Ultimate Taco Bar

I’m pretty sure I have said this before, but I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD!  Last night we had a couple awesome young men join our family for dinner, and one of them also has a love for Mexican food.  So I had to make my favorite dinner.  When it comes to Tacos I like to go all out.  My ultimate taco bar is easy and so nice because each person can create their own masterpiece.  It is like have 3 dinners in one!

So here is the basics of what I do!  Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the whole fiesta spread, we wanted to get to eating. 🙂

What I serve…

  • Taco meat (chicken, beef, etc.)
  • Refried beans
  • Mexican Rice
  • Salsa con Queso (recipe below)
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • taco shells (crunchy and flour)
  • tortilla chips
  • toppings platter (pictured below)
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Tomatoes, Lettuce, Shredded cheese, onions, olives, and fresh jalapeños

 

At some point Nachos always end up on everyone’s plate.  They are definitely a favorite with the kids.

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Another favorite is copying the layered taco from a certain fast food chain…. Put queso on a flour tortilla, add your crunchy shell, then fill it up!

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And last but not least I want to share my original queso recipe.  This is where the vegan queso I shared originally stemmed from.  This is always a hit at our house!  Enjoy!

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Ingredients

16 oz. jar of salsa (Tostitos mild salsa works the best)

1/2 Cup milk

1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 Tablespoon Cumin

2 teaspoons parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

24 American Cheese Slices (I prefer Kirkland brand)

Directions

  1. Heat milk and salsa in a pan.  Add cilantro, cumin, parsley, black pepper, and chili powder.  Heat to a simmer.
  2. Slowly add the cheese slices a couple at a time until all are fully melted.
  3. Let cool slightly to thicken and enjoy!  You can reheat it at anytime if it gets too thick.
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Homemade Mac N’ Cheese

This is what I call comfort food.  I will seriously never eat the boxed or frozen stuff again.  Soooo Good!!!  Enjoy!

Homemade Mac N’ Cheese

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Ingredients

2 Cups Water

1 Cup Heavy Cream

2 Cups uncooked elbow macaroni noodles

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/2 Cups milk

5-6 slices of American cheese, optional

2 Cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat water and cream until simmering.  Do NOT boil, this will burn the cream.
  2. Add Elbow Macaroni and salt.  Cover and keep at a slow simmer until macaroni is almost tender.  Stir occasionally so noodles do not stick.
  3. In a 4 cup glass measuring cup, or a bowl, measure out your milk.  Add flour, mustard, and pepper.  Whisk until combined.  Add this to the pan and simmer until thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Add in American cheese slices. This step is optional but will provide you with an ultra creamy outcome.
  5. Stir in cheddar cheese until melted.  Serve and enjoy!

Sneaky Peanut Butter

As I have mentioned before, my kids are super stubborn and picky eaters.  So I always am trying to sneak at least one thing into their food.  Today I was sneaky with their peanut butter and honey sandwiches!  Yes… you can totally sneak something into this simple dish.

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My kids got an extra dose of fiber and omega-3 vitamins today!  All it takes is a little sprinkle of ground flaxseed as you are spreading the peanut butter.  It mixes right in and they don’t even notice a thing!

flax seed peanut butter and fruit

Next to that I served up some XOXO and heart apples with some sliced grapes!  It is very frustrating trying to feel like a good mom and getting your kids any possible nutrients you can, but today I felt like I got a little bit of a mom win!  Do what you can and know you are an awesome mom!

 

Ultimate Tuna Sandwich

There are a lot of different foods we try to get into our body that are just plain boring.  For me that is fish.  I’m not a huge fan of fish in general, but for some strange reason I love tuna!  When I took the month long adventure a while back to become a temporary vegetarian I was able to learn that the sky is the limit when it comes to veggies.  I put them on EVERYTHING now! Especially my sandwiches.  I love the crunch they bring in dishes and how good they make me feel after I eat them.  They are just plain awesome!

So here is the Ultimate Tuna Sandwich I had today!  And as I said before… I feel awesome!

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The nice thing about tuna or chicken sandwiches is you can create an endless variety of mixtures for them.  This one included carrots, onion, Dijon, slivered almonds, fat free mayo, and black pepper.  So much texture and flavor!

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Then I topped it with my favorite large sliced veggies.  It is a beautiful rainbow of delicious!  Get creative and colorful with your meals.  It makes them way more fun, even better for you, and bonus… you are less likely to get bored!

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Tuna mixture:

1 can of tuna (you could also use chicken)

2 Tablespoons fat free mayo

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1/4 teaspoon of black pepper

A handful of match stick carrots

A small handful of diced red onion

A small handful of slivered almonds

 

Remember to like my Facebook page, Melissa’s Kitchen, to keep updated on awesome recipes and tips. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Raisin Cookies

Every once in a while you need a treat!!  It is snowy outside here, so some hot Oatmeal cookies sounded perfect!  I couldn’t decide on raisins or chocolate so we did both!  Yum!

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Note:  One thing about my cookies is they are usually flat.  This is on purpose!  You can make yours how ever you want.  My family prefers them this way so they can really taste all the vanilla and sugary goodness!  So to accomplish this I use less flour.  Yes, we are crazy and notice a huge taste difference!  If you prefer a thicker cookie, use the amount in the recipe or until dough is not sticking to your finger when you touch it.

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Ingredients:

1 Cup softened butter

1 Cup white sugar

1 Cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3 Cups All Purpose Flour

1 1/2 Cups Oatmeal

1 Cup Raisins

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350° and line cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. Cream the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until very smooth.
  3. Add in eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  4. Add salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour.  Mix well.
  5. Add Oatmeal, chocolate chips, and raisins.
  6. Place 1-2 inch balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned.

Balsamic Chicken with Vegetables

I recently was in the discussion that if you eat clean you lose out of flavor.  Of course this is not true!  In my experience you get even more flavor.  There are so many possibilities out there.  It is just a matter of getting experience with the ingredients.

The more recipes you try the more you will gain confidence with the healthy ingredients.  Whole clean foods offer so much flavor just on their own, but to really take it up a notch there are so many healthy additions to try.  It just takes practice, research, and experimentation.  It’s a whole new world of food you are learning, so of course it is bound to take some getting used to.

Here is one of our favorite clean recipes.  We have recently became addicted to Balsamic!  It is so good!  Here is a little info on the wonderful goodness of Balsamic Vinegar can give you.

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This recipe is made in one pan!  So easy, fast, and delicious!

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Ingredients

¼ Cup Light Italian Dressing

3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 Tablespoons honey

A pinch of cayenne pepper

4 Cups raw chicken breast, sliced

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and pepper

4 Cups of vegetables of your choice

Directions

  1. In a bowl whisk together Italian Dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat Olive oil in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook in the skillet 6 minutes per side or until juices run clear. Add some of the balsamic vinaigrette and sauté to cover the chicken. Remove chicken from the pan.
  3. Keep the remaining vinaigrette in the pan to sauté your choice of vegetables.
  4. Serve chicken and vegetables with more of the vinaigrette drizzled on top.