Making Masa – Handmade Tortillas Recipe

What do you do on a rainy day?  Make you own tortillas.    I’ve been wanting to do this with my kids and was having a hard time finding Masa Harina (flour made from corn).  I was complaining to a friend about having to drive to a mexican market and she happened to have  extra to give to my cause.  By the way the bought it at Safeway.  I was checking Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  Now I know.


The recipe is simple as is the process and very hands on for kids.  Of course they’d look more impressive with a tortilla press, but more fun and abstract using your hands and rolling pin.  And no I don’t have a tortilla press. Maybe I should check with Santa.  My daughter was really into it and rolled most of them.  My son decided he’s rather help fill them with the good stuff after.  They were pretty small and some were kind of thick to bend or roll, so we used them more like a flat tostada shell and layered black beans, avocado, shrimp, cilantro and corn salsa.

Corn Tortillas

(makes about 20, 6 inch tortillas)

4 cups masa harina (flour made from dried corn)

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups warm water

Put the masa harina in a bowl and mix in the salt. Add about 1 cup warm water and mix with your hands; add more water as needed until the dough comes together. Knead for a few minutes to smooth the dough out. The dough should be firm and springy and should not stick to your hands. Test by forming a small disk, if it’s crumbly or cracks around the edges you need more water.

Form a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and place it between two sheets or plastic wrap.  Press down with your palm, then roll the dough with a rolling pin.   Remove the top layer of plastic. Carefully peel the tortilla off the bottom plastic.

Place tortillas on a hot, ungreased cast iron skillet or griddle and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove the tortillas and stack on a plate, covered with a clean towel to keep them soft and pliable. Continue until you have used all the dough.

Layer with your favorite toppings and enjoy!


Breakfast Burritos for Dinner

When I need a quick dinner that my kids are going to be happy about I make burritos.  Super easy and quick and usually can wrap up some left over veggies or meats with some beans and voila!  However lately I’ve been mixing up burrito night with another favorite dinner theme – “breakfast for dinner”.

These breakfast burritos were a bit hit and made use of my half eaten veggies such as broccoli, red peppers and zucchini.  You can really put anything you want in them.  Feel free to swap out beans for cooked sausage, chicken or ground turkey too.  Next time I’m going to let my kids not only fill and wrap them up, but scramble the eggs too.  This might give me a night off in the kitchen!

This is one of those recipes that doesn’t need a recipe, but here’s one any to get you and your kids started.

Breakfast Burritos for Dinner

Makes 8 Burritos

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 red pepper chopped, about ¾ cup

1 head broccoli chopped, about 1 cup

8 eggs

8 flour or corn tortillas

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese


optional fillings and topping




sour cream


Pour the drained can of black beans into a small saucepan and cook over medium-low until heated through.

In a large bowl, scramble the eggs together.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.   When hot add vegetables and cook until softened, about 3 – 5 minutes.

Pour the eggs into the hot skillet with vegetables and continue to stir, so egg does not stick.   Scramble until cooked to desired wetness.  About 3 minutes.

Heat the tortillas in the oven until soft and warm. Lay the tortillas flat and spoon black beans, followed by eggs, and a sprinkle of cheese.  Roll the tortillas into burritos.  Add topping of your choice.




Tortillas to the Rescue Cookbook Review with Southwestern Caesar Salad Recipe

My family eats tortillas quite a bit.  Usually corn or a wheat/corn blend that we use for tacos and burritos.  However after receiving the new Tortillas to the Rescue Cookbook by Jessica Harlan, I’m definitely branching out.  Who knew tortillas could make a good spicy crouton or a cup for mexican chocolate pudding?  This is a handy guide for new foods with tortillas.  Recipes are good for quick mid-week breakfast, snacks and dinner.  Who doesn’t eat tortillas?  Tortillas are so accessible, my kids also enjoyed going through the book and getting ideas.  They were even able to help with making and assembling lots of the recipes.

My family made our own vegetarian version of the book’s Chorizo and Cojack Taquitos.  Because taquitos are generally fried I don’t think my kids have ever eaten them.  And I’ve never made them.  But these were rolled and placed on a baking sheet with a light brush of oil – so no frying.  I don’t usually buy flour tortillas so the kids were very excited.   You could stuff these with anything.  We substituted the recipe’s chorizo for vegan sausages – which worked great.  You could pick veggies or chicken or change the cheese – and they’d all be great.  These were a big hit.

With the taquitos I made the Southwestern Caesar Salad with tortilla croutons (see recipe below).  The croutons were such a hit everyone was wanting to eat them like chips before the salad was even dressed.  Kids for some reason usually like caesar salad.  I guess it’s the cheesy dressing.  This dressing was lighter and leaned toward the southwestern flavors which was nice.  I substituted veganaise for the mayonnaise.  The quantity of dressing was probably double what I needed but coincidentally we were invited to friends for a tamale dinner later in the week so I saved the dressing and made a new salad and croutons to share.


Book Review

Pros: easy recipes, creative ideas with a basic and accessible ingredient, tortilla info for storage and nutrition

Cons: no photos, may be too simple for some


Southwestern Caesar Salad from Tortillas to the Rescue by Jessica Harlan

Serves 4

Smoky Tortilla Crouons

4 small (6 inch) flour tortillas

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika teaspoon kosher salt


juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 head romaine lettuce


1. To make the tortilla croutons: Preheat the oven to 375 F.  Brush the tortillas with oil on both sides.  Cut the tortillas with a knife or pizza cutter into 1 x 2 inch strips.  Place them in a bowl and sprinkle lightly with paprika and salt, using a spatula to toss and coat evenly.  Spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crisp about 10 – 12 minutes.  Let cool completely before serving.

2. To make the salad: In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, mustard, garlic, mayonnaise and Parmesan cheese until smooth.  While whisking drizzle the oil until dressing is smooth and emulsified.  Just before serving, tear the lettuce by hand into bite size pieces and place in a serving bowl.  Drizzle with the dressing and toss to coat.  Top with tortilla croutons.