Thursday, October 28, 2010

My favorite 'fast food'

Mexican Cheese Tacos with Avocado and Arugula

Ole Corn Tortillas
Kraft Natural Authentic Mexican Cheese (finely shredded)
Chopped tomato
Butter (room temperature)
Pace Picante Sauce (medium hot)

The only way for this delicious homemade taco to be 'fast food' is for these ingredients to be on hand in the refrigerator, staples so to speak. I do. Frankly I'm addicted to this fast and easy recipe. It takes about 10 minutes total to fix and about the same amount of time to eat. Unless of course, you're feeding more than one person (yourself!)

I usually make two and start by placing two small nonstick skillets on the two small electric units on the stove. (I would love to have a gas stove but don't.) These skillets are always ready on my stove top, stacked together with a larger nonstick one.

Then, I get the tortillas and cheese out of the fridge. I quickly spread a small amount of butter (unsalted, kept at room temperature) on one side of each tortilla and place them in the two skillets, buttered sides down.

Since these skillets are nonstick it's not healthy to get them too hot. I usually set the "clock" dial at quarter after to start, then switch to 30 after soon after. I flip the tortillas when they get a little brown on one side.

Then, I add the fabulous shredded cheese to the crisped side of the tortilla. Kraft markets its Authentic Mexican Cheese with other shredded cheeses in hanging resealable plastic bags. The label says quesa quesadilla, asadero and manchego cheeses are included. The mixture is delicious!

While the cheese is melting I prepare the avocado and chop enough tomato for two tacos. I add these ingredients plus a few arugula leaves to one side of each cheese tortilla. Then, I slip them on a plate, add a little Pace picante sauce to each, sit down and eat them.

I invented this recipe this summer, partly as a means to use my homegrown tomatoes and arugula. Mid-summer, I ran out of arugula and found out it was an indispensable ingredient. I planted more seeds and could hardly wait to harvest some leaves. Nothing compares to the way the arugula combines with the other ingredients, especially the avocado, to make this recipe unforgettably delicious.

I'm still growing arugula in my patio garden and, since it is a cold weather crop, plan to grow it all winter. When I finally run out of home grown tomatoes -- I still have several productive vines -- I will just use the picante sauce. After growing my own tomatoes, I refuse to buy them in a grocery store. Too expensive and not as good.

These tacos are flexible enough to be eaten folded over. They have a slight crunch though from the lightly buttered and toasted inside.

This IS a fast food: No more than 20 minutes, start to finish. Compare that to driving to a fast food restaurant and running your engine for a while in the take-out line. However, it does require a degree of future orientation. You must plan ahead to have the ingredients on hand.

Furthermore, despite the cheese, it is less fattening and far healthier than a fast food burger. Two (2) Ole corn tortillas have just 130 calories. The avocado is a high calorie food but is an extremely healthy source of vegetable fat.

This recipe is also gluten-free! More protein can be added by including a slice or two of delicatessan turkey.

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