7 Layer Dip

I remember this one from my childhood. Mom used to make something similar for parties and get-togethers. It has a great layer of flavors and can be put together with pantry ingredients or you can go wild and make items from scratch. Either way this one is always a favorite among family and friends. I ended up making this dish the same day I made my Mexican pizzas because they share a lot of ingredients and I was able to cut down on a lot of waste.  

What you will need: 7 Layer Dip

  • 1 Can refried Bean (I like to caveman them up a little)
  • 10oz Sour Cream Dressing (See below)
  • 15oz Can Black Beans (rinsed well)
  • 2 tbsp. Taco Seasoning (can use packaged or see my recipe included with my Mexican Pizza)
  • 7oz Guacamole (I prefer Wholly Guacamole if store bought)
  • 5oz Can Green Chili’s diced
  • 2 Cups Salsa
  • 8oz Shredded Cheese (I prefer the 4 cheese Mexican blend)
  • 2 Cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 Tomato Chopped
  • Hot Sauce
  • 1 Red Onion Chopped
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Olives
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced Thin (optional)

 Prep

Refried Beans: I like to caveman up the beans a little, it’s just how I prefer them. In a small pan at low heat add your refried beans, 10oz can Rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 1 tbsp. cumin and 2 baby bell peppers chopped. Simmer under low heat until warm and then pull them off the heat and let them rest covered until you are ready to use them.

Sour Cream Mixture: Add 2 tbsp. of the taco seasoning and the diced green chili to the 10oz tub of sour cream and mix well. Store it in the fridge until you are ready to use.

Assembly

Start with a 9” x 9” shallow baking dish.

 **Caveman Tip: I tend to be a little heavy handed with the ingredients and make my layers a bit too thick. If you do that you will run out of room for ingredients when you get to the end. So keep the layers thin.

Using a flexible spatula add a thin layer of the following ingredients in order.

  • Refried Beans
  • 1/3 of the shredded cheeseO
  • Sour cream mixtures
  • Black beans
  • The next layer is the difficult one; carefully add a layer of the guacamole over the black beans. If it’s too hard to work with try thinning it out with a little salsa.
  • Salsa
  • 1/3 of the shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Garnish with red onion, black olives, tomatoes, jalapenos and remaining cheese.

Now you will just need to cover it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for an hour or two until you are ready to eat.

Enjoy!

Mexican Pizza

Playoff Pizza – Mexican Style

This last weekend was a tough one for the Cavewoman; her beloved Colts lost their playoff game. So to perk up her spirits I made her favorite foods, Mexican and Taco Bell. First off will be the Mexican Pizza, which I have to say, one off my favorites as well. Check out the 7 layer dip I will be posting tomorrow…it’s not too shabby either.

What you will need: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • ½ of 1red onion chopped (I reserved the other half to top the pizza with) 4 tbsp.
  • Taco Seasoning (recipe to follow, or use package)
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack Cheese 8 (12″) Thin Flour Tortillas
  • 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
  • 1 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 Jalapeno Sliced (optional)
  • 1 Can Refried Beans (Caveman Version)
  • 1 Cup Salsa or taco sauce.
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 1/4 cup sliced olives

Taco SeasoningOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. cilantro
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. Montreal steak seasoning
  • Dash red pepper flakes
  • Dash cayenne pepper

 Prep

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Caveman Tip*** I make the taco meat and beans early in the day, and then store them in the fridge until I am ready to use them. This way I don’t have to rush to put them together and it gives the mixtures time to marry together for better flavor. Then when I am ready just reheat it quickly on the stove.

In a heavy bottom skillet under medium heat, drizzle EVOO and add the onions. You will want to sauté them till soft and then turn it up to medium high and add the meat. Once the meat is browned, drain the fat & reduce to medium low heat. Add the taco seasoning to the meat in the pan along with a splash of chicken or beef stock. (2 tbsp. or so) You will want to simmer on low heat until the liquid is absorbed.

Place the refried beans in a separate pan and heat to medium low.

Caveman Tip*** I use refried beans a lot, in either dishes and just don’t have the time to make them from scratch but I do like to doctor them up a bit. Sauté a 1/3 cup onion (I use a lot of onions so I always have some in the fridge half used from earlier that day or the day before) 2-3 baby bell peppers until soft. Add your beans small can 10 oz. rotell tomatoes, 2 tbsp. salsa, 2 tbsp. cayenne, 2 tbsp. cumin and heat under medium low.

Take your flour tortillas and lightly coat with EVOO then place on a backing sheet and put in the oven. After a few minutes I like to turn the heat up to broil to really crisp up those shells, but be careful they will burn quickly.

