We've found in our home that sometimes the fun in the kitchen is unrelated to the process of cooking. Kids want to feel that they have a part in preparing the meal, but sometimes, they are happy to be part of the assembly process. One of our favorite Family Night dinners is Build Your Own Tacos & Burritos.
Mom or Dad brown a pound of extra lean ground beef with taco seasoning added. If you are feeling adventurous, you can let your child help with this, although I definitely caution you against leaving them unsupervised. The stove-top is can be a dangerous area of the kitchen when you are not watching your child at ALL times.
After the meat is ready, with help from the kids, we assemble bowls of various toppings. Ideas can be endless on this meal. Some of our standard toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cheese, Lizano (a delicious sauce from Costa Rica), refried beans* (pinto or black), black beans*, spanish or white rice, etc. (*Hint: We season our beans with Goya seasoning packets, found in the ethnic aisle of your local grocery store.)
Once all of the toppings are selected, we warm some tortillas (flour or corn) and some taco shells. Everyone gets to build his or her own taco and burrito, and we head to the living room to watch a family-friendly movie. Be sure to pull out the picnic blanket to save your carpets!
Other variations of the Mexican Build Your Own... theme include Build Your Own Fajitas and (my favorite) Build Your Own Mexican Breakfast Burritos. Similar to the Build Your Own Tacos & Burritos, when making the breakfast burritos, replace the ground beef with chorizo, a mexican sausage you can buy at your local grocery store or Latino grocery. We also scramble some eggs, and include most of toppings in the original burrito meal. It is a delicious way to start your day!
Do you have a facorite Build Your Own... meal? Let us know! We'd love to hear your ideas!