My family loves tacos. It's one of Elisabeth's favorite meals, so we probably have them around every other month or so. I like them too, but wanted to try something different. I'd bought a bag of dried black beans and decided to use them in some recipes. Tacos was one of them.
Okay, now's where I tell you I've never dealt with dried beans before. I'm more of a can girl. But, trying to be frugal and step out of some of my cooking comfort zones, I decided to try the more economical dried beans. First off, they are about a dollar for a bag. Once cooked, they make around 5 bajillion cups of black beans. And that, in case you were wondering, is a lot of black beans.
So, first, let's cook the black beans before we get to the taco recipe.
Hello, black beans!
First we are going to soak the beans. Now, most instruction dealing with any type of dried bean will tell you that they need to soak for hours. They are right. The beans need the time to soak up the water because...well...they're dry. (duh) So, I dumped the beans into my big pot.
Poured about 10 cups of warm water into the pot and walked away. I did this in the morning and then went about my business for the day (which includes laundry, reading, facebooking, picking up endless amounts of toys, and more laundry).
Once they had soaked for a good 6 hours, I dumped the beans into a collander.
Gave them a nice rinsing.
Poured them back into the giant pot and added about 4 cups of water (enough to cover the beans plus an extra 3 inches).
Then I turned up the heat until the water was boiling. When it started to boil, I turned the heat down to a simmer. They will now simmer there for about 1 1/2--2 hours. I then proceeded to referee Julia and the cats and cried at the mess my children make in my house daily that I absolutely hate picking up.
When the beans were almost done cooking, I started getting stuff ready for my tacos.
Want to hear something stupid I did?
Wow, you were way too eager with that yes.
Anyway, I bought a giant bag of frozen chicken. Brought it home. Realized it was pre-seasoned (lemon and herb). I was too lazy to return it, so decided to use it anyway and just rinse off the seasoning before cooking it.
And, vowed to actually read the packages of the things I purchase. Ugh.
Okay, time for tacos. The ingredients:
Tortillas; 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips; 1 C. black beans; 1/4 C. salsa; 2 plum tomatoes, chopped; 1 C. shredded lettuce; 2 scallions, thinly chopped; shredded cheese; sour cream.
I cut my seasoned chicken into strips. I figure one chicken breast is about half a pound.
I poured some oil into my warmed skillet.
While the chicken was cooking, I sliced my onions...
and my tomatoes.
Let's take a gander at our black beans. Ooh...they look yummy!
Now, I took one cup of those black beans and added it to my cooked chicken strips.
Along with the salsa. (Ooh, and I decided that I needed more salsa, so I added it. Feel free to do the same!)
Just heat all of this wonderful concoction together until it's all the same temperature.
This is my taco serving dish. Don't you just love it?! Here's the best part--it turns!! It is one of my favorite things. Anyway, I've put all the taco ingredients needed in here: tomatoes, onions, cheese, sour cream, and the chicken mixture.
Oh, and this? Well, I got this from one of Elisabeth's school fundraisers.
It's a tortilla warmer. You put your tortillas in, pop the lid on and warm it up in the microwave for about a minute. It is wonderfully handy.
Whenever Julia sees a set table, she becomes the hungriest baby alive. We can't set the table until the very last second or else she fades away into nothingness.
Here's my constructed taco.
Yum. Especially with that side of spanish rice. Mmmm...
The chicken/black bean/salsa combination was so flavorful and only mildly spicy. Oh, and filling. Black beans are excellent when wanting to add something to a dish to give it extra depth, because you sure get full fast! Everyone enjoyed the tacos, and even though I did hear some small whimpering about not having refried beans and the traditional ground beef taco meat, everyone ate at least 2 tacos. We will definitely be having this again!!