Thursday, August 11
I have to confess something. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Mexican food. I blame living 20-40 miles from the Mexican border for eight of the last 15 years, with the other seven years still being in California. One of my biggest fears of moving away from the San Diego area is that I won’t be able to access my favorite Mexican ingredients for cooking at home. No, really, it’s a true FEAR.
Now that you know I’m a snob, I have another confession to make. Ground beef tacos are not my favorite and I refer to them as “gringo tacos” in my head (especially when crispy taco shells are involved). This isn’t to say Mexican cuisine does not include seasoned ground beef for tacos, it’s just not my first pick and ground beef is never on the menu at any of my favorite Mexican restaurants. That all said, I will still eat and even cook ground beef tacos occasionally, it’s just never my first choice.
While we were visiting family the last few weeks, however, my sister-in-law Cora (who is a wonderful cook as well as a crazy talented photographer) made the best ground beef tacos I’ve ever had. Her Mexican friend Zu taught her how to make this delectable taco meat, and Cora has now passed that wisdom on to you and me.
Please note: The amount of meat you see in the picture above is the recipe below doubled.
First off, you will not need taco seasoning packets ever again. Stop buying them.
Secondly, after you make this taco meat, you will want to eat 10 tacos. You’ve been warned. (After Nate’s umpteenth taco he declared, “Why are these SO GOOD?!”)
Thank you, Cora, for bringing ground beef tacos back into my life in the most delicious way.Cora's Mexican Ground Beef TacosMy sister-in-law Cora gave me this recipe. Her Mexican friend taught her how to make this meat and it is scrumptious!Author: Cora WallinServes: 8Ingredients
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder (Cora prefers chipotle chili powder)
- 1 teaspoon paprika (Cora uses smoked paprika)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1½ - 2 tsp seasoned salt (to taste)
- 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ onion, diced
- 1 pint quartered grape tomatoes
- Brown beef over medium heat in a large, preferably deep, skillet. Use a potato masher to really break down the meat as it cooks. (The potato masher is the secret trick to this recipe!)
- When the beef is about halfway browned, drain off excess fat, then add the diced onion and seasonings. Continue browning, then add the chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
- Reduce heat to low and cook until tomatoes and onions melt into the beef mixture, at least 20 minutes. You can add a bit of water as it cooks if needed. Also, continue to use the potato masher throughout the cooking process.
- Awesome served with fresh homemade salsa (like this one), pico de gallo and Cholula hot sauce...but you can eat it however you want!
Friday, August 28
We had chili last night and it struck me that I’ve never done a chili call for recipes. This is definitely a dish I know people have recipes they are proud of and want to share. So, it’s time for a good old fashioned Chili Cook-Off! Well, as old fashioned as sharing recipes online can be, anyways!
I’ll share my chili recipe. It’s not fancy, but it’s good and EASY. And you can just use whatever you have lying around, it’s a very flexible recipe. For you chili die-hards out there…yes, I’m breaking all kinds of rules. So, be nice. This is a FRIENDLY chili cook-off…anything goes, there are no rules!ChiliMeasurements are approximate, this recipe is easy going.Author: Jane Maynard, inspired by MIL Pat MaynardIngredients
- About ⅓ of an onion, chopped
- Bell pepper (about half of one…red tastes better, but green offers a nice color contrast…you choose!)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped or minced…if you don’t have fresh garlic, just sprinkle some garlic powder
- ~3/4 lb ground beef
- 1 can kidney beans (15 oz size…don’t know if it’s exactly 15, but around there)
- 1 can of baked beans (small/med size can…yeah, I know baked beans probably offends some chili purists…I like the sweetness they offer and I like this type of bean, so whatever)
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- ~1/4 - ½ cup salsa
- ~1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (yup, spaghetti sauce…I make sure it’s a neutral one, without lots of italian spices or veggies like mushrooms in it - if you leave it out, just up the salsa amount a bit)
- ~2 tablespoons chili powder
- ~1/2 – 1 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- HEAT…red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, tabasco sauce, whatever you have on hand…I usually don’t add this to the pot b/c we have little ones, so Nate and I sprinkle a little cayenne pepper in our individual bowls.
- Saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil until soft – I season with salt and pepper at this point. Add ground beef, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned. Drain off fat. Add everything else and simmer for a little while. Serve with shredded cheese, corn chips, corn bread, whatever you like!
Time for you to share your favorite chili recipes! Any kind of chili counts, variety is a good thing! So, bring it on! You want to win the blue ribbon, right?