A Purist’s Homemade Guacamole & Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I am an absolute purist when it comes to guacamole.  Three ingredients only!  Avocado, lime juice & salt.  I know people add salsa and cilantro or jalapeno or spices etc but if the avocados are perfect, I think it is a crime to fuck with them.

These chips used only cooking spray & 12 minutes in the oven.  So much healthier & just as crunchy.  I hear they keep in an air-tight container for up to 5 days but I ate all mine – so I cannot vouch for that.

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Baked Corn Tortilla Chips

INGREDIENTS

Corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Salt (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the tortillas & spread on parchment paper (or cooking sheet treated with cooking spray) – spread without touching each other so they crisp the most, spray with cooking oil (add salt if you want to) and cook 10-12 minutes or until they are golden & crunchy.  My oven heats unevenly so mine cooking unevenly.  To avoid this – you might want to spin the pan in the oven every few minutes.

Put into a bowl to cool & set aside.

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A Purist’s Homemade Guacamole

INGREDIENTS

2 avocados (keep the pits!)

juice of 1/2 lime (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)

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DIRECTIONS

Scoop the avocado out of the skin & chop in a bowl.  Add salt & lime juice & keep mashing until it is as chunky or as smooth as you like.  Put the pits BACK INTO the bowl when you are done & this tricks the avocados into thinking they are still in tact & the guacamole will not brown nearly as quickly.  Serve with the chips & a cold cerveza & get your chow on.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Another way to avoid carbohydrates!  Cauliflower tortillas!  A traditional Chicago hot-dog would be served on a poppy seed bun & use something called sport peppers.  I didn’t have sport peppers (nor have I ever heard of them) but I did have leftover roasted jalapenos – so I used those.  A real Chicago dog would use white onions – but I had red.  They call for dill pickles – so I used my homemade ones.  Yellow mustard only – no Dijon or other fancy stuff & sweet relish, which I usually hate but I thought it was great on these.  And lastly, it should be sprinkled with celery salt but I discovered that I had none after it was too late.  I loved the result here so much, however, that I am buying celery salt tomorrow & I am going to look for sport peppers.

You could make these using real hot dogs or with a real bun.  But these guys are really satisfying the way I assembled them so, if you eat veggie dogs & wanna go even lighter with them – this is the way to go.

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24-Hour Easy Refrigerator Dill Pickles

INGREDIENTS

1.5 lbs cucumbers (I used cocktail cucumbers – but you can try any variety you find available) – cut into spears or 1/4″ chips.

8 garlic cloves – 4 quartered, 4 left whole

8-16 sprigs fresh dill

2 TBS coriander SEEDS (not ground)

3 TBS sea (or Kosher) salt

2 TBS sugar

1 1/3 cups white vinegar

water

Jars for containing the pickles

DIRECTIONS

NOTE – these are very garlicky!!!  If you don’t LOVE garlic – cut the garlic back a lot.

In a sauce pan – heat the vinegar & add the salt, sugar & coriander seeds.  Heat, stirring, just until both the sugar & salt dissolve.  Try to get this done before the vinegar gets hot.  If it gets very hot – let it cool before pouring over your cucumbers.

Put your cucumbers in the pickling container (a mason jar, old pickle jar – or other container with a water-tight lid) – with the garlic & the fresh dill.  Pour the vinegar mix over the cucumbers.  Add water to fill the container to the top.  Seal the container & chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours.  Try one.  ENJOY!

These should last in your fridge (in a sealed container) for up to one month.  If they get too vinegary – drain the jar & replace the vinegar with fresh water.

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Chicago Veggie Hot Dog Taco on a Gluten-free Cauliflower Tortilla

INGREDIENTS

Hot dogs (heated whichever way you like)

Cauliflower tortilla (or a bun) – toasted or not – as you like

Sport peppers (or roasted jalapenos)

Yellow mustard

Sweet relish

Dill pickle spears

White onions – diced

Tomato – diced

Celery Salt

DIRECTIONS

Layer the cauliflower tortilla (or other tortilla or bun) with the hot dog, mustard, dill pickle spear, onions, sweet relish, tomato & celery salt.  Shove it in your face like a competitive eater.  Smile!

