Mini Egg and Cheese Tortilla Cups

Egg, veggie, and cheese omelets baked in tortilla cups for a super convenient and fun way to have breakfast! These mini egg and cheese tortilla cups make a great make-ahead breakfast and can be frozen too.

Sunday morning brunch is one of my favorite meals of the week. I look forward to it all week and because it’s the only time we get to have breakfast together as a family, without rushing out the door that is.

Problem is that my daughter is very picky so I’m always trying to develop recipes that she can enjoy along with us. At first, I was hesitant to add peppers to the dish but I had to because they are so good in eggs. She loved these mini egg and cheese tortilla cups and so did we!

This is as easy as it can get folks. These mini egg and cheese breakfast bites are perfect for kids and adults. They are also great on the go, take them to school or work, and watch the compliments roll in!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

The mixture I used to fill the tortillas is very basic yet absolutely delicious. You’re going to need some flour tortillas, any type of shredded cheese you like ( I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella), sour cream (you can also use heavy cream or milk), and veggies. I used a mixture of colored bell peppers and onions.

HOW TO MAKE EGG AND CHEESE TORTILLA CUPS

It all starts with cutting your small flour tortillas into even smaller circles. You want the circles to fit into a muffin tin without any excess tortilla popping out.

Next, simply whip the eggs and cream cheese, season with salt and pepper, and pour into the prepared tortilla cups. Sprinkle with your favorite mixture of veggies and sprinkle with cheese and all that’s left to do is bake!

You want to bake them until the tortilla crust is super crispy and the eggs are cooked through. If you like extra cheese, feel free to sprinkle more cheese onto them halfway through cooking.

Wanna spice it up? add some blanched broccoli, diced bacon, potato hash, or any else you would usually use in an omelet!

I advise you to make extra because these little bites will not last! my daughter literally finished half of them before they even hit the table!

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Mini Egg and Cheese Tortilla Cups

Egg, veggie, and cheese omelets baked in tortilla cups for a super convenient and fun way to have breakfast! These mini egg and cheese tortilla cups make a great make-up breakfast and can be frozen too.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Keyword cheese, egg, tortilla
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12 tortilla cups
Calories 107kcal
Author Layla

Equipment

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Kitchen Knife
  • Silicone Muffin Pan

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or milk, or heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded cheese you can use any type, I used cheddar and mozzarella
  • diced veggies I used a mixture of bell peppers and onions
  • 2 extra large tortilla or 8-12 small
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and set aside.
  • Stack tortillas and cut out 12 small (about 3.5 inch) round circles out of the tortillas, you can use anything that has a rim, can, cup, bowl. If you are using big tortillas cut the four circles out of one tortilla. If you are using small tortillas you will only be able to cut one out of each tortillas. Press each wrap circle into 12 greased muffin tins using your fingers. It’s okay if it doesn’t fit perfectly, it will balance out after you add the eggs. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whip the eggs and sour cream until fully combined, it’s okay if it’s a little lumpy, the sour cream will bake into the eggs. Add half of the cheese and set half aside, sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Pour the equally into the prepared muffin tins ( into the tortillas), then sprinkle the veggies as desired.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes sprinkle the rest of the cheese on the eggs, continue baking for 3-5 minutes more or until cheese is bubbly and tortilla crust is golden. Serve warm, eat using a fork or grab one and bite right in!

Nutrition

Serving: 1tortilla cup | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 121mg | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 670IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 1mg

Yogurt Banana Bread

I’ve been even more diligent about keeping my food waste low since the pandemic started, since our visits to the grocery store are few and far between. So when I was taking stock of what was on hand the other day, the puzzle pieces started to move into place in my head, and I saw everything I needed to make a glorious loaf of banana bread. Yogurt banana bread, to be exact. Why yogurt? Read on to find out.

Homemade Banana Bread with Yogurt and Walnuts

Why Add Yogurt to Banana Bread?

