Friday, June 1, 2018

On The Menu - Brenda's Tacos

From Brenda's 'I Hate To Cook' Kitchen 

Brenda's Tacos
I love home-cooked meals…especially the ones someone else cooks. In our house, FDW does most of the cooking. I’m lucky he enjoys what I consider a monumental task. Yet there are times when I get a taste for something that he doesn’t make. He probably could cook these dishes, but I think I do them better.

Since I HATE to cook, my recipes are extremely simple. There are too few hours in the day for me to spend much time in the kitchen. As my creations go, this taco recipe is by far the most complicated and the messiest. I’m pretty sure FDW could do a great job, but that word messiest is why I always insist I cook, he cleans. In our house, he who cooks does not do the cleanup. So, that means he’s left with the clean up after my messiest meal.

Food in one way or another is mentioned in my books. People have to eat, right? I have fun choosing restaurants or foods that match the setting. In The Power of Love and Murder, fourth book in the series, tacos get a walk-on part. The story takes place in Flagstaff, Arizona. I was born in Arizona, and Mexican food was a big part of my diet.

My mom made tacos every Friday night. My recipe is a take on her version. She used corn tortillas only and the solitary spice was salt. I avoid salt, but as you can see from the recipe, there’s plenty of hidden sodium.

Makes approximately 20-24 tacos
2-2/3 pounds ground beef (We buy organic from Costco, comes in 3 packages of 1 1/3 pounds per package, and it has the most wonderful flavor. But any ground beef will do)
corn tortillas
fajita sized flour tortillas
ground cumin
chili powder
grated cheddar cheese
tomatoes, chopped
various lettuce greens, shredded or torn small
avocado, slightly mashed
sour cream
El Pato (brand name) tomato sauce

Cook hamburger and season while cooking with cumin and chili powder. The cumin is my secret ingredient. I've made tacos for years, but never used cumin until my daughter-in-law clued me on this spice that is used at Mexican food restaurants. Love it now. Start with a couple of level teaspoons and season to taste. Sprinkle on chili powder to taste. I never measure either of these two spices. Too much trouble for me.

Heat cooking oil in a skillet. Dip the corn tortillas in hot oil on both sides to soften and set them aside on paper towels. No need to do this for the flour tortillas.

Now pile beef and cheese on the tortillas and fold in half. Fry to the desired crispness on both sides. This is a hazardous duty job. Better wear an apron and glasses. When the meat or cheese slips out of the tortilla the popping begins. As they are done, set them on paper towels to soak up the extra grease.

Once cooked, you can pile on the garnish - tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, sour cream and El Pato. We happen to think El Pato is the best sauce for tacos. I consider this another secret ingredient straight from the way Mom made tacos. If you like salsa or some other sauce, feel free to substitute. But I would give it a try if you've never had it; that is if you can find it in your state. In Arizona, every store has it. When I lived in Minnesota, only one store stocked it.

This will make at least twenty tacos. Truthfully, it varies depending on how much meat you like in your tacos. We love leftovers. Yes, we even eat them cold the next day. We make half the batch with corn and half with flour. I prefer corn, and FDW likes flour.

Be warned - cleanup is a chore. Even if you clean as you go, Taco Night is messy. But oh so worth it!

About Brenda: Brenda and her husband are gypsies at heart having lived in six states and two countries. Currently, they split their time between the Lake Roosevelt basin in Central Arizona and the pines in the north. Wherever Brenda opens her laptop, she spends most of her time writing stories of discovery and love entangled with suspense.

Penny Sparks has secrets that can ruin a presidential contender, got her family murdered…and mark her as the next hit.
The Power of Love and Murder, book four in the series. You can find The Power of Love and Murder as well as the rest of my books here: Amazon Author Page


Jannine Gallant said...

Love taco night! We had chicken tacos last night, in fact! I make my own enchilada sauce and simmer shredded chicken in it for the filling.

lostinthewoods said...

We, too, are big Mexican food eaters. Having been raised in a predominately Mexican neighborhood in the 50s and early 60s in Phoenix, I learned a great deal about food. Then, having spent many winters in small Mexican villages for up to 5-6 months, learning that Mexican cuisine has regional flairs...I love them all.

Brenda Whiteside said...

That sounds wonderful, Jannine. Love chicken taco and simmering in homemade sauce sounds decadent!

Brenda Whiteside said...

You are so right, Bruce. Not all Mexican food is the same. We used to go to Cancun for several years. My favorite places to eat were in old Cancun and not in the tourist area. Food to die for. That's where I learned to love lime on chips and a lot of other things.

Penny Ewing said...

I love Mexican dishes of all kinds. I have to give this recipe a try. Shared your recipe on my Facebook page.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Thank you so much, Penny. Hope you enjoy!