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tortillas as Goat Cheese, Roasted Pepper & Spinach Pizza or Margherita Pizza

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I made these cauliflower tortillas as part of a recent effort to shed a few pounds – quickly.  I am cutting out bread, pasta, white rice, flour tortillas, potatoes – you know – white carbohydrates.  I am on day three of just cutting out those things & have lost four pounds already!  Of course, I lost two of them in just a single, one-hour class at my gym (owned by Billy Blanks siblings – Irene & Michael).  I lost two pounds this morning despite downing a 51 ounce bottle of water during the class.

At any rate, I made these with the plan to make tacos out of them last night but pizza just sounded so much better!  So – little 6″ pizzas it was.

This is really just a simpler variation of my Cauliflower Pizza Crust Dough recipe – but they really are easy & can be used as the basis for pizza or tacos or, as I will show soon, to replace hot dog buns.  One fairly large head of cauliflower produced about six 6″ tortillas.  The toppings I used were sorta random.  I had a bunch of jalapeno, red & orange bell, red jalapeno & poblano peppers that were getting a tad wilty.  I roasted them on the stove top.  You do this right on the burners (or under a broiler in the oven) by just charring the outside completely black.  You then steam them for 5-10 minutes by putting them in a covered container.  Under cool water, rub the skins off & remove the seeds.  Then just store them for later use.

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Gluten-Free Cauliflower Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of cauliflower

3 eggs

Generous pinches of onion powder, oregano and S&P.

DIRECTIONS

Rice the cauliflower by grating it – either by hand or with a food processor.

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Put an inch or two of water in a large stock pot & add the cauliflower.  Bring to a boil & then reduce heat to med-low & simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.  Drain into a colander lined with a kitchen towel & run cold water over it.

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Squeeze as much water out of the cauliflower as possible.  The drier you get it, the better!

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Mix in a bowl with the eggs & spices.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & press the mixture into little tortillas about 1/4′ thick or thinner.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes & then flip & repeat.

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Cool on a wire rack so they do not steam themselves & get soggy.

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I made two mini-pizzas from these guys by baking them (with toppings) at about 425 for about 10-15 minutes (or until cheese is bubbly & melted).  One was topped with:

Spinach

Goat cheese

Sliced tomato

Chopped roasted peppers

Crushed red pepper

and the other was simply – Margherita using:

Sliced tomato

Mozzarella

Crushed red pepper

Chopped basil as garnish

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Road Kill Roasted Cauliflower & Hominy Tacos with Homemade Corn Tortillas & Spicy Peach, Pineapple & Mango Salsa

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Roadkill?  Caught your attention, didn’t it?  Silly!  I don’t eat meat.  But I did buy some Dean Jacobs Road Kill Grill Rub because of the promise that it “Makes all critters taste great.”

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I bought it in Gilroy (the garlic capital of the world) for my boyfriend, Miles, who lives almost as exclusively on meat as zombies do on brains.  Whenever I think of zombies, and these days – what with their resurgent popularity – I think of them quite often – I think of my favorite zombie chant.  (I stole the image below from Google.)

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The monomaniacal nature of zombies can sometimes be quite endearing.

At any rate – I bought the Road Kill rub in Gilroy on a road trip that led to my vagina-centric post about Elsy’s Antojitos & my Shrimp & Cheesy Grits post which got into my pug, Memphis, and his tooth removal & the drunken, loopy slob he returned home as – still wobbly from getting put under.  Look how drunk he looks in the pose he struck!  🙂

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That was last September (when I bought the Road Kill Grill) & Miles has never used it so I decided to bust that shit out.  It has a very smokey salty flavor & it worked AWESOMELY for this dish but, if you cannot find it, any taco seasoning or other grill rub would likely work.  Even a homemade blend of spices would work – and you can Google a zillion options for that.

