Mexican dinner with friends

Friends Mexican DinnerYesterday evening I had my friend Claudia over for dinner and since I was thinking about cooking something Mexican, what a better occasion?

The menu consisted of meat & veggie stuffed soft tacos, nachos with salsa and homemade guacamole.

To prepare the tacos I used Old El Paso Soft Taco Dinner Kit, which comprises 12 soft tortillas, a sachet of taco seasoning mix and a pouch of mild taco sauce (you’ll find a few information on the manufacturer’s website by clicking here). I know this is a Canadian product, but the same brand in the UK offers the Original Taco Kit which is pretty the same (with crunchy tortillas instead of soft ones).

Old El Paso Soft Taco Dinner Kit

MEAT & VEGGIE STUFFED SOFT TACOS

  • 500g minced beef meat
  • 250ml water
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • seasoning sachet (provided in the kit)
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 shallot or 2-3 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • white wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt, pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • dried basil, chili pepper, oregano and garlic
  • grated cheddar cheese

First, let’s prepare the veggie filling. The earlier you prepare it the better, since the vegetables have time to season properly and get lovely flavours. This is very easy. Mix the chopped vegetables in a bowl and season them with salt, pepper, the dried herbs, a drizzle of lemon juice or vinegar and a tablespoon of oil. Let them stand until the meat is ready. I didn’t add the quantities of seasoning on purpose, since everyone can choose the amount according to taste. Veggie Filling

Now, we should move on to the meat filling. Here I followed the instructions provided, but as usually I did some little changes according to my way of cooking (the onion for example shouldn’t be added). In a pan, add the chopped onion with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and roast it for a couple of minutes until golden. Then add the minced meat breaking it into pieces with the hands, and let it cook well (approx. 10 minutes). Mix the seasoning sachet with the water, and pour it on the meat, letting everything simmer until the liquid is almost completely absorbed (approx. 10 minutes).

Meat Filling

At this point, if you don’t have grated cheese, it’s time to grate a generous amount of cheese so it is ready to be added to the taco fillings.

Once everything is ready, the only thing left is filling the tortillas and serve them. Generally it’s better to heat them up a little, so they’ll become crispier and more flavourful. You can either use the microwave by wrapping them in baking paper (allows to heat more tortillas together) or a hot pan.

Taco Filling

HOMEMADE GUACAMOLE

It’s easier than you think, and is way healthier (and tastier) than those dips you find in the supermarket. And come on, let’s be honest, things have a better taste when you add the DIY satisfaction, don’t you agree?

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove or a teaspoon of garlic purée
  • salt, pepper
  • dried chili pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley

In a bowl, scoop out the pulp of the avocados and squeeze it with a potato masher until it becomes creamy but not completely smooth. You should leave some little chunks for the texture, that’s why it’s better – even though a bit more time-consuming – doing it by hand rather than a food processor or a blender. Add the onion and the tomato, season with garlic, salt, pepper, chili, parsley and lime juice to taste and mix well. As always, leave to stand for a while to allow the flavours to blend together. Guacamole

NACHOS WITH SALSA

Ok, this is the easiest thing to prepare, and is a good thing to keep in mind when friends show up at yours unexpectedly and you want to organise a quick aperitif.

  • 1 bag of plain nacho chips
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 medium red or yellow onion, chopped
  • fresh or dried parsley, chopped
  • salt, pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sour cream
  • grated cheddar cheese

The only thing to prepare is the salsa. In a bowl, mix the chopped tomatoes and the red onion, season with salt, pepper, parsley and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Leave to stand for a while. Nacho Salsa Heat the oven to 200°C. Pour the nachos on a baking tray and sprinkle them with the grated cheddar. Put in the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese melts, take the tray out and turn off the oven, sprinkle the salsa all over and put the tray back in the oven for a couple of minutes. Before serving, add some spoonfuls of soured cream all over the nachos and, if you want, some guacamole as well. Nachos with Salsa My friends enjoyed it quite a lot, so maybe we should introduce the habit of ethnic Tuesday!

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