By Kim Ossi
Taco night is always a family favorite. Why? The personalization. Each person gets to assemble tacos as they like it. It’s also something kids can help Mom and Dad make easily and quickly — even on busy weeknights.
McCormick Kitchens offers these tips to put your own spin on taco night:
— BYOT (AKA, THE CLASSIC): Create a build-your-own-taco bar with toppings, like shredded cheese and lettuce, corn, beans, tomatoes, onions, salsa, sour cream and cilantro — flavors to please every palate. Get the kids involved by letting them stir seasonings into the ground meat or sprinkle on chicken strips as they saute. They also can help by prepping the toppings ahead of time, which can be as simple as pouring each into individual bowls.
— FIRE ‘EM UP: Grilling season? No problem. You still can have taco night, just with a smoky twist. Grill your protein, mix up a batch of smoky beans in a pot right on the grill (or, if you have one, put them in a smoker) and/or grill your veggie toppings, like fresh corn, onion and tomatoes for that extra taste of summer. You even can grill your tortillas for added flavor.
— TACO CASSEROLE: Layer corn, beans and cooked ground meat in a baking dish, then top with crushed tortilla chips and cheese for a quick and delicious dish. Broil in the oven to melt the cheese and serve.
— TACO PIZZA: Imagine two favorite kids’ meals — pizza and tacos — in one. Start with a pre-made pizza crust — or use tortillas for individual-sized pizzas — and top with a mild salsa or picante sauce (fewer chunks). Add your protein (meats or beans), veggies and cheese, and broil until the cheese is melty.
— TACO BURGERS: File this idea under, “So easy I don’t know why I didn’t think of it.” Crushed tortilla chips mixed into ground meat, along with a taco seasoning mix help give taco burgers a zesty flair. Top with traditional burger toppings, but sub salsa for ketchup. Yum.