Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Today it begins....

Come with me! Let's take a little culinary journey together...

Just a few days ago, my travel buddy/darling husband and I returned from what can only be called an Epic Adventure.  We spent three weeks on the road, driving 4000+ miles in an exhausting, exciting trip.   The day had begun somewhere in Nebraska, it involved being stranded somewhere outside of Des Moines, Iowa, and even included doing major truck repairs outdoors during the most extreme lightning storm I have ever seen.  Somehow we were still in good spirits when we walked in the door upon our return, though we were both absolutely starving. You'd think we'd just order in some take-out, but if you know me, you'd know that's just not my style.  My immediate thought was, "What shall I make for dinner?"   So, exhausted as I was, I ran out to my (poorly attended) garden, picked all of the tomatoes in sight, pulled out the few remaining pantry staples I had left in the house, and made a fantastic mexican dinner.   My point?   If it was possible to throw together this tasty meal in about 5 minutes after such an grueling day, YOU certainly can do this after your exhausting workday.  I promise!! 

My first recipe is not so much a recipe as it is an inspiration. It is a very simple soft shell taco dinner.  The idea is that you can substitute whatever ingredients you have on hand, as I did, and tailor it to your liking. It's nothing fancy, but it proves you can make simple, delicious food in a flash!  Simple Mexican-American (Amexican?) -style food is SO easy to whip up in hundreds of ways (and for any # of people)  if you just stock a few simple ingredients!  It sure beats eating some crappy processed food!

Start with those super cute 6" flour tortillas. STOCK these at your house- they last a long time, are cheap, they're great for making the perfect size soft shell tacos or burritos etc. (they're the size of typical corn tortillas, but tastier in my opinion).  No one wants to eat a dried out, bulky tortilla. YUCK. These fit in your hand! Trust me, keep these on hand. Just warm a stack of them between paper towels in your microwave for a few seconds. (For you foodies, wrap stacks of them in tinfoil and throw them on the top rack of the grill to warm them and get some smoky flavor while you grill off your protein!)

I had a can of refried black beans on hand, some leftover cheese, hot sauce, some store-bought salsa, mexican spices, and those tomatoes from my garden.  That's it; and it was a pretty good meal. 

Dice up those tomatoes, heat up your beans, add some spices if you have them on hand. I used Cumin, Garlic Powder, Chilli Powder and a pinch of Penzey's Taco Seasoning. (I always stock Penzey's Spices- they are affordable yet impeccable in quality!).  If I hadn't been just getting home from being on the road, I would have had lettuce and sour cream to go with it.

You get the idea!  Here's a quick snapshot:

6" flour tortillas
refried BLACK beans
tomatoes from the garden
hot sauce (I use Tapatio salsa picante)
store-bought salsa
mexican spices

Heat beans, season with spices. Warm tortillas. Dice tomatoes. 
Spread beans on tortillas, add cheese, heat to melt cheese, then hit it with hot sauce, salsa, fresh tomatoes, whatever else you've got, and there you go!

Nothing fancy, but it was tasty and ready in 5 minutes.
Your turn! Go make it!  Tell me what you like to keep on hand for your quick mexican dinner!

Until next time....
Erin   "The Food Fairy"

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