Matt and I frequently partake in making mexican food of all sorts. We recently decided to make beef taco meat. We actually ended up with a half beef/half ground venison mixture because the venison is free and adds nice flavor and texture. First chop half of a large yellow onion for each pound of ground meat that you have (I say half of a large rather than a medium because I have not seen any medium size yellow onions for some time in my grocery store). Also chop a small green bell pepper for each pound of ground meat. Once that has sauteed/sweated (very little color on the veggies) in vegetable (actually corn or canola) oil, add your ground meat. Before anything more than the very bottom layer that is actually touching the pan gets cooked add A LOT of garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, and a bit of oregano. The cumin is the main ingredient. As you can see below there are a lot of spices in this pot for two pounds of meat. I stir this concoction around then let it sit, covered, on medium low heat until the meat is cooked. It should have rendered out some good juices, but if it has not add a bit of water to the pan. At this point I taste the meat and usually add more cumin and more pepper. Remember, it is easier to add more spice than it is to take away too much spice in a dish! I try to let this simmer for at least an hour, but it is always better the next day.
These are Matt's perfectly formed tacos. He requested flour tortillas that were bound to the crispy shell by a layer of refried beans so I obliged by having all that was necessary. We had the beef taco meat, beans, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream (which I have had an increasing fondness for in my pregnancy). He also indulged in a good Mexican beer with lime!
We also really enjoy making Mexican Rice. For this saute a small amount of onion and bell pepper (this would be really good with red, yellow, or orange bell peppers too). When they have gotten soft, add a bit of oil to the pan and saute the rice so that it can soak in some oil and get a little toasty. When it appears translucent, add your liquid...we usually use some Rotel style tomato juice, water, and chicken stock. Let that cook down, stirring occasionally to avoid stick-age. When the rice is almost done add corn, cilantro, and some of the Rotel tomatoes (get the mild unless you like it really hot, if you don't want it hot at all then go for canned diced tomatoes). Season to taste with a bit of salt or garlic powder.
The next day we put a twist on one of our favorite dinners which is mega salad. For mega salad we imagine that we are at Sweet Tomato or Souper Salad making one of their salads. For this one, due to the taco meat, we put a latin flair on it. Romaine lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, fresh corn, drained and rinsed black beans, avocado, and bell pepper were all tossed with shredded cheddar cheese, warm taco meat, and tortilla chips. For a dressing, I threw in some sour cream and salsa and tossed to coat all the veggies. It was yummy!...and delicious!!!