Yogurt is a great ingredient for adding to banana bread and other baked goods. It keeps the bread moist, tender, and super delicious without using a ton of butter or oil. You’ll want to use plain yogurt for this recipe, not pre-sweetened. I have not tested Greek-style yogurt in this recipe, but would guess that it would make a slightly more dense loaf, since it has less moisture than regular yogurt.

How Ripe Should the Bananas Be?

The more ripe the banana, the better for banana bread. As bananas ripen the starches turn to sugar, so an un-ripe banana will not be as sweet or as soft (good for mashing). Try to wait until your bananas have NO green left and are about half spotted. If your bananas get to the perfect banana bread ripeness, but you’re not quite ready to make banana bread, simply peel them, toss them into a freezer bag, and freeze them until you’re ready.

Can I Bake These As Muffins?

Yes, this batter works great for banana muffins, too! Just divide the batter between 12 wells of a muffin tin and bake for about 40 minutes at 350ºF. 

What Else Can I Add to Banana Bread?

Banana bread is fun because you can add all sorts of stuff to it. I used walnuts here, but they’re completely optional. You can do other nuts, like pecans or even shredded coconut. Chocolate also pairs really well with bananas, so you can add ½ cup chocolate chips, or melt the chocolate and swirl it into the batter once it’s in the bread pan. A little bit of well-drained canned crushed pineapple would also be fun!

How to Store Banana Bread

After baking the banana bread, let it cool completely to room temperature, then transfer it to a gallon-sized zip top bag and store in the refrigerator. It will last in the refrigerator for about five days. I like to slice mine before refrigerating, so I can just take one slice out at a time to have with my coffee. About 15 seconds in the microwave and it’s warm and delicious, just like fresh baked!

One slice of yogurt banana bread smeared with butter held close to the camera

P.S. Banana bread is really good with a little peanut butter or almond butter drizzled over top!

 
A loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board, a few slices scattered, one smeared with butter

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Yogurt Banana Bread

This super moist banana bread recipe uses plain yogurt to keep the bread soft and tender with less butter or oil. Add walnuts or even chocolate!
Total Cost $3.68 recipe / $0.46 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 thick slices
Calories 294.93kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

  • Glass Loaf Pan
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk
  • Measuring Cups Spoons

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas) $0.42
  • 1 cup plain yogurt $0.67
  • 2 large eggs $0.46
  • 1/2 cup sugar $0.40
  • 4 Tbsp butter, melted $0.52
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract $0.30
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour $0.23
  • 1 tsp baking powder $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts $0.60

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Rub a little butter on the inside of a loaf pan to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Mash the banana well, then add it to a large bowl along with the yogurt, eggs, sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk these ingredients until they’re well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg until well combined.
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir together just until there is no dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl (a few lumps are okay, just be careful not to over stir). Gently fold in the chopped walnuts.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, then bake in the preheated 350ºF oven for 60 minutes, or until the bread is brown, cracked open on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (a few moist crumbs are okay, just no raw batter).
  • After baking, let the banana bread cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Once it’s slightly cooled it will have pulled away from the bread pan slightly. Run a knife along the sides between the bread and pan, then gently turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cool, slice and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 294.93kcal | Carbohydrates: 38.83g | Protein: 6.56g | Fat: 13.28g | Sodium: 348.49mg | Fiber: 1.89g

You might also like my Banana Flax Muffins!

A half sliced loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board with one pat of butter in the center of one slice

How to Make Yogurt Banana Bread – Step by Step Photos

Mashed banana in a measuring cup next to a banana peel

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Rub a little butter inside a loaf pan to coat the bottom and sides. Make 1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 bananas). I do this in a glass measuring cup with a fork. It should only take about 30 seconds.

Wet ingredients for banana bread in a bowl

Add the mashed banana to a large bowl along with 1 cup plain yogurt, 2 large eggs, ½ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp melted butter, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Whisk these ingredients together until they’re well combined.

