Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

(Rachel, the daughter)

I’m heading out to drop Jackson off with his Mimi (Jared’s mom) for a couple of hours this afternoon. This is the third day in a row that she has offered to help out with Jackson so I can work on the book. Although she insists it is all her pleasure, I’d like to let her know how much I appreciate her help.

In my husband’s family, steak is probably the most revered food item… followed closely by chips and salsa. They aren’t into chocolates or sweets. I know, GASP! Their idea of dessert is a bowl of salty popcorn. But they love their meat and potatoes and their chips and salsa. Since steak is an awkward gift for a vegan to give, I often jar up my love and appreciation for them in the form of salsa. Occasionally, Rhonda will show up at my door with an empty jar, “In case you or Jared plan on making salsa anytime soon,” she’ll wink.

Last weekend I stumbled upon an amazing salsa recipe by chance. I was out of a few of my staple salsa ingredients and just started throwing things in the food processor to try and whip up a make-do salsa for our Mexican-themed dinner. I was bummed when the food processor stopped spinning and I opened it up to see a thin almost watery salsa. I grabbed a can of pumpkin and added it to the salsa, then found some chipotles in Adobo sauce in my freezer. I gave it another spin and voila, I had a thick, creamy, smoky salsa with a touch of sweetness, a hint of pumpkin, and a nice kick of spice. I was smitten.

I liked it so much I made another batch today (some for us and some to share with Jared’s parents). It conveniently makes enough to fill two 32 oz spaghetti sauce or mason jars–one for you and one to share with a friend. Don’t be surprised when they show up at your door step with the empty jar and a little wink and a nudge, though.

Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa

Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

3 tomatoes
2 cups of frozen corn (or 1 can drained and patted dry)
2 small jalapenos
4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt
1 14.5 oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
4 chipotles in Adobo Sauce (slice open and remove seeds from two of them)
1 can of pumpkin
1/2 c. cilantro (use it if you like it, but it’s optional)
1/2 t. sugar
1 t. onion powder
1/4 t. salt

Directions

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Pour corn kernels on one half of pan. On the other side, put the jalapenos, garlic (wrap unpeeled garlic in foil to prevent them from burning–not like shown below), and tomatoes sliced in half with cut side up. Use a pastry brush to put a small amount of olive oil on the tomatoes and corn. Sprinkle tomatoes with a touch of sea salt. Roast for 20 minutes.

In a food processor, add all the remaining ingredients except the corn, plus the tomatoes and jalapenos (you may want to seed the jalapenos if you don’t like a lot of spice–you can always add the seeds back in if it’s not spicy enough). Squeeze the garlic from its peel into the food processor bowl. Process until everything is chopped and blended to the desired texture. I went for a smooth texture on mine. Stir in corn. Serve with chips.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
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The Title: Chipotle Pumpkin Salsa
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© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Tofu Scramble Tacos

(Rachel, the daughter)

Jared, Jackson and I went to the Texas State Veggie Fair this weekend. I’m a terrible blogger and didn’t take any pictures of my food. I blame my hungry toddler. We scoped out all the food trucks and booths and contemplated fresh squeezed juice or mac-n-cheese and a barbeque sandwich, but our eyes kept venturing to the long line behind the Corn Dogs and Fried Cinnamon Rolls. When in Rome, right? What’s a fair without fried food? I stood in the 20 minute line while Jared took Jackson to play on the playground.

Finally, I returned to my boys juggling two corn dogs, a fried cinnamon roll and a handcrafted root beer. We sat on the lawn and indulged. If you’re having trouble imagining how good it was, here’s Jackson’s face after his first bite of fried fair food.

“Fried food, where have you been all my life!?!”

I think this picture says it all. Yum.

That deep fried cinnamon roll was worth every glorious calorie, but as soon as I got home, I whipped up a big kale salad for dinner. My body felt like it was shutting down from all the grease, sugar, and processed fake-meat products I had consumed.  Sometimes you just have to give your body what it wants and then deal with the consequences.

For months after going vegan, I continued to crave eggs. I couldn’t get them off my mind. One night, after a wedding with nothing vegan on the menu, we went with some friends to a bar with a midnight breakfast burrito buffet. I was so hungry and finally caved and ate an egg and potato breakfast burrito. My stomach was in knots for two days, proving wrong the myth that if we are craving something our body must need it.

