Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome: Fast & Easy Taco Fiesta

So I am cooking, entertaining, and throwing meals together pretty often. Now that we have the house, it seems weekly that we are entertaining...and I love it. I have been keeping my recipes and mental notes of menus for years and decided that its time to start keeping track and share a little of my knowledge from this kitchen diva to another. Hopefully my recipes and menus will give ideas to others on side dishes to pair with main dishes and maybe new and different yummy food. I love to experiment with different things from cornish hens, quinoa, couscous, to seaweed dishes, fondant cake topping, purees, and master sauces. I love to try gourmet dishes, create my own when I have time, but I also enjoy challenging myself to shopping on a budget or doing meals that I can turn into leftovers. Basically, Danielle Dishes will be a little bit of everything, and lots of delish. My hope is to take lots of photos and get recipes up as often as possible...and I promise to only put up those which are successful.

So tonight Steve's cousin, Rocco, is in town from Chicago and he's coming over for taco night. About 3 years ago I met Rocco when We travelled to Chicago to visit and he showed us around the town. We were only there for 48 hours and had a ton to see, being my first trip. We used almost every minute to sight see...and there was the getting drunk in a neighborhood bar, kareokeing until the sun came up, before flying home completely hungover, maybe still drunk, and exhausted. Sorry to whoever sat next to us on the plane ....there are probably pictures online somewhere captioned "hot mess Midway to McCarren."

But, between neighborhood bar binges, we did experience everything great about Chicago food in about 48 hours. Beef Sandwiches, deep dish pizza, and good ole Chicago hot dogs (my favorite).

Does Vegas have a signature food? I thought of shrimp cocktail, of course, and the buffet. Ah yes, I could do buffet style, that counts, right? So I went with it...alright that's a stretch, but whatever. I had to whip this buffet up, and fast, so I went with a Semi Homemade Taco Fiesta:

Appetizer:
Chips (fresh and easy has some good flavors of tortilla chips)
Homemade pico de gallo (so refreshing)
diced tomatoes
diced onion
fresh squeezed lime juice
fine chopped cilantro
half jalapeno fine dice
kosher salt to taste

*Kitchen Tip; Put the measuring cups away: I do not measure often, I eyeball and taste. It takes a little intuition to just know when something is done or right, so I will try my best to give exact measurements and timing. However, there will be times when I just say "check it for doneness or "to taste", so I apologize in advance. The good news is practice makes perfect, and you will gain culinary intuition with practice.
*I use kosher salt instead of regular salt, not sure why but I just like it better

Dinner:

Refried beans (canned) I topped these with cheese and onions and baked on 375 for about 15 min
Cilantro Lime scented brown rice (fresh and easy has a good instant brown rice)
Browned Ground Beef flavored with montreal seasoning, taco seasoning, pinch of garlic, and season salt
Minibar of tomatoes, onions, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and sour cream toppings. Taco Shells, white flour tortillas, and wheat flour tortillas

So, it's simple, "semi-homemade" having some homemade elements make it special and pre-made item (instant rice, canned beans, tortillas, and chips) which make it easy.

Until next time...Happy Cooking

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