Wednesday Tacos

A few years ago I started randomly receiving a “lady’s magazine” in the mail (Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day or some such nonsense).  I never ordered or paid for this subscription and yet I got it every month for at least a year.  Whatever magazine it was, it was pretty much geared to the 30-40 something housewife so I was NOT the target audience.  The only thing I ever looked at before pitching the whole thing was a feature called 1-2-3 Recipe. Each month they had some crazy concoction made of only 3 ingredients and there were some interesting things featured.  But one of those recipes makes a near-weekly appearance on our table. I’m pretty sure I found this before M was born and she loves it now.  Both Mark and I have made it for work potluck lunches and we are always asked for the recipe.  I love how easy it is and how flexible it can be.  Here it is: our go-to meal in less then 20 minutes.

1-2-3 Taco’s (as written, as close as I can remember)
1 lb ground beef
1 package Knorr/Lipton “Fiesta Sides” Taco Rice
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

Brown the beef in a saucepan and drain the fat.  Add the rice & 2 cups water, stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 7 minutes.  Add in beans and heat through.  Serve as filling in taco shells top with your favorite  accrutements. (They cheat a bit with the 3 ingredient list since they tell you to serve in a taco shell which should totally be counted as ingredient #4).

Now here are my riffs on the theme:

  • Use any protein you want – we’ve done beef, turkey, chicken, buffalo and even meatless protein crumbles.
  • If you don’t want to add the Knorr stuff – use minute rice and your own blend of taco seasonings – just follow the package directions for amount of water and cooking time.
  • Or use precooked rice (leftovers work great) + taco seasoning for an even faster meal.
  • Add 2 or more cans of black beans to stretch the recipe for a crowd.
  • Add in veggies – we almost always add 1/2 bag of frozen corn and diced tomatoes.  When they are in season we add 2-3 diced red or yellow bell peppers, too. Maybe some cilantro if we have it around.
  • Make sure to add extra spice if adding a bunch of extras or it will be bland
  • Serve in shells or tortillas, over greens for a taco salad or just scoop some into a bowl and top with some crushed tortilla chips.
  • To take it to a potluck, cook it the night before and then transfer to the crock to reheat.  Take sour cream, salsa, & cheese so people can assemble their own.

We are NEVER with out the ingredients for this dish – I buy Trader Joe’s canned black beans in sixes.  It takes about 15-20 minutes and all three of us like it.  It can be pretty healthy if you use ground turkey or chicken breast, add in veggies and are careful with your toppings. This easily feeds all of us for 2 dinners and gives Mark and I 3-4 lunches – more if we add in extra beans and veggies. It’s cheap, too… under $10 for 8-10 servings.

Try this out for your family and let me know if they liked it – and share your own riffs on the recipe!

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