Dry ingredients for banana bread in a separate bowl

In a separate bowl, combine 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ½ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Stir until well combined.

Wet and dry ingredients being stirred together

Pour the bowl of dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir just until they are combined and no dry flour remains on the bottom of the bowl. A few lumps are okay, but make sure there are no pockets of dry flour left. Avoid over stirring. (photo is half-way through stirring)

Chopped walnuts added to batter

Fold ½ cup chopped walnuts into the batter.

Banana Bread batter in loaf pan

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Baked yogurt banana bread being held by two hands with white towels

Bake the bread in the preheated 350ºF oven for about 60 minutes, or until the bread is browned, the top is cracked open, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (“clean” means no raw batter, a few moist crumbs stuck to the toothpick are okay).

Side view of a loaf of yogurt banana bread on a wooden cutting board, half of it sliced, one slice with butter

Allow the bread to cool for about 15 minutes in the pan. It will pull away from the pan slightly as it cools. Run a knife along the sides between the bread and loaf pan, then gently turn the bread out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Once cooled, slice and serve.

The post Yogurt Banana Bread appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Instant Pot Yogurt

You’ll be amazed at how EASY it is to make perfect Instant Pot Yogurt, with just two ingredients, and at a fraction of the cost of store-bought. Choose non-fat, low-fat yogurt, or whole fat yogurt, and the flavor mix-ins you add at the end.

Don’t miss my other simple instant pot recipes, like Instant Pot Corn on the Cob, Instant Pot Meatloaf, and Instant Pot Ribs.

What I love about this recipe:

  • Inexpensive: For the quantity of yogurt this recipe makes you’d spend around $15 dollars at the store. The ingredients here cost closer to $5!
  • Easy, and healthier than store-bought. I love knowing exactly what is going in our food. This yogurt is creamy and delicious!

This recipe is nearly fool-proof! It requires, patience (the process takes around 10 hours), but is almost entirely hands-off!

One thing that separates an instant pot from a regular pressure cooker is its unique functions like the “yogurt” button, which allows you to make homemade yogurt in it! The instant pot provides a safe method to incubate yogurt—keep it at a constant warm temperature in the target zone of 110 and 115 degrees F– allowing the bacteria in it to multiply properly and thicken to create smooth, creamy yogurt.

What you’ll need: 

  • Milk: The higher the fat in the yogurt, the creamier and thicker the end result will be. That said, you can use skim, 1%, 2% or whole milk! If using skim milk, see my recipe notes for a necessary adaptation.
  • Yogurt with active cultures: Any store-bough plain yogurt will work as long as you check that it has Active Bacteria Cultures in it (most do!). Check the label for the ingredients Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus.
  • Instant-read digital thermometer.
  • Optional: cheesecloth to strain the yogurt to make Greek yogurt, or thicker yogurt, if desired. You can buy cheesecloth at most grocery stores in the baking or kitchen gadget section.

Ingredients and equipment needed for Instant pot yogurt including milk, yogurt starter and an instant pot.

How to make Instant Pot Yogurt:

Before starting clean your instant pot really well with soap and water, or steralize it by adding 2 cups of cold water, closing the lid and sealing the vent, and setting it to high pressure for 3 minutes, with a natural release.

1. Heat milk to 180-200 degrees.  Add milk to the instant pot and place the lid on it (it doesn’t matter if the vent is sealed or not). Press the “yogurt” button and then press “adjust” until the screen says “BOIL”.

When the Instant Pot beeps, the milk is hot and ready. Remove the lid and check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure it has reached 180-200 degreed F.

2. Allow milk to cool to down to 110°F -115°F degrees F. This will take 1-2 hours if left alone, or speed up the process by placing the pot into a bowl of ice water for about 10-15 minutes. Check often with a thermometer. Spoon off any milk skin that has formed on top.

Three process photos for adding milk to instant pot and heating to 180°.

