So…this meal was supposed to be veal paprikash. However, my search over the last few weeks for veal stew meat yielded no results. Apparently people don’t want to eat veal stew in the summer. Go figure.
Veal paprikash is probably my favorite mom-food, and as such she always made it for me for my August birthday. Clearly she had more forethought than I did these past two weeks. Therefore, the veal will be delayed until I arrive in Hungary, whenever that may be. Stay tuned.
As a consolation prize, I made tacos. This choice didn’t require much arm twisting because tacos and all the fixings that go with it are pretty awesome themselves, and also more appropriate for the summer season. Don’t you agree?
Here’s the thing about tacos (and excuse me for a second while I get a little preachy…). For me, tacos were the “aha!” food that set me on my current attitude about healthy eating, what food should contain, and how it should taste. I was a pretty lucky kid, and my mom didn’t feed us a lot of packaged, processed food, no matter how much my brother and I begged for Chef Boyardee and microwave dinners. Kids, what did we know.
As I grew up and started cooking and fixing meals on my own, I grew further and further away from the lessons learned from mom and eating what are now referred to as whole foods. I lost my post-college weight with the help of Lean Cuisines, Splenda, low-fat and non-fat prepackaged foods. This was all okay with me…until one day about 8 years ago when I happened to make tacos.
I was standing around waiting for the ground beef to brown and, apparently bored, thought the most interesting thing I could find to read was the back of my taco seasoning packet. Have you ever READ what is in taco seasoning?!? Most of it, besides the salt, I bet you can’t pronounce. I couldn’t. Shocked and appalled and at that point refusing to put that on my food, I rushed online to find a recipe for homemade taco seasoning. The one I found was fantastic and made the best tasting tacos I’d ever had. That same recipe I still use today, with a few tweaks, and I implore you to give it a try. I promise it tastes much better than maltodextrin and caramel colored sulfates. I did not make that up.
As you can probably tell from all that I’ve made so far, all the recipes I post consist of whole, real ingredients. Stuff my grandmother and yours would recognize as food. Stuff that I’m happy to give my body. You’ll find that tacos, when made properly, are probably one of the healthiest things you can make. And tastiest. Okay, I’m off the soapbox.
Here we go…
- 1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
- 1 can no-salt added black beans
- 2 TB chili powder
- 1 TB cumin
- 1 TB oregano
- 2 tsp cornstarch (optional)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp coriander
- ½ tsp cayenne
- 1 cup water
- Brown the meat in a deep sauté pan. Once cooked through, drain the excess liquid/fat.
- Add the beans, seasonings and water, and cover and cooked about 15 minutes until all heated through and saucy.
Tacos would not be complete without SALSA, and I’m not talking about the jarred kind.
This makes a LOT, but I guarantee you’ll want to eat a lot.
- 1 red onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 ½ cups corn, frozen or 1 can corn kernels
- 1 can pinto or black beans
- 1 container cherry tomatoes, quartered, or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 red, yellow or orange pepper, diced
- 1 handful of cilantro, chopped
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, smashed with the back of a knife or with a mortar and pestle
- 1 TB chili powder (about 1 large palmful)
- 1 TB cumin (about 1 large palmful)
- ½ TB oregano (about ½ a palmful)
- 2-3 TB rice or red wine vinegar (enough to thin out the spices)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- Mix together the red onion, jalapeno, beans, corn, peppers and cilantro. Set aside.
- Mix together all the ingredients for the dressing. Pour over veggies.
- Let meld on the counter for a bit before serving. It just gets better this way.
And of COURSE you need GUACAMOLE.
- 2 large avocados, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- ¼ cup cilantro, diced
- 1-2 tsp cumin
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 dashes tobacco
- Mix up everything in a bowl, smashing the avocado with a fork to blend it well with all the ingredients
- ¾ a head of cauliflower riced or 2 cups riced and packed
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- For these I actually rice my cauliflower slightly more fine that cauliflower rice. Toss ¾ a head of cauliflower cut up and most of the stem removed and pulse until you get a texture slightly finer than rice. (Once it’s riced measure it to make sure you have 2 cups packed.)
- Place riced cauliflower in bowl and microwave for 2 minutes and stir, then another two minutes and stir again then place in a dish towel and squeeze excess water out as hard as you can. (You’re going to want to get out as much water as you can and be careful not to burn yourself because it’s going to be very hot.)
- Place drained cauliflower back in bowl and add two eggs, salt and pepper and mix until well combined.
- As a note it will be a little bit runny but shouldn’t be pure liquid either. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet into 6 small fairly flat circles.
- Place in the oven for 10 minutes then pull out of the oven and carefully peel them off the parchment and flip them and place back in the oven for 5-7 more minutes.
- Once they’re done place them on a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Heat a medium sized pan over medium heat and place the tortillas into the pan pressing down slightly and brown them to your liking. (Don’t skip this step because it gives them slightly crispy on the edges and gives them a wonderfully nutty taste)