Cathie Campbell

Tortillas are so versatile

Most of us have our favorite ways to enjoy tortillas. And we can even buy red, white and blue tortilla chips, just in time for July 4 picnics. Besides chips and salsa, there are so many other ways to enjoy both corn and flour tortillas.

I will include a sweet and spicy tortilla chip recipe, but you might feel hungry for a tasty casserole, quesadilla or roll ups.

One thing about food - no matter what season it is, no matter whether or not it is a holiday and no matter where you are, you still need to eat, so you might as well enjoy it.

Here’s hoping you all have a very safe and happy fourth of July this year, and if you are traveling on the roads, please stay safe.

Cat’s Mexican chicken casserole

Yes, there is a little bit of soy sauce in this.

2 cups cubed, cooked chicken

6 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

1 small can sliced ripe olives, drained

1/4 cup green onion tops, chopped

1 can cream of celery soup (can also use cream of chicken or mushroom)

1 container (8-oz.) sour cream

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons Knorr chicken bouillon granules

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped

1/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic

2 cups Colby/Jack cheese, shredded (or use a Mexican cheese blend)

1. In large bowl, mix chicken, tortillas, corn, olives and green onion tops.

2. In small bowl, blend cream of celery soup, sour cream, soy sauce and bouillon granules; set aside.

3. In a skillet, heat olive oil to medium high and saute onion and bell peppers until the vegetables are soft and just beginning to caramelize. Add garlic and mix well, then add to chicken mixture.

4. Add soup mixture to other ingredients in the large bowl. Add the cheese and mix all thoroughly.

5. Grease a 2-quart oven-proof casserole dish and turn mixture into dish; smooth the top with back of wooden spoon. Cover and heat in a 350-degree preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove cover about halfway through baking.

Sun-dried tomato and basil tortilla roll-ups

2 packages (8-oz. each) cream cheese

2 tablespoons hot wing sauce

1 tablespoon pesto sauce

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

4 green onions, coarsely chopped

1/2 of a 4-oz. package powdered ranch dressing mix

10 large sun-dried tomato or spinach tortillas (or use both kinds)

5 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry

2 jars (8.5-oz. each) julienne cut sun-dried tomatoes

1 pound fresh mozzarella cheese

1. Place cream cheese, wing sauce, pesto, Parmesan, green onions and ranch dressing mix in a food processor. Process until well mixed.

2. Using a spatula, spread the cream cheese mixture onto each tortilla. Arrange 1/2 cup basil leaves and a few sun-dried tomato pieces on top of cream cheese mixture.3. Roll each tortilla tightly and place on a large plate. When all the tortillas are rolled up, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for a least 1 hour.

4. With a sharp knife cut the rolled tortillas into 1/2 inch thick rounds, then arrange on a serving platter. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Spicy sweet baked tortilla chips

4 whole-wheat or regular flour tortillas, about 7 to 8 inches

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, or use cinnamon

Water

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a small bowl or shaker, mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon).

2. Using one tortilla at a time, brush water over the top surface. Sprinkle sugar/spice mixture evenly over the tortilla, covering all the surface. Using a knife or pizza wheel, cut the tortilla into 8 equal wedges, as you would a pie. Place tortilla pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Bake in preheated oven about 8 minutes, checking to see if they are crisping up but not burning. They should turn a golden brown. It may take 1 or 2 minutes longer, but keep a close eye on them.

4. Cool completely and store in airtight container. Good with fruit salsa. Makes 32 chips.

Mushroom and bacon quesadillas

4 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced

Kosher or sea salt, to taste

Cracked black pepper, to taste

8 8-inch flour tortillas

6 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated

1 small can chopped green chiles, well drained

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon slices. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until bacon is well cooked.

2. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they become tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside to cool.

3. Spread half of the Cheddar cheese on 4 tortillas. Top with the bacon and mushrooms. Add a final layer of cheese and gently spread the filling evenly around the tortilla, leaving some space around the edges. Top with green chiles and remaining tortillas.

4. Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Place a filled tortilla on the hot surface, and cook for about 3 minutes or until the bottom is golden. Carefully flip the quesadilla over and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the second side is golden and the cheese is completely melted. Good with salsa, guacamole and sour cream. Makes 4 servings.

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