3. Add Yogurt Starter. Remove a ladleful of the warm milk into a bowl and whisk the yogurt starter into it. Then pour the mixture into the pot and whisk to combine.

4. Set Yogurt Timer:  Place the inner pot back in the instant pot and secure the lid (again, it doesn’t matter if the vent is sealed or not). Press the “Yogurt” button and adjust until it reads 8:00 to 12:00 hours (less time for looser, milder yogurt and more time for thicker, tangier yogurt).

When the time is up, check the yogurt. You will know it’s  ready when it has thickened and jiggles only very slightly, like jello. (After refrigerating for a few hours it will set up even more.)

Active cultures added to warm milk, then Instant Pot timer set.

5. Refrigerate.  Remove the yogurt to a container or cover the inner instant pot bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, before serving. This allows the yogurt to thicken and set up more. Stir well before serving.

Store in containers in the fridge and enjoy within 10 days.A spoonful of yogurt help up from an instant pot with homemade yogurt in it.

Note: Homemade yogurt will be a little thinner and sometimes slightly lumpier in texture than store bought yogurt that has added stabilizers in it. Give it a good whisk each time before serving.

To make Greek Yogurt:

After the yogurt is made place cheese cloth over a fine mesh strainer and set it on a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the strainer and allow it to strain for at least 2 hours or up to 6. (If it strains for too long it will become closer to cream cheese, then yogurt). Scoop out the thick Greek yogurt and store in a container in the fridge for 7-10 days.

Yogurt pouring into a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth covering.

Whey from the yogurt will drain into the bowl and it can be discarded or saved and used for protein smoothies or shakes.

Can I use skim milk?

Yes! You can make non-fat yogurt in the instant pot using skim milk, but because skim milk is missing the fat that helps thicken the yogurt, add an extra tablespoon of yogurt starter for every quart of milk. So, for 1 gallon of skim milk and 6 tablespoons of yogurt starter.

Troubleshooting: Yogurt is runny and didn’t set up.

This can happen if too much starter is added, or if the yogurt has not incubated for long enough. Leave it incubating, checking it every hour. It could also be from adding the starter when the milk was too hot, killing the active cultures.

Add flavors and mix-ins:

One your yogurt has chilled, add flavors, sweeteners or toppings, like:

  • Vanilla extract
  • Honey or maple syrup
  • Jam or fruit preserves
  • lemon curd
  • cranberry sauce
  • granola
  • fruit

Homemade yogurt in a cup with honey, berries, granola and a spoon.

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

Homemade yogurt will last stored in the fridge for 7-10 days, or can be frozen for up to one month. The frozen yogurt can act as a yogurt starter for future batches of yogurt. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Use yogurt in these recipes:  
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Green Smoothies
  • Chocolate or Carrot Muffins
  • Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
  • Balsamic Bread Dip
  • Scones
  • Vanilla Pound Cake
  • Shrimp Taco Sauce
  • As a substitute for sour cream or Mexican crema.
Instant pot yogurt served in a cup with berries and granola on top.

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Instant Pot Yogurt

You’ll be amazed at how EASY it is to make perfect Instant Pot Yogurt with just two ingredients, and at a fraction of the cost of store-bought.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 5 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 120kcal
Author Lauren Allen

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (6 or 8 Quart)
  • Instant-read digital thermometer.
  • Cheesecloth (Optional): to strain the yogurt for Greek yogurt/thicker yogurt, if desired. You can buy cheesecloth at most grocery stores in the baking or kitchen gadget section.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon milk*
  • 1/4 cup yogurt with active cultures (or yogurt starter)*