Lucky for me, I finally discovered a breakfast burrito that satisfied my craving for eggs without sacrificing my vegan diet or my stomach lining.  Tofu scramble looks and feels just like pale scrambled eggs and with a little seasoning tastes eerily similar. Jared has been nagging me to make this all week. It’s truly crave-worthy. If you’re curious about tofu or have had bad experiences with it before, try out tofu scramble.

Tofu Scramble Tacos make a hearty savory vegan breakfast or an easy weeknight dinner.

Tofu Scramble Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients

2-4 T. Olive Oil
2 small red potatoes, diced (or any veggies of your your choice — onions, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini…)
1 clove of garlic, minced or chopped
1/2 c. frozen corn
1/2 block of tofu
1 t. salt (divided)
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. onion powder
2 c. baby spinach
8 tortillas (I really like the new Artisan Corn & Whole Wheat Blend by Mission)
16 oz Black Beans
1 avocado, sliced or diced (optional garnish)
salsa (optional garnish)
cilantro (optional garnish)

I used potatoes, spinach, corn, and garlic, but you can easily modify this to whatever veggies or greens you have on hand — bell peppers, poblano peppers, onions, broccoli, carrots, summer squash, zucchini, kale, swiss chard, and collard greens would all be delicious.

Directions

Heat oil in a non-stick skillet, use enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan. Pan-fry potatoes (or any other veggies) with 1/2 t of salt on medium heat until they are tender, stirring often.  I covered the potatoes to help them cook quicker, other veggies may not need to be covered though. Bring heat down and add the garlic. Stir continuously to keep garlic from burning.

As soon as the garlic is translucent, crumble the tofu into the pan (just squish it up in your hands and break into little crumbles). Add smoked paprika, onion powder, pepper, and remaining salt. Return heat to medium and stir and cook for about five minutes. Add corn and cook until corn is heated through ( a few more minutes). Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted.

Tofu scramble has a texture really similar to scrambled eggs. With the right seasoning, you can hardly tell the difference.

Serve in tortillas with black beans, avocados, cilantro, and salsa.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Tofu Scramble Tacos
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© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Fiesta Tortilla “Flower” Pie

Becky’s Fiesta Flower Pie

(Becky, the Mama.)

Yesterday I heard a loud thump followed by a yell outside my kitchen window. I rushed out to see my husband Greg lying on the patio, telling me he twisted his ankle. “Don’t move!” I said, “I’m coming down there to help you.”

I really did mean to scoot down and cradle his head in my lap. I really did not mean to kick him hard in the temple with my knee in the process. Thankfully, Greg wasn’t so wounded that he lost his sense of humor: he pretended I knocked him unconscious. He was able to walk on the ankle in just a few minutes, but I still wonder if it was just a heroic attempt to save himself from my further attempts to help him.

My record for doing good, and no harm, in a medical emergency is a little bit uneven.  When my son Zeke was about thirteen, he cut his leg badly while we were in a shopping center parking lot.  I started throwing everything I could find in the car on his leg to stop the bleeding and then drove him to the emergency room.  As the nurse took off layer after layer: a towel, napkins from fast food restaurants, a clean diaper, and some grass clippings… she looked up at me quizzically and asked, “Becky, were you trying to smother the wound?”

On the other hand, I once expertly performed the Heimlich maneuver on a woman who was choking in the women’s restroom. Just as calm as you please, I walked into her stall where she had been coughing and banging on the door, and was now turning blue.I told her not to worry, that I was going to do the Heimlich (that I’d heretofore only seen done on TV). Somehow I did, and out popped a piece of pineapple from her mouth. As soon as she could breathe normally again,she announced to everyone around that I had saved her life.

Maybe I’m better in life-threatening situations than I am in more minor emergencies. A nurturing person at heart, I wonder sometimes if I could have made a good nurse. My husband says, “You would have been a wonderful nurse, Becky.  Your patients would have loved you and you would have kept them laughing and smiling…. right before you accidentally killed them.”  It is true. I can’t keep up with my own cell phone or purse on a daily basis, so keeping track of med dosing schedules for patients would have certainly been a crap shoot.

I’ve probably made better and safer use of my nurturing nature by caring for ailing folks through gifts of home cooking.  I woke up from a nap the other day with the idea for this dish dancing in my head.  It was even better than I imagined it would be.  It uses simple ingredients that most of us have on hand, but arranges them in a way that looks like big, colorful Mexican flower in a pie pan. It would be a wonderful dish to take to a friend who has twisted their ankle, cut their leg or been kneed in the head by a clumsy do-gooder.

