Tonight is taco night. My husband loves tacos, fajitas, etc. For him, it is a healthy meal. For me, I pile on the sour cream, cheese, and guacamole. Well, sometimes I try to moderate myself. I didn’t buy sour cream this week at the grocery store. Lately I’ve been grating my own cheese instead of buying pre-grated. It is cheaper, keeps longer (I think), and it tastes better. Plus, I think it keeps me from over-using it. I’m trying to (somewhat) limit my dairy intake on behalf of my little one, I think she is happier (aka less gassy) when I eat less dairy products. Here is what happens in my kitchen on a typical taco night (and yes, this is one of my “go-to” recipes).
1) I use turkey in place of ground beef. Sometimes shredded chicken, but usually turkey.
2) I use my own spice mix. I have been doing this for ~ the last 5 taco nights, and I’m not planning on going back to the packets of seasoning. I make a bunch of this in advance, store it in my pantry and then add what I need, depending on how spicy we want it that night. Way less sodium and way better tasting. If you don’t already do this, you need to. Really. Do it.
Here is the recipe I use (I usually at least double it so I have some stored in my pantry) (EDIT: Please see the updated version
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1.5 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
In small bowl, mix together all ingredients and store in airtight container. I like to add 2-3 tablespoons of this to one pound of browned meat. I usually add about 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer down so it really integrates with the meat.
3) Guacamole! I realize that many of you foodies that read this will frown upon my guacamole, but this is how we like it.
Avocado, mashed to your liking
Splash of lemon juice (lime would be good, but I use the kind out of a bottle because I always have it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp of salsa (fresh is best)
Boring, yes. Yummy, yes. We’re not fans of raw onion. We’re not fans of jalepano, and I don’t usually have fresh cilantro. So…the salsa gives just enough of the flavor of each of these traditional guacamole ingredients, plus a little tomato which I think is delicious in guac. Sometimes I add chopped fresh tomato as well. If you want to try some great chips, try Snyder’s. They aren’t paying me to endorse them, they are just really good tortilla chips. Try them, you’ll see.
4) Fresh diced tomato.
5) Flour tortillas. You can go a number of different directions here, but I prefer small flour tortillas. We have whole wheat tortillas in the fridge too, but I prefer those for wraps/sandwiches.
6) Cheese. Tonight it was sharp cheddar. Not a traditional taco cheese, but it was tasty. I like sharp cheddar because it has such a strong flavor that you can use less and still have just as much impact.
7) Lettuce. This is the one place where iceberg lettuce really works well. Tonight I used romaine hearts, which is fairly close in taste to iceberg. We’re having leftover tacos tomorrow night and I’m out of lettuce. I guess it will be spinach or nothing at all!
8) Salsa. This is fresh salsa from Kroger, I’m in love with it lately. I go for the mild variety, I’m not a huge fan of spiciness. I actually didn’t put any of the salsa on my tacos, I just ate it with my chips.
9) Dog food.
Just kidding. Refried beans. How gross do they look in can form? Much better in the picture below. I use the vegetarian variety.
10) Assemble and enjoy!
I like to put my cheese between my beans and the meat so it melts.
So that is taco night at our house. Sometimes there are minor changes, such as the addition of sour cream or grilled peppers and onions (I usually save those for fajita night though). If you get nothing else from this post, try the spice mix. You’ll never go back.
Almost forgot the picture of my helper. Sorry about the bad aim…I was looking at her instead of the camera.
Looks like she is ready to eat!