Taco Bowl

This is my favorite guilty-pleasure on a Friday night. Because it is a bowl with a foundation of tortilla chips, you might think of it as junk food, but it’s not as sinful as may seem. Covering the chips is a modest layer of grated cheddar cheese, topped with a generous amount of beef and black bean chili, and all your favorite nacho toppings. I like cubed avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, and sour cream if I have it.

The beef and black beans give you plenty of protein which you need for a dinner, the chips are filling carbs, and the avocado will pass as the veg on a Friday night. You can make a salsa with fresh tomatoes, onions and cilantro for more veg if you like.

My work day today was not too hectic, I was actually able to tie up loose ends and end the day without any new worries. I’ve made this taco bowl dozens of times. A blizzard-like east coast snow storm is coming. It’s time to relax with a glass of wine, and make my stand-by taco bowl, then enjoy a movie.

Taco Bowl

Ingredients

A bowl full of packaged tortilla chips, your favorite brand

Half an avocado

Quarter of a lime

Safflower or vegetable oil

1/3 lb. ground beef

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic minced

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp salt (or to taste)

A few pinches of red pepper flakes

A few grinds of black pepper

1/3 cup water

1/3 – 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

Toppings such as sour cream, salsa, chopped onion or extra cheddar cheese

Directions

Place the tortilla chips in your serving bowl, and set aside.

Cube the avocado into a small bowl, and squeeze the lime juice all over it to prevent browning; set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, add a drizzle of oil and heat over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook about 10 minutes, until thoroughly browned. Remove beef to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Drain fat from the pan into a separate container (discard fat when cooled).

In the same skillet, add another teaspoon of oil and the chopped onion. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in the minced garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the browned ground beef. Stir in the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Add the water and black beans. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes to heat through. If mixture becomes too thick, and a little water to thin it out. You don’t want the mixture too thin, as it will top the tortilla chips and if too watery it will soak the chips, but it’s nice to have a little sauce that drips down into the chips.

Spread the grated cheddar cheese over the tortilla chips that you prepared in the bowl. Top with the beef and black bean mixture, which should cover most of the chips. Add the cubed avocado and your favorite toppings. Dig in.


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