Monday, May 30, 2016

Salisbury Steak

It started out as a lighter meal but seemed to just grow into a plate of beefy heaven. New potatoes I put on the boil with some salt. I sliced up a massive green onion that over wintered. A spring onion in it's second spring. It was good anyway. I mixed that with the beef, salt, black pepper and ground garlic. Made meat patties and fried them to a good sear on both sides. Then I transferred them to a roasting pan and put them in the oven @ 325F.  In the meat pan I started frying the crimini mushrooms. When I had a good sear on them I removed them from the pan. A tablespoon of butter and a teaspoon of flour into the pan. Cook the flour taste off in the butter for a minute. Whisk in a cup of beef stock and add the mushrooms. Simmer and reduce to a nice gravy. Add salt, Worcestershire Sauce and black pepper.

In another frying pan fry the sliced carrot in olive oil. When they have a nice sear add the celery, onions and beans. Add 1/4 cup beef stock and reduce till almost dry. Add salt and mixed pepper.

When the potatoes are done, drain, salt and add a tablespoon of butter. 

Turn off both pans and add a tablespoon of butter to both. Stir melted butter into both pans. 

This was really good comfort food.

Not Horrible Marijuana Butter Cookies

My doctor would like me to smoke less and eat more pot, if possible. Marijuana butter is easy enough to make, put a pound of butter in a pot of water with some marijuana and simmer it for a couple of hours. Remove from heat and let butter rise to surface. Put in fridge over night so butter hardens and can be removed as a solid and any residue scraped off the bottom. The problem is it has an extremely strong obnoxious flavour that nothing covers up. I've tried adding this butter to several kinds of recipes and nothing works. I just get horrible tasting vanilla or chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies or brownies. Fern asked me to make some cookies for him so I decided to try making a recipe just for marijuana butter. I had 3/4 cup butter so used it all. Preheat oven to 325F.

Marijuana Butter Cookies

3/4 cup marijuana butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream butter then sugar together. I kept adding sugar till the horrible taste was mostly hidden. A little more or less should be fine. Add egg. Add most of the flour and baking powder. This should make a dough that can be formed into balls, flattened and placed on cookie sheet. If it's sticky add more of the flour but not so much it crumbles. If it's too dry, add a tablespoon of milk. Form balls, flatten and place on cookie sheet. Bake 12-20 minutes till browned. I have ceramic cookie sheets that take 20 minutes to bake cookies. They could have baked another 2 minutes because they fell slightly in the middle but the texture was good.

It took me till after dinner to try one. Surprisingly it wasn't bad. It wasn't good. Not a flavour you look for. But edible, almost enjoyable. If you have to use medical marijuana, this is a good way to treat and consume it.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cinnamon Date Sunflower Seed Buns

This is my cheese scone recipe adapted to a different purpose.

Scones - preheat to 425F

1 1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4+ cup butter
4 tbsp sugar
1/3-1/2 cup milk

Mix flour, baking soda and salt, then cut butter in with pastry cutter. Mix in sugar. Add half the milk and use a fork to mix into a dough. Add more milk till it can form a ball. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge for few minutes while I get the filling ready. 

1/4 cup finely chopped dates
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter

Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Spread soft butter over all. Sprinkle cinnamon over all. Sprinkle brown sugar over everything. Sprinkle the dates and sunflower seeds evenly. Carefully roll up. Slice in 1 inch pieces and bake 13 minutes. 

They're really good, I'll make these again but I'll put extra brown sugar on them before baking. A dozen are almost gone in just a few hours.

Pineapple Coconut Prawn Curry

In the morning Fern asked for Prawns and Pasta for dinner. Mid afternoon he was reading his post-op instructions and it said, lay off tomato sauce, too acid. "I could make curry instead?" I offered. Fern liked that idea and I ran back to the store to get coconut milk and pineapple pieces. 

I caramelized a diced onion then got a little colour on both sides of the prawns and removed them from the pan. Then I sweated a diced carrot, stick of celery and green pepper. I sprinkled two teaspoons of curry powder over all and added the coconut milk. It needs to be reduced, that's why the prawns came out, I don't want to boil them to rubber. When the coconut milk is reduced to a sauce, add the prawns and finish cooking them, a couple of minutes at most. Add 1/2 a cup of pineapple tidbits and 1/4 cup juice from the can. Taste for salt. I added more juice to sweeten the heat in the curry. I let that reduce while I plated rice then spooned the curry over top.

