When you are a working parent with two kids, quick and easy are the greatest words in the world, especially on nights when one kid has a football game, the other has track practice, both have math homework and “Mom, you remember how to do geometry, right?”
Jessica Harlan’s “Tortillas to the Rescue” (Ulysses Press; Aug. 28, 2012) does just that, saving dinner (and lunch, breakfast – even snacks) with 100 quick-and-easy recipe all centered on a pantry staple – the tortilla.
“I’ve used tortillas for everything from traditional burritos to ad hoc hot dog buns,” Harlan states in a news release. “There is little I can’t wrap up in the soft, floury rounds.”
I usually have a package of flour tortillas in the cupboard. I buy them for taco night, but I’ve been known to snack on one while watching TV or looking in the fridge for dinner idea. It never occurred to me that the tortilla I was gnawing on could be used to make a Southwestern Chicken Caesar Salad, Portobello, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Fajitas, or Mexican Meatloaf.
Here’s what Harlan taught me:
Flipping through Harlan’s cookbook, I found several recipes I just had to try. This past weekend, I made the Calexico Burrito for myself and the PB&J Quesadilla for the kids. Both were quick, easy and delicious. In planning my menu for the next week, I added the ingredients for Harlan’s Tortilla-Crusted Stuffed Chicken Breast and Burger Pouches to my grocery list.
And don’t even get me started on the desserts. Apple-Cinnamon Tortilla Pockets, anyone?
“Tortillas to the Rescue” looks like one of those cookbooks you’ll pick up and browse, not knowing there’s a treasure trove of possibilities inside. The lack of photographs might throw off some people (I tend to gravitate toward cookbooks with photos; I want to see what I’m making.) but the lack of pictures in Harlan’s cookbook doesn’t hurt it. The recipes are so simple, you don’t need a photo. All you need it a little time and a lot of tortillas.
Spread the peanut butter on one tortilla. Spread the jam on another. Press the two pieces together to make a sandwich.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Place the quesadilla in the pan and cook until the tortilla begins to get toasty and the filling is warmed, about two minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and use a knife or a pizza wheel to slice into wedges.
NOTE: If you’re packing this for a lunch, don’t cook it.
Source: “Tortillas to the Rescue” (Ulysses Press; Aug. 28, 2012)
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