taco stew

I think I’ve mentioned how my mom can not follow a recipe. Well, she can, she just chooses not to. She enjoys being creative and playful with food. Sometimes the results are awesome. Sometimes not. But that’s okay. She has fun and that’s what’s important.

I thought I’d be different. I expected to be a recipe follower. A ‘true to the original’ type cook. But instead I’ve got a lot of my mom in me. I also have a bit of my grandmother in me as well. She was a ‘little of this and a handful of that’ type cook. Even though she didn’t use many recipes, I can’t remember anything she ever made that wasn’t delicious.

I’m proud to have both of their cooking styles and this taco stew recipe is a perfect example of that.

I’m part of a mother’s group and when a member has a baby, or surgery, or has a family emergency, we schedule meals to be delivered three times a week to help out the family. There was a time I signed up for every single request that got posted. At one point I was making two extra meals a week and I found myself making the same meal each time. Wanting to be more varied, I searched the internet for quick one dish meals that used convenient ingredients. No surprise that I ended up on a “dump a few cans of condensed soup and stir” website. Yes, those recipes would have been quick and easy and convenient, but I’m not a fan of using lots of canned foods, and condensed soups as recipe ingredients just aren’t my thing. But from that site I picked one recipe that was rated highly, then starting thinking like my mom: what can I change to make this more my style?  Once I started playing with a recipe I channeled Gram and tossed in a bit of this and a touch of that. The result is this taco stew recipe. And there’s no condensed soup in it!

Taco stew has become one of my favorite meals, and it’s super fast and easy — half an hour from start to finish. Not expensive either. Perfect for my family or when I need a meal to deliver to a family nearby.

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Taco Stew

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

garlic, crushed (as few or as many as you like)

1 pound ground turkey breast OR ground beef (I usually make this using ground turkey breast)

1 can enchilada sauce*

½ cup water

½ cup chunky salsa

½ cup sour cream

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 cup fresh or frozen corn

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

3 large flour tortillas, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

½ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Cook onion, green pepper, and garlic in a small bit of oil along with meat in deep skillet until meat is cooked through. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Stir. Top with cheese a few minutes before serving.

*Along with black beans, enchilada sauce is a canned item I purchase, but one day I will try a homemade version. For now I’m happy with the brand that my local store carries: Casa Fiesta Red Enchilada Sauce. This one is all natural — I found that some of the national brands have unnecessary ingredients, such as MSG.

Edited to note: This meal can very easily be adapted for picky eaters or to suit your tastes. When I first started making it, and when I make it for families with young children, the onion, green pepper, garlic and chili pepper were left out, as well as the beans (for those non-bean eaters). As for the salsa and enchilada sauce, I used the mild versions. When making this for my family I use lots of onion, green pepper, garlic, and hot salsa and hot enchilada sauce and lots of chili pepper. It’s a great meal to play around with, and can be just as delicious made simply with the ground turkey, mild enchilada sauce, mild salsa, sour cream, a little cumin, corn, flour tortillas, and topped with cheese. 

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