Tacos are awesome. Tacos are wonderful. Tacos are delicious. Tacos may well be the greatest kiddie dinner ever. Tacos can be meaty, veggie or fishy. They are always stuffed full of wonderful things. They are a vehicle for plenty of salad. Tacos live merrily in the store cupboard for months, waiting to be filled with deliciousness. They are fun, stuffing a taco inappropriately full is one of the great culinary pleasures. They are basically like giant crisps, stuffed with goodness.
Children love tacos. How could they not? Crunchy little shells that they are. You supply the stuffing components in the middle of the table and let them create. My boy is in love with tacos, he creates epic (his word) tacos, filled to impossibility with carefully crafted layers. He adds chilli sauce in increasingly bold amounts, then grabs for the water with a sense of glee that it's 'tooooo spicy'.
I love eating tacos with the kids. It's relaxed, communal eating. A great pile of taco shells, all the stuffings and fillings in bowls on the table. The challenge of eating them without cracking up - the tacos I mean.
Here's a couple of suggestions of what you can put in your taco shells:
- Grated cheese
- Shredded lettuce
- Chopped tomato and cucumber
- Plain yoghurt - I'd favour this over soured cream
- Chilli sauce - my boy is slightly addicted...
The main event:
- Veg chilli - out top pick, a firm favourite
- Dry spiced Minced Beef
- Spicy Prawns
Here's a recipe for an All-In Veg Chilli. It's 'all in' because we chop the all veg straight into a cold pan before we start any cooking. This means I can put out a range of veg Em can help with the peeling and chopping bit. This is very much a recipe to be adapted and messed with, but as a start try this:
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 large carrots
- 2 courgettes
- 1 red pepper
- 1 stick of celery
- A splash of oil
- 1 tin of tomatoes
- 1 tin of sweetcorn
- 2 tins of beans - cannelini, butter, black eye, baked...
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/4 tesp Cayenne pepper or chilli powder
- 1 tsp paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 stock cube - veg of chicken
- Prep the veg and chop into a hearty dice - throw it all into a cold pan as you go.
- Add the oil and fry the veg for a few minutes.
- Throw in the contents of all the tins - I don't bother draining the sweetcorn or beans. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Freeze half for another day.
For a very simple Dry Spiced Beef, use the same spices as above but stir fry 400g of minced beef in a a wide pan with a splash of oil. Keep the heat high and keep frying it until it is well coloured and getting crispt in places. I tend to use the 20% fat mince for this.
Try the same, but using a small pack of frozen prawns instead.