By Jane Jarrell / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Consider the tortilla. Now try again. It's a marvelously versatile kitchen necessity, what with all those flavors, sizes and textures. It can handle savory foods or sweet treats with equal dexterity, and it's a good fit for snacks or a base for a main dish.
To spark your imagination, we offer some suggestions for tortilla treats to span any time of day or almost any occasion.
TORTILLA ROLLS: Spread an 8-inch tortilla with strawberry cream cheese; sprinkle with chopped strawberries and mini chocolate chips. Roll tightly. Place on a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
TORTILLA CUPS: Place 6 custard cups on a cookie sheet. Spray around the custard cups with a nonstick cooking spray so the overlap of the tortilla will not stick to the pan.
Brush a 6-inch flour tortilla with melted butter, place over the custard cup and bake at 350 F for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned. Cool. Fill cups with scrambled eggs topped with bacon, or chicken salad topped with crushed tortilla chips. Or layer with taco meat, rice and lettuce, and top with shredded cheese and tomatoes.
TORTILLA COOKIES: Cut shapes from 10-inch flour tortillas with your favorite cookie cutters. Place the shapes on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Brush the tortillas with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 F for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown.
TORTILLA CLUB SANDWICHES: Place a 10-inch spinach tortilla on a piece of wax paper. Spread a thin layer of refried beans on the tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Place a second tortilla on top; sprinkle with shredded chicken and chopped green onion. Now, add a third tortilla on top of the stack.
Mix 1 tablespoon of salsa with 2 tablespoons of sour cream, and spread over the top. Sprinkle a layer of shredded lettuce, cooked and crumbled bacon and chopped tomato. Top with one more tortilla. Cut into wedges and serve.
TORTILLA LASAGNA: Place a layer of sun-dried tomato tortillas on the bottom of a 13x9-inch glass baking dish. Top with cooked ground turkey. Layer with flour tortillas and top with fresh or canned tomato sauce. Add a layer of farmer's cheese, green chiles and cilantro. Add a layer of spinach tortillas. Continue alternating layers until your baking dish is full. Top with tomato sauce and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 F for 20 to 25 minutes.
TORTILLA DUMPLINGS : Place 8 (8-inch) corn tortillas on a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch strips. Chop a small onion and sautÃ© with garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil. Add 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 can chopped green chiles and 2 (6-ounce) cans of chunk-style chicken. Add cumin and chili pepper to taste and bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add tortillas and 1 to 2 cups of processed cheese. Simmer until the cheese melts.
TORTILLA CRISPS: Place several flavors of 8-inch tortillas on a cutting board, cut into quarters, spray with a butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray and top with shredded Parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. Bake at 400 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp.
TORTILLA PIE CRUSTS: Spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Place four (8-inch) tortillas in the pie plate, adjusting them evenly so that the tortillas come up onto the sides. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and layer with shredded cooked chicken, corn, salsa, green chiles, crushed tortillas and shredded cheese. Place into the oven for 10 minutes to warm through.
FRUITED NACHOS: Cut (8-inch) tortillas into quarters. Brush each tortilla with melted butter and sprinkle heavily with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 400 F until crisp. Chop your favorite fruits and toss with 1 teaspoon of chopped mint and a splash of Chambord. Place a dollop of fruit salsa on top of each cinnamon-crisp nacho. Top with sour cream.
DESSERT QUESADILLAS: Place a 10-inch flour tortilla on a cutting board. Add a thin layer of caramel sauce, then thin slices of apple, raisins and crushed walnuts. Top with a tortilla. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with a mixture of sugar, ginger and nutmeg. Bake at 400 F for 5 minutes or until warmed through. Remove from oven, cut into fourths and serve with a caramel dipping sauce.