Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taco Night with Homemade Pico

Once my brother and I were old enough to cook easy meals in the kitchen, my mother was smart enough to assign us each one night a week to cook dinner for our family of four. My brother Brad would usually make spaghetti and I would more often than not make tacos. This is a great dinner for a group! It's easy to pull together and completely customizable to accommodate all your guests.

This was my first time however to make homemade pico de gallo. It was who first gave me the idea and I followed her directions. I was very pleased with the outcome, however I wonder if jalapenos in Texas are somehow hotter than what she finds in Oklahoma since my pico was burn your butt hot.

This is what a great taco night buffet generally looks like. Shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, beans of some sort (refried, black or charro), ground meat (seasoned beef or turkey), pico (or salsa), and of course the vehicle to which you get all this flavor to your mouth - soft tortillas, either corn or flour, hard shell tacos or flat tostadas.

Most people would probably use ground beef, but I've been using ground turkey since I was a little girl and think it's a wonderful substitute for tacos. I always doctor up the taco meat myself though. I chopped an onion and added to a skillet with one pound of ground turkey.

Over medium-high heat, cook, stir and break up chunks until meat is no longer pink and onion is translucent. You could add a packet of taco seasoning or make your own. Download this HWM printable recipe for making your own Taco Seasoning.
Once the ground meat is cooked and seasoning is added, turn heat to low, or off and cover until your taco buffet is ready to serve.

Homemade pico de gallo begins with one onion finely chopped.

Add one teaspoon of minced garlic to the chopped onion.

3-5 roma tomatoes, chopped.

PW uses three jalapenos and chopped them with seeds inside. I chopped one with seeds and then cleaned out the other two and chopped them up. Remember to wear gloves when dealing with jalapenos, they are HOT!

Large bunch of cilantro, washed. Chop this up and add to bowl of ingredients and give it a good stir.

Add juice of one lime and stir again.

Fresh pico was a wonderful addition to our taco buffet.

Each person can go through the buffet and create their own mexican favorites with the flavorful ingredients you've provided.

I personally like the flat tostadas. I mash up some black beans and put them on the bottom, topped with the ground turkey, a little shredded cheddar cheese and finally some fresh pico on top.

Mmmm Lovely!

Jim prefers tacos with black beans on the side.

He's a simple man. Simple to please, and that's another reason I love him!

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