Assembly

Take your tortilla and apply a thin layer of beans on it, then add a thin layer of ground meat and top it with shredded cheddar cheese. Next, add your second tortilla to the top and then put a thin layer of salsa on it followed by a layer of the Monterey jack cheese.

Cook.

Put the pizza in the oven, middle rack at 400 degrees until all the cheese is melted, it will take 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the pizza and your oven. Once all the cheese is melted remove it from the oven and finish the assembly.

 Final Assembly

Top the melted cheese with the shredded lettuce, tomatoes, onions, olives, and jalapenos and olives.  Don’t forget your sour cream!

This will definitely be on the repeat list.

Mini Chimi Changa

This one turned out a little better that I though and was a hit on game day. I am not a big fan of the smell of deep frying oil so I set that up outside on a camping stove and everything worked out great.

What you will needMini Chimi Changa

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 onion rough chopped
  • 1 precooked chicken breast shredded
  • 1 can black beans
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 egg beaten
  • Vegetable Oil
  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers

 

Prep

In a large skillet, saute the chopped onion, jalapeno, oregano, thyme and  garlic over medium heat until its soft Stir in chicken, black beans with liquid, cumin cilantro and chicken stock. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The liquid should reduce by half. Remove from the heat and let it cool then mix in the cheese

Prep

Lay out your egg roll wrappers on a cutting board. Use about 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture place it in the center of the egg roll wrapper. Mini Chimi Changa RollsNow fold the top and bottom of the wrapper up to the mixture. Next you will want to brush a small amount of the egg mixture on the right side of the wrapper, this will help the ends stick together when you are done rolling it. Now just roll the wrapper from left to right making your mini Chimichanga.  Just repeat the process until you have enough.

Prepare the Oil

Caveman Tip*** I like to do this part outside on a propane burner because I am just not a fan of the smell in the house. I also keep a candy thermometer in my collection just for stuff like this.

Fill a stock pot or large sauce pan with about 6 “of vegetable oil. Put the thermometer in the pan and bring the temp up to a constant 375 degrees.

Cook

Once the oil is constant at 375 degree’s place one chimichanga in the pot at a time, putting more than one in the pot at a time will drop the temp of the oil and result in a soggy greasy chimi. It will only take a couple of minutes to cook because all the ingredients were precooked and all you want to do is reheat and make the exterior crispy. Once they are done to your liking, pull them from the oil.

Caveman Tip*** I like to let them drain on a grill rack over paper towels and not directly on the paper towels. From my experience this allows them to stay crispy and not get soggy.

Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce or try my guacamole, it’s a game changer!

View this recipe and other like it at www.cookingwithcaveman.com

Beef Sliders

What you will need:

  • ½ lb. 80/20 ground sirloin
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese. (I like Tillamook)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 4 dill Pickle spears
  • Lettuce
  • 1 small tomato
  • 8 small French or Rustic Rolls

Prepare the Sliders:

Take the ground sirloin, ground pork, garlic, a drizzle of EVOO, and a dash of salt and pepper and mix them well in a bowl. Do not mash the meat together you want it to be loose.

 Next you will want to make the patties. To do so you will take a palm size amount of the meat mixture and loosely roll them into a golf ball size ball.

 *Caveman Tip:  Do not over press your patties, you want them to be loose inside with little pockets of air, if you over press your patties the meat tends to be tougher.

Prepare the Grill:

**Caveman Tip:  I prefer to cook my beef sliders over a griddle as opposed to the open BBQ.  To me, the meat tends to be juicier and have more flavor. I also like to preseason the griddle with a little bacon fat before cooking the sliders, which works perfectly because we will use the bacon on our burgers.

Once the grill gets good and hot place your sliders on the grill. **Caveman Tip:  Immediately use your spatula to flatten then out, you don’t want to flatten them out once it starts cooking because you will squeeze out the juices. Remember do not over press them though, leave them loose.

The beef sliders are small so they will only take a couple minutes per side so watch them. As soon as one side has started to sear, give them a flip. At this point you are going to want to add the cheddar cheese to the top and put your buns on the grill to warm them up and give them a little crunch.

**Caveman Tip:  I prefer to use shredded cheese on my burgers and sliders, the cheese melts quicker and it just tastes better if you ask me.

 Close the lid on your BBQ and let them finish cooking and allow the cheese to melt. Like I mentioned above these sliders are small so they will cook fast.

When they are done pull them from the grill along with the toasted buns and get ready for goodness.

