Make-it-work Monday: Homemade Tacos


I used to have this little code that I would text to my housemate/co-chef Vinny. I would say something like “taco tuesday?!?” but I would really mean something like “I am exhausted and starving and have been working for 12 hours and have no plans of what to make for dinner can you pretty please with extra cheese make tacos tonight?”

Lo and behold I would walk in the door to the spicy smells of cumin and ground beef, finished to perfection and waiting for us to devour while watching Friday Night Lights/Dexter/So You Think You Can Dance. So two points here: tacos are a great comfort after a busy day and Vinny is basically the best friend ever.

Now I am the chief taco maker, although the Mr. is pretty handy on taco night too. The reason they are a great Make-it-work Monday choice is that they are quick, pretty cheap, and adaptable.

1. Meat: They are great with ground beef or ground turkey (healthier choice). Either of these meats can go straight from the freezer into the skillet in a pinch, although it’s obviously better to thaw first. I used to use El Paso taco seasoning packets, but recently have started making my own seasoning (see below). This is a) more delicious b) lower in sodium and weird ingredients and c) cheaper.

2. Toppings: I usually chop up some tomatoes and lettuce (ice berg, romaine, whatever I have on hand) and then grab some cheese and sour cream and taco sauce/hot sauce for the Mr. For cheese, I really do like to buy the “taco” pre-shredded cheese… so sue me. I buy a big bag and then freeze it in little ziplocs – ready to pull out on any taco night and it will melt right away. Or you can grate some cheddar – whatever floats your boat. Feel free to add any other toppings that come to mind – like a little avocado or beans or whatever.

3. Vehicle: I usually use 6-8 inch flour tortillas. Right before serving, I heat up a dry skillet and flip flop the tortillas on the pan until they are warm. You can also microwave them, although that makes them a bit more limp. I have also been known to use taco leftovers in taco salad. Just flip flop the whole idea and fill a bowl with romaine and then dump all the above mentioned items on top. Serve with chips if you have some handy.

It may not be glamorous, but its dinner! MAKE IT WORK!

Taco Night with Homemade Taco Seasoning 

makes about 6T (enough for 3lbs of meat)

2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons corn starch

Mix all ingredients together and store in glass jar in your pantry!

To use, brown ground beef or turkey in a skillet. Drain off excess fat. Add 1/4 cup water and 2 Tablespoons of seasoning mix and stir. Cook a few more minutes until mixture thickens.

Heat tortillas and assemble tacos with meat and whatever toppings you fancy, like cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, etc. Enjoy with a Corona and a best friend.



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