Baked Tortilla Chips with 7-layer Dip

As of right now we are in Day 2 of the 2nd week of “adverse weather conditions” – which means that we are all at home again. The children are home from school, no extra-curricular activities to rush off to, no cooking classes to teach or buses to catch. This comes directly after we spent a week shut in doors with the stomach flu. Kai is spending his free time working on magic tricks and JP is writing a story.  I’m borderline obsessed with the iPhone game “Wordscapes” and may finally finish needle felting the garland I started back in July. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to step back and think. Flexibility is not always my strong suit so it’s good to flex that muscle.

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As you know, I love cookies, candy and holidays. Yet, sometimes its nice to celebrate without relying solely on sugar and chocolate (though we will have plenty of that as well), which is partly why I love this recipe so much. The heart chips and dip are festive and delicious, while also being useful as a lunch or snack. Win win!

This layered dip is so easy! I like that the bean layer is extra thick and the red peppers add a welcome crunch and sweetness to keep it all in balance. Most 7 layer dip recipes use taco seasoning but I know I didn’t miss it here. Of course, the heart chips steal the show. Tortilla chips are a staple around our house and I could’ve definitely used them but those hearts are too cute!

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This baked tortilla chips and 7 layer dip recipe was a great project to do with my bored children as well. They had fun cutting out the shapes, brushing them with olive oil and sprinkling the sea salt on top. A quick bake in the oven and snack was ready to go. Now I just need to decide on our Valentine’s Day dessert.

Baked Tortilla Chip Hearts

I find that flour tortillas work best for baking. Corn tortillas seem to turn out a little more tough and chewy where flour tortillas turn crisp. To cut the shapes, press firmly and wiggle the cookie cutter so that the tortilla is cut all the way through.

Using a small and medium cookie cutter, I was able to get ten heart shaped cut outs from one tortilla.

Feel free to double or triple this depending on how many people need feeding.

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

  • 1 large burrito sized flour tortilla
  • 1 tablespoon olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons flake sea salt

Directions:

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut shapes out of flour tortilla and set on baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat with oil and then sprinkle with flake salt. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tortilla is crisp, puffy and slightly golden along the edges. Let cool before eating. Best eaten the day they are made.

Individual 7-layer Dip Cups

Easily doubled, tripled and adjusted for personal tastes. If a smaller cup is used, then 1/2 recipe and only make one layer. I bet that 4 oz mason jars would work amazingly well for toddler sized portions.

Serves 1 hungry child

Ingredients:

  • 1- 9 oz clear cup (I used Chinex) but any low, wide cup or jar would do
  • 1/4 cup refried beans (I use Annie’s Traditional)
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives, drained
  • Salsa for topping, optional

Directions:

Using a spoon, spread 2 tablespoons refried beans on the bottom of the cup. Next, spread 1 tablespoon sour cream and top with 2 tablespoons cheddar cheese. Finally, sprinkle 1 tablespoon each red bell pepper and black olives. Repeat with beans, sour cream, cheese, red pepper and black olives. Finish with salsa if desired. Serve with homemade tortilla chips and a spoon. Cover leftovers with saran wrap and store in the refrigerator. These can be made ahead of time but wait to top with salsa until ready to serve.

 

 

 

Favorite Books of 2018

Since I can remember, I have loved to read. After the lunches have been made and the dirty dishes are cleaned up; I crawl into bed and treat myself to a compelling read. In case you are looking for something new to read, here are my favorites from 2018 (in no particular order).

Americanah – Though fictional, this book holds gallons of insight into life as an African American. The main character is mesmerizing and the whole book is chalk full of characters and relationships. I thought about this book a lot and the different ties that bind as all together.

Educated: A Memoir – I am a sucker for memoirs and this one kept me on the edge of my seat. Having grown up in a small town, conservative environment, I could relate to a bit of it.

Interpreter of Maladies – This is a collection of short stories with main characters from India. I didn’t want it to end.

Little Fires Everywhere – This book starts with the sentence “Everyone in Shaker Heights was talking about it that summer: how Isabelle, the last of the Richardson children, had finally gone around the bend and burned the house down.” Good luck putting this one down once you start!

The Great Passage – Have you ever thought about how dictionaries are made? Me either but found it fascinating to follow the fictional characters as they decide what all these words mean.

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – I don’t usually read self-help books (is this what everyone says?) but found this one surprisingly lighthearted as well as enjoyable to read. Discussing it in my book club lead to many interesting personal insights.

The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia – I enjoy all different types of genres and Science Fiction is no exception. I particularly enjoy anything and everything by Ursula K. Le Guin. This book takes place on two alien planets. Though the setting and characters are alien, the complex societies and interpersonal relationships feel very familiar. I found myself looking deeper at my own views about myself and the society in which I live.

Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World – With JP in middle school, I found this book really helpful in understanding the group dynamics of boys. There were definitely some good takeaways, including communication techniques.

Let’s Stay In – How could I not mention this one? Recipe testing for this cookbook was a highlight of my year. The food, writing and photography are inspiring and the perfect accompaniment to any gathering, big or small, with friends and family.

Holiday Goodies 2018

Its the time of year where I want to hide in the kitchen all day and make ALL the family favorites. I’m having such a hard time deciding so I decided to make a list of everything on my mind and then choose a few (ha!) from there.

Peanut Brittle – I have never made nor eaten a better brittle so I think this is a must.

Jam Thumbprints – I slightly adapted this recipe for my holiday kids baking class and it was so good! I used only raspberry jam and rolled them in raw sugar for a nice crunch.

Granola – This makes a fantastic teacher gift or housewarming gift. I usually do 1/2 cup walnuts and add raw pumpkin seeds and raw sunflower seeds to make the other 1/2 cup.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels – No recipe needed! Melt good quality chocolate (I use ghirardelli chips). Dip pretzel rods in chocolate and roll in crushed candy canes or sprinkles. Dry on parchment paper.

Mom’s Soft Sugar Cookies – Always my favorite and I included some easy decorating tips if you need any.

Sparkling Molasses Cookies – I’m a sucker for gingersnaps but I like the slightly deeper flavor and chewy texture of these molasses cookies.

Fresh Ginger Cake – If we’re on the topic of ginger, then I have to tell you about this fresh ginger cake. No matter that my batter overflowed the pan – it was still one of my favorite cakes ever.

M&M Cookies – These are Kai’s favorite and maybe I’ll get some red and green M&Ms and go for it.

Bittersweet Almond Toffee – Homemade candy is a staple of Christmas baking and toffee is always a big hit. So easy too!

Ok – what do you guys think? Do you have any favorites? Happy Baking!