Twisted Taco Night

True Confessions:  I'm writing this at 2:47 am because I can't go back to sleep after Ruby came and crawled into bed with us at 1 am.  At 1:45 am, she had to be ceremoniously carried back down to her bed because she would not stop patting Matt's face (which really is so cute, but not at 1:30 in the morning).  Once back in bed, now fully awake, I tossed and turned and thought of at least ten things that I really should have done weeks ago, and finally it was clear that I could either stay in bed wide awake with anxiety or just get up and get something done.  My plan is to write our dinner post now, which will then free up time tomorrow to accomplish all of these other nagging items.  Obviously, as you already know, this is a terrible plan, since not sleeping at night followed by a massive overdose of caffeine will make for a singularly unproductive day.  Nonetheless, here I sit.

So, dinner this week is new and, we think, pretty delish.  We always love Taco Night at our house - it's fast, easy and there are very few complaints (yay!), even though we do always have a bit of a brouhaha when the first child who serves himself from the largish bowl of shredded cheese dumps all of it on his plate.  But still, all things being equal, Taco Night is a solid, respectable dinner whose virtues we can all appreciate.  Is it amazing?  Does it blow your mind?  Do you wake up wishing for more?  I don't think so.  Is such a thing even possible???

We think so.  This week, we've come up with something a little more ambitious, healthy and fun.  And thus we bring you:  Twisted Taco Night!

Tuesday, March 6th:
Twisted Taco Bake:  shredded chicken, rice, black eyed peas & cheese
Mixed Up Buttermilk Corn and Slaw Salad with red peppers & feta
Flour Tortillas (or for a gluten-free option, corn upon request)
Shredded Lettuce, Salsa & Sour Cream
Vegetarian Option:  Twisted Bake with zucchini & mushrooms
Kids' Option:  Chicken, Beans & Cheese Quesadilla ($6)
Dessert:  Camino Bakery Chocolate Raspberry Cake Truffles (4 truffles for $6)
GYTTW:  Jumbo Stuffed Shells in Fire Roasted Tomato Marinara, meat or veggie ($22, regular or $30, large)
Low Carb Option:  Small Chicken Bake with cheese & Living Lettuce for wrapping ($10)

We made this crazy Taco Bake a few weeks ago on a whim, and it vanished as soon as it hit the table.  It's so tasty, but at the same time, completely different from what you normally think of as a taco.  The idea is to fill up your tortilla with a big scoop of the warm, delicious bake, top it with cold, crunchy slaw, roll it up and dig eat up.  The different textures and flavors somehow all work really well, so much so that there was, to put it politely, a dust up over who would be getting the last scoop.  Of course, folks may want to eat it all separately, and that's all good too - therein lies the secret to success of Taco Night!

If anyone in the family is going "low carb," we're trying to think of ways we can tweak our meals to make them easy & tasty for everyone without having to do a whole separate meal.  In this case, if you order the Low Carb option, you can use lettuce leaves, the chicken bake, and then the regular slaw to make low carb "tacos."  As with almost everything we do, this is a work in progress, so if you're a trying to eat fewer carbs, let us know what you think or what you'd like to see.

For dessert this week, Camino Bakery is making one of my all-time favorite desserts - the Chocolate Raspberry Cake Truffle!  I have actually made cake balls here and there using cake mix and re-made icing (I once made them into Golden Snitches for one of my kid's Harry Potter birthday parties), and they were enthusiastically received, but they really can't hold a candle to Camino's glorious homemade ones.  Their version is a ball of very moist cake, dipped in chocolate ganache with chocolate sprinkles.  I can't wait!

Once your Twisted Tacos are all gone, we don't want to leave you high and dry all week.  Our Italian Stuffed Shells are back for an encore.  Those of you who have been DOTPeeps for a long time may remember when we did them before under the clever name "The Pioneer Woman Can Stuff It."  They were awesome, but for reasons unknown they fell off of the rotation during the past year.  You'll love these for a quick family meal with bread and salad, but they are also elegant enough to serve for company or take to a friend in need of a good dinner (don't most people fall into this category?).  This time we're using our favorite locally made Neese's Extra Sage Sausage, fresh spinach, and four different cheeses to stuff these babies.  A "regular" pan will come in a 9" pie pan with 8-10 shells, while a large will come in a larger pan with 12-15, so order accordingly.

That's it for the dinner menu, y'all.  We do have some new offerings over at the Mini Grocery Store, so visit that to see if there is anything else you want to add to your order.  We were happy to hear from many of you that the Bag of Fresh Veggies was a hit - anything to make it easier to get fresh veggies on the table is a good thing!

Hope you have a great weekend & get to spend lots of time relaxing on your porch!

Claire & Alex

(It's now 4 am (!), and I'm heading back to bed, hopefully to sleep.  Do any of you all have these crazy sleep habits too?  I feel like there are others out there in the night ... a sleepy brotherhood.)

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