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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Oreo Dirt Cake Dessert Cups

For my son's birthday, he decided that cupcakes just wouldn't do the trick.  "We had cupcakes LAST year!"  Oh my!!  Who knew little boys could be so picky?!  Well then FINE... let them just eat DIRT! My son's teacher is in charge of the school garden, and their class goes out to plant, weed, water and tend the garden regularly.  So to echo the theme, we came up with a plan of making individual Oreo "dirt cake" cups, complete with gummy worms and fake flowers.

You could also certainly make this in a big trifle bowl, but little cups are super fun; and they were a big hit with this group of first graders!  


Ingredients:  (I doubled this recipe for a whole classroom)
  • 1 (16 oz) pkg Oreo cookies
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 6 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 (3.9 oz) pkgs instant chocolate pudding 
  • 4 3/4 cups milk
  • 1 (16 oz) carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • gummy worms
  • embellishments
    • plastic straws
    • artificial flowers

Step-by-Step:  
Place cookies in a food processor and process until they resemble dirt.  Set aside.


In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and mix until creamy.  Set these aside. 

 Whisk or blend together instant pudding mixes and milk until blended.
 Add the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture.

Add the whipped topping into the pudding/cream cheese mixture.
Now this will be our "mud."
Get your assembly line ready.
Starting and ending with the "dirt," alternate layers of the cookie crumbs, and pudding mixture in the cups.

Don't forget to sneak in a couple of gummy worms hiding in the dirt.
Just so the flowers won't have to touch the "dirt," snip off about half of a plastic straw and insert them down into the mixture.  This is best done the day/night before so everything can firm up.  (I would give them a minimum of 4-5 hours to chill in the refrigerator.) 
When ready to serve, just insert the clean stems of artificial flowers down into the straws.  
I apologize for all these next photos.  They were made on my phone in the classroom.  :(

Serve to smiling faces!
 The expression says it all.  :)
I hope you enjoyed this easy and fun kids party recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

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Here are some bonus recipes for you!







Written Method:

1.  Place cookies in a food processor and process until they resemble dirt.  Set aside. 

2.  In a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and butter and mix until creamy.  Set these aside. 

3. Whisk or blend together instant pudding mixes and milk until blended.

4. Add the pudding mixture into the cream cheese mixture.

5.  Add the whipped topping into the pudding/cream cheese mixture.
6.  Get your assembly line ready.

7. Starting and ending with the "dirt," alternate layers of the cookie crumbs, and pudding mixture in the cups.

8.  Don't forget to sneak in a couple of gummy worms hiding in the dirt.

9.  Just so the flowers won't have to touch the "dirt," snip off about half of a plastic straw and insert them down into the mixture.  This is best done the day/night before so everything can firm up.  (I would give them a minimum of 4-5 hours to chill in the refrigerator.) 

10. When ready to serve, just insert the clean stems of artificial flowers down into the straws.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chili Colorado Burritos

So somewhere along the way, I came across this photo that literally made me start salivating... for Chili Colorado Burritos.  Not the kind of burritos you drive through and unwrap and hold.  Nope, the loaded, wet, smothered ones that take a knife and fork and lotsa napkins to eat.  If you are unfamiliar with the term, let's go ahead and unpack it.  Chili Colorado is chunks of beef that have been slow simmered in a Mexican style red chili sauce until it's basically falling apart tender. The sauce is typically made from a blend of dry and fresh chilies, onions and peppers, and an array of various other seasonings.  

Since finding and grinding, seeding, boiling, straining, etc all those dried dried (and fresh) chilis can be quite laborious, I thought I would change some liberties to make a bit of a more "user friendly" version from some ingredients that are more easily accessible in your local grocery stores.  I hope you won't mind.  Once the Chili Colorado is made, we'll use this tender beef as a filling for our burritos, roll them up, smother them with cheese, and pop them under the broiler.  Oh yummmm.  

Ingredients: 

Chili Colorado 
  • 2 pounds cubed stew meat
    • like top sirloin, bottom round, chuck, etc.
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 (16 oz) cans mild red enchilada sauce (divided)
  • 1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2  tsp oregano
  • 1 small can chopped green chilies
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter
Burritos
  • Burrito sized flour tortillas (6 - 8)
  • 1 - 2 cups Mexican blend shredded cheese 
  • Optional - 1/2 can refried beans or drained/rinsed black beans
  • rest of the can of enchilada sauce 

Step-by-Step:  
Trim beef into cubes and season with kosher salt and black pepper.  Sprinkle with all purpose flour to coat.  Tip - Save yourself some time by purchasing 'stew meat' that is already cut into cubes. 
2 pounds cubed beef.  kosher salt, black pepper.
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Brown the beef in hot oil in a heavy skillet until you get a nice sear on all sides.  You may need to do this in multiple batches if your skillet isn't large enough.  (I used a 14" skillet and it probably would have worked better in two batches.)  If your pan isn't that large, the meat will just sit on top of each other and steam, not sear.    
2 - 3 Tbsp canola oil
Okay... do you see the oil sizzling around the beef?  If your meat does not immediately start sizzling, it is NOT hot enough!  Stop, wait a bit and let the oil get hotter and try again.  

