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I like food. A lot. In this blog, I will divulge all my delicious recipes, giving you a full list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and notes to help you successfully make the dish. Feel free to try these at home, and let me know how it went in the comments for the dish! If you have any questions, I will answer them as quickly as possible. If you use my recipe and discuss it on your site, please link back to this blog. Happy eating!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Beef and Chicken Taco Bowls

I don't normally buy into holiday hype, falling into making "traditional" foods to celebrate. I don't even celebrate Easter. But lately, thinking about Cinco de Mayo has gotten me pondering my own heritage; far from Mexican, but I can't help but consider some of the Guatemalan foods my father is more accustomed to.
Although things like tacos tend resonate more firmly "Mexican" than anything, my father used to tell us about when he would eat similar foods, made with homemade corn tortillas. I don't have the knowledge to make my own tortillas, but I wanted to give some exploration to my culinary heritage, and what better excuse than Cinco de Mayo?
So I developed a meal plan after reading some recipes, twisting them up, and building my own flavours. I know I haven't shown you any photos yet, but bear with me. The wait is worth it. :)

I wanted to have a variety of tacos/flavours to this dinner. The obvious choices were ground beef and chicken. I thought briefly about adding hot sausage to the mix, but I decided against it. I figured we had enough food with the other two (I was right).
Before I get into the nitty gritty of this dinner, I want to make one note: This would definitely be a fantastic meal for having guests. One could easily run away with the amounts, making enough for one extra guest, or ten, or even more.
So, let's get down to it:

Beef taco mix:
1-1.5 pounds ground beef
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Ground black pepper
Chili powder
Worcestershire sauce

Chicken taco mix:
Boneless chicken breast, trimmed and cut into small pieces
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Honey mustard
Ground black pepper
Chili powder
Garlic powder

4-inch flour tortillas (listed as "Fajita Size" on the package)
Chopped lettuce
Diced plum tomato
Diced avocado
Chopped jalapeño
Shredded mild cheddar cheese

Old Orchard cranberry pomegranate frozen juice concentrate
Fresh blueberries

When chicken breast is thawed, trim and cut into small pieces. Put pieces into a bowl, add enough honey mustard to saturate all pieces. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic powder as desired, mix thoroughly. Pour chicken onto piece of plastic wrap, wrap up, and put in fridge for two hours (or longer if you want).
When you're ready to cook, start by chopping up all your fixings:

Jalapeños. Or, as I like to call them, Jallies.

Regular old lettuce

Sexy Avocado. Yum; I wish I liked avocado more.

Regular old tomatoes.

Put fixings in the fridge until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Warm tortillas in microwave (about 30 seconds per stack of five; flip stack halfway through).
Fold tortillas into cups of muffin pan, being careful not to break them.
Bake tortillas for 10-15 minutes until tops have browned, and cups have hardened into shape. Here's what they'll look like:
Don't they look good already?
Meanwhile, cook chicken and beef in separate pans:
Add garlic and butter or oil to each pan, bring to medium heat.
Add beef to pan, add seasonings as desired.
Add chicken to pan.
Stir meats often, being careful to cook thoroughly.
Transfer chicken to serving bowl.

Scrumptious, yes?
Drain beef of grease, pour into serving bowl.

Berry Spritzers
These drinks were the perfect sweet addition to this flavourful meal; and they were simple to make! Just add some of the juice concentrate to a tall glass, fill with Sprite, and plop some blueberries in. The best part is that the blueberries soak up the mix, so when you eat them at the end, they taste like the fruit and the mix together. Delicious!

Don't they look yummy?

Look at those blueberries, bubbling away.

With all the cooking and prep done, the ensemble looks like this:

The whole shebang on my really messy card table.
Ready to finally see what these bad boys look like, all made up?

Front bowl: beef, cheese, lettuce, and avocado

Chicken bowl: with lettuce, cheese, and jalapeño

These bowls were absolutely delicious! They're fun to make, fun to eat, and a fantastic meal for get togethers. The only minor issue is that they are really messy. I mean, really messy. Keep a plate underneath and a fork on hand!

My pictured taco bowls were only two out of many combinations. Have fun mixing things up; including the meat in a bowl!
Other meats could certainly be used. I'm still wondering what it would have been like to have sausage in there...
We used plain old lettuce and tomatoes, but you can season them up if you want; instead of just tomatoes, make a fresh pico de gallo, or add lime and seasonings to the lettuce just before use.
You'll probably have leftovers -- we have a ton of leftover beef from this recipe -- so find fun ways to use them up. One of my favourite ways is to heat up some beef and put it on a sandwich with fried egg and cheese. Delicious.
If you're doing this meal for a party, ask what people would want for their fixings, or ask them to make some to bring. Getting guests involved in the meal makes everyone enjoy it more.
Of course, you can add salsa to these taco bowls. We decided not to, partially because they were already so flavourful, and partially because they were already so messy!

Thank you for reading! I hope I've inspired you to try this in your own home! If you have any comments or questions about this meal, please leave them below. And don't forget to follow this blog for updates on all the Yummy things happening in my kitchen!

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