Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cheater Dinners: Tacos

I think it's universal for families to resort to tacos as an easy dinner, so I'll spare you any extra explanation and go straight to the recipes. 

Taco Seasoning
I think I got this recipe out of one of my mom's old cookbooks . . . like a ward cookbook or food storage cookbook or something.  I looooove it.  I almost never use packet taco seasoning because this works great, and I always have the ingredients on hand, where I don't always have a packet. 

2 tsp dry onion
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp dried oregano

Mix and use to season 1 pound ground beef.  (I like to brown the ground beef, then rinse it to remove extra fat, and add a little water, 1/4-1/3 cup or so, back in with the seasoning and cook until the liquid evaporates.  I also usually add refried beans with the water, and cook it together.  It really helps to stretch the meat farther.) 

We've always made soft shell tacos, but recently we've branched out to hard shell. Soft shell is generally easier for little hands. Everyone has their favorite taco ingredients, so I won't elaborate about that.  But here's a tip for kids that are picky about their food "touching:"  Since Isaiah was little we've served our kids their tacos as more of a buffet.  They get a pile of each ingredient on their plate (and for them, preferably sectioned plates), and eat it finger-food style.  The tomatoes, avocados, and other veggies generally get skipped, and the olives are everyone's favorite, but with a little ranch for dipping, everyone tries something. 

Taco Salad
1/2 lb ground beef, cooked and rinsed
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
1 can kidney beans

2 cups shredded lettuce or green salad mix
1/2 cup grated cheese (Cheddar or Colby Jack)
1/3 cup olives
(optional) 1 tomato, seeded and chopped, 1/2 avocado, sliced lengthwise, sour cream

corn chips (you could fry up some tortilla bowls, but the point of this is easy, right?)

Cook ground beef and drain thoroughly, place back in pan.  To the beef, add the water, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and kidney beans.  Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for ten minutes or until liquid is absorbed. 

Allow diners to build salad as desired. 

Taco Soup
It doesn't get any easier than this!

1 small onion, diced

1 lb ground beef
1 can red kidney beans, drain and rinse
1 can corn, drain
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 small can sliced olives
1 pkg taco seasoning (or recipe above)
1 cup water

In a medium soup pot, heat a little oil and fry onions for a moment until translucent.  Add ground beef and brown.  Drain.  Add remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly.  Eat with bite-sized corn chips, cheese and sour cream. 

None of these dinners takes more than 20 minutes, unless you decide to add a side of Spanish rice and corn sprinkled with chili powder.  Mmmmm . . .

1 comment:

The Yoder's Four said...

We make tacos and taco soup all the time. Thanks for the recipe for your own dry mix--it sounds great!