Taco night is perfect for a busy weeknight evening, or even a get-together with friends. For us, it was both… friends in town on a Thursday night, which happened to be during the first week of school. We needed a kid-pleaser, but something that would come together quickly amidst some chaos. I picked up some ground turkey, taco shells, and fresh vegetables on the way home from some errands, and returned to my plans.
The best parts about taco night (other than the actual tacos) are the possibilities of prepping most or even all of this in advance, and the ability to involve little hands in the prep. Start out by browning your ground beef or turkey. As it cooks, prep your taco seasoning (we enjoy this recipe. I like making my own since we can avoid preservatives, it’s sugar/gluten/dairy-free, and I can control the heat. I use less than half of the chili powder, and add in 1/4 cup of tomato sauce per lb of meat). Keep an eye on the browning meat by stirring it occasionally, and use this time to chop tomatoes, lettuce, and avocados; shred cheese; spoon out some sour cream and salsa; and whatever else you enjoy on your tacos. This is a great time to get little ones involved in ripping lettuce, mashing avocados, etc. By the time your meat is browned, your toppings will be ready, and everything can go onto the table. If your day is going to be busy, vegetables can be prepared the night before; meat can even be browned the night before if needed. In my house, I always cook double the meat we’ll need, and before we eat I split it in half and freeze the extra in a Ziploc bag. It makes a great last minute meal on a night when I run out of time and don’t have the energy for cooking.
I’d also recently grabbed a bottle of wine perfect for Sangria, and had some extra oranges and apples hanging around. Sangria was on my mind, and the cutting board on the counter was the perfect excuse to cut up some fruit and throw it into the pitcher with the wine. Salute!
We’re only a week into the school year and not it’s even in full swing, but I can already see it’s going to be a doozy. Having some easy meals in your arsenal is essential. And a glass of Sangria won’t hurt! Share your favorite weeknight meal ideas below. To find out what’s new in our kitchen, stop by, or become a fan on Facebook. Peruse past blogs and keep current with new blogs at Stephanie.hvparent.com.