When we get busy, we fall back onto certain favorite recipes. You know the ones – you’ve made them so many times that you need neither a recipe nor a grocery list, and you can pretty much make them in your sleep? They never let you down. They always taste the way you expect (delicious) and even if they were once difficult, the repetition has made them easy. We’ve eaten a lot of these comfort foods in the past few weeks. Taco night is one of my favorites.

Tacos.
Tacos are so easy at this point that we can make the entire meal happen in less than 20 minutes.

What You Need:
1 lb  ground beef (I prefer 85% lean, as it all but eliminates the need to drain after cooking)
1 medium onion
Salsa
Chili Powder
Cumin
Ginger (fresh is better, powdered is fine)
Curry Powder (optional)
3-4 plum or 2-3 regular tomatoes
Queso Fresco – smallest package (or your preferred taco cheese)
Bunch of cilantro
Tortillas (I like flour, fajita size)
Greek yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 Avocado (optional, strongly recommended)

How to Make It:
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Mince the onion. Put it and the ground beef into the pan. Break up the meat with a spatula. Douse it with generous amounts of chili powder, cumin, and ginger. I measure by smell (see my pasta sauce) but here’s a start: Sprinkle chili powder evenly over the pan until everything is covered. Add about 2/3 that amount of ginger and cumin, and a dash of curry powder. If you like spice, a pinch or cayenne wouldn’t hurt. Stir the whole thing so the spices coat the meat and onions, and let it cook.

2. While that’s happening, dice the tomatoes. Slice the avocado, if you bought one (and I hope you did) and then stir the meat again. It’s probably cooked by now, so drain it if you need to, dump in some salsa, and set the burner to low to keep it warm. Get out your tupperware to pack up the leftovers. Get a couple plates ready with tortillas on them (hint: warm them in the toaster oven or microwave). Open a beer/pour a glass of wine. By the time you get that stuff taken care of, the meat should be ready to go. If not, you can always do the dishes, put your pjs on, or queue up your DVR/Netflix/whatever.

3. Assemble your tacos! Everyone has their own way of doing this, I know. Here’s mine: Spread yogurt on the tortilla. Spoon some meat on, crumble cheese over that so it gets a little melty. Next, tomatoes and then avocado if you have it. Top with cilantro. Devour, as though the world will end if you don’t get every last bit into your belly.

[Speaking of bellies, and I promise I will try to keep the cute-things-my-charge-did-at-work-today talk on this blog to a minimum, but she is so dang smart. At a precious 20 months, she can successfully relate to me when asked that the oatmeal she at for breakfast this morning is in her belly, and it got there because it went in her mouth and down her throat. And then I taught her to say esophagus (“soffagus!”). Do I love her times a million? Yes, yes I do.]

So. Taco night. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

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