A cooking and baking journal

Food Network Challenge Times Two

11/22/09: Chorizo-and-Potato Taquitos and Millionaire Shortbread

Meal details: For the main course I made taquitos that were stuffed with chorizo sausage, potato, onions, peppers, and queso fresco cheese. For dessert we had shortbread squares that had layers of caramel and chocolate.

Defining moments: First time for me to make taquitos (only have heated frozen taquitos from the store up till now) and this is also the first time I used chorizo sausage and queso fresco cheese.

Recipe sources: I am part of the Food Network Chefs Cooking Challenge that is being hosted by the writer of the I Blame My Mother blog. (Learn more about this fun challenge by visiting this page.) Because I am two chefs behind I decided to do two recipes from the Food Network chefs to catch up with the rest of the members. The chefs ended up being Claire Robinson (from 5 Ingredient Fix) and Daisy Martinez (from Viva Daisy). I chose Claire's Millionaire Shortbread recipe and Daisy's Taquitos. The taquito recipe is not found on the Food Network website, I actually came across it in an issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray.

What I learned: Gee, making those taquitos was messy! I got frying oil everywhere, so much so, that we had to mop the whole floor. I think I could do a better, cleaner job if I just worked on the kitchen island instead of moving from counter to counter. I will not drip as much oil that way.

I made the taquitos the day before because I knew they would be tedious. After I was done frying I packed them in foil and moved them to the freezer.

I remembered from making chimichangas that tortillas rip and tear when being rolled up so before I began I tried to find some tips to prevent this problem. What I gathered from some sites and the actual recipe in the magazine, is to place them in the microwave or dip them in hot oil prior to the rolling up step. Since we don't have a microwave I went with the latter procedure. It worked fine--no broken tortillas when rolling--but it is because of this extra step that I made an oily mess on the floor. So I am still looking for another way to make these tortillas limber. Any suggestions? If so, please leave a comment!

Onto the Millionaire Shortbread. This recipe was VERY easy to do! The actual shortbread dough is just butter, sugar, salt, and flour that is mixed together with a pastry cutter (or food processor) and dumped into the baking pan. Nothing to it; I probably can do it in my sleep. The only temperamental part of this recipe is making the caramel, which is made of sweetened condensed milk and butter. It is cooked over a medium-high burner and you have to let it boil until it reaches the right color. I'm not really good with determining the "right" from the "wrong" so I just boiled it until it reached the consistency of pudding, which took exactly fifteen minutes. I read on the Food Network website that people were having trouble knowing when the caramel was done--and some even had it turn into a hard mass--so I knew I shouldn't boil it for more than the fifteen minutes that the recipes states. It worked out fine and it was easy to spread.

Any modifications? Yes, I made some to the taquito recipe. Here is my ingredient list for 4 times the recipe:
  • 8 medium sized red skinned potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • 2 pounds Mexican chorizo, casings discarded
  • 4 large onion, finely chopped
  • One 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 large ancho peppers, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 oz. crumbled queso fresco
  • Corn tortillas
My taquitos were much larger than you would expect, probably because I am a novice, so I didn't yield as many as the recipe says. That's OK because mine were very hearty!

A quick note: I made one taquito with a flour tortilla and it fried up well and tasted great. I think I will make more when I try this again.

How it tasted? Everyone liked, well, everything. I was very happy to hear that! And what do I think of the two new ingredients? The chorizo sausage was spicy and reminded the family of tamales and the queso fresco cheese is really mild in flavor and it melts super fast. Both ingredients were delicious.

How about a 2nd time? Yes, for both recipes. And next time I will try to cut down on the mess!

Thanks Claire and Daisy for these great recipes!


  1. Do you have a gas stove? When I lived in a house with a gas range, I'd just toss the tortillas on the burner for 5-10 seconds so they could warm up and get soft. I have a flat top stove now, and I tried it on that but I didn't like the results... so I usually so the microwave method. I'm wondering if warming them up in the oven would work as well since getting them pliable is usually just about warming them up.

    That shortbread looks fantastic. I have a potluck next week and am seriously considering having that be my take-along =)

  2. Hi mub,

    I have an electric so unfortunately I won't be able to give your method a try. I did try warming up my tortillas a bit before I began my rolling and they still cracked. Maybe I just need to leave them in the oven longer, I hope that will work because an oily kitchen is not fun to clean! :) Thank you very much for your suggestions!


  3. These look good! I have never attempted to make taquitos before. They are so yummy though, probably worth a shot! I could eat the entire pan of shortbread myself :) So I'm not making that any time soon...

  4. Rebekah,

    You could try steaming the the tortillas just a little. I know you don't have a microwave but perhaps a collander in a pan of water might work but I would only do it for a very short time. You could then store them between 2 damp paper towels. This might even work in oven on low with the damp paper towels.


  5. Hello Pam,

    It is so nice to hear from you! You know what, your idea of placing the tortillas between damp paper towels came to me a few days after I made my taquitos. I will absolutely give your plan a try, it sounds like it might just work. Thank you!


  6. delicious! I also made that shortbread -- the guys in our life group, especially, loved them.

  7. I saved the link to the Millionaire shortbread, too! I haven't made it yet... I'm just waiting for the right occasion. It looks delicious!