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Using packaged soft flour tortillas (not corn tortillas), an assortment of delicious desserts and side dishes can be made. The trick to it is how they're cut, the choice of toppings, and how long they're cooked.

Start with a large frying pan. Pour in about an inch or two of oil. (Using canola oil and low fat tortillas helps reduce the fat content of these dishes.) Make sure the oil is very hot. Low heat will slow the cooking rocess and cause more oil to be absorbed into the food. Low heat also makes the tortilla treats taste greasier. When you're prepared to start cooking, have all your supplies set up including plates with paper towels on them for draining excess oil.

1. Modified Indian Fry Bread: Using a whole uncut tortilla, cook one at a time until hot but not crispy. The color of the tortilla should not change. Once hot, remove the tortilla to a paper towel. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon/sugar combination. Honey can also be drizzled on the hot tortilla. Eat while still warm.

2. Crispy Indian Fry Bread: Follow the directions for #1, except let the tortilla cook until it's golden brown and crispy.

3. Cinnamon chips: Slice tortillas into 6 or 8 pie shaped wedges. Cook until golden and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

4. Tortilla crackers: Follow the directions for #3 except sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder (lightly). Serve with soup or salad, or eat them alone.

5. Tortilla strings: Cut tortillas into long thin (1/4 inch)spaghetti-like strips. Cook in oil until crisp but not brown. Remove and blot. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Makes a delicious side dish with meat, fish, or poultry.

6. Fried ice cream: Cut the long spaghetti strips (#5) in half. Cook until golden brown and crunchy. Let them cool. Scoop ice cream over them and drizzle with chocolate syrup.

7. Croutons: Cut the tortilla into very thin strips (as thin as you can cut them without having them fall apart.) Cut each thing strip into 1 1/2 inch length. Fry in oil until crispy. Drain. Season as desired. Use in salad as you would croutons.

8. Tortilla Noodle Snack: Follow the directions for #7 except sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

9. Tortilla Cheeser: Take a whole tortilla and lay cheese on it (American and cheddar work well...shredded is better than slices.) Roll tortilla tightly and secure with a toothpick. Fry until crispy. Then drain.

10. Tortilla Appetizer: Follow directions for #9, except cut each rolled tortilla into four pieces and secure each with a toothpick. Fry, drain, and serve.

Using the above guidelines, there are many other variations a creative chef can come up with using tortillas. They are very versatile.