Homemade Dinosaur Tortilla Chips

Making tortilla chips at home is a relatively simple, yet somewhat time consuming endeavor.  Anyone who tells you differently is lying.  The reality of the situation is that you can purchase tortilla chips that are completely adequate for holding toppings at Costco for close to what it would cost to make your own.

Why would anyone take the time to make tortilla chips?

Dinosaur Chips

Dinosaur Chips

To get Dinosaur Chips, of course!!

My Little Man loves dinosaurs and nachos.  Combine his two loves and get dinachos!

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make tortilla chips into fun shapes:

Supplies

Grab some corn tortillas from the grocery store.  Don’t get the weird gluten free, no calorie, organic, raw corn tortillas.  They don’t cook up well.  Also grab a large cookie cutter.  We have a set of large dinosaur cutters that I use for cookies, sandwiches, and other random things that need to be shaped like a dinosaur.

I use the following method for cutting out tortillas:

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Place the tortilla over the cookie cutter.

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Use a rolling pin to get enough pressure to cut the tortilla.  Tortillas are tough little buggers.

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Ta-da!

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Excuse the poor photography…

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When all of your dinosaurs are cut out, fry the tortillas up in oil (I use canola) at 350 for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden.  They will get a little darker after removed from the oil.  I have a little deep fryer, but a pan with a few inches of oil would work just fine.

Avoid crowding the pan to ensure the dinosaurs are wrinkle free!

Drain them on paper towels and lightly salt before storing them in Ziplocs for later use.

I fry up all the scraps of tortilla when I am done with the dinosaurs.  As a special treat (for myself!), I will toss them with cinnamon sugar.

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YUM!

Chips cut into special shapes are great as a treat for kids, but would also be a nice addition to a themed party!

Homemade Marinara Recipe

I love marinara.  Love, Love, Love.

On pizza, french fries, baked potatoes, pasta, and just about everything else it’s amazing.

I am willing to put in a couple minutes chopping to make the perfect sauce.  (By “a couple minutes chopping” I mean pushing the button on my food processor.)  

Life can be so hard.

Where to begin…

How about with some fresh basil, garlic and olive oil?

To make things cheaper and easier, I buy large packages of fresh basil and process them in my handy food processor with garlic cloves and olive oil.

Read Basil + Garlic + Olive Oil = Yum for more information.

Basil, Olive Oil, Garlic

A great marinara requires sloooowwwww cooking.  With a toodler runnning around, tending the stove like an Italian grandmother isn’t practical.  Thank goodness for crock pots.

Every time I write about a crock pot and forget to add in a space, my computer wants to change it to crackpots.  I think it’s trying to tell me something.  

I use the basic recipe from Mom on a Mission (which is the most amazing blog).  I say basic because I am too lazy too accomplished in the kitchen to be bothered with measuring or extra onion chopping.

Into the crock pot goes roughly 90-100 ounces of crushed/diced/sauced tomatoes.  If I have been to Costco, I’ll use a #10 can.  If not, I’ll use whatever collection of tomatoes I have in the pantry.  Honestly, my favorite sauce is made from generic Fred Meyer crushed tomatoes.

Then I add in my basil/oil/garlic mixture (1 cup basil, 8 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup olive oil).  Chopped up in the food processor.

Next comes some onion powder (about 1 tbsp.), some salt (about 1.5 tsp), and a sprinkle of pepper (about 1/2 tsp).

Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  Stir occasionally.  If you cook it longer, it could burn.  Trust me.

If the taste of this over some spaghetti doesn’t curl your toes, you need to go visit a doctor because your taste buds might be dead!

Marinara with fresh basil in a crockpot

Some of the sauce gets used for dinner.  Some goes on pizzas.  Some goes in the freezer.

Yum!

Easy Crockpot Marinara

– 90-100 oz Canned Tomatoes (diced, crushed, or sauce)

– 1 cup Fresh Basil Leaves

– 8 Garlic Cloves

– 1/4 cup Olive Oil

– 1 tbsp Onion Powder

– 1.5 tsp Salt

– 1/2 tsp Black Pepper (substitute Cayenne for an extra kick)

1.  Pulse Garlic, Basil, and Olive Oil in the food processor until chopped.

2.  Add Garlic mixture, Tomatoes, Salt, Pepper, and Onion Powder to crockpot.

3.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.

 

Linked to Thrifty Thrusday at Living Well Spending Less

 

 

Basil + Garlic + Olive Oil = Yum

Every few months, I will buy a package of fresh basil.  I love fresh basil.  But, honestly, who can eat more than a few leaves at a time?  To make sure none of the fresh herb goes to waste, I will take a moment to process that basil to prepare it for future marinara use.

After stripping and rinsing all the leaves, it is a simple task to drop them in the food processor with a few cloves of garlic and some olive oil.

First, measure the basil.  Then calculate (yes, using math) the amount of oil and garlic you need.

Basil

In this instance, I had 2 cups of fresh basil.  My favorite marinara recipe uses about 1/4 cup of olive oil and 6 garlic cloves per cup of basil.  So, I added .5 cups olive oil and 12 garlic cloves for 2 cups of basil.

1c Basil/.25c oil = 2c Basil/x.  Just solve for x.  Thank goodness for algebra.

Basil, Olive Oil, Garlic

Everything into the food processor.  Process until the garlic and basil are chopped, of course.

Basil, Olive Oil, and Garlic Processed

Done.

If you are going to use my favorite marinara recipe adapted from Mom on a Mission, divide based on the number of cups of basil.  In this case, there were 2 cups of basil in my processor, so I divided it into 2 equal portions.

One half went to make marinara right away.  The other went into the FREEZER.

When you add garlic to olive oil, you MUST freeze, cook, or eat immediately.  DO NOT just stick it in your refrigerator for later use.

Garlic + Olive Oil + Basil + Freezer= Yum.

Garlic + Olive Oil + Basil + Time in the fridge = Botulism Poisoning!

Seriously.  Freeze, Eat, or Cook.

If you freeze, then the next time you want to make some marinara, you have half of the ingredients all ready to go!