Before I get to the excitement that is Taco Night I have to very excitedly announce a new member of the Casey family. My cousin has had her first baby… a perfect baby boy, and I couldn’t be happier and more proud. There will be hundreds of pictures when I finally get to meet him, which will be as soon as I can get myself back home. It has been a very exciting weekend for the Casey family to say the least, and I know that Memere is looking down on us and smiling at her third great-grandson. Meet my honorary nephew…
It has not only been an exciting week back home in Massachusetts though. In fact, I have found an amazing little piece of home on major discount in my own local Marks and Spencer… Stonewall Kitchen salsa! For anyone reading this that is from New England and/or loves fancy kitchen shops (aka Williams Sonoma) you are very aware of the Stonewall Kitchen brand. They make really yummy sauces, pie fillings, jams, etc. I never thought that I would ever find them in Ireland, since they come off as a smallish company/store in Maine. Not only did I find them, but they were on super sale (clearly the Irish have a fear of pineapple in their salsas). I now have started a small family of salsa that I could use to cater a large group of friends.
Now, as much as I’d love to talk about my newest family member (and all my salsas), I suppose I should get back to tacos. I have always been a major fan of Taco Tuesday, even before it was a thing (and even though it is technically Thursday). My mom loves to tell the story about the day I didn’t want to go home because my daycare provider was making tacos for her family. I mean who wants to miss out on tacos? Ya, no one. Taco night was also a very big night in the Casey house. We would chop all the tomatoes, onions, and lettuce and put all the fix-ins out on the table. Then, it was go time… a flurry of spoons and forks ensued. As the youngest person in the house I had to quickly learn the fastest and most effective way to get all the food I wanted on my plate before it was gone, hence my love of anything taco-like mashed up in a bowl. Turns out this came in handy for taco night in college as well.
I’m sure that everyone has memories of taco night when they were kids. A fun night where you ate so many tacos you thought you might explode. It was always a good week when I saw the Old El Paso box in the grocery basket. Since it’s only a couple weeks until Christmas, I am trying to stick to some lighter food. Also, I don’t trust that Old El Paso in Ireland will remind me of the delicious, slightly salty perfection that is taco beef. I decided to make my own taco seasoning (while still using the Old El Paso cooking instructions) to turn my Taco Tuesday (Thursday) into burrito bowl night piled high with brown rice, ground turkey and all the fix-ins.
First, I mixed together all the dry spices to make my own taco seasoning, which is a little spicy and a little smokey and pretty good if I do say so myself. I added about one tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and sautéed about a third of a white onion and the minced garlic. I did this instead of adding powdered garlic and onion to the spice mix, but you could add about a teaspoon of the dried stuff into your mix instead if you prefer.
Once the onions start to sweat, I add in the meat and cook completely. Now this is the important part… Drain all the liquid from the pan, add water and seasoning and bring to a boil. Then, drop the heat and allow mixture to simmer for 5-8 minutes and stir frequently (this was how long it took for my ground turkey and the amount of spices that I added). I have been trying desperately to make “healthier” Old El Paso taco meat for a long time, and honestly it is the sauce that comes about from the mixture of water and spice that makes all the difference.
I made this into a burrito bowl with brown rice, sautéed peppers and onions and avocados (because I’m millennial and will always pay extra for the guac), but you can put anything you want in your bowl, as well as use this meat to make anything. Some of my favorites would be actual tacos (I like soft corn tortillas best), taco salad with loads of crisp lettuce and veggies, nachos or actual burritos (I know that there should be beans included in this bowl, but I generally leave them off for personal reasons). Rob also enjoys eating the meat straight out of the pan with the spoon, so as you can see it’s a very versatile dish.
Enjoy your next Taco Tuesday!
TURKEY TACO MEAT
Recreate your favorite dinner with your own taco seasoning using Old El Paso’s tried and true cooking instructions
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp favorite chili powder
1 T Old Bay seasoning
2 tsp cumin
1 T cayenne (can add a bit extra for more heat)
½ T sweet paprika
½ T smoked paprika
½ tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 large white onion, sliced thin
1 T olive oil
1 lb ground turkey (can use any ground meat of
Garnishes: lime and fresh cilantro
- Heat olive oil in a large pan. Sauté the white onion and the garlic.
- When the onions and garlic become fragrant and translucent add the ground turkey and cook completely, stirring frequently.
- Completely drain the liquid from the pan, add the water and spices.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and drop the temperature. Simmer for about 8 minutes stirring frequently until mixture thickens.