Last night, for the first time in a long time, all 4 of us were home for dinner together.Â Well, at least until I had to leave to meet some girlfriends to do some mom stuff for the upcoming Cross Country banquet.Â The mom stuff did NOT include drinking a glass of wine (I’m lying).
So we enjoyed about 60 seconds of togetherness at the dinner table before I had to leave for my very important meeting.Â And I decided, to celebrate our togetherness, to make a special gourmet dinner ofÂ . . . tacos, tater tots, and salad.Â We love tacos.Â I make them often.Â And while they may not really be gourmet, they are yummy!
Tacos – I love the very un-gourmet ground beef, taco seasoning, sharp cheddar in a crunchy off the shelf corn taco shell.Â After preparing the ground beef, I load the shells, add cheese (not the pre-grated stuff either) and pop them into a 350Â° oven for a few minutes until the cheese is nice and melty and the taco shells are a little soft. For the record, I love the tacos at Taco Bell and Jack In The Box, too. There’s just no accounting for some people’s taste in tacos.
Fish Tacos – These are my favorite when I’m looking for gourmet tacos, and I have a great recipe from my friend, Kathie, that I will share someday.
Tater Tots – These are a comfort food item for me.Â The grade school I attended used to serve these about twice a month always on a Friday.Â We weren’t allowed to buy our lunches, but when I was in 8th grade, the girls were “allowed” to work in the cafeteria.Â Today, I’m sure for sanitation, child labor, and a myriad other reasons, that would not be allowed.Â But I loved it because we got to eat the cafeteria food FOR FREE – which I thought was awesomeÂ – especially when we had tater tots.Â Ah, the memories.Â Oh and the head cafeteria lady, who was short and round (kinda like me today), had the same first name as me.Â I just felt a cosmic connection to her . . . and to those heavenly tater tots.
Taco Seasoning – Because I use a lot of this stuff, and it is not cheap, and I am basically frugal, I either buy it in bulk or make my own.Â Here is a version that I like and adapted to make enough for awhile.Â Note: this mix does not include salt so if you’re missing that flavor either remember to salt your meat or to add a little salt, to taste, to the mix.Â The advantage, other than thriftiness, to making your own taco seasoning mix is that the flavor is much more robust and you can adjust the heat to your taste, too.
Taco Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
3 TB plus 1-3/4 tsp ground cumin
2 TB onion powder
2 TB garlic powder
1 TB plus 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar or plastic container with a tightly fitted lid.Â Close the lid and shake the contents vigorously until well mixed.Â Use 1/4 cup of mix plus 2/3 cup of water to season 1 pound of ground beef or other meat.Â May also be used in the various taco dip recipes out there.