Author Archives for simplifiedbystacie

Simply Homemade: Crunch Wraps

Yes, I’m basing this post on a fast food delicacy. No, I don’t care because they are delicious and so easy to make at home! My household loves any version of a taco and this is high up on our list of favorite ways to make them. It combines the very best parts of a taco (soft burrito size tortilla, cheese, meat) and adds a crunch factor (tostada shell or Doritos if you’re more in favor of that). It also removes the frustrating part of a taco (difficult and messy to hold and eat) by having everything wrapped up on the inside. Talk about a winning combination!

There’s honestly no true recipe for this, just make taco meat like you regularly would and set aside. You will need a large flour tortilla and it will need to be softened so it bends without cracking. I would highly recommend a basic cheese sauce or even pre-made queso cheese. Lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, sliced/chopped jalapeños or black olives, and even refried beans are all additional options. The key is in the assembly of the ingredients! I know it’s exciting and you want to load up the tortilla with about 3 inches of toppings but try to show a little restraint! Add as many ingredients as you want but like, the more you add, the less of each you will want to use. Less is more? Say what??? Yes, you need to be able to fold the tortilla up and over all the toppings so you can cook it on each side. That means you should attempt to sparsely spread each of your desired ingredients.

The goal here is to fold the tortilla so that it covers the top as well as the bottom and you can cook just the outside of the tortilla. This will allow you to make a golden pocket of deliciousness with self-contained ingredients. If you play your cards right and spread out the inner ingredients then you can get a perfect bite every time with a little of everything. This might take some practice but, have no fear, even an imperfect or messy crunch wrap is still a delectable meal! See pictures below for clarification if you are unfamiliar with the infamous crunch wrap and how it works! Assemble with desired ingredients on top of tortilla, fold tortilla, cook (with folded tortilla side down first), flip, toast other side, serve! So simple and addicting 🙂

I love this recipe because you can make it with a handful of staple ingredients and it’s an easy (and oh-so-fun!) twist on a family favorite: tacos! I have some version of tacos on my meal plan at least every other week and like to change it up with variations like these crunchwraps. You can use leftover carnitas, steak, or chicken with a little taco seasoning and Mexican flavors just as easily as browned hamburger meat. Give these a try and your family will thank you later, I promise!

Cold stuff on bottom, crunch layer, warm stuff on top!
Fold it like the fitted sheet at laundry time..just kidding, fold a side at a time!
Can you hear the crunch from this first bite?!

Simply Homemade: Italian Meatballs

I don’t know about all of you but there are few things in life that make me happier than an Italian meal! I’m not entirely sure where this love originated from and I, in no way, claim that my Italian based recipes are authentic. My incredible family didn’t originate from Italy but that doesn’t stop me from making (and thoroughly enjoying) my simple favorites. Cue these Italian meatballs…and homemade pasta, slow simmered marinara sauce, and a nice glass of red wine to pair with it all 😉

This week’s post started in a very roundabout way. A fellow food-loving coworker recently introduced me to a new spaghetti sauce and it calls for lots of onion to be simmered in it and then removed and discarded. My coworker insisted that was a borderline crime and the onion is absolutely delicious after being cooked down in the sauce and soaking up all that flavor. When I made the pasta sauce, I did remove the onion before serving it over pasta. Honestly, by that point the sauce had already absorbed the flavors and my particular child does not take a shining to “chunky” sauce.

However, instead of discarding the onion that had soaked up beautifully flavored sauce, I decided to roughly chop it and then put it back into some of the aforementioned leftover sauce from our pasta meal. Later in the week, I made a large batch of these homemade meatballs and added some when warming up the leftover sauce with onions. I put the mixture on some lightly toasted subs with melted provolone cheese. Voila! Pretty awesome meatball subs (if I do say so myself). This same idea would be incredible with peppers, onions, and Italian link sausage for some grinders (sandwiches) but I was craving these meatballs this week and knew you all would want this recipe too! Bonus, I had extra meatballs that I froze and can use for spaghetti with meatballs or more meatball subs in the future.

