everyday food made simple

Does everyone have their Super Bowl party plans planned out already?

Will you/are you:

  1. Be heading over to someone’s house to watch the big game?
  2. Going to be the one who hosts the party and has to plan out the big game day menu?
  3. Be going to bed at the lame hour of 8:30 because you have to get up the next day at 4 a.m. to go to work (and getting less than 7 hours of sleep is completely unfathomable)?

…I think we all have an idea of which of the three options I will be doing.

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No matter which of the above categories you fall in, I’ve got a party appetizer for you today that’s guaranteed to be a big hit! The mini taco cups I posted two summers ago has turned out to be super popular, and has also been the most visited recipe here on SEF since then.

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Today I gave them a little makeover and they taste even better than the ones before. Consider them to be the second generation, new-and-improved version of the original taco cups. What makes these better? I minced up some cilantro and mixed a bit of that into the filling. Then I dolloped the tops of the baked cups with a small amount of salsa and sprinkled more cilantro on top.

AND! New photos! Way prettier photos than the first generation mini taco cups 1.0. It’s funny how much my food photography skills have evolved throughout the past two years. I look back at my old food pictures and I’m not going to lie – most (if not all) of them make me cringe. But I still have so much to learn!

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You really should make these for your party. Or bring them to a party. Or if you’re like me, make them for just you and your husband during pregame because once the game starts you’ll be going to bed shortly thereafter. And if none of the above applies to you, you should still make a pan of these and eat them yourself anyway, because you’ll be missing out if you don’t.

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mini taco cups 2.0
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Ingredients
  1. One 12-oz package of wonton wrappers
  2. 1 pound lean ground turkey
  3. 1 package 40% less sodium taco seasoning
  4. 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (you probably won't use all of it)
  5. A few handfuls of cilantro, finely chopped
  6. 1/4 cup of your favorite salsa
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet. Drain the fat, and then season the meat with the taco seasoning according to package directions. Sprinkle in a few tablespoons worth of the cilantro, more or less depending on taste.
  3. Using a mini muffin tin, line the wells with wonton wrappers, so the wrappers are shaped into little cups inside the wells. Spoon the taco meat into each cup, about 1/2-2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with cheese. Bake for 8 minutes, or until wrappers are slightly turning brown. Remove from oven, dollop the tops with salsa, and add more chopped cilantro as garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.
  4. Makes about 30 cups
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that this past weekend, we made another trip out to Seattle to celebrate our anniversary. There’s just something about that wonderful city that calls my name – the weather, the city, the people, and don’t even get me started on the food. Oooooh… the food. The food is amazing in Seattle. It feels like home here. For all you people who already live there – I’m jealous.

We had plenty of seafood, plenty of Taiwanese food, experienced some drizzly weather, shopped and spent money, went to watch the Vikings play the Seahawks, got at least 9-10 hours of sleep every night, and experienced our first ever room service (because who doesn’t like to eat dinner in bed in front of the TV?). Unlike last time where I had our everyday planned out with places to go and things to eat, this time was more of a relaxing vacation. We lounged around in our hotel until we figured out what to do, then we would wander around the city finding new places to try, and we even went on a little adventure to Bellevue using public transportation.

As wonderful as vacation is, there’s always something about going home, being in the comfort of your own home, being able to cook food in your kitchen, and sleeping in your own bed (ooooh, king-sized Tempurpedic bed… how I missed you!). After eating out for 4 days straight, I just wanted to make something simple for dinner.

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This quesadilla is a twist on the classic bacon cheeseburger. It has all the essential ingredients, toppings, and condiments on it. Minus the bun, it tastes just like a cheeseburger! Not the mention it’s totally customizable to what you normally put on your burger. Instead of adding ketchup while you’re assembling it, you add it into the beef as it’s browning in the skillet. This will prevent the tortilla from being overly soggy – you’ll want to trust me on this – you can thank me later. Brian, the carnivore in our house, requested only bacon, ground beef, and cheese on his. I, on the other hand, added additional lettuce and tomatoes on mine. If you like sliced pickles, onions, and mushrooms on your burger, feel free to add those in too! I also used a mix of shredded sharp cheddar and pepperjack cheese for a spicy kick on top of the classic cheese.

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The hardest part of making this is flipping the quesadillas in the skillet. It actually took me a few tries to get it done right, so I’ll share my little trick with you: After the bottom tortilla is nicely browned, place a paper plate; face down, onto the quesadilla. In one swift motion, flip your skillet upside down so the quesadilla is now on the paper plate (with the browned side facing up). Then gently slide the whole quesadilla back into the skillet so the other tortilla can brown for a few minutes. Repeat above steps when transferring your quesadilla onto a plate when done.