Fiesta Tortilla Flower Pie

Fiesta Tortilla Flower Pie

Serves 6

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients

Shell:
1 t. olive oil
4 medium sized flour tortillas, cut 3 of them in half, leaving one whole

Beef-Bean Filling:

1 lb lean ground beef or buffalo meat
3 cloves garlic, minced

16 oz. can pinto beans drained (I had leftover home-cooked one) but not rinsed
½ cup thick salsa (I used “On the Border” brand)
¼ cup thick bbq sauce (I used “Sweet Baby Ray’s”)
1 t. grill or steak seasoning (or ½ t. salt and ½ t pepper)
½ t.Cajun seasoning (I like Tony’s brand.  Or use red pepper flakes or chili powder instead.)
3 quick dashes Tabasco or Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 t. brown sugar

Additional Layers (Before Cooking)
¾ c. Greek yogurt (I prefer 2%)  or sour cream (light is fine)
¾ c. bottled salsa
¾ c. grated cheese, any kind you like
½ c crushed corn chips (we like Fritos) or tortilla chips
Jalapeno slices – as many as you like for garnish

Fresh Salsa Topping for After Cooking
1/2 c. chopped tomato
½   c. diced avocado
½   c. drained corn or corn cut off a cob
Squeeze of fresh lime, dash salt, dash sugar

Directions:

Lightly oil a skillet or griddle and brown a whole one round tortilla and five halved tortillas in batches, until they are light golden brown in spots on both sides.   Line a deep dish pie pan with as shown in the photo below, slightly overlapping the “petals” of the tortilla flower.

In a large skillet brown the beef with the garlic.  Then  add the next seven ingredients, stir and heat through until simmered and thickened.Pour meat and bean mixture into “tortilla flower.”

Gently spread the sour cream or Greek Yogurt over the beef mixture.  Next spread on the salsa.

Then sprinkle the grated cheese over all, followed by an even sprinkling of crushed corn chips.  Finally decorate with a few jalapeno slices.Bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes while you make a quick fresh salsa topping.  In a bowl, combine tomato, avocado and corn. Give this mixture a quick squeeze of fresh lime, a dash of salt and a pinch of sugar.  Toss.   Pile in the middle of the tortilla pie.

Use a very sharp serrated knife to cut pie shaped wedges.  It may be a little messy if the pie is still hot, so feel free to serve in a bowls if you prefer.

Vegetarian Version: Replace beef with 1 cup lentils or other beans (in addition to the ones in the recipe), 1/2 cup grain such as quinoa or rice, 1/4 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts, and 1 cup chopped mushrooms.

Vegan Version:
Follow Vegetarian Version above for meat replacement. Skip sour cream and cheese layers and cover the pie with fresh guacamole once comes out of the oven and has cooled for 5 minutes. Use just the tomatoes and corn for salsa topping.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Fiesta Tortilla Pie
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© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


Chicken Tortilla Soup

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

(The Mama)

Greg and I are in Neskowin, Oregon this week — a tiny little beach town with impossibly cute houses surrounded by brilliantly colored flowers, some blossoms as big as dinner plates.  I hit the beach cooking, barely having time to gather in a car load of groceries before cooking dinner for a dozen on Saturday night (sour cream chicken enchiladas).  Yesterday, I cooked lunch for 22 of Greg’s extended family members dropping by to hug, share stories and sit a spell between strolls to the beach.  Greg lost both of his parents when they were just in their 50’s (our age!) so connections to them now — people and places — are doubly meaningful.  Since Greg and his siblings were young, Neskowin was the family vacation spot and is where all of them return to, as Greg says, “fill our souls.” So while they are filling their souls, I am filling their tummies.

For the lunch crowd, I served sandwiches and tortilla soup, with blueberry-raspberry bars for dessert. It was perfect for a cool, foggy day at the beach, huddled up with people we love.  Plus it makes a bunch!!