This recipe is quite simple and the results are dynamite! I strongly encourage you to make a double batch and freeze the extras so you can enjoy these anytime with very little grocery shopping or prep time required. As with most of my recipes, feel free to adjust to your liking. For example: prefer sausage over hamburger or vice versa? Double the amount of one and remove the other. Personally, I love the mixture and the addition of texture by having both but totally up to you! Love the boost of flavor from the pesto? Increase the amount! Want more spices, go right ahead! You get the gist, right? I hope you enjoy this staple recipe and that it brings you as much joy as all Italian food brings me and my family!

Italian Meatballs

  • Servings: Approximately 40 meatballs
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Simple and delicious meatball recipe that pairs beautifully with a marinara sauce!


-1 pound raw ground hamburger meat

-1 pound raw ground italian sausage

-1 cup italian breadcrumbs

-2 eggs

-1 tablespoon minced garlic

-1 tablepoon pesto

-1/2 teaspoon pepper

-1/2 teaspoon salt


1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean up, not required!).

2) In medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients well (use your hands so you can make sure everything is fully mixed without over-mixing).

3) Using large spoon or cookie dough scoop, form meat mixture into approximately golf ball sized balls and place on baking sheet (leave at least an inch between).

4) Bake for 25-30 minutes until meatballs are slightly browned and cooked through fully.

Simply Homemade: Oatmeal Carmelitas

Are any of you chocolate fans? How about caramel fanatics? What about believers that enjoying a piece of an ooey, gooey bar can turn a frown upside down into an irresistibly satisfied smile? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you’re going to want to keep reading for this recipe. It consists of a crust layer of mostly oatmeal and brown sugar par-baked then layered with chocolate chips and caramel sauce and topped with more of the crumbly crust mixture. It’s baked just until it transforms into a bubbly and crumbly pan of perfection that’s begging you to cut it into bar sized pieces and be devoured as soon as humanly possible!

The main reason I love this recipe is the hands down delicious combination of flavors and textures. The second reason is because I am soooo not a baker but this is so simple even I can’t mess it up. It’s also a forgiving recipe if you feel like, for example, you need a different kind of chocolate or more caramel. Feel free to take some liberties with those two measurements 😉 Another great thing with this recipe is the lack of dishes created while concocting it. Yes, this sounds ridiculous but I seriously get so frustrated when I have to use (and wash!) nearly every one of my measuring cups and spoons and bowls for one recipe. The entire list of items I use for this are: 1/2 cup measuring cup, 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, medium mixing bowl, spatula, pan to bake it in. Yep, just five total items and one of those is the serving pan!

Yet another awesome feature of this recipe is the short ingredient list. In addition to that, if you do any amount of baking you likely have a lot of these items in your pantry already. No crazy one-off ingredients you’ve never heard of, just an incredibly simple and delicious combination of staple ingredients. Bonus points for not having to run to the store when you need your sweet fix 😉 The absolute best is having a piece when it’s been out of the oven just long enough to not scald you but it is still perfectly melty. This recipe has been a staple snack of my family for years and it will continue to be for as long as I’m around! I hope this turns one of your bad days into a good one, or brings a smile to you and yours like it does for me and mine!!!

Oatmeal Carmelitas

  • Servings: Approximately 12-15
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Ridiculously simple bars with layers of ooey and crumbly goodness!


-1 1/2 cups flour -1 1/2 cups oatmeal -1 cup brown sugar -1/2 teaspoon baking powder -1/2 teaspoon salt -1 cup butter, softened -1 1/2 cups caramel sauce (Mrs. Richardson’s brand is highly recommended for consistency and flavor!) -2 tablespoons flour -1 cup chocolate chips


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. 2) Add softened butter to dry mixture in bowl and it works best to mix in well ysing your hands. Mixture ahould be crumbly when fully mixed in. 3) Spray a 9×13 pan and place half rhe ceumbly mixture in, soreading evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Press down lightly to pack the mixture together into a crust. 4) Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and remove. 5) Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the warm crust. 6) Mix the 2 tablespooons of flour into the caramel and then pour evenly over the chicolafe chips. 7) Sprinkle remaining half of the crumbly mixture on top of the caramel and press down very lightly

Oh crumbles, how delicious you will be!
Press half the crumbly mixture down to form a crust layer and lightly press so it sticks together but isn’t totally smashed.
Why is this the last picture and one of the finished product after baking? Let’s just say my taste testers took their jobs this week a little too seriously..and enthusiastically 😉
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