Mexican is to my kids what Italian was to me. Spaghetti Bog was a treat when I was growing up. We went out to an Italian restaurant for it at Southport on the Gold Coast.
For kids brought up primarily on meat and three vege it was fun to dress up and stain the front of our nice clothes with tomato sauce.
Then suddenly Mum was making it IN OUR HOME – and saving herself a few dollars and not doubt a lot of laundry.
We was fancy, I tell you. Very international. Very continental. Very messy.
Of course, now Italian, and particularly spag bog, is an ‘I can’t be bothered thinking what to cook’ dish I can do in my sleep.
These days tacos and salsa are for my kids what pasta and tomato sauce was for me and my siblings. Something special. Not too expensive. And easy!
Dad’s making Mexican? SWEET!
The excited whispers make their way from one kid to the next and soon they’re all crowding the kitchen wanting to help.
The joy of things like nachos, tacos and burritos is that they’re so simple a child could make them.
To which my response is a resounding, ‘bingo, gringo!’
Miss6 and Miss8 still need me to watch over them, but I pretty much step out of the way these days and let our older three take turns in cooking for me – it’s nothing more than slicing lettuce and tomatoes, pushing mince or chicken around about the frypan and heating up tacos or melting cheese on corn chips in the oven.
Even better, there are gluten free options for almost everything you need, from corn chips and salsa and all the rest. We just buy a pack of GF tortillas. As anyone with a gluten sensitive family member knows, it’s a sweet deal when you can make a meal the whole family can participate in, rather than having someone sitting off to the side crunching into a rice cracker when it comes to a special dinner treat.
Nachos with Miss14
The easier meal of the lot. This was supposed to be Master13’s contribution to this post but he was adamant he should cook the burritos. That went less spectacular than I expected, as you’ll read below, and pretty much blows the premise of this post – kids cooking family meals without parental help – and makes me want to toss in my sombrero.
Beauty of nachos is you can go as simple as grated cheese on corn chips, or fancy it up with one or more of sour cream, beef mince or shredded chicken, capsicum, slices of chilli, guacamole, black beans, coriander and salsa.
Ours was a fairly basic corn chip bed (total of two bags of Woolworths branded salted corn chips) topped with their amazing salsa, half a kilo of beef mince, a tub of guacamole dip and half a bag of grated cheddar cheese, popped under a grill until the cheese melted. I think it cost us $30 all up – not bad for a family of seven. From chopping to picking out hot chips, Miss14 had the first tray on the table inside of half an hour, which we ate while she heated up the second batch.
Tacos with Miss11
One of the things I love about our eleven year old daughter is her attention to detail. Except when it comes to cooking. Dinner was an hour late because there was some precision lettuce and tomato chopping being done.
Actually, precision is the wrong word. Surgery suits more.
This was my fault, of course.
“You told me you wanted them to look good for the blog photos.”
I thanked her for putting in the effort and suggested we were going for a more authentic rustic look.
At this she started popping the shells in the oven and we got to eat dinner, beating sun up by hours instead of minutes.
Again, we kept it simple. Half a kilo of beef mince cooked with Woolworths taco seasoning ($1), beautifully chopped tomatoes and lettuce, grated cheddar, guacamole dip, sour cream and Woolworths hard taco shells.
I did have fresh, ripe avocados and a tin of black beans for her to use as well, but the kids weren’t keen.
We always buy way more taco shells than we need because I don’t want to miss out. Again, I think we spent about $30 all up! For sure the new Woolworths branded box of 12 for $2.40 definitely helps keep the costs down.
Burritos with Master13
“I’ll do the burritos,” Master13 insisted when we told the kids we were going to be doing a post on Mexican.
He’s quicker than the girls, who repeated verbatim this sentence moments later.
“I haven’t made them before and you two have,” he insisted.
So Miss14 and Miss11 had to rock off for the nachos and tacos options.
Not a problem, I thought. Wrongly.
“Dad,” he said a few days later as he pulled out the ingredients from the pantry and fridge to make us dinner. “You’ve bought the wrong chicken.”
“You sure?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he said. “This chicken isn’t cut up.”
“You have to do that yourself, you whackjob,” I prompted him in a fatherly way.
“Okay,” he said, “well I’m out.”
In the end I had to cut it up for him because it turns out he doesn’t like the feel of raw chicken.
It’s really hard to be cranky with him, though, when he goes to all the trouble of drawing a Mexican-style moustache on his face to add a little authenticity so the meal.
Especially when he accidentally does it with permanent marker.
Add some Woolworths spices to the chicken (same stuff as for the tacos), slice some lettuce and tomato, add avocado, sour cream and grated cheese, and two packs of burritos, you have a meal fit for a family of seven.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
This post is deliciously sponsored by Woolworths. Gracias, amigos!
Love the moustache …. do hope it eventually washes off.
Apparently the bit that’s left is his ‘real’ moustache
Tin of corn, sun dried tomatoes or jar of picked jalapeños (not overly spicy when pickled) are good – read: easy – additions! I’m all about the secret vegetables and often add half cup of ground up broccoli or sweet potato to the mince. They will thank me when they are grown up, right?