Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Joe is definitely the voice of reason in our home, so I was shocked when he crumbled on Sunday and allowed us both to sink to a new deep, dark level. We vowed to never speak of our indiscretion again, but I've had an upset stomach since Sunday afternoon and had to come clean. It was a cold, rainy day and the end of a long, exhausting week so it's no wonder we lost all common sense as we headed to a little villa just south of Pougkeepsie, New York, miles from our sanity. Joe had been curious for awhile and, admittedly, I'd sampled a bit in college so was open to re-visiting it as long as Joe promised not to spiral afterward. So, we went there...We were greeted with smiles, and escorted to a lovely corner where an unassuming woman approached us and offered us glasses of wine. After declining, she uttered something we've never heard before; "Welcome to the Olive Garden, I'll be your server." I'll spare you the ugly details...bottomless bowls of soup, salad and bread sticks dipped in Alfredo sauce, chased by chicken Parmesan (and, oh yeah, if you want more, just ask..they'll bring it to you!). As we stumbled out the door and rolled back to our house, seatbelts barely containing our bloated stomachs, we promised to never, ever visit that Tuscany ever again. Today, however, as I paint yet another Mexican-themed room in our house (pink ceilings, orange walls and green floors) I find myself fighting the urge to hop in my car and race up to our favorite fast-food Mexican restaurant. After all, swim suit season is just around the corner and until Spanx comes out with a man-handle hiding bathing suit (that also gives the appearance of six pack abs and biceps), I'm counting calories as I count down the days to summer! While we've sworn off fast food and chain restaurants, I've decided I Mexican't, but Mexican...the lower fat version!
If I could I'd eat Mexican food everyday but I'd look like a giant Pinata, so to trim some of the fat off of my lunchtime tacos, here's what I did:
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 pound ground beef sirloin
12 soft corn tortillas (6-inch)
Store-bought salsa and shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving
STEP UNO: In a non-stick skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until crisp (about 3-5 minutes). Add 1 cup water and cook until water evaporates and veggies are softened (about 5 minutes.)
STEP DOS: Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring (1 minute). Add beef and cook about 5 minutes.
COST: Under $10.00