Recipes Easy Homemade Tacos and Filling

Tacos are a great quick meal. They also serve up nicely at a slumber party or any event where finger foods are being served. You have two basic types of tacos, meat and meatless.

Ingredients

8 hard or soft taco shells

MEAT

1 pound of fresh ground hamburger or turkey, 1 taco seasoning packet (mild, medium or hot), 2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and add the hamburger and taco seasoning cook about 15 minutes, grind up with a potato masher or run through a food processor after the meat cools a little.

MEATLESS

1 box of Boca burgers or any vegetarian meat alternative, 1 taco seasoning packet (mild, medium or hot) 2 tablespoons of olive oil

In a large frying pan heat the olive oil and add the meat alternative and taco seasoning, cook about 15 minutes, grind up with a potato masher or run through a food processor after it cools a little.

Now that you have your main ingredient stuff about 3 tablespoons in a hard or soft taco shell. Then choose one or all of the ingredients listed below and add 1 tablespoon of each.

FILLINGS

1 cup of shredded lettuce, 1 cup of diced fresh tomatoes, 1 cup of refried beans, 1 cup of shredded cheese, 1 cup of salsa, 1 cup of sour cream, 1 cup of taco sauce (mild, medium, hot)

There are several fillings you can add to your taco. When making them for a “group” of people it’s better to stick with the basics and allow them to choose which fillings they want rather than putting them together ahead of time.

Recipes Buffalo Burgers

Buffalo burgers are a nice alternative to hamburgers. You can serve this with French fries or a potatoes salad for a great meal that is quick and easy.

Ingredients

1.5 pounds of fresh ground buffalo
1 cup of unseasoned bread crumbs
1 ranch dip or dressing dry packet
1 egg (beaten)

Combine all ingredients in a mixing boil and mix well. You can either grill the burgers or fry them. To fry them add 3 Tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat place the burgers in the pan and fry for about 15 minutes on medium heat flipping them a few times. Use a couple of paper towels to pat the extra grease off. Serve on a toasted bun. Serves 6

OTHER VARIATIONS

OMIT the ranch seasoning

– 2 tablespoons of steak sauce

– 2 tablespoons of worchester sauce

– 2 tablespoons of barbeque sauce

Regardless, of which flavoring you choose you will have a delicious buffalo burger.

Quick and Easy Meatloaf Recipes

There is something about meatloaf; eating it seems to conjure up feelings of comfort and memories of childhood.  It’s an easy dish to make and just about everyone enjoys it and it’s inexpensive to prepare.  

My meatloaf recipe, well two versions listed here, is easy to make and tastes great hot or as leftovers in sandwiches. 

This is the basic recipe I use.  Depending on the time I have and my energy level I may or may not add in chopped vegetables.  I have listed options at the bottom of this recipe however, so, feel free to make whatever changes you want. 

Basic ingredients.  

1  to 1 and ½ pounds of ground beef, extra lean.

1 egg

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

Ketchup, about 1 cup

Italian flavored breadcrumbs

Dried onions, from the spice section in the grocery store. 

Directions: 

To the meat, mix all the incredients until well blended, saving about ½ a cup of the ketchup for the end. 

Shape the meat mixture in to a loaf pan or any other oven proof dish.  Spread the rest of the ketchup over the meat mixture and sprinkle liberally with garlic powder.   

Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until meat looks cooked through.  

Variations:

To the meat mixture you can add the following: 

Chopped up fresh onion and green peppers. 

Shredded carrots 

Use a package of dry onion soup mix or the dry vegetable soup package. 

Instead of ketchup on top of the meatloaf, use a barbeque sauce, one of your favorites. 

Other options.

 Use ground turkey or chicken in place of the beef. 

Once the meatloaf is cooked, drain any fat and then top with shredded cheddar cheese, bake about 15 minutes more until cheese is lightly browned.  You can also spread left of mashed potatoes on once the meat is cooked and top with cheese. 

