Last night was our Taco Tuesday… on a Monday. Do people still do Taco Tuesdays? I think my husband (!) would love it if we actually religiously followed Taco Tuesday because his dinner requests are always either Mexican food or pizza. Perhaps that is clear from the fact that at least half of my recipes are Mexican-inspired in some way. As a bonus, this meal also counts for Meatless Mondays, so you could eat it TWO days in a row. That’s the dream.
A sign of true compatibility: I just realized that Will and I both ate enchiladas for our birthdays. Of course, for my birthday I demanded we go out for dinner, because as much as I enjoy cooking, I don’t usually want to do it on my birthday. So we went to Milagro and drank sangria and ate enchiladas and it was delicious. Whereas when I asked Will what he wanted to do for dinner on his birthday, he requested my cooking, which is a total compliment. I gave him a multitude of options, and he picked enchiladas. Bonded by our love of saucy and cheesy foods!
There have been times in my life when I lived on taco salad for weeks. Weeks. It’s a slippery slope: I’d buy some lettuce, cheese, beans and corn chips and think, hmm, maybe instead of tacos I’ll do taco salad, just for a change. And then I’d eat it for every lunch and dinner for like, two weeks straight! I don’t know what it is about taco salad that appeals to me, but I think a big part is that I’ve only ever had my own homemade version. Ugh, why can’t restaurants do a veg version of it? It would be so easy to omit the beef and just do beans. Or nothing! Sometimes a girl just wants some lettuce, cheese and salsa, ya know?
Oh gosh, it’s been cold out there lately, eh? I mean, I feel like I should be able to just shrug off Toronto cold weather after living in Ottawa for 5 years. But apparently I’ve softened in my old age because this cold snap has been awful!
And in addition to the cold, the lack of sunshine has really got me down lately. I’m trying to fight it, I really am. I’m taking lunchtime walks to suck up whatever tiny ounce of sunshine I can! And I’m taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D which are both supposed to help energy levels. But I still get home from work just totally exhausted. If it’s a good day, I do some yoga and then make dinner. On bad days, I watch Kardashians and hope Will feels up to cooking when he gets home.
Casseroles are one of those purely old school foods. They remind me of reading hilarious Betty Crocker cookbooks from the 70s where the props are terrifying and Jello features prominently. This one’s a little different though. No weird neon orange cheeses or tiny hot dogs. Just your favourite Mexican food ingredients in a one bowl meal!
Also there are avocados, because I had some lovely avocados that were just perfectly ripe and needed to be used up ASAP.
This was one of those great weekday dinners that takes maybe 30 minutes to throw together. And a lot of that is cooking, so you can be doing other things. Like watching endless episodes of Parks and Rec, as I have been doing ever since we finally got Netflix. If only we had a TV in the kitchen so I could watch while I chopped vegetables.
Admittedly, the best part of this soup is the toppings. I went with avocado, cheddar cheese, crushed chips and lime. When my friend Melissa made this soup for me, she also served it with sour cream, but I have a bad habit of buying huge tubs of sour cream and using only a few tablespoons before it goes bad, so I decided to skip it this time.
Super Quick Tortilla Soup
- 1 white onion
- 3 medium carrots, diced
- 4 stalks of celery, diced (psst! If you’ve made yourself some vegetarian shepherds pie recently, you’ll probably have some leftover carrots and celery!)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 4 cups vegetable broth (I used a bouillon cube out of laziness)
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 can black beans
- salt and pepper to taste
- diced avocado
- grated cheddar cheese
- slightly crushed tortilla chips
- lime slices
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until the onions are translucent, stirring a few times. Add the garlic, jalapeno and the spices. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the broth, tomatoes and black beans.
Simmer for about 15 minutes over medium-low heat, until the flavours start to meld together and the carrots are soft (I like to taste it often to check the seasoning as well). Serve with a variety of toppings.