January is here and we are all getting back into our routines after the holidays. I am getting used to waking up at 5:45am with my middle-schooler and packing lunches again. But, the short daylight hours still tempt me to fall asleep right about when I should be making dinner. I find that I have been relying quite a bit on leftovers (thanks, Mom for cooking and baking so much while you were visiting with us) and quick meals.
One of my standby fix-it-fast dinners is tacos. We usually have soft tacos with beans, cheese, avocados, tomatoes, and lettuce. While I love Mexican night, I usually find myself conflicted when it comes to the tortilla portion of the meal. In my efforts to avoid as much processed food as possible, I often make my own tortillas. While the recipe is delicious, I don’t always have the time to prepare them. So, off to the grocery store I go. Every visit to the tortilla aisle is the same: I read the food labels, particularly the long ingredient list, and then put the package down, deciding I should just make the tortillas. Needless to say, with me making the tortillas, our Mexican-themed dinners were becoming less frequent. Until one beautiful day here in Apex when I found a treasure! Tortilla Land tortillas!!!
I absolutely LOVE these tortillas! If you are like me and enjoy Mexican food but not the long list of ingredients, then these tortillas may be for you too! I spotted this product in the dairy section of the Kroger in Apex. As usual, I flipped the package over to read the ingredients and was surprised to find that there are only five and all five can, not only be found in my kitchen, but easily read by my seven year old. There is a catch though…you have to cook them yourself. I find this to be a wonderful compromise, I get a relatively fresh product and all I have to do is warm a skillet and heat these up for about 30 seconds on each side. In no time I have warm, practically homemade tortillas for our meal! Love it!! My family loves them too! They are available in flour and corn.
Now that I am not making the tortillas from scratch, I have a lot of extra time. I can read a good book, help with homework, or choose to add a little something extra to the meal. While one of the things I love most about our Mexican night is the idea that we are eating a vegetarian meal, I must admit I also love this recipe for Martha Stewart’s Fast Chicken Fajitas. My sister, Mary Beth, made this recipe for me while I was visiting her in Massachusetts. It is delicious, and like the title implies, fast!
My sister, Katie, swears by this recipe for refried beans from The Baker Upstairs (thebakerupstairs.com). Plus, you make them in your slow cooker!! Yay! Even more, this recipe calls for dry pinto beans which, when cooked, provide 8 grams of protein and fiber with less thank 1 gram of fat per 1/2 cup serving! This recipe makes a lot, so invite some friends over for a fiesta!
If you want to make your own tortilla’s here is the recipe that I usually use:
I have also found another tortilla at Trader Joe’s that I like. It is a flour-corn combination. I love corn tortillas but my family prefers flour. These tortillas let us all enjoy our tacos and may help my family gradually learn to love corn tortillas!
No matter what you decide to do about your tortillas, homemade, semi–homemade, or store bought, I hope you enjoy your next Mexican meal and every meal in this new year!
Stay tuned, stay healthy, and stay Pretty in the Peak
Marianne Lindgren, MS, RD