bacon cheeseburger quesadillas
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 lb bacon, diced and cooked
  2. 1 tablespoon EVOO
  3. 1 lb ground beef
  4. 3 tablespoons ketchup
  5. 6 8-inch flour tortillas
  6. 1.5 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  7. 1.5 cups shredded pepperjack cheese
  8. Additional topping as desired: diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream, etc.
Instructions
  1. In a medium skillet, heat up the EVOO over medium high heat. Brown the beef until cooked. Add in the ketchup (and mustard, if that's your kind of thing). Stir and drain off excess fat. Set aside.
  2. Place another large skillet over medium high-high heat. Plate a tortilla onto the surface and lay down a nice even layer of cheese. Then pile on your toppings - ground beef, bacon bits, lettuce, and tomatoes. Top it off with another even layer of cheese and top with another flour tortilla. Periodically check to see if the bottom tortilla has started to brown. Once slightly browned, it's time to flip your quesadillas.
  3. Place a paper plate; face down, onto the quesadilla. In one swift motion, flip your skillet upside down so the quesadilla is now on the paper plate (with the browned side facing up). Then gently slide the whole quesadilla back into the skillet so the other tortilla can brown for a few minutes. Repeat above steps when transferring your quesadilla onto a plate when done.
  4. Cut into quarters and serve immediately.
  5. Makes 3 quesadillas
Adapted from Taste and Tell
Adapted from Taste and Tell
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
And just as a side note – the more toppings you add in, the heavier the quesadilla will be, and the more coordination the flipping might require…. It’s just a price we pay for a delicious flavorful burger.

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Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Now that fall is in the air, all I crave for are comfort foods. Usually this means some sort of soup or casserole dish when it comes to dinner. Don’t even get me started on the numerous desserts that are on my comfort food list – you’d be here for a while, and I’m sure your time is valuable.

Mac & cheese in casserole form is perhaps one of the best comfort foods ever. What’s better than a ooey gooey spiced up mac & cheese with onions, peppers, and seasoned chicken?!

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Okay, I know a warm brownie with a molten chocolate center served with a side of vanilla bean ice cream probably comes to mind, but stay with me here – right now we’re talking about dinner.

You’re going to laugh at me, but this is the first time I’ve ever bought a block of cheese and shredded it myself with a grater. Yep, first time. I’ve always been lazy and used pre-shredded cheese, but I was told those are usually coated with some sort of a flour-y substance that can change the texture of your dish. So this time I put my grater to use and shredded two blocks of cheese myself, and let me tell you what, I don’t think I’m ever going back to the bagged kind anymore. There’s something about fresh shredded cheese that tastes so much better!

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The two cheeses we use for this dish are Wisconsin sharp cheddar and pepperjack cheese. Pepperjack is perhaps one of my favorite cheeses ever, and it gives the dish a nice little kick that pairs well with the paprika, cumin, and green chiles.

chicken fajita mac and cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 12 oz of your favorite pasta
  2. 2 tablespoons EVOO
  3. 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin
  5. ½ teaspoon paprika
  6. A pinch of cayenne pepper, more if desired
  7. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1 green bell pepper, diced
  10. 1 small yellow onion, diced
  11. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  12. 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles, drained
  13. ½ cup sour cream
  14. 6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  15. 6 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
  16. Toppings such as diced tomatoes and cilantro, if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat. Add the chicken, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, stir until chicken is coated with the spice mixture. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of EVOO. Saute the garlic, green peppers, and onion over medium high heat until onions turn translucent. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add in the green chiles and cook for another minute or two.
  5. Pour the vegetable mixture into the large bowl containing the chicken. Stir until combined. Add in the sour cream and the two cheese. Stir some more until everything is thoroughly mixed and there are no clumps of cheese.
  6. Transfer the chicken/vegetable mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until pasta is slightly brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve immediately. If desired, top with diced tomatoes, cilantro, or other garnishes.
  8. Serves 6
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Adapted from Annie's Eats
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
If you’re a fan of bell peppers, you can also add in a red and yellow bell pepper to the mix. I’m not a big fan of the red and yellow peppers, so I chose to leave them out of the recipe. However, I do like fresh tomatoes with my fajitas, so I diced up some tomatoes and added them to my bowl. A little bit of chopped up cilantro is also highly recommended – it really brings out the Mexican flavors and it gives the dish a nice bright flavor.

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I also chose to use rotisserie chicken to save some time – it’s a good way to get rid of leftover rotisserie chicken! If you prefer to cook your chicken yourself, just substitute the rotisserie chicken with two diced up chicken breasts instead.

On a totally different subject, I really shouldn’t have mentioned that warm brownie. Now I need to go make myself a brownie in a mug…

What’s your favorite comfort food?

Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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I’ve actually been making this for years now, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that my coworker Erika inspired me to make it again and share it with you guys!

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You see, I’ve always had this thing where “old” recipes weren’t worth sharing and that only new things that I make (and that taste good) should be posted on here. But after today, successful recipes that have endured the test of time and multiple taste buds will start to make appearances on this blog, and I’m super excited about it!

This recipe is AWESOME – let me repeat, AWESOME – due to several reasons:

  1. it involves tator tots. Who doesn’t like tator tots?! If you, or someone you know, is/are not a fan of these little things, let me have a little talk with them.
  2. it’s completely customizable, and any dish that’s customizable is a win in my book. You can add different things in this dish any way you want. Exact measurements aren’t necessary either.
  3. it’s super easy to make. Prep time literally only took me 15-20 minutes.
  4. the leftovers taste just as good (if not better). Brian is not a big fan of leftovers, and this is one of the few dishes that we actually have to fight over leftovers the next day.