For a last minute change, this was pretty good and Fern didn't realize it would be prawn curry, he liked it.

Chicken Soup

Fern's mouth is healing from surgery so soup for lunch seemed like a good choice. I caramelized a diced onion then browned the chicken breast I had diced and coated with flour. Then I added a diced carrot and stick of celery. I added about 1.5 to 2 litres of chicken stock and a couple of bay leaves. Salt and pepper. I plunked a sprig of fennel into it when serving but it didn't flavour the soup so took it out. I'll have to chop it up and add at the end to get the flavour. At least I finally figured out how to use it since it's growing in the garden anyway.

Fern liked the soup, so did I.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Snapper under Rosemary and Thyme with Peas and Risotto

Ok, I know you can't eat the rosemary and thyme but that's how it came out of the frying pan and it looked great so I went with it. That made this really simple. Salt and pepper on the fish and fry it in olive oil. Put the rosemary and thyme on the fish while it cooks. 

The peas were frozen, cooked in the microwave, finished with butter and served like they were special. They are acceptable if you don't over cook them and serve them immediately.


2/3 cup Arborio rice
1.5 cup water
1 tsp chicken stock powder
1 cup grated parmesan
1/4 cup butter

Bring half the water to boil in a 10 inch skillet with lid. Add rice, water, stock powder. Stir, cover. Cook till water absorbed. Add remaining water, stir till absorbed. In a perfect world the rice would be perfect at this point but check it anyway. If it's still too crunchy add a little water and stir it a bit more. If it's done, add the parmesan and stir it in. Remove from heat. Add the butter and stir it in. Serve.

Fern had oral surgery today so this was a soft food meal and he absolutely loved it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pork Souvlaki with Ratatouille and New Potatoes

Pork Souvlaki from Mitchell's, it tastes good and it's easy to cook. Usually I use it to slap a meal on the table as quickly as possible but this time I decided to try a little harder. I brushed the pork with oil and BBQ'd it as usual, that was easy.  Instead of rice I decided on new potatoes at the last minute. I put them on to boil and that left just the ratatouille.

I took a slice of cabbage so it would be like shredded. Two tomatoes diced. Half a green pepper diced. One stick celery diced, a small carrot and an onion diced. I sweated the onion and carrot first. Next went in the green pepper, celery and cabbage. I softened the pepper a bit then sprinkled half a teaspoon of vegetable stock over the pan followed by the same of flour. Stir that a minute to let the flour taste cook off. Then add the tomatoes and an ounce of water. Bring to a simmer and reduce as the tomatoes release water. I put a few sprigs of fresh thyme and one of rosemary in the pan at this point with some salt and mixed pepper. 

I plated the souvlaki with a dollop of sour cream, that was a nice addition. The ratatouille was wonderful. Fern doesn't usually like a wet plate like that but it tasted so good he just kept slurping it up. The potatoes were a great change from rice and went really well with the ratatouille. It took an extra ten minutes to prep the vegetables but it was worth it. I'll do this again.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Country Breaded Chicken Breast with Garlic Butter Broccoli and Rice

I had to use up the broccoli and it had to be something new. Fern was sick of plain old broccoli. I decided to steam it and serve it in a buttery chicken gravy with garlic and celery. The chicken breast I salted and seasoned with pepper and poultry seasoning. Then coated with flour, dipped in milk and rolled in multi grain bread crumbs.  I sprayed oil over the breading so it would brown. Into the oven at 325F for 10 minutes then I turned it up to 400F for 10 minutes to get some browning.  It browned a little. Plain old Hellmann's Mayonnaise beside the chicken.

The rice just has salt and a teaspoon of olive oil. I steamed the broccoli and cooled it under running water while it was still crisp. I emptied the boiler and added an ounce of butter and splash of olive oil. I got that hot and added two good size cloves of garlic diced finely. When that was smelling really good I added a diced stick of celery and cooked it a minute. I added 1/2 teaspoon of chicken stock powder, 1/2 teaspoon flour and stirred it in. Cook the flour taste off. Remove from heat and stir in an ounce of water then return to burner. Bring to a boil and reduce if it's too watery. Add the broccoli and reheat in the gravy.  Serve.

