Old El Paso Tacos*

Hi there! Today I have another recipe/food review for you all. Another lovely thing from the Hull Bloggers meet was the Old El Paso meal kits. I LOVE the fajita one, and find myself eating it maybe once a week. It’s a really easy meal, and I find it’s fairly balanced, having lean protein, fresh salad and vegetables and a helping of carbohydrates in one quick, easy meal. I usually skip sour cream, too, but if I am feeling like something creamy on my fajitas I’ll opt for low fat natural/greek style yogurt.

Taco shells and seasoning

These tacos offered something a little bit different. I received the spice sachet from the meet, but  bought the taco shells from a supermarket. As expected they were really easy to make, and my  boyfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed them.

taco shells

Taco shells and seasoning

The packet called for 500g of minced beef to serve 3-4, so  because there’s only two of us we opted to use 250g and add a good handful of roughly chopped mushrooms and half a chopped red pepper. We also prepared plenty of chopped spring onions, cherry tomatoes and grated mature cheddar to top the tacos with.

ingredients

tomatoes and spring onionchopped veggies

All we had to do was to brown off the minced beef in a fairly hot (but not smoking) frying pan, along with the chopped peppers and mushrooms. You then add the entire sachet of the spicy beef taco seasoning, stirring to combine the seasoning with all the ingredients.

peppers, beef and mushrooms

When nicely browned, add 100ml of water and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer and reduce to a thick, rich filling.

And that’s it! All we had to do was assemble our tacos. We had three each, and found this more than enough. We used crisp green lettuce, taco filling, grated cheese and finally sprinkled a liberal helping of fresh tomatoes and spring onions on top.

finished tacos

tacosThese were really lovely; spicy, but not overwhelmingly so by any measure. Just enough heat but with a full-flavoured, mexican style spice. I would repurchase, and think they’d make a great meal to gather everyone together around a dinner table. Perfect for sharing with your friends!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this review, and let me know what you think of them if you get to try them!

Happy cooking,

Heather

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Banana American pancakes

Hi there! It’s so good to be back blogging in 2015! Christmas and New Year was a great time to relax, see friends and family and just generally have an enjoyable time. I hope Christmas was a peaceful and relaxing period for yourself. I got some really lovely, thoughtful gifts, and it was lovely giving something special to those who have done so much for me this past year.

However, now it’s January, it’s back to work and the hustle and bustle of university life! I did say in an earlier post that I adore cooking and I love tweaking new recipes to make something really tasty. So, in light of this, I thought I’d share with you a really easy breakfast recipe to really set your day off to a great start. Something to keep you going until lunchtime…perfect for busy, work-filled days!

To make measuring easy, I use a cup. This isn’t strictly the American cup measurement system, however, if you use the same cup/mug to measure out your ingredients in, it works just the same and it’s far easier than getting your weighing scales out!

Serves 2 (makes 2 good-sized fluffy pancakes each)
You will need:

3/4 cup of self-raising flour
A pinch of salt
A pinch of baking powder
Half a teaspoon of white granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of melted butter, cooled
Just over 1/2 cup of milk (whichever you like: I used whole milk)
1 large egg, beaten
Splash of vanilla extract (if you can get hold of some)
Butter and a splash of vegetable oil, for frying
1 banana, sliced (optional)
Runny honey (optional)
Toasted almonds (optional)
Greek yogurt (optional)

I find it’s far easier to make the batter mix in a jug. You can then pour out the mixture into a saucepan rather than using a ladle or something similar. Put all of the dry ingredients into the jug. Whilst stirring, add your wet ingredients until combined. Try to knock out some of the lumps, but don’t expect your batter to be completely smooth. It’s best not to overwork the batter so that it stays lovely and fluffy whilst cooking. I also cook my pancakes separately so that I don’t overcrowd the pan. I then just pop the pancakes in a low oven to keep warm whilst I’m cooking the rest, so pop the oven on a low heat (50 degrees centigrade or lower will suffice).

When the batter is combined, pour the batter into the buttered pan, on a medium heat. If you add a splash of oil to the butter in the pan, it will prevent the butter burning and becoming dark brown. That’s not the aim here: we want lovely golden pancakes, not burnt ones! I like my American pancakes to be fairly large, but not so big that they won’t fit onto a side plate.

Once you’ve poured the batter into the pan, place slices of the chopped banana (if using) into the wet batter of the top of the pancake. Cook the pancake until the top of the batter (the side you’ve put the banana on) is beginning to bubble. Turn the pancake over when it’s golden brown. The side with the bananas on will only take a couple of minutes (if that) to cook. Place in the oven to warm whilst you cook the rest.

When you have cooked your lovely pancakes, stack onto a plate and top with whatever you fancy! I had honey, toasted flaked almonds and Greek yogurt which I thoroughly recommend. Chocolate spread, peanut butter and other fruits would also make lovely toppings. If you don’t like banana, you can substitute it for a handful of blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries. Delicious!

IMG_7417.JPG

Let me know how you get on with them. Happy cooking!
Heather