One of my favorite memories from Ball State was “Mexican Monday.” It was just a great group of people who got together for lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Puerto Vallarta in Muncie. Today, I’m posting a blog in honor or Mexican Monday, and it is inspired by a friend in Muncie. Bob is working on Muncie’s first ever food truck (here is my post about food trucks in Lexington for my Kentucky followers). He plans to call it “Slop on Top.”
Joe talked to him about the “slop” recipes he has been creating and he said his recent work had been on making a taco inspired dish. He said he was having fun experimenting, so Joe used this for inspiration for my challenge.
My challenge was to create three taco flavored dishes that could be served over rice. He gave me rice, cilantro, chorizo, ground beef, cheddar cheese, a green, orange, and red pepper, jalapeno, banana pepper, tomatoes, avacodao, black beans, and tortilla chips. I also had to calculate the cost of making each dish (which was a really interesting twist compared to last challenges!)
I wanted to make sure that the three different dishes I made would be very distinct from one another. It would be super easy to just add some taco seasoning (which I do keep on hand at all times) to everything and throw it on rice, but where is the fun in that? So, here are the three dishes I created.
Verde Beef and Bean
I browned the beef, added a cup of water, taco seasoning mix, black beans and green peppers and avocado for the “verde” part. I plan to finish up the packets of taco mix I have, and then will start making my own taco seasoning. I let this simmer while I worked on the other dishes. Until 2 years ago, I had only eaten avocado in salads, in guacamole, or other chilled dishes. It is actually really good when it is cooked too! We often throw it on the grill or in a skillet.
The finished dish ($10.54 to make 5-6 servings):
Vegetarian Mexican (or Vexican)
I had two meats to choose from, and I didn’t want to use one of them in two dishes. I thought the dishes would be too similar. I decided to do a vegetarian version, which I suppose would be an important addition to a food truck menu.
I used a banana pepper, leftover super sweet tomatoes from another challenge, red pepper, orange pepper, and onion as the vegetable base and sauteed them together for a bit. I added a tiny bit of garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and cumin to the vegetables and cooked them until tender.
The finished dish topped with hand grated cheddar ($6.32 for 2 servings):
Chorizo Popper Topper
The final dish was our favorite. I had used chorizo in another past challenge to make orange chorizo soft tacos topped with orange guacamole, but wanted to get more creative. First, I prepared chicken broth and then added finely chopped jalapenos, cream cheese leftover from homemade sushi. I used my immersion blender to make a smooth sauce. This is where the jalapeno popper part of the name comes from. I added the cooked chorizo.
I had enough ingredients to make a fresh pico de gallo (or at least I assumed I had all of the ingredients with no internet help allowed as one of my challenge rules). I used tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and lime. Turns out that other recipes call for jalapenos, garlic, and lemon instead of lime. But it still turned out really well.
I used this as a garnish on the Chorizo Popper Topper, but it would have worked well with any of the three dishes.
The final product ($7.27 for 4-6 servings):
All were tasty, different, and affordable. The best part about this challenge is that we have enough food for Mexican Monday and several other lunches and dinners this week.