The recipe for the corn tortillas is HERE.

The recipe for the Spicy Peach & Pineapple & Mango Salsa is HERE.

You can use pre-made corn tortillas and any kind of salsa you like.  The real magic here is the roasted cauliflower & hominy filling.  I have been long obsessed with each of those ingredients & the threesome we had last night was – well – worth repeating.  Much like my Vegan Pozole, and any taco recipe, the toppings are up to you.  Here are a few ideas:

IDEAS for the toppings –

Grilled or fresh corn cut from the cob

Chopped tomatoes

Chopped cilantro

Sliced avocado

Sliced radishes

Lime wedges

Chopped cabbage (red or green)

Red onion – diced

Lettuce – chopped

Feta or Cotija (or other) cheese

Sour cream or yogurt or Mexican Crema

The only thing you need from me here is the recipe for the roasted cauliflower & hominy – so let’s get to it!  I found myself devouring it right off the roasting pan.  Try to use a high quality spice mix – and not something that has been in your pantry for 6 years & requires a fork to break it up.  OK?  I can’t take responsibility for your old, ashy spices!  🙂

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Roadkill Roasted Cauliflower & Hominy

1 head cauliflower – broken into the tiniest florets

2 cups hominy

3 tsp Road Kill Grill rub (or rub/spices of your choice)

olive oil

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat your oven to 425.

Place your tiny cauliflower florets on a greased cooking sheet.  Drizzle with a little olive oil & toss TWO (reserving one) of the tsps of spice rub in.  I tossed this with my hands to get a good even mix.

Roast for 15 minutes.  In the meantime – toss the other tsp of spice with the hominy with a teensy bit of olive oil (not more than a teaspoon).

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When the cauliflower is done, add the hominy to the pan & roast all of it another 15 minutes.

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Take out of the oven.  Try not to just stand there & eat that shit.

Now – you simply have to assemble your tacos!

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Authentic Homemade Corn Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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Ok – again – this is not really a recipe. It is inspiration for you to try something that you might not have ever even considered.  Corn tortillas!  I have posted spinach tortillas & kale tortillas in the past.  Those were both flour tortillas – and they have their place.  But I really love corn tortillas, too, and I love tacos – so – I thought I’d give it a go!

There is no real recipe.  You simply go buy some masa harina.  It is ground hominy – or a product of corn & lime.  It is ground very fine.  You then make the dough according to the measurements on the bag.  Mine suggested 2 cups flour to 1 1/3 cups water.  Period.  The dough comes together in a bowl instantly.  You are, I discovered, meant to let the dough rest for 30 minutes or more before working with it but I was impatient.

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I happen to have invested about $10 in a tortilla press.  Totally unnecessary!  Not because it isn’t easy to use – it is.  But – because just getting a glass pie dish out or the bottom of a large pan – anything with a large, flat surface that can be used to apply pressure will work.  The dough is very soft & flattens far more easily than a flour dough would.  It also tears for more easily – so do not beat yourself up if it takes a bit to get the hang of these.  Know that these tortillas have a softer, breadier texture than the more coarse & grainy store-bought ones.

Definitely put either wax or parchment paper on either side of your dough – or use plastic wrap.  Others SWEAR by cutting a ziplock freezer bag in two & using two sheets of that.  Apparently – it is the least sticky option.  If your dough is REALLY sticky – try adding more masa.

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So – basically – you make little balls somewhere between the size of a golf ball & a pool ball.  Press it flat in between two pieces of some sort of wrap.  Then, peel it off one side, flip the bare side onto your palm & carefully peel off the other side.  I tore a lot of them & just balled them up & pressed them again.Heat a dry pan to very high heat then reduce it just a bit so the pan doesn’t smoke.  Carefully flop the tortilla into the pan.  Do not try to flip it until it moves around on the pan when you push it.  If it sticks still – let it cook more.  Once it slips around easily – flip it.  This should take between 30-60 seconds.  Do the same on the other side.  Then store in a tortilla warmer or wrap them in a kitchen towel until you are ready to eat them up.

