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Greetings Foodies,

We all have them. It is the default meal (or meals) that you make when you look at the fridge and go, “Eeeeehhhh, I dont know.” For some it is spaghetti. For others it is scrambled eggs and toast. For me, it is soft tacos. Luckily, my family loves soft tacos. Now, coming from California, I naively thought that tacos/burritos were a pretty standard part of most recipe arsenals. Then I met a dear Canadian friend (who shall remain nameless) who didnt know what burritos were. Toto, we are NOT in Kansas any more.

 Anyway, about three and a half years ago I did a very helpful body cleanse to deal with some allergies and discovered that I react to MSG. Now most of us know that MSG isnt great for us, but it is really hard to avoid it completely. Almost every taco and fajita seasoning packet you buy at the store has MSG in several forms in it. So what do you do when you love tacos and cant handle MSG? You make your own taco seasoning. I make up about 3 packets worth (equivalent to 3 lbs of beef) at a time and keep it in a jam jar in the pantry.

The key to any spice/seasoning mix is as-fresh-as-possible spices. Spices go stale after about 6 months. So if you have a jar of something that has been sitting in your pantry for years , throw it out! If it has been in your pantry for years, you probably dont use it much anyway. Another option (which I do, no matter how old it is) is to get a mini morter and pestle and regrind a spice right before you use it. The crushing releases the natural oils and flavors making a more pronounced flavor.

photo by nkzs

So here are two recipes that are the compilation of reviewing several dozen similar recipes. These are the flavor combos that worked for me. Try it once and if you need to, then tweak it to fit your palate better. Each recipe works through about 3 lbs of meat. I only use about a pound’s worth at a time, but then we have a small family 😉

Taco/burrito seasoning:

2 Tb chili powder

4 tsp onion powder

2 tsp each cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, sugar

1 tsp salt

Mix with just under 2/3 cup of water per pound of meat and pour over ground beef that has already been cooked and drained. Cook at medium heat, stirring constantly til liquid is absorbed.

Fajita seasoning:

3 Tb cornstarch

2 Tb chili powder

1 Tb each salt, paprika, sugar

2 1/2 tsp chicken boullion*

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp each cumin, cayenne

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)

*you can find MSG free chicken boullion, but it is hard. If you cant find it, then when making fajitas instead of mixing seasoning with water before use, mix with chicken broth/stock.

The great thing about tacos is the potential for leftovers…assuming there are some! You can freeze the meat for later use, you can throw the meat, and all your other taco ingredients, into spaghetti sauce the next night. Ok, so maybe not the lettuce or tortillas, but you get the idea. You can use the meat in stuffed peppers. Make chilli. See, lots of potential.

I hope that helps out your meal planning this week.  Happy eating!

The Gullible Gourmet

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Greetings Foodies,

So last week, I decided to do all vegetarian meals because I thought we had run out of meat and I was trying to a) be creative and stretch the budget til payday and b) be creative and use what I had hiding in my freezer/pantry. So somewhere in the recesses of my brain the idea for doing a dinner crepe sprang forth.

Now there are several recipes that are great because they are only limited by our imaginations and our pantry. Crepes are one of those kinds of recipes. So I found this web-page that had a basic buckwheat crepe recipe and then four different fillings (chicken, salmon, apples, and spinach). They all looked very tasty. We ended up doing the Apple and Leek recipe, only I used red onion because it was what I had on hand, and it was a big hit. Ian’s only comment was “add cinnamon.” The Chicken-Pesto recipe looks really yummy as well.

by pzado

The original recipe calls for Buckwheat flour, which I didnt have, but I figured it could handle some heartier flours. So I used a combo of Spelt and Rye flour. Worked great. My guess is that the basic crepe could use almost any flour you have on hand. My kinda recipe. Another comment, for a family of 4 non-ravenous adults, double the crepe recipe, but keep the filling amounts the same. However, if you have teenage boys you are feeding, triple it. You can find all four crepe fillings here, but dont stop there. If you dont have those ingredients or they dont do anything for you, keep looking online til you find a recipe that works for you. Here is the basic dinner crepe, but like I said, take a look at all four fillings.

Basic Crepes:

3 large eggs

2/3 cup flour of choice

1 cup whole milk

About 2 tablespoons melted butter

Whisk the eggs, flour and milk together and pour onto greased griddle a 1/3 of a cup at a time. Once poured on the griddle lift it up and tilt til the batter spreads quite thin. Place back down on stove and cook at medium heat for 1-3 minutes til browned. Fill with desired fillings.

Again you are only limited by your imagination. And the great thing about this is that if you have any crepes left over, you can make dessert out of them! Happy Eating!

 
 
The Gullible Gourmet

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Greetings Foodies,

Sorry about the delay.  I had a minor discretion with one of my affliate links that the powers that be didnt like and they suspended my blog for 24 hrs.  Hopefully that is all resolved and we can get on with more important things…food! Well, with Spring upon us and Summer just around the corner, it is high time to start looking for fun picnic recipes. The following is adapted from one of those recipe booklets that gets handed out at grocery stores. You know the ones: 5-10 recipes and a bunch of ads. The problem is I have this page torn out and there is nothing on it that indicates its source. I hate that! If you recognize the recipe and know the source, please let me know. The original calls for tuna as the protein source, but we just don’t eat a lot of tuna, so we used cooked and shredded chicken instead. Really, you could use tuna, chicken, salmon…whatever floats your boat. I have tried all three and they all work nicely. The combinations of sweet, savory and salty make for a great meal sitting on a blanket or a picnic table in the warm sun.

by egphotolog

Cast of Characters:

½ cup dry couscous or quinoa

1 cup boiling water

1 cup cooked & shredded chicken, salmon or tuna

¼ cup plain yogurt (or mayo in a pinch)

1 tsp mild curry powder

1 green onion, chopped

½ cup carrot, shredded

1 small apple, cored & chopped

s & p

torn lettuce

4 tortillas

Prepare couscous or quinoa. One of the easiest “grains” to prepare is couscous. In reality it is not a grain. It is more in the pasta family than anything else. All you do is use a 2-1 ration boiling water to couscous. Pour water over couscous in a heatproof bowl and let it sit till all the water absorbs, which should be about 5 minutes. If you prefer a true grain, but want a similar flavor, try quinoa. Quinoa also uses a 2-1 water ratio. Bring the water to boil on the stove and then add the quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer til water absorbs and you see little curly tails separate from the grain. Fluff with a fork and let cool.

In another bowl, combine meat, yogurt, curry, onion, carrot, apple, salt and pepper. Place some of this mix, plus lettuce and your grain in a tortilla and wrap it up! Makes 4 servings.

Hope you enjoy some sunshine this week.  Happy Eating!

The Gullible Gourmet

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