The garlic butter over powered the broccoli, which is what I wanted. It also flavoured the rice and leant a nice richness to the chicken breast. It was a real treat. We'll definitely have this again.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mustard BBQd Pork Chop

I'm demolishing the plaster and lathe wall around the bathtub so I couldn't move my hands to make a really fancy meal. All I did here was take a tablespoon of mustard powder and mix it with olive oil till it's a paste. Then baste the pork and BBQ it for 3x3x3x3 minutes to get perfect grill marks. In the last 3 minutes I laid thyme sprigs across them but not sure it helped. I cut the potatoes up and put them in salted water and boiled them. The peas were frozen and I peeled a carrot and sliced it into them then microwaved them together. Butter to finish the potatoes and peas. 

It was surprisingly good.

Liver Bacon Onions Fried Potatoes with Vegetable Medley

The liver was cut a little thicker this time which produced a nicer result, I'll have to mention it to Mitchell's.  This time I managed to get all the prep work done before I started cooking so it was much easier to time everything. I sliced and boiled the potatoes first then let them cool.  The liver was salted and coated with flour. Usually I forget to salt it first and it never works as well after the flour goes on. I learned after the meal from Food Network Star show that liver needs to be soaked in salted water to take the iron flavour out before cooking. Next time I'll try that. We've both been having irony liver for over 60 years and like it!

I diced and fried 3 strips of bacon then removed them from the pan and added the onions. When they were caramelized I removed them from the pan also. The liver went in, turned after a minute or two and the bacon and onion returned to the pan.

I fried the boiled potato slices in plenty of oil to get a bit of crispiness on them. That worked well and they weren't greasy like french fries.

I sliced 4 crimini mushrooms and fried them, then added diced celery and green pepper. A half teaspoon of beef stock powder and half teaspoon of flour over all and cook the flour taste off. Then add 1/3 cup water and reduce it.

I plated it with a strip of ketchup beside the liver and potato. I cleaned my plate up, iron taste and all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Beef Taco

Once you've done it a few times, you can knock this meal together surprisingly fast. I caramelized half an onion then added 2 cloves of garlic diced finely.  Next a diced green pepper was sweated. Then the ground beef went in the pan with salt.  When it was browned I sprinkled one teaspoon of beef stock powder over it and another of flour.  One to two tablespoons of Taco Seasoning sprinkled over. Stir and cook that in for a minute then add half a cup of water. Let the meat simmer and the water reduce till it's thick and meaty. Just before serving sprinkle grated cheddar over top so it melts in.

Open a can of Old El Paso refried beans. All the other brands I've tried don't taste good right out of the can. That is like crippling your meal before you start cooking. I put it on low heat and slowly warm it with a bit of fresh lime juice.  When it's hot and ready to serve stir in a tablespoon of sour cream and several drops of Tabasco Sauce or your favourite hot sauce will probably do.

Guacamole is simple, mash an avocado, add lime juice, salt, pepper and sour cream. This time I tried using a pastry cutter to mash the avocado, didn't work at all. A fork is still the best thing I've found. 

Salsa usually has more but all I had this time was fresh local tomatoes, a jalapeno and some green onion. I diced that up, added some salt, black pepper and lime juice. It was good thanks to the tasty fresh tomatoes!  You can't see it but there's a strip of shredded lettuce under the salsa and taco.

Heat taco shell slightly in toaster oven then fill with meat, roll up. Top with sour cream and guacamole. Garnish with lettuce and salsa. Add refried beans. Slop extra guacamole on the side and dive in.

We cleaned our plates and the dog finished the meat and beans, which was surprising.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Coq au Vin

This was a bit of a community effort that started 10 months ago. I collected fresh fertilized eggs from the farm up the street and incubated them in my Magic Fly incubator.

Which produced chicks.

That the farm the other way down the street raised. Tonights dinner was the extra rooster which was butchered by the sister of the lady next door to me. So the whole neighbourhood had a hand in it.

I used a recipe from by Ina Garten.

