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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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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Summer. It usually means hot (and humid) days, being outside, and eating light.

When I say “eating light“, I don’t mean “light” as in “not eating a whole lot” – I mean “light” as in “eating meals that are light in flavor“.

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There is a reason why winter = comfort food season. People want to sit at home wrapped up in a blanket eating a plate of hot cheesy pasta casserole or a bowl of hot creamy soup. No one wants to do all that when it’s 95 degrees out.

Well, I don’t mind it that much, but I know most people would prefer not eat a steaming hot bowl of soup when they’re hot and sweaty already.

I think tacos are the perfect summer food. It’s light, easy to make, customizable, healthy, and its flavor can be easily tweaked based on what meats you make and what toppings you add to it.

Chicken fajitas.

Carnitas.

Barbacoas.

Seafood (fish, shrimp, etc).

Then pile on the toppings that you like: Beans. Cheese. Lettuce. Tomatoes. Avocados. Sour cream.

No matter what your preference is, there’s usually a perfect taco for you. You can have a family of picky (and non-picky) eaters, but when it comes to tacos, everyone can easily add their favorite toppings and be a happy camper at the dinner table.

Now that I’ve done enough rambling, let me talk about these tacos. They’re simple. They’re healthy. They don’t take a whole lot of prep time in the kitchen, and they’re delicious. Deeeee-licious.

I basically took my crispy cod sandwich with spicy mayo, eliminated the bun, cut the fish fillets into fish sticks, and put them in a soft flour tortilla. Drizzle on the spicy mayo, and viola! Fish tacos.

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Yep, it’s that easy. Easy peasy.

easy peasy fish tacos
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb cod filets
  2. 1 egg
  3. 1 cup plain panko bread crumbs
  4. 1 package of 6" flour tortillas
  5. An assortment of toppings
for the panko bread crumb seasoning
  1. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  2. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  3. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  4. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
for the spicy mayo
  1. 1/3 cup mayo
  2. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  3. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  4. 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  5. 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, depending on taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. Place cod fillets on a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Slice/cut the fillets into sizes of fish sticks, about 2" pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. In another large shallow bowl, combine all the ingredients for the panko bread crumbs (and its seasonings).
  4. Dip the fish sticks into the egg wash. Transfer them to the shallow bowl containing the bread crumbs. Flip them around a couple times, making sure that every inch of it is covered with the bread crumbs, transfer to baking sheet (you may have to do this in several rounds to prevent overcrowding of the bowls). Bake for 20 minutes until the bread crumbs look golden and crispy.
  5. In the meantime, make the spicy mayo: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, whisk to combine. If desired, transfer the mayo into a small Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner for easy drizzling.
  6. Once the fish is done cooking, assemble your tacos: place a few fish sticks in the middle of your tortilla, top with toppings, and drizzle with the spicy mayo.
  7. Serves 2-3
Notes
  1. We warmed the tortillas up in a small pan over medium-high heat, about 15 seconds on each side.
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
Making tacos really can’t get a whole lot simpler than this. Not only do these tacos deliver in flavor, it also has a variety of textures as well – the crispiness of the fish, the softness of the tortilla, the crunchiness of the shredded lettuce, and the creaminess of the mayo… it has every texture one bite of food will ever need.

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So what are you waiting for? Put this on your meal planner for the week!

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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It’s midquarter already – that means there’s only about 5 more weeks of class until summer. But it also means that there’s only 5 weeks left until all 5 of my projects are due.

Well, since it’s the weekend and it’s the perfect time to catch up on homework, what better meals to prepare than something in a Crockpot? Something simple, something healthy, and something tasty. Then I won’t have to slave in the kitchen for hours prepping and cooking.

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crockpot cilantro lime chicken tacos
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. Juice from 2 limes
  3. 1/2 cup of cilantro
  4. 1 packet of taco seasoning
  5. 1/4 cup diced onions
  6. 1/2 cup of water
  7. Salt & pepper
  8. Taco tortillas
Instructions
  1. In a 3-5 quart Crockpot, combine everything except the chicken. Stir well, then add the chicken.
  2. Cook on low for about 4-6 hours or until the chicken is tender enough to shred with a fork.
  3. Take the chicken out and place on a plate. Shred, then drizzle some of the remaining sauce over the chicken to keep it moist.
  4. Spoon the chicken mixture into soft taco tortillas. Top with your favorite toppings.
Notes
  1. We cooked the chicken for about 8 hours and it turned out a tad on the dry side. It was already very tender at about the 4-6 hour mark, so next time we'll be keeping an eye on it to make sure it stays juicy.
Adapted from The Vintage Grove
Adapted from The Vintage Grove
Simple Everyday Food http://www.simpleeverydayfood.com/
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Another bonus of making Crockpot meals – not a whole lot of dishes to clean up in the end!

Oh hey, just in time for Cinco de Mayo!

Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Vintage Grove

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