Taco Night is a simple meal that can be done fairly inexpensively and rotated into your meal planning every week or two. Since most people like Mexican (or at least our American version of Mexican), it's a winner. And for those of you who live outside the U.S. where it's harder to find the seasonings (and I so feel your pain... England's Mexican was as bad as drinking the water in Mexico), I'm posting a recipe to make your own at home and keep stashed in a jar!
Having a Mexican night is simple. You can change it up each time by what you have on hand. For mine last night I took 1 lb. of hamburger and browned it with some onions. After draining (something you don't have to do if you used a lean meat), I added it back to the pan with some chopped up jalapenos. I like it spicy, so I add them to my meat as well. Then I poured 1 cup of water in, added a bunch of the seasoning mix (I use a lot more than required), and brought it to a boil. You basically just cook it down until it's thick and no longer watery. Part way through I added a can of no-salt added red kidney beans. Then you just lay out a tortilla (or use hard shells), add the meat, and add your toppings!
**And for those of you who are new here, I use full fat. I've done a lot of reading and realized that the natural types of fat are actually not only not going to kill you, but in fact can help. Chicken fat is incredibly important when making chicken noodle soup, as it's what keeps you healthy and helps fight colds!!! Chicken soup when you're under the weather has actually been studied and is a good medicine when made right. **
For toppings it really just depends on what I have on hand. I picked up salsa because I didn't have the time/energy to make my own (though I'm making a huge batch today to freeze). When G is home the toppings always include cheese, and usually guacamole, lettuce, fresh tomatoes, etc. You can do sides of rice, whether mexican rice or cilantro lime. In fact, a friend of mine adds that to her meat mixture. I try to limit how many carbs I am getting. Not because I'm one of the low-carb people, but because I like granola, french bread, croissants, etc so I get plenty throughout my day and don't want to over-do it. Garret loves rice though, so I try and make that for him.
For those of you who prefer seafood, you can also easily do this cheaply with tilapia. I bake it with seasonings (usually just some lime, cumin, and garlic powder) and then tear into chunks. This is good with a black bean, corn, and cilantro mixture.
Taco Night gets you a well balanced meal, is tasty and really affordable. Use beans to make the meat go further. Even if you're not a bean person, with the seasoning you won't taste the difference!
(This makes a small batch for one meal, but tastes just like stuff you buy. I usually make a very large batch of it to keep in a jar in my cupboard, and I suggest you do the same, though it takes buying some spices in bulk... for which I recommend health food or ethnic food stores.)
* 1 Tbsp. chili powder
* 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
* 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
* 1/4 tsp. onion powder
* 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
* 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
* 1/2 tsp. paprika
* 1 tsp. sea salt ( I use a heaping tsp. of kosher salt)
* 1 tsp. black pepper
Mix all of it up well and store in a container. When I make a big batch I multiply the ingredients by 7-10 times this. Keeps well in a small jar. It's suggested you use 3 Tbsp. per lb. of meat, but to be honest, I use a heap more because I like the meat to be flavorful!