Semi Homemade Tacos

Do you remember the cooking show with adorable Sandra Lee called Semi Homemade or something like that?  She always had a tablescape theme and a cocktail to match.  Who wouldn’t love that?

In keeping with her theory of semi-homemade, I want to share what taco night looks like around here. Our tacos are partially fresh food and partially packaged food, hence the “semi homemade” moniker.

Tacos are on our regular meal rotation around here because:

  1.  We Like them
  2. We usually have the ingredients on hand

Recipe for a winning dinner, right?  Oh, yeah, and one other thing.  Hub usually makes them.  Tacos are his specialty.

Our tacos are pretty tasty, pretty easy to make and not too horrible to clean up, so here is what we do:


  • ¾ lb lean ground beef (or shredded chicken, if you prefer)
  • 1/3 package taco seasoning
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 diced tomato (if you don’t have a fresh tomato on hand but you have a jar of salsa, subbing that works just fine)
  • 2 cups chopped lettuce (most people like iceberg on tacos, but anything works great)
  • 1 cup refried beans
  • Shredded cheese (any other dairy you like for topping:  sour cream, Greek yogurt)
  • Diced jalapenos or chilis (optional)
  • Chopped green onions (optional)
  • Tortillas

Brown ground beef on medium high heat.  We used our Pampered Chef Mix ‘N Chop which crumbles the meat perfectly for tacos.

Drain the beef or wipe out the pan with a paper towel.  Add 1/3 package of taco seasoning and 1 cup water to beef and simmer until thickened, about 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile heat refried beans, chop veggies and prepare to assemble the taco of your dreams.  I add everything but the kitchen sink to mine.

There are a ton of different iterations you can make with this depending on diet, preferences and what you have on hand.  In fact, you could say each ingredient is optional and substitutable.

For instance, we used flour tortillas for soft tacos.  We always have hard shells on hand and we keep flat corn tortillas in the freezer to fry in a bit of oil for more of a tostada or street taco flair.  Just depends on our mood.

Truly Handmade Tortillas from Trader Joe’s are hands-down the best store-bought flour tortillas.  And I’ve tried a lot of them.  TJ’s shredded cheddar is my lazy day option.

When I purchase a batch of chilis, I roast them and freeze them whole.  They are then on hand for any recipe needed.  Just chop frozen and add to the cooking food or use as a topping.  They thaw quickly and fresh chilis (even from frozen) are so tasty.

Many times (or when I want seconds) I skip the tortilla and eat everything on a bed of lettuce with a side of tortilla or corn chips.

Camo Cats

Remember the shot of Jill’s kitty camouflaged by her new rug?  The other day I was looking for Roxy and didn’t notice she was on the rug because she blended in.  So chicken or egg?  Do we buy rugs to match on our cat preference or do we end up with pets who match our décor?  Something to ponder.

What I’m Reading


Sometimes I go actual years without reading a magazine.  I get so sick of the clutter when they all arrive at once, I don’t renew my subscriptions and then I breathe and don’t get any for a while.  This year, Amazon had some sort of magazine cyber day and I bought a few subscriptions. 

And this week I had to go through everything that had been building up in the cute basket I bought to corral them.

This big ol’ mess was my living room.  Honestly, the quality of the content is now so poor, the recipes and information so old and tired, I cannot recommend any of them.

Next post I’ll update on my actual books and leave this mess behind me.

Enjoy one of your precious summer weekends, dear buddy.

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