Instructions

  • Before starting, clean your 6 or 8 Quart Instant Pot really well with soap and water, or sterilize it by adding 2 cups of cold water, closing the lid and sealing the vent, and setting it to high pressure for 3 minutes, with a natural release.
  • Heat milk to 180-200 degrees.  Add milk to the instant pot and place the lid on it (it doesn’t matter if the vent is sealed or not). Press the “yogurt” button and then press “adjust” until the screen says “BOIL”.
  • When the Instant Pot beeps, the milk is hot and ready. Remove the lid and check the temperature with a thermometer to make sure it has reached 180-200 degreed F.
  • Allow milk to cool to down to 110°F -115°F degrees F. This will take 1-2 hours if left alone, or speed up the process by placing the pot into a bowl of ice water for about 10-15 minutes. Check often with a thermometer. Spoon off any milk skin that has formed on top.
  • Add Yogurt Starter. Remove a ladleful of the warm milk into a bowl and whisk the yogurt starter into it. Then pour the mixture into the pot and whisk to combine.
  • Set Yogurt Timer:  Place the inner pot back in the instant pot and secure the lid (again, it doesn’t matter if the vent is sealed or not). Press the “Yogurt” button and adjust until it reads 8:00 to 12:00 hours (less time for looser, milder yogurt and more time for thicker, tangier yogurt).
  • When the time is up, check the yogurt. You will know it’s ready when it has thickened and jiggles only slightly, like jello. (After refrigerating for a few hours it will set up even more.)
  • Refrigerate.  Remove the yogurt to a container or cover the inner instant pot bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, before serving. This allows the yogurt to thicken and set up more. Stir well before serving.
  • Store in containers in the fridge and enjoy within 10 days.

Notes

Yogurt starter: You need to use a yogurt starter or store-bought plain yogurt that has active cultures in it (most do). Check the label for the ingredients Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus. Do NOT use flavored yogurt! You can add flavor after the yogurt is made. (When testing this recipe I used plain, non-fat Greek yogurt).

Milk: I use regular cows dairy milk from the grocery store (pasteurized milk). The higher the fat in the milk, the creamier and thicker the end result yogurt will be. Whole milk is preferred for the creamiest and thickest result, but I’ve had great success using low-fat milk.

  • Skim milk (nonfat): If using skim milk, add 6 tablespoons of yogurt starter instead of 1/4 cup and incubate for 10 hours. You may notice a layer of liquid on top when it’s finished incubating–just spoon it off and discard it.
  • Raw milk: I have not tested this recipe with raw milk, but I’ve read that the results can be inconsistent based on the microbes in the raw milk competing with the yogurt starter. Let me know if you try it with raw milk! Sheep milk and Goat milk could be also used but the yogurt will take on those respective flavors.
  • Dairy-free yogurt: Try these recipes for Soy milk yogurt or coconut milk yogurt. 

To make Greek Yogurt:

After the yogurt is made place cheese cloth over a fine mesh strainer and set it on a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the strainer and allow it to strain for at least 2 hours or up to 6. (If it strains for too long it will become closer to cream cheese, then yogurt). Scoop out the thick Greek yogurt and store in a container in the fridge for 7-10 days.

Whey from the yogurt will drain into the bowl and it can be discarded or saved and used for protein smoothies or shakes.

Doubling or halving the recipe:

  • Every 1 quart (4 cups) of milk need 1 Tablespoon of yogurt starter. If using more than 1 gallon of milk, you will need an 8 quart instant pot. To halve the recipe, use 1/2 gallon of milk and 2 tablespoons yogurt starter. 

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

Homemade yogurt will last stored in the fridge for 7-10 days, or can be frozen for up to one month. The frozen yogurt can act as a yogurt starter for future batches of yogurt. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 112mg | Potassium: 331mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 241IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 286mg | Iron: 1mg

Yield: Makes about 16 cups of yogurt. Nutritional information is based on 1 cup servings, using 2% milk.

*This post contains affiliate links. I love sharing my favorite products with you!

The post Instant Pot Yogurt appeared first on Tastes Better From Scratch.

20 Minute Cheesy Beef and Shells

This cheesy beef and shells recipe is so simple to make with just a few ingredients straight out of your pantry, plus it all comes together in 20 minutes. Comforting, cheesy dinner that the whole family will love!