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Becky’s Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ingredients

1 seeded red bell pepper
1/2 red onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. poultry seasoning
2 t. cumin
1 T. brown sugar
1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium to hot heat level), available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market.*

1 28-ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes, divided in half
4 cups chicken or veggie broth (divided 1 and 3)

3 to 4 cups roasted chicken, pulled off bone and diced or shredded ( roasted chickens are available in most grocery delis)
1 cup frozen corn
1 zucchini, dice

 

steak or grill seasoning (or salt and pepper), to taste

1/4 cup bar-b-que sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)

Topping Options:
crushed tortilla chips
grated cheese
chopped green onions
diced avocados
sour cream or Greek Yogurt
wedges of fresh lime
cilantro

Directions

In a blender or food processor put the first seven ingredients (bell pepper through chipotles), half of the crushed tomatoes, and one cup of broth. Blend well.

Pour this mixture into big soup pot and add the rest of the crushed tomatoes and broth.

To this add frozen corn, chicken, and zucchini.

Simmer over medium heat until zucchini is tender and soup is heated through. Season with Steak or Grill Seasoning (or salt and pepper) to taste. To make a creamier soup, you can add 1/2 cup of cream.

To serve, put a handful of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of each soup blow. Carefully ladle on soup, then top with your choice of toppings.

Vegetarian Version: Use veggie broth, pinto, ranch or black beans in place of chicken. Vegans omit cheese and cream

*I keep the leftover Chipotles in Adobo Sauce in a small Ziploc bag in the freezer and break off what I need to add depth of flavor and heat to other Mexican dishes.

This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: Chicken Tortilla Soup
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-wA
© Copyright 2012 – All Rights Reserved


BBQ Tenderloin Steaks with Green Chilis: Fit for Royalty

BBQ Tenderloin with Green Chilis

I gave my mom and dad the DVDs  to Downton Abbey, which they apparently enjoyed as much as Greg and I did.  (Though she calls it Downtown Abbey, which I think is adorable so I’m not going to correct her.) The PBS Masterpiece Theater upper crust soap opera has taken America by storm.  But it should come with a warning, one that my mother put so well in an email the other night.  “Your father and I can hardly speak plain English anymore.” Alas, ’tis true.

Downton Abbey characters….we are royally hooked

Greg and I also got bit by the Downton Vocal Bug as we watched two hours of the DVD series night after night. It grew apparent as we were readying for bed one evening and I heard a loud  “whack” in the walk-in closet followed by my husband announcing, in a victorious British accent, “I have vanquished a moth!” I paused in the middle of applying my night cream to comment dramatically, “How terribly brave of you, Darling.”

We are fascinated with the servants from the show, called valets (“t” is pronounced), whose sole job it was to help rich people get into and out of their  clothes, shoes, and jewelry, along with keeping the garments washed, pressed and ready to wear at a whim. How I would love a valet, if only to keep my clothes off the closet floor and clean underwear in our drawers.

My father asked about our 4th of July plans yesterday and I told him, “We are just enjoying down time today.  Or as we like to call it, ‘Downtime Becky.'”  And I have to say, the meal I produced for the two of us was worthy of royalty. Especially the steak.

I am not a big ‘hunk of meat’ fan, as a general rule. I prefer meat as an appetizer with veggies and fruits taking up the bulk of my plate.  But a petite tenderloin steak, cooked to medium rare perfection and topped with bar-b-que sauce and green chilis, a tender cut of meat that is incredibly juicy and slices like butter… well, this is hard not to love.

So I bequeath this recipe to you,  to be cooked and served and savored on special occasions when you want to feel rich, and pampered and spoiled.  And if you haven’t seen the two seasons of Downton Abbey,  do yourself a favor and beg, borrow or buy them. You are in for a royal treat.

BBQ Tenderloin Steaks with Green Chilis

BBQ Tenderloin Steaks with Green Chilis

Ingredients

Two tenderloin steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick, brought to room temperature

1 T. grill or steak seasoning

2 t. Worchestershire sauce

2 T.  olive oil

2 T Bar-b-que sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)

2 T. chopped green chilis

Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce, Montreal Grill or Steak Seasoning, roasted chopped green chili peppers (In a jar! Love this new product)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour oil into an oven proof skillet, or preferably,  a grill pan.  Let the pan and oil get “screaming hot.”  In the meantime, pierce one side of the steaks with a fork in several places; turn the steaks over and pierce the other side as well.  Sprinkle both sides generously with steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce, rubbing it in a little with your hands.

Put the steaks into the grill pan on high, and sear until the meat is golden brown with dark grill marks, just a few minutes.  Turn the steaks over and repeat.

Put a tablespoon of bbq sauce and a tablespoon of green chilis on top of each steak, then put the skillet of steaks in the oven for five minutes to let finish cooking in the middle.

