Friday, May 13, 2011

Healthy Dinners: Veggie Taco-Ritos

Pretty darned similar to ours!

I wanted to keep away from posting many vegetarian recipes, but I do want to appeal to all our families out there, and surprisingly, a lot of you are vegetarian families too!  Next week, I'll be doing an update on how it's going for us, as we have had some new developments in our new diet, but let's talk about these AWESOME veggie taco-ritos!  I call these taco-ritos because they're kinda soft tacos and kinda burritos, but open faced.  They are SO GOOD and such an awesome way to get all sorts of veggies into the family and (this is big) I'll be sharing my recipe for our homemade guacamole!  YUM!

There isn't a whole lot that keeps me away from Mexican food, guacamole, etc, really.  I do know Cinco De Mayo was last week, so this might have been a bit more appropriate then but I was just so excited about our curry we made last week!!!!  Anyways, this was made in layers and for really fantastic guacamole- make it a few hours ahead- even a day ahead or so, stir often and keep chilled.  Hint: To prevent browning of guacamole, keep refrigerated  in an air tight container, and keep a couple of the huge seeds in with it- or some strange reason, they help keep the discoloration from happening. I have NO IDEA why.  Remove before serving.

These would make a good dinner for this cold snap that we're having.  How am I EVER going to get my garden put in this way?  I'm so anxious to get out there!  The kids are too- they want their strawberry patch and to be kiddos- playing with dirt and all that jazz.  I hope you enjoy the recipe and have a wonderful weekend!

Veggie Taco-Ritos and Guacamole
serves 6-8

-1 Cup of Cooked Brown Rice
-1/2 of both lemon and lime (squeezed into the rice and fluffed)
-Juice of another lemon and lime
-2 Cups of chopped cherry tomatoes (its your preference of whether you decide to seed the tomatoes or not- I never do) (Each cup goes into a separate part of the meal- 1 cup in the filling, 1 in the guacamole)
-2 seeded and minced jalapeños (Again, 1 is for the taco-rito filling, 1 for the guacamole)
-1 15 oz can each- Rotel Tomatoes & Chilies, Pinto beans (drained and rinsed), black beans (drained and rinsed), 'Mexicorn' (drained, rinsed, and halved for filling and the guac)
-1 1/2 cups diced bell peppers (I used an assortment of red, green, yellow, orange)
-2 cups sliced baby portabella mushrooms
-1 cup minced red onion
-3 minced cloves of garlic
-5-6 avocados
-A large bunch of cilantro rinsed, dried, and chopped up
-1 Cup shredded Monterey jack or cheddar cheese
-A package of whole wheat tortillas
-Olive oil for pans

For the Guacamole

-Halve and scoop out the avocado flesh into a large bowl.  Ripe avocados have a bit of give when poked or gently squeezed but aren't hard nor completely mushy.  Remove the pit by hitting it with a large knife and gently wriggling the pit out.
-Add 1/2 cup of the minced onion, 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 minced jalapeño, and 1 cup of the diced tomatoes.  Stir well. (To be truthful- I actually add 2 jalapeños to the guacamole AND to the taco filling, but we like very spicy stuff!)
-Half of the fresh lemon and lime juice and half of the chopped cilantro.  Stir this in very well also.
-You can use an electric beater to mix everything up or mash it up and stir well for awhile with a wooden spoon.  I prefer pretty chunky guacamole, so this is my preferred method.

For the Taco-Rito Filling
-As I had said before, cook your brown rice according to its directions, fluff with lemon and lime juice then set aside. Stir in half of the remaining cilantro (we like cilantro a lot).
-Set 2 large pans on low to medium heat One can be a large, deep skillet and the other a stock pot, if that's what you've got.  Over all, I prefer large, deep skillets in general. Add about a tablespoon or two of olive oil to each and heat through.
-In one pan (which ever is deeper), add the garlic and onion.  In the other, add the jalapeño.  Saute both for about 2-3 minutes or until tender. Add the diced bell peppers to the pot with the jalapeno and saute for another few minutes.
-Add both kinds of beans to the other pan and the Rotel tomatoes.  Bring to a low simmer, and stir regularly while the rest of the finishes sauteing.
-To the pan with the jalapenos, add the other ingredients (except the cilantro and cheese), one at a time, stirring and sauteing for a few minutes each time.  When all the veggies have been sauteed and the beans are simmering nicely, turn off the heat.
-On a tortilla that's been warmed (a few seconds in the microwave or the oven set on warm will do.), layer everything, your rice, cheese, beans, veggies, guacamole, cilantro.  I preferred this meal, open faced but Nolan and the kids rolled theirs up to eat.  You can add hot sauce, pickled jalapenos, sour cream, if you want.


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