Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Special" Tacos

Look, y'all. Whatever you do, don't tell my husband about the "specialness" of tonight's tacos until after we eat them.

The ingredients and their proportions had to change a bit to compensate.
Ingredients & Prices
2-3 T veggie oil $0.02
1 lb. Ground Chicken (special...) - $2.99
1/2 can Rancheros Refried Beans - $0.75
2 Yellow Onions, chopped - $0.10
1 clove garlic, minced - $0.05
1 1/2 tsp Cumin powder - $0.05
1 tsp salt - $0.01
1 tsp Chipotle Chili Pepper - $0.06
9 Hard Taco Shells - $0.84 (Ortega brand - awesome)
3 ounces cheese (2 mozz., 1 cheddar) - $0.68
9 tsp Sour Cream - $0.31
Funny Story...priceless

Instructions: Warm the oil over low heat in a nonstick skillet. Throw in the chopped onions. Cook 1 minute or so. Add the ground chicken. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and put 1-2 T water in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook ground chicken, adding the garlic, salt, cumin & chili pepper at this point.
Note the lightness - there's no keeping this a secret.
See above to see how much of the powders are on there. As I mentioned before, I do not measure perfectly (which drives my husband crazy) - I take a look-see. I cover the meat with the powders in a thin layer. This, once cooked, proved not enough in the case of ground chicken. It apparently does not offer up enough of its own delicious flavoring as does fatty ground beef. Thus, I had to add quite a bit more cumin, Chipotle pepper, and even salt to get the yumminess. And yummy it was. The chicken also felt different as I used my handy dandy wooden utensil to stir it and break the pieces apart. It felt stringy and was much more difficult to break apart than is ground beef. When that tiny bit of water boils, add the half can of refried beans and stir very quickly. Then turn it off. Spread the taco shells out on a baking sheet and drop them in for 5-6 minutes. These Ortega shells are much thinner than the Old El Paso ones I'd used in the earlier recipe, so watch not to overcook. Get the Oretega ones - they come in a 12 pack box at Target. I paid $1.12 for the box!?!?! Happiness. Joyness. Loving life. 
Whatever veggies you'd like to throw in, prep them while the shells warm up. Chop the lettuce into little long slits and the tomatoes into little blocks; wash your cilantro, and grate your cheese (a large grate is much better than the super thin ones - that way you can taste your cheese). 
Take out your taco shells. Turn off the heat. Set a paper towel into a 13x9 baking dish (metal), and stand up the shells. 9 fit perfectly going the long way. Dump a teaspoon or so of refried beans into the bottom of each shell. Don't worry about spreading it - leave it in a lump at the bottom. Don't torture yourself. Then, use a large spoon to put about a Tablespoon or more of chicken mixture into the shell. Smash down the beans, it'll spread out that way. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on the mixture. Set it back in the oven (heat turned off but still warm) until you're ready to eat.

Now, whatever you do, don't lose your cilantro. My cilantro was very very dirty, and there was very little left. I took off all of the good leaves, put them into the clear lid from the lettuce container, washed them, put them on a paper towel to dry...and lost them. No cilantro with dinner tonight. I must have thrown it away during the madness that is my kitchen. Perhaps it was the 7 month old climbing up the back of my legs and screaming that she would bang her head if I did not pick her up. Perhaps it was the wasp in the box of toy bricks my son brought up from the basement...I know not. To add a little salt (always add salt...) to my wound, the lettuce and tomato...were frozen. My fridge has a cold spot - the entire back of it - if you put anything anywhere near the back, it freezes. I hoped that that just meant that my frozen lettuce and tomato would be easier to chop up with my handy dandy Cutco Petit Chef's knife. It was, most certainly, easier to cut. I usually use the serrated knife for the tomato, but I didn't have to this time...I waited, and prayed for delicious vegetables to put on the top of the tacos...no go. Ice cubes, red ones. Gross. Sad day when your lettuce and tomatoes get ruined by your refrigerator. Sad day. 

Delicious Tacos, though. Yea.
These tacos fed 2 adults, no kids. Stan had 2 cheese roll ups. (2 tortillas - $0.38, 2 slices American cheese $0.28+ some lettuce & tomatoes $0.15)
Total Price of Adults Meal: $5.86
Total Price of Kid's Meal:  $0.81

Total Price of 2 adults, 1 child: $6.67

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha! Our fridge has a spot like that, too, and of course I never put anything there that can freeze without losing it's texture. Always, I put lettuce there. Annoying.

    Hey, handy tip per cilantro (and parsley): You don't have to remove the leaves. The stems are soft enough and have the exact same flavor, so if you're running short, just chop up the stems and leaves together. You'll never be able to tell. I'm super lazy about it now and just whack a hunk off whatever bundle I have and give it a rough chop. It's so much quicker!