5 Taco Tuesday Twists: Super Easy Family Dinners

5 Taco Tuesday Twists: Super Easy Family DinnersWhile I’m not a food blogger or an accomplished chef, I am a mom who—like most moms—must figure out what the heck to feed my family EVERY SINGLE DAY. I’m always on the lookout for simple, delicious meal ideas. I especially like using my crockpot, as the afternoons get so busy and my kids are so hungry by the time we get home that we either need to pick up something or have dinner waiting for us, ready to go. Otherwise, they’ll eat so many snacks they won’t be hungry when dinner is ready, and I hate to tell my hungry kids, “No snacks! Just wait 45 minutes until dinner!”

Putting something in the crockpot in the morning makes me feel so accomplished because:
1. I made dinner! Woo Hoo!
2. The house smells good when we get home.
3. We have yummy, tender meat to eat.

I’ve never been consistent with meal and menu planning, but lately, with my husband and I following a low-carb eating plan (no sugar, no wheat), we have been delving into some new, tasty recipes that have added to our dinner repertoire. We’ve also needed to plan ahead more and take a big grocery trip each week to pick up all the meats and veggies we need.

I’ll occasionally share some of our favorites here because I know that you, like me, would probably love to add something easy and delicious to your dinner menu. I’d also love to hear about dinners you’ve discovered, so please put a comment or link or send me an email if you have a foolproof, family favorite to add to my collection. I dream of one day making a family recipe book to pass down to my kids, but that is definitely not on the list at the moment. Right now, getting something on the table tonight is the priority!

I know a lot of families follow a “Taco Tuesday” plan. We sort of started doing that, although I stretched “tacos” to mean anything that you can put in a tortilla. And I didn’t really end up making tacos every Tuesday. So, really, we didn’t follow it. But I still like the name! 🙂

Here are five taco-like meals that have been big hits at our house:

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.54.18 AMPomegranate Habanero Shredded Beef

This one takes a little time (20 minutes prep, 3 hours cooking), but is so tasty that we’ve already made it twice (and will make it again). It’s become a Sunday dinner staple for us! You can find the whole recipe here:
http://stupideasypaleo.com/2014/10/25/pomegranate-habanero-shredded-beef-paleo-whole30/

All you need is:

  • 3 lb (1361 g) beef chuck roast
  • 2 tsp (10 g) fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) ghee
  • 1 small habanero pepper or 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded & chopped finely
  • 2 cups beef broth, reduced sodium if possible
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

You will LOVE this. We’ve been serving it over spaghetti squash or (for the wheat-eating kids) on rolls.

Easy Chicken (or Pork Loin) Salsa Verde

Someone told me about this, so I don’t have a picture or pin for it, but it’s really simple. Literally, it takes less trader-joes-salsa-verdethan a minute to prep. Put the chicken (or pork loins) in your crockpot, pour a jar of Trader Joe’s Green Chili Salsa over it, and cook on low for the day. When you get home, shred the meat with two forks then serve it in tortillas or over lettuce (as a “burrito bowl”) with the fixings (salsa, avocado, sour cream, olives, etc.).

Beef Chuck Roast with Salsa & Taco Seasoning

Again, this one is another easy crockpot recipe shared by a friend and written on a scrap of paper. I searched Pinterest and found some similar recipes, but they all had more ingredients. I REALLY like simple, so I’m sticking with this one.

1 Beef Chuck Roast

1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa

1 taco seasoning packet

Plop it all in the crockpot in the morning, cook on low all day, shred with two forks and serve in tortillas or over lettuce with all the fixings. 

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 2.07.51 PMYaki Chicken Tacos (Island’s)

Yaki Soft Tacos at Island’s restaurant have long been a favorite of ours (although we don’t have an Island’s near us anymore, so we rarely get there). Obviously, a lot of other people must like them, too, because there are quite a few “copycat” recipes to be found on Pinterest. I just found this one, which is more complicated than what I’ve been doing but probably tastes more like Island’s than mine:

http://www.theharvestkitchen.com/copycat-islands-yaki-tacos/

(When I make them, I don’t follow a recipe; I just tried to remember what’s in them!)

Ingredients:
Chicken Breast, cut into bite size pieces (tenderloins are good, too)
Teriyaki Sauce (a thicker one is good)
Chopped Pineapple (a big can of chopped)
Grated Jack Cheese
Shredded lettuce (romaine or head)
Diced tomatoes

Directions: I cook the chicken in a pan with some olive oil, then stir in some teriyaki sauce and serve in warm tortillas with all the other stuff as fixings (some people don’t want everything in there).

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 10.23.32 AMTilapia

I’ve never been very confident cooking fish, and I am super-picky about wanting it to be fresh and non-fishy smelling. I found this simple Tilapia recipe that everyone (except my youngest, who doesn’t like fish) enjoyed:

http://3boysandadog.com/keep-it-clean-tilapia-recipe/

Again, not that many ingredients, fast to prepare! And can be chopped-up for fish tacos or just served as is!

Once you have your yummy, easy meal on the table, enjoy your family dinner with some highs and lows of the day and good conversation!

 

Resources/Related:
Let the Kids Cook Dinner
Family Dinner
Why Family Dinner is Important
Making Family Dinner Like a Campfire
Sharing our Highs, Lows, and Buffaloes

Thank you for reading my post! If you like Sunshine Parenting, please subscribe to get an email update each time I post (use box in right column of my blog). Follow me on FacebookPinterest, or Twitter for links to articles and ideas about camp and parenting. Have a happy day!

Sunshine

I'm blessed to have five great kids (ages 13-23) call me “Mom.” As a summer camp director for the past 30 years, I've also had the privilege of working with thousands of kids, college-age counselors, and parents. I follow the latest research and trends on parenting, education, and children’s development and love to share what I learn!

2 Comments
  1. I love your posts!! Everytime I open one up, I say to myself, “How does she know exactly what I’m thinking all of the time?” Thank you again for your transparency to so many parenting “UGH” moments!

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