Now that we are into summer, most cooking goes from heavy, more involved recipes to quick, simple and lighter dishes.
For me, in the summer, if a meal is too complicated, and heats the oven up for too long, I just do not feel like fixing it.
I think we all need quick and simple recipes these days, with everything else we have to take care of and with lives interrupted by COVID-19.
Also, there are many people, myself included, who, due to medical issues, can no longer make complicated dishes without some assistance. For those like me, who have difficulty cutting vegetables, the freezer and produce sections of your grocery store have many of these vegetables already cut up for you, making these simple recipes even simpler.
One of my go-to summer meals is tacos. They are so simple to fix. They are definitely not a traditional taco, but they are how I have fixed them ever since I have been cooking. We fixed them similarly when I was growing up. I do heat the shells in the oven, but only for seven minutes and I turn the oven off, so it really does not have time to heat up the house.
1.5 pounds lean ground beef (I use 93% lean beef, but you could also use ground chicken)
Taco shells (I use both one box of corn taco shells and one package flour tortillas)
One large onion (yellow or white)
Two medium to large tomatoes
One can sliced black olives
One small head shredded iceberg lettuce
1-2 cups of shredded cheese (cheddar, pepper jack or Mexican blend all work well)
Taco sauce (I use both a red and green sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chili powder to taste
Olive oil for frying meat and onions)
— Dice onion and tomatoes and shred lettuce and reserve onions for cooking and tomatoes and lettuce for topping tacos.
— In a skillet or pot, fry ground meat in olive oil. Once meat is partially fried, add onion and continue to fry until they are translucent. Add salt pepper and chili powder. Add approximately one-fourth cup of the taco sauce. (I use about one-eighth cup of red and one-eighth cup of green). Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
— Place hard shell taco shells on sheet pan and heat using package instructions. Place a wet paper towel in a microwave safe dish. Add the flour tortillas and top them with another wet paper towel. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for about one minute.
— Fill the shells and tortillas with meat/onion mixture, cheese, more taco sauce (if desired), lettuce, tomatoes and olives.
This makes about 15 tacos, depending on size of shells and tortillas.
SUPER QUICK CHICKEN BROCCOLI AND RICE
22 ounces of grilled chicken breast strips or grilled diced chicken breasts
10.5-14 ounces broccoli florets
One yellow or white onion cut into one-quarter-inch half moon (cut onion in half, and then cut each half into the one-quarter-inch strips)
One large red bell pepper cut into strips (you can use other colors of bell peppers, but red are a bit sweeter and makes a more colorful plate)
2 cups uncooked instant rice
One-third cup soy sauce (use low sodium if you worry about sodium intake)
2 cups water
4 tablespoons olive oil
— Heat oil in large skillet on medium high heat.
— Stir fry broccoli, onions and bell peppers in the skillet for approximately five minutes.
— Add rice, water, chicken and soy sauce, and cover. Simmer on low heat until rice is cooked and chicken is heated through.
This recipe makes approximately four to five servings.