One of my favorite shell pasta is this chicken broccoli garlic alfredo shells and this three cheese stuff pasta shells recipe. They both have a rich, thick sauce that is SO amazing and comes together quickly for a delicious family meal!

20 Minute Cheesy Beef and Shells

Our family loves all things pasta. It is simple, delicious and everyone approves! With this pantry style meal you will have a complete meal in no time. I say pantry style because this truly is all pantry ingredients and ready to go for you. 20 minutes all pasta, brown beef and cheese is all cooked and stirred together ready for your family. It is one of my kids all time favorite dinners and I love it just as much because it is little, to no effort making it!

The ultimate cheesy beef and shells recipe is going to be one you will add to your weekly menu plan. This is picture perfect for a quick meal on a busy night or just a comforting meal after spending long hours doing it all around the home or at work. Gather around the table and be comforted with this cheesy beef and shells recipe that will sure please the whole family!

Ingredients for Cheesy Beef and Shells:

Simple ingredients right from your pantry! Cook up the meat, pasta and combine adding in all the delicious cheese and seasonings. You will love this pasta dish in no time!

  • Medium Sized Shells: Our family loves shells. It soaks up all the sauce and even stores it inside the shell.
  • Olive Oil: Cooking the ground beef in
  • Onion and Garlic Cloves: Adds flavoring to the meat while it is being sautéed.
  • Ground Beef: Lean beef is what I prefer but what you have on hand will work well. Cook until it is tender and brown.
  • Flour: This will create a thickener for the sauce.
  • Italian Seasoning: Bring in some Italian flavoring that is simple and already mixed together.
  • Salt and Pepper: to taste
  • Beef Broth: Adds flavoring as well as liquid while cooking together.
  • Tomato Sauce: Any type of sauce works even flavored tomato sauce is delicious!
  • Cream Cheese: Melt into the skillet for a rich and creamy sauce.
  • Cheddar Cheese: It is best to shred your own cheese since pre shredded cheese has added flour.

How to Make a 20 Minute Family Meal:

It doesn’t take long to create a family meal everyone will love. It is a simple dinner that is over the top delicious!

  1. Cook the Pasta: In a large pot, cook the shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  2. Brown the Meat: In a large skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes until almost tender and add the ground beef. Cook and crumble the ground beef until brown.
  3. Create a Thickener: Add the flour, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and mix. Slowly stir in beef broth and tomato sauce. Let simmer until it starts to thicken.
  4. Combine Together: Add in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese.  Let the cheese melt and stir until heated throughout.

The Recipe Critic Pro Tip:

To prevent the pasta from becoming soggy by the end, cook the pasta al dente. That way when combined with more ingredients it will continue to cook and soften without becoming soggy or mushy.

The process of browning beef then adding in seasoning, pasta, cream cheese and cheese.

The Recipe Critic Tips:

Make this easier with my tips to help make this 20 minute meal even better!

  • Cooking Pasta: It is best to add in salt to the water to keep the pasta from sticking together when you drain it.
  • Pasta: Cook your pasta al dente which is slightly under being cooked. Th pasta will continue to cook as it is being sautéed in the skillet with the remaining ingredients. This will keep it from becoming soggy and mushy at the end.
  • Ground Beef: Once the ground beef is cooked through, I recommend draining the grease after it is cooking. If you are using a leaner beef you may not have to drain it.
  • Grating Cheese: It does take a little longer but I recommend using freshly grated cheddar cheese. This will help melt faster and in your favor.
  • Cream Cheese: To speed up the process, let your cream cheese soften at room temperature before adding it to the sauce.

Variations:

Try this cheesy beef and pasta shells your way or even a little healthier with different variations.

