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: A Low-Key Meal Plan Week with a Recipe Do-Over

Meal Plan Monday

After the oh-so-epic-fail of last week’s meal plan, I’ve tried to find a way to get back on track.  I’m being kind to Josh who is slow-cooker-ed-out.  Only one slow cooker recipe appears on the menu.  After the failure with the Chicken Parmigiana slow cooker meatloaf, I’m going to try to adapt his Oma’s meatloaf for the slow cooker.  I will chronicle the results here…fail or not.  It’s the world’s simplest meatloaf recipe…and, in this case, simplest is best.

Seriously, if successful, and I can reproduce this plate of happy without heating the kitchen?  Score!

Another notable recipe this week is one that I tried Saturday evening with the LFam but did not photograph.  It’s easy…peasy…and cheesy:  the pizza grilled cheese that only involves five ingredients:  bread, butter, bottle of pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni (although we used salami).

And…I’ve been Kuh-Raaaaving tacos.  Especially with the Alton Brown taco potion.  Done.

Anyway, here’s the plan.  And, contrary to what some people believe, a plan is set in stone and subject to the whims of the winds outside (and many many other things).  In other words, plan and actuality may be quite different.

I’m becoming more than a bit cantankerous in my old age.

Monday:  Pizza Grilled Cheese, veggies, fruit

Tuesday:  tacos a la Alton Brown’s taco potion

Wednesday:  Oma’s meatloaf in the crock pot

Thursday:  pancakes and bacon

Friday:  leftovers, pizza, or out

Saturday:  Chick-Fil-A Chicken nuggets, fries, hushpuppies

Sunday:  grilled pork chops, creamed corn, grilled garlic bread

As usual, I will be linking up with OrgJunkie’s Menu Plan Monday.

What’s cooking for you this week?

Cent Saving Saturday: Making Seasoning Mixes From Scratch and the Week’s Deals

Cent Saving SaturdayHave you ever truly wondered what’s in a seasoning mix when it has the unpronounceable stuff listed?  Or natural and artificial flavors and colors?  Or spices?  There are some seasoning mixes I still continue to buy (Old Bay), but I’m gradually getting into making my own.  They tend to be more potent, more flavorful, less of a salt lick.  Sometimes I’m lured into purchasing chili and taco seasoning during Albertson’s twenty-five cent sale, but since they both regularly sell out, I am setting myself up for disappointment.  And they really don’t taste as good as homemade.

Recently (the date of the “snow day”), I updated Alton Brown’s Taco Potion to the following recipe:

Taco Seasoning–Adapted from Alton Brown’s Taco Potion

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all and grind in a coffee grinder.  Add 2 tablespoons of mixture per pound of cooked meat with 1/2 cup water.  Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Chili Seasoning

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoons cumin

1 beef bouillon cube

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon flour

Combine all of the above.  Brown 1 pound of ground meat (venison is awesome in chili!).  Sprinkle chili seasoning over the meat.  Stir.  Add in one can of undrained diced tomatoes (I like petite diced), 1 can of undrained red kidney or chili beans (or 2 cups prepared beans), and 1/2 cup water.  (If you like you can also add one diced onion, one diced bell pepper, and one diced rib of celery to the meat mixture as you brown it and cook until softened)  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Serve over rice or topped with cheese, sour cream, ketchup, fresh onion, or pickled jalapenos.  I usually make a batch last three days:  day one is a bowl of chili, day two is a frito pie or chili cheese nachos, and day three is chili dogs.  Therefore, it becomes even more frugal.

Cinnamon-Sugar

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine and store in a shaker-style container.  Use to make cinnamon toast or cinnamon nachos (or to sprinkle generously over ice cream or other sweet treats).

I will add more to future posts, but, for now, enjoy these selections.

What is your favorite seasoning to make from scratch?

Here are a few of the week’s deals:

Kroger

eggs, dozen 3/$4

Capri Sun $1.48 wyb 6

mandarin oranges $5.99/5 lb. box

Coke/Pepsi 2L $1 wyb 6

Kroger Cheese (1 lb.) 3/$10

Skinner Pasta 28 cents wyb 6

Breyer’s ice cream $2.49 wyb 6

General Mills Cereal $1.88 wyb 6

Ragu 99 cents wyb 6

Nutella $2.69 wyb 6 (My dad told me that there is a b1g1 coupon in Sunday’s paper–this past Sunday)

Hormel chili with beans 48 cents wyb 6

Kroger buns 10/$10

Kroger chips 10/$10

Albertson’s

Essential Everyday chicken broth, 32 oz. carton, 99 cents (limit 2)

Chicken of the Sea solid white albacore tuna, 79 cents (limit 4)

Garland Jack’s BBQ sauce, 49 cents wyb 2 (limit 4) with manufacturer’s in-store coupon

Chobani Greek yogurt, 88 cents–I’m planning on buying this to make two-ingredient pizza dough next Friday

pork loin $1.98/lb. (more ground pork fun!)

chicken drumsticks 58 cents/lb.

celery 99 cents/stalk

blueberries $2.99/pint

Artichokes $1.25 (limit 3)

blackberries $1.19/6 oz.

3 lb. bag onions 2/$3

fingerling potatoes, 24 oz. bag $1.25

cucumbers 3/$2

fuji apples 89 cents/lb.

Brookshire’s

French bread 10/$10 (for pizza this Friday)

Flour 2 lb. 10/$10 (not really a great price, but I have to have some)

John Morrell smoked sausage, 9 oz., 10/$10

Brookshire’s bacon, 24 oz., $5