You can serve meatloaf with just about anything but it really screams for potatoes.  Serve with mashed potatoes or cut the potatoes in quarters or half the small round potatoes and bake along side the meatloaf.   

This recipe is so simple and easy and the leftovers can be used in a variety of ways, including the popular meatloaf sandwiches.

 Use the leftovers to add to spaghetti in place of meatballs.  

Place frozen vegetables on top of the left over loaf then top with frozen french fries or tator tots and bake until the potatoes are cooked through. 

Use the meatloaf in omelets for a breakfast twist. 

With meatloaf being so easy to prepare, the recipe above takes about 15 minutes only, it should be on every cooks list of comfort foods. 

Recipes Shepherds Pie

I loathe shepherd’s pie with all of my being. I have horrific memories of a nasty ground beef and corn concoction being served to me in school cafeterias. Years later, as a chef we made it where I worked and I wanted desperately to like it. It was topped with ranch potatoes and cheese and rich brown gravy, try as I might though I did not like it. The version most Aerican’s are familiar with is actually Cottage Pie and this, I still maintain is not fit to eat.

One magical day I went to a tea room in Albuquerque for St. Patrick’s day and they served a petite shepherd’s pie prepared according to a traditional Irish recipe. It was heavenly. A pastry crust was topped with a rich Irish lamb stew and crispy golden pillow of mashed potatoes. I had to fight not to lick the cup. Later I ranted and raved to the owner, a friend, about how wonderful it was. This changed my mind about this great American staple and got me thinking about the origins of this dish.

After some experimenting here’s my version which even I will devour with hearty aplomb. The base is a simple loose drop biscuit dough, baked into a crust at the bottom of the dish, over this goes the rich lamb stew, and crowning it are fluffy potatoes mixed with egg so they form a crispy crust on top with a fluffy interior. Loosen your belt and enjoy.

Shepherd’s Pie

Stew

lbs ground lamb (Or beef if you must)

1 medium onion diced

2 carrots peeled and diced

2 ribs celery diced

2 tbs garlic

4 tbs tomato paste

4 tbs flour

2 cups beef or chicken stock

2 tbs unsalted butter

2 tbs rosemary

1 cup red wine, brandy, or Irish whiskey

salt and pepper to taste

Biscuit crust

1 cup white whole wheat flour

¼ c butter

1 tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

¼ c melted unsalted butter

¾ cup milk

1 tsp baking powder

Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs red bliss potatoes, scrubbed

1/2 cup of heavy cream

¼ cup of butter

2 eggs

salt and pepper to taste

a pinch of paprika

Preheat the oven to 450.

Spray a large casserole pan. Use a 9 x 13 inch such as the kind you would make lasagna in or use a deeper round casserole. This is a three layered dish with a lot of components so be sure to use a pan that will accommodate all of it.

In a good sized pot melt the butter over medium heat and toss in the onions. Let the onions slowly caramelize.

Add the lamb, and using a whisk or wooden spoon break it up as it cooks, be careful not to burn it.

Add the garlic, carrots and onions and continue cooking until all the veggies are translucent.

Add the booze, whatever you have chosen and increase the heat to medium high. Let the liqour come to a boil so the alcohol will burn off. There will be sharp smell as the alcohol vaporizes. Fear not.

Add the flour and stir, using a whisk to incorporate, cook a few minutes.

Add the stock, seasonings and tomato paste. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and allow it all to cook together, and the flavors to mingle.

Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook about 45 minutes until done.

While the potatoes cook prepare the biscuit dough

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Add milk and melted butter and stir to combine.

Pour into a greased, large casserole dish.

Bake at 450 degrees until golden brown and set. About 15 minutes or so.

Whip the potatoes with a hand mixer or in a mixing bowl.

Add the butter and mix until melted.

Add in milk, eggs, salt and pepper.

When the biscuit dough is done remove the pan from the oven.

Pour the lamb mixture over the crust and smooth.

Spread the mashed potatoes evenly over the lamb and sprinkle with Paprika.

Return the pan to the oven and bake another 10 to 15 minutes.