  • Pasta: Bowtie, elbow macaroni, rotini or penne pasta are also great choices.
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey are delicious substitutions.
  • Sauce: Pick and choose your favorite tomato sauce to add in.
  • Seasoning: Add some spice with red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Stock: Make this pasta dish a little healthier with unsalted or low sodium stock or broth. Vegetable stock also works for a vegetarian style pasta meal.
  • Cheese: Create a Mexican style variation with Mexican blend cheese or use Colby jack cheese for a different flavoring.
  • Add Ins: Vegetables like zucchini, carrots, bell peppers and even onions make this a little more flavorful and healthy.

Cheesy beef and shells in a skillet cooked together.

How to Store Beef and Shells Dinner:

  • Refrigerate: After cooking, let it cool completely. Once cooled add the pasta dinner to an airtight container or ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days long. For best results reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.
  • Can you Freeze Pasta? Yes! This will freeze well in an airtight ziplock bag. When you are ready to reheat, thaw the bag completely. Warm up on the stove top or in the microwave gently stirring until it is warm. This will last in the freezer for about 1 to 3 months long.

Cheesy beef and shells in a bowl.

More Comforting Pasta Dishes:

  • Chicken Enchilada Pasta
  • 10 Minute Pesto Pasta
  • Instant Pot Pasta with Meatballs
  • Chicken Alfredo Pasta
  • Cheesy Chicken, Bacon and Broccoli Ranch Pasta

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20 Minute Cheesy Beef and Shells

This cheesy beef and shells recipe is so simple to make with just a few ingredients straight out of your pantry, plus it all comes together in 20 minutes. Comforting, cheesy dinner that the whole family will love! 
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8 People
Calories 382kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce Medium Sized Shells
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 small Onion diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 pound Lean Ground Beef
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 cups Beef Broth
  • 1 15 ounce can Tomato Sauce
  • 4 ounce Cream Cheese cubed
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese shredded

Instructions

  • In a large pot, cook the shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
  • In a large skillet over medium high heat add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook 2-3 minutes until almost tender and add the ground beef. Cook and crumble the ground beef until brown. Add the flour, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper and mix. Slowly stir in beef broth and tomato sauce. Let simmer until it starts to thicken.
  • Add in the cooked pasta, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese. Let the cheese melt and stir until heated throughout.

Nutrition

Calories: 382kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 630mg | Potassium: 364mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 484IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 246mg | Iron: 2mg

Suraikai thuvaiyal, bottle gourd pith thogayal recipe

Suraikai thuvaiyal with center soft portion, tender seeds. Bottle gourd pith can be used for making thogayal, don’t waste it.

Suraikai or bottle gourd is bought rarely at home, I don’t know why I avoid buying. Given the situation, we don’t get air flown veggies from India. So thought of buying bottle gourd as it is available in groceries. But my weekday trials for blog kind of flopped continuously for new post. So thought of making something with suraikai that I bought. I made halwa with it but suddenly idea flashed to try the pith thogayal. I wasn’t sure if the peels also could be used, so just used the pith (soft white portion we discard usually).

Just make sure the veggie is tender, the seeds should be small (young) and not big/ old. Luckily my bottle gourd was having tender seeds, so it workded. This is super simple thogayal, just the basic way I make any thogayal. It’s my trademark ingredient and procedure that i learnt from mom. Didn’t want experiment with the other versions of using tomato, garlic and all those which we don’t use normally.

Dry red chilli, urad dal, asafoetida, tamarind, jaggery and salt,  is the main thing I use for any

Ingredients

  • 1 bottle gourd’s pith chopped roughly
  • 10 dry red chilli medium spice
  • 2 tbsp urad dal heaped
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind small gooesberry size
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/4 tsp jaggery
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt as needed

Instructions

  • Remove the pith of the bottle gourd and chop it roughly.
  • In a pan, heat oil. Roast red chilli, urad dal and asafoetida until urad dal turns deep red.
  • Remove in a plate for cooling, leaving the oil in the pan itself.
  • Add bottle gourd and sautee in the same oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt for easy cooking.
  • Once translucent, remove in plate. Cool down.
  • First place roasted red chilli, urad dal, asafoetida and salt in the blender. Powder it coarsely.
  • Add the sauteed suraikai/ bottle gourd pith and grind, not really smooth but with some texture.

