Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Crock Pot Beef tacos and Taco Soup :: 2-for-1

I've gotta say, your collective encouragement for the Dinnertime Experiment may be just what I needed to ratchet up my crazy. You guys are the best kind of trouble.

Also, I want to reassure everyone (myself especially) that I'll continue to have more to talk about than food. I have some major stuff brewing in my noggin. I get this way, and I always know when it's happening. I've been doing a lot of reading and reading = soul stretching for me. And you = the bearer of the fall-out of said soul stretching. So, I'm sorry, or congratulations, or something. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, back at the camp, I'm getting ready to take Silas to the mall.

Let's pause for a moment of silent prayer.


Thank you. It has to be done. Cannot be avoided.
I'm going to some fancy meetings this weekend and I waited until last night to shop my closet. Here's what I discovered, to my disdain: Wide leg khakis that I can no longer button, a super cute oxford skirt with a small stain that used to sit at my hips but now squeezes the life from my "natural waist", and the trouser jeans I bought for my 10 year high school reunion. Over 9 years ago.

I haven't bought professional clothes since, oh, 2003. Most of what I still have heralds from my Enterprise Rant-A-Car days, circa '01.

It's a problem.

The good news is, much of what I bought back then still strangely works, in theory.
The bad news is, it no longer works on non-theoretical me.
The other bad news is, I'm not a girl who can walk into a story and buy cute pants. Because I'm probably taller than your dad. And as wide as your pre-teen boy.
It's complicated.

But we're venturing out, because, you know, there's nothing more fun for a four year old than shopping business casual with his mom.

For the rest of you more normal people with more sensible goals for the day, I bring you Dinner and Lunch. A double doozy!

In addition to my self-imposed dinnertime mayhem, I put a few things on the menu to create a decent, actual lunch for myself. It doesn't happen often enough, but it's important for my sanity.

This is one of my family's favorite dinners and the left-overs make one of my favorite lunches.

Dinner: Crock-pot shredded beef tacos

These tacos. They're so limey and tender and spectacular. My little people go maniacal for them. I recommend an extra squeeze of lime when you serve them and some chopped cilantro.

Lunch: Beef taco soup

 I made this recipe up, because that's just how cheffy I am.

When you're done with the tacos, you'll still have a few inches of brothy beef scraps in the bottom of your crock pot. (Does that sound gross? It's not.)

At first you'll think of throwing it down the sink, but then your good sense will return and you'll save it in a tupperware bowl in the fridge.

The next day, you will be pleased to see that the fat has hardened into a solid layer on the top, so you will scrape it off into the trash and feel fantastic about the ultra-lean soup you're about to prepare. (You will also feel slightly troubled by the full-fat tacos you ate the night before. Push through.)

Throw what's left into a sauce pan, along with a can of corn (drained), a can of diced tomatoes with chilis (like Rotel...or this time I used the Rotel with lime and cilantro seasoning), and a can of rinsed and drained black beans.

Simmer for a while to let everything mix and mingle.

I squeeze in the juice of half a lime and some torn cilantro. If we have left-over Spanish rice, I also add some of that at the end.

Before serving, chop up some avocado. Do you have lonely spinach in the crisper? Throw it in.

I cannot even tell you how wonderful and easy this is.


Everyone wins!