Cooking 411

Thank you all so much for your support, advice, and offers of help in response to my post in which I detailed the realization that I cannot cook myself out of a cardboard box. I have the best readers on the planet. Seriously.

So, I listened to you. I responded to M, asking her for the simple recipes she offered. Marie and Shannon told me to try some crockpot recipes, so I'm currently scouring the Internet for some good ones that will suit my fussy palatte. Dianne and Clare and Princess offered help with making baby food (yay!), along with some easy recipes, and Sher pointed me in the direction of Nigella for some good kid-friendly recipes.

And Sunshine, Caryl, and Christine made me feel a whole lot better about serving Isabella chicken and baked macaroni and cheese every night of the week!

Bolstered by all your confidence in me (which with regard to my skills in the kitchen, at least in cooking, I am severely lacking, I aimed for the following:

1.) This week (or next), I'm hitting the bookstore to find a good resource for making baby food.

2.) I'm going to try and start to cook more often on my own, and rely less on my loving relations and the microwave. And you'll be so proud of me! I started this past weekend.

It must be said that I am what you may call a Pampered Chef afficiando. Over the years, by attending others' parties, I do believe I have amassed half the catalog in PC-ware. The stuff is high-quality. It lasts forever. And I love the stoneware, because it never burns cookies. Ever! And now my friend Jenny is a consultant, which makes getting my PC fix easier than ever.

So a few months ago, I bought a new PC cookbook called All the Best, which, as you might guess, has "all the best" PC recipes, from appetizers to main dishes to desserts. And though it was tempting, this weekend I did not bake a dessert. I made a main course! And my efforts didn't result in my house being burned to the ground either.

I made a Chicken and Beef Taco Wreath. Half of the wreath (made of crescent rolls) was comprised of just chicken and cheese (for me), and the other half was beef taco for Rich. It was easy to make, except for the whole assembly of the wreath itself, which I believe would have gone a lot more smoothly if Isabella hadn't been screaming the entire time I was trying to figure out how to assemble it (she needed to eat too). But, either way, the finished product was delicious!

This is a great recipe to make if you're having a holiday party, because if you do it correctly (which I did not) it looks mighty impressive. And either way, I'm proud of myself for giving it a shot. This is definitely something I wouldn't have attempted in the past. But the time has come for me to give cooking a shot, people! I can do it, right?

(Half) Chicken and (Half) Beef Taco Wreath

Beef Taco

.75 pounds lean ground beef*
1/2 package taco seasoning mix
.75 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 TBSP water
(Optional toppings: salsa, shredded lettuce, chopped onion, sliced olives, and sour cream)


1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook ground beef until no longer pink, and break beef into crumbles. Drain, and then stir in taco mix, most of the cheese, and the water. Set aside.


(I'll give you the recipe for Chicken Club, although I omitted all the ingredients except chicken and cheese. I know. Freakish. Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

1.5 cups coarsely chopped cooked chicken
2 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/8 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 TBSP fresh parsley
1/2 garlic glove, pressed
1 plum tomato, sliced

1.) Combine chicken, bacon, most of the cheese, mayo, mustard, parsley, and garlic. Mix well.

Now for the wreath-making!

You need 2 packages of refrigerated crescent rolls. Unroll them, and arrange them 8 of them in a circle on a baking stone, with the edges hanging off. Then, arrange the other 8 in the center of the stone, matching the wide ends with the triangles already in place (the points will overlap in the center), like so:
Then, roll over the seams where the trianges meet to create a smooth surface.

Scoop the filling evenly over the dough in a continuous circle.

Now comes the part where I didn't do it exactly as I should have. You're supposed to create a wreath pattern by bringing up the edges. I didn't have the time, patience, or attention-span to perfect this, so I just did it my own way, which I think turned out fine. If you're going to try this, and want to do it correctly, let me know and I'll email you the proper directions.

Once you're finished, stick it in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes (Mine was a bit crispy, since I was feeding the babe while it was cooking, and couldn't watch the oven, but it still tasted great!)

So I cooked! Yay for me!

*These quantities are halved, because I made a half-and-half wreath. Double them to make the entire wreath as beef taco or as chicken

11 Responses to “Cooking 411”

  1. # Blogger M

    OMG this is hilarious. This is one of the recipes I was going to give you! I call it a Taco Ring...but same thing. I also have the Pampered Chef baking stones which I use for this recipe.
    I'll be back later to post my other recipes. Right now I'm making soup for lunch.  

  2. # Blogger My Wombinations


    I have been reading your blog forever, but JUST got around to starting my own. I will try this recipe for sure. And CONGRATS on your gorgeous baby. I am loving this NaBloWriMo (sp?) by the way!


  3. # Blogger Christine

    Yum and what a good idea.

    If you eat beans, you could also spruce up your side with some canned refried beans. Because Goya loves me. We're big on mexican inspired in my house. Because god bless easy food.  

  4. # Blogger Marie

    Hooray for you Kristi!! This is awesome! I remember having this at your PC party. Look at you, taking the bull by the horn. WOOOOOT!

    I do have some easy crockpot recipes & will share... probably after Thanksgiving. I'm trying to wrap up stuff to hit the road now...

    Happy Thanksgiving!!! Isabella's first!

    ps -- we serve a LOT of PB&J here. And macn'cheese. The little one doesn't always like what I make. Though he does like chili -- go figure!  

  5. # Blogger The Princess

    I have a TON of easy recipes...feel free to email me for them!  

  6. # Blogger Damselfly

    Oh, that taco wreath. Bellissimo! I hope to hear about your baby food endeavors.  

  7. # Blogger purplepassion

    Hi, I found you through the NaBloPoMo Randomizer. I'm a PC rep in Miami and I can't make that wreath. I make the ring. It's in the cookbook you have. Yours cam out great but the ring is just easier to put together when your in a hurry and under stress.
    how picky an eater are you, my husband is super picky! Do you eat lettuce? Buy a bag of shreaded lettuce and once the wreath/ring is done fill the center with the lettuce. It looks great and adds salad to your meal. Also, get a red pepper (one that will stand on a flat surface)cut off the top and take out the seeds. Fill the pepper with salsa, or other topping for one of the rings and place that in the center of the lettuce. What a presentation! and if you have the PC v-cutter, cut the pepper with that- it looks beautiful. Realize that you can put the meal that you made together while the baby is down for a nap and pop into the overn when you are ready to eat.
    I have tons of easy - super easy- recipies. I'll share later.
    Good luck and have fun with it.  

  8. # Blogger sher

    Oh I love it!!!!! Who wouldn't love that? The name alone is fabulous. Chicken on one side and beef on the other? Brilliant! I want some.  

  9. # Blogger jenny

    I'm happy I can support you with getting your "PC fix". I think I owe you a new cookbook for all the great PC promotion in this posting :)
    The ring is definitely an easier shape but your wreath looked good too. When I first started reading the post I wasn't sure how you were going to describe the shape without pictures but of course you were prepared with those too! Purple passion also made a good point that you can make these ahead of time and then bake when you're ready. (Make sure your stone isn't too cold when you put it in the oven though). I'm sure you'll be cooking as well as you bake in no time!  

  10. # Blogger Binulatti

    Sorry Shish. I'm disappointed. I don't find this "succulent, tasty or kind." Remember the "Meat is Murder" sticker on your old Lebaron? I do.

    "And I always looked at animals and thought they were very much like children and they looked to us always to help them and save them and protect them." - Morrissey  

  11. # Blogger My Wombinations

    This looks so good. I am going to make this next week.  

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