Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tacos? Really?

I've noted before that my kids aren't very adventurous eaters. A trait I expect they inherited from my husband, who only really got adventurous after he married me. Take that however you like.

So I was very surprised the other evening when D. brought home the hot lunch order form from his school and we sat down to make our selections. In the past we have ordered from the hot lunch menu sparingly. Chicken nuggets, check. All other offerings? No thanks. I was all ready to check off our one meal when D. said "You know what mum? I think I'd also like to sign up for taco day.". Rea-a-ally? Our first foray into unknown food territory and we're going Mexican? Al-righty. He continued to scan the form and said "And hot dog day too. I mean, a hot dog is just a bun, some meat and some mustard. I like all those things, right?". Um, yes, yes you do. And I've said that to him, oh, a billion times since he's been old enough to consider hot dogs as a possible food choice.

No matter. I kept these thoughts inside my head, smiled nicely and checked off tacos and hot dogs. I must admit to feeling a bit smug. All of my Sunday dinners, conceived in the beginning as a way to introduce new foods, were obviously paying off. Then I suggested perhaps we try tacos for dinner. You know, so he would at least recognize what he was being given for lunch, because I'm pretty sure he's never seen a taco. He enthusiastically agreed. Enthusiastically agreed. Then the kicker. I should have seen it coming. "My friends have all told me that tacos are great, so I'm sure I'll like them.".

The truth will out. All of my years of introducing new foods and suggesting unknown dishes weren't the reason behind this new-found enthusiasm for tacos and hot dogs. His friends' seal of approval was the motivator. Which I'm okay with. I am. D. has some really great pals. If they can encourage him to break out of his shell and live outside his comfort zone that's a good thing. (Within limits. No drugs. Or motorcycles. Or wearing pants so that they don't fit and slide down off your butt and I can see your underwear. I have a longer list but will spare you the details.)

The upshot is we had tacos for dinner Monday night. P. wasn't quite as game as D. so I served him a 'deconstructed version' as seen here:

He actually didn't fare too badly with his 'taco'. D. took one bite, mumbled something about how great it was, then focused very intently on his veggies the rest of the meal. I suspect it didn't rock his world, and I noted it was okay if he didn't like it, even if his friends did. He gave nothing away. "Oh no, I really like it mummy. Can't wait for taco day!".

I know you can make tacos using the Old El Paso kit method (I consumed many of these during my high school years.) but I went a different route and found a recipe on Martha for tacos. It was mild enough for the boys, although I omitted the bell peppers. I didn't fancy picking them out.

Beef Tacos

1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 pound ground beef sirloin

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and bell peppers; cook until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water; cook until water has evaporated and vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef. Cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season taco filling with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon filling onto tortillas, top with salsa and lettuce, and fold to enclose.

You'll notice in the above photo that I still sometimes serve the kids their dinner on their old toddler dishes. I really need to retire the plastic plates, cups and cutlery. They are more than capable of eating as 'adults'. But I'll miss when my drainboard no longer looks like this:

No comments:

Post a Comment