Now that school is back in session, harried parents will be looking for the most efficient ways to use the few hours they have between getting home and going to bed. Somewhere amid the after-school activities, homework, church events, bath time and bedtime stories, they have to squeeze in dinner, and occasionally, they’d like for it to not include a drive-thru window and eating in the car. For school nights when the family has time to gather around the table for a sit-down meal, Allatoona High culinary arts instructor Anne Alejandro offers a few quick and easy recipes that don’t take all evening to prepare.
Burrata Caprese Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
• 1 ball of burrata cheese
• 2-3 large tomatoes, sliced, or 1 package grape tomatoes, halved
• Handful of large basil leaves
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
• Kosher salt
• Fresh cracked pepper
• 1 small red onion, sliced thin (optional)
Place the burrata ball in the middle of a platter and arrange tomato slices or halves and basil leaves around the cheese. If using red onion, sprinkle the slices on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle everything with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, just enough to moisten everything and bring in flavor. Sprinkle on kosher salt and black pepper. Yield: 4 servings.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
• 1 pound ground beef
• 1 packet taco seasoning
• Water (as called for on back of seasoning packet, usually ¾ cup)
• 3 (8-inch) flour tortillas (soft-taco size)
• ½ cup salsa con queso
• 1½-2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
Brown and crumble ground beef. Drain excess grease. Add in taco seasoning and water, following directions on back of seasoning packet. Once taco meat is ready, turn off heat and add ½ cup salsa con queso. Stir until thoroughly combined. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Layer the bottom of the pan with a flour tortilla. Add about ⅓ of the ground beef taco filling on the first layer then add ⅓ of shredded cheese. Continue until you’re done with all the layers: another tortilla, more taco mixture, more cheese. Bake about 15-20 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are slightly golden brown. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes. Slice and serve. Top with desired toppings. Servings: 6.
• 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
• 10-ounce can enchilada sauce
• 4 ounces cream cheese
• 1½ cups of your favorite salsa
• 4-ounce can chopped green chilies (undrained)
• 8 flour tortillas (6 inches)
• 1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Step one: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Next, place cream cheese and salsa in a large saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring until the cream cheese is melted and blended with the salsa. Stir chicken and green chilies into the cream cheese mixture and remove from heat.
Step two: Pour ½ cup of enchilada sauce into a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and swirl around until the entire bottom is covered. Next, spoon approximately ⅓ cup of chicken mixture onto a tortilla, roll it up and place it seam side down in the sauce-covered pan. Continue to do this until you’ve filled all 8 tortillas. Cover with the remaining enchilada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Step three: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are heated throughout. Take out of the oven and serve.
Chicken Broccoli Braid
• 3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
• 1 cup broccoli florets
• ¼ cup onion, diced
• 1 bell pepper, chopped
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 16 ounces crescent rolls (2 tubes)
• Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine chicken, broccoli, onion, garlic, cheddar cheese, bell pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper. Open crescent rolls and arrange in a large rectangle on a lined baking sheet. Press dough to remove perforations. Slice 1-inch strands into each side of the dough, leaving an unsliced portion in the middle. Arrange chicken filling in center area of dough. Bring alternating strands of dough to the center around filling, pressing lightly to seal. Bake 25-28 minutes or until golden brown.