Putting steaks with BBQ sauce into the oven, right before also topping with green chilis

I like our steaks medium rare so this amount of time is usually perfect for us, but of course, cook the steaks to your desired temperature.  A digital meat thermometer is a wonderful thing for this job.  Pull the pan out of the oven and tent the steaks loosely with foil for at least three minutes to let them sit and juices distribute. Serve to oohs and ahhs and applause.

BBQ Tenderloin Steaks with Green Chilis


Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Avocado Mango Jicama “Cocktail” Salad

What would you do if given the gift of one uninterrupted day, a day where your kids, your husband, your friends and your boss gave your their blessing to walk away and create your own perfect 12 hours?  A day to refill your soul?

Some seasons of my life are busier than others and the last two months has been filled to overflowing with people, appointments and a list of “to-dos” that seemed endless.  Seeing his wife was in a state of overwhelm,  Greg hugged me on Friday night and said, “Honey, tomorrow I want you to take the whole Saturday  just do anything you want at any given minute, all day long. Don’t worry about a thing.  I’ll even make my own meals.”

It may have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.  (True to his word, Greg made his own lunch: two pieces of leftover corn on the cob, a piece of leftover blueberry pie and some leftover salad.  Yes, he missed the protein food group, but it was a great improvement over his usual “bachelor diet” when I am away: potato chips, chocolate chip cookies and cereal.)

Saturday dawned with the song “Saturday in the Park” playing in my mind, and the line, “I’ve been waiting such a long time, for Sat-ur-day” echoing again and again.  The feeling of unencumbered space stretched out for the next 12 hours left me near euphoric.

I spent the day writing on our new book in uninterrupted bliss at Denver’s famous Tattered Cover Bookstore, then lunched and wrote some more at The Corner Bakery, over-looking a gorgeous outline of the Rocky Mountains.  When I walked in the house that evening there was a vase of sunny yellow flowers and a loving card from Greg, “Just because.”  I wrote in my Facebook status:  I feel like a wilted flower that has been put in the fresh water of creative work, healing solitude, and the benevolent blessing of a good man who wants little in this life but for me to be happy.  I may yet live!

After I opened the card, Greg and I went to the back porch for our Summertime Happy Hour, a ritual we started in early June to make sure we have a little time to connect before dinner.  One of the things that centenarians the world over have in common is “joyful rituals.” This has become one of our favorites.  I made us clementine mojitos using the mint from my herb garden,  perfectly refreshing.

The day of rest and writing left me infused with creative energy as I cooked supper a little later.   I grabbed a crisp jicama, a vine-ripe tomato, an avocado and a mango out of the crisper.  In my mind’s eye I saw this recipe appear: a pretty salad of orange, green and red nestled in a bed of white grated jicama, drizzled with a fresh lime dressing and served in margarita glasses.  It would be  our “salad course.”   Let me tell you, it  was every bit as tasty as it is beautiful! So cold and refreshing after a 100 degree summer day.

I am delighted to share this recipe  with you,  along with encouragement to take time out for “Fill the Well Day” for your body, mind and soul as soon as you can!

Becky’s Avocado Mango Jicima “Cocktail” Salad

Avocado Mango Salad “Cocktail” in Jicama Nests

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled, grated fresh jicama

1 avocado

1 fresh tomato

1 fresh mango

1 T. chopped cilantro or parsley or mint

2 T. chopped green onion

Juice of 2 limes

1/2 t. salt

4 t. honey

4 T. crushed corn or tortilla chips

Cajun seasoning or Tajin chili-lime seasoning to sprinkle on top

Lime slices for garnish

Tajin seasoning: a delightful blend of lime, salt, and chili pepper. Wonderful on this dish!

The flavors of jicama, tomato, mango, green onion and lime blend beautifully

Directions:

Place 1/2 cup grated jicama in each of 4 margarita glasses or pretty glass bowls to create a white “nest.”   Mix avocado, tomato, mango, herb of your choice and green onion together in a bowl and gently toss.  Place this mixture on top of the grated jicama, dividing evenly in to the four glasses.  In a small bowl mix the dressing of lime juice, salt and honey.  Drizzle evenly over each of the salads.  Top each salad with 1 T. crushed chips and a nice sprinkling of Cajun or Tajin seasoning.  Serve with long teaspoons if you have them and put a slice of lime on each rim.  Have guests stir and toss their salads once they are served to make sure everything gets coated with the lime dressing.


