Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays

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When Rob and I first moved to the farm from Arizona, we loved the peace and solitude so much that we had to force ourselves to leave.  Even running into town (which is only 15 minutes away) for groceries felt a lot more like an expedition than it did when we were around the corner from our local grocery store back in Paradise Valley.  We laughed about the strange dinners I would concoct just to avoid a trip to town and knew that if the kids had been there with us it would never have passed their scrutiny.

Life on a farm means that the unexpected and unplanned is often the norm, so my meal planning has become as much of a necessity for me as it was when my children were little and I was a busy single mom trying to deal with a demanding job.  

Here are some of my tips for weekly meal planning:

  • Review the week’s activities and meal plan accordingly (I try not to plan complicated meals if I know I have a really busy week ahead).

  • Make a detailed grocery list based on your recipes in advance.  I have been using the app Any List.  It’s one of the best for creating grocery lists and meal planning that I have found.  You can download recipes and add items directly to your grocery list.

  • Double check your staples, keeping a well-stocked pantry eliminates a last minute grocery run.

  • I try to do all my prep work as soon as I get home from the grocery store.  I find this helps me eliminate waste and makes cooking so much easier because all my ingredients are ready to be used.

  • I double recipes a lot so one can go in the freezer (soup is excellent for this trick) to be used when I have an exceptionally hectic week or unexpected guests arrive.  

  • Roasting two chickens at a time is another time saver, I make one for dinner and use the other for leftovers and salads during the week.

  • I cook things like quinoa or wheat berries in large quantities that can be used in salads, as side dishes and even incorporated into my breakfast menus.

  • Berries are a part of my breakfast every day so I always have a bowl of fruit in the fridge, making my mornings less hectic.

Taco Tuesday was one of my go-to meals when the kids were little, and remains one of those meals that I can still make when they come to visit and reminds them they are “home.” This basic recipe can easily be scaled to serve a large crowd and the protein can be modified depending on dietary preferences.  The key is frying the taco shells.

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Ingredients:


1 lb. Ground beef, turkey or protein of your choice

1 head of iceberg lettuce - shredded

1 small yellow onion - diced ¼”

2-3 cloves of garlic - minced

5-6 Roma tomatoes - diced ¼”

1 - 2 cups of grated cheddar cheese or crumbled Cotija Mexican cheese

1 can of RO-TEL diced tomatoes and green chilies  

1-2  ripe avocados

1-2  fresh limes (squeeze the juice and use it for mashing the avocados)

½ cup of canola oil

Salt & pepper to taste

Sour Cream

Small corn tortillas from the Mexican food section

Olive oil for sauté

Canola oil for frying tortillas

Favorite salsa - El Pato is our favorite if you can find it, another choice is Herdez Salsa Casera


Directions

  • Prep garlic, onions, tomatoes, cheese, and iceberg lettuce

  • Mash up avocados with lime juice and salt to taste

  • Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil, add ground beef or turkey

  • Add 1 can of drained Rotel to ground beef - cover and keep on low heat while you make the tortilla shells

  • Heat a small sauté pan on medium heat and add canola oil. Using tongs fry one corn tortilla shell at a time - it’s key to get the oil hot enough that the tortilla shells puff up quickly but not so hot that they brown. Flip them from one side to the next and then bend them in half.  You can adjust the cooking time depending on whether you like your shells soft or crispy. Like pancakes you might need a few “test” shells before you get the temperature and frying time just right.

  • Drain the taco shells on a paper towel-lined dish.  If you work quickly enough and have help, someone else can be loading them while you continue frying up more shells.

  • Load the taco shells with a spoonful or two of ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese.

  • Serve the sour cream, mashed avocado and salsa in bowls so everyone can add their own.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do and remember, Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays!

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Camilla Strongin