Monday, June 1, 2009

Taco Tuesday

I know it's not Tuesday yet. Tomorrow is Tuesday. And at our house tomorrow is Taco Tuesday. And since it's such a big hit at our house, I wanted to record it here and share a recipe or two with anyone who wants to start a Martes de Tacos como La Familia Montgomery.

Before the recipes, here's a little background... (Oh and this post really is about tacos and Tuesdays. If you want to skip to the end, there's a cute pic of the family there. I don't mind if you do.)

A couple years ago, I decided that it would be easier to plan our dinner menus if we had the same type of meal on a few of the days in the week. This has made it easier for me to choose what to put on the menus in the first place. Sometimes, I just run out of good, easy, cheap meals to make for our dinners. Knowing that I didn't have to come up with something new and fancy for 2-3 nights makes it that much awesomer to be the main dinner maker in my house.

What I came up with is this:

Tuesdays we will eat some kind of mexican-style food (Taco Tuesday)
Wednesdays we will probably have spaghetti (hmm... Wednesdays don't have a name...)
Fridays we will have homemade pizza (Pizza Night)

That leaves 4 other days to figure out meals though I generally follow a pattern for those days too. But their pattern isn't as interesting so I won't write about it here.

On to Taco Tuesday!

Like I said the name of the game for planning meals around here is cheap and easy, well, and healthful if I can get all those adjectives to describe a single meal.

This is what I usually make:

Since that's kind of hard to read, I'll re-write it here with some directions too. I just like how used that little 3x5 card looks. We make this stuff a lot!

Bob and Rebecca's Spicy Taco Meat

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 can Rotel Original Diced Tomatos and Green Chilies (sauteed sweet peppers works too if you don't feel like doing the Rotel thing... add more seasonings to taste if you do this)
1 clove of garlic smushed in smusher
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or maybe less... or more if you are spicier than I am)

Brown ground beef. Add onion, Rotel, and after a few minutes, the garlic, sugar (yes, I put sugar in it!) and the chili powder.

Then, if you've doubled the recipe, like I usually do now for my family, it will look something like this:

We generally use this filling for soft tacos, or burritos. The normal sides (refried beans, diced tomatos, shredded lettuce, grated cheddar, sour cream, and of course Tapatio for Bob) accompany our spicy taco meat in a hard or soft tortilla. In the past, I have been known to make my own tortillas. Currently, we purchase them ready made but I'm hoping to return to the homemade kind soon. If you are open to a little extra preparation, freshly made tortillas really make this meal super yummy.

Fresh Tortillas (from Maria Teresa Bermudez's Mexican Cook Book)

Combine, in a large bowl:
4 cups flour (I usually do something like 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 white)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

Cut in(as if you were making pie crust):
1/2 cup shortening or try coconut oil if you have it... it's yummy too.

Stir in with a fork:
1 and 1/4 cups warm water

A sticky ball of dough should be the result. Knead it on a floured surface until it is somewhat smooth. This recipe yields about 18 tortillas but I'd recommend only cooking up what you are going to eat right now for dinner. You can save the rest of the dough, in little balls in your freezer and they will be all ready to thaw and become fresh tortillas when you want them. That's what I do anyway.

Here's the only sort of critical part: The actual rolling out and cooking of these guys. It can take a few tries to get just the right amount of heat on your frying pan. Place your pan on the stove and let it heat up around Medium High while you shape and roll your tortillas.

After you have divided your large ball of dough into about 18 pieces, cover all but the one you are currently rolling so they don't dry out. Before I roll out a tortillas, I shape the little dough chunk into a ball and then flatten it with my hand until it resembles a, well, a flattened ball? Then I roll it flat.

I use a rolling pin on my floured counter top and roll the tortillas as THIN as possible. Or leave it thicker if you like it that way. Thinner tortillas are easier to work with when it's time to fill them and serve them.

Once it's nice and flat and round, let it cook on your preheated frying pan, flipping it once. It took me a while to get this just right but you should have a few good ones if you make this whole recipe. Serve 'em up warm!

Viva el martes de tacos!


Our Four Kids said...

Yum! I am so impressed that you make your own tortillas! Thanks for the recipes!

megan said...

Can I make tortillas with you sometime to see how it's done? I would love a personal cooking lesson - and I am a good hands-on learner. I could trade some service with you, like folding your laundry, or bringing you a pre-prepared meal...I'm willing to make deals!

Rebecca M said...

Totally, Megan! They are so yummy, everyone should get to eat them!

Sue and Michael said...

Hola mi hija! I am trying to catch u on your blogging. I finished 2008 a week or so ago.
Today I am up to June, 2009. Uh, right around el martes de tacos. Yo tengo una pregunta. Donde esta el queso en la photographia de los tacos? No queso? Quiero preguntar, que es esto? Esto es queso!