Turn on the broiler and let the top of the potatoes brown.

It may be an admirable thought to try to keep it together as you serve it but I find this rarely happens. Enjoy it in all its gooey glory.

Recipes Ground Meat Tomato Sauce Rice Main Dish

Mom’s Homestyle Stuffed Peppers

It’s Tuesday night you’re home from work, the kids are hungry and dinner guests will be arriving soon. What do you fix for dinner? How about Mom’s Homestyle Stuffed Peppers? This recipe is easy enough for the beginner cook, elegant enough for guests and quick enough for a busy weeknight. Using items usually on hand in the pantry this recipe can easily be multiplied to serve as many servings as you need.

 This recipe as written will make 6 servings.

 Shopping List:

 6 large bell peppers, may use green, red or yellow

 Filling for peppers:

1 cup rice, cooked

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ pound ground beef, browned and cooked until done

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup water

1 cup tomato sauce

Cooking Liquid: 

1 cup tomato sauce

1 ½ cups water

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare your bell peppers:

Cut a slice from the stem end of each pepper and remove the seeds. Wash your peppers and then set aside.

For the filling:

Combine ground beef, rice, 1 cup tomato sauce, ¼ cup water, salt and pepper. Mix well. Fill each pepper with some of the meat mixture. Stand the filled pepper cut side up in a 2 ½ quart baking dish.

Combine 1 cup tomato sauce and 1 ½ cups water. Stir to blend well. Pour this mixture over your filled peppers. Bake at 350° for 15-30 minutes.

If you like to cook once and eat twice or were wondering what to do with leftovers this recipe makes great use of leftover cooked rice or cooked ground beef. If you have another favorite recipe that uses rice and ground beef you can easily cook double portions and save some for use in this recipe later saving you time and energy during your busy week.

This meal is as delicious as it is simple to make, it is a go-to must have for the busy cook. Served with a nice salad and a favorite side it makes a wonderful meal in very little time that is sure to please your family every time.

Lamb Meatballs with Sun Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

Stuff warm whole-wheat pita pockets with flavorful and satisfying ground lamb meatballs. Top with sliced cucumber, onion, feta cheese and a generous slather of sun-dried tomato mayonnaise. The result is a slightly exotic, but easy to prepare, satisfying and delicious sandwich.

The flavors of mint, cumin, and cinnamon are wonderful and fun; the sun-dried tomato mayonnaise gilds the lily beautifully.

Makes 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients:

Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes in oil

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 garlic cloves, halved

Meatballs:

1 pound ground lamb

1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup raisins

1 large egg

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh mint

1 tsp ground cumin

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preparation:

For Sun-Dried Tomato Mayonnaise

* Place all ingredients in food process and puree until smooth. Make 1 day ahead, cover and chill overnight.

For Meatballs:

* Preheat oven to 350-degrees

* Mix all ingredients gently in medium bowl just to blend.

* Form meat mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball.

* Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Recipes Main course Meat

Texas Lasagna

This recipe idea originally came from an Old El Paso box dinner that we tried one evening. The first thing we discovered is that one box was not enough and it was missing something. I took the basic ingredients and tweaked them a bit to come up with a family favorite.

Ingredients:
2 pounds fresh ground beef (you can substitute Turkey here if you like.)
1 cup Minute Rice of any quick cooking rice (you can substitute long cooking rice here, just prepare it at the same time as your preparing the meat.)
2 packets of Taco Seasoning
1 cup water
1 can Nacho Cheese Sauce
1 med. Onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-20 count package Flour Tortillas, small
1 cup shredded cheese
Traditional Taco Toppings

Brown ground meat, onion and garlic until full cooked, drain. Add rice, taco seasoning and water, return to heat. Heat to a boil, cover, turn to simmer until rice is tender. Remove from heat and mix in cheese sauce. For each layer you will need 2 whole tortillas, 1 tortilla cut in half and 1 tortilla cut in quarters.

