Tip Tuesday: A New Approach to a Taco on Taco Tuesday!

Happy Taco Tuesday, everyone!  A few months ago, I came up with a taco alternative that satisfied my inner burger cravings.  I have seen (even at some Tex-Mex restaurants) taco meat lumped on a bun resembling nothing more than a sloppy joe but called a taco burger.

But what if you kept the burger in patty form and simply seasoned the meat (mixing in taco seasoning) before cooking the patty?  Topped with cheese and put in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt and stopped with some toppings (shredded lettuce, tomato slices–or pico de gallo, and guacamole), maybe even a special sauce (equal portions of sour cream and salsa mixed together), and you have the following:  (You may commence drooling now!)

You have a burger (minus the shredded lettuce–for some reason that freaked him out and the pico because of the onion) that Muffin adored.  A taco hedonist’s paradise.

Yes.  It really was that delicious.

And he wanted the extra burger (but we were out of the sour cream-salsa sauce and the guac…which he tends to pronounce Whack-a-Mole), but without two of his favorite toppings, he vetoed it.

That is why this burger is being made again, two weeks after it was made the last time, for Taco Tuesday.

Here’s what I did:

The Real Taco Burger

Source:  My Twisted Mind

1 pound ground beef (This is the time for 80/20)

1 pkt taco seasoning (I use reduced sodium)

prepared guacamole (or homemade…you will need close to 1 cup)

1/4-1/2 cup sour cream

1/4-1/2 cup salsa (not restaurant style–you want chunks)

shredded lettuce

4 sharp cheddar cheese slices

3/4 cup pico de gallo (or four hefty tomato slices and 4 onion slices)

4 hamburger buns (I didn’t do this last time but would recommend because of the goopiness of the substances on the insides–toast them.)

Combine the taco seasoning with the ground beef, making sure it is thoroughly integrated.  Shape into four equal patties.  (At this point, I would chill/freeze the patties so they hold up better in the pan.  I didn’t do this last time but will be doing so again.)

Combine equal parts sour cream and salsa and set aside.  Preheat oven to 285 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place patties in the skillet.  Cook until “DONE” on one side, then flip and repeat.  Place them on a baking pan (preferably one lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up) and top each with a cheese slice.  Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted on top of each patty.

Once patties are ready (redolent of taco-style spices and chili), slather the inside of each bottom half of the buns with the salsa-sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle shredded lettuce atop that.  Nestle the patties on the bed of shredded lettuce.  Top with tomato and onion slides or a mounded amount of pico de gallo.  Mound 1/4 cup of guacamole on the top bun and top the burger.

Consume with chips and salsa.

What is your favorite taco alternative for Taco Tuesday (with mandatory viewing of The Lego Movie)?

Meal Plan Monday: Almost Time for Visitors!

Good Monday morning, everyone!  By the time this meal plan concludes, our guests (my mother-in-law and stepfather-in-law) should be on their way down to visit us.  We are excited for their trip, and have been planning it for months.  Muffin, especially, has all sorts of things he wants his Grandma and Grandpa Mark to do with him while they are here!

This is also the week that sees the official start to summer!  (Even though we have had summertime temperatures here in Louisiana for several weeks)

I hope your summer plans are going well, and that you are finding ways to keep your cool (both with your little ones and in the kitchen)!

So, without further ado, what we are planning on eating this week!

Saturday:  fried rice, egg drop soup (Gimme Some Oven)

Sunday:  chili

Monday:  frito pie

Tuesday:  taco burgers, chips, and salsa (with extra guac to dip)

Wednesday:  Baked Chicken Croquettes (Life in the Lofthouse), broccoli, rice, gravy

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs or sandwiches

Friday:  English muffin pizzas, corn

Saturday:  Ranch Chicken Enchiladas (Life in the Lofthouse), Jumbo Pico Salad (Pioneer Woman), rice, beans

Sunday:  Sweet Tea Fried Chicken (Growing Up Gabel), potatoes and gravy, mac and cheese, greens, biscuits, green beans

What is on your meal plan for this week?