Notes

  • I had some bottle gourd pieces too, so added along.
  • You can make the same with chopped bottle gourd too.
  • For any thogayal, it is important to balance spice, tamarind/ tanginess and salt for perfect taste. So add more tamarind, more chilli. Adjust chilli according to spice level. I added more as I like spicy thogayal.

Suraikai thuvaiyal method:

  1. Remove the pith of the bottle gourd and chop it roughly.
  2. Take the ingredients needed ready.
  3. In a pan, heat oil. Roast red chilli, urad dal and asafoetida until urad dal turns deep red. Remove in a plate for cooling, leaving the oil in the pan itself.
  4. Add bottle gourd and sautee in the same oil. Sprinkle a pinch of salt for easy cooking. Once translucent, remove in plate. Cool down.
  5. First place roasted red chilli, urad dal, asafoetida and salt in the blender. Powder it coarsely.
  6. Add the sauteed suraikai/ bottle gourd pith and grind, not really smooth but with some texture. Transfer to serving bowl.

You can mix with rice, drizzle generous sesame oil and enjoy. Goes well as a side to rasam rice, curd rice or sambar rice.

 

 

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Homemade Refried Beans

If you’ve only had refried beans from a can, this should be the next recipe you cook. Homemade refried beans are a game-changer. They’re simple to make and having them on hand makes it simple to throw together meals for days. Think tacos, tostadas, chilaquiles, and next-level bean dips. There are a lot of opinions about how to make refried beans. I’ll just say this: when I’m home alone, and there’s no one else to share a meal with, this is how I cook them. This version is so incredibly good that I usually just enjoy them by the spoonful. But it’s also so simple that I didn’t think to share the recipe here until a number of you asked when you saw me cooking in one of my Stories recently. So here we go!

My Refried Bean Technique

The way I cook refried beans is quite straight-forward, although I do have a couple somewhat unconventional moves that I stand by. I like my beans with depth and flavor, while still maintaining some brightness and lightness. I use just the right amount of olive oil to cook well-minced onions along with the beans and plenty of their broth. Smoked paprika adds a hint of smoky depth you can’t quite put a finger on, while keeping things vegetarian. My secret ingredient is a finishing splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice. I think it’s the element that helps keep the beans from seeming too heavy, and the acidity counters the starchiness of the beans. Don’t skimp on the lemon juice.

Good Beans Matter

I feel like a bit of a broken record. You hear this from me every time I feature a bean recipe. Try to purchase dried beans from a source that has good turnover. You don’t want to buy a bag of dusty, sad beans that has been on the shelf too long. Bulk sections of grocery stores often move through their beans and pulses quickly, or keep your eyes peeled for dried beans at your local farmers markets, co-ops, and the like. Or, search around for heirloom beans online – there are so many wonderful beautiful varietals. I use pinto beans here, but you can certainly explore other types of beans – black beans, cranberry beans, etc. Play around!

Mash Before Cooking

One last thing I’ll mention before we get to the recipe. A lot of people like to mash their beans at the end of the cooking process, but I usually do it at the beginning. It’s less messy this way, you aren’t working over a hot burner, and I find it easier to get the the consistency just right. I’ll mention it down below, a potato masher is great for this. Any mashing tool: a pestle in a bowl, a big fork, whatever can smash beans. A few pulses with a hand blender can also work, but I like the consistency you get from doing it by hand, and there’s no extra appliance to wash.

I hope you try these! They really are one of my favorite simple culinary pleasures. And if you’re on the lookout for other bean inspiration I’ve done this post about how to cook beans that are tender, creamy and nearly perfect using an easy, lower temperature long cooking method. Enjoy!

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