Veggie Tacos: Something my family loved!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For today's lunch I threw together this veggie taco meal and my husband and kids loved it. So, of course, I have to share it with all of you. :)

Start with melting about 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. (You could use olive oil instead)

I added about a teaspoon of garlic and one small diced onion. (whizzed it up in the food processor)

after sauteeing that for a few minutes I added in four carrots and one zucchini, both of which I had whizzed up into small pieces using my food processor.

Also added three cans of beans: 1 kidney, 1 black bean, 1 pinto.

Plus 7 teaspoons of my homemade taco seasoning mix. (basically equals on taco seasoning packet from the store--will share the recipe at the end)

I stirred this up while heating, making sure it didn't scorch on the bottom. Brought it to a boil, then covered and simmered for about 10 minutes or so to get the carrots cooked. Then uncovered and continued to cook and stir at medium temp. for about 20 more minutes. Basically, once the carrots aren't too hard, you can be done. (I liked leaving them just a little crunchy for texture)

We had hard taco shells and soft tortillas. You can probably find whole wheat tortillas at your grocery store. I also had

organic lettuce


sour cream

colby jack cheese

and taco sauce to put on these.

My kids do not like tomatoes, so this recipe really made them happy. Of course, you could add some diced tomatoes while cooking, or just have them to add afterwards for those that enjoy them.

It was definitely a messy meal, but everybody ate happily and there were no complaints. A golden recipe for my arsenal! :)

I am sure you could use more or less veggies, different beans, etc. This is a great "cooking from the hip" recipe because it's hard to mess up. As long as it's hearty, and not too liquidy, you are good to go. This recipe did seem a little runny in the skillet, but once it started to cool off it turned into a perfect consistency for tacos.

If you plan ahead you could soak and cook the beans ahead of time.

Zucchini is so great for adding into recipes like this. When we get excess zukes in the summer time I just whiz them up in the food processor and freeze 'em in ziploc bags. They don't have a strong taste, so they are easy to throw into soups, stews, casseroles, and other stuff to add nutrition and heartiness without setting off anybody's "veggie alarm."

To make your own homemade taco seasoning just mix up:

6 teaspoons chili powder
5 teaspoons paprika
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons onion powder
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

I just stick it all into a Tupperware spice container and have it on hand for times when I need taco mix. It saves money and helps avoid the unhealthy fillers that are in so many pre-packed mixes.

Mexican Minestrone Recipe

Friday, May 02, 2008

My 15 year old son needed to bring a Mexican food to a Cinco de Mayo celebration (which is today, Dos de Mayo, but hey....whatever!) and so we made this super easy and delicious soup. I am HAPPY to say that it is healthy, inexpensive, quick, and MSG-free! Woot!

In a crock pot, combine:

two 15-ounce cans black beans

two 14.5-ounce cans of diced or stewed tomatoes (read those labels--I found stewed tomatoes with high fructose corn syrup in it! ugh)

28 ounces of vegetable broth

15 ounce can of corn, or the equivalent of frozen corn

15 ounce can garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)

2 cups of diced potatoes

2 cups frozen green beans

1 cup salsa

Cook on low for 9-11 hours, or on high for 4.5-5.5 hours. You can serve it with a dollop of sour cream if you want to. :)

If you want to be even thriftier, you can always use dry beans and just soak them overnight. Drain off the water in the morning, and throw those soaked beans into the crock pot to cook along with everything else. I would say that you would probably only need about a cup-and-a-half of the black beans, and about 3/4 of a cup of the garbanzo.

I've noticed that a lot of crock pot recipes require you to do a whole lot of advance cooking before putting the stuff into the pot. I like ones where you just throw the stuff in and come back later to a meal. :)

We'll be having this soup tomorrow night along with a loaf of fresh honey whole wheat bread. Yum!