Sunday, September 14, 2014

Yummy Alliteration...Three Ole's For Taco Tuesday!

Ahhhh, yummy alliteration!  Who can resist that?  Taco Tuesday is a staple in our home.  During a busy week, I know I can count on Taco Tuesday.  I don't have to think about it.  Tuesday rolls around and I know we're having some version of a taco or tostada.  And believe me, there are lots of variations. 

Get the recipe for homemade taco seasoning in the recipe section below.
As promised in my blog title, I will share delicious and easy recipe ideas for busy teachers, or anyone who wants an easy meal for their family.  On busy weeknights, I try to keep it simple, yet delicious.

There are many variations for making tacos.  You can easily change the protein from ground beef to ground turkey, chicken, pork, steak, shrimp, or fish.  You can make it vegetarian and add beans or grilled veggies.  If you want to make your ground beef stretch a little more, you can add beans to the meat mixture.  Sometimes, I like to add black beans, especially if I'm feeding a large crowd.

The outer shell can be changed from a hard, crunchy taco shell to a soft flour or corn tortilla.  My husband has to eat gluten-free, so I always use corn-based products for him.

Really, you can add just about anything to a taco or tostada.  Some of the things I like to add include lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, green onions, black olives, sour cream, salsa and avocado.  The possibilities are endless.

Taco Tuesday is great for entertaining.  Put all the toppings in small bowls and let your guests top their tacos or tostadas with what they would like.  It's easy and fun!  
Ingredients for Taco Tuesday.
You can also make taco pizzas, taco salads, or nachos.  For taco pizza, just use refried beans (or you can use my special bean recipe- see below) and salsa instead of pizza sauce.  Bake pizza crust in oven as directed. Then top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and anything else you'd like. It's always a hit at my house.  Refer to my post called "Mexican Pizza" for the full recipe.  For taco salads, I line a bowl with tortilla chips, then top with salad mix and ground beef or chicken.  Then I add in all the extra toppings. We love to have nachos for movie night, or when there's a big game on tv.  I just line a cookie sheet with tortilla chips, add taco meat or chicken, shredded cheese. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts.  Then add your cold toppings such as tomatoes or black olives.  It's oooey-gooey good!

Here are a few recipes you can use to add some OLE! to your Taco Tuesday:

Loaded Tostadas
tostada shells
1 can chili beans- blend in food processor (see tip below)
taco sauce
shredded lettuce
shredded cheese
diced tomatoes
black olives
green onions
sour cream
sliced avocado

Instead of using refried beans, I use a can of chili beans that I blend in the food processor.  I discovered this by accident when I was making tostadas one night and realized I didn't have a can of refried beans.  I had a can of chili beans and decided to make my own version.  It turned out great.  The beans come out smooth and creamy with a zippy flavor.  Now, I use them all the time.  Plus, it only takes a few minutes to make.

Directions:  Blend beans in food processor.  Spread bean mixture on tostada shells.  Add spoonful of taco sauce on top of beans on each tostada. Bake tostadas in oven as directed on box.  After removing from oven, add lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream, black olives, green onions, and a couple of slices of avocado.
Zippy bean mixture for tostados, Mexican pizza, or burritos.
2-3 ripe avocados
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro- pull leaves off and chop coarsely
1/2 small white onion, chopped
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt (or to taste)
1/2 lime- juice only

Dice the avocados.  Add diced tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped cilantor and lime juice to diced avocados.  Add salt to taste.  Mix ingredients together.  I like to mash some of the avocado, but leave some big chunks of it in the guacamole.  Serve with tortilla chips or top your taco or tostada with guacamole.

This recipe can be altered to your taste.  Add more or less of anything.  I have a group of friends who come over for Taco Tuesday and I have to alter this to fit their tastes and dietary restrictions.  One is allergic to onions.  One doesn't like tomatoes.  And, one doesn't like cilantro. So, when they come over, it ends up being mashed avocado!  

Here's a tip for avocados:  Cut avocado in half, remove the pit.  Use your knife to do a crosshatch pattern. Use a spoon to scoop out the avocado into your bowl. When you scoop it out, it will come out as diced avocado!

Cut avocado in half.  Make a crosshatch pattern in half of the avocado.  Scoop out using a spoon.  It will come out as diced avocado.  If you just make straight lines, it will come out as sliced avocado.  Pretty nifty trick!

If you are taking the guacamole to a party. Double the recipe and put the avocado pits in the mixture before taking to the party.  It will keep the guacamole from turning brown.

Easiest Salsa Ever
1 can Rotel Tomatoes
1 can Mexi Stewed Tomatoes
2 green onions
1 handful cilantro

Blend ingredients together in food processor.  Refrigerate.  Stays fresh for about three days.
My friend Kristi shared this recipe with me and I've loved it ever since.  It so easy and always turns out great.  You can adjust the amount of onions or cilantro to suit your taste.

Best Taco Seasoning
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch

Combine ingredients in small bowl.  Cook ground beef.  Drain excess fat.  Add taco seasoning to ground beef. Add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water to meat mixture. Stir and let beef mixture simmer on low heat. Add to taco or burrito shells.  

My friend Sonya shared this recipe with me years ago.  It is so good.  I like using it because my husband must eat gluten free and there are so many seasoning mixes that contain gluten.  Of course, if you don't have any dietary restrictions you can save time by buying a package mix- no judgement here!
Ingredients for taco seasoning.
Look for more easy recipe ideas at The Teacher Dish.


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