Spray the inside of a 9 x 13-inch glass cake pan with non-stick spray and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place 2 whole tortilla shells in the bottom of the pan, place the quartered tortilla in the corners to cover the bare spots and finish by placing the halves on the sides. Add a layer of meat mixture followed by a layer of tortillas, ending with a layer of tortilla shells topped with shredded cheese. Place in the oven for approximately 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut and serve with your favorite toppings.

I have shared this recipe with many people and it makes a great potluck menu item. Just make a little extra.

Recipe for Cooking Beef Tongue

Recipes: Lengua Estofada

Shared to me by Mr. Eduardo Quiambao, another good friend from my high school days in the Philippines, this Spanish-cuisine inspired recipe is a brilliant way of turning a generally unwanted meat part into a delectable dish. on one of my visits to my friend’s place, I remember how its distinctive meaty flavor lingered on my palate as I chewed on the cooked offal from a cow that I imagined, and secretly hoped, had perfectly served its turn in the so-called hierarchy of life.  A recommended addition to meals during special events like birthdays, get-togethers, or even weddings, this meal needs an additional task to prepare its main ingredient (the offal) before the actual cooking. The process continues with braising, an open secret step known to those who know how-to-cook very rich and tasty meals. Also, these stout-hearted food enthusiasts will note that this meal is worth preparing especially for those who know how to appreciate foods made from exotic sections of slaughtered-for-food animals.

Ingredients:
beef tongue, approximately 2 lbs.
soy sauce, at least 3 cups
ground black pepper, at least 2 tablespoons
freshly-squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 cup
melted butter, 1.5 cups
garlic, 10 cloves and minced
onions, 2 medium-sized and sliced
celery, chopped 5 stalks
red bell pepper, 1 whole and sliced
tomato sauce, a 14.5oz-can of your favorite brand
cream of mushroom soup without garlic, a 14.5oz-can of your favorite brand
your preferred kind of mushrooms, sliced and equivalent to 2 cups

Procedures:
1)    Boil enough water in a pot that can contain the whole piece of lengua (beef tongue). As soon as the water boils, start dipping into it for at least 5 minutes the beef tongue using your tongs. You will notice that the top portions of the tongue will harden and become so tough (with a texture just like leather), which will then becomes part of your next task.

2)    With a knife, preferably a serrated one, start scraping away the leather-like edges and upper-portions of the tongue. Expect to work on this for at least 30 minutes, and make sure you completely cut away the hardened portions that aren’t at all edible. When done, set aside.

3)    In a large bowl, prepare a marinade from the soy sauce, ground black pepper and the fresh lemon juice. Marinate the tongue for at least 2 hours if you like to serve this for the next meal. But it’s suggested you marinate the meat overnight for a much tastier meal.

4)    On medium fire, pour in your large frying pan the melted butter. Then start searing the tongue on all its sides. Set aside when done.

5)    In a pan set on medium fire, pour the left-over marinade. Add into it at least 4 cups of water, chopped celery (which is used to further remove the game-y taste of the offal), and the red bell pepper. Adjust quantity of water, which should approximately be equal to half in volume of the meat and the rest of ingredients.

6)    Slice the browned meat into ½ to 1 inch width of pieces. Put all the meat slices into your pan that is, by now, boiling.

7)    With the meat in it, let the pot continue boiling, and give all the mixture a stir. Set fire into low and let the mixture simmer for at least 1 and ½  to 2 hours. Put a lid on your pot. And check and stir the mixture every now and then during the period. If necessary, add water if it’s drying up, and then let it simmer down until the meat has become tender.

8)    Set on medium flame the pan where you have browned the meat. Sauté the garlic and onions into it, and then set on low the flame.

9)    Using your tongs, place all the softened meat slices into this pan. Pour into it all the tomato sauce and cream of mushroom soup. Then add into it the mushroom pieces. Give the mixture another stir, and let it stay under low flame until it boils.

This is best served hot with steamed rice and your favorite vegetable sides. It’s good for 4 persons.

