Kansas, like its neighbors, was hit with a massive drought that began in 1930, creating what would become known as The Dust Bowl. The effects of the drought was overshadowed by the plunging wheat prices and financial crisis of the Great Depression. Kansas became eager to participate in New Deal Relief Programs, putting hundreds of thousands of Kansans, mostly men, to work as government funded unskilled laborers.
Today Kansas is known as the Sunflower State due to the large number of sunflowers grown in the state. Kansas has also earned the nickname “The Wheat State” since it’s number one in the production of wheat coupled with milling capacity. Kansas has a spectacularly lush landscape with rich and fertile soil, making it the Garden of The West. They sure have come a long, long way from the days of dust and depression.
Did You Know?
The Arkansas River could possible be the only river in the world with a singular name yet a change in pronunciation as it moves from state to state. It is known as the “Ahr-KAN-zuhs” river in Kansas. Travel to Oklahoma or Colorado, that same river is known as the “Arkansaw” river.
Are you a fan of art? How ‘bout Vincent Van Gough? Then head on over to Goodland, Kansas. Their claim to fame is the world’s largest easel. This 40,000 pound, 80-foot steel easel is home to a massive replica of Van Gough’s “Sunflower”.
Did you notice the Pizza Hut restaurant in the background of the Van Gough? There’s good reason for Pizza Hut to be popular in Kansas. Way back in 1958 a pair of brothers opened the first Pizza Hut in Wichita. It’s said the brothers were attending college and wanted somewhere to eat good pizza with their pals. Today the chain has more than 13,000 locations globally.
Pizza Hut isn’t the only chain to hail from Wichita. In 1921, Walter Anderson opened the first White Castle. These days, you can get a White Castle Burger right from the frozen food section of most well-stocked grocery markets in America.
Did you know that there are lists of the top places to view a sunset? Yep, we make lists for everything. And it turns out that Flint Hills, Kansas manages to make it into the top five on most of those lists. I’ve got to agree, they have some amazing sunsets.
While we might not think of Kansas as a southern state, being in the middle of the country as it is, the bottom half of the state forms a part of the Bible Belt. A recent survey revealed the 86% of Kansans identify as Christians.
When I began writing this post to honor Kansas, I was reminded of an expression Hubby and I use when we are out of our element – We’re not in Kansas anymore. That made me think of post from 2018 We’re Not in Kansas Anymore Beef Chimichangas. Yeah, the recipe has been improved upon since then. Still delicious for Taco Tuesday or any other day of the week.
Deep Fried Chimichanga
2 lb Chuck Roast
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Beef Stock as needed
1/2 Yellow Onion
1 (14.5 oz) can Mexican-Style Stewed Tomatoes
2 (4 oz) cans Diced Jalapenos
3 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1/4 cup Olive Oil
8 tablespoons Flour
8 large Flour Tortillas
Oil for frying
Sour Cream for serving
Salsa for garnish
Season meat with salt and pepper. Add oil to the insert of the pressure cooker. Select SAUTE; HIGH, 8 Minutes. Press START. Once hot, brown the roast for about 3 minutes per side. Turn cooker off, remove insert from pot to cool. Add enough stock to the insert to come half-way up the roast. Place insert back inside the pressure cooker, lock lid in place. Select PRESSURE, HIGH, 60 MINUTES.
Remove roast from liquid, reserve 2 cups. Allow roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before shredding. As you shred, discard any fatty pieces, leaving only the good roast strips.
While the roast cooks, peel and dice onion, set aside. Drain stewed tomatoes, chop and set aside. Drain Jalapeno Peppers, set aside. Dice Chipotle Peppers, set aside.
In a large skillet, heat oil and brown flour. Add onions and stewed tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes. Add the diced jalapenos and chipotle peppers; season with salt and pepper. Add shredded meat, moisten with the reserved liquid. Keep warm.
Spray tortillas with cooking spray, warm on a flat skillet until soft and pliable. Stack tortillas as they warm.
Fill tortillas one at a time with about 1/2-cup meat mixture . Place meat filling at one end of tortilla, then fold bottom edge over filling, fold sides to center. Roll the side with meat filling all the way over to from a burrito. Repeat with remaining tortillas and meat.
In a large pot or deep fryer heat oil until almost smoking. Deep fry Chimichanga 2 or 3 at a time until golden brown. Use a large slotted spoon to gently place the Chimichangas in the hot oil and tongs to remove them. When placing into hot oil, place the Chimichangas on the “seam” to seal. Make sure the entire Chimichanga is submerged.
Allow Chimichanga to drain on paper towels. Chimichangas can be placed on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet, then held in a warm oven until ready to serve.
Place one or two Chimichangas on individual plates; serve topped with salsa and sour cream as desired. Great with Taco Bell Pintos-n-Cheese Bake and Restaurant Style Mexican Rice.
Taco Bell Pintos-N-Cheese
1 can Refried Beans
1/4 Red Onion
1/4 cup Red Enchilada Sauce
1/2 cup Mild Cheddar Cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spritz 4 small ramekins with cooking spray.
Divide beans in into the prepared dishes. Finely mince onions, scatter over the beans. Top each with a few spoonfuls of enchilada sauce, then a scattering of cheese. Cover each serving with foil.
Place ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Add about 1/2-inch of water into the baking sheet to create a little steam. Bake in the heated oven for about 25 minutes or until heated through.
Restaurant Style Mexican Rice
2 tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon New Mexican Hot Red Chili Powder
Pinch Kosher Salt
1 cup Long Grain White Rice
8 ounces Tomato Sauce
2 cups Chicken Stock
In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in seasonings and rice. Let “toast” for about a minute or two.
Stir in tomato sauce and chicken stock. Bring rice to a boil. Reduce to a high simmer, cover and cook for 25 minutes.
Remove lid, fluff with a fork and serve.