Saturday, November 10, 2012

Spaghetti Tacos

I can't quite remember when it happened, but sometime this year my kids discovered iCarly. First on Netflix, then on YTV. It's a pretty goofy show, and while I don't always love some of the messaging it isn't the worst show they've watched. Fairly early on in the series I remember hearing about spaghetti tacos. This is a meal served to the iCarly gang every once in a while....a dinner option that, much like the show, seems a bit goofy. Then last week both of my boys asked if we could have spaghetti tacos for dinner. And since I like to encourage them to try new foods I said "sure" and set out to find a suitable recipe.

Turns out, spaghetti tacos are pretty easy to make. A 'recipe' isn't so much required. The most basic version requires nothing more than for you to make spaghetti with your choice of sauce (we prefer a simple marinara) then stuff it into a taco shell. You might want to also top with traditional taco fixings such as seasoned ground beef, cheese, tomato and sour cream. My kids opted to simply use the taco shell as the delivery device for their spaghetti and marinara. Which looks something like this:

The verdict? Patrick loved them. Ate two tacos stuffed with pasta and grated cheese. I'm pretty sure Daniel tolerated his since he ended up letting his spaghetti fall out of the shell and ate it with a fork. But he is nothing if not loyal and would not diss his beloved iCarly so he declared the dish a winner. I'm usually the more adventurous eater in our household but I couldn't quite wrap my head around spaghetti tacos so I made mine the traditional way - seasoned ground beef, tomato, cheese, lettuce and greek yogurt subbing for sour cream. I really enjoyed the ground beef thanks to a homemade version of taco seasoning mix I found via Brown Eyed Baker. I'm also not crazy about packaged powdered foods that contain ingredients I can't pronounce. We've requested (and made) spaghetti tacos again since our first attempt so it would seem it's going to be part of the regular repertoire around here.

Taco Seasoning Mix - from Brown Eyed Baker

4 tbsp chili powder
3 tbsp + 1 tsp paprika
3 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp onion powder (I didn't have this on hand so omitted)
1 tsp garlic powder (I substituted garlic salt)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions: Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Over medium heat, brown 1 lb ground beef and drain of fat. Add 2 tbsp seasoning mix and 3/4 cup water to the ground beef. Simmer, stirring frequently until sauce thickens and coats the beef and there is not much liquid left. Store remaining seasoning mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

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