To start things out, you brown some turkey meat – it’s healthier that way. Using reduced sodium taco seasoning (or making your own) also bumps it up the healthy meter a little bit more. Add corn, cheese sauce/soup, then tator tots. Throw it in the oven for 45 minutes, and dinner’s ready. It’s that easy.

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taco tator tot casserole
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 1 package 40% reduced sodium taco seasoning
  3. 3/4 cup water
  4. 2-2.5 cups frozen corn
  5. One 10.75 oz canned cheese soup/sauce
  6. 1 bag frozen tator tots (you won't need the whole bag)
  7. Any other toppings you may like - salsa, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, sour cream...
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground turkey until done. Add in the water and taco seasoning and stir until combined.
  3. Transfer the meat into a 8x11" casserole pan. Add in the corn and level it out with a spatula to make sure it covers the meat. If you'd like extra corn, feel free to add a little bit more.
  4. Next, pour/scoop the cheese soup on top, covering the corn. Layer the top with the tator tots.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tator tots are brown and crispy. Transfer to cooling rack and serve with desired toppings.
  6. Serves 3-4
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Me, a little OCD? No way…

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Yeah, who am I kidding, I totally am. Lining up those little tator tots perfectly in rows totally satisfies my inner OCDness. And it’s the only way you can get as many tator tots in the dish!

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And just for the record, I hate making food with canned “soup”. If a recipe requires anything along the lines of “cream of…” I usually either don’t bother with it, or try to substitute it with something healthier. You probably won’t ever see me using any pre-packaged semi-gelantinous “soups” from a can other than this one.

I like my tacos with a little bit of salsa, so after I fill my bowl up with delicious goodness, I like to put a dollop or two of salsa on top of mine. I’ve also shared this recipe with a fellow coworker, and she added some black beans into the layers before throwing it in the oven. If you like sour cream, lettuce, cilantro, or anything else, definitely give it a whirl – I’m sure it’ll taste good!

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After I add my salsa, I like to mix mine up – it doesn’t look the prettiest, but it sure is tasty! Every bite consists of a little bit of spicy salsa, crispy tator tots, taco meat, and corn. Next time I’m totally adding shredded lettuce (and maybe a Mexican blend shredded cheese) to it too.

Enjoy!

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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Well, fall is just around the corner… and you know what fall means?

No, not apples and cinnamon. Not pumpkin pie. Not hot apple cider, Halloween, or falling leaves.

In our household, fall = football. And football = Minnesota Vikings. Brian is a die-hard Vikings fan (Skol Vikings!), so during football season, weekend plans around our house usually revolves around when the Vikings play.

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And we all know the best part of watching football is the game food that goes with it. Half the time when I’m watching the game, I’m more interested in what I’m eating or what I’m eating next. That’s why this football season, I’m going to try to make an effort to make some simple finger foods/game day foods on Sundays, so be sure to check back every so often this football season! That way you’ll have ideas on what to make next time when it’s your turn to host football Sunday – I’m sure your guests will be impressed!

Even though it’s only preseason doesn’t mean you can’t have yummy game day foods! Let’s start the season out right with some super easy mini taco cups – they’re small, bite-sized, transportable, delicious, and toppings are optional (but highly recommended).

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And who doesn’t like tacos anyway? These are your everyday tacos shrunk into a small miniature size. They might be tiny, but they sure don’t lack in flavor!

You use wonton wrappers, place them into mini muffin tin wells and shape them into a cup. Spoon taco meat mixture into cup and top with shredded cheese.

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Bake for 8 minutes, and wa-la! Happiness in a bite.

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If you want, you can even have a variety of topping choices on the sides for people to dress up their taco cups – tomatoes, green onions, diced onions, sour cream….

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mini taco cups
Print
Ingredients
  1. One 12-oz package of wonton wrappers
  2. 1 pound ground turkey
  3. 1 package 40% less sodium taco seasoning
  4. 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese (you probably won't use all of it)
  5. A variety of toppings (tomatoes, onions, green onions, sour cream, etc), if desired
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet. Drain the fat, and then season the meat with the taco seasoning according to package directions.
  3. Using a mini muffin tin, line the wells with wonton wrappers, so the wrappers are shaped into little cups inside the wells. Spoon the taco meat into each cup, about 1/2-2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops with cheese.
  4. Bake for 8 minutes, or until wrappers are slightly turning brown.
  5. Serve with additional toppings, if desired.
  6. Makes about 30 cups
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Because these are so tiny, you really don’t realize how many you’ve had until you go back to the pan and realize that there’s only 4 mini cups left (this is totally from personal experience!). But hey, it’s made with ground turkey and reduced-sodium taco seasoning, so that totally cancels out eating more of it, right?

Enjoy!

© Simple Everyday Food. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use any of my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or kindly link back to this post for the recipe.

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