Taco Challenge. 

My #3 is so into YouTube kids that I have to demand she take breaks from the iPad or her TV. She knows, watches and sees literally every kid like YouTube challenge that exists. Thus the birth of a new idea for our family. Winter meals are so hard around here for a few reasons. 

I get so bored cooking in the winter because we get into a rut of eating the same things every day. I know what they like and they aren’t fans when I change it up without their permission. The second reason is I work normal business hours. My school practices the later hours so we go from 9-4:30. Then I work about a half an hour from work. Or add in a drama production. Dinner requires quite a bit of advanced planning. 

  Well with the challenges I was thinking I could add a food challenge for us to spice it up. My family loves tacos of many varieties. We have kinda perfected our own beef taco, but I get bored with it. We sometimes will throw chicken tacos in there. On Christmas night I challenged my family to eating tacos twice a week through March. 

And we begin pinning recipes like crazy.  I am hoping it gives us something to look forward to weekly. Tacos are very easy to accommodates to my healthy eating. It is easy to plan or make ahead and throw together. The girls get excited by the possibilities of something different. 

We went ahead and started this week….with one new taco recipe and one I make when we need to eat it for a day or so. We started with fried tacos and I threw in fried tortilla chips. The recipe was amazing and I just kept our usual taco recipe. To make the healthy alternative I ate mine out of a sturdy lettuce leaf. You can use any type of green leaf veggie. We loaded ours up with tomatoes, lettuce and salsa. Honestly, in my opinion salsa is the key ingredient to most tacos. I prefer to make my own, but when there isn’t time I will purchase from our local Mexican restaurant. But at the store I will buy the cleanest variety I can get my hands on. 

My guy and I have a tradition every New Year’s Eve to have spicy Mexican cheese dip. This year I made it, but didn’t eat much because it isn’t really my thing anymore. But to go with with it I decided to make our tried and true carnitas (aka park tacos). This is a family favorite, but when you make it you gotta plan on feeding either a lot of people or eating it for a few days.

We take a whole pork roast and put it in the crock pot with 1-2 cups of water. Add taco seasoning and one jar of salsa. If you like it hot I suggest adding sriracha sauce. Then let that baby cool in its juices till it shreds with a fork. Then remove it and 

  keep the liquid. Shred the pork. Throw into a sauce pot, add back the juices and cook till the liquid evaporates. This is the secret because it intensifies the flavor. Skipping this step will make a milder boring flavor in my opinion. If time allows you could add shredded pork back to the crockpot for an hour or so. I have done both. Serve however you would serve a taco. It is amazing. 

So we had that last night with our dip. My girls will eat it and we have food leftovers for today. It is pretty much the only way I will eat pork. I am not a fan of pork like at all. I have tried to like it but NOPE. For my family any taco must have Mexican cheese….the only place I can find it is Kroger and it their store brand. It is called Queso Blanco Quesadilla Cheese. If you can find a block of Monterey Jack shred it and it works similarly.  

I can also tell you my family is incredibly picky about shells. They don’t usually like a hard shell. They love Mission extra fluffy soft shells. To make it healthier use the trick above serving taco fixings in a leafy green, but if you don’t like that or prefer a carb here you can opt for a corn tortilla. I opt for the cleanest version I can find. If lay them over your oven rack hanging over at 350 they will crisp up in about five minutes. You could also make a flat version on a cookie sheet. Sometimes I will add a tablespoon of coconut oil to a pan and crisp them that way. That is usually when I am not in a program. That is because coconut oil is good for you. If I want to brown something this is usually my preferred oil because of these facts.

So happy taco challenge to my family. I am sure we will fail, but it will be so fun trying to master this challenge and yummy.

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