The Fates decided my kitchen gadget tonight. I sent Jordan to Brookshire’s for milk for the baby and taco shells so I could use my taco shell holders tonight. Then I remembered my grandmother had given me two coupons for free items. Upon digging those out of the cavern of my purse, I discovered one of them was for free taco shells! I was struck with awe at the universe, at the cosmos working directly in my life, a High Power guiding my thoughts and actions. Jordan was less impressed. He just shrugged and asked me what “prophetic” meant.
Growing up, my mom had this tray with dividers that you put taco shells in to fill up. It was made of plastic, which was good that it wasn’t metal, since she made tacos in the… you guess it! The microwave!
Since moving out on my own, I have realized that Homemade Chicken and Dumplings don’t come out of a can, thanks to Jordan’s Gran. (She still cooks ALONE for 50+ people every Thanksgiving and Christmas. She’s amazing. Or maybe just crazy. Yeah, crazy; let’s go with that.) I have learned that you can cook vegetables on the stove. I have come to know that there are meals that exist outside of casseroles. I have also learned to brown meat on the stove and not in the microwave, as I did tonight, with my turkey tacos.
I still compare cooking notes with my mom, like why are the taco shells always stale? Neither one of us could find a brand that didn’t taste old! We tried generic, Taco Bell, Mission, Ortega, and many others, always reporting back to the other with the latest purchase and the experiment. One day, while waiting for my simmering meat to finish, I browsed the info on the taco shell box. Calories, ingredients, directions. “Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 3-4 minutes.”
That one little sentence revolutionized taco night, in not one, but two households. Who would have ever thought to read those directions? Certainly not me or my mother, with a combined number of cooking years somewhere around 40. You would have thought one of us would have figured it out. I immediately called my mom and read her the directions. We both went “humph”. And now we bake our shells. No more stale tacos. Not even those generic ones that have been sitting open for two weeks now. Incredible.
I had a taco tray (if that’s really what is it supposed to be use for) like my mom’s on my Christmas list for years. She could never find one so she bought me these little wiggly looking yellow pieces. I never use them because Jordan gripes about having too many dishes to clean already (I cook, he cleans) and because it just seems like a waste of time, but after my experience tonight, they will become a staple in my household, just like the microwave.
Not only did I use it to hold the taco shells while I filled them (after I pried it out of my toddlers hands), I used it to set the taco on while eating. This may seem silly, but I hate how they always fall apart and the contents leak out when you put them laying down on the plate. Putting them in the holders keeps them packed together. But once you get down to those last couple bites, they fall apart anyway, but until then… together turkey tacos!
I must give my husband props here. He bought Whole Grain taco shells. Finally, all that healthy eating I have been drilling into his head must be soaking in! Either that, or they were out of the regular ones… or these were the only option for the free coupon. Either way, they were really good, maybe even better than it’s “not-whole grain” counter part.
Just for the record, I “baked” my third taco shell in the microwave. Thanks, Mom.