BBQ Guacamole Tacos

Becky’s BBQ Guacamole Taco

(Becky, the Butter Lovin’ Mama)

“Taste memory” occurs when you take a bite of a food that transports you instantly to a time and place from your past. The experience can be positive or negative, depending on the memory around it.

My husband cannot abide green beans. He picked beans in the summer like every good boy growing up in Oregon, then he spent his spent late teens working at a green bean cannery. You know those clinics where they make you smoke cigarettes until you are sick as a dog so you’ll never smoke again? Well, Greg went through the same sort of green bean aversion training. To this day he will not eat, or even smoke, a green bean without protest.

On the other hand he adores blueberries. Never tires of them. As it turns out, his mother-in-law used to bake a special blueberry pie just for him. Blueberries are forever wrapped with the message that “somebody thinks I’m special.”

One of my favorite food memories as girl was a now 50-year-old restaurant in Arlington,Texas called The Candlelite Inn.  (I understand it recently closed but new ownership plans to resurrect it.) It was a curious place, an Italian-themed eatery with red-checked tablecloths that was somehow known for its amazing Mexican food. Thinking back on it now, that seems odd, but at the time it just was what it was. We went to the Italian joint to eat great Mexican fare.

Photos of Candlelite Inn, Arlington
This photo of Candlelite Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor

On special occasions we kids got to choose a restaurant to eat at, and if given my choice of where to go out for my birthday, I picked The Candlelite Inn. I always ordered their famous guacamole tacos.  (A friend reminded me today that they served their tortilla chips with a big ball of butter! Paula Deen would have been proud.)

For some reason I thought about those tacos the other day, and could somehow remember the exact taste of the guacamole even though it has been at least twenty-five years since I’ve tasted them. Suddenly I knew exactly what was in that guac that made it taste so amazing. The secret ingredient was Italian dressing! (Apparently the chefs here were creating Italian-Tex Mex “fusion” before ethnic fusion cooking was cool.) The tacos were filled at least half way with guacamole and for someone who loves avocados as much as I do, this was bliss.

I made my own version of Candlelight Inn tacos this week and at first crunchy creamy bite, I was transported back to a darkened red and white checked table in Arlington,Texas, my family around me laughing and celebrating by the glow of …yes.. candlelight. Since I’m trying to cut back on meat and expand the veggies and fiber, the filling is made from half ground beef, half beans with my favorite “Becky BBQ Style” seasoning.

What are some of your favorite  Taste Memories?

Becky’s BBQ Guacamole Tacos

Ingredients:

12 corn taco shells, warmed according to package directions

1 lb ground beef

1 can chili beans, drained (I like an organic three bean combination as pictured below)

1/2 c. picante sauce or salsa

1/2 c. bbq sauce

1 t. cumin

1 t. smoked paprika

1/2 t. grill seasoning (or salt and pepper to taste)

Guacamole from recipe below

½ cup grated cheese

1 tomato, slice in twelve pieces

Directions:

In a skillet, brown the beef and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer until flavors have mixed and the sauce has thickened.

Fill taco shells ½ way full with bean/meat mixture and ½ with guacamole from recipe below. Sprinkle with little grated cheese and top with slice of tomato.

Variation: For Vegan Version, omit beef and use extra can of drained beans or crumbled meat substitute instead. Skip cheese or use vegan cheese substitute.

Meat Lovers: You can add more ground beef and skip the beans!

“Candlelight Inn” Memories Guacamole

3 ripe avocados, mashed

1 clove garlic, minced

½ fresh lime juice (1 Tablespoon juice)

1 t. sugar

1/3  cup Italian dressing (I love Olive Garden’s new bottled dressing)

1/2 t salt (or to taste)

Peel and mash the avocados. Add the rest of the ingredients and continue mashing and mixing to desired consistency.

Storing Hint: Put leftover guac in a sandwich bag, push out as much air as you can. It won’t turn brown! Then the next time you use it, just snip a corner of the bag and squeeze out what you need.

Store any leftover guacamole in Ziploc sandwich bag

 

Snip corner of sandwich bag when ready to use leftover guacamole and simply squirt the amount you want to use.

 This was printed from: We Laugh, We Cry, We Cook
The site URL: http://welaughwecrywecook.com
The Title: BBQ Guacamole Tacos
The URL: http://wp.me/p1UwM9-rW