Notes

  • Save the real raw meat foam trays from the store and wash and dry thoroughly before re-using them for this recipe to avoid cross contamination. We found white foam trays in a pack at the Dollar Tree and Family Dollar stores.
  • To decorate with optional “blood”, use red gel icing and squirt randomly on the foam trays before placing the “raw meat” and patties. 
  • Samples of the sales labels for the meat package can be found on the Instructables tutorial webpage. Or search for other online designs and modify them for your own purposes.
  • Search our blog for more Halloween recipes under the Theme Menus tab.

St. Mary’s Chicken

September 12: Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary

In honor of Mother Mary, we have made a Stella Maris (Star of the Sea) and Mystical Rosette Ombre cakes in the past. Instead of something sweet, we tried something savory this time to cook on the Feast Day of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

We found a recipe online called St. Mary’s Chicken created by nutritionist Scott Baptie who was doing his master’s degree in Applied Sports Nutrition at St. Mary’s University in Scotland at the time. It is a coincidence that his St. Mary’s University is the same name as the one where Islander’s brother had worked in Texas (when we lived in San Antonio, we made the Stella Maris and Mystical Rosette cakes for the students of his prayer group to celebrate this feast day). 

Mother Mary’s name is the inspiration for Mr. Baptie’s chicken recipe. It is very quick and easy to make, packed with protein and has a rich and tasty gravy. 

We adapted the original recipe and used bacon strips instead of lower fat bacon medallions because we could not find it at our grocery store. Thus, this dish is not as nutritious as the original but common bacon does add a nice flavor to the dish. Either way, this is a good savory recipe to make on any busy weeknight and on a Marian feast day like today!

Recipe
Adapted from “High Protein Handbook” by Scott Baptie

Ingredients

  • 4-6 strips of bacon, chopped (the original uses lower fat bacon medallions)
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless (we used chicken tenderloins)
  • ¾ cup chicken stock
  • ½ – 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (we did not have this ingredient)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup crème fraiche
  • 1 ¼ tablespoon cornstarch
  • Fresh thyme sprigs (optional garnish)

Directions

In a skillet over medium high heat, fry up the chopped bacon. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to drain the grease. Optional step: In the same skillet, brown the chicken in the bacon grease to lock in the flavor. Transfer the chicken to a baking dish.

In a bowl or cup, mix the chicken stock with mustard, thyme leaves, garlic, pepper, honey, crème fraiche and cornstarch. 

Pour the sauce over the chicken and bacon. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Stir the gravy and serve the chicken on a plate with a garnish of fresh thyme sprigs (optional).

Notes

  • Check out Scott Baptie’s websites and social media for other free recipes online. He also authored several health cookbooks and developed exercise and training programs for fat and weight loss.
  • The original recipe calls from bacon medallions, which we did not have on hand. They are basically back bacon rashers trimmed of fat. If using bacon medallions, there is no need to fry it up. Just place it in the baking pan with the chicken, pour the sauce mixture over everything and bake. Super simple!