The catalyst- Flat Tacos!
So, since dinner last night sparked this very blog you are now reading, it seemed only fitting that I post the recipe for all of you :)
Last night was taco night at our house. My husband could probably eat tacos 5 nights a week and never get sick of them, and in a way, I suppose this is logical. Pretty much anything you put into a tortilla could be called a taco/burrito/fajita/tostada...something in that family. For my 25th birthday this year, I decided to see if I could stop eating meat for a month. I made it three. I still ate seafood and dairy products so it wasn't really all that difficult since I didn't eat much meat to begin with. I'm currently eating a few bites of meat here and there, but I haven't really missed it all that much, and personally I think my veggie tacos are way better...so I eat those now instead. One thing I have noticed, however, is that I tend to put a lot more "stuff" in my veggie tacos than I ever did in my meat tacos. Sometimes, as was the case last night, I can't even roll them up. I'm not really sure why that is, but last night I couldn't find anything I wanted to take out of my taco in order to make everything fit, so a flat taco it was!
While Brett was cooking up the ground turkey for his tacos, I started working on the veggies. The original plan was to have fajitas...meaning I was going to have peppers, onions and black beans in mine...I cut up a bell pepper, and part of the GIGANTIC onion that I had in the pantry and started sauteing them in a hot pan. As I looked in the fridge, I saw that i had half of summer squash and half of a zucchini left over. They were conveniently just about the same length as the peppers and onions I had already sliced. I'm not sure why I thought that the length mattered, but none the less, it was the that which inspired me to throw them in. I sliced each half in half and then cut them into strips and tossed them in the pan. To season them I used McCormick's grill seasoning, which I put in just about everything I make, and some cayenne pepper. I didn't cook them too long, because I like a little bit of crunch in my veggies...but feel free to cook them as long as you want.
Next, I realized we had no lettuce. Since I view that as one of the staple taco ingredients, I decided I needed to find a substitute. It came down to a debate between a few wilty leaves of swiss chard and some baby spinach. The spinach obviously won out. The wilty leaves will have to wait for a soup or something where it won't matter that they're floppy!
Since I'm not eating much meat, I'm trying really hard to make sure I get enough protein. Since beans and grains make a complete protein, I always try to throw some of those in. Black beans seemed the most appropriate for a taco. I don't really like black beans, although I've been forcing myself to eat a lot of them lately...but I find that if you mix them into things like salsa and tacos, you can't really taste them....so in they went! Canned black beans can have a ton of sodium so be careful if you're using those. Always rinse them off after they come out of the can. Or better yet, buy the "low sodium" canned variety. Or best yet, buy dried beans and cook them yourself! It's so easy, and cheap. You can make a whole bag of them at once and freeze them in individual ziplock bags. This works best for me...I just grab a bag out of the freezer, bang it on the counter a few times and pour however many I need into the pan. I'm almost always putting them in something that is being heated anyways, so it doesn't matter at all that they're frozen and not out of a can.
The last thing I needed was tomatoes. We have a couple of tomato plants in our garden that have gone a bit wild this summer. In addition, we have a couple of dogs who very much enjoy feasting on said tomatoes. In an effort to avoid the inevitable round of dog throwup, which almost always occurs at about 3am, I've been picking tomatoes like crazy. Earlier this week, I turned them into a salsa...PERFECT for my current meal :)
I put my tortilla on a plate, layered on some baby spinach, added the sauteed veggies and beans, sprinkled on a layer of Mexican cheese and topped it with some homemade salsa....and VOILA! An eat-with-your-fork kind of taco....and into my belly it went ;)