2 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces bacon, diced
1 coq or chicken
salt & pepper
1/2 lb carrots, cut in one inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 bottle red wine
1 cup chicken stock
10 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp butter
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 lb pearl onions
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, steams removed, thick sliced

Don't know why there is no bay leaf. I guess it was in the stock.

The coq was cleaned and skinned but whole so the first thing I did was break it down and take out the back bone. I used that to make stock in the morning. The other early prep thing was the pearl onions. They had to have the root tip cut off then be blanched for 1 minutes, cooled and the skins popped off.

To make stock: Place carcass in large pot with a carrot, stick of celery, bay leaf and onion stuck with 2 cloves. Cover with water, bring to a boil and boil hard to get sludge on top. Skim the sludge to get a nice clear stock. Boil for 45 minutes should be enough. Strain.

Heat oil in dutch oven and add bacon, cook till browned. Remove bacon from pan. Salt and pepper the coq and fry 3 pieces at a time till both sides have a little colour. If you try to brown all the meat at once it will cool the pan too much and the flavour will not develop. Take time and do it right. Remove meat from pan.

The recipe doesn't mention it but fry the mushrooms in the pan at this point and remove them to a separate plate. It saves using another frying pan later.

Add yellow onion and carrots to pan. Cook till the onion is caramelized. Add garlic, cook for a minute. Add the brandy. Add chicken and bacon. Add wine, coq stock and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover and put in the oven at 250F for 30-40 minutes. 

I cooked the pearl onions with the yellow onions which was a mistake, but it tasted ok.

If you didn't fry the mushrooms earlier do it now in some oil and butter. 

Place dutch oven on stove top burner. Mix the flour into a tablespoon of butter and stir it into the stew. Add the mushrooms and pearl onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. It does need more salt.

I served it on basmati rice with steamed broccoli finished in olive oil. It was delicious. I have another clutch of eggs incubating so in the fall we should have another coq to cook and we'll definitely be making this again.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Mustard Grilled Pork on Crimini Mushroom Gravy

This was supposed to be a light meal but the portions are small so it wasn't too heavy. I mixed two teaspoons of mustard powder in two tablespoons olive oil and a good pinch of salt and a bit of mixed pepper. Brushed that all over the chops and put them on the BBQ for 10 or so minutes on medium high heat. 

Half an onion diced and caramelized. Then a clove of garlic sweated in. Next I sprinkled a teaspoon of beef stock powder over and a teaspoon of flour over and cooked the raw taste off it. Add 1/2 a cup of water and bring to a simmer. I added a pinch of salt and a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce and a bit of pepper.

The potatoes were boiled and finished with butter and salt. The peas were frozen, microwaved and finished with butter, salt and pepper.

This was really delicious. Fairly fast and easy too. I would double the mustard powder next time.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Chicken Fajitas

At the end of the day I had four mouths to feed and limited time to put it together so I kept it simple. Four chicken breasts were salted and seasoned with Cajun spice, brushed with oil, then BBQ'd to almost done. Let cool. Dice an onion and caramelize. Add clove or two of diced garlic and sweat. Add diced green pepper and diced celery stick, sweat. Add small teaspoon chicken stock powder, a heaping tablespoon of taco seasoning, cook briefly. Add 1/2 cup water and turn up heat to reduce liquid. Slice the breasts up lengthwise and add to the pan when the liquid is almost gone. Heat the meat up and finish cooking it if necessary. Spoon meat mixture onto warm taco shell and roll up. Spread sour cream over top. Top with Salsa and plate refried beans beside.


3 tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
3 green onions
1/2 lime juiced
1 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro
black pepper

Dice tomatoes, jalapeno and onions. Toss all ingredients and serve.

Refried Beans

1 can Old El Paso Refried Beans - they're worth the extra money
1/2 lime juiced
1 tbsp sour cream

Reheat in a pot, add lime and cream, serve.

The combination of Cajun spice on the chicken and Taco seasoning in the pan went over really well. Everyone remarked that the dish tasted phenomenal. It was a smaller plate than I usually put out but everyone had enough to eat so maybe I'm over feeding us a bit.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Fresh Caught Snapper with Risotto

Our good friend Kevin went fishing and always shares his catch with us. This time it was a lovely snapper filet. We had a big lunch so I wanted a lighter evening meal. I put half a cup of arborio rice in a frying pan with half a cup of water. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer till water is absorbed. Add a teaspoon of chicken stock powder and more water and this time stir the rice while it's cooking. Keep adding water and stirring till the rice is cooked and forms a starchy slurry in the pan. Add half a cup of grated parmesan cheese and stir it in. Add a tablespoon of butter and stir it in. 