I like to add a little lettuce, sliced tomato and sliced dill pickle to my sliders. Just layer them on in order. Apply your favorite condiment and you are ready to go!

Enjoy!

Tuttu Santii

Restaurant Reviews By: Cavewoman

Restaurant:  Tutti Santi

Location:  Gilbert, AZ,  on corner stop

Day & time visited: Friday night, 6pm

Reservations:  Not needed.

 

 

It was my turn to pick the restaurant so I chose, Tutti Santi.  I had passed it several times on my way to the gym and it appeared to be local and I like to support local restaurants.  Caveman and I had read reviews on this place and sort of had a mixed bag going in.  We heard negatives like it was way too expensive and the food was mediocre and then positives like the service and food was great!!! So, we decided to see for ourselves.  Just so you know – My Caveman makes the best marinara sauce known to man – it’s homemade and fabulous, so we will never order marinara “out and about”….just something we know about ourselves to be true…This makes the “Italian restaurant” feat a little more challenging.

I dressed cute – turquoise jeans, and a black tanktop, and Caveman wore a nice button down shirt with jeans. We set out on our ‘date night’.  We got to Tutti Santi around 6pm on a Friday night and there was zero wait!  We went inside and were immediately seated by the host.  We were instantly impressed with the totally white décor they had chosen for the inside.   They had white curtains draping elegantly over the windows in the dining area, as well as old fashioned family pictures, and old world paintings.  The chandeliers were gorgeous and complimented the dining area, giving it lots of character inside. Definitely looks better inside than roadside.  The most confusing part of this first impression was the apparent sophistication around the restaurant …and then you look into the bar, and the TV was playing an NFL replay!?? What? It was the Jets no less and it just didn’t seem to fit the pleasant décor….

Time for drinks!!!  I liked the wine menu, as red wine sounded fabulous….. I order the Alamos Argentine Malbec, about $7 a glass.  My man opted for a greyhound (not a wine guy) vodka and grapefruit juice – which tasted great and ran about $6 a glass. Our service was prompt and confident, which we both appreciate. I did notice they were confused on the proper wine glass selection as they served my red wine in a white wine glass.  Upon delivering our drinks, our waiter instantly described the “specials” which included an appetizer and 2 different entrees. He sold Caveman on the spot by the sounds of ‘that one special.’  Before our waiter let us have another minute to decide on food, he served us a basket filled with Italian bread & butter all wrapped in a white cloth.  But this was not just ordinary butter.  This butter had the slightest hint of something blended into it.  Not an outstanding amount though, as it took us a minute to figure out what seasoning was enhancing this butter.  And then it came to us….. Rosemary! Just the tiniest dash of rosemary was blended into the butter and we liked it.  Something nice to munch on with the drinks.

Now, let’s get to appetizers.   We ordered the Carpaccio di Bue which comprised of thinly sliced raw pieces of filet mignon, covered in capers with basil and extra virgin olive oil on the plate.  It came presented with provolone cheese slices on the side and a diced tomato mixture to top it off.  So, we started gathering each component and gave it a taste. Wow!  The meat slices were well seasoned and practically melted in my mouth.  Add the tomato mixture and a slice of cheese – talk about balance!  The salty taste of the cheese paired very nicely with the filet and tomatoes and capers really made my palate dance. We found ourselves enjoying every single bite of the Carpaccio di Bue.  Worth every penny of the $15.95 price, and we would order it again.  As we’re sitting enjoying this delightful appetizer, Caveman and I begin looking around when we saw an old Brick Style Pizza Oven that appeared to be out of commission…  We asked our waiter “Why, (oh why) is that pizza oven out of commission?! Why would you let that happen in an Italian joint?”  He simply replied they tried making it work, but he wasn’t sure the latest status.  **Special Note: We hope they bring that pizza oven back to life!**

Almost time for dinner, but before I get to that, we had our pre-dinner accompaniments.  Caveman had the minestrone
soup and I got a salad.  The minestrone was colorful and chunky, with a liquid base that was not too creamy.  The flavor was missing salt, so we had to add a couple spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to make it taste better.  The biggest “no-no” of all was that it was brought to the table lukewarm!  Too cold for soup and very sad for us.

The salad was very basic, both in presentation and taste.  It had roma tomatoes, lots of greenery, but was too large for a dinner salad.  The balsamic vinegar dressing was a house combination and tasted good, but overall it was just average.  We recommend some additional color on the plate for the salad (onions or olives) and some croutons or something similar to give us the crunch that was missing.   At this point…we are hoping the entrees taste more like the appetizer. The funniest part of all…Caveman and I ended up switching, my salad for his soup!  Give me soup any day!!  But – I will say – I need it hot.

