Hi loves. I’m doing a new thing, I’ve wanted to start posting some of my recipes and stuff but I was feeling shy.
I’m hopped up on dayquil so let’s go.
This series is a lot about being satiated, poor, and having leftovers.
SO what is a taco bucket?
Taco bucket came about by me buying way more ground beef than I needed at one point. It was on clearance and good meat but I HAD to cook it all. Also, I had a bunch of leftover stuff and taco stuff.
You need protein. You can use whatever you want. Tofu, ground beef, leftover chicken is great for this. If you catch some sale rotisserie chicken it is good and you can use the carcass for soup.
You also need seasonongs. I will use a part of a taco seasoning packet and then other spices. I like to use a lot of fresh garlic, either whole cloves or mince. Also, a word. A LOT of pro chefs and TV chefs shit on things like pre peeled/prepped garlic. Fuck that. It is ableist. Real talk, That takes a lot of energy to prep and sometimes the extra dollar you pay for some of the work to be done for you is worth it. Personally, I rely heavily on those because I don’t have space for a lot of prep nor do I have steady enough hands for fancy knife work.
Remember all ingrediants are optional and this is just a jumping off point not a whole ass recipe. Adjust to your needs.
Other seasonings I will use: (affiliate links to amazon ahead, not the best prices but Auntie likes to make some coins)
La Costena Whole Jalepenos. I always get the kind that has carrots too. These I’m good to slice/chop. .This brand the peppers are nice, not butt burning hot. The mix of carrot is just amazing. Pro tip, keep your eye out for sales on these even when you’re not making a taco bucket. I keep a few cans on hand and they can go great with burgers, rice, all sorts of stuff. The same brand also makes “nacho slices” if you don’t want to slice the peppers.
I also keep various spicy spices on hand. Paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, etc.
Now what else do you need?
A bucket. This is a dish mean to be shared. Given that I cook for two+leftovers I will use something like this. I tend not to use ceramic, glass or metal because my hands shake and I drop things. Also pro tip, serving in these type containers makes for a super quick and easy lunch prep.
You’ll need your preferred utensils. I’m very partial to my fave, the SPOONULA. I drop and spill a LOT and this type of tool works while I’m cooking and serving. I got my first one at the dollar store and now have about ten of them. Other pro tip, check the dollar store for discount tupperware type containers too.
Depending on your protein you may need a bit of oil. I prefer to start with oil so we’ll go from there.
First, look in your kitchen. If you’ve got the spices that sound good and a protein you’re off to the races. You can put stuff like: beans, corn, stewed tomatoes, leftover rice, tortillas, taco shells, raw or tinned mushrooms, bell peppers, spicier peppers, you can do potatoes, jicama, whatever you got. This can be what I can a throw it in type dish. If you think it’ll taste good, throw it in there.
Now before I get to the cooking order, let’s talk a bit about the end game. What you want to come out with is a bucket full of delicious taco type fixings. If you are trying to stretch your dollars and food, add hearty stuff like rice. Using stuff like corn or extra veg can really help not only fill bellies but if you have folks leery of veggies you can get them a new flavor to veg. If you really need to use that leftover chicken, or whatever this is how.
OKAY so you need a skillet and your protein. I usually make ground beef or turkey.
First, heat up a bit of oil in your pan. Enough to drop in your garlic and if you’re using them onions. Wait for the pan to get sizzly hot and drop em in. PRO TIP. If you like onion flavor but not texture, dehydrated small mince onion is the fucking shit. My favorite is from Whole Foods (we’ll talk about whole paycheck another time) and they are similar to this. If you like some extra kick, drop some chili flakes into the mix when the garlic starts to brown.
Once you’re garlic is lookin brown and smelling delicious, put in your protein of choice. If you are browning meat, also have your powder spices on hand. I will liberally spice through the cooking process. Once your protein is half done, pour some of your pickled jalepeno liquid into it. Using that juice is one of my secret weapons.
If you have fresh veggies depending on if they are leafy, or root veg start adding them. I personally for instance prefer my bell peppers to still have a good crunch so I add the last. I add my jalepeno when the meat is about 80% done to get the flavors all loved up. I like to add mushrooms raw or canned before I add other veggies. If you’re using canned corn you can save that. Also if you’re using black olives or fresh tomatoes. If you’re using canned tomatoes you can add those too.
NOW if you’re using a fattier beef, you’ll want to drain it before adding extra stuff. I usually get 80/20 beef or if I’m using turkey, I don’t mind the juiciness. I won’t add water and shit like taco seasonings packs, I use those sparingly and let the juices from the stuff in the thing as moisture. Or if my protein is dry, I will add some stock or a wee bit of hot water.
I like to let stuff simmer. Also, letting stuff cook down is a great way to save some spoons. If you aren’t able to stand to watch something simmer, once your stuff is all in the pan, turn that shit down to med-low and sit your ass down. Let is simmer down. Remember, long simmer usually means more flavor.
How to assemble your taco bucket. If you are serving this with rice, put your rice in about 5-10 minutes depending on your preferred rice texture and let it simmer.
While your stuff is simmering down and getting delicious, when it is about 10 minutes out from serving turn the heat off and let it rest. Use this time to get your servings together. Since it is just Uniballer and I, I throw the meat and veg into the bucket, we both like the same stuff so I’ll add in my canned corn at this point, or my fresh tomatoes. If we’re being fancy I’ll also throw in cheese, salsa, sour cream. Or sometimes it is literally a bucket of spicy meat.
If you’ve got folks who need other options, make it a team effort. Everybody gets a bowl. Line up your protein bucket, buckets of fresh fixings and let folks go to town.
NOW you can serve it on tortillas, in taco shells, eat it like a dip with chips (my preferred method for shoveling), use the bucket protein as salad topping.
I almost always make enough for at least two full dinners for Uniballer and I. I will use it the next day for a salad, or as burrito stuffing. Sometimes, I add rice second day if we eat more of the protein.
Easy to customize!
Play with what you put in it. If you have food needs, allergies, intolerances it is super simple to substitute your needs. Vegan? Use tofu or tofurky, or chikin, or for real try using cauliflower. If you’ve got a ton of picky ass kids, each kid gets to have their OWN SHIZZ. And you can ask older kids to bus their own dishes. Make a bowl, clean a bowl.
Please try out doing a taco bucket and if you do, tag me on insta @weebeasty or come back and link me to your pics!