The peas were frozen and done in the microwave, finished with butter, salt and pepper. The fish was salted, seasoned with Cajun spice and fried. Fresh lemon juice was sprinkled on the fish after plating. 

The risotto made the meal. Fresh fish can't be beat but the risotto was so good it made everything on the plate taste better.

Kevin is going fishing today so we might have trout for dinner.

Beef Tacos

Another easy meal except this time I decided to make refried beans from scratch. Old El Paso Refried Beans taste great but they are expensive so this is purely an economy measure. I soaked the beans for hours then boiled them for 90 minutes, drain. I had to use an immersion blender to process them but they smoothed out fairly well. I tried frying that with some oil and didn't get anywhere so I added some water. That helped. I added beef stock powder, fresh lime juice, sour cream and tabasco sauce. Definitely not as good as OEP but edible at least and probably better than the budget brand can.

I browned a diced onion, garlic clove and celery stick before adding the beef. When the beef was browned I sprinkled taco seasoning all over the pan. I use bulk taco seasoning which gives just as good a result as the expensive kits. Cook the spice in for a minute before adding a teaspoon of beef stock powder and half a cup of water or maybe a bit more. The water needs to boil off and leave a nice glistening mixture than won't make the shell soggy.


1 avocado mashed
2 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp sour cream
few drops Tabasco

Mash and whip with a fork. Choosing a soft almost mushy avocado helps here. Avocado turns black when exposed to air but acid from lemon or lime stops this process. So have lime or lemon juice ready when you slice an avocado.


1 jalapeno finely diced
2 tomatoes diced
1 slice red onion diced
1 tbsp chopped parsley or cilantro (Fern doesn't like cilantro)
fresh lime juice
olive oil
black pepper

Grate some cheddar cheese. Warm taco shells in toaster or oven. Spread grated cheddar down the centre of a taco shell. Spoon meat mixture over cheese and roll up shell. Plate beans on one side, guacamole on the other and salsa beside the taco. Spread sour cream over the taco and sprinkle a little cheddar cheese over all to garnish. I put a little salsa on the beans to pretty them up, not sure it helped.

Fern said twice that it was really good, except the beans. Neither of us finished our beans but we cleaned up everything else. Next time I'll use Old El Paso beans again and pay more attention to how they taste before trying to make from scratch again. Part of the problem could be the quality of raw beans available but I won't know for sure till I try again.

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

Curry is fairly easy to make and this is no exception. Dice and brown an onion and a clove of garlic. Cube chicken breasts, salt and flour them. Brown them in the pan with the onion and garlic. When the chicken has a little colour remove it from the pan. It will finish cooking in the last few minutes. If it's left in it will be rubbery. Add diced red and green pepper to the pan. Add a diced stick of celery. Sprinkle 1-2 teaspoons curry powder over the pan and stir to coat everything. Let the vegetables soften and curry powder cook a bit.  Add a can of coconut milk. The pan should be on medium heat and boiling vigorously for a few minutes to cook off the water in the coconut milk. I use a 10 inch frying pan. After a couple of minutes when it's thickened a bit add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for a couple of minutes so the centre is cooked. Add a handful of canned pineapple chunks and a little juice from the can. Taste the curry. Adjust salt and if it doesn't taste good, add more juice to sweeten it. That's it, serve over rice and indulge.

If you don't like or have coconut milk, use tomatoes or tomato sauce instead, tastes great!

Cajun Snapper with Peas and Mashed Potatoes

After my gnocchi failure I wanted something I couldn't screw up. Fresh fish on Friday at Mitchell's so snapper pan fried with mashed potatoes and frozen peas is about as simple as possible. I salted and seasoned the fish with Cajun spice mix then fried it. The peas were done in the microwave and finished with butter, salt and black pepper. Mashed potatoes with butter, salt and milk. Fresh lemon squeezed on the fish. It was good, simple but good.

