Our friend Courtney is an awesome person to have over. She always has tales to tell of her climbing, running, hiking and biking adventures. A few months ago, she moved to New Hampshire to be closer to the mountains and nature that she loves so much. But I keep forgetting she lives close by, so we never see her.
I was thrilled when my husband told me on Friday morning that she was coming over for dinner that night. But what would I make her? My fridge was starting to run a little low, I wouldn’t have time to shop for fresh ingredients. I had some time at lunch, but only wanted to buy things that would keep. Courtney’s not a vegetarian, but I knew she would enjoy my vegetarian fare.
So I threw together a couple of our quick and easy staples, black bean tacos with tomatoes and chilies, avocado and corn salad, rice from a box, and tortilla chips. It’s quick to throw together after work, inexpensive (except for the avocadoes at the wrong time of year), filling, nourishing and offers eaters a choice to include dairy cheese on their food.
It’s also a great meal for a family to share without breaking the bank.
One of the factors that helped me throw together this meal so quickly is that I used a prepackaged rice mix. I’m the world’s worst rice maker, so I can use all the help I can get in that department. Tonight we used Archer Farms Cilantro Lime Rice. I think Archer Farms is a Target brand.
Time to make 20 minutes.
Time spent paying attention to it: 30 seconds or so.
Cost: <$3 (and it was an expensive rice mix)
Prepackaged and purchased. Doesn’t get easier than that.
Cost: Chips $2.99 (pricey but organic), Salsa $1.57 (on clearance shelf), Taco shells $1.34 (for 12)
Black Bean and Tomato Tacos
Black bean tacos are a staple in my household. I make them with quinoa, I make them with corn. Filling, inexpensive and you don’t have to worry about meat going bad in your fridge. We used to eat turkey tacos regularly, and it was a problem for us. You can use other beans as filling, but for some reason I keep going back to the same black beans.
In this variation I chopped up some roma tomatoes, threw in a can of chiles and and called it tacos. It was glorious.
Cost: 2 cans black beans ~$1.80, 1 can chiles <$1, Taco mix <$1, 2 roma tomatoes <$1
Black beans, chiles and tomato taco filling
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10-15 minutes
Keywords: saute entree vegetarian vegan gluten-free beans tomato Budget Mexican
Ingredients (serves 4 to 6)
- 2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can diced green chilies
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup taco seasoning mix
- 2/3 cup water
Add black beans, chilies, and tomato to a skillet.
Add taco seasoning and water to skillet. Adjust taco seasoning based on your preference. Mix well.
Allow mixture to simmer until sauce thickens.
Avocado and corn Salad
Avocado corn salsa is probably my favorite way to use avocado. It’s a great dip, it’s fantastic in tacos. Actually I wanted to make it instead of offering cheese to my guests to put on tacos. If you put such a creamy, flavorful topping on your taco, why would you need cheese?
I was lacking some of my usual accompaniments to the salsa (one kind of needs jalapenos and onions to make salsa) so I threw a mini avocado salad together with what I had from the fridge. The fresh red pepper in the mix was leftovers from veggies I had packed for lunch.
Cost: 2 avocados ~ $2, 1 can corn <$1, 1 roma tomato <0.50, 2 green onions <$0.25, lime juice <$0.25, salt (negligible), red pepper <$50
Avocado and Corn Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Keywords: raw appetizer topping gluten-free vegan vegetarian avocado corn
Ingredients (about 3 cups)
- 2 small avocados, scooped out of shell flesh chopped
- 2 green onions, sliced and diced
- 1 roma tomato, diced
- 1/3 red pepper, flesh diced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- salt to taste
Combine ingredients in a bowl, allow to sit.
The components of your dinner party can be served in a beautiful array of dishes. Add a bunch of small bowls with toppings such as green onions, tomatoes, salsa, lettuce, non-dairy cheese, dairy cheese etc. You can even jazz up the table a lot more than I did.
Beige tablecloths don’t exactly scream Fiesta! The dishes looked spectacular on Instagram though! (follow me BTW, I’m sometimesiveg. My new phone actually lets me have apps without having a panic attack.)
I topped my tacos with avocado salad and my rice and chips with salsa and guacamole (which my friend brought over). It was a fantastic meal.
I can’t wait for leftovers at lunch today!