taco night, done right

Potatoes are underrated. 

Potatoes in tacos are way underrated.

I don’t think I’ve ever even had a potato in a taco.

All these years, so many delicious taco nights, could have been that much better.

Shall we get started?

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Chris’s dad + sister are in town, visiting from Pennsylvania.  They’ve been with Chris’s brother and family the past few days, and are now staying with us through Saturday. 

My dinner idea was taco night.  Easy to please a crowd with, customizable with different toppings, easy to make vegetarian while keep meat-eaters happy, etc.

My other reason for taco night, was an easy excuse to eat down more of the veggies, stockpiled in our house

  • zucchini
  • cabbage
  • peppers
  • corn
  • onion

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I kept the zucchini separate from the main veggie mix because Chris + Kelly are not huge zucchini lovers.  All I did to prep the zucchini, was chop up 1 medium zucchini, add 1 minced clove of garlic, few pinches of salt + pepper.  Wrapped it up in foil and onto the grill it went for about 6-10min.

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My fabulous friend Heather, who works for Small Planet Foods, sent me an awesome package filled with Muir Glen products + coupons.  In the box were 4 different canned tomato products.  One item, were these fire roasted tomatoes.  I’ve never seen this can in stores before!  They were delicious, as are all of the Muir Glen products I’ve tried.

Fire roasted tomatoes are excellent mixed with veggies for taco night.  Love that roasted flavor and it helps keep things moist.

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Okay, really what started off this taco night idea, was the ginormous head of napa cabbage still creeping in the fridge.  Seems like an odd thing to spur taco night, but who doesn’t like a little crunchy slaw topping on their tacos?

If you haven’t tried it before, you’ve been missing out.

Whenever I go out for Mexican, I love squeezing lime juice all over my food.  I also am a huge fan of lime flavored tortilla chips.  So my thought was:

crunchy + limey + salty + sweet

And guess what?  It worked.  Amazingly!  You could eat this as a little side salad or use as a topping.  Either way, it added a nice crunchy + refreshing bite to dinner.

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Zesty Lime Cabbage Slaw

  • 10 large cabbage leaves [I used Napa]
  • 2T fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2t lime zest
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1.5t pure cane sugar [or honey]
  • 2T sunflower oil [or other light oil]
  • 2T apple cider vinegar
  1. Wash, pat dry, and chop your cabbage. [I like chopping into ribbons]
  2. In a small bowl, add all other ingredients + whisk together.
  3. Taste + add more salt/pepper/sugar as needed.
  4. Toss together in a large bowl + serve.

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Now, onto the potato + bean mix. 

I’m determined to not by pre-cooked beans anymore.  I’ve been slow-cooking beans the past few weeks, and besides tasting better, it’s much cheaper.  I’ve gone through waves of making my own beans, but the convenience of the can is so hard to resist. 

Slow cooking makes things easy though [tutorial soon!].  The slow cooker does all the work + you come home to tasty, fresh beans and a few extra dollars in your wallet.  With the amount of beans we eat, those dollars add up!

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Black Bean Potato Taco Stuffing [serves 6]

  • 3c black beans
  • 6-8 small red potatoes, cubed [about 3” wide]
  • 1T cumin
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2T sunflower oil
  • 2T chili powder
  • 1/2t coriander
  • 1t oregano
  • 3/4-1t salt
  • black pepper [a lot!]
  • cayenne pepper [optional]
  1. Wash + chop potatoes into small cubes.
  2. Steam potatoes, until tender + drain. [~12-18min depending on the size]
  3. In a large bowl mix cooked black beans, steamed potatoes, and all other seasonings.
  4. Spread onto a baking sheet + grill or roast in the oven, around 400* for 10min, stirring 1-2x.  *Until slightly roasted + crispy.  If using the oven, you may want to carefully broil for 2-3min, watching closely.
  5. Taste 1/2 way through and add more seasonings as needed.

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Next up?  Spiced veggies + roasted tomatoes.  Super easy, just requires a bit of chopping action!  Once they’re chopped, you just throw them on the grill for 10min.

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Taco Veggie Mix [serves 6]

  • 1 can fire roasted, diced tomatoes - drained
  • 2 ears corn  [or ~1c frozen]
  • 3 small green peppers, chopped [or red/orange]
  • 1 med. yellow onion, chopped
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1/2t salt
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1T sunflower oil
  • black pepper
  1. Chop green peppers + onion and place in a large bowl.
  2. Drain tomatoes + add to the bowl.
  3. Slice corn from cob, on a cutting board, holding it vertically and slicing down. 
  4. Add corn to bowl, with all other ingredients + stir.
  5. Spread on a baking sheet, and grill or roast at 400* for about 10min, stirring 1-2x.
  6. Taste 1/2 way through and add more salt + pepper if needed.

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Here I am talking about taco night and what did I do?  Smashed my tacos, so I could pile on the toppings to the sky.  It’s way too hard to stuff that much veggie goodness into a taco. 

Definitely, top 3 meals of the summer!!  I would say maybe even #1.  I know…crazy! 

So much texture.  So much flavor.

And guess what?  I meant to shred a block of cheddar cheese but completely forgot.  So without the dollop of Greek yogurt on top, this meal is not only gluten free, but completely vegan.  Everyone at the table had seconds + even thirds. 

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Hope this meal can start your weekend off right!! 

Off to make breakfast + go tubing down the Poudre River with Chris + Kelly!