Search
Search

Turn Taco Tuesday into Taco Terrific!

We love Mexican food. Not Taco Bell ‘Mexican’, but digging into traditional flavors and textures. And while I have no problem creating my own versions of the dishes found in our favorite Mexican restaurants, I also have a few favorites from some amazing food bloggers.

Last week, I invited a few ladies from my life group over for a porch visit, Mexican style. This asthma is still kicking my butt. And, although I really wanted dinner to be special, I just didn’t have the energy to be creative.

So I turned to some tried and true favorites, and now I’m going to share those with you today, so you have time to put together your own menu for tomorrow.


Beverages

Most of the time, I’m a water and unsweetened iced tea kind of girl. And those are always on deck when we entertain. But I also love creative touches.

Vanilla Bean Lemonade

photo credit: Beanilla.com

I found this vanilla bean lemonade by Garrett McCord, author of Vanilla Garlic, on the Beanilla web site. It hits that perfect balance between tart and sweet, and is delicious on its own, or mixed with vanilla vodka or even a spiced rum.

White Sangria

I do have my own skinny-ish white sangria recipe, which basically amounts to:

  • 1 bottle pinot grigio
  • 1/3 cup Grand Marnier
  • Whatever summer fruit I have handy (frozen mango chunks, blueberries, thinly sliced oranges, raspberries…)
  • Place the fruit into a pitcher.
  • Pour in the wine and Grand Marnier.
  • Stir.
  • Chill.
  • Serve as is, or with a splash of club soda for some bubbly!

Sides

Guacamole

While I absolutely abhor guacamole (I know, I know! I’m the weird person in the room here!), it is a must at Mexican night. One of my awesome friends brought it last week, so I wouldn’t have to deal with it. But when I do make my own, I use this recipe from Downshiftology with Lisa Bryan. This former healthcare exec started her own wellness blog in 2014, and has some killer recipes!

photo credit: Downshiftology

This simple recipe with avocado, Roma tomatoes, onion, lime, and a few other simple ingredients, is a hit with the guac lovers in my life.

Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)

There is something about street corn. I’m not a huge fan of corn in general, but coat it in mayo, dredge it in cotija cheese, sprinkle it with cilantro and ancho chile powder? NOW we’re talkin’!

  • 4 corn cobs, boiled is fine, but grilled takes it to a whole other level!
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 cup cojita cheese (use parmesan in a pinch, or even goat cheese!)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Sprinkle ancho chile powder, to taste
  • Lime wedges

Grill the corn. While hot, roll it in the mayo, followed by the cojita cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro and dust with chile powder.

You can wrap the cobs in foil to stay hot, placing them in a 170° oven.

Cilantro-lime Crema

Sour cream is a great topping for Mexican food. That and melted queso are like the top two go-to’s. Drizzle those over tacos or beans and rice, and we can call it a day.

But if you really want to dazzle, with minimal effort, whip together a simple crema.

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced, chopped or whatever, as long as they’re peeled
  • 2 limes, juiced and zested

I used my blender (because it was handy) and tossed in everything but the limes. Squeeze the limes over the blender and add in the zest.

Put the top on the blender (because you haven’t lived until you’ve scraped some gloppy mixture off of your kitchen cabinets), and puree until smooth.

Great drizzled on the elotes, tacos, burritos, nachos or even as a salad dressing. Sooo good!


Meat

Carne Asada

There are so many different options when it comes to the meat portion of a Mexican feast. From shrimp and fish to chicken, steak and pork, the flavors of Mexican meats are as varied as they are complex.

I have fallen in love with this carne asada street taco recipe from Damn Delicious.

photo credit: DamnDelicious.net

The marinade is simple. I deviated just a bit when I made this, using a flank steak rather than a skirt steak, and tossing the steak on the grill with the corn. The smokiness of the grill really brought out the flavor of the meat.

Once grilled, I sliced the meat and put it in my crock pot on the ‘warm’ setting.

Chicken Carnitas

Oh, Sweet Basil is another favorite food blog. Carrian is a busy mom of three and, just like many of us, wants to put simple, healthy meals on the table for her family. She and husband, Cade, seem to have a knack for putting together recipes that work.

Their slow-cooker chicken carnitas recipe was super easy to pull off, simmering away all day while I took my time getting everything else together.

photo credit: Oh, Sweet Basil

Once the meat was cooked, it was a simple matter of shredding and crisping it. Rather than a skillet, I stuck the shredded chicken under the broiler for a few minutes, then returned the meat to the crock pot to keep warm.


Dessert

Spicy and flavorful Mexican food begs a sweet follow-up. A favorite when we go out is fried ice cream. Yes? Anyone else?

But that is a once in awhile treat, as I’m generally way too full of chips and queso to contemplate so much dessert!

Bar cookies were the perfect complement for this meal, both for the ease of putting them together and for the variety.

Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Bars

photo credit: High Heels and Grills

There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t do for cheesecake. So it makes sense that I would choose these dulce de leche cheesecake bars from High Heels and Grills.

Like Jeff and me, Sarah & Zach love great food. This recipe came from a friend of theirs, and they loved it so much they posted it in their own blog! See how cool it is to share? We all eat better when we pool our culinary resources!

Dirty Blonde Bars

Finally, I just had to make my own Dirty Blonde Bars. Our son, Zach, loves these, and I knew there would be a few leftovers to send his way!

The basic recipe works for a 9×9 pan, but you can double this for a crowd – or for yourself!


And that’s it! You can make much of this ahead of time, get kids involved for the rest, and break out the grill instead of the oven.

The result? A Taco Tuesday that goes beyond a packet of seasoning and a skillet, without becoming Mission Impossible.

share this post:

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Here’s more

Beating the Blues

Although both of us are from the northeastern United States originally, Jeff and I are not fans of winter weather. My mom’s house in the

Read More »