Recipes Crockpot Pork Chops

Crockpot pork chops are a great meal to come home to after a long day at work or spending the day taking care of the kids. Sometimes making a healthy meal can be a chore all by its self. With the aid of a crockpot the amount of time you spend in the kitchen can be cut way back. Leaving you time to help the kids with homework or just get in a little “me” time!

This recipe will give you a delicious, healthy meal with minimal work and time required.

RECIPE # 1

Ingredients

4 large center cut pork chops
2 cups on water
1 packet of pork seasoning

Combine all three ingredients in the crockpot and let cook on medium for 8 hours.

Additions for a complete meal

6 medium potatoes (peeled and sliced)
2 cups of baby carrots or sliced carrots
3 tablespoons of milk
2 tablespoons of flour (mix in well and you will have a nice light gravy.

RECIPE # 2

4 large pork chops
1 cup of water
2 cups of barbeque sauce

RECIPE # 3

4 large pork chops
1 cup of water
2 cups of A-1 Steak sauce

RECIPE # 4

4 large pork chops
1 cup of water
2 cups of sweet and sour sauce (see recipe below)

SWEET and SOUR SAUCE

1/2 cup of red cooking wine
1/2 cup of tomato sauce
3 Tablespoons of sugar
2 Tablespoons of pineapple juice
1/2 Teaspoon of onion powder
1/2 Teaspoon of garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix well

RECIPE # 5

4 large pork chops
2 cups of water
1 cup of apple juice
2 medium apples (peeled, cored and sliced)

All of these five recipes will provide you with a delicious meal. Serves 4

Favorite Meatball Recipe

One of my favorite meatball recipes came from a cookbook penned by Emeril Lagasse. What I remember most of this recipe is that it called for each meatball to be formed around a whole clove of garlic. I immediately made two changes to the recipe. First, I cut the amount of garlic back by half. Then I minced the garlic and mixed it in with the ground beef. This way, the garlic still makes the meatballs richer and more decadent but you don’t go biting into whole cloves of garlic.

Then one day, tragedy struck. I lost my version of the recipe. Over the years I’ve dabbled with the recipe’s original concept, trying to recreate the meatballs I’d come to love. I spent time trying to recreate this recipe because the garlic, combined with the seasonings and Worcestershire sauce made for one of the most decadent meatballs I’ve ever had. And cooking them in a sauce with some fresh vegetables helped make them even more delicious, not to mention nourishing.

1½ lbs ground beef

1 egg

10 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup bread crumbs

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

r¼ tsp each white pepper and cayenne

1-2 Tbsp canola oil

¾ cup white onion, chopped fine

1 bell pepper, chopped fine

½ cup celery, chopped fine

2 cups tomato, chopped fine

¼ cup flour

1½ cups beef broth

1) In a large bowl combine ground beef, eggs, garlic, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings. Form into 1½-2 inch meatballs. This normally gives me 30-36 meatballs

.2) In a frying pan over medium high heat cook meatballs in canola oil in batches, until browned on all sides. Don’t crowd the meatballs in the pan or they’ll steam instead of brown. As the meatballs cook set them on a plate with paper towel and set aside.

3) When the meatballs are done, drain drippings so there’s 1-2 Tbsp drippings in the pan. Add onion and saute 5 minutes until translucent. Add other vegetables and cook 5-10 minutes, until cooked.

4) Transfer vegetables to a saucepan and add flour, stirring to combine. Add beef broth and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer one hour. After one hour add meatballs and simmer 30 minutes more.

5) Serve over cooked rice or mashed potatoes with corn or string beans.

Sometimes I like to mix some ground pork into the meatballs. To do this, I just use 1 lb ground beef and ½ lb of the ground pork. If you like, try the recipe with bulk sausage meat or even ground chicken or turkey. ½ lb of bulk sweet basil Italian sausage sometimes makes for a nice change. Or if you want to make the dish more of a stew, add some chopped carrots and diced potatoes during the last half hour when you add the meatballs. 

 
© 2017 Paul Timman