It’s Cold Outside . . .

Jan 8, 2014 by

   Happy New Year!

Cardinals on icy branch

Icy Weather Greets Cardinals for New Year

 

Photo from The North Carolina Wildlife Federation

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Ani’s Down South Taco Pie

Aug 31, 2013 by

DownSouthTacoPie2

 

Maybe life is different at your house, but here at my place, weekends can be a revolving door of people headed in different directions.

And I have my own things I want to do on Saturday, as well!  So every week, it is a challenge to figure out what I can prepare ahead that will be easy to fix, tasty, and keep my family from resorting to fast food on the weekends.

I had been looking at a recipe for Taco Pie, and decided I would modify it and try it out.  I thought I would share my version with you!

The recipe I had considered used instant potatoes for the crust and a package of Taco Seasonings.  I decided to use Texas Pete and Cajun Seasonings, and hash browns for the crust.  I forgot to take a photo of the pie with chopped tomatoes on top of the lettuce!  So be sure to add them to your pie!

Here are the ingredients I chose.   Not pictured: Diced Tomato, Texas Pete and Sour Cream, as these items are optional.

Ingredients

I keep frozen hash browns on hand (don’t all Southerners?  :-)   While still frozen, I put approximately 2 cups of the hash browns into an lightly greased (with olive oil) skillet.

With the burner setting on medium low, I added 1/4 stick of butter and 1/2 cup milk (I actually used Half ‘n Half, but you could use low fat milk).

Once the potatoes started steaming, I reduced the heat to low and put a lid on the skillet, and let it cook for about 8 minutes. You will need to check to make sure the potatoes do not stick.  I stirred the  potatoes several times.

When the potatoes were cooked, I removed them and poured into a lightly greased (I use olive oil spray) deep dish pie dish and formed a crust.

crustB:Fbaking

Meanwhile, I browned 1/4 a large onion and a pound of ground sirloin.  Once the beef had browned, I added 1/2 cup of salsa, 1 tsp of Cajun Seasonings and a teaspoon of Texas Pete (Texas Pete is optional, according to your taste). I don’t add salt to my dishes, but if salt is not a concern at your home, feel free to salt to taste.  Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes or so — this is simply for blending the flavors.  If you want to simmer longer, that’s okay!

hamburger:salsa

I heated my oven to 325 degrees.  While the beef was browning, I put the potato crust in the oven, so it wouldn’t be so “mushy” once the filling was pooured into it.

After about 15 minutes, I turned the oven on BROIL, so the crust would get a little more crunchy.  It’s easy to over-broil, so be sure to keep an eye on the crust.

Note: The crust needs to be crunchy.  Adjust your times to whatever works to create that crunchy crust.  Otherwise, this will not be a pie you can cut into wedges.  I don’t think that would lessen the taste, of course, but it won’t be as pretty a presentation if you have to scoop the ingredients out of the dish.

beforeBaking

Once the crust was crunchy, I removed it, and added the beef and salsa mixture, spreading well.  I returned to the oven, which was set on 325 degrees. My stove seems to cook at 350 degrees when set on 325 degrees, so you may want to adjust accordingly.  I let the mixture cook in the oven about 10 minutes.

after baking

Voila! Here is the browned taco pie!

While the pie was in the oven, I shredded lettuce.  This is nothing precise! You want enough to cover the pie.  I would say I used less than 1/2 a medium sized head of iceberg lettuce to end up with about a cup of shredded lettuce.

I decided to put a layer of sour cream on top of the beef mixture, but this step is optional. If you don’t like sour cream, skip this step!

On top of the layer of sour cream, I spread 1 cup of shredded Cheddar Cheese. You can use another type of cheese, if you prefer.

Then I layered the lettuce, and sprinkled a bit of cheese on top of the lettuce.  It looked plain, so I added a dollop of sour cream on top. I added a bit of Paprika for color.  After I took the photo, Hubby dug into the pie – just as I realized I had not added tomatoes.  Oh dear.  So don’t YOU forget to add them!

Remember: the sour cream is optional.  You can add a layer as I did, or save it as a condiment on the side.  If I had thought about it, I would have picked up some avocados, and made some guacamole to eat with the Taco Pie.   Just thought I would mention it, as it surely would be a delicious addition.

DownSouthTacoPie

There ya go!  I reached my goal – an easy to prepare, tasty dish that my family can self-serve  I hope you enjoy creating  this Down South Taco Pie for your family!

 

Ingredients list:

1 lb. lean ground sirloin, browned

1/2 cup Salsa (any brand – I like chunky salsa)

1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning

1 cup (or more) of your preferred cheese, shredded (I used Cheddar)

2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes

1 tomato, chopped (or 1 cup of tomato cherries, halved)

1/2 cup milk or Half and Half

1 cup (approximately) shredded iceberg lettuce

Optional: Texas Pete and Sour Cream, Paprika as garnish

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Fresh Ideas for your Carolina Home

Aug 23, 2013 by

 

 

 

New twists on some old favorites

Photo by Kevin Mcfeely

Accordion doors in place of French doors

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Plantation shutters and beadboard

 

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An idea stolen from the pastoral countryside: barn door installation.

 

 

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Give your garage a quick face-lift with distinctive hardware.

 

 

 

 

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Knock out windows in the bedroom and open up your suite to a patio or private sitting area.

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Summer in Bloom

Aug 11, 2013 by

Hydrangeas

The last of the summer’s Hydrangea’s . . .

Photo by Ani

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