We needed another drink.  We asked, and very quickly – we received another Greyhound and Malbec.  Hey – this time the Malbec was in a red wine glass!! Did that bartender read my thoughts?  Very attentive service by our waiter…always important when it comes to drinks!

Time for dinner. I ordered the Agnello Dorato which was lamb shank braised in lamb vegetable stock and served over a bed of risotto alla millanese. It was priced at $25.95, so I had high expectations.  Plus, I had to get the lamb shank because this particular dish was like nothing I’ve ever ordered at an Italian Ristorante, so I wanted to see what Tutti Santi had to offer.  As it came to the table, I will say that the portion of Lamb Shank was huge!  The lamb was braised properly and proved to be extremely tender as it fell apart using only my fork.  The sauce tasted good, but 2 things I caution when ordering this dish:  One, there was entirely too much sauce on my plate which drowned out the taste of the risotto completely; and two, the Agnello Dorato was lacking salt.  This opinion is coming from a Cavewoman who never adds salt to any dish she is served.  However, at Tutti Santi, the Agnello Dorato needed salt!  For $25.95, nothing I order should need salt.  It is unfortunate that I cannot say too much about the risotto because it tasted like the millanese sauce that covered all the food on the plate, and I believe we mentioned the need for salt. The Italian Lamb Shank and Risotto combination can be best described as “comfort food.”  We all like it and at times, it’s needed…but it was nothing like Cavemom makes.

Remember that special from earlier that sold Caveman on the spot??  We believe they call this the “Chicken Special” and we can tell you that it was a boneless chicken breast, egg-washed, and then covered and stuffed with prosciutto, topped with gourmet cheeses and covered in a marsala mushroom sauce, served over Julian Vegetables and it ran for $22.95.   The chicken came to the table and the presentation was respectable.  Caveman started to dig in and noticed a couple of things.  First off – the vegetables were cold and were not seasoned!!  I know it’s a side dish, but side dishes still need to taste good!!  And be up to temperature, to that point.  What an important impression, especially after serving him cold soup earlier…

The chicken had a crispy exterior, but was bland in flavor.  The prosciutto stuffing made the chicken dry and it was also overcooked so that made it a tough, like chicken jerky.  While we were unimpressed with the chicken (I was definitely liking my lamb dish after trying the chicken special), we have to say the marsala sauce made the dish!  The sauce was seasoned very well and had a wonderful mushroom gravy flavor, but also the right consistency for a sauce.  We really enjoyed the essence of what the sauce did to the chicken and it helped raise the dish to a more suitable level.  To sum it up – the chicken lacked seasoning and was dried out, but the sauce saved the dish and made it edible.  We also feel the vegetables did absolutely nothing to compliment the meal and we want to remind Tutti Santi that food should always be served at a desirable temperature.  **at this time, we both have our forks in the lamb shank because it completely outweighed the presentation of ‘chicken special’**

As we were finishing dinner, I decided to stop at the restroom, and that’s when I saw this magnificent Mary Magdalene painting!  I had to stop and stare because it was completely awesome!  The décor continued to impress us and we liked the atmosphere in every corner.

Still wanting to satisfy that special something we were missing from this date night dinner, we wanted to continue on the mission of ‘trying something different.’ So, we decided to order a slice of the Mascarpone Cheesecake.  It came sensibly portioned, not too big, not too small, and it was drizzled in a lovely raspberry sauce.  Still, if you’re anything like me – raspberry sauce is not my first choice, so maybe ask prior to doing so or play it safe, and put it on the side.  Nevertheless, I was a trooper and do feel it added to the dessert.  The cake was served cold which we appreciated, but we noticed it was not real rich in flavor.  It was actually more creamy than New York Cheesecake…for those of you who have not tried this type.  We would have loved to relish more crunch from the crust to help break up the creaminess.  The texture was too smooth, and that much needed crunch in the crust could have helped to break up the monogamy on my palate. Altogether, it was kind of a boring dessert.

As the evening came to an end, we decided we really did like the artwork and overall mood of this restaurant.  They did a fine job delivering a decadent ambiance, but we just wish the food would have compared in the same ballpark as the price we paid.  Our base bill ended up at $115.94 and that was without the generous tip we added. (due to the incredible service)

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being poor, 5 being mediocre, and 10 being the best experience I can describe, here is how I rate the following for Tutti Santi:

 

Atmosphere – 8     Service -9     Appetizers- 7     Food-4     Drinks -7