Almost Gnocchi

I've always wondered what gnocchi tasted like so I decided to try to make some. These came out more like dumplings. I boiled a potato, cooled and mashed it and mixed it up with a 1/2 cup flour and an egg. I should have used 1/3 of an egg. So I had to add more flour till I had dumpling dough. I formed it into gnocchi sized lumps and boiled them in salted water. They probably would have been ok if I'd made a decent sauce to serve them in.

I had cabbage, carrot, celery, tomatoes, a jar of roasted red peppers and a couple of pork dinner sausages. I boiled the cabbage to soften it. I fried the sausages then removed from pan and cut into bite size pieces. I slowly combined all my ingredients into the pan. Added a little water and some beef stock powder. It probably would have turned out better if the roasted red peppers weren't expired a couple of years before. They just didn't taste good, which is why I looked at the label again and saw the expiry date. We ate enough that we weren't hungry but neither of us cleaned our plates. The dog wasn't interested. Fern emptied the pan into the garbage. He usually saves everything so this really wasn't worth saving and now I'm moving on the next meal.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cajun Chicken with Garlic Mushroom Rice and Greek Salad

Tomatoes and cucumbers were on sale at Mitchell's so that calls for Greek Salad. It was chicken's turn and I seasoned it with Cajun spice, brushed it with olive oil and BBQ'd it. Before cooking the rice I added a stick of celery diced, diced glove of garlic and several sliced crimini mushrooms that had completely dried out in a paper bag in the fridge. Salt and olive oil. A little lemon would have been good but  I forgot. Anyway, when the microwave was done with the rice I stirred in some chopped parsley and a few drops Tabasco Sauce.

Greek Salad

2 tomatoes diced
3 inches English cucumber diced (the skin isn't bitter so you don't peel them)
1 thin slice red onion diced
feta cheese
black olives
parsley chopped
black pepper
olive/canola oil
lemon juice

The rice was really good with the chicken. Usually Fern likes white rice but it seems if I do a good job on a pilaf he likes it. The rescued mushrooms were the best surprise. They brought flavour and were tasty if a little rubbery.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Spinach Beef Cheddar Taco with Guacamole, Refried Beans and Sour Cream Topped with Fresh Salsa

Fern doesn't generally like mushy, saucy sloppy plates of food so it's got to be really good when I serve him one. This fit the bill. Guacamole started with a fresh very ripe avocado and fresh lime juice. Mash with a fork, add some salt, a tablespoon of sour cream and a few drops of Tabasco Sauce. Whip it with a fork. The acid in the lime juice keeps it from turning black but if you make it ahead, keep it in the fridge with plastic film on it.

Refried beans are Old El Paso brand which taste good on their own. All they need is a little lime juice, a quarter cup of sour cream and a few drops Tabasco Sauce to elevate them. The beans are the most expensive part of this meal but cheaper ones just don't cut it. So until I learn how to make good tasting refried beans from scratch, expensive tins are the only option.

For the taco I diced an onion and caramelized it then added a couple of cloves of garlic diced. Next I added half a red pepper, half a green pepper and a stick of celery diced. (Fern loves celery so that's why it's in there, but it does add a nice flavour) 400gm of ground beef were broken in next and browned. I sprinkled salt, vegetable stock powder and a tablespoon of taco seasoning over the meat while it browned. I would have used beef stock but was out so I used vegetable, once the meat was cooked I added half a cup of water and cooked it off till I had a nice moist filling. I heated the shells in the toaster oven for a few seconds before laying grated cheddar, then filling and rolling them up. I use bulk taco seasoning from the grocery store, it's just as good as the expensive packaged stuff.

The sour cream was just that. Can you elevate sour cream? Probably, somehow.

Salsa was simple:

2 tomatoes diced
1 jalapeno diced
1 slice red onion diced
1 tbsp parsley diced (Fern doesn't like cilantro or I'd use that but a bit less)
juice from half a lime
black pepper
2 tsp olive/canola oil

Toss and serve.

I sprinkled diced parsley over the plate because I had some left over, it does seem to dress the plate a bit. A bit of grated cheddar left over went on the beans. Twice while eating Fern stopped to say how good this was. He didn't used to like tacos at all.