Then once you place the meat down, try NOT to move it.  You want  to sear the meat and get good color on it.  It will release when it's ready.   

Once the beef is nice and brown, add the 1 cup of onions and 3 cloves garlic and cook until soft.  Add the onions first to cool down the oil.  We don't want the garlic to burn.  

Once the onions and garlic have cooked down a bit and softened, add the remaining ingredients. 

Cook's Note - Okay.  We are getting ready to add all of our seasoning to turn this meat into the Chili Colorado.  There are a couple of things I would like to point out.  1 - The chili is well seasoned, but NOT spicy at all.  If you want more a kick, feel free to NOT use the mild version of everything.  This is a family/kid friendly version.  2 - You are probably going to look at some of these ingredients and wonder if I've lost my mind.  I wondered the same thing when I was researching this recipe from multiple sources.  Rest assured, each ingredient has its place, however.  

4 oz can mild diced chilies + 16 oz can mild red enchilada sauce 

16 oz can tomato sauce + 2 tsp cumin

 2 tsp cinnamon + (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp) unsweetened cocoa

 2 1/2 tsp oregano + 2 Tbsp peanut butter

Cook uncovered on low until the mixture is thickened, around 30 minutes.  

Then cover and cook on low until the beef is super tender, stirring occasionally.   

I just let mine cook on super low for 2 1/2 hours until it was just about all falling apart.  **I think this would be time would be great for a slow cooker!**  The beef and sauce all becomes like one at this point.  
cooked until tender and falling apart
At the very end, add another half of a can of enchilada sauce just to give it back that silkiness. Then you ready to fill the burritos.  
1/2 can mild red enchilada sauce
The burritos - Add the beef mixture and some beans if desired. 
burrito sized flour tortilla 
Oops! Almost the refried beans. (Heat yours up first!)

Fold in the sides first, then the bottom.  Then roll up once more into a burrito.   

Add some of the remaining enchilada sauce to the top of the burrito, and smother with some shredded cheese.    
Red enchilada sauce + shredded Mexican cheese... yes, please!
If your filling is already hot, you can just pop them under the broiler for a few minutes (probably only 2 - 3 minutes).  The cheese will get all bubbly and just a hint of toasted.  Please use an oven safe plate, and be careful taking them out!  Garnish as you desire. 
Under the broiler for a few minutes. 

Garnish as you desire.  Suggestions?
Shredded lettuce, black olives, pico de gallo, Mexican crema or sour cream, guacamole, cilantro. And of course you need some chips and salsa...  of goodness.  Just have yourself a good old time!  

Want a closer peek?  Tender beef chunks in that savory sauce, melted cheese, oh my!!

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Bonus Recipes - 
Happy Hour Pizza Rolls

Crawfish Fettuccine

Easy Beef Lo Mein

Mozzarella Caprese Skewers

Chicken with Creamed Sherry Artichoke Sauce

Bananas Foster Cake


Written Method:

Trim beef into cubes and season with kosher salt and black pepper.  Sprinkle with all purpose flour to coat.  Brown the beef in hot oil in a heavy skillet until you get a nice sear on all sides.  You may need to do this in multiple batches if your skillet isn't large enough.  (I used a 14" skillet and it probably would have worked better in two batches.)  Once the beef is nice and brown, add the onions and garlic and cook until soft.  Then add the remaining ingredients.  Cook uncovered on low until the mixture is thickened, around 30 minutes.  Then cover and cook on low until the beef is super tender, stirring occasionally.  I just let mine cook on super low for 2 1/2 hours until it was just about all falling apart.  **I think this would be time would be great for a slow cooker!**  The beef and sauce all becomes like one at this point.  At the very end, add another half of a can of enchilada sauce just to give it back that silkiness.  Then you ready to fill the burritos.

The burritos - Add the beef mixture and some beans if desired. Fold in the sides first, then the bottom.  Then fold away from you into a burrito.  Add some of the remaining enchilada sauce to the top of the burrito, and smother with some shredded cheese.  If your filling is already hot, you can just pop them under the broiler for a few minutes (probably only 2 - 3 minutes).  The cheese will get all bubbly and just a hint of toasted.  Garnish as you desire.

Optional garnishes
  • Shredded lettuce, Black olives, Pico de gallo, Mexican crema or sour cream, Guacamole, Cilantro

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