Tip Tuesday: Stir Fry in a Sheet Pan? Oh, Yes!

My love of 9×13 pans is well-known.  But I have a new love:  the sheet pan.  It is the perfect size for making a package of English muffins’ worth of mini pizzas.  It is perfect for the red velvet sheet cake.

Recently, on the Pinteresting half of the Pinteresting Blogosphere, I discovered several interesting things that require that oh-so-versatile unsung hero in the kitchen.  Several that will make their way to Meal Plan Monday posts in the months to come.

The first that caught my eye (although it actually came about as a Google search for stir fries for oyster sauce–I accidentally picked up oyster sauce at Aldi thinking it was fish sauce for another recipe that has still not been made) was this sheet pan stir fry.  I was really excited when I saw it used Sriracha, as well (another Aldi purchase for a recipe that used a miniscule amount of it).  And anything that uses sesame oil HAS to be yummers.

So, after a few meal plan misses, I made it Saturday.  And it was totally awesome.  I did, however, change some things up (Insert eye roll by family members and longtime readers who know this quirk of mine).  If you follow along with the link above, you can see below how my plans changed to create this delicious melange of flavors:

Sheet Pan Asian Stir Fry (Adapted from this site)

1 pound chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-3/4 inch chunks

15 or so baby carrots cut 1/4 inch thick on the bias

1 pound frozen broccoli florets

3 ribs celery, cut 1/4-1/2 inch thick on the bias

1 orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 yellow bell pepper cut into thin strips

3 T reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 T oyster sauce

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 T brown sugar, packed

1 t ground ginger

1 t garlic powder

1 t sesame oil

1 t cornstarch

1 t Sriracha

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  (Note:  If baking egg rolls, make sure they are the ones that bake at 425 so that you can cook the stir fry and the egg rolls at the same time.)  Combine the last nine ingredients in a small bowl, whisking them together to break up the lumps of powdery substances.

Line a sheet pan with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Toss together the remaining ingredients until well combined.  Drizzle with the sauce and toss to incorporate the sauce.

Bake for 18 minutes.  Serve over fresh and hot rice with an egg roll (or two if you are feeling particularly decadent) on the side.  In the picture above, I drizzled mine with a bit more oyster sauce and a bit more sriracha.  Yummers!

What is your favorite use for a sheet pan?

Meal Plan Monday: A Combo of the Last Two (Failed) Meal Plans

Okay, so sometimes, even when it is summer vacay, things don’t go according to plan.  In shopping for the two weeks of meal plans at Aldi, I miscalculated–a lot!  Stuff that I thought was okay (chicken breasts) in the freezer were freezer burnt, and so the meal plan didn’t quite happen the way it should have.  For the past two weeks.  There were some awesome hits.  But there were spectacular misses.

So, this time, in making my shopping list and checking it thrice (including obsessively putting the items in order of where they appear in the store), I made sure to figure out amounts to purchase.

This is because, yes, meal planning is important, but if you don’t have the materials to execute the plan (whether time, cooking hardware, or food products) you are sunk. (Play appropriate game over video game music here.)

So, this is the new (and improved) meal plan (with the properly purchased food stuffs):

Saturday:  Sheet Pan Asian Stir Fry (with my personal amendments), rice, egg rolls

Sunday:  Sunday:  mini meatloaves (using Oma’s recipe but scaled down to muffin-size), green beans, mashed potatoes (thinking putting the mashed potatoes atop like cupcakes and frosting)

Monday:  chicken spaghetti (Six Sisters’ Stuff), garlic toast

Tuesday:  fajita rice (Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures), chips, salsa

Wednesday:  burgers and seasoned fries

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza, corn

Saturday:  fried rice, egg drop soup (Gimme Some Oven)

Sunday:  chili

What’s on your meal plan for this week?

