Tortillas & Taco Casserole

I love tortillas. I bake my own bread and am trying to eliminate any packaged foods I do buy and tortillas are one of them. So, for Christmas this year I asked for a tortilla press. Thus far it has been heavily used! Homemade tortillas tend to come out a little thicker and smaller than store bought ones so I've turned to taco casserole as a topping. By baking everything together with cheese it is easier to fill the tortillas with and less messy.

Making tortillas is actually really easy and not as intimidating as it sounds. I highly recommend a tortilla press! Rolling them out is not easy because the dough is very elastic. Next, you'll need to buy some lard. Some grocers keep it in the freezer near the butter and some put it on the shelves near the Crisco. I'm a fan of the Snowcap brand. Lard may sound extremely unhealthy but you're only using a tablespoon and it eliminates the need for any oil to cook them in.

(Makes 12-16)

2 cups flour
3/4 cups water
1 tbsp lard
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

Taco Casserole
(Serves 4)

1 pound ground beef
1 can light kidney beans (15.5 oz)
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice
1 avocado
a little bit of chopped lettuce if desired
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne

I make the taco casserole first. In a pan brown the ground beef.  Once browned add the cumin, onion powder, salt, oregano, bay leaf, and cayenne. Stir to incorporate everything evenly. Pour the ground beef (pull the bay leaf out) into a casserole dish and spread to cover the bottom. Next, drain the can of beans and toss them into the same pan. I like to heat them up and squash the beans a little. Once the beans are warm, dump them into the casserole on top of the beef. Top with the cheese. Dice the avocado and toss that on top. Chop some lettuce and set aside. Put the casserole into the oven at 350 for 10 minutes to melt all the cheese and keep it warm.

And now tortillas:

In a mixer, blend the flour, salt, baking powder and lard. The lard will crumble into the dough. Slowly add the water and mix until the dough is smooth.

Roll the dough into small balls the size of a large marshmallow (or a Barbie head). It's easiest to roll them in flour. I use a $1 serving plate from the Dollar Store so that I don't have to clean the counter after.

I have the toddler help me put the ready to go tortillas on another serving plate.

Put a pan on the stove with the heat on low-medium. Next, put a piece of plastic wrap on both sides of the tortilla press. Place on of the dough balls on the bottom and press!

You want to peel the plastic gently off of the tortilla. Put it in the waiting pan. It takes less than 2 minutes per side to cook the tortillas.

Take out the taco casserole and assemble your tortillas. Top with the chopped lettuce and sour cream if desired. Enjoy! (We also spread leftover tortillas with Nutella & chopped bananas for a great toddler breakfast.)

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