Texas Tortilla Soup – spicy chicken tortilla soup topped with cheddar cheese, avocado and tortilla chips. The most comforting soup for winter!

Texas Tortilla Soup - spicy chicken tortilla soup topped with cheddar cheese, avocado and tortilla chips. The most comforting soup for winter!

How do you like your soups? Brothy or thick and creamy?

I’m a brothy soup person. There is nothing more comforting that steaming hot spicy broth based soup. 

If you’re like me, you might love my Spicy Coconut Wonton Soup and you’re definitely going to love this Texas Tortilla Soup. It’s full of flavor and has the perfect amount of heat. Plus, I love a soup with a bunch of toppings. 

Click for the full recipe

13

I have a Mexican food problem. Ever since we moved to Colorado, it’s all I want. I guess because there’s a taco stand on every corner and entire aisles dedicated to the cuisine in all our grocery stores. But, alas, I’m the only one in my family with intense Mexican food cravings so every couple weeks I make a Chipotle run after my kids are in bed and then I spend 3 hours lying in my bed, eating a burrito the size of my head while watching Real Housewives reruns.

It’s a rough life.

So when it was my turn to choose the next Project Pastry Queen recipe these Ground Beef Gorditas jumped out at me. At the time I had no idea what a gordita was but I knew it would satisfy my need for Mexican food.

After making these, I think they are kind of like the Mexican equivalent to the pita bread, only fried, because they are split and then filled with meat, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and then eaten sandwich style. And they are awesome! The dough is like a super thick corn tortilla – it’s so crispy on the outside and so soft on the inside. I was seriously shocked at how amazing these were! The meat mixture – just ground beef, some spices, and tomato sauce – was simple and perfect with the freshly fried gorditas.

I made some changes, of course. I did what I always do when I’m attempting a food I’m not familiar with: I did a blog search to see what they looked like. I found Deborah’s post where she says she wasn’t thrilled with the gorditas. I trust her opinion so I ended up using a gordita recipe one of her readers left in the comments.  They were kind of a pain and I had to HEAVILY flour my board and my rolling pin but like I said, well worth the work. (I am including the original recipe from The Pastry Queen.)

Project Pastry Queen – Ground Beef Gorditas
from The Pastry Queen
Ingredients
For the dough:
  • 4 cups corn masa mix or 12 ounces fresh masa dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt if necessary
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Safflower oil for frying
For the beef filling
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce like Tobasco
  • 1 8- oz can plain tomato sauce
For serving:
  • ½ head iceberg lettuce shredded
  • ½ cup chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup queso fresco crumbled
  • sliced black olives optional
  • ½ cup sour cream
Instructions
For the Dough:
  1. If using the mix, mix in a large bowl according to the package instructions. Beat the masa, butter and salt in an electric mixer with the paddle attachment until it forms a ball. If using fresh dough, just add the butter and mix until a ball is formed. Using your hands, shape the dough into 8 discs, roughly 4 inches across and ½ inch thick. Grease a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. Cook the gorditas until lightly browned on each side, about 5 to 10 minutes on each side.
  2. Fill a large skillet with enough oil to come about ½ inch up the sides. Heat over medium heat until hot enough that the oil bubbles when a small ball of dough is dropped in. Lower the gorditas into the hot oil - the oil should start bubbling. Fry the gorditas for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
For the Beef Filling:
  1. Saute the beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is brown - 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off the fat. Add teh garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and tomato sauce. Cook for 5 minutes.
Assembly:
  1. Split gorditas in half and set them on individual plates. Spoon the beef mixture over the bottom halves. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream. Lean the top half of the gordita at an angle on top of the beef mixture and serve.
8

My turn to choose the Project Pastry Queen recipe again! I went with a recipe that I had never even noticed in the book: Coconut Cream Flan.

Flan has such a bad reputation but I stand by my belief that anyone who doesn’t like it, just hasn’t tried a good recipe. It’s so sweet and creamy, like a custard pie without the crust and who doesn’t like custard pie?! This version has just a hint of coconut and is topped with caramel. It’s pretty perfect.

I found the cream of coconut in the alcohol section of my grocery store, with the margarita mixes and things like that. It took me forever (and google) to find it so I wanted to share that tidbit with you. I used heavy cream in place of the half-and-half because heavy cream makes everything better. Trust me. And I left the rum out. I don’t like rum and didn’t feel like buying a bottle just for this recipe.

Seriously, great recipe! If you’ve never tried flan or think you hate it, give this recipe a try. I’m almost 100% sure that you will love it!

Coconut Cream Flan
Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup dark rum
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Place the sugar in a small, uncoated skillet. Heat the sugar over medium-high heat until melted and golden brown. Pour it into a 1-quart baking dish or distribute it evenly among eight 1-cup capacity ramekins (about 2 tablespoons per ramekin). Tip and turn the dish or ramekins to coat the bottom(s) and sides with the melted sugar.
  3. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl until foamy. Stir in the condensed milk, cream of coconut, half-and-half, vanilla, and rum. Pour the mixture into the baking dish. Put the baking dish in a large baking pan and set it in the oven. Pour enough boiling water into the larger pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking dish or ramekins.
  4. Bake 1 hour for the 1-quart or 45 minutes for the ramekins, until the center is almost set. Remove the flan(s) from the pan of water and cool on a rack. Invert onto a serving plate; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. The flan(s) will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator.
11

Sunday again which means Project Pastry Queen! This week’s recipe was chosen by Tara of Smells Like Home and she chose the Green Chile Crab Cake with Tomatillo Salsa. I am definitely not a crab person so it was nice to knock another off the list that I never would have tried.

I think they turned out very well. There were a lot of components to these crab cakes so I worried the actual crab would get lost but everything worked together to spotlight the crab. The crispy panko on the outside was the best part though!

I didn’t make the tomatillo salsa. I just don’t really like the stuff. I do keep a jar in the fridge for recipes like this but I thought the smokiness of the salsa I had really overpowered the crab and I ended up scraping most of it off the crab cakes. Maybe The Pastry Queen version wouldn’t have been so bad. Try it and let me know. ;)

Tara has the recipe on her blog. It’s a good one, you won’t regret making it!

8

This week’s Project Pastry Queen recipe was chosen by Josie of Pink Parsley and she chose the amazingly delicious Peanut Butter-Banana Cream Pie with Hot Fudge Sauce. And great timing too since tomorrow is Pi Day!

I am late posting this because I’ve been procrastinating. See, it was quite the undertaking. Crust, custard, chocolate, peanut butter, hot fudge, whipped cream – it took me all day long! But it was so worth it! I think I inhaled that piece up there in less than 2 minutes.

A few notes:

I used White Chocolate Wonderful because why use plain peanut butter when you can use white chocolate peanut butter? Go buy it. Now. (You can find it at Walmart, Target, pretty much anywhere.)

The crust tasted slightly underbaked to me and I left it in for 5 extra minutes or so. Keep an eye on that one.

Do not put hot fudge sauce in a squeeze bottle. It will explode.

If you don’t do gelatin for whatever reason, I think the pie would be fine without it. It won’t cut perfectly but between cooking the eggs and the cornstarch, it should be a-okay. Just don’t forget to add the banana liqueur!

So happy early Pi Day and make sure you check out Josie’s post for the recipe!

11