Meal Plan Monday: Welcome to June!

Meal Plan Monday

Welcome to the first full week of June!

All of our “summery” summer stuff starts this week:  the movies, going to the pool, all of our outdoor stuff on our summer bucket list, and lots of Mama-Muffin days!

This also is my opportunity to try new recipes and rediscover old favorites (and even try my hand at crafting a new recipe or two!).

All of that happens this week in the meal plan.

Saturday:  Sheet Pan Shrimp Stir Fry with Oyster Sauce, rice, egg rolls

Sunday:  mini meatloaves (using Oma’s recipe but scaled down to muffin-size), green beans, mashed potatoes (thinking putting the mashed potatoes atop like cupcakes and frosting)

DSC_0579[1]

Monday:  grilled cheese and La Madeleine’s tomato-basil soup (otherwise known as the recipe that sparked a war)

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Tuesday:  taco burgers (a recipe I dreamed up in my mind), chips, salsa

Wednesday:  chicken spaghetti, garlic toast

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  mini pizzas, corn

Saturday:  fried rice, egg drop soup

Sunday:  Dr. Pepper pulled pork sandwiches (made using the same recipe as the Root Beer Pulled Pork but changing out for Kroger Real Sugar Soda’s Dr. Pepper “knockoff”), coleslaw, chips

What is on your meal plan for the week?

Meal Plan Monday: Happy Memorial Day!

Meal Plan Monday

Good Memorial Day morning!  I realize that I have dropped off the map, Pinteresting Blogosphere-wise, and I am honestly okay with that.  Recently, I experienced the true ugliness of cyberbullying that almost made me pull the plug (a few times, in fact) on all forms of social media in my life.

Friends and family asked me not to, so here I am.

And I’m happy to be back, truly.

So happy, in fact, that I’m planning a super-special blog post (at some point in the near future) about the importance (and near-extinction) of consideration of others in our everyday lives.  Yes, there is a brutal Thoughtful Thursday post percolating on the back burner of my mind simply waiting to boil over when I next turn my back.

But that’s for another day because this is not Thursday; it’s Meal Plan Monday!

Saturday, we ate out in a belated birthday dinner for my dad (as my aunt and uncle were visiting).  On Sunday, I finally FINALLY made the double batch of meatballs for meatball subs (when Josh’s mom visits) and spaghetti and meatballs for a rolling Sunday dinner of flickering lights courtesy of a flooding thunderstorm.

P.S. It is supposed to rain for the next several days (through next Monday).  I think once I post this entry I will be building an ark.

How is this week going to shape up?  See below!

Saturday:  Daddy’s bday dinner at Logan’s (one week late, but you know):  my mom and I had their grilled meatloaf which was super yummers!

Sunday:  spaghetti and meatballs (baked instead of in the slow cooker), grapes

Monday:  burgers and seasoned fries

Tuesday:  tacos

Wednesday:  Chick Fil A (last day of the month and we need to use the calendar card)

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  pizza rolls, salad (need to make these and make extra and freeze)

Saturday:  shrimp stir-fry with oyster sauce (but with different veg), rice, egg rolls

Sunday:  mini meatloaves, green beans, and mashed potatoes

How is your week shaping up?

Meal Plan Monday: Mayday!

Good morning, happy meal planners!  Welcome to May!  Time for those May flowers!

I am going to make this brief today.

Saturday:  Things were crazy.  Aldi trip followed by a shopping trip.  Ate Chick-Fil-A.

Sunday: pork loin with carrots in the slow cooker, slow cooker mashed potatoes

Monday:  soup and crackers

Tuesday:  taco Tuesday

Wednesday:  breakfast for dinner

Thursday:  leftovers or hot dogs

Friday:  nachos

Saturday:  hamburgers and fries

Sunday:  spaghetti and bread

What’s on your meal plan for the week?