Ground Beef and Refried Beans Tacos

This can also be served with tortilla chips as an appetizer or hot dip.

1 lb ground beef
½ medium onion, chopped
2 tsp. T Adobo seasoning, or to taste (Start with 1 tsp.)
1 small can (4 oz.) diced green chilis or ½ c. Goya Recaito Culantro cooking base (Find in specialty food stores.)
½ c. bottled salsa (your favorite)
1 can (16 oz.) refried beans
2 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Flour tortillas
Fresh cilantro (optional)
Sour cream

Brown ground beef with onions and season with Adobo. Add green chilis and salsa. Spread meat mixture across bottom of medium casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, moisten refried beans with just enough water to make them spread easily over the meat mixture in the casserole. Top with cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and cheese is melted.

Serve with warm tortillas (wrap in foil and warm in oven while dish is cooking). Top each taco with shredded lettuce, fresh chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Yields 12-14 tacos.

You could serve this as a warm dip with tortilla chips.

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Amish Sugar Cookies

blonde cookie
A delicate, crispy shortbread-like cookie.

1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
3/4 c. oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 ½ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda

Cream together the sugars and butter. Then add oil, eggs, vanilla and mix again. Add flour, cream of tartar, and baking soda. Mix until combined.

Using a teaspoon, drop dough on cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Pour additional sugar (plain or colored) in a small bowl. Dip the moistened bottom of a glass in sugar and gently press each dropped cookie to flatten. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 degrees F. or until edges begin to turn golden.

HALF RECIPE:
½ c. granulated sugar and ½ c. powdered sugar
½ c. butter
1/3 c. oil, 1 egg, and ½ tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ c. flour, ½ tsp cream of tartar, and ½ tsp. baking soda

Creole/Cajun Seasoning Mix

To make this Creole blend more Cajun, reduce paprika and increase hot pepper flakes.
3 T. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. powdered rosemary
1 tsp. powdered bay leaves (optional-harder to find in stores, but it IS my secret ingredient)
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (see note)

NOTE: Creole and Cajun spice mixes are similar but not identical. Creole seasoning is sweet and mild, not spicy hot, like Cajun. One way to tell the difference is that Creole seasoning has a fair amount out paprika in it where Cajun does not. The above recipe is my version of Creole. You can adjust quantities of paprika and hot pepper flakes to make this more Cajun.

Stuffed Pasta Shells

Comfort food at its finest.

1 box (12 oz.) jumbo pasta shells (boiled, drained, cooled)
1 28 oz. jar pasta sauce (or make your own, about 4 cups)
½ lb. mild Italian sausage, browned.
½ c. sliced mushrooms, lightly saute’d
RICOTTA FILLING:
2 cup ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Prepare filling and set aside while you boil the shells. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stuff each cooked shell with about 1 T. ricotta filling, placing them in a greased a 9×13-inch baking dish or a lasagna pan as you go. Use all the filling.

Sprinkle Italian sausage and mushrooms over filled shells. Pour sauce over shells and bake 45-60 minutes until bubbly.

Top with additional Parmesan or shredded mozzarella if desired and place under broiler for a minute or so or until golden brown and bubbling.