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Reheating?  From Epicurious:

There are several methods for reheating corn tortillas: dry heat (gas flame), moist heat (steamer and microwave) and oily heat (dry-frying).

Dry heat:
This method works only if your tortillas have been made that day. Heat the tortillas directly over the flame (or on a griddle or skillet), flipping them until toasty and pliable.

Moist heat of a steamer:
This is easier for larger quantities of corn tortillas, especially if you need to hold them hot for a little while. Pour 1/2 inch water into the bottom of the steamer, then line the steaming basket with a clean, heavy kitchen towel. Lay the tortillas in the basket in stacks of 12 (a small vegetable steamer will accommodate only one stack; a large Asian steamer will hold three or four stacks). Fold the edges of the towel over the tortillas to cover them, set the lid in place, bring the water to a boil and let boil only for 1 minute, then turn off the fire and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. If you wish to keep the tortillas hot for up to an hour, slip the steamer into a low oven or reheat the water periodically.

Moist heat of a microwave:
This easy method works best with no more than a dozen tortillas. Drizzle a clean kitchen towel with 3 tablespoons water and wring the towel to even distribute the moisture. Use the towel to line a microwave-safe casserole dish (8 or 9 inches in diameter is best). Lay in a dozen tortillas, cover with the towel and the lid, then microwave at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. The tortillas will stay warm for 20 minutes.

Oily heat:
Though it’s not much a part of home cooking, street vendors of seared-meat tacos reheat fresh tortillas with the heat of a slightly oily griddle — they’re not so much frying the tortillas (which would mean completely submerging the tortillas in oil) as griddle-heating them with a tiny bit of oil.

When just-baked tortillas come off the griddle or when they’ve been reheated, they’re traditionally kept warm in a tightly woven basket (chiquihuite) lined with a cloth; some have lids, others don’t. In the Yucatan, they use hollowed-out gourds. And in modern households, they use Styrofoam containers — which are so efficient that they now come in many decorated styles. If you’re having a party, hold hot tortillas in an insulated chest (like an ice chest) lined with a towel.

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Fresh Homemade Kale Tortillas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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These take less effort than you think & are so amazing & satisfying to eat.  The kale gives them a pretty green color but doesn’t change the flavor much.  If kale isn’t your thing, I have a spinach version HERE.

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Fresh Homemade Kale Tortillas

INGREDIENTS

1 bunch kale – stems trimmed

3 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp salt

5 TBS olive oil

Water

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DIRECTIONS

Submerge the kale in a pot of boiling water for about ten minutes.  Once completely wilted, scoop it out with a slotted spoon & cool in in cold water.  RESERVE the hot kale water.  Squeeze all the water out of the kale, put the dry ball into a measuring cup & then add the hot kale water until you have 1 1/2 cups with the ball of kale in there.  If there isn’t enough kale water – just add more tap water.  Set aside.

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In your food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder & salt until blended.  Add the olive oil & pulse until it is incorporated.  Add the kale & pulse it in & then add the kale water in a slow stream & pulse until it is completely incorporated and the dough has formed a tacky ball & is traveling around the bowl.  You might not need all the water – you might need a bit extra.  If it is too sticky – just add a bit more flour & pulse it around.

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Put the dough on a lightly floured surface & roll it around to eliminate any tackiness that remains.  Dived the dough into four balls & then divide each of those four balls into three more balls.  Each ball should be about the size of a golf ball.  Let the dough rest 10 minutes or so.

