My Winning Tacos

I suck at meal planning.  I suck at couponing.  I suck at saving money when I grocery shop.  I excel at filling carts and our pantry.  A grocery list is too hard to abide by, especially when the toddler in my cart tries to eat my list, screams a lot and wants to repeatedly play the Let Me Throw This Down Game with it.  I literally go into a store, walk as fast as I can down each aisle, and toss things into my cart as I meal plan in my head and fight off my toddler’s hands that want to throw out the things I throw in.  This is a horrible strategy.  I excel at it.  Apparently I excel at cooking, too, or so I am told.  


According to my eldest son, my boxed taco kit dinner is worthy of being spotlighted on some sort of cooking show and taking home the grand prize in a taco stand off.  On Taco Monday with a thumbs up he announced, “Mmm, mmm, Mom, you make really good tacos.  You should be on a TV show cooking competition.  I would vote for your tacos to win.”


Be still my heart.  I didn’t even mind that he told me this with a mouth full of food, which is a big no-no at our dinner table.


His taco consisted of:  A hard heated shell, a heaping portion of ground beef cooked in packaged taco seasoning to which I added the necessary 2/3 cup of water and disguised some finely chopped onion which he didn’t detect and was topped with some steamed yellow corn.


What a sad taco he had on his plate, but he loved it, and he even gobbled up the crumbs that had fallen onto his plate.  He happily declared his love of it more than once, and then, he actually inhaled nearly two more.


The table was a veritable smorgasbord of topping varieties including the aforementioned ingredients and the following:  Homemade guacamole, two bags of shredded cheese – extra sharp and a four cheese blend of some sort (I have a cheese addiction), chopped romaine lettuce, chopped grape tomatoes, taco sauce, sour cream, medium salsa, salsa verde, and Sriracha (dear hubby puts that on EVERYthing).  We are sauce people, and our tacos are actually more like taco salads.


That buffet of toppings didn’t matter to my biggest boy, Mr. Shell Meat Corn.


He has branched out and added more things to his bland diet over the years, but it’s taken lots of encouragement and if/then statements to get him to try things.   “If you eat five pieces of broccoli, then you can have dessert.”  Mind you - five pieces of broccoli for him is “just the tops”.  The stems are “disgusting.”  


Expanding his palate has been a slow process.  In fact, I never thought I’d see him actually eat a taco.  Perhaps one day (like when he’s off at college) he’ll try eating lettuce and what not.  Speaking of his college years, last week as we were departing our neighborhood he randomly stated that when he goes to college he is going to live in the neighborhood right down the road so we can be close.  This also made my heart turn to butter.  He then added, “Ya know, Mom, the one with the gate?  That’s where I’ll live when I go to college.”  I asked him how he plans to have the money for his house in the gated community when he attends college, and he said, “We’ll save for it together.”


I love that kid.  I love that he thinks my jazzed up store bought taco dinner kit could take home the big prize.  I will most certainly make it for him for years to come, and I envision myself serving this very meal to him when he comes to visit and brings his laundry home from his posh college dorm room someday.