Taco Night is a big deal in my house, for several reasons. First is that everybody loves tacos. Second is that, even though we’re all eating from the same spread of food, everyone is able to customize their plate to their own preferences. And third is that the meal prep is so simple that everyone is more relaxed. Fourth, with a bit of pre-planning, you can walk in the door in the evening and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes. Finally, nearly every dish involved in taco night can go STRAIGHT into the dishwasher. Woo-hoo! This post is going to be a bit different than usual, mainly because the recipes for taco night are so simple. Just a few ingredients, few steps to the recipes, and little hands-on time. ~Katie
What you need:
- taco shells (hard, soft, or both)
- meat or beans (see my recipes for shredded taco chicken and seasoned refried black beans, below)
- toppings (salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, corn, sliced black olives…you can get creative, but you can also just stick with the basics)
- rice (optional, some people prefer to serve toppings over rice instead of assembling a taco)
- guacamole (recipe below) and tortilla chips
- slow cooker (for shredded taco chicken)
- saucepan and spoon (for seasoned refried black beans)
- medium bowl and masher (for guacamole)
- lots of little serving dishes and spoons for toppings
Time: Shredded taco chicken: 5 minutes active (divided), plus 4 hours in the slow cooker. Seasoned refried black beans: 2 minutes active, plus 5-10 minutes simmering on the stovetop. Guacamole: 5 minutes active.
Freezeable: The shredded taco chicken is freezeable, as are the seasoned refried black beans. Don’t freeze the guac!
Serves: A crowd. Just be sure to have enough shells and toppings.
Multiplying the recipe: All these recipes are scale-able. Feel free to halve, or double, or whichever direction you need to go.
Shredded Taco Chicken:
In a small slow cooker, place 2-3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, one 16 oz. jar of salsa, and 1 T. chili powder. Put the lid on the cooker, set it to low, and cook 4 hours. When the meat is done, remove it from the slow cooker with a large slotted spoon, trying to get all the salsa with it, but little of the juices collected at the bottom of the slow cooker. Put the chicken on a large plate or cutting board and shred it using two forks. Place the shredded meat into a large bowl. Feel free to add some of the juices from the slow cooker to moisten the meat. Note: I sometimes add 1 can each of drained corn and black beans and a small diced onion to the chicken at the start of the cook time.
Seasoned refried black beans:
In a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat, place 2 t. olive oil. Add 1 minced garlic clove and heat for 30 seconds. Add 2 drained cans of black beans and 1/3 c. vegetable broth and the seasonings below, and stir. When it’s simmering, turn the heat to low and simmer for -10 minutes, until the liquid thickens a bit. Mash the beans a bit.
- 1 t. chili powder
- 1/2 t. cumin
- 1/8 t. allspice
- 1/2 t. salt
Peel and pit 2-3 avocadoes and place them in a medium bowl. Mash them to your preferred degree of smoothness, using a fork, potato masher, or other mashing tool. Add 1 small diced, seeded tomato, 2 T. diced red onion, 1 t. lime juice, and 1/2 t. salt (or to taste). Stir. Serve with tortilla chips. (Feel free to add a bit of chopped fresh cilantro…I just never do, because I rarely have fresh cilantro on hand.)