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Roll out each ball as flat & thin as you can – or until they are about 8 inches across.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Do not use any oil or cooking spray.   Leave the pan dry.  Cook each tortilla on each side about 20 seconds or until brown spots begin to appear.  Over cooking will make them crispy so err on the side of under-cooking.

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Store under a clean kitchen towel as you cook all 12 tortillas.

These can be stored at room temperature in a zip-lock bag on your counter for several days.  Rewarm in the oven wrapped in foil or between damp paper towels in the microwave.

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Shrimp & Tortilla Cheesy Lasagna in a Pink Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012

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Once again – a make-shift invention born of the need to not waste ingredients I already had.  My recent homemade tortilla fixation nets me twelve tortillas at a time.  I eat two meals a day.  Even if I eat NOTHING but quesadillas (and that is what I have been doing – just ask my growing arse) – that is still 6 days of eating.  The tortillas have a three day shelf life – I am discovering.  So – out of desperation not to throw away more unused & stale tortillas – I came up with this guy.  I had everything in it already.  I used a frozen batch of my Roasted Tomato & Garlic Pasta Sauce which I recently tried on pizza & found it too acidic.  I had heavy cream left over from my Vegetable Pot Pie Cupcakes – and I plotted to curb the acid of the sauce with the smooth silkiness of the dairy.  I had a lot of grated cheese (a mix of cheddar & mostly mozzarella).  I also had frozen shrimp.  I know that cheese & seafood are an ill-suited pairing (some Italian restaurants even stating on their menus that they will not comply with any request to cheese up a seafood dish) – but these were some BS frozen shrimp in a two pound bag in danger of dying a second death due to advanced freezer burn so I decided to risk the arrival of the food police and blend them up in a recipe with a HEAVY dose of cheese.  My shrimp had tails – which I had to remove post-cooking.

I just took this thing out of the oven & tasted the slice you see in the photos.  HOLY CRAP!  This is one of the most delicious things I have ever made.  It was all I could do not to just inhale the whole piece – even though I had just eaten a quesadilla.  Outrageously delicious & undeniably, flat out out AWFUL for you!  SO much fatty cheese & cream & tortillas & yum!   I bet this would go over very big with kids or at football parties.

This is a very easy dish to prepare – especially if you use a jarred sauce (but try not to!  Try this easy 5 minute arrabiata sauce – if you possibly can) & pre-made tortillas.  You could cut the heavy cream entirely, too, to lessen the devastation to your waistline.  Maybe use cooked chicken or cooked sausage rather than shrimp?  But whatever way you make it – you gotta try it!  Trust me!

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Shrimp & Tortilla Cheesy Lasagna in a Pink Sauce

INGREDIENTS

5 flour tortillas

3 TBS butter

30 shrimp or about 1 lb – peeled & cleaned

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

6 cloves of garlic – chopped coarsely

2 cups tomato sauce

1 cup heavy cream (optional)

2 cups (or to taste) grated cheese (mozzarella or a mozzarella blend)

fresh parsley – chopped

Pico de Gallo – as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a frying pan & cook the shrimp with the garlic (I left mine whole – but you can use chopped garlic), salt, pepper & crushed red pepper (if using).  When they are pink – remove from heat.  Err on the side of under-cooking because they will cook more in the oven.

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Blend the two cups of tomato sauce with the heavy cream (if you are using it).

Grease (with olive oil, butter or cooking spray) a deep pie dish.  Put a tortilla on the bottom.  Layer with 1/4 of the shrimp, 1/5 the sauce, 1/5 the cheese & some parsley. Add another tortilla, press it down & continue in the same manner until the last tortilla which you only top with sauce & cheese.

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Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.  Remove from the oven & let rest a good ten minutes before cutting into it.

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Make a promise to yourself not to step on the scale for a few days – and serve this baby hot with more chopped parsley & pico de gallo (if using).

Enjoy!

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FOLLOW UP!!!!  This tastes great at room temperature, too!  And here is how it looks sliced up – cold out of the fridge:

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